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EDF says individuals detained after breaking into Cruas nuclear plant

“All you need to do is make a hole (in the building) to start a fire,” Yannick Rousselet, Greenpeace France’s chief anti-nuclear campaigner told AFP.

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November 28, 2017

A group of Greenpeace activists broke into a French nuclear plant on Tuesday and scaled the walls of a building containing spent nuclear fuel to highlight security shortcomings at the facility.

Around 20 activists took part in the latest stunt by the environmental campaign group aimed at showing that France’s 58 nuclear reactors are vulnerable to attack.

The group said the protest at Cruas-Meysse plant in the southeastern Ardeche region, which has four reactors, proved that security around spent nuclear fuel pools was particularly lacking.

Four activists scaled one of the buildings containing pools used to cool highly radioactive spent fuel rods and set off flares.

“All you need to do is make a hole (in the building) to start a fire,” Yannick Rousselet, Greenpeace France’s chief anti-nuclear campaigner told AFP.

France’s state-owned energy giant EDF which operates the plant confirmed the intrusion but said that the plant’s safety was never in danger.

Regional security officials said 22 people were arrested, adding they had posed no threat.

The incident is the second of its kind in as many months.

In October, Greenpeace activists got inside a nuclear plant in Cattenom, near the border with Luxembourg, and set off fireworks at the foot of a spent pool.

Four Greenpeace activists scaled one of the buildings at the nuclear plant and set off flares

France is the world’s most nuclear-dependent country, with atomic providing 75 percent of the country’s electricity.

Around a third of all reactors in the country are set to be closed by 2025 under a government plan to boost renewables.

In a report in October Greenpeace noted that most of France’s nuclear plants were built before the rise of threats from non-state terror groups such as the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda and claimed that their defences were weak.
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-11-greenpeace-alarm-nuclear-safety-break-in.html#jCp

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November 28, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Search of Areva’s headquarters in connection with a sale of Nigerian uranium in 2011

I had an executives worst nightmare. My golden handcuffs prevented me from opening my golden parachute.

Paris (AFP)The headquarters of Areva, former French flagship of nuclear already in the heart of the scandal Uramin, was the subject of a search Tuesday as part of an investigation into an allegedly dubious sale of Nigerian uranium in 2011.

The search, which began in the morning at the headquarters of the company in the Paris business district of La Defense, ended around 21H00, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Areva “confirms a search” and “collaborates closely with justice,” said the group in the day, without giving further details.

This operation, carried out by the investigators of the financial brigade of the judicial police, relates to a Nigerian uranium brokerage case that had resulted in significant losses for Areva, told AFP sources close to the case .

The case, dubbed “Uraniumgate”, is the subject of a preliminary investigation opened by the National Public Prosecutor’s Office in 2015.

It broke out in February 2015 with the publication, in the Nigerian weekly Le Courrier, of documents relating to the sale in the fall of 2011 of a large quantity of uranium for $ 320 million.

The stock was initially sold by Areva to a Russian company, Energo Alyans, which later sold it to Optima Energy Offshore in Lebanon.

A few days later, Optima sold the uranium to Niger’s state-owned Niger Mines Corporation (Sopamin). Areva then bought this stock from Sopamin at a price much higher than the price at which it initially sold it.

Retrocommissions?

“It was a trading operation as part of an integrated offer,” said spokesman Areva Christophe Neugnot in April. Clearly, the French group was in contact with an operator interested in buying nuclear power plants who also wanted, in order to secure its supply, to obtain uranium.

“Finally, the sale of the reactor was not made, we bought the uranium”, with ultimately “a loss of 18 million dollars,” added Mr. Neugnot.

Investigators question the capital gains pocketed by intermediaries, including “$ 82 million for Energo Alyans (…), unknown to traders (and) who would have disappeared completely shortly after the facts”, d ‘ after the newspaper Jeune Afrique.

“They want to know if, in general, this montage could have been used to hide commissions or retrocommissions”, according to one of the sources close to the file.

The group is at the center of another investigation into the acquisition of a Canadian mining company, Uramin, which owns three uranium deposits in Africa, for which it paid 1.8 billion euros in 2007.

The operation had turned into a fiasco: after the departure of his boss Anne Lauvergeon, Areva had divided by five the value of the company and passed, at the end of 2011, a heavy provision of 1.5 billion euros.

This controversial buyout is at the heart of two judicial information. One relates to suspicions of fraud and corruption during the acquisition of Uramin, the other concerns the provisions inscribed by Areva, magistrates suspecting group officials for presenting inaccurate accounts to hide the collapse in the value of Canadian society.

Under the leadership of the French state, Areva is engaged in a vast restructuring. Its reactors business should notably come under the control of EDF by the end of the year.

These measures should enable it to recover from heavy setbacks attributable to the setbacks of the construction of its EPR reactor in Finland, the financial fiasco of the acquisition of Uramin and the sluggishness of the atom sector since the Fukushima accident. (Japan) in 2011.

Source French only

https://info.arte.tv/fr/afp/actualites/perquisition-au-siege-dareva-en-lien-avec-une-vente-duranium-nigerien-en-2011

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear sludge at Washington state site put in safer storage

November 28 at 1:33 PM

SNIP

The sludge left over from the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons was transferred from the old single walled tanks into modern double wall tanks that are considered much safer, the U.S. Department of Energy said in a statement provided to The Associated Press Monday.

While the event is regarded as a major milestone for the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the waste removed came from only one of the facility’s 12 tank farms containing radioactive waste.

A government contractor is in the final stages of removing waste from one of the tanks, which has a capacity of 530,000 gallons (2 million liters), the energy department said. It has stored waste since 1947 and officials suspect it has been leaking.

Cleanup of the waste at Hanford has been underway since the 1980s and is expected to last for decades, costing an additional $100 billion.

END SNIP

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/energy-environment/nuclear-sludge-at-washington-state-site-put-in-safer-storage/2017/11/28/9b341d68-d46a-11e7-9ad9-ca0619edfa05_story.html?utm_term=.66ccc9175c13

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vietnamese environmentalist Blogger gets 7 years in prison for writing about cyanide spill – Nguyen Van Hoa #UNHCR @amnesty

They said he was spreading anti-state propaganda.

Blogger Nguyen Van Hoa was handed a seven-year prison sentence by a court in Vietnam for reporting on the aftermath of one of the country’s worst environmental disasters.

Hundreds would get sick as a result of eating fish that had been swimming in cyanide-tainted water.  The chemical spill originated with the factory Formosa Ha Tinh Steel, while simultaneously threatening the livelihoods of workers in the fishing and tourist industries.

In addition to writing about the spill and ensuing protests, Hoa produced videos in the wake of the disaster that began when the Taiwan-owned steel plant sent cyanide, carbolic acids and other deadly toxins out into the South China Sea, reaching 120 miles of coastline, The New York Times reports.

Formosa Ha Tinh Steel

The 22-year-old was arrested in April for disseminating material critical of Vietnam’s one-party government before his brief trial that ultimately ended in a guilty verdict.

After admitting to flushing its chemicals into the water, Formosa Ha Tinh Steel agreed in July 2016 to pay $500 million to compensate for the 70 tons of fish that were killed off and the devastating effect the spill had on the tourism sector.

Joining Hoa behind bars is fellow blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, who was sentenced to 10 years for similar charges in June.

Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh on trial in June in the south central province of Khanh Hoa, Vietnam

Quynh wrote about the Formosa spill as well as other issues such as Chinese economic influence in the country, including the controversial construction of a Beijing-backed bauxite mine.

According to Human Rights Watch, over 105 people are in prison for criticizing the government and engaging in protests.

https://firenewsfeed.com/news/798545

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Playing cards marked with radioactive iodine 125 — Berlin police arrest woman

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German police have arrested a 41-year-old woman on suspicion of rigging card games by dousing specific cards with iodine-125. The cards could then be recognized by a gambler carrying a concealed detector.

German police on Tuesday revealed that they had raided a Berlin restaurant after a trail of radioactive card fragments found at a waste treatment plant was traced back to the premises.

It was there that authorities uncovered and confiscated 13 other cards with traces of the radioactive substance iodine-125, a nuclide commonly used in medicine. A club center, karaoke bar, some offices and an apartment were searched.

Read more:German city of Aachen offers iodine tablets amid nuclear fears

According to the police, the woman was involved in a scheme to rig card games. One of the players would carry a detector under their clothing enabling them to identify certain cards. Police said they were investigating how much the fraudsters might have netted.

Reports suggest that the raided restaurant did not have a gambling license.

The 41-year-old suspect from Berlin’s Marzahn-Hellersdorf district remains under investigation, and could face a fine and up to five years in prison.

Authorities played down the risk of any damaging health effects to those who came in contact with the cards. Even from half a meter away, the dose of radiation on the card could no longer be detected.

However, two local Berlin government agencies said that they had taken precautions by shutting the restaurant and contracting a specialist renovation company to have it cleaned.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodine-125

http://www.dw.com/en/playing-cards-marked-with-radioactive-iodine-berlin-police-arrest-woman/a-41569792

 

Nuclear Hotseat notes for 22 Feb 2017 Iodine 131 in Europe, the evidence!

,,,,,,,,“In November 2011, for example, iodine-131 had been detected in air in several European countries and the survey4 had led to the rejection of iodine-131 from a radioisotope production institute in Budapest ( Hungary). Measurements carried out by the CRIIRAD laboratory in November 2011 confirmed a significant contamination of the vegetation with iodine-131 and iodine-125 in Budapest, several kilometers from this nuclear site.”,,,,,,,,,

Criirad file on the January 2017 release in French concerning Halden nuclear research reactor in Norways September 2016 radioactive Iodine release (use Google translate); http://balises.criirad.org/pdf/CP%20%20CRIIRAD%20170214%20%20I131%20Europe.pdf

,,,,,,,,Eurdep radiation mapping mostly gets switched of when there is an unintended release. This is done by the IAEA to protect the nuclear industry and have it seem in a better light.,,,,,,,,    https://europeannewsweekly.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/nunclear-hotseat-notes-for-22-feb-2017-iodine-131-in-europe-the-evidence/

 

Italian case about stolen medicine affects Denmark

29 August 2014

21 stolen packages of medicine from Italy have probably been sold on the Danish and German markets. The Danish Health and Medicines Authority has asked the company to recall the medicine (the batch).

The stolen packages contain the medicinal product Abilify®, oral solution, 1 mg/ml, which is used for the treatment of schizophrenia and mania. Up to 21 of the packages have been repacked by the company EuroPharmaDK and then sold on the Danish and German markets.

Stolen medicinal products are by definition falsified – even if they are manufactured in the right way – because they have been distributed outside the legal distribution chain. Consequently, we have asked the company to recall any unsold packages of the medicinal product (the batch) from pharmacies.

In connection with its control during the repackaging, EuroPharmaDK found no signs that the contents of the stolen medicine packages have been manipulated. The medicinal product is very stable and there are no special storage requirements. Against this background, we assess that the quality of the medicinal product has not been affected. We recommend that patients in treatment with Abilify oral solution from EuroPharmaDK continue the treatment.

Italian case about stolen medicinal products

The case about stolen medicinal products was first mentioned on our website in April 2014; at that time the case was about cancer medicine.

As the investigation progressed, it was found that the case also involved other types of medicine that were not sold in Denmark. The case is still being investigated in Italy in collaboration with other European authorities. A number of illegal companies have distributed the stolen medicinal products in the legal distribution chain in Europe.

We follow the situation closely and cooperate with other European drug regulatory authorities. When we get new information about the stolen medicine, we will investigate whether the medicine has been distributed to Danish pharmacies or consumers.

Stolen from hospitals in Italy

The medicine was stolen from hospitals and during transportation in Italy. Illegal companies using false authorisations in several European countries then sold the medicine in the legal distribution chain. After having been sold in the legal distribution chain again, the medicine could potentially have been distributed between several authorised wholesalers, all of which have bought the products in good faith just like EuroPharmaDK.

At present, no Danish companies have traded directly with the illegal companies.

So far the investigation in Italy has revealed that the following illegal companies have distributed medicines without holding a valid authorisation:
1. CARNELA LIMITED str. Michalaki Karaoli 8, Nicosia, Cyprus, VAT CY10308068X
2. ABLE POWER INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS str. Podmaniczky Utca 57. 2/14, Budapest, Hungary
3. AVIMAX HEALTH AND TRADE KFT Fòti U. 4 Szàm, HU-2161 Csomàd, Hungary, VAT HU24206028
4. MARS DISTRIBUTIONS KFT Tompa M. Utca 9, HU-8360 Keszthely, Hungary, VAT HU11779074
5. EURORIGA MED Import Export – str. Akademika Mstislava Keldisa Iela 12-158, Riga, Latvia, VAT LV40103517211
6. LATVAMED INTERNATIONAL Imp. Exp – str. Akademika Mstislava Keldisa Iela 12-158, Riga, Latvia, VAT LV40103572887
7. PERSONAL COMMODITY RINGSIDE Municipiul Arad, str.Tribunal Dobra n.18 Judet Arad, Romania, Fiscal code RO31031066 dated 19.12.2012
8. ZEAPHARMA S.R.L , Municipiul Targu Jiu, Victoriei, bloc196, scara 3, etaj 2, ap. 10, Judetul GORJ, Romania (note: Zeapharma is authorised as pharmacy, not as wholesaler)
9. EXIMP AZ – sro, Bratislava, Slovak Republic
10. PIRAMID D.O.O Brniceva Ulica 31, 1231 Ljubljana, Slovenia, VAT 61869937
11. TAIN D.O.O Nova Gorica, str. Kridiceva Ulica n.19, Slovenia, VAT 76488632
12. HILDONS, Feidiou 3, Thessaloniki Greece, VAT number EL 800528668

The below companies holding a valid authorisation have traded directly with the non-authorised companies and then distributed the medicine to a number of European countries:
1. FARMA GLOBAL SNC Via Boscofangone Snc, 80035 Nola, Napoli, VAT 06474151211
2. FARMACEUTICA INTERNAZIONALE SRL Via Dell’industria Snc, 83030 Pietradefusi, Avellino, VAT 02715470643
3. FARMACIA COZZOLINO DI MARIO & CIRO S.N.C. – Corso Italia 15, 80056 Ercolano, Napoli, VAT 02778921219
4. FARMACIA DELLA ROCCA Via Sottotenente Ernesto Cirillo 207, 80041 Boscoreale, Napoli, VAT 06345681214
5. PHARMA-TRADE SPA, Via Roma,12 (Operative site: Via S.Abbondio, 158), 80045 Pompei (NA), VAT 07034161211
6. PHARMASEA Ltd. 11, Dingli Street, Sliema, Malta

The purpose of the further investigation is to unravel the supplier chain following these wholesalers.

https://laegemiddelstyrelsen.dk/en/news/2014/italian-case-about-stolen-medicine-affects-denmark/

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukui Governor OK to Restart Kansai Electric’s Oi Nuclear Plant Reactors N°3 & N°4

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The No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi nuclear plant in Oi, Fukui Prefecture
Fukui gives OK to restart of Kansai Electric’s Oi nuclear plant
FUKUI–Kansai Electric Power Co. has cleared all hurdles toward restarting two reactors at its Oi nuclear power plant early next year after gaining the consent of the prefectural governor here Nov. 27.
The utility plans to resume operations of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors in January and March, respectively.
“I have agreed to the restart after taking into account the position of the Oi town government and Fukui prefectural assembly, as well as the response by the central government and the operator of the plant concerning our request to have an interim storage site for spent nuclear fuel to be built outside the prefecture,” Governor Issei Nishikawa told reporters here the same day.
Nishikawa signed off on Kansai Electric’s request following similar moves by the town government of Oi, which hosts the Oi nuclear plant, the town assembly and the prefectural assembly.
In response to the governor’s request concerning the storage site, Shigeki Iwane, president of Kansai Electric, has already pledged to offer a proposed alternative site next year.
Industry minister Hiroshige Seko, too, vowed that the central government will be involved in drawing up the plan.
Nishikawa pushed for the construction of the interim storage facility outside the prefecture as a condition to agreeing to the restart of the Oi plant.
Five reactors are now operating in Japan after clearing new nuclear regulations established in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Two of the reactors are at Kansai Electric’s Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture.
The Fukui District Court, citing safety concerns, ordered a halt to the operations of Oi’s No. 3 and No. 4 reactors in May 2014.
But Kansai Electric appealed the decision and has since been gearing up to restart the units.
Fukui Gov. OKs restart of 2nd plant in prefecture
FUKUI, Japan (Kyodo) — Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa on Monday gave the go-ahead for Kansai Electric Power Co. to restart two reactors at its Oi nuclear power plant in the central Japan prefecture.
With Fukui also hosting Kansai Electric’s Takahama plant where two reactors have already resumed operation, the planned restart of the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at the Oi complex would make the prefecture the first since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster to have two active nuclear power plants.
The governor conveyed the decision to Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko over the phone Monday.
The Osaka-based utility plans to bring the No. 3 reactor back online in mid-January and restart the No. 4 unit in mid-March.
The two reactors located on the Sea of Japan coast resumed operation in July 2012 under tentative nuclear safety standards set by the then-Democratic Party of Japan government while all other reactors in the country remained idle for checks following the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi complex.
The two reactors at the Oi complex went offline in September 2013 for regular checkups and cleared the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s safety review based on the country’s post-Fukushima screening standards in May.
The Fukui governor’s approval of the restart came after Kansai Electric President Shigeki Iwane said Thursday the utility would decide by the end of 2018 where to set up a storage facility for spent nuclear fuel.
The governor had been requesting the utility’s construction plan for the facility.
Speaking at a press conference, Nishikawa said he has come to the decision after “comprehensively considering opinions of our town and prefectural assemblies as well as responses of the government and the plant operator to an idea of setting up an interim storage facility outside our prefecture.”
The central government is yet to pick a final disposal site for nuclear waste, including spent fuel.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohihide Suga said in a separate press conference it is “extremely meaningful” that the plan to restart the two reactors in Oi has now received approval from the hosting prefecture’s governor.
Suga, however, declined to clarify the government’s stance on the opposition voiced by Taizo Mikazuki, governor of neighboring Shiga Prefecture.
About 20 antinuclear activists gathered in front of the Fukui prefectural government office Monday to show their opposition to the decision.
Jiku Miyazaki, a 73-year-old temple master in Oi, expressed concerns about whether residents can safely evacuate if a nuclear accident occurs.
“Under the current conditions, we won’t be able to evacuate,” Miyazaki said, citing troubles residents encounter when typhoons strike the region.
“We want them to take measures in view of the possibility of the two nuclear plants having accidents at the same time.”
Some residents hope for the economic benefits that an influx of plant workers could promise local businesses.
A man in his 50s said, “Our life here is depending on (the plant). As long as the governor judges it is safe, we need it to be restarted or we will be in trouble.”

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Japan is poised to release into the Pacific one million tons of radioactive water contaminated by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant

Fukushima’s radioactive water grows by 150 tons a day and Japan doesn’t know what to do with it. Scientists vs fishermen and locals conflict.
26 nov icewall 3.png

Japan is poised to flood the Pacific with one million tons of nuclear water contaminated by the Fukushima power plant

Japan urged by experts to gradually release radioactive water into Pacific Ocean
Comes more than six years after tsunami overwhelmed Fukushima nuclear plant
The water is stored on site in around 900 large and densely packed tanks 
But if the tank breaks, the contents may not be able to be controlled 
The Japanese government is being urged by experts to gradually release radioactive water in to the Pacific Ocean more than six years after a tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The water is stored on site in around 900 large and densely packed tanks and could spill should another major disaster strike. 
The government has been urged to release the water into the ocean as all the radioactive elements of the water except tritium – which has been said to be safe in small amounts – have been removed through treatment. 
But if the tank breaks, the contents may not be able to be controlled. 
Local fishermen are extremely hesitant to this solution because many consumers are still uncertain to eat fish caught off Fukushima, despite tests that say the fish is safe to eat. 
Today only about half of the region’s 1,000 fishermen go out and just twice a week because of reduced demand.  
Fumio Haga, a drag-net fisherman, said: ‘People would shun Fukushima fish again as soon as the water is released.’ 
Lab technicians mince fish samples at Onahama port in Iwaki, pack them in a cup for inspection and record details such as who caught the fish and where. 
Packaged fish then sold at supermarkets carry official ‘safe’ stickers.
Only three kinds of fish passed the test when the experiment began in mid-2012, 15 months after the tsunami. 
Over time, that number has increased to about 100.
The fish meet what is believed to be the world’s most stringent requirement: less than half the radioactive cesium level allowed under Japan’s national standard and one-twelfth of the US or EU limit, said Yoshiharu Nemoto, a senior researcher at the Onahama testing station.
The amount of radioactive water at Fukushima is still growing, by 150 tons a day.
The reactors are damaged beyond repair, but cooling water must be constantly pumped in to keep them from overheating. 
That water picks up radioactivity before leaking out of the damaged containment chambers and collecting in the basements.
There, the volume of contaminated water grows, because it mixes with groundwater that has seeped in through cracks in the reactor buildings. 
After treatment, 210 tons is reused as cooling water, and the remaining 150 tons is sent to tank storage. 
During heavy rains, the groundwater inflow increases significantly, adding to the volume.
The water is a costly headache for Tokyo Electric Power Co, the utility that owns the plant. 
To reduce the flow, it has dug dozens of wells to pump out groundwater before it reaches the reactor buildings and built an underground ‘ice wall’ of questionable effectiveness by partially freezing the ground around the reactors.
Another government panel recommended last year that the utility, known as TEPCO, dilute the water up to about 50 times and release about 400 tons daily to the sea – a process that would take almost a decade to complete. 
Experts note that the release of radioactive tritium water is allowed at other nuclear plants. 

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Testimony of a mother who evacuated from Tokyo

Listen to her testimony (in English).
She evacuated from Tokyo to Kobe in west Japan to protect her daughter.
The contamination does not stop at the Fukushima department border. Tokyo is also contaminated.

 

 
Transcription (note 1):
I am standing here to tell you that the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe is not over.
I evacuated to Kansai (note2), three years after the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.
Where do you think I evacuated from?
I evacuated from Tokyo!
Do you know that Tokyo has serious radioactive contamination?
Tens of millions of people in east Japan live with radioactive contamination now.
I have a daughter who was 5 years old at the time of the accident.
She became very sick one year after the accident.
In fact, my daughter became so sick that she could not live a normal life at all.
However, when she stayed in a place where there was no radioactive contamination, my daughter became so well. But when we returned to Tokyo, my daughter became sick again.
We did not have the option to stay in Tokyo, we just fled from Tokyo and came here.
Living in east Japan means living with many radioactive materials, and it is not a place where people can live healthily.
We are calling for evacuation to west Japan.
We are evacuees from eastern Japan.
Our existence will not be broadcasted on radio waves or published in newspapers. So, I am telling you about it now.
After the accident, we were told that radiation was not a problem, health damages would not occur.
But it was not true.
Many of us have evacuated from east to west due to various health problems.
Many people are getting sick today in east Japan.
People are dying without noticing that it is due to radiation.
Many Japanese can not face this nuclear catastrophe.
Please try to know what is going on in Japan now.
We are telling the world that the nuclear disaster is far from being over.
 
 
Note 1: We thank Ms Yoko Chase for her proofreading of the text prepared by Ms Yoko Shimozawa.
Note 2: The region in west Japan, including large cities such as Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe.

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima ‘ice wall’ linchpin not living up to high hopes

26 nov 2017 icewall
Although 34.5 billion yen ($309 million) in taxpayer money has funded an “ice wall” to keep out groundwater from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant site, the frozen barrier may not be meeting hopes and expectations.
In particular, the wall has been vulnerable to heavy rain brought by typhoons.
Reducing the volume of radiation-contaminated water is vital to proceeding with the removal of melted fuel from the reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant so it can be decommissioned.
But officials of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, are still not completely sure if the ice wall is performing as designed.
Heavy rain appears to pose a major problem because the ice wall has so far proved incapable of stopping groundwater when typhoons have passed near the plant.
In theory, the ice wall should serve as a dam to prevent groundwater from the mountainside of the plant from flowing into the reactor buildings.
The total length of the wall is about 1,500 meters, and the wall surrounds the reactor and turbine buildings of four reactors at the No. 1 plant. Pipes have been buried about 30 meters deep at one-meter intervals.
26 nov icewall 2.png
Liquid at temperatures of minus 30 degrees have been poured into the pipes to freeze the surrounding ground. Freezing of the final section of the wall began on Aug. 22, but TEPCO officials on Nov. 22 still stopped short of offering an assessment of whether the ice wall was actually working as planned.
Utility officials have said that after about two months, ground temperatures where the freezing had begun have fallen below 0 degrees.
The estimated volume of groundwater that has leaked into the reactor and other buildings was 190 tons a day at the start of 2016, but it had decreased to 110 tons a day by early October.
However, the situation changed dramatically when two typhoons passed by in late October.
The groundwater level rose rapidly and the average daily flow of groundwater into the building basements for October was estimated to be 310 tons. That was close to the 400 tons that was flowing into the building basements before any measures were implemented to deal with the contaminated water.
There was no realistic expectation of building a ice wall that would keep out all groundwater because the pipes had to be buried in a way that would avoid underground piping from the reactors that were already in place. That meant there were underground portions that could not be frozen.
Masashi Kamon, a professor emeritus at Kyoto University who specializes in environmental geotechnics, said TEPCO should have considered a number of measures to stem the flow of groundwater from the long-term perspective of eventually removing the melted fuel from the reactors.
Another measure that is receiving more attention of late is pumping up groundwater from the 42 wells located around the reactor buildings and releasing it into the ocean. TEPCO plans to double the number of pumps and processing capacity of decontamination facilities by early 2018.
But other measures will likely have to be considered before work can begin to remove melted fuel from the reactor cores. The first step would be to remove as much as possible the highly radioactive water that remains in the reactor building basements. Such water poses a huge risk to the workers who will have to enter the buildings to remove the fuel.
Toyoshi Fuketa, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, said the ice wall was a measure implemented when the situation was much more serious, but that now is the time for calmer consideration about whether that investment of time and money was the proper one.

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Japan still at a stalemate as Fukushima’s radioactive water grows by 150 tons a day

fukushimas-radioactive-water-grows.jpg
A Tepco official wearing radioactive protective gear stands in front of Advanced Liquid Processing Systems during a media tour at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in November 2014.
ONAHAMA, FUKUSHIMA PREF. – More than six years after a tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Japan has yet to reach consensus on what to do with a million tons of radioactive water, stored on site in around 900 large and densely packed tanks that could spill should another major earthquake or tsunami strike.
The stalemate is rooted in a fundamental conflict between science and human nature.
Experts advising the government have urged a gradual release to the Pacific Ocean. Treatment has removed all the radioactive elements except tritium, which they say is safe in small amounts. Conversely, if the tanks break, their contents could slosh out in an uncontrolled way.
Local fishermen are balking. The water, no matter how clean, has a dirty image for consumers, they say. Despite repeated tests showing most types of fish caught off Fukushima are safe to eat, diners remain hesitant. The fishermen fear any release would sound the death knell for their nascent and still fragile recovery.
“People would shun Fukushima fish again as soon as the water is released,” said Fumio Haga, a drag-net fisherman from Iwaki, a city about 50 kilometers (30 miles) down the coast from the nuclear plant.
And so the tanks remain.
Fall is high season for saury and flounder, among Fukushima’s signature fish. It was once a busy time of year when coastal fishermen were out every morning.
Then came March 11, 2011. A magnitude 9 offshore earthquake triggered a tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people along the coast. The quake and massive flooding knocked out power for the cooling systems at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Three of the six reactors had partial meltdowns. Radiation spewed into the air, and highly contaminated water ran into the Pacific.
Today, only about half of the region’s 1,000 fishermen go out, and just twice a week because of reduced demand. They participate in a fish testing program.
Lab technicians mince fish samples at Onahama port in Iwaki, pack them in a cup for inspection and record details such as who caught the fish and where. Packaged fish sold at supermarkets carry official “safe” stickers.
Only three kinds of fish passed the test when the experiment began in mid-2012, 15 months after the tsunami. Over time, that number has increased to about 100.
The fish meet what is believed to be the world’s most stringent requirement: less than half the radioactive cesium level allowed under Japan’s national standard and one-twelfth of the U.S. or EU limit, said Yoshiharu Nemoto, a senior researcher at the Onahama testing station.
That message isn’t reaching consumers. A survey by the Consumer Affairs Agency in October found that nearly half of Japanese weren’t aware of the tests, and that consumers are more likely to focus on alarming information about possible health impacts in extreme cases, rather than facts about radiation and safety standards.
Fewer Japanese consumers shun fish and other foods from Fukushima than before, but 1 in 5 still do, according to the survey. The coastal catch of 2,000 tons last year was 8 percent of pre-disaster levels. The deep-sea catch was half of what it used to be, though scientists say there is no contamination risk that far out.
Naoya Sekiya, a University of Tokyo expert on disaster information and social psychology, said that the water from the nuclear plant shouldn’t be released until people are well-informed about the basic facts and psychologically ready.
“A release only based on scientific safety, without addressing the public’s concerns, cannot be tolerated in a democratic society,” he said. “A release when people are unprepared would only make things worse.”
He and consumer advocacy group representative Kikuko Tatsumi sit on a government expert panel that has been wrestling with the social impact of a release and what to do with the water for more than a year, with no sign of resolution.
Tatsumi said the stalemate may be further fueling public misconception: Many people believe the water is stored because it’s not safe to release, and they think Fukushima fish is not available because it’s not safe to eat.
The amount of radioactive water at Fukushima is still growing, by 150 tons a day.
The reactors are damaged beyond repair, but cooling water must be constantly pumped in to keep them from overheating. That water picks up radioactivity before leaking out of the damaged containment chambers and collecting in the basements.
There, the volume of contaminated water grows, because it mixes with groundwater that has seeped in through cracks in the reactor buildings. After treatment, 210 tons is reused as cooling water, and the remaining 150 tons is sent to tank storage. During heavy rains, the groundwater inflow increases significantly, adding to the volume.
The water is a costly headache for Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the utility that owns the plant. To reduce the flow, it has dug dozens of wells to pump out groundwater before it reaches the reactor buildings and built an underground “ice wall” of questionable effectiveness by partially freezing the ground around the reactors.
Another government panel recommended last year that the utility, known as Tepco, dilute the water up to about 50 times and release about 400 tons daily to the sea — a process that would take almost a decade to complete. Experts note that the release of tritiated water is allowed at other nuclear plants.
Tritiated water from the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the United States was evaporated, but the amount was much smaller, and still required 10 years of preparation and three more years to complete.
A new chairman at Tepco, Takashi Kawamura, caused an uproar in the fishing community in April when he expressed support for moving ahead with the release of the water.
The company quickly backpedaled, and now says it has no plans for an immediate release and can keep storing water through 2020. Tepco says the decision should be made by the government, because the public doesn’t trust the utility.
“Our recovery effort up until now would immediately collapse to zero if the water is released,” Iwaki abalone farmer Yuichi Manome said.
Some experts have proposed moving the tanks to an intermediate storage area, or delaying the release until at least 2023, when half the tritium that was present at the time of the disaster will have disappeared naturally.

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Cover-Up and Denial

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Adam Broinowski, visiting research fellow at The Australian National University, 2017
Faced with the post-3.11 reality of government (and corporate) policy that protects economic and security interests over public health and well-being, the majority of the 2 million inhabitants of Fukushima Prefecture are either unconscious of or have been encouraged to accept living with radioactive contamination…
As Fukushima city resident Shiina Chieko observed, the majority of people seem to have adopted denial as a way to excise the present danger from their consciousness. Her sister-in-law, for example, ignored her son’s ‘continuous nosebleeds’, while her mother had decided that the community must endure by pretending that things were no different from pre-3.11 conditions. [Source: Shiina Chieko, interview with the author]…
Some, such as Yokota Asami (40 years old), a small business owner and mother from Kōriyama (60 km from FDNPS), demonstrated initiative in voluntarily evacuating her family. She decided to return (wearing goggles and a mask, she joked) in September 2011 when her son’s regular and continuous nosebleeds (in 30-minute spells) subsided. The Yokotas found themselves the victims of bullying when they called attention to radiation dangers… Her son was the only one to put up his hand when he was asked along with 300 fellow junior high school students if he objected to eating locally produced school lunches. He also chose not to participate in outdoor exercise classes and to go on respite trips instead. When it came time to take the high school entrance exam, he was told by the school principal that those who took breaks could not pass. He took the exam and failed. When he asked to see his results he found that he had, in fact, enough points to pass (the cut-off was 156 while he received 198 out of 250 points). [Source: Yokota Asami, interview with the author]…
Asami reported that doctors undertook paediatric thyroid operations while denying any correlation (inga kankei) with radiation exposures. They also urged their patients to keep their thyroid cancer a secret… Yokota also indicated she knew of students having sudden heart attacks and developing leukaemia and other illnesses. [Source: Yokota Asami, interview with the author]
This seems to be supported by Mr Ōkoshi, a Fukushima city resident, whose two daughters experienced stillbirths after 3.11. While Ōkoshi found that doctors have regularly advised women in the area to abort after 3.11, presumably to avoid miscarriages and defects, they do not discuss direct causes. He also observed regular illnesses experienced by many of his friends, and some sudden deaths. After a friend (62 years old) started saying strange things, he was diagnosed with brain dysfunction. He died quickly. Another friend (53 years old) was advised by a doctor to monitor a polyp in her breast. When she sought second opinions, she discovered she had accumulated an internal dose of 22 mSv and had a rapidly developing liver cancer. She also died quickly. [Source: Mr Ōkoshi, interview with the author]
There are many more such stories that are being actively ignored by the authorities. As Shiina put it, ‘we’re getting leukaemia and cataracts and we die suddenly. The TEPCO registrar has been inundated with complaints’. [Source: Shiina Chieko, interview with the author]

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

New Study: Over a Trillion becquerels of Fukushima radiocesium fell on Hawaii

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University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Oct 31, 2017
Fukushima-derived radiocesium fallout in Hawaiian soils… This study estimated the magnitude of cesium deposition in soil, collected in 2015-2016, resulting from atmospheric fallout… Detectable, Fukushima-derived 134Cs inventories ranged from 30 to 630 Bq m-2 and 137Cs inventories ranged from 20 to 2200 Bq m-2… This research confirmed and quantified the presence of Fukushima-derived fallout in the state of Hawai’i in amounts higher than predicted by models and observed in the United States mainland…
The Hawaiian Islands were expected to get minimal, below 10 Bq m-2 or lower, of Fukushima-derived fallout…
Fukushima-derived soil radiocesium concentrations, were greater than anticipated based on model-predicted Pacific atmospheric dispersion rates…
Maximum estimated values of 134Cs fallout on the islands of Hawaii and O’ahu constrained by precipitation and data from sites with less than 70% canopy cover were obtained by linear interpolation of all measured soil cesium concentrations, resulting in 134Cs fallout ranging from < 60 to 1000 Bq m-2 [According to this study, “The Fukushima-derived fallout… 134Cs to 137Cs ratio was 1:1” — therefore 137Cs fallout from Fukushima was also 60 to 1000 Bq m-2, making the total radiocesium 120 to 2000 Bq m-2. Compare this to the study’s previous statement that “The Hawaiian Islands were expected to get minimal, below 10 Bq m-2 or lower, of Fukushima-derived fallout”]…
Using the conservative values and integrating over the whole area with rainfall above 200 mm, we estimate that the island of Hawaii received 1.50 x 10^12 Bq [1.5 Trillion Bq] of 134Cs and 137Cs, each isotope contributing 50%, between March 19 and April 4, 2011…
Atmospheric dispersion models predicted the majority of the plume to travel a more northern route over the Aleutian Islands… however, suggesting that the Fukushima-derived aerosol plume may have taken an alternative southern path. Our radiocesium fallout inventories are comparatively higher than those estimated and measured in North America. Previous research that used whole-water wet deposition to predict ‘its fallout in North America estimated up to 180 Bq m -2 in Alaska, 46 Bq m -2 in California, and 29 Bq m -2 in Washington State…
This is the first study to our knowledge studying Fukushima-derived fallout in the Pacific Islands…
Fukushima-derived radiocesium fallout in Hawaiian soils

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | 1 Comment