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Nuclear Fuel Retrieval Delayed

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A step in the decommissioning of Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could be delayed by 3 years.

Japan’s government and the plant operator say they need more time before they remove spent nuclear fuel rods in 2 of the reactors. The rods are in storage pools and now won’t be removed until fiscal 2023. They say they first need to remove rubble and radioactive substances.

The plan to remove molten fuel debris has not changed. This step is considered the biggest hurdle to decommissioning the plant.

The plant went into triple meltdown following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. It’s expected to take 40 years to scrap the plant.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/nhknewsline/nuclearwatch/nuclearfuelretrievaldelayed/

September 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Stand in solidarity: Defend the human rights of Fukushima survivors

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Disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima remind the world how dangerous nuclear power is. But right now, the nuclear industry is trying to downplay the risks of a nuclear disaster. In Fukushima radiation exposure is still a very real threat despite failed “decontamination”.

The Japanese government is set to lift evacuation orders in heavily contaminated areas around Fukushima. It will cut compensation and housing support to survivors, who are still struggling six years later.

Their basic rights to health, housing, and environment are being violated. The government is desperately trying to minimize the disaster at the expense of survivors in an attempt to revive the dying nuclear industry and suffocate other cleaner energy sources. We must say no!

Sign now to demand the government provides fair compensation, housing support, and is fully transparent about the radiation risks.

We’ll deliver your signature to the Prime Minister so he hears the global wave of resistance against nuclear!

https://act.greenpeace.org/page/6288/petition/1?en_chan=fb&mode=DEMO&ea.tracking.id=facebook&en_ref=34770595

September 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Cooling systems at five NRA-cleared nuke plants could fail if nearby volcanoes erupt

n-reactors-g-20170920

 

Five nuclear power plants that have passed safety clearances may be at risk of having their cooling systems crippled during huge eruptions of nearby volcanoes, the nation’s nuclear safety watchdog said Monday.

The five plants are Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai and Genkai plants in Kagoshima and Saga prefectures, respectively, the Mihama and Oi plants, both in Fukui Prefecture and run by Kansai Electric Power Co., and the Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture run by Shikoku Electric Power Co.

Additional research and data have revealed that the possible concentration of volcanic ash from huge eruptions could soar up to around 100 times that previously estimated. The findings emerged only after screenings of the plants by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

According to the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, the concentration of volcanic ash that would be spewed could exceed the limit of the plants’ air filters.

In the event that volcanoes nearby erupt, the five plants and eight of their reactors could lose their external power supply and their emergency diesel generators would be rendered useless, according to the nuclear authority.

It now aims to raise the density level of volcanic ash that can affect nuclear plants by 100 times the current level, while pressing utilities to upgrade their air filters.

Reactor No. 3 at the Ikata plant and reactors Nos. 3 and 4 at the Genkai plant top the list of those most likely to be affected by clogged filters.

News of the findings by the NRA followed Kyushu Electric Power’s move Friday requesting that the regulatory agency perform inspections on the No. 4 reactor at the Genkai plant because it aims to put the reactor back online in early March. Pre-operational checks are the last procedure on the list to be carried out before a nuclear reactor can restart.

Kyushu Electric plans to load 193 fuel assemblies into the reactor in February. After reactivating it in early March, commercial operations scheduled to start in April. If things work out as planned, the No. 4 reactor will be active for the first time since December 2011, when it was halted for routine checkups.

On March 11 of that year, reactor cooling systems at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant were crippled following a powerful earthquake and massive tsunami, resulting in the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. The tsunami inundated the six-reactor plant, located 10 meters above sea level, and flooded power supply facilities there.

Reactor cooling systems were crippled. Reactors Nos. 1 to 3 suffered fuel meltdowns, while hydrogen explosions damaged the buildings housing reactors No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4.

The five nuclear plants passed the tougher safety requirements introduced after the Fukushima meltdowns.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/09/19/national/cooling-systems-five-nra-cleared-nuke-plants-fail-nearby-volcanoes-erupt/#.WcGPZBdx3rc

September 20, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Nuclear Lessons Learned: US & Japan NONE!

From Majia’s blog

Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority has bowed to pressure and is allowing TEPCO, a company with a culture that has been berated by this same agency, to re-start reactors:

EDITORIAL: NRA too hasty in giving green light to TEPCO to restart reactors (2017, September 14). The Asahi Shimbun, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201709140030.html

Although the Nuclear Regulation Authority has decided to give the green light to Tokyo Electric Power Co. to restart nuclear reactors, we question the fitness of the utility, which is responsible for the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, to manage nuclear facilities. The NRA has been screening TEPCO’s application to resume operations of the No. 6 and No. 7 boiling-water reactors at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture. The NRA on Sept. 13 acknowledged with conditions that TEPCO is eligible for operating nuclear plants after examining the company’s safety culture and other issues. 

Meanwhile, Japan’s nuclear commission is calling not only for a return to nuclear (with at least 20% of its fuel mix targeted for nuclear), but has also endorsed MOX fuel in a move that defies reason, especially given the conditions of Fukushima reactor 3 (which was running MOX at the time of the accident):

Mari MARI YAMAGUCHI (2017, September 14 ) Japan commission supports nuclear power despite Fukushima. The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com/business/japan-commission-supports-nuclear-power-despite-fukushima/

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s nuclear-policy-setting Atomic Energy Commission issued a report Thursday calling for nuclear energy to remain a key component of the country’s energy mix despite broad public support for a less nuclear-reliant society. The report approved by the commission calls for nuclear energy to make up at least 20 percent of Japan’s supply in 2030, citing the government energy plan. It says rising utility costs from expensive fossil fuel imports and slow reactor restarts have affected Japan’s economy. The resumption of the nuclear policy report is a sign Japan’s accelerating effort to restart more reactors. “The government should make clear the long-term benefit of nuclear power generation …

The report also endorsed Japan’s ambitious pursuit of a nuclear fuel cycle program using plutonium, despite a decision last year to scrap the Monju reactor, a centerpiece of the plutonium fuel program, following decades of poor safety records and technical problems. Japan faces growing international scrutiny over its plutonium stockpile because the element can be used to make atomic weapons. 

And to top it all off, Japan is now setting up its first “restoration hub” in Futaba:

Noriyoshi Otsuki (2017, September 15). First ‘hub’ set up in Fukushima no-entry zone to speed rebuilding. The Asahi Shimbun, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201709150058.html

An area in the no-entry zone of Futaba, a town that co-hosts the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, became the first government-designated “rebuilding hub” after the 3/11 disaster. The designation on Sept. 15 means decontamination will speed up and infrastructure restored so the evacuation order in the town center can be lifted by spring 2022. Most of Futaba is currently located in a difficult-to-return zone because of high radiation levels. Rebuilding efforts have not started there yet, even six-and-a-half years since the nuclear accident unfolded.

As noted in the article, Futaba is located in the difficult to return zone. Here is a screenshot from TEPCO’s 2016 report on air monitoring in the Futaba evacuation zone:

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The air dose in Futaba is very high, with the highest reading reported at 9.6 microsieverts an hour.

Locating the first restoration hub in Futaba, located in close proximity to the still-unstable plant, seems like a propaganda move, rather than a thoughtful risk decision.

Fukushima is still belching radioactivity (especially from unit 3), as illustrated in this screenshot from yesterday:

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The plant is still at risk from earthquakes and lifequefaction.

I must conclude from this series of news reports that neither Japan nor the US are capable of learning when it comes to nuclear policy making.

http://majiasblog.blogspot.fr/2017/09/nuclear-lessons-learned-us-japan-none.html

September 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | 1 Comment

Low 134Cs/137Cs ratio anomaly in the north-northwest direction from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station

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Highlights

We present new data of 134Cs/137Cs around Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
The entire area of the low 134Cs/137Cs ratio anomaly around the FDNPS is revealed.
The low 134Cs/137Cs ratio anomaly is coincident with a plume trace.
The anomaly occurs in the area which had been contaminated before March 13, 2011.

Abstract

A low 134Cs/137Cs ratio anomaly in the north-northwest (NNW) direction from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) is identified by a new analysis of the 134Cs/137Cs ratio dataset which we had obtained in 2011–2015 by a series of car-borne surveys that employed a germanium gamma-ray spectrometer.

We found that the 134Cs/137Cs ratio is slightly lower (0.95, decay-corrected to March 11, 2011) in an area with a length of about 15 km and a width of about 3 km in the NNW direction from the FDNPS than in other directions from the station.

Furthermore, the area of this lower 134Cs/137Cs ratio anomaly corresponds to a narrow contamination band that runs NNW from the FDNPS and it is nearly parallel with the major and heaviest contamination band in the west-northwest.

The plume trace with a low 134Cs/137Cs ratio previously found by other researchers within the 3-km radius of the FDNPS is in a part of the area with the lower 134Cs/137Cs ratio anomaly that we found.

Our result suggests that this lower 134Cs/137Cs ratio anomaly is the area which was contaminated before March 13, 2011 (UTC) in association with the hydrogen explosion of Unit 1 on March 12, 2011 at 06:36 (UTC) and it was less influenced by later subsequent plumes.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0265931X17301947

 

September 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

First ‘hub’ set up in Fukushima no-entry zone to speed rebuilding

Screenshot from 2017-09-20 21-28-38.pngBags of contaminated soil are stored near JR Futaba Station in Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture. The area has become part of the government-designated rebuilding hub.

 

An area in the no-entry zone of Futaba, a town that co-hosts the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, became the first government-designated “rebuilding hub” after the 3/11 disaster.

The designation on Sept. 15 means decontamination will speed up and infrastructure restored so the evacuation order in the town center can be lifted by spring 2022.

Most of Futaba is currently located in a difficult-to-return zone because of high radiation levels. Rebuilding efforts have not started there yet, even six-and-a-half years since the nuclear accident unfolded.

The rebuilding hub covers about 560 hectares of land around Futaba Station, accounting for about 10 percent of the town’s total area. It is almost the same size as an interim storage facility for contaminated soil and other waste that will be built within the town.

The central government will start full-scale decontamination efforts in the hub zone, and plans to initially lift the evacuation order for the area around the station by the end of fiscal 2019 to allow an open thoroughfare and short stays by members of the public.

By spring 2022, the government plans to lift the evacuation order for the entire hub zone. It hopes to bring back 1,400 former residents to the zone by 2027, and also provide homes for about 600 people from outside the town, such as workers at the Fukushima plant.

In the difficult-to-return zone, radiation readings surpassed 50 millisieverts per annum right after the triple meltdown occurred at the plant in 2011. An evacuation order was issued to about 25,000 people in seven municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture, covering 33,700 hectares in total.

The difficult-to-return zones have been excluded from the government’s rebuilding efforts. But a related law was amended in May, and the government is now responsible for rebuilding areas that could be made habitable in the near future after decontamination, meaning a radiation reading of 20 millisieverts per year or less.

In late August, Futaba applied to the government to host a designated rebuilding hub. Other municipalities with difficult-to-return zones are now preparing applications for the program.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201709150058.html

September 20, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Kyushu Electric plans to restart Genkai No. 4 reactor in March

genkai npp.jpgKyushu Electric Power Co. aims to bring the No. 4 unit (left) at its Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture back online in early March.

 

SAGA – Kyushu Electric Power Co. on Friday has asked the Nuclear Regulation Authority to perform pre-operation inspections for the No. 4 reactor at the Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture, telling the regulator it aims to put the reactor back online in early March.

Pre-use checks are the last procedure on the list for restarting a nuclear reactor.

Kyushu Electric plans to load 193 fuel assemblies into the reactor in February. After reactivating it in early March, the utility plans to start commercial operations in April.

If things work out as planned, the No. 4 reactor will be active for the first time since December 2011, when it was halted it for routine checkups.

In January this year, the NRA concluded that the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the plant in the town of Genkai meet the tougher safety standards introduced in July 2013 after the triple core meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 plant in Fukushima Prefecture in March 2011.

The two reactors have passed all screenings required for reactivation. The Saga prefectural and Genkai municipal governments have already approved the restarts.

The No. 3 reactor is currently undergoing pre-use inspections and is expected to go back online in early January.

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.japantimes.co.jp%2Fnews%2F2017%2F09%2F15%2Fnational%2Fkyushu-electric-plans-restart-genkai-no-4-reactor-march%2F%23.Wbv2yrLyu3A&h=ATNLamXCCrPh6XY_RaeC4xDGzLRNIeTPsj1lMSVqe9DYkKBqZbplKHRkPvrBWTrDrl1sfIFuSuMVxqHlQwSl00bd3yfnW-hzr9YKhjURM8CKFWP_cCkDsIiwA6_igmTWjcAYLUSExvuw52tdtNUCIz81HKAvjT2ubbra7dH95Dp9u-Ftq2VJVRPziU21J3EGoYcuIlQkbfDFM7C8iXkJobR12ZAGFYx4G9Vu330iyvNpXXJzU9rpYtgL9ytpKmXP_1y0drRDWcO98YSVMktOm16x46zT0Xz8-JkW9ih6Dg

September 20, 2017 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Trump at UN threatens to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea

Donald Trump threatens to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea in UN speech

President castigates ‘a small group of rogue regimes’
Iran nuclear deal ‘an embarrassment to the United States’,
Guardian, Julian Borger 20 Sept 17, Donald Trump has threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea, in a bellicose first address to the United Nations general assembly in which he lashed out at a litany of US adversaries and called on “righteous” countries to confront them.

The speech was greeted in the UN chamber mostly with silence and occasional outbreaks of disapproving murmurs, as Trump castigated a succession of hostile regimes.

In an address heavy with echoes of George W Bush’s “Axis of Evil” State of the Union address more than 15 years earlier, Trump said: “The scourge of our planet today are a small group of rogue regimes.

“If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph,” the president said.

He first singled out North Korea, recounting its history of kidnapping, oppression, and missile and nuclear tests.

 “The US has great strength and patience,” Trump said. But he added: “If it is forced to defend ourselves or our allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

As alarmed murmurs spread around the hall, Trump had another barb. Using his newly adopted epithet for Kim Jong-un, Trump said: “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”……….

Trump said the Iran nuclear deal, signed by the US under the Obama administration with five other countries two years ago, was “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into”.

“Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States,” he said. “I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it – believe me.”

Trump must decide by 15 October on whether to certify Iranian compliance or not. His threatened withdrawal of presidential endorsement could lead to Congress reimposing nuclear-related sanctions and the collapse of the agreement.

Like much of the 41-minute speech, Trump’s reference to the Iran deal was met by stony silence. The deal is overwhelmingly supported by UN member states, including most of Washington’s closest allies……..

Trump is also almost entirely isolated on climate change. Unlike the other opening speakers, including the UN secretary general, António Guterres, Trump made no mention in his speech of an issue that most other leaders in the chamber consider to be the greatest threat to the world.

When his turn to speak came, Macron insisted that though the Paris climate accord, which Trump said he would leave, could be improved, “it will not be renegotiated”. He said he “profoundly respected” the US decision but said “the door will always be open to them”.

The US president had clearly not come to the UN in the mood to placate foreign leaders, but rather to speak over their heads to his own supporters…… https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/19/donald-trump-threatens-totally-destroy-north-korea-un-speech

September 20, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment