The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Standards for nuclear related deaths in Fukushima

Fukushima Pref. eyes uniform standards for recognizing deaths as related to nuke accident 26 June 2014  The Fukushima prefectural government is considering correcting municipal imbalances in standards for recognizing local people’s deaths as being related indirectly to the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Specifically, the local government is seeking to have city, town and village offices share information on the causes of deaths believed associated with the nuclear disaster caused by the March 11, 2011 killer earthquake and tsunami.
At a prefectural assembly session on June 25, a senior prefectural government official in charge of compensation for damage from the disaster said it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify a relationship between deaths and the accident due to the long period of time that has lapsed, adding that the local government will call meetings with municipalities as needed to exchange information and share examples of accident-related deaths.
According to the prefectural government, 1,729 people had died as a result of lingering effects of the accident as of June 25, exceeding the 1,603 deaths caused directly by the disaster. The government intends to provide municipal authorities with information on accident-related deaths in an aggressive manner to help standardize norms for identifying such fatalities.
Note: Nuclear accident-related deaths result from deterioration in health conditions following protracted life in shelters as evacuees and they are recognized by a panel of experts such as medical doctors and lawyers set up by each municipality. A sum of 5 million yen is paid as consolation money to a family in the case of the death of a main income earner and half the sum for other dead family members.
(Translated by Kyodo News)

August 12, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Links between Alaskan seal deaths and Fukushima fallout

Scientists present links between unusual Alaska seal deaths and Fukushima fallout — Skin lesions, hair loss, lethargy — ‘Pulsed release’ when built-up radionuclides were set free as ice melted — “Wildlife health implications” due to radiation exposure discussed (PHOTOS & MAP)  January 25th, 2014

Alaska Marine Science Symposium (pdf), Jan. 20-24, 2014 (emphasis added): 2011 Fukushima Fall Out: Aerial Deposition On To Sea Ice Scenario And Wildlife Health Implications To Ice-Associated Seals (Dr. Doug Dasher, John Kelley, Gay Sheffield,  Raphaela Stimmelmayr) — On March 11, 2011 off Japan’s west coast, an earthquake-generated tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant resulting in a major nuclear accident that included a large release of airborne radionuclides into the environment. Within five days of the accident atmospheric air masses carrying Fukushima radiation were transiting into the northern Bering and Chukchi seas.During summer 2011 it became evident to coastal communities and wildlife management agencies that there was a novel disease outbreak occurring in several species of Arctic ice-associated seals.

Gross symptoms associated with the disease included lethargy, no new hair growth, and skin lesions, with the majority of the outbreak reports occurring between the Nome and Barrow region. NOAA and USFWS declared an Alaska Northern Pinnipeds Usual Mortality Event (UME) in late winter of 2011. The ongoing Alaska 2011 Northern Pinnipeds UME investigation continues to explore a mix of potential etiologies (infectious, endocrine, toxins, nutritious etc.),including radioactivity. Currently, the underlying etiology remains undetermined. We present results on gamma analysis (cesium 134 and 137) of muscle tissue from control and diseased seals, anddiscuss wildlife health implications from different possible routes of exposure to Fukushima fallout to ice seals. Since the Fukushima fallout period occurred during the annual sea ice cover period from Nome to Barrow, a sea ice based fallout scenario in addition to amarine food web based one is of particular relevance for the Fukushima accident. Under a proposed sea ice fallout deposition scenario, radionuclides would have been settled onto sea ice. Sea ice and snow would have acted as a temporary refuge for deposited radionuclides; thus radionuclides would have only become available for migration during the melting season and would not have entered the regional food web in any appreciable manner until breakup (pulsed release). The cumulative on-ice exposure for ice seals would have occurred through externalinhalation, and non-equilibrium dietary pathwaysduring the ice-based seasonal spring haulout period for molting/pupping/breeding activities. Additionally, ice seals would have been under dietary/metabolic constraints and experiencing hormonal changes associated with reproduction and molting.

Two of the four authors appeared on an Alaska radio program  January 28 to discuss radiation from Fukushima:

Radiation from Fukushima, APRN (Alaska Public Radio Network), Jan. 24, 2014: They’re having trouble sealing up the leaking nuclear power plants in Japan and they’re also having trouble disclosing what is going on there. Is this a reason to distrust Alaska seafood? […] GUESTS: Professor Doug Dasher, Environmental Oceanographer, University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Science — Dr. John Kelley, Professor Emeritus, University of Alaska Fairbanks, former Director, Naval Arctic Research Laboratory — Post your comment before, during or after the live broadcast (comments may be read on air). […] LIVE Broadcast: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. […]

 See also: Researchers: Skin ulcers on Alaska wildlife after Fukushima were never observed before — Also reported in seals from Japan — We couldn’t document fallout pattern when plumes hit and animals were on the ice (AUDIO)

May 18, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

200 years before Japan can hope to clean up Fukushima

Japan faces 200-year wait for Fukushima clean-up The chief of the Fukushima nuclear power station has admitted that the technology needed to decommission three melted-down reactors does not exist, and he has no idea how it will be developed.

In a stark reminder of the challenge facing the Japanese authorities, Akira Ono conceded that the stated goal of decommissioning the plant by 2051 may be impossible without a giant technological leap. … (subscribers only)

April 1, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

A swamp of radioactive material around crippled Fukushima nuclear facility

Area around Fukushima plant is now a ‘swamp of radioactive material’ Friday, August 01, 2014 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer(NaturalNews) Speaking on a radio program, Kyoto University assistant professor Hiroaki Koide commented that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has become like a swamp filled with radioactive material.

Koide was referring to the fact that, ever since the meltdowns triggered by a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has been relying on a constant influx of water to keep the plant cool. The process of flowing past the reactors renders the water radioactive, however, so radioactive water has been accumulating at the plant for years. In that time, multiple leaks have caused the contaminated water to spill into the surrounding area, creating a sort of radioactive swamp…… :

March 6, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Fukushima wants to host preliminary events for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

 Fukushima desires to host preliminary events for 2020 Tokyo Olympics  Global Post, Xinhua News Agency December 16, 2014 TOKYO, Dec. 16 –– Japan’s northeastern Fukushima prefecture on Tuesday expressed desire to host some preliminary events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as part of efforts to show its recovery from the 2011 nuclear disaster.

“We need to set a goal so that we can show how much Fukushima has recovered” from the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident, Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori was quoted as saying by the Kyodo news agency on Tuesday………

December 31, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Slow journey of small amounts of Fukushima radiation in ocean to USA

Gary Griggs, Our Ocean Backyard: Tracking Fukushima radiation across the Pacific By Gary Griggs, Our Ocean Backyard 26 Dec 14Radiation from the meltdown of the three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant in March 2011 quickly entered the offshore ocean.

The radiation was detected in the water immediately. Several species of fish caught offshore in 2011 and 2012 had radioactive cesium levels that exceeded Japan’s seafood consumption levels, but overall concentrations have dropped since the fall of 2011………..

Anything picked up by the Kuroshio Current as it passes by Japan, whether tsunami debris, glass fishing floats, or radioactive contaminants, heads towards North America, but slowly, a little more than 5 miles every day on average.

At this speed, water moving from Japan in a straight path would take about three years or longer to get to the west coast. Shortly after the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown and radiation release, oceanographers projected that it would likely take until 2014 until it reached the West Coast of North America……

the nuclear bomb testing that went on in the Pacific from the 1940s to the 1980s, contributed hundreds of times more radioactivity to the oceans than Fukushima. There is also uranium dissolved naturally in seawater.

So Fukushima is not the largest contributor to radiation in the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Although no U.S. federal agency has routinely monitored the offshore waters for radiation, scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Oregon State University have been analyzing samples intermittently since the March 11 disaster. On Nov. 10, 2014, Woods Hole announced that they had detected trace amounts of radioactivity that could be used to fingerprint Fukushima because of the presence of cesium-134………

December 29, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, oceans | 5 Comments

Newly made public: testimonies of Fukushima nuclear disaster

Fukushima-aerial-viewGovt. releases more accounts of Fukushima disaster NHK Wrld, 25 Dec 14 The Japanese government has released more interview accounts of the 2011 nuclear accident.

772 interviews were conducted in 2011 and 2012 by a government committee that investigated the disaster.

The testimonies came mainly from government officials and staff from Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Some testimonies including those from then prime minister Naoto Kan, and then plant chief Masao Yoshida have already been released.

An additional 127 were made public on Thursday after receiving consent from interviewees.

Among those newly released is one from a worker at Tokyo Electric headquarters. He analyzed conditions inside the reactors in early April 2011 when the effects of the disaster began to unfold.

The official said he thought the upper half of the nuclear fuel rods at the No.1 reactor core must have completely melted. Cooling water was covering only the lower half of the rods.

But the employee added he remembered his company refrained from using the word “meltdown” in news briefings as much as possible. He said he heard TEPCO feared that a misunderstanding could occur as there was no exact definition for the term. Nuclear fuel melted at the No.1, 2 and 3 reactors. But Tokyo Electric admitted the possibility of meltdowns only in May 2011.

December 27, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Success still eludes TEPCO, in trying to deal with Fukushima radioactive wastewater

New method for contaminated water may be failing Electric Power Company has indicated that a new method aimed at tackling a large volume of highly radioactive wastewater at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has not been entirely successful.

TEPCO gave a progress report on its work to a panel of experts at the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Friday.

The utility last month began pouring cement into underground tunnels filled with the contaminated water from the reactor buildings to stop the water inflow. The water is believed to be leaking into the sea.

TEPCO officials told the panel that workers have completely filled the U-shaped tunnels except for 4 vertical pits that connect the tunnels to the ground surface. They removed 2,500 tons of radioactive water.

But the officials said that when they pumped water up from one of the pits, the water level at another pit changed. That suggests that gaps exist in the concrete-filled tunnels. The officials argued that they can stop the water from flowing into the tunnels once the 4 vertical pits are filled. But panel members and authority commissioners said more thorough inspections are needed.

TEPCO plans to monitor water levels for a month, look for gaps, and study more effective ways to block the water.

The utility initially planned to freeze wastewater at the end of the tunnel to stop inflow from the reactor buildings and remove the water. But the plan did not work.

December 27, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Central government was too slow to order Fukushima evacuation, claims former Governor

Fukushima ex-governor slams government for tardy radiation evacuation orders, Japan Times 26 Dec 14 JIJI Former Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato had criticized the central government for failing to issue evacuation orders in a timely manner in March 2011 after the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant suffered three reactor core meltdowns and spewed radioactive fallout, according to records disclosed Thursday.

The central government at first did not provide any information about the meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, the records quoted Sato as saying.

“Because we received various information from local communities, I decided to issue an evacuation order,” Sato said.

The prefectural government issued an evacuation order on its own to people living within 2 km of the plant soon after the disaster started.

“An evacuation order from the central government came afterward,” the records quoted Sato as saying……….

December 27, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Radiation too high for workers: Fukushima nuclear reactors 1,2 & 3 require robots for clean-up

Japan Atomic Power set to deploy 100 specialists to help with Fukushima dismantling  THE ASAHI SHIMBUN by Daiki Koga and Tsuyoshi Nagano, 25 Dec 14  Japan Atomic Power Co. is working on plans to send a team of more than 100 specialists, backed up by robotic technology, to the beleaguered Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to accelerate decommissioning work there……….

The plant operator finished removing nuclear fuel at the No. 4 reactor on Dec. 20 and is expected to start full-scale dismantling of the more problematic Nos. 1 to 3 reactors soon.

However, due to difficulties in preventing the spread of radioactive substances and removing debris around the reactor, the removal of fuel at the No. 1 reactor is estimated to start two to five years later than originally planned.

Some of the procedures are likely too difficult for TEPCO to undertake on its own, as the utility does not have sufficient experience in decommissioning nuclear reactors.

Workers in protective suits undertook the removal of fuel from the No. 4 reactor in rotation, as radiation levels were relatively low there. However, as radiation levels are much higher at the No. 3 reactor, the removal of fuel from its storage pool has to be conducted using remote-controlled robots……..

December 26, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Removal of nuclear fuel from Fukushima reactors goes on inch by inch, with very high radiation levels

Japan in Depth / Fukushima decommissioning inches on, Japan News  December 21, 2014 The Yomiuri Shimbun Removal of all nuclear fuel assemblies from the No. 4 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was undoubtedly a milestone in efforts to decommission the facility, but Tokyo Electric Power Co. faces a mountain of more difficult problems to remove nuclear fuel from the pools at the three other heavily damaged reactors and extract the melted fuel inside them……….Removing all the nuclear fuel out of a reactor building is a significant step in the decommissioning process.

“If the whole decommissioning process were compared to the distance of 100 miles, this work would be only a mile,” said Akira Ono, head of the nuclear power plant, reflecting on the work that took more than one year……..

TEPCO began full-fledged activities to remove the nuclear fuel assemblies from the pool at the No. 4 reactor in November last year. The company repeated the cycle of putting the fuel in a transportation container and taking the container out of the reactor building. Then the spent nuclear fuel was transported to a shared pool about 100 meters west of the reactor building, and unspent fuel was moved to a storage pool at the No. 6 nuclear reactor about one kilometer from the building.

Next, the decommissioning efforts will be focused on the removal of the nuclear fuel from the Nos. 1-3 reactors. Since all of them melted down, radiation levels within their buildings are very high. That would make working conditions there even more difficult than those at the No. 4 reactor building, where workers could operate a crane from the roof above the pool, watching the nuclear fuel directly below them with their own eyes. However, a crane would be mostly remote-controlled at the Nos. 1-3 reactors. But workers still sometimes have to enter the buildings for maintenance and inspection of machines used there. TEPCO is planning to take measures to lower radiation levels there such as by scraping away the contaminated portions of the floors and putting up iron shielding.

December 22, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Nuclear fuel removed from Fukushima nuclear reactor 4, but 1. 2 and 3 still to go

spent-fuel-rods-Fukushima-nFukushima nuclear fuel removed from reactor By Web Staff December 21, 2014,FUKUSHIMA (AVN/NHK) The operator of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant has completed the removal of nuclear fuel from one of the reactor buildings.

By Friday, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) had removed 1,331 units of spent fuel as well as 200 units of unspent fuel from the fuel pool of the Number 4 reactor building.

Company officials invited the media to watch the removal of the last 4 units on Saturday.

Workers lifted a container of fuel from the pool and transported it to the Number 6 reactor building. It will be placed in a pool in that building.

The plant chief, Akira Onodera, says the completion of the operation marks a step forward in the process of decommissioning the reactors.

Workers have yet to remove fuel from the Number 1, 2 and 3 reactor buildings. That work will be more difficult because of the high levels of radiation.

December 22, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Fukushima situation – highly radioactive, worse than Chernobyl

Fukushima Exponentially More Dire than Chernobyl — Deteriorating Plant Threatens Global Radiation? By  Guy Crittenden  Global Research, December 18, 2014 ENEnews 12 December 2014


  • “…………Instead of a long article about what transpired in 2014 and what may be ahead, I’m going to offer readers three items… that have made a deep impression on me recently; these are “must watch” items for anyone interested in helping our species avoid peril from environmental degradation
  • The deteriorating status of things at the destroyed nuclear plant at Fukushima, Japan…you have an obligation, really, to be aware of conditions there
  • [There is a] very real and present threat from the… highly radioactive… destroyed cores of the reactors, as well as things like the storage of contaminated water in hastily-built, rusting containers
  • This is serious stuff… an actual meltdown of the reactors — real China Syndrome stuff — as had been assumed would never likely happen in a modern reactor
  • The situation is exponentially more dire than Chernobyl
  • [Workers must] remove the rods for safe containment without having them contact one another and trigger a fire, the consequences of which would be unimaginable — We’re talking mass extinction around the world, especially in the northern hemisphere
  • Most people have forgotten the situation and think of it only as a local Japanese problem
  • It’s only a matter of time before another earthquake or tidal wave triggers such an event

Kevin Kamps, nuclear waste watchdog for Beyond Nuclear, Nuclear Hotseat, Dec 9, 2014 (at 37:00 in):  “If the meltdown is bad enough, that’s going to burn its way right through the foundations of the containment — like we’ve seen at Fukushima Daiichi.”

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Into the ground under Fukushima nuclear plant – 6 tons of radioactive water

water-radiation6 tons of contaminated water leak at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant Fox News 19 Dec 14 As many as six tons of radioactive water has leaked into the ground at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, the Tokyo Electric Power Company said this week.

Crews were transporting the water to storage tanks when it leaked from pipes at the plant’s reactor building number one Wednesday.

The water had been scrubbed in an advanced liquid processing system, theJapan Times reported, citing TEPCo. It seeped into the ground, officials said, and did not flow into the sea because there was no nearby drainage ditch……….

Wednesday’s leak occurred on the same day a team of experts from South Korea spent three hours at the plant, looking into the safety of Japanese fishery products.  The group was informed of measures to keep the nuclear crisis under control, but apparently were not made aware of the leak, the Times reported.

The team inquired about the types of radioactive materials in the water and the results of radiation checks on local seawater, according to Japan’s Fisheries Agency.

In September last year, South Korea banned imports of fishery products from Fukushima and seven other areas due to recurring water leaks at the Fukushima plant.

December 20, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Massive release of Fukushima radioactive water into Pacific Ocean

Pacific-Ocean-drainNRA head signals massive release of tainted water to help decommission Fukushima site 
The head of Japan’s nuclear watchdog said contaminated water stored at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant should be released into the ocean to ensure safe decommissioning of the reactors.  Shunichi Tanaka, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, made the comment Dec. 12 after visiting the facility to observe progress in dismantling the six reactors. The site was severely damaged in the tsunami generated by the 2011 earthquake.
“I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of tanks (holding water tainted with radioactive substances),” Tanaka told reporters, indicating they pose a danger to decommissioning work. “We have to dispose of the water.”  
With regard to expected protests by local fishermen over the discharge, Tanaka said, “We also have to obtain the consent of local residents in carrying out the work, so we can somehow mitigate (the increase in tainted water).”

December 15, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, oceans | Leave a comment


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