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.
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…… : http://www.naturalnews.com/046266_Fukushima_radioactive_material_contamination.html#ixzz3TZCDovhe
“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………http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/xinhua-news-agency/141216/fukushima-desires-host-preliminary-events-2020-tokyo-olympic
Gary Griggs, Our Ocean Backyard: Tracking Fukushima radiation across the Pacific By Gary Griggs, Our Ocean Backyard 26 Dec 14, Radiation 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………http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/environment-and-nature/20141226/gary-griggs-our-ocean-backyard-tracking-fukushima-radiation-across-the-pacific
Govt. releases more accounts of Fukushima disaster http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20141226_03.html 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.
New method for contaminated water may be failing http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20141226_37.htmlTokyo 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.
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……….http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/12/26/national/fukushima-ex-governor-slams-government-tardy-radiation-evacuation-orders/#.VJ8d2sA8
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……..http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201412250035
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. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0001806728
Fukushima nuclear fuel removed from reactor http://khon2.com/2014/12/21/fukushima-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.
- “…………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.” http://www.globalresearch.ca/fukushima-exponentially-more-dire-than-chernobyl-deteriorating-plant-threatens-mass-extinction-around-world/5420579
6 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. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/12/19/6-tons-contaminated-water-leak-at-japan-fukushima-nuclear-plant/
Nuclear Scientist: Fukushima an apocalyptic disaster that will haunt future generations; World now an experimental lab with humans as guinea pigs — Japan Gov’t Report: Fukushima is worse than 3/11 quake and tsunami http://enenews.com/nuclear-scientist-fukushima-apocalyptic-disaster-will-haunt-future-generations-world-experimental-lab-humans-guinea-pigs-japan-govt-report-fukushima-worse-311-quake-tsunami?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Excerpts from Op-Ed by Quamrul Haider, Ph.D., Chair of Dept. of Physics at Fordham University, Dec 4, 2014 (emphasis added):
- The fraternity of nuclear scientists… create the impression… their extremely risky projects have been carefully thought out in every detail and are inspired by the spirit of greatest responsibility… A large section of the scientific community… believes [their accident simulations are] about as reliable as tomorrow’s weather forecast [and] that by building nuclear power plants in populated areas, the whole world becomes an experimental laboratory with human beings as guinea pigs.
- There is always the possibility of a major disaster. The basic difference between nuclear and other industrial accidents lies in the long-range repercussions… one could forget about the havoc wrought, for example, by the explosion of a gas pipeline or the breaching of a dam… But an accident in a nuclear power plant, such as a reactor getting out of control, is capable of doing more than immediate harm. Examples of the deadly long-term effects of a reactor accident are Chernobyl and Fukushima [which] will linger on for ages to haunt the future generations. Among the survivors there will be many cases of permanent sterility, increase of genetic mutation in our progenies, and a shortened life span as a result of cancer and other radiogenic diseases.
- [It’s] irresponsible and misleading to suppress the consequences of radiation…[A]ttempts are made… to blind the people by equating nuclear accidents with more familiar hazards… an unlimited risk is falsely portrayed as a limited one and glossed over in a manner that is not only unconscionable, but also unpardonable. Thesedeceptions are further camouflaged by the way in which they are presented to the public… the far-reaching consequences of lethal radiation are overly simplified. In the post-Chernobyl and post-Fukushima era, these… do not hold water.
- Wars, plagues, famines and natural disasters were known as the four horsemen of the apocalypse… After Chernobyl and Fukushima, nuclear accidents can be added [as another] horseman of the apocalypse.
- Critics describe nuclear reactor as one of the most dangerous technological beasts that mankind has devised and nuclear accident as “A Nuclear War without a War.”
- The consequences can assume dimensions that do not take second place to the consequences of earthquake… and in a way actually exceeds them.
R/V Marai — Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC, administered by gov’t of Japan): The great earthquake [and] tsunami with its height of more than 10 m attacked mainly the Pacific coastline of Tohoku district and approximately thirty thousand people were killed, missing or injured. What is worse is that Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant was seriously damaged… a gigantic radiation has been leaking to the atmosphere, land and ocean. After this record crisis, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) requested JAMSTEC… monitor [the] level of radiation.
Diet passes legislation to remove nuclear waste from Fukushima in 30 years http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201411200041 November 20, 2014 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
The Diet passed a bill Nov. 19 mandating that radioactive soil and debris from the Fukushima decontamination work be moved outside the prefecture within 30 years, a step toward building interim storage facilities for the waste.
The law amendment was one of the five conditions set in September when the Fukushima prefectural government agreed to accept interim facilities to store contaminated waste collected during cleanup efforts around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki praised the legislation as a “major step forward.” However, hurdles remain high for the interim facilities–planned in Okuma and Futaba near the nuclear plant–to start accepting the waste in January as scheduled.
The bill amends a law regulating operations of the government-affiliated Japan Environmental Safety Corp. (JESCO), which is commissioned to dispose of used polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB).
The revised law stipulates the government will take necessary measures to remove waste from the prefecture for final disposal within 30 years after the interim facilities start operations. It also holds the government responsible for running the interim waste storage facilities and commissions JESCO to operate them.
Among the other conditions set by Fukushima Prefecture, the central government has agreed to earmark construction-related subsidies in its budget and take charge of the operation and maintenance of traffic routes for carrying in the waste.
One big problem for the government, however, is purchasing land for the facilities. The planned construction zone stretches 16 square kilometers, comprising 2,365 land plots belonging to individual owners.
As of the end of September, the government has located the whereabouts of only 1,269 landowners, partly because they live outside their properties as evacuees.
The government first plans to create temporary storage sites on individual land plots it purchases to start accepting radioactive waste there as early as possible. But it has not reached a purchase or lease agreement with a single landowner.
Taking into account this stumbling block, reconstruction minister Wataru Takeshita said Nov. 7 that the government’s plan to open the interim storage facilities in January will likely be pushed back.
(This article was written by Teru Okumura and Takuro Negishi.)
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