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Okuma-Futaba Incineration & Storage Facility

Official storage of contaminated soil begins in Fukushima

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Contaminated soil produced during cleanup in communities affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster is carried on belt-conveyers covered with plastic sheets at an interim storage site in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Oct. 28.
OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–Hailed by the government as a major step to rebuilding, radioactive soil from the cleanup of municipalities impacted by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster began arriving at an interim storage site here on Oct. 28.
However, officials and residents with the towns of Okuma and Futaba fear the repository may end up being permanent as finding a final resting place outside Fukushima Prefecture is expected to be extremely difficult.
Still, local governments welcomed the start since rebuilding has been hampered by the countless number of bags containing polluted soil that have been kept in backyards.
“We are hoping to remove as many bags of contaminated soil as possible from people’s living spaces,” said Tadahiko Ito, vice environment minister who inspected the site on Oct. 28.
All the soil there is supposed to be taken out of the prefecture by March 2045 for final disposal under the law.
The repository began operating at the site, where soil from low-level pollution will be kept after being brought in via a belt-conveyor system. Bulldozers will afterward flatten the surface.
After a certain amount of soil is brought in, the ground will be covered with uncontaminated soil. The site can hold about 50,000 cubic meters of soil, according to the Environment Ministry, which oversees the project.
The ministry began building the interim storage facility about a year ago. As of the end of September, contracts had been signed for about 40 percent of the 1,600 hectares of land needed for storage in Okuma and Futaba, which co-host the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
A total of seven facilities will be built to keep polluted soil.
The ministry also plans to complete two facilities to store more radioactive waste in fiscal 2019.
Overall construction costs are estimated at 1.1 trillion yen ($9.67 billion) for all the interim storage facilities.
They can store up to 22 million cubic meters of soil and other waste.
According to the ministry, about 15.2 million cubic meters of contaminated soil from decontamination work are piled up or buried at about 150,000 location in Fukushima Prefecture, including plots near houses and schoolyards.
The ministry envisages moving 12.5 million cubic meters of the total to the interim sites by the end of March 2021.

Sprawling radioactive waste storage facility opens for business in Fukushima

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A new facility in the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, starts storing radioactive waste generated by the 2011 nuclear crisis on Saturday.
The government’s new radioactive waste storage facility in Fukushima Prefecture kicked into full gear on Saturday after completing a roughly four-month trial run.
While the facility near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex is designed to store soil and other tainted waste collected during decontamination work for up to 30 years, it remains only half complete six years after the triple core meltdown struck in March 2011.
An estimated 22 million cu. meters of contaminated waste exists in Fukushima, but the facility does not yet have enough capacity to store it all, and residents fear it will sit there permanently in the absence of a final disposal site.
The government has been able to buy only 40 percent of the land so far but eventually plans to secure 1,600 hectares for the facility, which is expected to generate ¥1.6 trillion ($14.1 billion) in construction and related costs.
The storage facility is urgently needed to consolidate the 13 million cu. meters of radioactive waste scattered around the prefecture. The prolonged disposal work, among other concerns, is said to be keeping residents away from their hometowns even when the evacuation orders are lifted.
Also on Saturday, the government began full operation of a facility where waste intended for incineration, such as trees and plants, is separated from the rest.
Contaminated soil is sorted into different categories depending on cesium level before storage.

Work to store tainted soil at Fukushima facility begins

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Tainted soil is brought into an interim storage facility for radioactive waste in Fukushima Prefecture on Saturday.
FUKUSHIMA (Jiji Press) — The Environment Ministry started Saturday bringing tainted soil to one of its interim storage facilities for radioactive waste in Fukushima Prefecture.
Soil generated from work to decontaminate areas hit by fallout from the March 2011 triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.’s disaster-damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has temporarily been piled up in about 1,100 places within the prefecture.
Shifting the soil and other radioactive waste to the storage facilities, to be finally built on a 1,600-hectare site straddling the towns of Okuma and Futaba, is expected to make it smoother to reconstruct areas devastated by the nuclear accident as well as the massive earthquake and tsunami that triggered the accident.
On Sunday, 36 cubic meters of contaminated soil arrived at the facility from a temporary storage in Okuma.
“I hope all tainted soil and other waste will be removed from living spheres in the prefecture as soon as possible,” State Environment Minister Tadahiko Ito told reporters after watching the work.
But over 60 percent of the overall construction site remained to be acquired as of the end of September, and facilities to burn plant waste and store ashes with high cesium levels have yet to be built.
Please read also these related articles :
Issues of Incineration Disposal of Agricultural and Forestry Radioactive Wastes in Fukushima Prefecture by Toshikazu Fujiwara
How long shall we accept Japan to pollute our skies with incineration of radioactive materials?
About the Incineration of Fukushima Decontaminated Soil and Debris


October 30, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO to scrap all 1,010 vehicles contaminated in nuclear disaster

TEPCO to scrap all 1,010 vehicles contaminated in nuclear disaster
1,010 only? Meaning to say that out of a 2 millions population in Fukushima prefecture, on March 2011 no other vehicle was contaminated, only 1,010 vehicles at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were contaminated…..What about the other cars, those contaminated outside of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, I mean those which were not sold and exported to Russia and to some other countries as second hand cars by some very honest Japanese businessmen?
I remember that the Russian Customs spotted and blocked entry to quite a few of those unaccounted contaminated cars in 2011, 2012, 2013…..That those cars were approved for export by the Japanese government authorities is beyond my understanding, no wonder that all those people’s contaminated vehicles were conveniently ignored and unaccounted for..…
It seems like a fairly large number for cars used on-site, and I wonder if TEPCO bought out some of those tainted cars from the owners (and then continued using them?) or if they were company cars from the start…?
Those 1,010 vehicles will be scrapped and sent where? Sold to some scrap dealer who will sell them to yakuza who will sell to….?
The red sticker shows that this vehicle was contaminated during the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It is designated for use only on the site of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
All 1,010 vehicles contaminated by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster that are currently designated for use at the crippled plant will be scrapped by the end of fiscal 2020, the plant operator said.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. officials said it is now undesirable for automobiles tainted with radioactive substances to continue operating at the site of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which is becoming cleaner thanks to decontamination and other efforts.
The officials said Oct. 12 that all contaminated vehicles will be replaced with clean automobiles.
The decision was announced when members of the Fukushima prefectural government’s panel on occupational safety and health measures inspected facilities at the plant, including one for dismantling contaminated vehicles.
The panel includes experts in nuclear power technology and local government officials.
TEPCO officials said about 1,100 vehicles for business use and 600 automobiles of workers were at the plant site when the disaster unfolded.
Currently, 1,010 contaminated automobiles have red stickers showing that they were contaminated in the disaster.
However, 181 of them have fallen into disuse and others have long remained idle. That has caused problems, including a shortage of parking spaces.

October 30, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Newspaper changes an “annoying” photo: Facts are disappearing from the media

It has been a constant practice in the past 6 years for the Japanese media to change the wording of an already released article or its title or its illustrating photo if it annoys the authorities, sometimes the whole article becoming suppressed. That permanent tight censorship has been very effective in minimizing the facts about the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in the mind of the general Japanese population.
I cannot count the number of times that I have copied an article on a word document for safekeeping, so as to repost it on my blog later, to later find that it had been altered or that it had been removed.
Facts are disappearing from the media
When we are outside of Fukushima, or of Japan, it is difficult for us to realize to what extent it has become difficult to speak of radio-contamination and the risk of exposure.
To illustrate this, we are reporting on the case of a photo replacement in the Mainichi Shimbun. This took place only in the Japanese edition. The original photo seems to have remained in the English edition.
On October 21, the Mainichi Shimbun reported the reopening of a part of the JR East line under the title: “JR East partially reopens line halted since 2011 nuclear disaster“. In this article, the Mainichi published a photo of a train leaving the newly opened Tomioka station. (If it is impossible to open the article, here is the web archive).
Above is the original picture (used also in the Japanese 1st version) with the caption : “A train leaves Tomioka Station in Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, after services on the JR Joban Line were resumed between Tomioka and Tatsuta on Oct. 21, 2017. (Mainichi)”.
As you can see, the picture cleary tries to attract the attention of the readers to the black bags containing contaminated waste. In fact, the Japanese caption mentions also: “In the foreground, a temporary storage site of bags containing decontamination waste”. You can see other pictures here by the same photographer.
The photo above received a large number of complaints and protests. People basically complained: “why stain the joyful event with such a picture?”.
Here is the link to the togetter (in Japanese) through which you can see in what kind of language these people protesting against the first picture express themselves. They are pointing out crudely “the malicious intention” of the Mainichi Shimbun to devalue the event and the reconstruction of Fukushima.
The result is that the Mainichi Newspaper replaced the original photo with the one below.
You can see the Japanese article with the replaced picture here. (If it is impossible to open the article, here is the web archive).
A resident of Fukushima prefecture commented as below in his Facebook:
“In Fukushima, private protests (translator’s note: especially on the Internet), forced a TV programme to change the title of a documentary. The same people made the Mainichi Newspaper change the article (translator’s note : change the photo). The original photo was exposed to the pressure of the  pro- “reconstruction/rehabilitation of Fukushima” people, saying “don’t hinder the delightful event (with such a picture)”. This seems to indicate the end of the journalism.
The two pictures both represent the same reality. Even a picture cannot be spared of interference or censorship.
I wanted to let you know the fact. The most important function of journalism — to find facts, even painful for certain people, and to use them to solve problems — is disappearing. We are going through such an era. 
These people (exercising the pressure) are the same as those who are upset and angry because “the media are only reporting on the voluntary evacuees and not on Fukushima residents”.
On August 2, 2017, the Mainichi Shimbun reported the incident of the modification of a TV documentary title (in Japanese) to which the author above is referring. The title of the documentary, “The reality after 63 years of the Bikini accident: the expected future of Fukushima” which was supposed to go on air, was exposed to criticism saying that the sub-title suggests that the same kinds of health hazards are expected to occur in Fukushima prefecture.  Succumbing to pressure TV Asahi decided to eliminate the subtitle, “the expected future of Fukushima,” (translator’s note: to erase the implied connection to the health problems of the Bikini nuclear test). (If the link is broken, please see this web archive).
What is worrying here is that these censorship pressures are not from governmental authorities, but from citizens. Now, the majority of people living in or outside of Fukushima don’t believe in the reality of radiation-related health hazards.  They react aggressively against anything which reminds them of such health risks.  Imagine that when you speak up or when you write about radiation risks you become the object of bullying. You have to have an iron nerve to continue, especially if you have your own family members to protect from social bullying.  The fact that the authorities don’t recognize such health risks favors this antagonism.
This phenomenon is not particular to Japan. It is NOT to be explained by cultural characteristics. It happens everywhere in the world. We saw it happen in Tchernobyl, in the US and in France. People deny the radiation effects or comparisons with those of Bikini Atoll or Marshall Islands because it makes the place or people feel or look bad and speaking of it becomes taboo, even though there is a factual base behind it. (It is probably worse now because of social media — comments are extremely emotional, violent and destructive toward others).
As we can see from the above incidents, facts are disappearing from all kinds of media. The media and government are censoring the facts and the public are censoring themselves and each other.  Lets be aware of it.
If you appreciate the photo in the English edition and the first Japanese edition of the Mainichi Shimbun with black bags in the foreground, please write encouraging comments to the Mainichi Shimbun.
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October 30, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment