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Korea Appeals World Trade Organization Ruling on Imports from Fukushima

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Korea Appeals WTO Ruling on Imports from Fukushima
April 10, 2018
The government has appealed a World Trade Organization ruling that accused Korea of violating trade regulations by banning imports of seafood from Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture, which was the site of a massive nuclear power plant meltdown in 2011.
“The nuclear fallout persists in Japan, and the ruling is problematic since it’s our job to make sure the food Koreans eat is safe,” a government spokesman said Monday.
In February of this year, the WTO ruled in favor of Japan, which has demanded Korea lift the ban.
Korea banned imports from the region in 2011, just after a massive earthquake there resulted in the nuclear meltdown. Japan sued Korea at the WTO in 2015.
South Korea appeals WTO ruling against import ban on Japanese seafood
April 10, 2018
South Korea has appealed a World Trade Organization ruling against its restrictions on the import of seafood from eight Japanese prefectures following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The government had earlier vowed to fight the ruling to safeguard public health and safety while keeping the ban in place. Seoul announced its appeal on Monday.
 
In the ruling, announced Feb. 22, the WTO’s dispute settlement panel said the ban was inconsistent with the global trade body’s rules against “arbitrarily or unjustifiably” discriminating against another country, recommending that South Korea take corrective action.
The panel also said a South Korean requirement that Japanese exporters of all marine products submit certificates of inspection if small amounts of radioactive cesium or iodine are detected is an effective barrier to fair trade.
The decision came more than two years after Japan filed a complaint in 2015 over the South Korean ban, claiming it was not based on scientific grounds.
In Tokyo, fisheries minister Ken Saito expressed regret on Tuesday over South Korea’s appeal, telling a news conference it was “extremely regrettable.”
He also said Japan will properly address the matter so that its claims will be accepted by the WTO’s appellate body. In addition, Tokyo will urge Seoul to swiftly lift the ban, Saito said.
Following the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, triggered by a powerful earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, South Korea initially imposed a partial ban on imports of marine products from the eight prefectures due to fears of radioactive contamination.
In September 2013, Seoul expanded the restrictions to bar all fishery products from the eight prefectures and strengthened import regulations.
The eight prefectures are Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba.
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April 15, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima export ban maintained by Hong Kong

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April 10, 2018
Seven years after a tsunami wiped out the nuclear reactors in Fukushima, causing widespread radiation contamination in a largely agricultural region, the Fukushima prefecture continues to struggle in getting crucial overseas markets to accept its produce.
This is despite a charm offensive that saw japanese foreign minister Taro Kono visiting Hong-Kong last weekend for the first time in 21 years to lobby chief executive Carrie Lam to lift a ban on imports from Fukushima and its surrounding region.
Hong-Kong which accounts for a quarter of Japan’s food export trade, is among the 55 countries that have blocked shipments from Fukushima since the 2011 disaster.
Facing resistance
The trip did not go the way Tokyo planned, with Lam expressing her reluctance to reopen trade.
“She emphasized that it is incumbent upon the government to safeguard public health and hence effective measures must be in place to ensure food safety and to maintain public confidence,” a statement issued by Lam’s office read.
The visit came shortly after South Korea announced it would maintain a blanket ban on imports from north-eastern Japan, even though the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled this as “arbitrary and unjustifiable” discriminatory measures.
Korea’s trade ministry stated in March that it would appeal the WTO decision, which is equivalent to a court ruling.
“Despite this ruling, the current import ban will remain in force, and the government will make its utmost efforts to ensure radiation-contaminated food does not reach the dinner table,” it said in a strongly-worded statement, ahead of a likely appeal.
Radiation safe?
Meanwhile a Fukushima flatfish festival in Bangkok was forced to cancel amid pressure from consumer goods watchdogs over radioactive contamination.
According to japanese officials, food from the affected area is safe, with no radiation having been detected in rice since 2015. In January, a safety panel announced that contamination inspections would be phased out in favor of random spot checks, to bring rice in line with the current procedure for fruits and vegetables.
This position is backed up by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, whose director-general publicly ate sweets made from pears and apples grown in Fukushima at an event in Tokyo last May to publicize the safety of produce in the affected area.
“We don’t see any reason to raise concern about the safety of food,” Jose Graziano Da Silva said at the time.
Just a year after the nuclear incident japanese authorities began adopting the strictest radiation standards of any country in the world by lowering the accepted level of contamination by half.
But persuading prime export markets that Fukushima food is safe is proving to be tremendously difficult.

April 15, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Study: Interest on TEPCO loans to cost taxpayers 218 billion yen

“An estimated 218.2 billion yen ($2.06 billion) of taxpayers’ money will be needed to cover the interest on loans extended to Tokyo Electric Power Co. to deal with the Fukushima nuclear disaster.”
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April 10, 2018
An estimated 218.2 billion yen ($2.06 billion) of taxpayers’ money will be needed to cover the interest on loans extended to Tokyo Electric Power Co. to deal with the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The Board of Audit said TEPCO will require a maximum of 34 years to pay off loans totaling 13.5 trillion yen that were provided by financial institutions through the government.
The prediction was made based on an interest rate of 0.1 percent, but the rate could rise.
“The financial burden might increase,” a Board of Audit official said.
The government borrows funds from financial institutions and provides them to TEPCO effectively as interest-free loans via the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. Through the arrangement, the utility can pay compensation to evacuees of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and cover costs for decontamination and other procedures.
The ceiling for those funds was 9 trillion yen in 2013, but the limit was raised to 13.5 trillion yen by 2016.
Profits from TEPCO’s sales of its shares, as well as electricity fees collected by power companies across Japan, will be used to pay back the huge debt. But all interest payments will be covered with taxpayers’ money when the government repays the loans.
The Board of Audit estimates the TEPCO shares will be sold over a period from 19 to 34 years.
If the stock price rises, the loans will be repaid earlier, but a lower share price could lead to a delay in repayment.
During the repayment period, the government will have to pay 143.9 billion yen to 218.2 billion yen in interest, according to the forecast.
Another prediction put the amount of interest between 131.8 billion yen and 202.0 billion yen.
The Board of Audit in 2015 estimated the interest would total 126.4 billion yen.

April 15, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Loading of fuel assemblies begins at Oi plant’s No. 4 reactor

The No. 4 reactor at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture is due to be restarted in mid-May.
Kansai Electric Power Co. has started work to load nuclear fuel into reactor 4 at its Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture.
The operation, which started Sunday, to place 193 uranium fuel assemblies in the reactor is to be completed by Wednesday. Kansai Electric aims to restart the reactor sometime in mid-May.
According to the company, the fuel-loading work started at 10 a.m. using a crane and containers. The operation will continue around the clock.
Reactors 3 and 4 at the Oi plant cleared Nuclear Regulation Authority screenings last year under strict new standards introduced after the March 2011 crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Preparations have been underway to bring the Oi facility’s reactor 3, which was reactivated March 14, into commercial operations mode. Unless any problems are detected in an NRA inspection, the reactor will start commercial operations as early as Tuesday.

April 15, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

15 April – The past week in nuclear news

US, British and French forces  launched air strikes on chemical weapons sites in Syria. Russia claims that most  missiles fired were intercepted by Syrian air defence systems using Soviet-produced hardware.  We all hope that this will not escalate, at present it being a targeted attack in response to Syria’s illegal use of chemical weapons.

Accelerating rate of heat increasing in oceans, especially around Australia. Even America might now wake up to global warming – A major climate boundary in the central U.S. has shifted 140 miles due to global warming

 

Human-caused global warming has contributed to extraordinary change in warm Atlantic current.

Exposing Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weapons link.

Forget Nuclear Power, – The Motley Fool – investing.  Despite the media hype, Thorium Power still a poor investment.

International Energy Agency underestimates renewable energy.

NORTH KOREA. Kim Jong-un will not give up North Korea’s nuclear weapons

USA.  Journalists, bloggers to be scrutinised by U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Donald Trump to demand “full denuclearisation” of North Korea, in exchange for US embassy in Pyongyang’.   Through “back channels”, secret talks go on between USA and North Korea .  Helicopter to monitor radiation ahead of Boston Marathon – precaution in view of terrorism risks. Radioactive Sludge Barrel Ruptures at Idaho Nuclear Site. Nuclear subsidy approved, could cost New Jersey ratepayers $billionsU.S. Navy downplays radioactive soil in San Francisco’s Bayview .  American Geographical Society awards medal to author of “The Legacy of Nuclear Power”

JAPANRadioactively-hot particles detected in dusts and soils from Northern Japan. Few return to Fukushima schools after evacuation lifted. Contractor skimmed pay of Vietnamese trainees doing Fukushima cleanup work. Seven years on, radioactive water at Fukushima plant still flowing into ocean, study finds.  Downplaying: Hokkaido METI bureau requested changes to nuclear energy part of high school lecture.

INDIA. India’s Modi government drastically cutting back on nuclear power plans.

UK. Hinkley Point C – the world’s most financially radioactive energy project.  Protected bird colonies threatened by nuclear power station planned for Wales.  UK Dept. for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) dodges the hard questions about community support for nuclear waste dumping. Cumbria Trust gives advice on UK’s Community Consultation regarding nuclear waste dumping.

SAUDI ARABIASaudi Arabia wants nuclear power, WITHOUT the restrictions against making nuclear weapons.  A USA-Saudi agreement – the path to Saudi Arabia’s nuclear weapons?   Saudi Arabia’s disturbing plans for dumping nuclear waste on the Qatari border.

FRANCE. France’s nuclear regulator finds “a lack of surveillance” in the defective welding in EPR nuclear reactors. EDF warns of delays to Flamanville nuclear plant – it doesn’t augur well for UK’s Hinkley nuclear. Former Prime Minister of Japan ,Naoto Kan draws crowds in France, speaking against nuclear power. No wonder that nuclear company AREVA changed its name (to ORANO): former director indicted for corruption.

AUSTRALIA. Australia’s top secret and expensive shipment of nuclear waste to France.  Bushfires today 15 Aug near Barden Ridge (i.e. Lucas Heights): could they be a threat to the nuclear reactor complex?

SOUTH AFRICA. South Africa: confusion and uncertainty over costly nuclear deal

CHINA. The heavy health and environmental toll of rare earths mining in China.

April 15, 2018 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment