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USA nuclear plants going down like ninepins. Diablo next?

Closing Diablo would make California entirely nuke-free

Along with most nukes around the world, the only other remaining west coast reactor, WPPS2 on Washington’s Hanford military reservation, is also losing massive amounts of money.

Should California follow suit at Diablo, its conversion to a wholly green-powered economy would accelerate, likely leading Los Angeles to become the world’s first Solartopian megalopolis.

Ironically, with citizen action, a big push in that direction could now come from a state commission’s decision to enforce environmental protections signed into law by California’s most pro-nuke governor.

nuclear-dominoesBecause they can’t evenly compete with renewable energy or gas, a tsunami of shut-downs has swept away a dozen U.S. reactors since October, 2012. Dozens more teeter at the brink, including two at Indian Point, just north of Manhattan, and Ohio’s rapidly crumbling Davis-Besse reactor near Toledo.

5 More U.S. Nukes to Close, Will Diablo Canyon Be Next? http://ecowatch.com/2016/06/17/diablo-canyon-meeting/  | June 17, 2016 A rising tsunami of U.S. nuke shut-downs may soon include California’s infamous Diablo Canyon double reactors. But it depends on citizen action, including a statewide petition.

Diablo nuclear power plant

Five U.S. reactor closures have been announced within the past month. A green regulatory decision on California’s environmental standards could push the number to seven.

The focus is now on a critical June 28 California State Lands Commission meeting. Set for Sacramento, the hearing could help make the Golden State totally nuke free, ending the catastrophic radioactive and global warming impacts caused by these failing plants. A public simulcast of the Sacramento meeting is expected to gather a large crowd at the Morro Bay Community Center near the reactor site. The meeting starts at 10 a.m., but environmental groups will rally outside the community center starting at 9 a.m.

The three State Lands Commissioners will decide whether to require a legally-mandated Environmental Impact Report under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). If ordered, a public scoping process will begin, allowing interested groups and individuals to weigh in on the environmental impacts of operation of two nuclear reactors on California’s fragile coastline. Continue reading

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June 17, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | 2 Comments

America’s unnecessary $1 trillion nuclear missile splurge

missile-moneyAmerica Already Has More Than Enough Nuclear Missiles. FP.com BY ADAM SMITH, JUNE 17, 2016But Republicans are pushing a $1 trillion nuclear modernization program, which would not only bankrupt the Pentagon but could spark a global nuclear arms race.  This summer, Congress has been tying itself up in knots, trying to decide how to adequately fund U.S. national defense priorities, given the limits imposed by sequestration. But the difficult reality is that, however we choose to address immediate challenges, any rational attempt to plan for America’s future security must begin with a clear-eyed reassessment of the costs, trade-offs, and dangers of the trillion-dollar plan Washington is undertaking to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. That reassessment should include an effort to eliminate the new nuclear cruise missile.

This week, I co-sponsored an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would cut funding for the development of this missile, the Long-Range Standoff Weapon, by $75.8 million. If adopted, that preliminary cut would have slowed its development by three years.
The United States needs a strong and credible nuclear arsenal. But our current nuclear forces are excessive. With over 5,000 deployed and stockpiled nuclear weapons — and thousands more awaiting dismantlement — we have a nuclear force stacked with redundancy. The “nuclear triad” that we would use to deliver these weapons consists of over 400 land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles on high alert and undetectable nuclear ballistic submarines, each armed with two types of warheads. We also deploy nuclear gravity bombs that could be delivered from bombers or fighter aircraft, and air-launched nuclear cruise missiles. In addition, the United States maintains nondeployed nuclear weapons that act as an additional hedge to our deployed nuclear weapons, along with thousands of nuclear components and, of course, the ability to build even more nuclear weapons.

The truth is that the United States can retain a credible nuclear deterrent with significantly fewer nuclear weapons and fewer delivery systems, at a fraction of the cost.

Instead, and with little debate, Congress has embarked on a plan to modernize all of these systems and increase these capabilities at an estimated total cost of $1 trillion over 30 years. This effort largely results fromdecisions made before the advent of the Budget Control Act and an ideological commitment to nuclear weapons by the Republican majority, which recently described them as our national security priority and “the foundation of all our defense efforts” in its security strategy. That plan means purchasing new nuclear weapons production facilities and labs, refurbishing warheads, land-based ballistic missiles, ballistic missile submarines, building new strategic bombers and nuclear-capable fighter aircraft, and, to top it all off, a new nuclear cruise missile.

These expenses will soon constitute a huge proportion of the U.S. defense budget: Yearly nuclear modernization costs will soon balloon and then more than double in the ensuing years, requiring at least $40 billion annually between 2024 and 2036, or nearly 10 percent of defense costs………

Now is the time for serious oversight and a realistic approach to these issues in order to stop an emerging arms race and avoid wasting billions of dollars we cannot afford. http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/06/17/nuclear-missiles-triad-congress-budget/

June 17, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Alarm at the push to bail out Central New York nuclear plants

taxpayer bailoutCritics sound alarm over rush to bail out Central New York nuclear plants, Syracuse.Com, By Tim Knauss | tknauss@syracuse.com , 17 June 16  SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The state’s frantic effort to save Upstate nuclear plants is drawing cheers from Oswego County. But it’s also raising alarms from critics who worry that key decisions about state energy policy are being rushed without enough public debate.

Exelon Corp.’s recent threat to close the Nine Mile 1 and Ginna nuclear reactors if it doesn’t get a subsidy from utility ratepayers by September has drawn barbed complaints from business, municipal and green energy advocates.

Critics point out that Exelon is asking the state Public Service Commission to determine how much of a subsidy the company’s nukes could get before the commission has even determined to what extent nuclear power should be subsidized.

Exelon “appears to be attempting an end run around the commission-established process,” wrote Albany attorney Michael Mager, who represents 60 large commercial and industrial utility customers in PSC rate proceedings. “The last thing that New York needs now is some ‘backroom deal.’ ”

Utility ratepayers could be on the hook for hundreds of millions in higher energy bills if the nuclear subsidies are approved – money that many renewable energy advocates would prefer to see spent on wind or solar power……..

A sudden focus on nuclear issues

The New York state energy plan, issued last year after much deliberation and 100,000 comments from the public, set an ambitious goal to make half of New York’s power from renewable energy by 2030. The plan barely mentioned nuclear power.

But hard times at Upstate’s nuclear plants – and hardball tactics by the owners – have suddenly forced Albany leaders to place a value on nuclear’s role in meeting the goals. Exelon’s recent ultimatum is the latest instance of brinksmanship during the past year from New York’s two nuclear operators.

Entergy Corp. last September threatened to close its 850-megawatt FitzPatrick plant in Scriba. After weeks of negotiations with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, punctuated by a war of words, Entergy made good on the threat and scheduled the shutdown for January 2017.

Now a similar warning has come from Exelon, the nation’s largest utility company, which owns the two-unit Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station near Oswego and the Ginna reactor in Wayne County.

Exelon has suggested in regulatory filings at the PSC that it is looking for a 12-year agreement that guarantees revenue of about $1 billion a year for its three Upstate reactors, an increase over what it makes now selling power in the wholesale market. The company did not estimate how much of a subsidy that would require…….

Based on current wholesale prices, two anti-nuclear groups estimated that subsidizing the two Nine Mile units and the Ginna plant would cost at least $190 million a year. In a filing with the PSC, the Alliance for a Green Economy and the Nuclear Information and Referral Service said their estimate was conservative……..http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2016/06/critics_sound_alarm_over_rush_to_bail_out_central_new_york_nuclear_plants.html

June 17, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear industry reels as court upholds injunction to halt reactors

judge-1flag-japanJapan court upholds injunction to halt reactors in blow to nuclear power industry, Reuters,  TOKYO | BY OSAMU TSUKIMORI  17 June 16, A Japanese court on Friday upheld an order to keep two reactors at the Takahama nuclear plant closed, operator Kansai Electric Power said, leaving efforts to get a struggling nuclear industry up and running in limbo.

The court decisionupholding a petition from residents living near the plant concerned about safety, keeps the legal battle center stage in a struggle by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to restore atomic power five years after the Fukushima disaster.

The Otsu District Court on March 9 ordered Kansai Electric, Japan’s second-biggest utility, to shut down the reactors in Fukui prefecture west of Tokyo, in the country’s first injunction to halt an operating nuclear plant.

The nuclear industry has only recently started to get reactors in a nuclear sector, which used to supply about a third of the country’s power, back online amid widespread public opposition after the melt downs at Fukushima in 2011.

Friday’s decision denied the utility’s attempt to temporarily halt the shutdown order……….

Amid mounting public scepticism over nuclear safety, local residents have lodged injunctions against nuclear plants across Japan…….http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-nuclear-court-idUSKCN0Z306R

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Japan, Legal | 2 Comments

Woes of France’s nuclear company AREVA, as it splits into three

AREVA EDF crumblingflag-franceFrench firm involved in Hinkley Point C unveils restructure plan Areva, a 10% equity participant in the Somerset scheme, reveals plans to split into three to stem losses and isolate Finnish project, Guardian, , 16 June 16, Areva, one of the French companies at the heart of the controversial Hinkley Point C nuclear project, has unveiled plans to break itself up into three parts in a bid to stem huge losses.

The 87% state-owned atomic engineering and uranium mining company is hoping to raise €9bn (£7bn) from the government and from selling off assets after running up losses of €2bn last year.

Areva, a 10% equity participant in the £18bn planned new Hinkley scheme, is also using the split to isolate financial commitments to a hugely delayed project at Olkiluoto in Finland……

EDF, which is also part-owed by the French state, has its own massive debt problems and had refused to buy part of Areva, as ministers wanted, unless it could take the business without any financial commitments for the Olkiluoto 3 scheme.

Areva, which is providing the same European pressurised water reactor for Olkiluoto as is planned for Hinkley, is currently in a standoff over competing legal claims with the Finnish utility TVO relating to the project in Finland…….

A formal decision to go ahead with the investment at Hinkley has been put off until September amid internal opposition at EDF from unions and others about the wisdom of taking on such a major financial commitment……..https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jun/15/french-firm-involved-in-hinkley-point-c-unveils-restructure-plan

June 17, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

Radioactive material at popular UK beach near Sizewell nuclear station

text-radiationNUCLEAR LEAK ALERT  Traces of radioactive material found at seaside beauty spot near decommissioned nuclear site Suffolk’s Southwold beach is the second to be hit by contamination in two months, The Sun UK  BY CHARLIE PARKER 17th June 2016 

A SEASIDE paradise in Suffolk is now the centre of a nuclear leak scare after traces of deadly radioactive materials were found on the beach.

The contamination on the idyllic Southwold beach is feared to be linked to the Sizewell A nuclear plant, which is located on coast not far from the popular seaside spot.

The nuclear factory is in the process of being decommissioned at a cost of £1.2 billion after shutting down ten years ago.

The coastal spot is nicknamed Hampstead-on-Sea because of the all the celebrities who flock there for the holidays.

Chris Evans, Dame Judi Dench and Stephen Fry and other big names regularly visit the beach spot.

Alarmingly, Southwold is the second Suffolk beach to be hit by the contamination in just two months.

In April, scientists monitoring the area around Sizewell revealed that a ‘small amount’ of an particularly dangerous and ‘unusual’ radioactive isotope had been found at Aldeburgh, eighteen miles from Southwold.

The Sizewell plant, which houses two outdated magnox nuclear reactors, is on the coast between the two resorts.

The Environment Agency insisted today that there are ‘no safety or environmental concerns and no risk to members of the public’……

Sizewell A is in the midst of its own investigations over the discovery of Strontium-90, produced by nuclear fission, at Aldeburgh beach – one of five coastal areas monitored by the site…….

Sizewell A power station was shut down on 31 December 2006, with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority placing the contracts at a budgeted cost of £1.2 billion.

On 7 January 2007 a contractor working on the decommissioning of the station noticed water leaking on to the floor of the laundry where he was washing his clothes……..

The water was found to be cooling water from the pond that holds the reactor’s spent nuclear fuel which had dropped more than 1 foot (0.30 m) without activating any of the alarms.

It was feared that up to 40,000 gallons (151,500 litres) of radioactive water had leaked from a 15ft (4.6 m) split in a pipe, with some spilling into the North Sea where it could wash along the Suffolk coast.

Had the exposed irradiated fuel had caught fire, it would have resulted in the release of radiation into the air.

Southwold is popular with holidaymakers – the town’s populations is typically less than 2,000 but this figure swells to almost 10,000 in summer………https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1298270/traces-of-radioactive-material-found-at-seaside-beauty-spot-near-decommissioned-nuclear-site/

June 17, 2016 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

US govt funding universities for nuclear power development

Tax - payersUSU engineering faculty receive $5.8 million in nuclear energy research grants Award is largest of nationwide Nuclear Energy University Program grants

UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY LOGAN, UTAH – Two professors of mechanical engineering at Utah State University will receive grants from the U.S. Department of Energy totaling $5.8 million for nuclear energy research. The news came in a Tuesday announcement from DOE officials who awarded more than $35 million to 48 university-led nuclear research and development projects around the country through the Nuclear Energy University Program, or NEUP…….http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/usu-uef061616.php

June 17, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Japan Lawmaker Denies Pressuring TEPCO Not to Say ‘Meltdown’

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Yasuhisa Tanaka, center, chairman of an outside investigation team appointed by the operator of Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear plant, speaks during a press conference in Tokyo Thursday. Two other lawyers of the team are: Zenzo Sasaki, left, and Toshiki Nagasaki.

A Japanese opposition leader who was a senior official during the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant crisis denied Friday that he or the prime minister at the time pressured the president of Tokyo Electric Power Co. not to use the term “meltdown.”

Democratic Party Secretary-General Yukio Edano called a special news conference to refute a finding in a new report that then-TEPCO President Masataka Shimizu apparently came under political pressure not to use the word. The report did not find direct evidence of that.

“The fact that I or then-Prime Minister (Naoto) Kan ordered or requested then-President Shimizu to avoid using the term ‘meltdown’ under any circumstance does not exist,” Edano said. He said the timing of the report was suspicious ahead of an Upper House election next month.

The report released Thursday by a team of three lawyers appointed by TEPCO found that an instruction from Shimizu to avoid using the term “meltdown” delayed full public disclosure of the status of the nuclear plant, which suffered three reactor meltdowns after a major earthquake and tsunami hit the northeastern Japanese coast on March 11, 2011.

The utility used the less serious phrase “core damage” for two months after the disaster.

TEPCO reported to authorities three days after the tsunami that the damage, based on a computer simulation, involved 25 to 55 percent of the fuel but did not say it constituted a “meltdown,” the report said. Yet the company’s internal manual defined a meltdown as damage to more than 5 percent of the fuel.

In May 2011, TEPCO finally used “meltdown” after another computer simulation showed fuel in one reactor had almost entirely melted and fallen to the bottom of the primary containment chamber, and that the two other reactor cores had melted significantly.

TEPCO has been accused of softening its language to cover up the seriousness of the disaster, though the investigation found TEPCO’s delayed acknowledgement did not break any law.

In the 70-page report, the lawyers said Shimizu instructed his deputy not to use the word “meltdown” during news conferences immediately after the crisis. TEPCO’s vice president at the time, Sakae Muto, used the phrase “possibility of meltdown” until March 14, 2011.

Video of a news conference that day shows a company official rushing over to Muto when he was about to respond to a question, showing him a memo and hissing into his ear, “The prime minister’s office says never to use this word.”

Yasuhisa Tanaka, the lawyer who headed the investigation, said interviews of 70 former and current TEPCO officials, including Muto and Shimizu, showed that Muto had planned to use the word “meltdown” until he saw the memo, which has not been found.

“Mr. Shimizu’s understanding was the term ‘meltdown’ could not be used without permission from the prime minister’s office,” Tanaka said at a news conference at TEPCO headquarters. “The notion that the word should be avoided was shared company-wide. But we don’t believe it was a cover-up.”

Edano criticized the report as “inadequate and unilateral,” and said the team didn’t talk to him or Kan.

Tanaka said his investigation, which did not interview any government officials, could not track down what exactly happened between Shimizu and the prime minister’s office.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, Japan’s nuclear regulatory unit at the time, was also reluctant to use the word. Two spokesmen were replaced between March 12 and 13, 2011, after suggesting meltdowns had occurred.

TEPCO has said the delay in confirming the meltdowns didn’t affect the company’s response to the emergency.

The issue surfaced earlier this year in a separate investigation in which TEPCO acknowledged that a company manual had been overlooked, reversing its earlier position that it had no internal criteria for a meltdown. TEPCO has eliminated the definition of a meltdown from the manual in revisions after the Fukushima disaster.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/utility-head-blamed-late-mention-fukushima-meltdown-39902188

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Russia Forces Bulgaria to Pay for Part of Unwanted Nuclear Power Station

Mining Awareness +

The International Chamber of Commerce just ruled that Bulgaria’s state energy firm NEK must pay around 550 million euros ($620 million) to Russian State owned-controlled Atomstroyexport for equipment supposedly already produced for the cancelled Belene nuclear power project (See Reuters 16 Jun 2016). This is about 0.5% of Bulgaria’s GDP ($123.9 billion 2014 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Bulgaria) And, it will eventually be paid for by the taxpayer. To complete the power station would have a cost estimated at 10 billion euros seven years ago or almost 10% of GDP.

What it probably really means is that Bulgaria’s being pushed to buy an updated Soviet VVER, possibly for Kozloduy instead of Belene. Russia had asked for $1.2 billion probably knowing that they would get half of what they asked for as a “compromise”. Russia is already leveraged into the “market” because now Bulgaria must decide what to do with whatever reactor parts Russia alleges…

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June 17, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Seven climate records set so far in 2016 | Environment | The Guardian

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

GR.–When national emergencies arise, we expect our leaders to guide us to an effective response.  The global-warming disaster illustrated in this article is thundering down upon us, but our leaders offer little guidance or, worse, they lie to obfuscate the emergency.  I believe that this shows the venal weakness of our leaders and the lack of social intelligence of our people.

Adam Vaughan.–“From soaring temperatures in Alaska and India to Arctic sea ice melting and CO2 concentrations rising, this year is smashing records around the world”

Scorched land on the outskirts of Jaipur, Rajasthan. The desert state recorded India’s hottest ever temperature of 51C on 19 May. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

“1) Arctic sea ice is melting at a rate that by September could see it beat the record low set in 2012. The maximum extent of sea ice in winter was at a record low, and the…

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June 17, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

13 state AGs pen letter calling for end to climate change probe | Fuel Fix

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

GR.–These public employees have chosen to aid the oil companies in their efforts to deceive the public.  This action demonstrates the power of money over truth.  Dump ’em!

Texas Attorney General Kenneth Paxton, center, speaks to the media in Washington in April. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

James Osborne.–“A campaign by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to end the investigation into ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies over false statements on climate change is gaining support among other state law enforcement officials.

“Attorneys general from 13 states signed an open letter Wednesday, arguing that climate change is a public policy debate, not a criminal matter, and urging law enforcement officials in other states to “stop policing viewpoints.”

“We all understand the need for a healthy environment, but we represent a wide range of viewpoints regarding the extent to which man contributes to climate change and the costs and…

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June 17, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 17 Energy News

geoharvey

World:

¶ Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, has announced it will divest from investments in coal, oil, and gas, following a one-and-a-half year citizen-led campaign. The city declared that it would withdraw investments in coal, oil, and gas companies, amounting to about $3.5 million. [CleanTechnica]

Stockholm Stockholm

¶ The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has floated a draft policy for large-scale development of geothermal power projects in the country. The policy calls for installed geothermal power capacity of 1 GW by 2022, which will then be increased to 10 GW by 2030. [Planetsave]

¶ The energy and climate change select committee has called on the UK government to split up National Grid to radically change the way power transmission and distribution is operated. Their inquiry report recommends transferring system operation from National Grid to a more distributed system. [reNews]

T pylon (National Grid) T pylon (National Grid)

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June 17, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Radioactive Dust Vacuumed in Iwaki House

Cs 137 4440 Bq/kg
Cs 134 718 Bq/kg

 

 

40,26 km from Fukushima Daiichi to Iwaki city

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June 17, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment

State to lift evacuation order for most of Fukushima village of Iitate from March 31

iitate_vs_fukushima_evacuation_zones_large.png

FUKUSHIMA – The central government has said it is considering plans to lift its evacuation order for most of the village of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, effective March 31.

The village is nearby the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which experienced a meltdown disaster in 2011.

Yosuke Takagi, state minister of economy, trade and industry, conveyed the plan to Mayor Norio Kanno and other officials of the Fukushima Prefecture village at a meeting on Wednesday.

The government plans to make an official decision on the lifting shortly, along with a program to be launched in July to allow residents to stay overnight at their homes as part of preparations for permanent returns.

The evacuation order will be lifted for areas with less radiation from the three reactor meltdowns at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. plant, which was damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

As of the end of May, 5,917 residents in 1,770 households, or over 90 percent of the overall population of the village, were registered as citizens of such areas.

The government plans to finish decontamination work on houses by the end of this month and on farmland, roads and other facilities by the end of this year.

Visiting the village’s temporary office in the city of Fukushima on Wednesday, Takagi said the government aims to get the residents to return home by “resolving a series of challenges one by one.”

Kanno said, “We still have a long way to go and have to rebuild our village in a new form.”

The evacuation order will remain in place for highly contaminated areas, where 268 residents in 75 households are registered as local citizens.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/06/17/national/state-lift-evacuation-order-fukushima-village-iitate-march-31/

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June 17, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

DPJ leaders deny urging cover-up of Fukushima meltdown

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Naomi Hirose, president of Tokyo Electric Power Co., speaks in Tokyo on June 16 after an investigation team released its report on the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Former government leaders vehemently rejected suggestions in a report that they were pulling the strings behind a suspected meltdown cover-up when the Fukushima nuclear disaster was unfolding in 2011.

The report, compiled by an investigation panel commissioned by Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled nuclear power plant, said Masataka Shimizu, who was TEPCO president at the time of the accident, instructed employees not to use the term “meltdown,” leading to a delay in the official announcement.

But the report also implied that Shimizu was acting on orders from high up in the government.

Yukio Edano, who was chief Cabinet secretary of the Democratic Party of Japan-led government when the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered the nuclear crisis on March 11, 2011, described the report as preposterous.

As far as I know, it is unthinkable for government officials back then to ask TEPCO to do such a thing,” Edano, now the secretary-general of the opposition Democratic Party, told reporters on June 16.

He accused the panel of merely skimming the surface of the matter and sidestepping the truth behind the instructions to avoid using the term “meltdown.”

It is utterly irresponsible for the panel to say that it did not uncover that (Shimizu) was instructed by who and what,” he said.

The third-party panel of legal experts said in the report released on June 16 that it can be assumed that Shimizu understood that he was requested by the prime minister’s office to seek its approval beforehand if the company were to announce the “meltdown.”

The panel also said it would be difficult to conclude that TEPCO’s delay in declaring the meltdown was a “deliberate cover-up.”

Since TEPCO released information on radiation levels inside the reactors and other related data at that time, just not using the term meltdown cannot be described as an act of a deliberate cover-up,” the panel said.

TEPCO declared the meltdown at three reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in May 2011, two months after it occurred.

According to the report, Shimizu entered the chief Cabinet secretary’s office, which is located at the prime minister’s office building, by himself on March 13, 2011. The following day, Sakae Muto, vice president of TEPCO, explained the conditions of the reactors at the plant.

During the news conference, Shimizu handed a memo to Muto through a TEPCO public relations official, telling him not to use the word “meltdown” on the instructions of the prime minister’s office, according to the panel.

Naoto Kan, who was prime minister at the time of the disaster, denied giving the instruction to TEPCO.

I myself have never given directions to TEPCO not to use the expression ‘meltdown,’” Kan, a member of the Democratic Party, said in a statement.

One reason for the lack of clarity in the report is that Shimizu, who was interviewed twice for a total of four hours, said, “I do not remember very well” with regard to who gave what instructions.

Another TEPCO employee interviewed by the panel said Shimizu “was under tremendous pressure and must not have a detailed recollection.”

The panel interviewed about 60 former and current TEPCO officials but no government officials and bureaucrats who were involved in dealing with the crisis.

Our authority to investigate is limited, and it is difficult (to uncover the entire truth) in such a short time,” said Yasuhisa Tanaka, the lawyer who headed the investigation.

Tanaka and another panel member, Zenzo Sasaki, a former prosecutor at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, were also in charge of the third-party investigation into the accident conducted in 2013.

That investigation, based on interviews of TEPCO officials, came under fire for “only arbitrarily presenting TEPCO’s argument that is convenient to the company.”

The findings by the latest panel showed TEPCO officials looking into the nuclear disaster were aware of Shimizu’s order not to use “meltdown,” but TEPCO’s in-house investigation team did not include it in its report in 2012, apparently believing it was not significant enough to mention.

TEPCO’s efforts to share information inside the company were insufficient,” Tanaka said. “It lacked consideration for local governments, which should have been top priority.”

The revelation that Shimizu ordered the avoidance of “meltdown” fueled feelings of distrust toward TEPCO among local governments hosting TEPCO nuclear power plants.

We are still in this stage of the investigation even five years after the accident,” said Toshitsuna Watanabe, mayor of Okuma, which co-hosts the crippled Fukushima plant.

Hirohiko Izumida, governor of Niigata Prefecture, home to TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, called for a further investigation to reveal the whole picture of the Fukushima disaster.

We need to step up efforts to uncover what has not been sufficiently investigated before,” he said. “TEPCO, as an organization, should make a sincere response without hiding anything.”

The latest panel was established in March at the request of the Niigata prefectural government’s technology committee, which aims to determine why TEPCO waited until May 2011 to announce the triple meltdown.

TEPCO initially said it did not have the criteria for defining and determining a meltdown.

But it announced in February this year that the company “found” an in-house manual that explained whether a meltdown was taking place.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201606170063.html

June 17, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment