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Nuclear Industry in the Time of Pandemic – theme for April 2020

Nuclear power may soon be irrelevant to our energy needs. With the pandemic and social distancing, nuclear reactors are likely to be cutting back on output, or even going offline. And there are still the risks of extreme weather. Irrelevant, but still dangerous. Similarly, other nuclear facilities, like waste management, and nuclear weapons sites are also threatened. New nuclear development possibly stopped in its tracks, and certainly adding to its already astronomic costs.

The nuclear lobby, desperate to keep its industry alive, is claiming that “essential work” is the construction of the UK’s boondoggle  –Hinkley C project, and USA’s boondoggle Nuclear Plant Vogtle.

The “Small Nuclear Reactors” industry development  is looking sillier – carrying its huge financial risk, but no safety risk yet, seeing that it does not physically exist.

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Christina's themes | Leave a comment

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission proposing dumping some nuclear wastes in landfills – a huge public health danger

April 7, 2020 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

As at 5 April, radiation levels in Chernobyl area were 16 times above normal, due to forest fires

April 7, 2020 Posted by | climate change, safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Georgia’s Vogtle nuclear project way over budget, way behind time, and now Coronavirus hits

First coronavirus case reported at Georgia nuclear plant project, William Freebairn Editor, Richard Rubin 6 Apr 20, 

  • Too early to say if completion delayed: Southern Company
  • Additional worker test results pending

    Washington — The first coronavirus infection has been confirmed at Georgia Power’s Vogtle nuclear plant construction site, the utility said Monday.There was one confirmed positive test result out of 69 people at the site tested, the company said in a statement. There were 54 negative test results, with 14 results still pending, it added.

    Georgia Power and three partners are completing two 1,150-MW nuclear units at Vogtle, near Augusta, with the first new  unit  scheduled to enter commercial operation in November 2021. The project is the largest industrial construction site

    in Georgia, with 9,000 workers, most of them contractors, at the plant, trade union officials have said.

    There is a risk the coronavirus pandemic could delay the completion and testing of the two new reactors, although it is too  soon to tell for certain, Southern Co., Georgia Power’s parent company, said in a financial filing April 1, before the positive test result.

    Construction of the project is about five years behind schedule and has exceeded the initial budget by more than $10 billion  as the result of first-of-a-kind design, licensing and construction issues.

    The company notified and sent home those who worked with the person who tested positive, Georgia Power said.

    “Construction work continues at the site under continuing enhanced protocols designed to reduce worker-to-worker contact and keep areas that workers frequent cleaned and sanitized,” the company said.

    In a filing with the Georgia Public Service Commission April 1, Georgia Power officials said the construction site had established  an expanded on-site medical clinic and put in place “aggressive” measures to keep workers in the field further apart.

April 7, 2020 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

More delay in planning application for UK’s Wylfa Newydd nuclear project

Wylfa Newydd planning decision delayed again, NEI, 6 April 2020  A planning decision over the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant in Anglesey has been deferred, the UK Government has confirmed.

The Wylfa Newydd project, which envisaged the construction of two UK advanced boiling water reactors (ABWRs), was suspended in January 2019 after Hitachi, failed to reach a funding deal with the UK government. However, the government had been expected to grant a Development Consent Order to construct the £12 billion power station on 31 March……  The Secretary of State (Alok Sharma) has decided to re-set the statutory deadline for this application to 30 September 2020….'”

…..EDF Energy announced last month that it was delaying submission of its planning application for Sizewell C by a “few weeks” due to the coronavirus crisis. Construction work at Hinkley Point C has also been scaled back.  https://www.neimagazine.com/news/newswylfa-newydd-planning-decision-delayed-again-7859280

April 7, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | 1 Comment

USA has helped Israel to develop a mighty armory of nuclear missiles

Israel’s Nuclear Missiles Could Smash You Back to the Stone Age, And that’s just for starters. National Interest, by Caleb Larson 6 Apr 20,  Israel’s missile capabilities are perhaps among the most advanced in the Middle East. Through extensive aid from the United States and Europe, as well as collaboration in developing missiles, Israel has been able to nurture a mature domestic missile production capability that has been successful as exports.

Most of Israel’s missiles are relatively short- to medium-range, they also have several missiles in the Jericho family that can reach out into the 1,500 to 4,800-kilometer range (930 to 3000 miles). …… https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/israels-nuclear-missiles-could-smash-you-back-stone-age-141242

April 7, 2020 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

277,700 Vietnamese support “Appeal of the Hibakusha ” – call to eliminate nuclear weapons

April 7, 2020 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Vietnam, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Carbon Brief Profile: South Korea

COUNTRY PROFILES 6 April 2020   The Carbon Brief Profile: South Korea, 6 Apr 20, 

As part of its series on how key emitters are responding to climate change, Carbon Brief looks at South Korea’s attempts to balance its high-emitting industries with its “greenaspirations.

Though still dwarfed by those of its neighbours China and Japan, South Korea’s rapid economic expansion over the past few decades has left it with a significant carbon footprint. It was the world’s 13th largest greenhouse gas emitter in 2015…….

 the nation has drawn criticism for not always matching its green-growth rhetoric with action. Proposed phaseouts of coal and nuclear have been prompted primarily by concerns about air pollution and safety,as opposed to climate.

With an election approaching, many environmental groups joined together to call for more action from the major parties, which they claimed have prepared virtually “no countermeasures” against climate change.

In March, a group of Korean youth activists sued the government over its climate framework, which they deemed insufficient to meet the nation’s Paris Agreement targets.

According to a 2019 study by the Pew Research Centre, South Koreans place climate change highest in their list of potential national threats…….. Recent polling suggests 77% of voters would vote for political parties promising to respond to the threat of climate change in the general election……

This year, nations are expected – though not strictly required – under the Paris Agreement to come forward with updated plans that scale up the ambition of their original target. South Korea has yet to indicate whether it intends to meet this expectation. …….

Finally, South Korea is home to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a UN body based in the “international business district” of Songdo, near the north-western city of Incheon. The fund is the main mechanism set up for mobilising $100bn every year “by 2020” from richer countries to finance climate mitigation and adaptation in the developing world…….

‘Green growth’ policies

In keeping with South Korea’s rapid industrialisation over the past few decades, the nation’s approach to climate and energy is best summarised by the principle of “green growth”.

Upon the inauguration of President Lee Myung-bak in 2008, he made it clear his overarching philosophy would be based on clean-energy technologies and environmentally friendly development in order to fuel long-term economic growth. In a speech at the time, he said:

“If we make up our minds before others and take action, we will be able to lead green growth and take the initiative in creating a new civilisation.”

This was reflected in the flagship Framework Act on Low Carbon, Green Growth (pdf), which was passed in 2009 and provided the legislative framework for emissions targets and renewable energy expansion, as well as the basis for a carbon trading system.

A five-year plan implemented the same year saw South Korea commit 2% of its GDP through to 2013 to invest in the green economy, which included investing in renewable energy, smart grids and green homes.

According to the World Bank, this focus on green investment is partly credited with the nation’s early recovery from the global financial crisis…….

there are concerns that this system still does not make it attractive enough for private entities to invest in renewables, with insufficient subsidies for solar and wind while coal is still being incentivised .

Another issue with the current Korean system concerns the electricity grid, with renewable energy facilities facing delays in being connected due to inadequate substations.

The government-owned KEPCO controls the grid and has a monopoly on electricity generation. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has identified restructuring of KEPCO as a key recommendation for energy reform.

There are also concerns in South Korea that expanding renewable capacity only benefits foreign companies that already dominate these markets. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy issued a press release reassuring people that reports of Chinese companies dominating the Korean solar market were “not true”.

Despite all these issues, the SFOC has identified the “biggest problem” facing renewable expansion as conflicts arising with local communities, when trying to construct new renewable facilities in their vicinity.

Conservatives politicians and news outlets, often with a pro-nuclear slant, have been blamed for “tarnishing” the reputation of renewables by stating that solar projects in particular are the cause of “environmental destruction”. According to SFOC:

“As a result, there is an increasing number of local governments autonomously establishing ordinances and rules restricting the sites for solar PV and wind power.”


Analysis by SFOC
 found that South Korean public financial institutions have provided around $17bn (£13.7bn) of financial support for coal-power projects since 2008, around half of which was for schemes overseas.

The group concludes that without this “easily available financing…such proliferation of coal-fired power plants would not have been possible”.

Another report by Carbon Tracker questions the economic viability of South Korean coal power, identifying the country as having “the highest stranded asset risk in the world” due to market structures which effectively guarantee high returns for coal.

It concludes that South Korea “risks losing the low-carbon technology race” by remaining committed to coal. A newer report from the thinktank says it is already cheaper to invest in new renewables than build new coal in South Korea and it will be cheaper to invest in new renewables than to operate existing coal in 2022. ………

https://www.carbonbrief.org/the-carbon-brief-profile-south-korea

April 7, 2020 Posted by | climate change, South Korea | Leave a comment

U.S. taxpayers might cough up for a private company’s new “Small Nuclear” space travel gimmick

Private companies find role in developing nuclear power for space travel, Space.com By JoAnna Wendel – Space.com contributor 6 Apr 20, 

Nuclear-powered spacecraft could cut our travel time to Mars in half. Space is abouto go nuclear — at least if private companies get their way.

At the 2 t3rd annual Commercial Space Transportation Conference (CST) in Washington, D.C., in January, a panel of nuclear technology experts and leaders in the commercial space industry spoke about developments of the technology that could propel future spacecraft faster and more efficiently than current systems can.

Nuclear technology has powered spacecraft such as NASA’s Mars rovers, the Cassini mission and the two Voyagers that are currently exploring the outer reaches of our solar system. But those fuel sources rely on the passive decay of radioactive plutonium, converting heat from that process into electricity to power the spacecraft.

Instead, the CST panelists discussed Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP), a technology developed in the 1960s and ’70s that relies on the splitting, or fission, of hydrogen atoms. Although fission is associated with more warlike images, the panel’s experts emphasized the safety of nuclear thermal propulsion, which would use low-enriched uranium.

An NTP-powered spacecraft would pump hydrogen propellant through a miniature nuclear reactor core. Inside this reactor core, high energy neutrons would split uranium atoms in fission reactions; those freed neutrons would smack into other atoms and trigger more fission. The heat from these reactions would convert the hydrogen propellent into gas, which would produce thrust when forced through a nozzle.

This chain reaction is the key to NTP’s power, panelist Venessa Clark, CEO of Atomos Space, a company that’s developing thermonuclear propulsion powered spacecraft to provide in-space transportation options to satellite operators, told Space.com. A soda-can-size fission reactor could propel humans to Mars in just three to four months, she said, about twice as fast as the currently estimated time it could take a chemically propelled ship to carry humans to the Red Planet. …..

But the government still has to play some role, both Clark and Thornburg said. Government agencies like NASA and the military branches may be the first clients for these commercial companies. Clark noted NASA’s recent pushes to partner with the private sector, such as its commercial lunar payload services program and its commercial crew program.

“Government players, NASA and also now the Air Force are looking at procuring services rather than funding the development of technology, which is really exciting for us,” Clark said…. https://www.space.com/commercial-nuclear-power-for-faster-space-travel.

COMMENT.  newtons_laws 06 April 2020 14:47

Quote from article”Instead, the CST panelists discussed Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP), a technology developed in the 1960s and ’70s that relies on the splitting, or fission, of hydrogen atoms” Whoever wrote that needs to learn some basic nuclear physics. In nuclear thermal propulsion the atoms of a fissile heavy element (such as Uranium 235 in the designs mentioned) are split, hydrogen is the simplest and lightest of the elements and cannot be split (hydrogen atoms can however be joined together in the process of nuclear fusion, but that is a different process). Where hydrogen comes in is that in the NTP designs it is the propellant gas that is heated by the nuclear fission reactor to provide propulsion, hydrogen is chosen because being the lightest element it achieves the highest exhaust velocities.

 

April 7, 2020 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear and climate news this week

Global problems intertwine. Global heating contributes to epidemics of infectious diseases, by promoting the spread of disease vectors, like mosquitoes.  There is no established link between covid-19 and climate change. However, the way we are altering the planet will make the spread of some diseases more likely.  National responses to the coronavirus pandemic bring the opportunity to tackle climate change.  To get a perspective – the climate crisis is a greater catastrophe than Coronavirus.

The current story of Captain Brett Crozier, captain of the nuclear aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, illustrates the moral poverty of the secretive nuclear culture, and the moral poverty of USA’s nuclear commander-in-chief, Donald Trump. The ship, with nearly 5000 crew, had a number of cases of coronavirus. The captain wrote to the Navy, begging to have the sailors evacuated, a plea which was rejected. Later, the sailors were evacuated, but the captain was fired.  President Trump explained that what Crozier did “was terrible” .

But that’s just one nuclear ship – what about the world’s nuclear ships and nuclear submarines? How safe  are they, with warship crews now falling victim to COVID-19 ?

Some bits of good news –   Another Roundup of Positive Updates on the COVID Outbreaks From Around the World. Earth’s Ozone Layer Continues to Repair Itself. (Also – if you can persevere with  the video “Sam and the Plant Next Door”- it’s  quite uplifting. )

Despite propaganda from nuclear/coal front group, Breakthrough Institute, NOW IS the time to talk about climate changeThe Climate Crisis Will Be Just as Shockingly Abrupt as the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Put people and health before nukesNew hypersonic weaponry complicates Nuclear Arms Control Regime. Noam Chomsky on the urgent need to eradicate nuclear weapons.

Covid 19 and government responses are affecting nuclear construction world-wide. The nuclear industry and the impact of coronavirus.   A creeping catastrophe: the world’s nuclear reactors are getting dangerously old.

JAPAN. Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s deadly hazard – highly radioactive sandbags.-TEPCO plans to take 30 years to release Fukushima nuke plant water into sea or air .  Countries may use coronavirus crisis to rein in climate commitments: Japan a case in point. Protective gear shortage hits Fukushima workers.   Coronavirus question mark still hangs over Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

UK. Doctors warn on coronavirus danger for Australian citizen, Julian Assange, imprisoned without conviction, in a coronavirus incubator. Expert opinion recommends furloughing Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons.    EDF’s hypocrisy –Hinkley C nuclear construction continued, despite pandemic, as “essential” work. Sizewell C nuclear project: community has lost faith in the integrity of EDF.  UK ‘s new nuclear projects further delayedSam and the Plant Next Door – growing up by the nuclear power plant. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMhYngrEgZU

USA.

UKRAINE. Wildfires in Ukraine: authorities say that those near Chernobyl are now extinguished.  Firefighters battle forest blazes near Chernobyl nuclear siteRadiation spike as forest fire hits Chernobyl nuclear zone .

RUSSIA. Russia’s response to coronavirus risk for nuclear stations – isolate the nuclear workforce.  The Russian point of view on nuclear arms control.

CANADA. Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization to spend millions on propaganda.

CHINA. Nuclear power plant shut down by host of tiny shrimp clogging filters.

BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA. Bosnia and Herzegovina oppose Croatia’s nuclear waste plan.

SWEDEN. Sweden’s Vattenfall AB’s 44-year-old Ringhals-1 shut down, as energy prices fall.

GERMANY.   Germany averages more than 50% renewables over March quarter.

April 6, 2020 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

The wrong crisis stopped the Olympics

Excellent article from Linda Pentz Gunter of Beyond Nuclear

olympics-slider-lpg

April 5, 2020

Radiation risks couldn’t kill the Games, but Covid-19 has

The Japanese government allowed 50,000 people to cluster around the Olympic flame, then hesitated to postpone the Games, until the IOC (and a reluctant Abe) called them off until 2021. Now those concerned about the persistent radiological contamination, which could harm athletes and spectators, have one more year to organize to stop the Tokyo Olympics altogether.

By Linda Pentz Gunter

On Saturday, March 21, 50,000 people queued up at Sendai station to see the Olympic flame displayed in a cauldron there. Packed together, not all of them wearing masks, the eager spectators waited as long as three hours to glimpse a flame that should have been extinguished in Japan months ago. 

Sendai is just 112 kilometers up the Japanese coast from the stricken Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear reactors that exploded and melted down on March 11, 2011.

Around the same time that those 50,000 people, and the authorities who govern them, failed to take the novel coronavirus pandemic seriously, Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, was making lukewarm noises about maybe possibly postponing the Olympic Games.

After some skillful negotiating designed to spare Japan embarrassment, that decision was finally made on March 24, when the International Olympic Committee, and the Abe government, each announced that the Games would be postponed until the summer of 2021.

hghijlThe 50,000 who queued to see the Olympic torch in Fukushima will not see Japanese Olympians or any others this summer.

 

Yes, it was beyond stupidity to have continued contemplating an event that would have brought tens of thousands of corona-carrying athletes and spectators to Tokyo and beyond. But it was worse that the persistent radiological contamination of Japan in the now 9-year long aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster didn’t cancel the Games months ago. Or better still, disqualify Japan’s bid in the first place. Things in Japan won’t be significantly better in that regard one year from now. But radiation remains untouchable as a topic.

Japan needed the Games for one compelling reason; to cover-up and sanitize the world’s worst, or second worst, nuclear disaster — arguments still abound as to whether Fukushima will end up being worse than the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine, whose long-term health effects now pass down generations.

That’s why Japan gave the Games, the “Recovery Olympics” moniker, to prove that Fukushima wasn’t all that bad after all and that everything is back to normal. Which is, of course, a big and unforgivable lie.

Just to press their point, the Japanese Olympic committee had the torch relay start in Fukushima Prefecture, and the opening event of the Games was to have been a women’s softball match between Japan and Australia, also played in Fukushima. (Australia, along with Canada, announced it would boycott the Games, before the postponement announcement was made).

Wrote Shaun Burnie of Greenpeace International in early February, before the added coronavirus threat became apparent: “The route of the Olympic Torch relay in all the municipalities of Fukushima prefecture includes the districts of Iitate, Namie, and Okuma where Greenpeace Japan’s Nuclear Monitoring & Radiation Protection Team has discovered radioactive hotspots, both in the open areas as well as in the remaining radiation exclusion zones, that remain too high even by revised governmental standards.”

Burnie was featured in an HBO documentary on the topic in January.

hhlkmlkNo one will be flying to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, but the Games are still scheduled in radiologically contaminated Japan for 2021.

 

The refusal to cancel the Games because of the radiation risks prompted a group in Japan called Citizens’ Group for Appealing against Danger of Tokyo Olympics, to produce a book warning against going forward. What Endangers Tokyo Olympics — Clear and Present Radioactivity and Health Damage, details a host of reasons to have called off the event long before the cancelation was forced on the Japanese government by the covid-19 pandemic. (The book is in Japanese but there is an introductory summary in English.)

The book is edited by Etsuji Watanabe, a member of ACSIR (Association for Citizens and Scientists Concerned about Internal Radiation Exposure) who also relates that activists opposing the Olympics have faced harassment by police.

The book urges athletes, visitors and spectators planning to attend the Tokyo Olympics not to trust any Japanese government propaganda “claiming that Fukushima and Tokyo ‘are 100% safe now’, ‘have no risk of radiation exposure’, or ‘radiation exposure won’t cause any health effects’.”

The authors ask that people “recognize the real risks of radiation exposure from visiting the Fukushima and Kanto regions including Tokyo, even for short stays, and to reconsider their plans of attending the Tokyo Olympics by applying the precautionary principle.”

hhlkjmlkùThings are by no means all cleaned up and back to normal in Fukushima.

 

The authors hoped that by drawing attention to these risks, many people, especially the international community, would start to pay attention to the heartless actions of the Japanese government who are masking the termination of all financial support for Fukushima evacuees behind a large scale mass-media propaganda smokescreen. The financially forced return of Fukushima evacuees to still contaminated areas where they face radiation exposures as high as 20mSv/ year is, the authors say, tantamount to ”a crime against humanity”.

And they add: “Based on the Japanese government risk factors, though greatly underestimated, the early-death rate for returnees in lifetime is estimated at 5-15%.”

The coronavirus death rate is about 4% world average, some lower, some higher,” observed Beyond Nuclear’s radiation and health specialist, Cindy Folkers. “Compare that to the 5-15% death rate Japan is demanding its citizens endure.”

Despite this, Japanese authorities and others have routinely downplayed the risks of radiation exposure, never wavering from their claim that the levels are “low”. But beyond the persistent radiological contamination, there is the additional risk of exposure to errant “hot particles” — such as those detailed in Folkers’s earlier story on Beyond Nuclear International.

These could, Watanabe says, “entail so serious a biological danger or 4,500 times that of the external exposure, that only one small particle, say with 1Bq in each, breathed and deposited in one’s lung, could cause a lifetime threat to one’s health.”

It is now even emerging that authorities covered up Japan’s own covid-19 epidemic in an effort to keep the Olympic Games on track. This has effectively sacrificed yet more innocent lives in the name of secrecy and reputation.

These ever-present dangers — far worse of course for the permanent residents of Japan than the temporarily visiting Olympic fans and competitors — were never enough to prompt any kind of rethink from any country about sending their athletes or spectators to the Tokyo Olympics. 

Now the coronavirus has given activists one more year to organize around stopping the Tokyo Games altogether.

https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2020/04/05/the-wrong-crisis-stopped-the-olympics/#like-7820

 

 

April 6, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

New School Opens in Nuclear Crisis-Hit Fukushima Village

Sacrificing the youth in the simulacre of a return to normalty…

 

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Iitate, Fukushima Pref., April 5 (Jiji Press)–A new school offering nine-year compulsory education opened on Sunday in a northeastern Japan village affected by the country’s worst nuclear accident nine years ago.

Iitate Hope Village Academy is the first facility for compulsory schooling launched in a former no-go zone set up after the unprecedented triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which was damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The institution in the village of Iitate in Fukushima Prefecture aims to improve the quality of education by integrating school functions after the number of students fell sharply due to an exodus of residents following the nuclear accident. The academy, run by the government of the village, will provide education programs for elementary and junior high schools.

An opening ceremony, held on Sunday, was attended by 50 of the 65 students and some 150 guardians and guests. While taking measures, such as wearing face masks, to prevent infection with the novel coronavirus that is raging across the country, participants sang the school song written by poet Madoka Mayuzumi and composed by singer Kosetsu Minami.

“As a top-grade student, I’m ready to lead younger students,” Ryosuke Watanabe, 14, said, receiving the new school flag at the ceremony.

https://www.nippon.com/en/news/yjj2020040500153/new-school-opens-in-nuclear-crisis-hit-fukushima-village.html

April 6, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | Leave a comment

IAEA supports discharge of Fukushima Daiichi water

Yes it is technically feasible but also totally unsafe for our health and our living environment!!!

03 April 2020

A review of the management of treated water stored at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan has been carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It says the two options under consideration for disposing of this water – discharge into the sea and via vapour release – are both technically feasible.

 

Contaminated-water-storage-tanks-at-Fukushima-Daiichi-(Tepco)Tanks of treated water at the Fukushima Daiichi site

 

At the Fukushima Daiichi site, contaminated water is treated by the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), which removes most of the radioactive contamination, with the exception of tritium. This treated water is currently stored on site. As of 12 March, some 1.19 million cubic metres of treated water are stored within 979 tanks on the plant site. The total tank storage capacity will amount to approximately 1.37 million cubic metres by the end of 2020 and all the tanks are expected to be full around the summer of 2022.

The Japanese government had requested an IAEA review of the management of the stored water, including of the report by the Subcommittee on Handling ALPS Treated Water issued on 10 February.

In a review published yesterday, the IAEA said the two options for controlled disposal outlined by the advisory subcommittee – vapour release and discharges to the sea – were both technically feasible. These methods, it noted, are routinely used by operating nuclear power plants worldwide under specific regulatory authorisations based on safety and environmental impact assessments. The IAEA experts said the subcommittee’s recommendations to the Japanese government were based on “a comprehensive and scientifically sound analysis addressing the necessary technical, non-technical and safety aspects”.

The IAEA team said water management, including the treated water disposal, was “critical to the sustainability of the Fukushima Daiichi decommissioning activities”. Reiterating advice from an IAEA decommissioning review mission to the plant in 2018, the experts said a decision on the disposition path for the stored treated water – after further treatment as needed – should be taken urgently, considering safety aspects and engaging all stakeholders. “Once the Government of Japan has decided on its preferred disposition option, the IAEA is ready to work with Japan to provide radiation safety assistance before, during and after the disposition,” it said.

“The safe and effective implementation of the disposition of ALPS treated water is a unique and complex case,” said team leader Christophe Xerri, director of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology. “Solutions are available. They will require sustained attention, safety reviews, regulatory supervision, a comprehensive monitoring programme supported by a robust communication plan, and proper engagement with all stakeholders.”

https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/IAEA-supports-discharge-of-Fukushima-Daiichi-water

April 6, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Protective gear shortage hits Fukushima workers

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April 2, 2020

The shortage of protective gear caused by the coronavirus pandemic has hit the workers at the meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, where they’ve needed them daily for years to guard against radiation.

Shipments temporarily stopped coming in, although an alternative supplier was later found, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that runs the Fukushima plant. The 4,000 workers at the plant cannot always practice social distancing as they must come close to each other to carry out cleanup work, spokesman Joji Hara said Thursday.

To reduce the possibility of infection, workers have been forbidden from riding on public transportation, such as trains, and must either drive to work or take the special company buses. When eating at the cafeteria, they can’t sit facing each other, and their temperatures are checked daily, he said.

We are involved in decommissioning work that can’t ever stop and so we are taking every precaution we can,” said Hara.

The workers with special skills, who would be hard to replace, have reduced contact with people to minimize risks of infection. There is no lockdown in Japan and so all such efforts outside work are voluntary.

In March 2011, a tsunami swallowed the plant and sent three reactors into meltdowns, causing the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. The reactors must be chilled constantly, producing tons of contaminated water every day.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13266255

 

April 6, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi Live Camera

01 - 04- 2020
Video pictures of Units 1 to 4 at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station are available.
Notice:
Starting from January9, 2014, images of Unit 1&4 side of the station are provided.
This is the images of Unit 1 side of the station.
*Expect a 30 second time lag in the system delivery of the picture due to its communication path.
*Images may be unclear under conditions of strong backlight, bad weather and nighttime darkness.
*The service will be suspended during maintenance of equipment and/or other trouble.
hkkp

April 6, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , | Leave a comment

Coronavirus question mark still hangs over Tokyo Olympics in 2021

V‚½‚ȃJƒEƒ“ƒgƒ_ƒEƒ“A passerby takes photos of a countdown clock in front of Tokyo Station on Monday showing the adjusted days and time for the start of the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games, which are now set to begin on July 23, 2021.

 

March 31, 2020

Although this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were postponed by about a year due to the new coronavirus pandemic, the lingering question is whether the global health crisis will be under control by then.

The capital is facing a mounting challenge following the first Olympic postponement in history, with local organizers confronted with the task of reworking the preparations of the last six years.

The International Olympic Committee and the local organizers agreed Monday that the Tokyo Olympics, originally set to open on July 24 this year, will run between July 23 and Aug. 8, 2021, followed by the Paralympics from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.

The IOC has stressed the importance of holding the Tokyo Games in 2021, with President Thomas Bach saying the sporting event can be a “celebration of humankind after having overcome the unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus.”

However, even as the organizers try to settle one problem after another, ranging from securing venues and lodging for athletes and officials, gathering volunteers and figuring out how to shoulder the additional costs, the key to hosting a successful Tokyo Games is something they cannot control by themselves.

On March 24, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Bach agreed to hold the Tokyo Olympics in the summer of 2021 at the latest after they were pressured by athletes to make changes to the schedule to prevent a further spread of the coronavirus and to provide them a chance to prepare fully.

Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Organising Committee, said at a press conference shortly after the agreement was reached that the virus is their “top concern” but that he expects the situation will change due to medical advancements.

Kazuhiro Tateda, who heads the Japanese Association for Infectious Diseases, says whether infections of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, could be drastically curtailed by next summer is still unknown, but predicts the pace of the spread will decelerate.

“The new coronavirus has been spreading at a very rapid pace,” Tateda said. “In the next few months, the virus will spread in both the northern and southern hemispheres. If those people who recovered become immune to the virus, we can say that the outbreak will settle down.”

“But we can’t tell what the situation is like in a year,” he said.

Speaking at the press conference with Mori, the organizing committee’s CEO, Toshiro Muto, said a one-year postponement was a “reasonable” decision at a time when no health experts can say for sure when the pandemic will end.

The March 24 decision came just two days before the initial start of the 121-day torch relay in Japan and exactly four months ahead of the opening of the Olympics.

It was also made on the day Tokyo overtook Hokkaido as the region with the most infections.

“If I’m asked whether the coronavirus (situation) settles in the summer of next year, I can’t say that it will be absolutely fine,” Muto said. “But if something like that happens, not only Japan but also the rest of the world will be in a devastating situation. I predict people to come up with new drugs if that’s the case.”

Tateda, a member of the government’s panel of experts, said the organizers made a “rational” choice, but they need to monitor the situation throughout their preparation period and make changes to the schedule if necessary.

Meanwhile, Koji Wada, a professor at the International University of Health and Welfare, says staging the Olympics next summer could be “difficult,” given that the pneumonia-causing virus has spread to all of the world’s seven continents except Antarctica since it broke out in China late last year.

“I think it’s a little too optimistic to assume that many people will become immune to the virus in one year and three months and be able to travel back and forth,” he said in a recent interview.

“Two years might have been better, but barely possible. Even then, there will be cases of infections around the world, and the games will have to go ahead under tough circumstances,” he said.

Wada said staging the Olympics and Paralympics will be different from any other event because a huge number of athletes and spectators from all over the world will gather, and the development of vaccinations and medications will be unlikely in a year.

“It is difficult to place countermeasures against infections to athletes,” he said. “What are they going to do with athletes who come from countries that still have cases of infection? People will suggest putting them under quarantine for about two weeks, but what would happen if that athlete tests positive?”

The European Union’s disease control body released a report on March 25 saying that the summer heat and humidity will be unlikely to prevent the virus from spreading, adding there is no evidence that COVID-19 displays a marked seasonality.

“Based on preliminary analyses of the COVID-19 outbreak in China and other countries, high reproductive numbers were observed not only in dry and cold districts but also in tropical districts with high absolute humidity, such as Guangxi (China) and Singapore,” the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said in the report.

Wada warns that holding the Summer Games when the virus situation is not under control will take away from the fairness of the sporting extravaganza.

In particular, it would be difficult for athletes competing in contact sports, such as wrestling and judo.

The Tokyo Games are not the first games to be threatened by global health issues.

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Games were held following the outbreak of swine flu the previous year, while the previous Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro were held amid fears over the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus.

However, Wada said the new virus is not like any other, characterizing it as “nothing we have experienced in recent history.”

“The coronavirus is very difficult compared to other viruses because it spreads through people who do not show symptoms. And since none of us are immune to it, it can spread all over the world,” he said.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/03/31/general/coronavirus-question-mark-tokyo-olympics/?fbclid=IwAR3fDDJoy-D8vX_G2NqF6LQ5VpS9XqBbrXp1rYj4_3n5dCwo5LXhqTceD44#.XoPgzXLgqUk

April 6, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment