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Miyagi Prefecture to Request Municipalities to Dispose by Incineration the 8,000 Becquerels Below Contaminated Waste

 

The radioactive waste generated by the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident will be disposed in accordance to the contaminated waste standard disposal methods of the country. All to be incinerated in the Miyagi Prefecture existing waste treatment facilities.

First of all, they plan to have incineration tests beginning next year, testing incineration in various municipalities facilities, collecting data during approximately 6 months so as to confirm the safety of the concentration in the incinerated ash. Intending to embark on full-scale incineration from the middle of next year, 2017.
The Miyagi Prefecture summarizes its disposal policy : because the procedure for the disposal of contaminated waste above 8000 becquerels takes a long time, we decided to proceed with the disposal of substandard contaminated waste first.

As a specific method, contaminated waste will be burned while mixed with general waste so as not to exceed again radioactive concentration criteria. In addition, some municipalities which stored large volumes of contaminated waste and may not be able to handle it fully on their own, will get help from other municipalities facilities for disposal.

Next month, the Miyagi Prefecture will open the municipal mayors conference, during which it will the municipalities cooperation.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20161024/k10010741491000.html

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October 25, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Cost to scrap Fukushima nuclear plant massively underestimated, Japanese officials admit

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The cost of cleaning up Tokyo Electric Power’s wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant may rise to several billion dollars a year, from less than US$800 million now, Japan’s industry ministry said on Tuesday.

The increased cost projections appeared in ministry documents prepared for a panel tasked with devising a viable financial plan for the utility company known as Tepco, which is struggling to cope with rising costs at its Fukushima plant nearly six years after the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

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Japan’s Minister of the Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshige Seko, told reporters after the panel meeting, its second, that the government will provide a firmer estimate for annual decommissioning costs for the nuclear plant by the end of the year,

Surging decommissioning costs are being addressed by the panel but it is also looking into options including a break up of Tepco, which is under state control after an earthquake and tsunami sparked meltdowns at the Fukushima reactors in March 2011.

A combination among nuclear operators is one possibility,” Yojiro Hatakeyama, a director at the industry ministry overseeing the electricity and gas industries, told reporters.

He did not elaborate on the government’s estimate for annual decommissioning costs after repeated questioning from reporters.

Experts say any move to merge atomic operations is likely to meet strong resistance from Japan’s other nuclear operators.

Japan has 10 nuclear operators and all have been hit by the political fallout from the disaster, which has undermined public faith in atomic energy. All but two of Japan’s 42 reactors are in shutdown mode.

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Tepco shares were up 1 per cent by 0509 GMT, while the general market and other operators also gained.

The briefing material for the panel said the clean-up may require several hundred billion yen, or several billion US dollars, of funds every year, compared with 80 billion yen (US$766 million) now.

And these estimates are likely to surge when the company and the government decide how to extract melted uranium fuel debris at the plant in 2018 or 2019, a person with direct knowledge of discussions on restructuring Tepco said earlier this month.

The meltdowns of three reactors released radiation over a wide area, contaminating water, food and air, and forcing more than 160,000 people to evacuate.

Dismantling the reactors is expected to take about 40 years, but Tepco is still struggling to contain radioactive water from the plant and has said it can’t predict the eventual total costs of the clean-up and decommissioning.

Tepco wants the government to consider introducing rules to avoid having to book a single huge exceptional loss as soon as cost estimates for decommissioning become clearer, a person familiar with the situation said earlier.

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http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/east-asia/article/2039929/cost-scrap-fukushima-nuclear-plant-massively-underestimated

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | 1 Comment

Untrained Staff Did Radioactive Cleanup Work in Fukushima

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Certificates of training in radioactive decontamination work were issued by a company in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, to workers who had received no such training.

NIHONMATSU, Fukushima Prefecture–A company has admitted to not giving the required special training to workers before dispatching them to carry out decontamination work in radiation-hit Fukushima city.

A subcontractor called “Zerutech Tohoku” issued at least 100 bogus certificates to its workers showing they had completed the training, when, in fact, they had done nothing, according to the Fukushima Labor Standards Inspection Office.

The office had warned the subcontractor, which is based in Nihonmatsu and decontaminates parts of nearby Fukushima city, which was affected by the 2011 nuclear disaster, that it should give special training to workers to prepare them for the task.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare requires decontamination operators be given at least 5.5 hours of special training to each individual in accordance with the Industrial Safety and Health Law.

The training includes a lecture on potential health hazards and how to operate decontamination equipment as their job involves handling soil polluted by radioactive materials.

The 52-year-old representative of the company admitted wrongdoing in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun.

We had to hire a large number of workers over a short period of time since we received a contract involving a vast swath of land,” he said of the false certificates, of which between 100 and 150 have been discovered.

In addition, the company, a fourth-tier subcontractor, issued seven other kinds of certificates needed to operate an aerial vehicle or chain saw, which were required to land the cleanup contract.

For issuing false certificates, offenders could be imprisoned for up to six months or fined 500,000 yen ($4,800).

But the law has been criticized for having numerous loopholes.

One is that there is not test of workers’ knowledge after they have received the training.

The operators are also not required to register the certificates with municipal authorities.

And it is not specified what qualifications are required for the person who conducts the training.

The Labor Standards office, a regional arm of the health ministry, has been inspecting the company for breaches of the law and regulations on decontamination work since Oct. 19.

The Zerutech Tohoku representative founded the company in March last year.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201610250053.html

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Radioactive contaminant levels can’t be read at 31 Fukushima temp waste sites

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FUKUSHIMA — It may be impossible to measure the radioactive contaminant concentrations of water leeching from soil and other waste produced by the Fukushima nuclear disaster cleanup at 31 temporary waste storage sites in Fukushima Prefecture due to a planning flaw, a Board of Audit inspection has found.

The cleanup waste is put in bags, put in piles and covered with a waterproof tarp at the temporary disposal sites. These piles are built atop a low convex mound of earth, which is also covered with a tarp and is supposed to funnel the water leeching out of the waste into underground tanks. Contaminant concentration measurements are then taken from these tanks.

However, though many temporary disposal sites have been built on soft ground such as agricultural land, apparently no provisions were made for land subsidence — the earth being pushed down by the pressure of the waste bags — during planning.

The Board of Audit chose 34 of the 106 disposal sites in the prefecture for inspection. The 34 sites were spread across five municipalities, had waste piles five to six bags (or about 5 meters) high, and had been established in the four years up to fiscal 2015. Of these, the earth beneath the waste stack had subsided — going from convex to concave — at 31 sites, meaning contaminated water was also not flowing into the storage tanks. It is possible the water is collecting in the tarps.

There are 15 such sites in the Fukushima Prefecture town of Kawamata, five in the town of Namie, four each in the city of Tamura and the village of Iitate, and three in the town of Naraha. The subsidence of the earth bases hasn’t been confirmed, but the Board of Audit has pointed out that if contaminated water is pooling in the tarps, it could impact future operations to move the waste to a mid-term storage site. It has also called on the Environment Ministry, which operates the sites, to take necessary measures to rectify the problem.

The ministry told the Mainichi Shimbun, “The stacks are designed so that contaminated water won’t escape even if the land underneath subsides, and no harm has been done by the treatment of the water. The waste bags themselves have been replaced with waterproof versions, but we would still like to consider ways to reinforce the ground (under the piles), such as by using sand in the middle.”

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161024/p2a/00m/0na/017000c

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment

At UN Seminar, Fukushima Governor Appealed that Fukushima is Safe.

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On October 19, 2016, Governor Masao Uchibori, the Fukushima prefecture governor, took part in a seminar at the United Nations headquarters in New York, a seminar about the reconstruction of Eastern Japan  from the 2011 earthquake.


He declared that though there were rumors saying that many people can’t live anymore in Fukushima since the nuclear accident in March 2011, it was not fact. The evacuation zone was  only 5 % of the Fukushima prefecture.
He also emphasized that life in Fukushima was back in the same way as it was before the 2011 earthquake in 95 % of the prefecture.

 

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

The Fukushima Decontamination, Waste Storage, Processing and Recycling Utopia

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In Fukushima Prefecture, large quantities of contaminated soil and waste have been generated from decontamination activities. Currently, it is difficult to clarify methods of final disposal of such soil and waste. Until final disposal becomes available, it is necessary to establish an Interim Storage Facility (ISF) in order to manage and store soil and waste safely.

The only solution proposed is a storage facility of 16 km2 around the Fukushima plant for a period of 30 years. After that, time will tell, because the problems are endless.

The following materials generated in Fukushima Prefecture will be stored in the ISF.

1. Soil and waste (such as fallen leaves and branches) generated from decontamination activities, which have been stored at the Temporary Storage Sites.

2. Incineration ash with radioactive concentration more than 100,000 Bq/kg.

It is estimated that generated soil from decontamination will be approx. 16 ~22 mil. m3 after the volume reduction incineration, estimated value based on the decontamination implementation plan of July 2013. (Ref: approximately 13~18 times as much as the volume of Tokyo Dome (1.24 mil. m3) .

 

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Transportation to Stock Yards

In order to confirm safe and secure delivery towards the transportation of a large amount of decontamination soil, MOE implemented the transportation approx. 1,000m3 each from 43 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture from 2015-2016.

Actual achievement in 2016 as of July 30, 2016

Stored volume: 13,384m3 (58,766m3 in total)

Stock yards in Okuma: 4,883m3; stock yards in Futaba: 8,501m3

* Calculated on the assumption that the volume of a large bag is 1m3

Total number of trucks used: 2,279 (9,808 in total)

Stock yards in Okuma: 815 trucks; stock yards in Futaba:1,464 trucks

 

To construct facilities, it will need comprehensive area and 2/3 will be assumed to be used for facilitation. The possible volume for installation is to be 10,000m3/ha and 140,000m3/5ha for a storage facility, and will be installed from TSS to ISF sequentially.

Approximate period from contract with operators to ISF operation: 3months for TSS, 6months for delivery & classification, 12months for storage, 18months for incineration.

On the premise that infrastructure construction on roads for Okuma and Futaba IC would proceed as planned, the maximum volume of possible transportation is estimated: 2millions m3 /y before the operation of both IC, 4millions m3/y after Okuma IC & before Futaba IC, 6 millions m3/y after the both ICs operation.

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Landowners are still reluctant to sell their land to put the waste. In late September 2016, according to the official data of the Ministry of Environment, only 379 owners out of 2360 had signed a contract. This represents an area of 144 ha, or about 9% of the total project.

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The town of Okuma, is almost entirely classified as “difficult to return”zone, therefore it intends to offer all its municipal land to put the waste. This represents 95 hectares, or about 10% of land considered in the town. This includes schools, the Fureai Park with some sports grounds … The town has not yet decided whether it would sell or would lease its land.

Meanwhile, it is an abandoned village:

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The Joban railway line was partially destroyed by the tsunami, as here in Tomioka:

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Destroyed Tomioka train station and sorting facility for radioactive waste

Some parts have reopened, but not in the most contaminated areas; between Tatsuta and Namie. Japan Railway wants to fully reopen the railway before 2020, avoiding the coast. Decontamination should produce 300,000 m3 of radioactive waste. The radioactive waste bags are along the railway, but they will need to be take them away. The Environment Ministry is negotiating with landowners owning the land beside the railway, but this is not enough because few responded favorably. So it’s a game of musical chairs that is planned: use the lands where some waste is right now after they’ll freed by the transfer of the waste to the storage center located around the Fukushima Dai-ichi.

Meanwhile, the waste is piling up everywhere:

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Radioactive waste in Iitate

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Valley of radioactive waste in Iitate mura

This storage was not expected to last as long, which is not without causing problems because the bags do not hold. Here in Tomioka, weeds grow back:

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The equivalent of the Court of Accounts of Japan went to inspect some of these sites and found other problems, according to the Asahi. Those who receive contaminated soil, are elevated in the center so that the water flows over the edges where it can be harvested and controlled because the bags are not waterproof. There are up to 5 levels. With time and the weight of waste, a hollow that may appear in the center, and contaminated water accumulates there. Monitoring is difficult or impossible. See diagram of Asahi:

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It is not normal that the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, the NRA does not control these storage sites for radioactive waste.

Regarding the waste from the decommissioning of nuclear power plants, the NRA wants to bury the most contaminated within 70 meters for 100 000 years. This is essentially reactor control rods. Utilities would bear responsibility for 300 to 400 years. They have not yet found where to have the sites … Read Asahi for more. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609020034.html

The government relies on the radioactive decay for these wastes to pass below the 8000 Bq / kg to be downgraded and utilized …

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http://josen.env.go.jp/en/pdf/progressseet_progress_on_cleanup_efforts.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Drone Inspection of Fukushima Units 1 & 2 Vent Tower

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TEPCO reported on October 20th they used drones to measure radioactivity at the  reactors 1 and 2 vent tower.

Vent towers are quite unstable during earthquakes and are highly contaminated, they are therefore not easy to dismantle, even with robot

When they sent a drone into the vent tower, they found out that a bar prevented the drone to go in lower than 10-20 m below.

It’s pretty amazing that Tepco did not know that this bar was there and that they can not give its position more precisely.

TEPCO only  provided two pictures online with a laconic comment. No results of their radioactivity measuring was given. Transparency is progressing …

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2016/images/handouts_161020_02-e.pdf

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , , | Leave a comment