The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Armed transport ships spotted in Panama Canal, headed for secret mission to later transport plutonium

ship radiationUK-Flagged Ships Set to Transport Plutonium from Japan to US Located in Panama Canal Ships on Secret Mission to Carry 331 Kilograms of Plutonium to US DOE’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina as Part of Nuclear Security Summit Preparation; Plutonium to be Stranded at SRS 

Two armed transport vessels on a secret mission to retrieve weapons-grade plutonium in Japan and transport it to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina have been located in the Panama Canal. The spotting of the ships confirms their route to Japan and that their mission is plutonium transport, according to the public interest group Savannah River Site Watch, whose personnel have tracked such ships for more than 20 years.
The specialized nuclear transport ships are slated to carry 331 kilograms of plutonium to the U.S. as part of alleged nuclear non-proliferation efforts in connection to the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit. The ships had vanished from the public eye on their departure on January 19 from the United Kingdom.
The Pacific Egret and Pacific Heron, based in Barrow-in Furness, UK and operated by the private company Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited (PNTL), entered the canal on the afternoon of February 5 and exited into the Pacific Ocean after a 9-hour transit. Webcams operated by the Panama Canal were cut off as the ships approached the canal entrance, an ineffectual and ridiculous effort to hide their passage from the public and that did nothing to enhance the security of the empty ships.
As 236 kilograms of the plutonium originated in the UK, the US has failed to present any justification for its transport to South Carolina, where DOE is struggling to find a “disposition” path for 13 metric tons of plutonium already at SRS. 93 kilograms are of US-origin and 2 kilograms originated in France. The materials were sent as far back as the 1960s to Japan for testing of “fast” nuclear reactors. At the Nuclear Security Summit in March 2014, the US and Japan pledged to remove plutonium and highly enriched uranium from the facility where the material is stored at the Tokai nuclear site.
“We strongly object to foreign-origin plutonium coming into South Carolina when DOE’s program to manage surplus weapons plutonium is in shambles,” said Tom Clements, director of Savannah River Site Watch (SRS Watch). “As DOE’s plutonium fuel (MOX) project has totally failed, it’s time for DOE to live up to its commitment to remove plutonium from South Carolina and not bring in more with no viable disposition path out of the state.”
After an intense 5-day ship-spotting effort led by Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE), based near the UK’s Sellafield nuclear site, and joined by SRS Watch, the ships were detected upon entering the crowded waters on the approach to the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal. The navigation beacons (Automated Information System – AIS), which had been turned off before the ships departed the UK, were turned on as the vessel neared the entrance of the canal. Both public interest organizations had predicted on the ships’ departure that they were bound for Japan and would travel via the Panama Canal.
The empty vessel are expected to arrive in Japan in about 25 days to pick up the plutonium now stored at the Fast Critical Assembly (FCA) at Tokai. In an environmental document prepared by DOE and released on December 28, 2015, up to 900 kilograms of plutonium in a number of countries is slated to be taken to the Savannah River Site for storage and unknown disposition, an issue which is causing growing concern in South Carolina.
At the Nuclear Security Summit in March 2014, the US and Japan pledged to remove plutonium and highly enriched uranium from the Fast Critical Assembly. The upcoming shipment will not be concluded before the summit in Washington, DC on March 31-April 1.
While some will celebrate this removal of the plutonium from Japan, it will do nothing to address the fact that Japan now has a plutonium stockpile of about 10.5 metric tons, according to SRS Watch. “While officials may declare the plutonium removal a non-proliferation success at the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit, the fact remains that Japan’s plutonium stockpile and efforts to increase that stockpile through operation of a new reprocessing plant pose far greater proliferation risks,” said Clements. “To focus on the real risks of weapon-usable plutonium in Japan, the summit must issue a demand that Japan halt its program to reprocess spent fuel and cease accumulation of more plutonium.”
On the 55-day return voyage to the naval port in Charleston, South Carolina, DOE has said that the ships carrying their plutonium cargo would not utilize the Panama Canal given the security risks associated when passing near land.
To document the passage of the ships through the Panama Canal, numerous screen shots and screen photos were made of a site that tracks vessels – Many of those images are posted at the bottom of the photo section on the SRS Watch website.

February 10, 2016 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan, safety, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

5,300 tons of Fukushima radioactive trash dumped in 5 prefectures

flag-japan5,300 tons of radioactive wood waste taken into 5 prefectures besides Shiga February 8, 2016 (Mainichi Japan) OTSU — Some 5,300 metric tons of wood chips contaminated with radioactive cesium from the Fukushima nuclear disaster was transported into Tochigi, Ibaraki, Chiba, Yamanashi and Kagoshima prefectures, documents from the Otsu District Public Prosecutors Office in Shiga Prefecture have shown.


 The finding comes after it was learned that a large amount of contaminated wood waste had been illegally dumped in a riverbed in the Shiga Prefecture city of Takashima.

The waste had been held by a lumber company in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Motomiya. The president of a consulting firm in Tokyo took on the job of disposing of the waste, but came under suspicion of dumping around 310 cubic meters of it in Takashima. The president was subsequently convicted over violation of a waste disposal law.

According to a lawyer of a citizens group who had access to the information held by the Otsu public prosecutors, two intermediate processing companies in Tokyo and Gunma Prefecture removed the waste from Fukushima between December 2012 and September 2013. Later, other transporters took it into six prefectures including Shiga via 18 different routes. Roughly 3,437 tons was taken into Tochigi Prefecture, 1,214 tons into Yamanashi Prefecture, 344 tons into Kagoshima Prefecture, 280 tons into Chiba Prefecture and 10 tons into Ibaraki Prefecture, the documents reportedly showed.

February 10, 2016 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Japan’s steadfast anti nuclear scientists now at retiring age

text-Noflag-japanDefiant to the end, last of Group of Six anti-nuclear scientists about to retire,  Asahi Shimbun, February 06, 2016 By HISASHI HATTORI/ Senior Staff Writer KUMATORI, Osaka Prefecture–Tetsuji Imanaka is the last of the so-called Kumatori Group of Six, a maverick band of nuclear scientists at an elite university here that spent decades speaking out against nuclear energy.

At 65, Imanaka is now ready to collect his pension and part company with Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute–and he remains as steadfast as ever in his beliefs. Imanaka cannot have found it easy to go against the government’s policy of promoting nuclear power, yet that’s what he’s done since he joined the institute in 1976.

He says he never experienced harassment, but then again he never got promoted beyond the post of research associate…..

Imanaka’s other colleagues in the group with the exception of one are all retired. They are: Toru Ebisawa, 77; Keiji Kobayashi, 76; Takeshi Seo, who died in 1994 at the age of 53; Shinji Kawano, 74; and Hiroaki Koide, 66. The group’s moniker came from the name of the town that hosts the research center.

Although all six scientists harbored doubts about promoting nuclear energy, Imanaka said, “We did not set out to become activists or form a clique.” Rather, “We acted according to our own beliefs as individuals.”

The group was relatively unknown before the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. But in the aftermath of the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the “rebels” increasingly came under the spotlight as civic groups scrambled to seek their expertise to grasp the ramifications of the nuclear accident and the potential dangers of nuclear energy.

Koide, who retired last year, has addressed 300 or so gatherings across the country since the catastrophe. But the group’s efforts to educate the public about the potential danger of, and challenges facing nuclear energy, date back to 1980 when it initiated a series of seminars at the institute. “Experts have a responsibility to explain science and technology in lay language to citizens,” Imanaka said of the endeavor.

With Imanaka’s departure, those seminars are about to end. After more than 35 years, the final 112nd session will be held on Feb. 10. The group’s commitment to continue sounding the warning against nuclear power has been widely appreciated by the public at large.

But the members have all had to pay a price for openly defying the “nuclear village,” as the program involving the government, powerful utilities enjoying regional monopolies and academia is called. None of the six ever got promoted to beyond the level of assistant professor……..

The catalyst for the group’s anti-nuclear activities was a lawsuit filed in 1973 by a citizens group over a license issued to Shikoku Electric Power Co. to build the Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture. In the suit, the plaintiffs demanded nullification of the license on grounds that safety screening of the plant by the government was insufficient. It was the nation’s first lawsuit involving the safety of a nuclear reactor. The researchers stood by the plaintiffs over 19 years of court battles, offering their technical expertise and testimony, right up until the Supreme Court finalized the verdict against them.

Kobayashi, an expert on reactors, also helped residents who sought to shut down the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture. The money-guzzling, problem-plagued project is the centerpiece of the government’s vision to recycle spent nuclear fuel. But the reactor has rarely operated since it went online in 1995.

Imanaka specialized in assessing the spread of radioactive contamination. He traveled to Ukraine more than 20 times to examine the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident site for contamination.

He, along with Seo, also estimated how much radiation was released in the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in the United States.

After the Fukushima disaster, Imanaka embarked on a project to detect radiation levels in Iitate, a village to the northwest of the plant whose residents are still living as evacuees due to high radiation levels…….

February 10, 2016 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Volcano erupts rather close to Sendai nuclear station

Sakurajima Volcano erupts violently just a few miles away from nuclear power plant [good video and pictures] MIRROR UK, 5 FEB 2016 BY ELAINE LINES 

Fountains of lava spewed out of the mountain but there were no reports of any immediate damage. A Japanese volcano about 30 miles from a nuclear plant violently erupted last week, shooting ash nearly 2 km into the night sky.

Fountains of lava spewed from the Sakurajima mountain, but there were no immediate report of damage and operations at the power station were not affected.

Following what they termed an “explosive eruption,” Japan’s Meteorological Agency raised the warning level on the peak to grade three, meaning people should not approach the mountain.

  • Kazuhiro Ishihara, a professor at Kyoto University, told NHK national television: “It appears that stones have been thrown about 2 km from the crater, but this area is quite far from any communities.”

    Television footage showed red streams of lava bursting from the side of the volcano, but Ishihara said he thought the impact of the eruption would not be that serious…….

  • Japan lies on the “Ring of Fire” – a seismically active horseshoe-shaped band of fault lines and volcanoes around the edges of the Pacific Ocean – and has more than 100 active volcanoes.

February 8, 2016 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Over 0.5 μSv/h detected from mud in Shibuya ward Tokyo


On 2/4/2016, a Japanese citizen posted on Twitter that 0.51 μSv/h was detected on accumulated mud in Shibuya ward of Tokyo.
The location is 2-17-5 Jingu-mae, Shibuya ward. The area is used as a coin-parking lot. The area is not blockaded.
Source :

February 6, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Government OKs multiple-site storage of radioactive waste

MITO, IBARAKI PREF. – The Environment Ministry has allowed Ibaraki Prefecture to continue storing waste contaminated with radioactive substances from the March 2011 nuclear disaster in multiple locations for the time being.
The ministry on Thursday supported ongoing use of the multiple-site storage option at a meeting with officials from Ibaraki Prefecture and 14 municipalities in the prefecture that are currently storing such designated waste on a temporary basis.
This is the first time the ministry, which has upheld a policy to construct one designated waste disposal facility in each of the prefectures of Miyagi, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba, to give the green light to multiple-site storage within a prefecture.
On Friday, Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa said at a news conference the ministry will continue coordinating with local municipalities to deal with the issue.
As part of the process, she said, it would consult with the community to move forward with lifting the designation on waste where radiation levels have lowered and consolidate remaining waste.
Designated waste, including incineration ash, sewage sludge and paddy straw, is contaminated with radioactive substances exceeding 8,000 becquerels per kilogram as a result of the triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant caused by a major earthquake and tsunami.
Although the ministry has been pursuing the policy of concentrating such waste in one location in each of the five prefectures for disposal, the construction of disposal facilities has yet to transpire five years after the nuclear accident amid strong opposition from local residents.
The ministry’s decision to tolerate multiple-site storage is apparently intended to overcome the situation.
The ministry plans to have the municipalities in Ibaraki Prefecture continue safely storing designated waste for now, and have them dispose of the waste as general waste after radiation levels fall below 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.
As a result, the ministry forecasts that the amount of designated waste in the prefecture will drop to about 0.6 ton in about 10 years from 3,643 tons at present.
It will examine whether multiple-site storage can be continued in Gunma and Chiba prefectures, where municipalities are storing designated waste indoors just like those in Ibaraki Prefecture.
At Thursday’s meeting, the ministry proposed rules that would require the central and local governments to hold talks in advance if the radioactive waste designation is to be lifted.
The ministry also indicated a plan to consider providing financial support to municipalities that dispose of the waste after removal of the designation as radioactive waste at their existing facilities.

February 6, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

How Officials and Popular Academics Have Responded to Disaster Victims


On Fukushima Prefecture and Hiroshi Kainuma: How Officials and Popular Academics Have Responded to Disaster Victims in the Wake of Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Nuclear Accident
By Toshinori Shishido
1. About the author
I worked as a full-time teacher at a public high school in Fukushima for about twenty-five-and-a-half years, until July 31, 2011. During the first four years of my career, I taught at Futaba High School in Futaba-machi, home to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Naturally, I have heard stories about the harsh working conditions of nuclear workers. For example, in a certain area of the power plant, working for 10 minutes would exceed the legal maximum daily radiation exposure limit. So each shift was officially recorded as 10 minutes even though their actual worked shift was 8 hours. The workers would primarily wipe water leaking from the piping surrounding the nuclear reactor. When workers died of illnesses like cancer, their families received unusually high amounts of cash as lump-sum payments, while actual workmen’s compensation insurance was not provided.
At the time of the 2011 nuclear accident, I was living in a city 53 kilometers (33 miles) away from the power plant with my wife and two children. I was working at a public school 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the plant.
After the accident, on the evening of March 15, 2011, the maximum airborne radioactive levels of 23 microsievert/hour was detected in Fukushima City, where I worked. Outside the school the following day, however, the annual school acceptance announcements were held as scheduled. Several faculty, including myself, met with the principal to insist that usual outdoor announcement be cancelled as to avoid having young students exposed to radiation–but the announcement event was forced outdoors.  The principal cited  reasons such as, “the Fukushima Prefecture office strongly supports the outdoor plan” and he “had no choice as the school principal.”
From April 2011 on, aside from the prohibition of outdoor gym classes, neither my school nor the Fukushima Board of Education took any measures to prevent further radiation exposure for students. The school had students practice club activities outdoors as usual. Indoor club athletes were made to run outdoors as well, without any protective measure against radiation exposure. Despite the standard practice, measures such as gargling, washing hands, changing clothes, and showering weren’t deemed necessary for students when returning from outdoor activities. Since I had some knowledge about radiation exposure, I advised the students to take caution to remove potential contamination whenever possible. However, in response to my giving the students advice to prevent radioactive materials from entering the building, I had been cautioned by the Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education, in the form of official “guidance” which forbids me to even talk about radiation and nuclear power plants to the students. Given that I was officially barred from protecting students from radiation exposure, I decided to make my move: along with my family, I evacuated my hometown and relocated to Sapporo city in Hokkaido. We were supported by staff and Toru Konno at the Hokkaido Prefectural government who led the way through the interference by Fukushima Prefecture, and Sapporo City, as well as by the support of the people at the NPO Musubiba. Once we evacuated, we found out about a financial system by Fukushima Prefecture which supports voluntary evacuees from the areas outside of the officially restricted zone (though it only approved applications from evacuees pre-December 2012; those who evacuated thereafter would not be financially supported).
I have been teaching part-time in Hokkaido. Since finding out that within the public school system the Fukushima Prefecture Board of Education can intervene to oversee public high school relocation anywhere, I have been teaching at private schools only. Aside from my part-time job, I have been involved in a nuclear power plant damages lawsuit as a plaintiff as well as a member of the refugee organization.

1. Fukushima Prefectural Government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)’s Fukushima Nuclear Accident
The reactors at the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, especially Unit 1 and Unit 2, were delivered and installed from the US after the US manufacturer finished all of their construction. As for Units 3, 4, 5, and 6 the Japanese manufacturer added their own “improvements” to the original structure.
I will try to avoid a lengthy explanation. TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant frequently had accidents immediately after beginning operation and the nuclear workers’ exposure levels amounted to twice to ten times the average exposure dose at other nuclear plants. Furthermore, TEPCO kept a lot of serious accidents hidden from Fukushima Prefecture and the Japanese government. TEPCO proposed using Unit 3 for so-called pluthermal power generation, utilizing fuel which can contain weapons-grade plutonium in order to reduce the plutonium surplus in Japan. Eisaku Sato, then-governor of Fukushima, strongly objected to the proposal.The Japanese government arrested and convicted Governor Sato on bribery charges with the amount of the bribe recognized as “zero yen.” They drove him to resign, then elected Yuhei Sato as the new governor. As described above, neither the Fukushima governor nor the organization called the Fukushima Prefectural Government had power over TEPCO.

2. Nuclear accident and the Fukushima Prefectural Government
March 11, 2011, when a massive earthquake hit a wide area including Fukushima Prefecture, the building of the Fukushima prefectural office (which had been planned to function as a Disaster Response Headquarters) was damaged in the earthquake. The headquarters were set up in a small building next to the main office building to serve temporary functions. The prefectural government has never publicized records of proceedings and documents from over 20 meetings in the beginning. From the 25th meeting, they finally began keeping records of proceedings.
At the time, the temporary disaster response headquarters was believed to have had little to no communication lines, and had reportedly only two satellite mobile phones. Although the communication infrastructure began to be rebuilt gradually, what was happening then still remains largely unknown. There has been no official investigation into the correspondence between the local governments, the central government and TEPCO, and no evacuation orders to the local communities.
As far as public record goes, the only time Fukushima Governor issued an announcement in the first week was on the evening of March 14th. “Follow the instructions and  do not panic,””High school entrance announcements will be held as planned on March 16th,”— these two lines were broadcast repeatedly throughout local media.
From another angle, the recordings of the TEPCO video conference shows that Fukushima Prefecture requested TEPCO make a public announcement saying “the explosion in the Unit 3 at Fukushima Daiichi will not cause health damage.” Appalled by the request, thinking they “couldn’t say such an irresponsible thing,” TEPCO decided to “ask the central government to suppress Fukushima Prefecture,”—as evidently recorded during the video conference.
However Fukushima Prefecture repeatedly expressed that in the “Nakadōri” region—which includes the prefectural capitol, Fukushima City, and the commercially and industrially flourishing Koriyama City—there would be zero risk of health damage from radiation.
There has been a use of protective measures like wearing long-sleeves and masks for school children, which may have been a globally familiar sight through media reports. However this was not a recommendation or an order issued by Fukushima Prefecture, but rather a result of demands from local PTAs to boards of education in individual school districts.
Towards the end of March 2011, right before the school year resumed, the Fukushima governor was seen out in local grocery stores saying “Fukushima today is business as usual,” in which he began a campaign to “dispel harmful rumors” about local agricultural produce being contaminated by radiation. The governor also opposed widening the evacuation zone beyond the 20km radius of the nuclear power plant, and has repeatedly made remarks to avoid increasing the number of evacuees from outside the official evacuation zone.
As a result, aside from two local Fukushima newspapers, NHK, and four private television networks in addition to NHK Radio and Radio Fukushima, there was little to no mention of messages from outside Fukushima offering free housings and support networks for voluntary evacuees. Fukushima Prefecture also prohibited the use of not only public conference centers, but private facilities for hosting “counseling room” for evacuation as well. People around me practically had no knowledge of local autonomous support groups offering evacuation support. I have heard numerous times that “there is no evacuation order from outside the prefecture, meaning we have been abandoned.” In fact, it was Fukushima Prefecture who had been interfering with such efforts to reach our community.
Hiroshi Kainuma, “the Sociologist”
In 2011, an author from Fukushima became renowned after publishing the book “Fukushima’ theory–the birth of a nuclear village,” based on a thesis he wrote as a sociology student at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Sciences. His name is Hiroshi Kaiuma, born in Iwaki City, Fukushima, and graduated from the University of Tokyo Literature department at the age of 25 and advanced to the graduate program. I must note that this is difficult to grasp if you are not well-connected within Fukushima. But in short, Iwaki City, where Mr. Kainuma was born and raised, has very little connection to the Futaba district which hosts TEPCO’s power plant. In terms of large-scale trading areas, while the Futaba district is part of the Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture trade area, Iwaki City would be part of Mito City in Ibaraki Prefecture. In any case, Mr. Kainuma did not have strong connections to the Fukushima Prefectural government prior to March 11th, 2011.
Since the meltdown, however, he has somehow become “the Fukushima spokesperson who speaks about Fukushima on TV and radio.”
Additionally, I have written several critiques of his writings, one of which can be found on the following link (in Japanese): “Personal note on “‘Fukushima’ theory–the birth of a nuclear village’”

4. Hiroshi Kainuma and the Fukushima Prefectural Government
After 3.11, his master’s thesis was published in books and he began to be featured in various media, including an appearance as a commentator on the popular evening program “Hodo Station (News Station).” We must note that the content of his remarks have been consistent—such as, “The acceptance of nuclear power plant by local communities was necessary for the regions’ survival”; “Those outside of Fukushima protesting against nuclear energy do not understand the reality of nuclear-hosting communities.” His views and comments on the anti-nuclear movement have been antagonistic from the beginning, for example, “People who oppose nuclear energy are rubbing local communities the wrong way.”
Mr. Kainuma currently holds the title of Junior Researcher of the Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization, but at the same time he is a PhD student at the University of Tokyo. While it would be appropriate to call him a sociology researcher, I feel it’s an overestimation to refer to him as a sociologist.
Currently the gist of Mr. Kainuma’s speech is towards the “recovery of Fukushima in visible forms” and its target audience is outside Fukushima Prefecture. While many others have in fact been referring to “bags” jammed with contaminated waste—seen everywhere and impossible to be ignored upon entering Fukushima—Mr. Kainuma continues to emphasize the “ordinary Fukushima” without mentioning the bags.
I see the previous governor of Fukushima, Yuhei Sato, in Mr. Kainuma in many ways, like in his seeming lack of experience interacting with people in temporary housings immediately following the meltdowns, or with shelter residents still living with much confusion and inconveniences as a result of the disaster.
Even the current Fukushima governor does not seem to have made too many visits to temporary shelters during or after elections.
To those who evacuated Fukushima to outer prefectures like myself, the Prefecture kept even more distance. By principle, they never made any official inspection visits to meet the evacuees. There is a notable lack of inspection visits not only in remote areas such as Hokkaido, but also in places like Yamagata and Niigata which are adjacent to Fukushima Prefecture.
In the wake of the disaster, though there was housing support for those who evacuated the areas outside of Fukushima as well, such efforts have gradually died down—as of March 2016, state subsidies for housing would be available only for evacuees who are from Fukushima. In addition, the housing subsidy program for those who evacuated the non-restricted zone will end in March 2017. However, there is no housing program for returning residents to Fukushima even if they decide to move back there.
Starting March 2017, voluntary evacuees still living in outer prefectures need to choose one of the three following choices:
1) Return home to Fukushima while paying out-of-pocket for most of the expenses associated with the move and your life thereafter. 2) Continue living outside Fukushima while relinquishing your rights to access resources as a disaster victim 3) Upon proving your need for financial assistance, receive housing subsidies for up to 2 years to live in privately-owned housing.
The reason for this policy change was credited to correspondence between the Minister of Environment and the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, a non-governmental agency to provide scientific grounds for nuclear policy. The Minister of Envirnoment asked the NRA if “it is considered desirable to evacuate the areas that don’t have restrictions” to which the NRA answered, ”these areas are no longer fit to be evacuated.” It should be noted that there was no legal ground for this correspondence to be treated as official; how this exchange was reviewed and by whom is unknown.
Based on this document issued by the NRA, the Japanese government made a Cabinet decision to largely reduce support for evacuees through the Nuclear Accident Child Victim’s Support Law.
Following this decision, Fukushima Prefecture also determined its policy would end support for the voluntary evacuees from non-restricted areas.
Hiroshi Kainuma is working from an assumed role to justify such policy of Fukushima Prefecture, utilizing his position as a so-called sociologist. Even if he has ideas and views that differ from Fukushima Prefecture’s policy, he does not speak about them on media or at talk events.
For instance, when Mr. Kainuma was relatively unknown before 3.11, he had reportedly interviewed local anti-nuclear activists. Another instance tells us that although he had met and interviewed several people who have moved voluntarily out of the non-restricted areas, he proceeds to ignore the voices and opinions of them as though they had never existed.
Last year, nuclear reactors in Japan started resuming operation. Mr. Kainuma has not been seen or heard expressing opposition to it. Neither Fukushima Prefecture nor the Prefectural Assembly expresses any intentions to oppose nuclear restorations.
5. The current presence of “Hiroshi Kainuma”
Through the circumstances described above, Hiroshi Kainuma is working so as to be portrayed by the media as a Fukushima Prefecture spokesperson, intent on selling “business-as-usual” appeal and depicting a Fukushima that “overcame a nuclear disaster.”
Meanwhile, and quite unfortunately, many Fukushima residents agree with his words and actions. Just as there are many people hoping to forget the scars from the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, there are many who explicitly “do not evacuate,” comprising an overwhelming majority of the Fukushima population and wishing to forget and move past the disaster and nuclear crisis.
Here we have an academic scholar who speaks for us and to those who are outside Fukushima as well, saying to leave the nuclear disaster in the past.
Thus, this concludes the significance of Hiroshi Kainuma’s existence today.

(Translation by Sloths Against Nuclear State)
Source :

February 6, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Meltdown Highly Radioactive Glass Nanoparticles

Researchers in Japan found new materials they described as tiny spherical glass particle that was highly radioactive. Researchers found that the radioactivity was highest in the center of the particle, indicating the cesium was incorporated into the glass particle during the molten phase of the meltdown. The glass particle also contains materials that indicate it includes either concrete from the containment vessel or seawater that was injected.
Microparticles containing substantial amounts of radiocesium collected from the ground in Fukushima were investigated mainly by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray microanalysis with scanning TEM (STEM). Particles of around 2 μm in diameter are basically silicate glass containing Fe and Zn as transition metals, Cs, Rb and K as alkali ions, and Sn as substantial elements. Nano-sized crystallites such as copper- zinc- and molybdenum sulfide, and silver telluride were found inside the microparticles, which probably resulted from the segregation of the silicate and sulfide (telluride) during molten-stage. 0.2 μm thick exists at the outer side of the particle collected from cedar leaves 8 months after the nuclear accident, suggesting gradual leaching of radiocesium from the microparticles in the natural environment.



Photo of the glass sphere from Nihonmatsu, from the Yamaguchi et al study.


Cross section of the NWC-1 glass sphere from Nihonmatsu, photo credit Yamaguchi et al.

Although almost five years have passed since the accident of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP), radioactive contamination in the surrounding area is still a serious problem in Japan. Wet deposition was a major source of radiocesium contamination of terrestrial environment1, while contribution of dry deposition was larger near the FDNPP2. Deposition of radiocesium as insoluble particles has also been pointed out. On the aerosol filter collected from March 14–15, 2011 in Tsukuba, 170 km south-southwest of FDNPP, Adachi et al.7 discovered spherical particulate radiocesium of 2.0–2.6 μm in diameter, with particles insoluble in water having a glass-like structure8. These microparticles contain several fission products of U-235 other than radiocesium, and Fe and Zn which are also used in nuclear reactors8. Hence, they were considered to be released directly from nuclear reactors.
Kaneyasu et al.9 suggested that vaporized radiocesium was transported with sulfate aerosol in the air, dissolved to cloud droplets and fell as rain. On the aerosol filter collected on March 20–21, 2011, rainy days in Tsukuba, the majority of radiocesium was in water-soluble form7. Such water-soluble radiocesium that reached the ground surface as a solute was fixed to soils, especially to clay minerals10. In the terrestrial environment, the majority of radiocesium is present in solid form regardless of the initial form of deposition. However, compared to clay minerals originally contaminated by soluble radiocesium in soil, the solid radiocesium, which was initially deposited as radioactive microparticles, had stronger radioactivity. Although the contribution or percentage of such radioactive microparticles in the contamination level of Fukushima has not been evaluated, its influence on human health may be serious in terms of its intense radioactivity. Moreover, the structural detail of the microparticles may give insights into the state of the broken reactor and fuel debris.
In the present study, we investigated radioactive microparticles, similar to those reported by Adachi et al.7, but collected from the ground, by observing their internal structure with transmission electron microscopic (TEM) techniques.
Structure and composition of Cesium-bearing radioactive microparticles
Cesium-bearing radioactive microparticles that had been deposited on non-woven fabric cloth (NWC-1) and on a needle of Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) (CB-8) were investigated. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of NWC-1 of the whole microparticle before preparing thin sections for TEM analyses; and elemental composition of the whole particle determined by synchrotron radiation microbeam X-ray fluorescence (SXRF) are shown in Supplementary Figs S1 and S2 online, respectively. The activities of 137Cs for the NWC-1 and CB-8 were 5.04 ± 0.472 and 3.14 ± 0.178 Bq, respectively.


Photo credit Yamaguchi et al.

Our most significant finding is that the matrix of the Cs-bearing microparticles is silicate glass, based on the TEM-EDS analysis with FIB sample preparation. Previous studies suggested that Fe, Mo, Sn and Zn in the Cs-bearing microparticles had a similar X-ray absorption near-edge structure to those composed of glass8, however the presence of Si in the microparticles has not been verified7,8. It is probable that the high-temperature melt-down fuel from the reactor came into contact with and melted the concrete, and then splashed microparticles of silicate melt, which were solidified by cooling to form silicate glass in the atmosphere. For instance, Ca which is one of the major elements in concrete, was almost absent in the microparticles of NWC-1. Since TEM observed only a small portion of the microparticles, by making them thin using FIB, there may have been other elements in the microparticles, for instance, as a form of chalcogenide nanoparticle.


Photo credit Yamaguchi et al.

The next important finding is the alkali-depleted crust in CB-8 microparticle. This is probably the result of elution of alkali ions by contact with acidic solution in the field, commonly observed in silicate glass13. This may be attributed to the different environments of the two microparticles after release from the nuclear plant. It is well-known that silicate glass elutes alkali components from their surface by ion-exchange with proton or hydronium ions to form an alkali-leaching layer on the surface if pH of reacting solution is low, whereas the silicate framework of the glass itself is dissolved with high-pH solution13,14. The finding of the alkali-depleting crust on the surface of the Cs-bearing radioactive microparticle indicates that radiocesium in the particles can be released by “weathering” of the glass in natural environments, and considering its small size, duration for the total release of the radioactive cesium from the particles is probably not long, from several years to a few decades, though it will strongly depends on the environment.
In order to investigate the dissolution rate and detailed Cs-leaching properties of the Cs-bearing radioactive microparticles, a leaching experiment should be conducted as a function of temperature and pH. However, collecting and isolating the Cs-bearing microparticles is time-consuming and it is difficult to obtain a large enough number of Cs-bearing microparticles to investigate dissolution properties. Alternatively, synthesized silicate glass with the same composition as the microparticles presented in this study may help to obtain information on the fate of Cs-bearing radioactive microparticles. that fixed to clay minerals in the soil via wet deposition and that contained in the microparticles of silicate glass flown directly from the nuclear reactors. On the other hand, contribution of the microparticles to the air radiation is most likely not significant, but their radiation density is very high, which is particularly problematic for organisms including humans if the microparticles are inhaled or ingested. The plant availability of radiocesium in the microparticles should depend on its solubility.


Photo credit Yamaguchi et al.


Photo of black sand substances found in Namie, from research paper by Marco Kaltofan. Photo credit Marco Kaltofan.


Cesium-MEXT-Sept-12-2011.pngSources :
Yamaguchi, N. et al. : Internal structure of cesium-bearing radioactive microparticles released from Fukushima nuclear power plant. Sci. Rep. 6, 20548; doi: 10.1038/srep20548 (2016).
Marco Kaltofen, MS, PE : Radiological analysis of Namie street dust
Japan’s Black Dust, with Marco Kaltofen


February 6, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | | Leave a comment

Life after Fukushima and Chernobyl nuclear disasters with Prof. T. Mousseau

arclightComparing fukushima and Chernobyl concerning raionuclide distribution and Isotopic variations on Land and effects on the environment. New studies by Timothy Mousseu and his team.Tim-and-tit-red-forest-IMG_6074s

Tim was interviewed and he gave us an overall look at the situation and compares the 2 nuclear disasters for us. Link to Timothy Mousseau

Link to podcast here;

Strontium and Plutonium isotopes

“Most of the those other isotopes in are very small quantities relative to the cesium that were released – that were very different to the Chernobyl situation where huge quantities of Strontium, about equal Cesium and Strontium were released along with several isotopes of of Plutonium, The Plutonium is in the process of decaying into Americium and (that) is more radioactive than Plutonium apparent”

Strontium in Fukushima Prefecture
In Japan the the Strontium was not volatised as did Cesium and Iodine and it did not travel far (on Land) but large quantities of Strontium are still being released by the ground water at the plant and and from the cooling water leaking into the ocean.

Contamination of the Nursery areas in the deep ocean and off the coast of Japan?
On the 4th February 2016 a Press conference was held in the Foriegn Correspondents Club in Japan calling for more research funding to be done concerning the Human health effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and we find a similar problem faced by epidemiologists and researchers to the lack of interest and therefore funding in this area. During the interview with Timothy we touched on research funding issues in a variety of areas relevant to the nuclear disaster including the aquatic environment.
Timothy responded to a question put to him saying that only some studies have been done (to his knowledge) on the bottom feeding fish and that these fish had been found to high contamination but that very other few studies have been done. He went on to say;
“surveillance work to determine wether fish can be consumed rather than the biological impacts (and) ecological impacts of the fish themselves, this is one of the important questions and that is one of the interests we have as a group.”
He went on to say that the issues for thre authorities are that;

“Whether or not —“  The fish are below regulatory limits for export, that is the main – you know- economic driver of interest but the biological drive is almost nil as far as I can tell”

Terrestrial (land) contamination issues on wildllife, plant and micro–organisms

Of the limited research happening in this area, Tims and his team is at the forefront in developing novel and creative ways to ascertain the effects from the nuclear disaster. Usng their experience gleaned from the radiological effected areas of Chernobyl (with the help of Anders Pape Møller, CNRS, University of Paris-Sud) and applying this invaluable eperience on the highly effected areas on the mountain sides and hills sorrounding the Fukushima city to the coastal areas including Namie and IItate areas of Fukushima and some less contaminated areas for comparison studies.
These studies have resulted in some 8 to 9 primary papers on birds and Insects. Also, new research on Rodents is about to be released and cameras have been set up in various locations studying large mamals such as pigs and monkeys.

Oze National Park in southern Fukushima Prefecture and Northern Chiba Prefecture (north of Tokyo)
On the search for clean areas for comparison studies, Tim said that he was disapointed. He looked at the huge and remote Oze national Park as a possible localtion (largly situated in the Chiba Prefecture but his radiation readings were more than 10 times normal at 0.5 mcSv/h (compared to the contaminated research area with 30 – 40 and 50 mcSv/h in the hills sorrounding Fukushima City.
we talked about the effects of sediment transfer from the mountains down through the lakes and forests of Oze Park. Tim then mentioned a Typhoon he witnessed that stripped large areas of soil into the rivers and was concerned of the effects in the extensive lake system in Oze Park and the result of contamination making its way to the river outflows on the coast and effects on the fisheries. Asked as to wether any studies were being done he said that in the last year (some 5 years after the nuclear accident) many geollogists from around the world were vying for funding to commence studies in “the next year or two” studying such issues but presently;

“I don`t know of any studies being done” he said

The issue of funding was mentioned here and that the Japanese government seemed only interested in funding studies for issues around food and health issues (link to issues around health studies being grossly limited here
(courtesy of FFCJ )
Only a handful of scientists can afford to do these studies he went on to say. And I mentioned that TEPCO owned the larger share of this PNational Park. (Some findings concerning the issues and info on Oze National Park here… )

Discussing the pros and cons of the peer review process
He said that it is always a consttant battle

“.. and I suppose its a really positive aspect of the peer review process”

On the pitfalls of the process he mentioned that for some decades finding sufficiently knowledgeable and open minded reviewers to consider “creative studies” is difficult. He went onto say that he and dis colleagues have managed to submit and have accepted some 80 papers in the last ten years concerning Chernobyl and Fukushima.

Funding issues for research and analysis
Here we discussed Ken Buesslers citizen crowd funding campaign for testing water off the west coast USA.
Tim noted that his costs come to some hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and that Kens study was very limited due to the cost of transportation of samples and costs for sampling etc. Kens was limited by the lack of funding raised concerning this campaign and pointed out that the costs are not fully covered by the monies raised.
“its a limited effort and doesnt in any way provide the level of info to address the bigger question but, that said, he has done a fabulous job with what he has got to do it”
I hen asked Tim if such a scheme might be implimented in Japan, he said
“You dont want the middle schoolers collecting radioactive dirt do you?”
Also, getting permission to work in these contaminated areas is difficult and omly open to professional research activities.

The new Japanese Secrets Law brought in at the end of 2013
On this he said that (aside form legal issues) there is “alot of self censorship in Japan to do with this disaster”
But he said that locals in Fukshima Prefecture have been incredibly helpful giving food, finacial support and property for laboratory analysis.
“There is an incidious form of censorship going on that most people are not tuned intoit and thats the fact that if you dont fund science – the resouces for research – it doesnt get done and (by) consequesnce questions are not asked and certainly not answered”
Lack of funding is the biggest form of censorship with this disaster.
He went on to say that on funding issues;

“I haven`t had a much luck with som of the conventional (funding) sources”

Chernobyl, new mice study
Last week Tim said he produced a study showing hightened prevelance of cataracts in the eyes of mice.
and that this was corroborated with an earlier study on birds.

Finding clues and evidence on previous relevant biosphere studies to date
A meta analysis is being done on previous studies looking into plant, animals and bacteria are adpting or evolving, on some level or other. Looking at all the evidence (including the issue of high U.V. radiation found on earth millions of years ago). His conclusions seem to point to the facts that the evolutionary response was “actually negative” and this report should be out in about a month. His earlier study on birds with Black pigment showed that some resiliance in a small amount of bird species was due to them using antioxidents to protect from gentic damage but that some cost. This might limit the lower antioxident levels left in these birds might cause problems for them to find mates and deal with environmental changes (such as climate change)
“Organisms can use these antioxidents to the mutational load OR use it to advertise to a mate or defend itself against some other diseases but there is this ultimate trade off that limits the success in one way or another”
Thermal regulation might be another factor due to this imbalance he said.

Chernobyl Heart – Fukushima heart?
We discussed pin holes found in babies even today in the contaminated areas of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. Tim said that it is recognised that there are well documented cardio vascular damage in the areas of contamination and that he would check out this problem in the near future using samples he has collected already. (A previous article I have looked at some statistics and posits on this…)

Issues on the decontamination and Top soil removal
We also discussed the issues of the damage to the environment by removing the living soil around houses and roads to reduce the geiger readings (dose). Tim also said that only limited top soil is removed and

“.. a superficial attempt to provide this appearencce of reduced contamination but it is not a solution to the area”

He went onto point out that the leaves and branches that fall will eventually cover these areas that are cleaned and a radioactive build up will re occour over time. He is running similar test into the issue found in Chernobyl with micro organisms not survivng and causing forest debris to build up (and causing wildfires etc). He is not sure if the levels and isotopic types found in Fukushima are going to cause the same problem that was found in Chernobyl but that he would know when an experiment he is running is concluded in the next few months or so.

February 5, 2016 Posted by | environment, Japan, Reference | 1 Comment

Another new plan to try to inspect Fukushma nuclear reactor 1

New Plan To Inspect Fukushima Unit 1 Unveiled, Simply Info  January 31st, 2016 

IRID has published a new plan to complete phase 2 of the robot containment inspection of unit 1 at Fukushima Daiichi. The initial plan involved dropping the shape changing robot down to the basement level of the containment structure. Due to brackish water and small debris in the water they have opted to not attempt to drop the shape changing robot or another swimming robot down into the lower level……..

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | Leave a comment

Kyushu Electric Power Co. scraps plan for emergency facility at Sendai nuclear station

safety-symbol1flag-japan Scrapped emergency plan puts Kyushu Electric’s safety commitment in doubt, Asahi Shimbun, February 01, 2016 Kyushu Electric Power Co. and the Nuclear Regulation Authority are at odds over the utility’s decision to scrap its plan to build an emergency facility at its Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.

In December, Kyushu Electric requested the NRA’s permission to withdraw the plan, which the company had announced before two reactors at the nuclear plant were restarted in August and October 2015. The nuclear safety watchdog has called on the company to review its request.

This “important base-isolated building” is supposed to serve as a key disaster response center if a serious accident occurs at the nuclear plant. Why is the company trying to withdraw the plan to build such a facility after the two reactors resumed operations?

It is hardly surprising that local citizen groups have criticized the move as a breach of the legal principle of fairness and equality.

Kyushu Electric is causing itself to lose the trust of the public. The NRA’s response to the utility’s decision is reasonable.

The company’s Sendai nuclear plant was the first to meet the NRA’s stricter safety regulations drawn up after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. Consequently, the plant has been operating since August last year.

During the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, a seismically isolated building proved capable of serving as an on-site response center and played an important role in the aftermath of the accident.

Unlike ordinary earthquake-resistant buildings, which are designed to withstand violent shaking, base-isolated buildings are designed to reduce their movements during earthquakes.

When it applied for the NRA’s safety screening to restart the Sendai reactors, Kyushu Electric said it would construct by the end of March this year a three-story base-isolated building housing an emergency response center with a floor space of about 620 square meters.

The company said it would use an alternative emergency response center about a quarter in size for the purpose until the planned facility was built.

The utility, however, decided to change the plan, saying the alternative center, completed in September 2013, meets the requirements under the new safety standards.

Instead of constructing a new base-isolated building, the company plans to continue using the alternative facility and build a new support center……

But the company has not said when the support center will be built. The NRA has pointed out that Kyushu Electric Power has also not explained its claim that the support center will improve safety.

Indeed, the new safety standards do not require the emergency response center to be housed in a base-isolated building…….

Kyushu Electric has also said it has made no decision on whether it will build a base-isolated building to house an emergency response center in its Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture.

How the company’s changed plan will pan out will have significant effects on the safety inspections of other nuclear plants as well as utilities’ efforts for greater safety…..

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear restarts- increase of deadly MOX wastes, but nowhere to put it

flag-japanRestarts threaten to increase amount of deadly MOX at Takahama plant to 18.5 tons, Japan Times, 1 Feb 16,  JIJI Restarting a second reactor at the Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture will raise the amount of highly toxic spent mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel present there to an estimated 18.5 tons, Jiji Press has learned.

The plant run by Kansai Electric Power Co. in the town of Takahama had 5.3 tons of MOX — a blend of uranium and plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel — there before Friday’s restart of the No. 3 reactor.

But lingering problems threaten to ruin the government’s long-laid plans for recycling nuclear fuel, leaving spent MOX in need of a home. This means it is likely to join the standard uranium fuel being kept in the nation’s rapidly dwindling storage pools until a solution can be found.

wastes garbage

The Takahama plant is set to hold the largest amount of spent MOX among domestic nuclear facilities that have engaged in so-called pluthermal power generation utilizing the blended fuel, which can contain weapons-grade plutonium……..

Among noncommercial facilities, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency currently has 63.9 tons stored at Fugen, an advanced converter reactor in Fukui, 23.1 tons at its nuclear fuel reprocessing facility in Ibaraki Prefecture, and 6.1 tons at the experimental Monju fast-breeder reactor in Fukui.

Takahama No. 3 is the nation’s third reactor to be rebooted under new safety standards compiled since the Fukushima nuclear disaster began in March 2011.

Kansai Electric plans to reactivate Takahama’s No. 4 reactor later this month.

February 1, 2016 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Takahama town tries to stop its heavy dependence on the nuclear industry

flag-japanTown tries to shift away from heavy dependence on nuclear plant, Japan Times, 31 Jan 16 JIJI TAKAHAMA, FUKUI PREF. – In the wake of the disastrous nuclear accident in northeastern Japan nearly five years ago, the Fukui Prefecture town of Takahama has been seeking ways to reduce its heavy dependence on a nuclear power plant for its livelihood.

“It is true that we’ve depended on the nuclear industry,” said a local official responsible for community buildings in the municipality, home to Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama nuclear plant.

The town and the nuclear power station have “become inseparable” since the plant’s No. 1 reactor started operations in 1974, according to the official.

The plant has provided jobs for the community, with the much of the town’s economy geared towards providing services for those who work at the facility.

On Friday, the plant’s No. 3 reactor was brought back online after a hiatus of nearly four years, becoming the third reactor in the nation to restart operations under the country’s new safety standards compiled after the March 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Kansai Electric plans to reactivate the No. 4 reactor at the plant in late February.

In fiscal 2014, which ended in March last year, the town’s revenues related to the nuclear plant, including subsidies and fixed-asset tax income, totaled ¥5,072 million, accounting for 51 percent of its total general-account revenue.

However, the Fukushima No. 1 plant accident changed the town’s way of thinking.

“We’ve come to think seriously that the town must not depend solely on the nuclear industry,” the town official said. “We are now aiming to reshape the town into a community that does not rely on nuclear power.”

As part of its effort, the town is looking to its beaches with their beautiful landscapes and pristine waters……

February 1, 2016 Posted by | Japan, politics | 1 Comment

High radiation levels, murky radioactive water, cause Japan to delay Fukushima robot survey

text ionisingTEPCO delays robotic surveys at Fukushima nuclear reactors January 29, 2016 By HIROMI KUMAI/ Staff Writer

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has postponed inspections by robots to finally confirm the location and state of melted fuel at two damaged reactors of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

The camera-equipped robots were scheduled to enter the containment vessels of the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors within fiscal 2015, which ends in March. But TEPCO said Jan. 28 that a series of unexpected circumstances, such as poor visibility caused by murky radioactive water, have ruined that plan.

The robot for the No. 1 containment vessel will be redesigned, and the remote-controlled survey will be conducted in fiscal 2016, the utility said, without offering a more specific timetable.

Nuclear fuel assemblies in the No. 1 to No. 3 reactors are believed to have melted and fallen to the bottom of the containment vessels following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Radiation levels inside the containment vessels remain extremely high, making them too dangerous to be approached by workers.The remote-controlled robotic probe was seen as crucial in determining conditions inside the containment vessels for the eventual decommissioning of the nuclear plant.

TEPCO conducted a preliminary survey using an industrial endoscope in the containment vessel of the No. 1 reactor. It found accumulated waste turned the water murky and blocked the view.

For the No. 2 reactor, TEPCO had planned to locate the melted nuclear fuel using a robot last summer. But decontamination and cleanup work near the entrance to the containment vessel proved difficult. That prevented TEPCO from carrying out robotic survey as planned.

January 30, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | Leave a comment

Radioactive trash problem accelerates in Japan , with latest nuclear reactor restart

flag-japanThird reactor restart spurs fears over shaky Kansai evacuation plans BY  STAFF WRITER , JAPAN TIMES, TAKAHAMA, FUKUI PREF 29 JAN 16 . “……The restarts also mean Kepco must once again confront the question of what to do with spent fuel, an issue that is rapidly becoming one of local and national concern.

The spent-fuel storage pools for the Takahama No. 3 and 4 reactors are expected to be full in about eight years. Kepco plans to remove the fuel and nuclear waste to a mid-term storage facility for a half century before transporting them somewhere else for final storage.

wastes garbage

In a recent meeting with Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa, Kepco President Makoto Yagi said Kepco wants to begin operating a mid-term storage facility outside the prefecture by around 2030. The utility aims to choose a site for the facility by 2020.

That presents a problem. Kepco promised Nishikawa that spent fuel from the Takahama reactors will not be stored within the prefecture but in one of the utility’s other service areas. This means Shiga, Kyoto, Nara, Hyogo, Osaka, Wakayama, Mie or Gifu.But there are certain conditions a potential storage site has to meet. For transportation reasons, Kepco wants it located in a prefecture with port facilities. That eliminates Nara, Shiga, and Gifu prefectures. Second, Yagi says that local consent to build and store the waste is crucial.

That is potentially an even bigger problem. Kyoto Gov. Keiji Yamada has strongly opposed building a facility in his prefecture. Osaka Gov. Ichiro Matsui appears opposed as well, saying he does not want Kepco in charge of the facility. Mie and Hyogo prefectures have said they are not considering hosting a facility at present.

Only Wakayama appears to be a possibility at the moment. In 2009, the port city of Gobo hinted it might be interested in hosting a mid-term facility. Kepco did a survey and agreed it was possible to build there, but nothing has happened since then.

January 30, 2016 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment


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