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Echoes of Fort McMurray — Massive Wildfire Forces the Emptying of Another Canadian City

robertscribbler

A little more than a year after a massive wildfire forced the full evacuation of Fort McMurray in Alberta, another set of extreme wildfires in British Columbia is again forcing major population centers to empty. In the region of Williams Lake and Cariboo City, 17,400 people have been forced to flee as a wildfire is threatening the major highway exiting the area. As the fire expands, another 27,000 in the broader province may also be asked to leave. This mass evacuation has been enough to empty large urban centers — turning them into ghost towns as fires rage through the surrounding countryside.

On Saturday, 40 mph winds, hot temperatures in the 90s (F), and lightning strikes fanned flames in…

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July 16, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 16 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “What You Can Actually Do To Fight Climate Change, According To Science” • Collective action starts with individual choices, and for all the data-driven decision makers out there, the path forward just got a bit clearer. A study in Environmental Research Letters determined which life choices reduce our carbon footprints the most. [Gizmodo Australia]

Twilight (Image: Dennis Yang | Flickr Creative Commons)

¶ “Are Deeper Cuts OPEC’s Only Option?” • Despite the November, 2016 Vienna crude oil agreement among OPEC and certain non-OPEC producers and its subsequent May 2017 extension, the global crude oil market is still burdened with excess supply and may be far from re-balancing. Observers worry about another price crash. [OilPrice.com]

¶ “Six Years After Fukushima, Japan Tries To Quell Its Energy Angst” • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promoted a policy of restarting nuclear reactors, but he is now politically at…

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July 16, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

E is for Euratom, C is for post brexit chaos

daryanenergyblog

euroatom1307a

When article 50 was declared, both the bill and letter sent to the EU clearly stated the UK was leaving Euratom (the EU’s nuclear agency) as well as the EU. I was slightly confused by this as it seems to contradict something I’ve long noted about the Tories, their illogical devotion towards nuclear energy. I did wonder whether this represented a moment of clarity (that nuclear power is a waste of time and money), or was it just another sign that they haven’t got a clue with what they are doing. I think we’ll have to conclude it was the latter.

Euratom is a European agency that has various responsibilities. They act as a single market for nuclear energy components, nuclear fuels (i.e uranium supplies), medical isotopes, regulation of the nuclear industry (notably its safe handling procedures) as well as research into long term nuclear projects such as the…

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July 16, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 15 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “Climate Change Could Make The Earth ‘Practically Ungovernable'” • Former NASA climate chief James Hansen believes climate change’s most dangerous effect may be a continuous rise in sea level. Because so many people live in coastal cities, the mass migrations inland that will follow this rise could leave the world in ungovernable chaos. [ScienceAlert]

Miami (Photo: Brian W. Schaller, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ “Bloomberg: Tesla Set To Win” • It looks like bad news for Big Oil as electric cars gained traction this past week. Bloomberg reports, “France plans to end the sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040” and, “Volvo Car Group became the first major manufacturer to say it will start phasing out vehicles powered solely by fossil fuels.” [CleanTechnica]

Science and Technology:

¶ A research project conducted in the Netherlands found that just attaching newly designed tips to wind turbine blades…

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July 16, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is the Climate Emergency Just a Big Problem, or is it a Catastrophe?

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

Catastrophe or Just a Big Problem?

In the sugar­cane region of El Salvador, as much as one-fifth of the population has chronic kidney disease, the presumed result of dehydration from working the fields they were able to comfortably harvest as recently as two decades ago. Photo: Heartless Machine

GR: On Tuesday (July 11, 2017) I introduced an article by David Wallace-Wells that describes the climate change events that will happen and the events that might happen. Some prominent climate scientists have responded with criticism because of the article’s strong message of disaster and doom. These scientists believe that gentle persuasion instead of doomsday warning is the correct way to deliver the climate-emergency message. It is true that gentle persuasion is resistant to ridicule by oil-company sponsored climate-change deniers (whew). Moreover, gentle persuasion isn’t criticized by other scientists (who learned at their mentors’ knee true science is never certain). However…

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July 16, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A decade after Niigata’s nuclear close call

Tepco wants to restart reactors in Niigata to help pay for USD190 billion needed for Fukushima follies

p16-cp-a-20170716-870x530.jpgEmployees work in the central control room for the No.7 reactor at Tokyo Electric Power Holdings’ Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture in 2009.

 

On July 16, 2007, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake rattled the world’s largest nuclear power complex at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa in Niigata Prefecture. This was on a site that the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. had insisted was seismically safe.

Two years earlier, the Tokyo High Court had ruled against local plaintiffs backed by scientists who insisted the authorities were wrong and that there was an active fault line adjacent to the site. In 2007, Mother Nature overruled the judge, raising questions about relying on old evaluations by institutions favoring nuclear energy in assessing site safety, particularly given subsequent advancements in seismic science.

The good news is that the reactors shut down automatically and the plant withstood tectonic shocks way beyond what anyone had anticipated when designing the structures. The bad news trickled slowly out of Tepco, but an NHK special shortly afterwards aired a startling revelation. The plant manager told NHK that it was very lucky that everything worked as planned and that there was no serious accident — especially considering that the door of the control center had been jammed and nobody could get in. This meant that if there had been a crisis, nobody would have been able to manage it because the emergency controls were inaccessible.

The door was stuck because the land subsided due to the earthquake. It is hard to anticipate every contingency, and that is precisely why accidents happen. If the safety systems had not functioned as planned, Kashiwazaki might have spun out of control, but luckily it was just a close call.

Also worrisome was the transformer fire that took an age to put out because the water pipes had ruptured due to the earthquake. And why was there a nine-hour delay in informing local authorities about the situation, including some radiation leaks? Apparently the plant workers were preoccupied with setting up whiteboards in the parking lot as an improvised control center and using their mobile phones to communicate with each other. Tepco also downplayed how much radioactive water had leaked, a spill that Asahi reporters spotted workers mopping up with paper towels.

At Kashiwazaki-Kariwa there are seven reactors with an 8,200 megawatt capacity, enough for 16 million households. This clustering of reactors means that if there was an accident, it could cascade into a major disaster.

The reactors went online between 1985 and 1997 and generated $2 billion in subsidies for the hosting towns, on top of tax revenues and many high-paying jobs. But local enthusiasm has dimmed considerably since then. Back in 2001 Tepco was caught falsifying repair and maintenance data at all of its 17 reactors, suggesting that management did not nurture a culture of safety. Then, in 2005, the International Atomic Energy Agency warned that fire prevention measures at the Niigata plant were inadequate.

Niigata voters have since elected nuclear skeptics for mayor and prefectural governor. In a nationwide poll conducted by the Asahi Shimbun last October, 57 percent of the public opposed restarting nuclear reactors while only 29 percent were in favor. Earlier in 2016, a poll conducted by the pro-nuclear Japan Atomic Energy Relations Organization found that 12 percent of respondents favored maintaining or increasing Japan’s nuclear energy output while nearly 63 percent wanted to end nuclear power in Japan, either by phasing it out (48 percent) or immediately pulling the plug (15 percent).

Public opposition to nuclear power is not only driven by safety concerns and the tragic fate of tens of thousands of nuclear refugees displaced from ancestral homes in Tohoku. The Fukushima disaster is also a financial black hole that will burden taxpayers and ratepayers for decades to come. And there are the high costs of decommissioning many aging reactors and the expense involved in building a site to permanently store radioactive waste.

Niigata Gov. Ryuichi Yoneyama has slowed plans to restart any reactors, calling for a comprehensive safety review, development of an evacuation plan and an assessment of the Fukushima disaster’s public health impact, all of which could take three years. Tepco’s latest rehabilitation plan includes restarting two of the reactors by March 2020, saying the profits would help it pay off the staggering ¥21.5 trillion ($190 billion) bill for Fukushima, an estimate that is likely to keep rising over the next few decades.

The mayor of Kashiwazaki has also weighed in, requesting that Tepco begin decommissioning one reactor before agreeing to restart the two reactors Tepco wants to bring back online. The Nuclear Regulation Authority is currently conducting safety inspections at two of the reactors. The mayor thinks that seven reactors is too much and is worried about the safety of the control center, wondering if it is sufficiently strong to withstand a powerful quake, possibly because Tepco admitted to misleading the NRA in February about just how strong the structure is. He is hopeful that decommissioning will generate jobs and revitalize the local community.

The mayor also expressed concern about the threat of nuclear missiles from North Korea, prompting NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka to joke that Tokyo would make a better target. Funny guy.

The Fukushima debacle has already cost in excess of $100 billion and the government estimates that total will skyrocket in coming years. If only Tepco had heeded internal warnings in 2009 about the possibility of a monster tsunami striking the Fukushima No. 1 plant and built a bigger tsunami wall. That would have cost $1 billion, a bargain in retrospect. Will the ongoing trial of three Tepco executives find them responsible for this and other instances of negligence? Probably not.

And now there are five nuclear reactors operating in Japan, and soon two more in Kyushu, due to court rulings favorable to the utilities. The fate of an additional 35 operable reactors is uncertain, but the staggering costs of decommissioning many of these — so far the NRA has approved five decommissioning proposals that will cost about $10 billion raise questions about the viability of nuclear energy in Japan.

Toshiba, which is selling off its key assets to pay for its purchase of Westinghouse Electric, knows just how risky the nuclear business is, and hopefully Tepco now understands that cutting corners to save money was abysmal risk management.

Many Japanese must envy South Korea, where newly elected Prime Minister Moon Jae-in has vowed to phase out nuclear energy and cancel plans to build new plants and extend the operating life of its 25 aging reactors. In contrast, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reinstated nuclear power into the national energy strategy, targeting 20 to 22 percent of the overall mix, demonstrating the resilient influence of Japan’s “nuclear village.”

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2017/07/15/commentary/decade-niigatas-nuclear-close-call/#.WWqb53WlXQY.facebook

 

July 16, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Insoluble Radioactive Particles (part 2)

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We are presenting here a transcription of an NHK TV documentary (note1) on insoluble radioactive particles found in Fukushima and in the Tokyo metropolitan region. This is the 2nd part of the 3 parts.

Here is the first part.

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Insoluble radioactive particles that do not dissolve in water.
This characteristic is supposed to make a big difference when considering health effects.
In the past, radioactive cesium emitted in the nuclear accident was thought to be carried away adhering to water-soluble particles called aerosols in the atmosphere. When it touches the water the particle melts and the cesium diffuses and gets diluted. The same is true when it is inhaled in the lungs; the water-soluble cesium melts into the body fluid and spreads thinly throughout the body. Then it is supposed to be discharged gradually by the metabolic activity, and decreases by half from 80 to 100 days in the case of adults.

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Insoluble radioactive particles, on the other hand, do not dissolve in body fluids. For example, if they adhere to the alveoli at the furthest areas of the lungs, it may take years to discharge. Even with the same amount of cesium, the dose of lung exposure is about 70 times higher than in the case of water-soluble cesium in the case of adults. As for the infants who are more radiosensitive, the dose of exposure is supposed to be approximately 180 times higher.

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In fact, this insoluble radioactive particle has not been identified in past nuclear accidents. Why was it emitted in the accident of the Fukushima nuclear power plant?
Yukihiko Sato, who is doing research on this particle, is focusing on the insulation material that contains glass components. It is used in parts such as piping in the nuclear power plant.
A special electron microscope is used to analyze the proportion of elements contained in the radioactive particles and in the insulation material.
The top is radioactive particles, and the bottom is the insulation material.
The proportion of elements, such as silicon and oxygen, which are the main components of glass, is well matched.

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From this, Mr. Sato thought about the scenario where the radioactive particle formed as follows:
Radioactive cesium was emitted from the melted nuclear fuel in the event of the accident. It first filled the reactor. Then, it leaked into the reactor containment building.
Cesium was absorbed in the insulation material in the building.
After that, a nuclear reactor building blew up by hydrogen explosion.
As the insulation material melts and becomes glass, cesium is taken in. And with the explosion, it became small particles as it dispersed in the blast.

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The radioactive particles found by Sato are in diameter from 0.5 to 500 micrometer. Their shapes vary from a smooth round one to a rugged one.

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Tatsuhiko Sato of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.
He simulated the health effects of insoluble radioactive particles using a program to calculate the behavior of each ray. For the simulation, he used a particle of the size which enters the lung, and which is actually found. He compared the simulation of the insoluble radioactive particles remaining to adhere to the same spot on the surface of the organ, and that of the same amount of radioactive material adhered uniformly on the surface.

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In the case of uniform adhesion, even after 24 hours, blue and light blue areas are spread out indicating that the radiation dose is low.

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On the other hand, in the case of the particle, the dose near the spot increases locally and orange and red areas are expanding.

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Even with the same quantity of radioactive materials, the health effect may change.

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In fact, there are data of people who may have inhaled insoluble radioactive particles. This is a survey of TEPCO employees who had a large amount of exposure during the nuclear accident.

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The amount of the radioactive materials in the body is examined regularly, and the graph in red shows that the value of the vicinity of the chest is comparatively high. While the radioactive cesium that had spread throughout the body decreased over time, only around the chest the speed to decrease was slow. The inhaled insoluble radioactive particles are suspected to remain in the lungs.

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However, researchers say that the amount is not significant enough to worry about the health effects, according to the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

Takeda: Mr. Michiaki Kai is a specialist in the radio-induced health damages and radioprotection.
If the insoluble radioactive particles stay in the body, the radiation dose may increase locally. And according to some experts, it is necessary to investigate the health effects. What is your opinion?

Kai: First of all, you know that the dose is a measure of health effects. However, when we compare the dose, you cannot compare the cases of smaller and larger exposures ranges. In general, the greater the exposures range, the greater the health impact is. In that sense, the larger the average dose of an organ or an entire system is, the greater the impact is. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the average organ dose even in the case of the insoluble particle. However, there is a possibility that the dose becomes high very locally, so it is important to evaluate it properly, since some people worry about it. This is why such an evaluation is carried out.

Takeda: The overall exposure more than local exposure is …

Kai: If it is the same dose, the impact on health is larger if the range of exposure is wider.

Takeda: You mean that the impact is larger, but it is also necessary to examine a local exposure.

Kai: I think that it is necessary to examine it properly.


(To be continued in the Part 3)

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Note 1: Close-up Gendai, Genpatsu jiko kara 6 nen, Michi no hoshasei ryushi ni semaru (Approaching radioactive particles six years from the nuclear accident) (diffusion: 2017 June 6)

https://fukushima311voices.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/insoluble-radioactive-particles-part-2/

July 16, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | 1 Comment

Fukushima’s Nuclear Waste Will Be Dumped Into the Ocean, Japanese Plant Owner Decides

Toxic waste produced by one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters will be dumped into the sea, according to the head of the Japanese company tasked with cleaning up the radioactive mess, despite protests from local fishermen.

Takashi Kawamura, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), told foreign media that nearly 777,000 tons of water tainted with tritium, a byproduct of the nuclear process that is notoriously difficult to filter out of water, will be dumped into the Pacific Ocean as part of a multibillion-dollar recovery effort following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. That year, an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, killing over 15,000 people and leading to a series of meltdowns at the TEPCO-owned Fukushima No. 1, or Daiichi, nuclear power plant, causing it to spew radiation that has plagued the region ever since. While much progress has been made to clean the area, the company has only just resolved the debate over what to do with the water that was used to cool the plant’s damaged reactors, causing it to become tainted with tritium.

“The decision has already been made,” Kawamura said, according to The Japan Times.

We could have decided much earlier, and that is TEPCO’s responsibility,” he added, according to Reuters.

rtszxvl.jpgA member of the media uses a Geiger counter at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima, Japan, February 23, 2017. The site includes hundreds of tanks containing about 777,000 tons of water laced with tritium that TEPCO has decided to dump into the nearby sea, despite opposition from local fishermen.

 

Tritium is relatively harmless to humans in small doses ( so they pretend), and Japanese Nuclear Regulatory Agency Chairman Shunichi Tanaka told The Guardian last year that the tritium in Fukushima’s tanks was “so weak in its radioactivity it won’t penetrate plastic wrapping.” Dumping tritium-contaminated water into the sea is not at all an uncommon practice at nuclear power plants, but it’s been met with opposition by local fishermen, who say their industry has suffered enough in the aftermath of the environmental crisis.

While TEPCO and Tokyo say that the low concentration of tritium would do little damage to the ecosystem and could prevent a more serious accident from occurring at the site, where around 580 tanks are stored, fishermen argue that the negative publicity would be devastating to their livelihoods. Dozens of countries and the European Union now ban certain fish imports from Japan following the disaster, and up to 33 continue to do so as of March. TEPCO’s decision also has been met with outrage by anti-nuclear activists such as Aileen Mioko-Smith of Kyoto-based Green Action Japan, a group created in 1991 that is “working to create a nuclear-power-free Japan,” according to its official website.  

“This accident happened more than six years ago, and the authorities should have been able to devise a way to remove the tritium instead of simply announcing that they are going to dump it into the ocean,” Mioko-Smith told the Telegraph.

“They say that it will be safe because the ocean is large so it will be diluted, but that sets a precedent that can be copied, essentially permitting anyone to dump nuclear waste into our seas,” she continued.

july 14 2017 evacuated zonesA map showing the status of restricted areas affected by radiation from the Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant as of March 6, 2017. The nuclear disaster displaced up to 150,000 people, and many are reluctant to return to the region, despite pressure from the Japanese government.

 

TEPCO’s over-budget, oft-delayed effort to recover its former plant has been the subject of controversy for a number of reasons. Due to residual nuclear fuel, parts of the plant are so radioactive that they have even destroyed the robots specifically designed to survive in the deadly environment. Last month, Japanese company Toshiba announced it would send a new robot dubbed “little sunfish” to surveil the flooded area of the plant from which no device has returned, BBC News reported. A number of TEPCO officials have also stood trial for negligence over the nuclear disaster.

As for the rest of the Fukushima prefecture, life has started to resume, albeit slowly. Of the estimated 150,000 who fled, only around 13 percent have come back. The Japanese government has increasingly pressured the rest to return by pledging greater investment in Fukushima’s infrastructure and by withdrawing subsidies provided to the refugees and their families.

http://www.newsweek.com/fukushima-nuclear-waste-dumped-ocean-japanese-protests-637108

July 16, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO Announces Will Dump Radioactive Water at Fukushima Daiichi

From Majia’s Blog

TEPCO is announcing that its going to be dumping tritiated water into the sea:

Fukushima’s tritiated water to be dumped into sea, Tepco chief says (July 14, 2017). The Japan Times, http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/07/14/national/science-health/tepco-says-decision-already-made-release-radioactive-low-toxic-tritium-sea-fishermen-irate/#.WWjs_lHdnwk 

Despite the objections of local fishermen, the tritium-tainted water stored at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant will be dumped into the sea, a top official at Tokyo Electric says.

The decision has already been made,” Takashi Kawamura, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., said in a recent interview with the media.

Tritium typically poses little risk to human health unless ingested in high amounts, and ocean discharges of diluted volumes of tritium-tainted water are a routine part of nuclear power plant operations. This is because it is a byproduct of nuclear operations but cannot be filtered out of water.

As of July 6, about 777,000 tons were stored in about 580 tanks at the Fukushima plant, which is quickly running out of space.

TEPCO has been contaminating the ocean with tritiated water since the beginning of the disaster, inadvertently and also deliberately. In 2015 TEPCO was given formal permission to dump water measuring up to 1,500 becquerels per liter of tritium.

See my blog posts here:

http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2016/04/contaminated-water-at-fukushima-daiichi.html

http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2014/02/contaminated-water-at-fukushima-daiichi.html

TEPCO cannot filter tritium from water because tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen that binds with oxygen, making radioactive water. So, all the water TEPCO has filtered using the ALPS and other systems is still highly tritiated.

TEPCO’s solution to unprecedented volumes of tritiated water is to dilute the filtered water to a level deemed acceptable for dumping in the ocean.

TEPCO’s maximum storage capacities for holding radioactive water in tanks at the site was reached years ago. Here is an excerpt from my book Crisis Communications, Liberal Democracy and Ecological Sustainability addressing the problems of contaminated water at Daiichi:

In May of 2013 The Asahi Shimbun reported the TEPCO was going to begin dumping groundwater at the Daiichi site because its storage capacities for contaminated water were nearly exhausted. There was considerable resistance from local fisherman because TEPCO lacked the capacity to remove Strontium-90 from captured water.

At that time, TEPCO reported that filtered water measured 710 million Becquerels per liter while unfiltered water was reported as twice as radioactive,[i] from tritium and strontium, the latter of which could not be filtered until the fall of 2014.[ii]

In 2015 the NRA approved a plan to allow TEPCO to dump decontaminated groundwater into the sea if the water registered less than 1 becquerel per liter of cesium, less than 3 becquerels per liter of beta emitters such as Strontium-90, and 1,500 becquerels per liter of tritium (NRA signs off on TEPCO plan to release decontaminated groundwater into sea January 22, 2015 http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201501220054).

Despite the low limits of contamination allowed by law in 2015, it appears likely from news accounts and TEPCO press releases that contaminated water has been deliberately and accidentally released into the ocean since 2013, if not earlier, because the reported volume of water in storage declined between 2014 and 2015, despite daily production of hundreds of tons of water that exceed decontamination capacities:

· May of 2013, TEPCO reported it held approximately 280,000 tons of radioactive water in storage, while an additional 100,000 tons were believed to reside in the basements of units 1 through 4, as well as in the turbine buildings.[iii]

· August 2013 TEPCO reported that approximately 300,000 tons of contaminated water leaked from one of the storage tanks and promised to treat all the contaminated water in storage by March 2015 (http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150123_30.html).

· January 2014 TEPCO announces at press conference that contaminated water in storage tanks is producing Bremsstrahlung radiation, which contributes to rising atmospheric radiation levels at the Daiichi site (Mochuzuki, 2014). The Nuclear Regulation Authority ordered TEPCO to lower radiation levels derived from tanks storing contaminated water to below 1 millisievert by the end of March 2015. Nagano

· February 2014 TEPCO reports a high of 360,000 tons of contaminated water in storage (Varma, 2014).Water measuring 230 million Becquerels per liter was reported leaking from storage containers at Daiichi in February 2014 (“TEPCO Finds,” 2014).

· September 18 2014: TEPCO reports 365,000 tons of highly contaminated water in storage tanks as of Sep 16 2014. (TEPCO begins test runs of new ALPS system at stricken plant. September 18, 2014). The Asahi Shimbun because the system in place since March 2013 has been prone to problems “So far, the existing trouble-prone ALPS equipment has processed 138,000 tons of contaminated water.”

· November 2014 TEPCO reports 500,000 tons of radioactive water is being stored in 1,000 large tanks, which include costlier new ones less likely to leak AP. Nuclear cleanup at Fukushima plant stymied by water woes November 13, 2014 http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201411130092

· January 15 2015 TEPCO reported it had 280,000 tons in storage and would not be able to meet its promised 2015 deadline (“TEPCO Racing Against Time, 2015)TSUYOSHI NAGANO TEPCO racing against time to process 280,000 tons of tainted water at Fukushima plant. (January 19, 2015)The Asahi Shimbun, http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201501190050

TEPCO has struggled with its ALPS water filtration system from the beginning: the system could not beta-emitters effectively (e.g., strontium and tritium) and was prone to breakdowns.

The new filtration system adopted in the fall of 2014 was an improvement because it removed Strontium but TEPCO announced it would regard water filtered by that system decontaminated, despite its failure to reduce other radionuclides:

Nagano, Tsuyoshi.TEPCO racing against time to process 280,000 tons of tainted water at Fukushima plant January 19, 2015 http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201501190050

The company introduced additional ALPS systems last autumn [fall 2014] to treat up to 1,960 tons of radioactive water a day.

The maximum processing capability was still insufficient to complete procedures by the end of March 2015, so TEPCO later in autumn introduced equipment that only removes strontium, which accounts for a large portion of all radioactive substances in the water. TEPCO has since been working to meet the target date by regarding strontium-free water as being “processed,” even if other radioactive substances remain.

Water filtered for strontium alone is now being designated as “processed,” although TEPCO hopes to get both the new and the old filtering system running together sometime in the spring of 2015.

It seems clear from these news report that water contaminated with beta emitters has very likely been dumped into the Pacific since the Fukushima crisis began. How long will contaminated water continue to be dumped or flow uncontained into the Pacific Ocean? Lack of ongoing sampling on land and in fresh and ocean water may lead scientists to underestimate the long-term effects of the disaster on the environment, particularly the ocean.

REFERENCES

[i] S. Kimura (6 April 2013) ‘120 Tons of Contaminated Water Leaks at Fukushima Nuclear Plant’, The Asahi Shimbun, http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201304060038, date accessed 7 April 2013.

[ii] Yoshida ‘Fukushima No. 1 Can’t Keep its Head Above Tainted Water’.

[iii] ‘TEPCO to Dump Groundwater to Ease Crisis at Fukushima Nuclear Plant’.

http://majiasblog.blogspot.fr/2017/07/tepco-announces-will-dump-radioactive.html

July 16, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | 1 Comment