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16.33uSv/h on Route 114, Fukushima

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16.33uSv/h on Route 114, Fukushima, which is over 70 times as high as the decontamination level. The very highway where the gov. lifted a ban on vehicular traffic.

August 1, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO to open museum to display decommissioning process for Fukushima reactors

31 july 2018 tomioka museum.jpg
A rendering of a stage, which projects the life-size cross-section of a nuclear reactor, enabling visitors to see inside of the reactor that suffered a meltdown, using computer graphics and actual footage.
July 31, 2018
TOMIOKA, Fukushima — Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced on July 27 that it will open a museum here to display exhibitions in relation to the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster and its decommissioning work.
The exhibition, which is scheduled to start in November 2018, will mostly display films in which actors re-enact scenes in the form of dramas, to inform visitors of how the Fukushima nuclear disaster that began on March 11, 2011, was handled and follow-up work, in sections titled, “Memories and records” and “Reflections and lessons.” On a different floor, drama footage introducing measures taken to lower the risk of decommissioning work and descriptions of the enormous worksite will be screened in sections titled, “Conditions at the scene” and “Progress of the work.”
There will also be a stage in which a life-size cross-section of a nuclear reactor is projected, using both computer graphics and actual footage. Visitors can also experience a simulation of the situation at the time of the meltdowns and see images of the actual debris.
Makoto Okura, head of TEPCO’s Fukushima Revitalization Headquarters, stated at a press conference, “I want the museum to serve as a venue for people hesitant to come back to local areas to understand what kind of accident it was, and what it’s like in reality.”
The venue for the museum will be a refurbished former Energy Kan building in the Fukushima Prefecture town of Tomioka, which was shut down after the disaster. The exhibition space is approximately 1,900 square meters spread over two stories. Entry to the museum will be free.

August 1, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Unit 2 Refueling Floor Work Poses Risks

Work has begun on the unit 2 refueling floor at Fukushima Daiichi. Previously, TEPCO installed a controlled building on the side of unit 2. This building provides filtered ventilation and a staging area. It will allow workers to send equipment into the reactor building refueling floor. The wall between the two buildings was opened earlier this spring.
After the initial disaster it that unit 2 was creating the most significant radiation releases to the environment.  The highest of the three units that melted down. In 2012 an obvious steam leak from the reactor well was discovered via TEPCO images.
TEPCO eventually put a filtration system on the building. This prevented radiation releases to the environment. The future plans for this unit include removing the entire refueling floor level. The roof and walls down to the refueling floor deck are to be removed. Then a new cover building with replacement systems will be installed. Workers are still unable to enter the refueling floor area. High radiation levels prevent human entry. Only robots have entered. TEPCO has not addressed this radiation risk during the demolition and construction phase. Earlier reporting mentioned the planned use of dust suppressants during the demolition work. There is no management plan for potential radiation releases from the reactor well.
TEPCO’s schedule shows they may begin removing equipment from inside unit 2’s refueling floor as early as mid-July. The building demolition and spent fuel removal schedule is still somewhat vague. This is dependent on other work completion.

August 1, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Gov’t, TEPCO consider starting removal of debris from 2nd reactor at Fukushima nuke plant

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The inside of the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is seen in this frame grab from video provided by the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID).
TOKYO — The government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) are considering starting the removal of molten nuclear fuel from the No. 2 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, people familiar with the matter have told the Mainichi Shimbun.
Three of the four reactors at the plant in the northern Japanese prefecture of Fukushima suffered core meltdowns after the reactors’ cooling systems shut down due to tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011.
According to the sources, an on-site inspection of molten fuel debris inside the reactor’s containment vessel using remote control equipment will be conducted this fiscal year. Data from the test, such as the hardness of the debris and whether it is movable, will be used to develop equipment to remove and store the highly radioactive materials.
Under the road map for decommissioning the power plant revised in September last year, the government and TEPCO are to decide on a reactor on which to start debris removal and determine how to carry out the procedure by March 2020, the end of next fiscal year. Actual removal is scheduled to begin in 2021.
In January of this year, the government and TEPCO managed to insert a pipe with a camera into the No. 2 reactor’s containment vessel and captured the image of gravel- or clay-like deposits believed to be fuel debris on the floor.
According to the people familiar with the matter, the government and TEPCO have judged that it is necessary to further examine the conditions of the No. 2 reactor as a possible starting point for fuel debris removal, since inspections needed for such an operation have progressed further on the No. 2 unit more than on the other two reactors that suffered core meltdowns in 2011.
The government and TEPCO will carry out the new probe in the fall or later of this year by inserting a camera-equipped pipe attached with a device capable of directly touching the debris, which will gather data on the reactor’s current conditions. The debris is not taken out of the containment vessel at any point of this survey. In the next fiscal year starting April 2019, they will consider examining wider areas inside the containment vessel and recovering a small sample of molten fuel for analysis ahead of full-fledged extraction in 2021.
As for the other reactors, the No. 3 unit has water inside the containment vessel, the removal of which is difficult, although images of what appeared to be fuel debris were captured inside the reactor in July 2017. The No. 1 reactor, meanwhile, will receive another probe to determine the existence of molten fuel inside because an inspection carried out in March last year failed to spot any debris.
TEPCO will shortly submit a plan for the examination of the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors’ interior for fiscal 2019 and later to the Nuclear Regulation Authority.
(Japanese original by Toshiyuki Suzuki and Ei Okada, Science & Environment News Department)

August 1, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO’s Plan For Some Of The More Dangerous Work At Daiichi

Soon after the disaster workers at the plant discovered that their dosimeters would high radiation alarm then be unable to give a reading when they approached the unit 1-2 shared vent tower. This was an indication that radiation levels near the tower were so high that their dosimeters were unable to accurately read the level. One of the most dangerous places at Fukushima Daiichi may undergo work to reduce the ongoing risk.

One of the two units connected to this vent tower ejected considerable amounts of radioactive materials via the tower during the initial disaster. The area has been declared off limits with shielding walls installed. Closer inspection with cameras and drones showed that the tower had suffered structural damage and was at risk of collapse or further damage. Since then TEPCO and the research agencies tasked with disaster clean up at the site have been working on a plan to dismantle the tower.

The current plan includes a complex series of machines and equipment designed specifically for this task. The work would remove the upper portions of the vent tower then install a cap on the top of the remaining pipe. This is assumed to be used to prevent further release of radioactive materials or inflow of rainwater into the highly radioactive area. The actual demolition work is scheduled for fall of 2018 and could take a year to complete.

The graphic below shows the steps towards cutting down the tower in sections.

u1_2_vent_tower_dismantling 24 july 2018.jpg


August 1, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

No Long Term Storage Location for Fukushima Daiichi Spent Fuel



July 23, 2018

TEPCO’s most recent update on the decommissioning work at Fukushima Daiichi included an update on the movement and storage of the spent fuel on site.

Currently dry cask storage only has space for 50 spent fuel casks. According to TEPCO’s documentation 58 fuel assemblies can be placed into each storage cask.

There are currently 13137 spent and unused fuel assemblies on site that require removal to long term storage. This would indicate that 227 casks and storage locations will be needed to handle all of the on site fuel assemblies.

Those 50 cask slots can hold a total of 2930 fuel assemblies. 10207 fuel assemblies remain in need of a long term storage location.

Currently the cask storage has 33 of the 50 cask slots occupied, this leaves space for 17 more casks. TEPCO has not provided any specific plan for adding additional spent fuel storage on site beyond the current 50 cask storage unit.

The common pool on site has been used as a way point for spent fuel before being sent to dry cask storage. It is currently at 93.9% of capacity.

Some of unit 4’s spent fuel was sent to unit 6’s spent fuel pool for storage due to space constraints. Currently unit 4 is the only reactor to have the spent fuel stored there removed to a safer location.

Unit 3 is the next to begin offloading spent fuel. It has 566 assemblies, 148 more than the available room in the common pool. Dry storage has enough space to accept a few more casks from the common pool. Once unit 3 is offloaded, storage will be tight.

Dry cask storage can be used for long term storage but this is not a permanent solution. Most dry casks have a life span of 20 years before the cask gaskets are no longer considered viable. This requires fuel to be moved to permanent storage or the fuel would need to be transferred to a new cask. A fuel transfer can only take place in a spent fuel pool or similar facility to provide the needed shielding and radiation control for the work. Japan currently has no permanent nuclear repository.

This does not include storage of any melted fuel debris from the damaged reactors.

August 1, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Europe’s nuclear reactors affected by heat waves

The heatwave across Europe in late July required some nuclear plants to
reduce electricity after cooling water was affected by high temperatures.
Plants in Finland, Sweden, Germany, France and Switzerland have been

While air temperatures have been above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32
degrees Celsius) in many parts, water temperatures have reached 75 degrees
Fahrenheit (23.8 degrees Celsius) or more. The Loviisa nuclear plant, which
produced 10% of Finland’s power in 2017, began reducing its output on 25
July, according to chief of operations, Timo Eurasto. He said customers
were not affected, because other power plants were satisfying electricity
demand. Loviisa previously reduced output in 2010 and 2011, due to warm
water, but Eurasto said the current heatwave has been more severe.

Reactorsin Sweden and Germany also reduced production because of cooling problems,Reuters reported. A spokesperson for Sweden’s nuclear energy regulator saidthe Forsmark had cut energy production “by a few percentage points”.

August 1, 2018 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Swedish nuclear reactor cuts output, due to sea water being too warm

Warm sea water limits capacity at Vattenfall’s Ringhals 2 reactor Reuters Staff, STOCKHOLM, July 31 (Reuters) – Swedish utility Vattenfall said its Ringhals 2 nuclear reactor was running at 49 percent capacity on Tuesday as the sea water used to cool it nears an upper temperature limit.

Water from the Baltic Sea is used to cool several nuclear reactors along Sweden’s coastline, but temperatures are unusually warm following a prolonged period of hot weather.

Vattenfall on Monday posted plans to take Ringhals 2 out of operation after water reached that reactor’s 25 degree Celsius limit

However Vattenfall spokesman Peter Stedt said on Tuesday it had opted to keep capacity at 49 percent after the sea water cooled to 24 degrees, while closely monitoring water temperatures as the warm weather continued.

The 865-megawatt (MW) pressurized water Ringhals 2 reactor is one of four reactors, which produce around 20 percent of Sweden’s electricity. While Ringhals 3 and 4 are still online, Ringhals 1 is shut for annual planned maintenance. (Reporting by Anna Ringstrom Editing by Alexander Smith)

August 1, 2018 Posted by | climate change, Sweden | 1 Comment

Sorry history of UK’s Moorside nuclear project, and why it might well be abandoned

Times 31st July 2018 Multibillion-pound plans to build a nuclear plant at Moorside in Cumbriaare likely to be abandoned within months unless a buyer is found.

The Nugen venture, owned by Toshiba, is considering plans to shut down with the loss of 100 jobs after a sale to Kepco stalled.

The decision would be a blow to government hopes for a series of new plants to help to keep the lights on
once existing reactors close. Moorside, which is next to the Sellafield
waste site, is one of five proposed plants vying to follow EDF’s Hinkley
Point project that is under construction in Somerset.

Nugen was founded in 2009. Toshiba bought into the venture in 2014 with plans to deploy reactors
made by Westinghouse Electric Company, its subsidiary. The Japanese
conglomerate was thrown into crisis last year when Westinghouse’s costs
overran on reactors in the United States. Westinghouse filed for
bankruptcy protection and was sold off, while Toshiba was forced to take
full control of Nugen when Engie, the French utility company, quit.

Nugen appeared to be saved when Toshiba announced that Kepco had been appointed
the preferred bidder to buy the venture. The South Korean state-controlled
company hoped to use its own reactors at the site.

Talks have since stalled, amid leadership changes in South Korea and uncertainty over the
financial support on offer from the British government. Ministers do not
want to repeat the funding model used for Hinkley Point, which was
criticised as too expensive. They said the government may invest directly
in the next project, Hitachi’s Wylfa plant on Anglesey, but would go back
to the drawing board for other projects. Toshiba confirmed that it had
cancelled the preferred-bidder status, meaning that it would consider other

August 1, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Climate change disasters help authoritarian leaders to seize power

Climate Kings   How a new generation of authoritarian leaders are using climate change to seize power, By SAMUEL MILLER MCDONALD, July 30, 2018  

National crises make governments vulnerable to autocracy—a rather obvious assessment, perhaps, but one rarely seen in debates about climate change. Take the Maldives, an atoll nation in the Indian Ocean. Rising seawater is projected to consume most, if not d Nall, of the country this century. In 2008, the Maldives chose its first democratically elected president, Mohameasheed. Almost immediately, he made climate change preparations central to his administration. He announced plansto move 360,000 Maldivian citizens to new homelands in Sri Lanka, India, or Australia, and he promised to make the Maldives the world’s first carbon-neutral country. Nasheed also demonstrated a flair for the dramatic, staging an underwater Cabinet meeting that turned him into a viral climate celebrity. “What we need to do is nothing short of decarbonizing the entire global economy,” he said. “If man can walk on the moon, we can unite to defeat our common carbon enemy.”


In 2012, the military deposed Nasheed, forcing him to flee the country at gunpoint after mass protests over economic stagnation and spikes in commodity prices. His eventual successor, Abdulla Yameen, has since suspended parts of the constitution, giving himself sweeping powers to arrest and detain opponents, including two of the country’s five Supreme Court justices and even his own half-brother. Meanwhile, Yameen has tossed out Nasheed’s climate adaptation plans and rejected renewable energy programs, proposing instead to build new islands and economic free zones attractive to a global elite. “We do not need cabinet meetings underwater,” his environment minister told The Guardian. “We do not need to go anywhere. We need development.”

If any lesson can be drawn from the power struggle in the Maldives, it is that people who feel threatened by an outside force, be it foreign invaders or rising tides, often seek reassurance. That reassurance may come in the form of a strongman leader, someone who tells them all will be well, the economy will soar, the sea walls hold. People must only surrender their elections, or their due process, until the crisis is resolved. This is perhaps the most overlooked threat of climate change:  Major shifts in the global climate could give rise to a new generation of authoritarian rulers, not just in poorer countries or those with weak democratic institutions, but in wealthy industrialized nations, too.

Refugee crises, famine, drought—these are materials strongmen can use to build power. Already, strife and civil instability are spreading throughout the global South, with droughts and floods stoking conflict and refugee crises in parts of Africa and the Middle East. According to a 2016 paper in Science, climate change will increase the risk of armed conflict across Africa by 50 percent by 2030. Eastern Africa is particularly vulnerable. The genocidal strife in Darfur is one of the bloodiest examples, but even countries with robust economies and democracies are susceptible. In Kenya, for example, a crippling drought has led to rapid inflation of food prices, doubling the number of food-insecure people since 2014. That, and disputes over who owns land in the Laikipia region, north of Nairobi, has contributed to violent clashes there, threatening the political stability of the country. This has enabled Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta to tighten his grip on power. In October, amid reports that he’d rigged a recent presidential election, Kenyatta declared the drought a national disaster—this, just weeks before the next round of voting. He was reelected and, amid continued chaos, has cracked down on his opponents in the media.

It’s not just developing nations that are at risk of opportunistic climate-fueled authoritarianism. Wealthy countries may possess the resources to insulate themselves from the near-term physical impacts of climate change—they can afford sea walls, emergency services, and air conditioning. But when conflicts over resources break out in the developing world, they are bound to generate crises that spill into wealthier countries.

study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2015 drew a direct link between the 2007–2010 drought in the greater Fertile Crescent, which “exacerbated existing water and agricultural insecurity and caused massive agricultural failures and livestock mortality,” and Syria’s 2011 civil war, which has forced millions of people to seek refuge in Europe. Their arrival has helped fuel antidemocratic movements throughout the continent. “Even the specter of refugee crises and population movements can impact attitudes toward authoritarianism,” said Jonathan Weiler, co-author of Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics. These fears aren’t going away: According to a 2017 study published in The Lancet, extreme weather could displace up to a billion people around the world by the middle of the twenty-first century—an unprecedented human migration will undoubtedly influence the politics of wealthy countries, pushing them to the right.

The best way to counteract this phenomenon is naturally to halt, or at least slow, the effects of climate change. So far, the Paris agreement is the only tangible result of those efforts, and its fate is far from certain, with the United States threatening to withdraw. But this might change, if the problems caused by climate change—not just stronger hurricanes, droughts, and rising seas, but political rupture—keep washing up on the disappearing shorelines of wealthy governments.

Samuel Miller McDonald studies climate and energy politics at Oxford University. @@sjmmcd

August 1, 2018 Posted by | climate change, politics international | 1 Comment

Nevada National Security Site experiencing huge wildfire

Wildfire burns at Nevada National Security Site, Acreage revised to 1,600, down from 5,000, Katherine Jarvis Jul 30, 2018 

August 1, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment