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Construction of a New Cover Building Installation for Spent Fuel Removal at Unit 3

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This installation will enable robotic removal of spent fuel removal to begin at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3. Plans to remove this fuel have been complicated by high radiation levels.

To install the cover building’s cylindrical portion workers will have to enter the area to manually bolt the cover to the deck structure.

Installation of the “stopper” by a crane near the spent fuel pool began on January 17 as the first step to construct a new roof for the Unit 3 spent fuel removal. Over the pool some additional structural equipment has also been installed.



Tepco will proceed with the roof construction toward eventual fuel removal with safety as a top priority.

Source :


January 18, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

1,130 cracks, 70% rigidity lost at Onagawa reactor building

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Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s Onagawa nuclear power plant straddling Miyagi Prefecture’s Onagawa and Ishinomaki

Plans to resume operations at the Onagawa nuclear power plant’s No. 2 reactor have taken a hit, as the building sustained 1,130 cracks in the walls and lost an estimated 70 percent of structural rigidity in the massive 2011 earthquake.

Tohoku Electric Power Co. revealed the extent of the damage at a Nuclear Regulation Authority review meeting on Jan. 17 to investigate plans to bring the power station in Miyagi Prefecture back online.

Tohoku Electric plans to extensively reinforce the damaged No. 2 reactor building. It is seeking to bolster the quake-resistance of the reactor to pass the stricter safety regulations on nuclear plants instituted by the NRA in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, triggered by the disaster.

However, that may be a long way off, as the nuclear watchdog said that it must inspect the cracks and the plans before the utility can proceed with the reinforcement project.

As with all nuclear power stations in the nation, the facility, which straddles the town of Onagawa and Ishinomaki city, went offline after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami sparked the nuclear disaster.

A tremor of 607 Gals was recorded at the No. 2 reactor building when the magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck, but the structure was only built to withstand jolts of up to 594 Gals, according to Tohoku Electric. (Gal is a unit of acceleration used to describe how violently something shakes.)

A later architectural investigation found a total of 1,130 cracks on its walls, with 734 of them found on the top third-floor section. There were more cracks in the upper levels of the building as that part swayed the most during the earthquake.

The difference in the ways the uppermost section rocked compared to the lower portion when hit by aftershocks suggested that the structural rigidity of the third floor was down to 30 percent of what it was when the reactor began operating in 1995, according to the utility.

The lower section of the building, which covers two above-ground floors and three basement levels, was estimated to have lost 25 percent of its structural rigidity.

Structural rigidity assesses a building’s ability to withstand earthquakes and other stresses from outside without being distorted.


January 18, 2017 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Who’s Who: Ruiko Muto, The Tohoku Ogre


by Miwa Chiwaki

Hello, everyone. My name is Miwa Chiwaki. Today, I would like to introduce to you Ms. Ruiko Muto, the Chair of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Plaintiffs and one of the Joint Representatives of Hidanren (the Liaison Committee for Organizations of Victims of the Nuclear Disaster). Born in Fukushima Prefecture in 1953, she is currently living in Miharu Town in the same prefecture. After retiring from teaching at a  school for disabled children, she opened a coffee shop called “Kirara” in a village forest in 2003. While managing this shop, she has proposed energy-saving and an environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

In 1986, the nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in the Ukraine. She came to realize the danger of nuclear power plants, and launched an anti-NPP campaign. Ruiko repeatedly issued warnings against accidents at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) from the viewpoint of local citizens, and continued her innovative and tenacious efforts to demand that the plant’s operator take sufficient measures to ensure the safety of the plant.

On the day before the nuclear accident at FDNPS on March 11, 2011, she was preparing for a rally to demand the decommissioning of the plant’s Unit 1, which would reach 40 years since the start of operations during that year. This means that she had planned to put this reactor off-line before the nuclear disaster occurred…

I came to know Ruiko soon after the nuclear accident. I was living in Fukushima at that time due to my husband being transferred to the Fukushima office of his company in 2007. At that time, I was totally ignorant about nuclear plants and the anti-nuclear movement. Immediately after the nuclear disaster, I fell into despair because Japanese society did not change at all even after this severe and irreversible accident, and because I had been forcibly exposed to radioactive substances from the nuclear plant during my daily life. I gathered related information from the internet, but did nothing other than release weary sighs and cry. But one day, I concluded that nothing would change if I continued to live like this and was determined to do something about it. I searched the internet for information about the anti-nuclear movement and learned about the activities of Ruiko’s group. I then decided to join her group.

In the wake of the nuclear accident, everybody was struggling amid growing anxiety, fear and anger. Ruiko had a constant flow of visitors, telephone calls and e-mails from people wishing to talk with her in an attempt to find a ray of light amid the despair. She met each one of them, listened to them and shared their agony, pains and difficulties. I was also one of the visitors. Members of many other anti-nuclear groups also came to seek her advice.

The plaintiffs’ group has filed a lawsuit against those who are allegedly responsible for the nuclear accident, demanding that they face criminal charges. As the group leader, Ruiko is actively traveling around to talk with people all the time, despite the huge burden she has to shoulder. She has already given hundreds of lectures and speeches. The listeners say they are deeply impressed by her words, and have been encouraged to move forward to find rays of hope for the future.

At the same time, she is energetically engaged in activities to protect the human rights and health of Fukushima residents by serving as a joint representative of Hidanren.

* Miwa Chiwaki is the Secretary General of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Plaintiffs Group

**’Tohoku Ogre’ is a reference to Ruiko’s speech made at a huge rally in Tokyo in September 2011 where she claimed that the usually docile people of Tohoku were so angry about the nuclear accident that they had turned into the legendary ogres of that area.

January 18, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Designation of radioactive waste lifted




Japan’s environment ministry has lifted the radioactive designation it applied to a batch of waste after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.

About 200 kilograms of waste stored at a private facility in Yamagata Prefecture can now be disposed of as general waste.

People familiar with the matter say the radioactivity level of the waste was confirmed to be lower than the government-set level of 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.

The ministry said it sent a letter, dated January 13th, to notify the facility of its decision to lift the designation.

It is the first time the ministry has lifted the designation for waste kept by a private company in connection with the nuclear accident.
Last July, the ministry lifted the designation of radioactive waste stored in the city of Chiba, just outside Tokyo. It was the first case among municipalities storing radioactive waste from the Fukushima accident’s fallout.

Ministry officials say as of September 30th last year, there was about 179,000 tons of waste designated as radioactive across the country.


January 18, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2016, Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment