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A report on #Sellafield highlights the likely #nuclear damage to #Ireland. Exclusive to nuclear-news.net

REPOST

Introduction by Shaun McGee (aka arclight2011)

Published exclusive to nuclear-news.net (Creative Commons applies)

2 February 2018

The Irish Sellafield nuclear accident fallout projection report has some issues, in my opinion.
In December 2016 the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in Irish Media Sources a report on radioactive fallout from a “worse case” scenario.
At the time, I was in contact with the Irish EPA concerning new evidence that shows a larger health effect from radiation sources and I was trying to challenge the pro nuclear bias that underestimated the health and environmental problems using mechanisms from the EURATOM nuclear treaty in Europe. I have to say that the Irish EPA were forthcoming in their many responses to my inquiries but eventually we reached a stale mate as the EPA claimed that the specific Isotopes relevant to the Euratom Treaty are not to be found in Ireland with the exception of Iodine 131 which they claimed was unlikely to be a health problem. They said that other fission (from a nuclear reactor) isotopes were not found on the island of Ireland.
The 2016 report from the Irish EPA (link) shows, what I think, is a minimal dispersion of radioactive fallout with little impact to health or the environment. However, there are other reports of fallout plumes from the Sellafield site that show much worse contamination than the 2016 EPA report posits and I requested Prof Chris Busby (who had been involved with Irish activists and government groups concerning Sellafield) to do a report (Full report below) on the problems that seemed to be highlighted with the Irish EPA report.
Prof Chris Busby first consulted the online NOAA Hy-Split atmospheric projection software with the same date as the EPA report and got a completely different scenario showing most of Ireland being covered with meandering waves of highly radioactive particles and gases. He then consulted 2 other reports, one of which the Irish Government commissioned that was completed by 2014 using the European gold standard software fallout projection model that showed a large plume covering large sways of Ireland (reaching the south west coast).
It would seem that the 2016 report completely runs counter to the 2014 and earlier report as well as the Hy-Split projection whilst using the same date as the 2016 Irish report.
So the issue of the types of accident that the Irish EPA thought to be worse case scenario. A direct hit by a Meteorite was seen to be plausible but if a meteorite hit sellafield then much of the nuclear site would be lofted high into the atmosphere and more evenly spread around the globe. This would fudge the numbers for plumes that are moving nearer the ground.
No where in the report was the more likely and and more dangerous scenario of terrorists attacking the spent fuel pools causing low altitude fallout over many weeks that would cause a larger pollution incident that would effect local countries to the UK border such as Ireland, Norway etc.In fact such concerns have been reported in main stream media sources as well as government/private think tanks.

Thanks to Prof Chris Busby for taking the time off his busy schedule to compile a response to the Irish EPA report on Sellafields projected damage to Ireland.

Please feel free to leave a comment belowif you agree or disagree with any of the points raised, a discussion about this issue needs to be had.

Shaun McGee (aka arclight2011)

………………………………………………………………………………..

Conclusion to report

The EPA 2016 report is unsafe and cannot be relied upon by the public, the media or administrators. The anonymous authors have shown extraordinary bias in every aspect of the report. They made elementary mistakes in their source term listing of isotopes, by including those which had short half-lives and will clearly not have been present in any significant concentration. They omitted a whole series of nuclides which are present in the tanks and the fuel pools. They choose a source term which is demonstrably too low based on available data, they choose a worst-case accident which involves only one HAST tank and only Caesium-137. They omit mentioning the spent fuel pools which are a highly likely site of a major coolant loss and subsequent fire or explosion. Their air modelling results are extremely unusual with implausibly narrow plumes, whilst a NOAA HYSPLIT model for the same day shows a completely different dispersion covering most of highly populated Ireland. Their surface contamination levels are 200 times lower than a previous computer model by Dr Taylor, which they must have had access to, and they fail to calculate the increased levels of cancer in the exposed population. This has been rectified here.

Historic releases from Sellafield to the Irish Sea have caused measurable increases in cancer and leukemia in coastal populations of Ireland. There is no doubt that the existence of Sellafield represents a potential catastrophic danger to the Irish Republic. A serious accident there could destroy the country and also most of Britain. As the Chernobyl accident effects showed, and the Fukushima accident effects will reveal (and in the case of Thyroid cancer have revealed) the ICRP risk model is unsafe for explaining or predicting health effects from such contamination. The Authors of the EPA 2016 report should be sanctioned in some way for producing such a travesty of the real picture, especially since they will have had access to the earlier study and modelling by Peter Taylor and the details of the COSYMA model employed by him.

Christopher Busby

August 17th 2017

Screenshot from 2018-02-03 14:55:08

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The health impact on Ireland of a severe accident at Sellafield.

A criticism of the report “Potential radiological impact on Ireland of postulated severe accidents at Sellafield” Anon. (Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland: September 2016) with a re-assessment of the range of health outcomes.

Christopher Busby PhD

There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.

Donald Rumsfeld

Murphy’s Law is an adage or epigram that is typically stated as:

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphy%27s_law]

Introduction

The nuclear complex at Sellafield in Cumbria, UK, has always represented a real danger to the Republic of Ireland. There has been and remains a chronic danger to the people of the East Coast of Ireland. First, radioactivity released from Sellafield under licence to the Irish Sea, particularly in the 1970s did not, as had been hoped, dilute and disperse in the sea, but instead became attached to sediment particles along the coasts and inlets of Ireland (e.g. Carlingford Lough, Drogheda) and the particles represented a cause of cancer and illnesses in coastal populations and those exposed through eating fish and shellfish. A court case (Herr and Ors. Vs BNFL) was supported by the Irish State and my organisation was funded by the Irish State for 3 years from 1998 to examine the contamination and health issue. Green Audit examined the cancer rates in small areas in North and mid Wales, and also in Ireland by distance from the contaminated coasts. Results were published in Busby 2006 and showed that there had been a significant 30% increase in cancer and leukemia in coastal populations of the Irish Sea [1]. The second issue of continuing interest is the danger of a serious accident at Sellafield at a time when the wind direction is from the East and airborne material passes across Ireland. This issue became more urgent and of interest to the Irish public after the Fukushima Daiichi reactor explosions and melt-downs in Japan in 2011. However, the potential outcome of such an accident had been part of a report by Peter Taylor [2] written in 1999 for McGuill and Company, the solicitors representing the Herr and Ors vs. BNFL case which was abandoned by the Irish State for reasons which remain unclear.

In September 2016, a report was produced by the EPA Office of Radiological Protection entitled Potential radiological impact on Ireland of postulated severe accidents at Sellafield. [3]. This anonymous report has serious shortcomings and errors which will be addressed here. A more realistic assessment of the potential impact of a serious accident at Sellafield on the Republic of Ireland will be presented here using the radiological risk models both of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP, [4]) and also the Model of the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR [5]).

 

2. The baseline assumptions of maximum release.

2.1 The EPA worst case.

The EPA report discussed some possible accidents involving releases of radionuclides. It examined some potential sources of radionuclides but not others. It chose a number of possible scenarios, but excluded others. In general terms (and referring to Murphy’s Law, appropriately in this case of Ireland) it could not assess accidents which are totally unforeseen. Therefore, also in general, we should consider a worst case-scenario in which most of the radioactivity inventory of the Sellafield site becomes airborne at a time when the weather patterns were most unfavourable for Ireland.

For example, in Busby 2007 [1] the Windscale reactor fire was examined in some detail. At the time of the fire, which continued for some days, the main releases were initially offshore towards Ireland. This is contrary to the discourse promoted by the British Radiological Protection Board in 1974. It is, however confirmed by Air Ministry historical data. But the point is that at the time a cold front laying North East to South West was moving from Ireland towards England across the Irish Sea. This meant the releases from the fire and heavy radioactive rain fell along the front. This rain fell on the Isle of Man, and historical mortality data show a large increase in the death rate after this event. There have also been reports of significant birth effects (Downs Syndrome cluster) in County Louth reported by the Irish GP Patricia Sheehan, who died in an automobile accident shortly after beginning to follow this up.

In order to estimate the effects of a worst case, initially there must be a choice of the source term, that is, the quantity and radionuclide identity of the material released to the atmosphere.

The EPA report decided that this could be modelled as the contents of one of the 21 High Active Storage Tanks (HAST). The true content of one of these is unknown, probably also to the operators BNFL. The estimate for the contents was taken from a report by Turvey and Hone [6]. This is shown in Table 1 below where I note a number of concerns. In Table 2 I provide examples of some hazardous radionuclides not listed in the EPA source term table. In Table 3 I copy the source terms used by the British 1976 Royal Commission (the Flowers Report) [7]. Note that all these estimates are for a single or multiple HAST tanks on the tank farm and exclude explosions of the spent fuel ponds which could dry up and suffer prompt criticality. This could result from a domino scenario (see below).

Table 1 EPA assumed release source term. (E-notation, thus 1 x 1014 is written 1 E+14_

Radio

nuclide

Total activity Bq

Half Life

Comment

Zr-95

1.4 E+15

64days

All decayed away; almost none there

Nb-95

5.8 E+14

35 days

Daughter of Zr-95; all decayed away; none there

Ru-106

1.33 E+16

366 days

All decayed away; almost none there

Sb-125

1.6 E+15

2.7 years

All decayed away; almost none there

Cs-134

1.04 E+16

2.0 years

All decayed away; almost none there

Cs-137

5.26 E+17

30 years

Significant

Ce-144

9.65 E+15

284 days

All decayed away; almost none there

Eu-154

4.41 E+15

8.5years

Minor significance now

Eu-155

3.39 E+15

5 years

Minor significance now

Sr-90

3.6 E+17

28.8 years

Highly Significant; DNA seeker

Am-241

2.72 E+15

432 years

Highly Significant alpha; decays to Np-237 alpha; daughter of Plutonium-241

Cm-242

4.57 E+13

162 days

All decayed away; almost none there

Cm-243

1.92 E+14

32 years

Highly Significant alpha; decays to Plutonium-239, so there must be approximately the same or more Plutonium-239 (fissionable) in the mix

2.2 Concerns about the source term table of the EPA 2016 report

Table 1 gives the source terms employed by the EPA report. It lists 13 isotopes. The table is an astonishing example of bad science, produced either through bias or ignorance. Since the table is apparently taken from another report by Turvey and Hone 2000, we can perhaps blame them for the original mistakes. I have included a column showing the half-lives of their isotopes. The main concerns are as follows:
It is perfectly clear than all but four of the thirteen will have physically decayed away by 2016. For example, a half life of Zr-95 of 65 days, at 1980 would by now have had 36 x 365 days to decay. This is 202 half-lives. There would be virtually none left of the listed quantity.
A significant number of seriously hazardous radionuclides which must be in the tanks are not listed. In particular we have Plutonium-239, Plutonium- 238, Plutonium-241, Uranium and other actinide alpha emitters including Neptunium-237, Radium-226, Carbon-14 and Tritium.
The overall total activity tabulated the EPA report is about 4 times less than the quantity in a HAST tank given in the report of the UK Royal Commission 1976 (Flowers) and the 1977 Windscale Enquiry which totalled 1.8 x 1018 Becquerels of Caesium-137 plus 1.4 x 1018 Bq of Strontium-90 plus 1.1 x 1018 Bq of Ruthenium-106 [8].
Why did the EPA report reduce the quantities assumed by the earlier reports? Why did it omit the dangerous actinides Uranium, Plutonium and Neptunium with the exception of Americium-241? Why did it omit a whole range of other radionuclides like Tritium and Carbon-14?

Table 2 Some Missing isotopes from the EPA Source term with longer half-lives or present as daughters

Isotope

Half Life

U-238

4.5 E+9y

Alpha

U-235

7.1 E+8y

Alpha

U-234

2.4 E+5y

Alpha

Th-230

8 E+4y

Alpha

Ra-226

1599y

Alpha

Pu-238

86.4y

Alpha

Pu-239

2.4 E+4y

Alpha

Pu-241

14.4y

Decays to Am-241 listed by EPA

Np-237

2.1 E+6y

Am-241 daughter

Mn-54

312d

Activation

Co-60

5.27y

Activation

Y-90

64h

In equilibrium with Sr-90

H-3

12.3y

Life component; radioactive water

C-14

5730y

Life component

Table 3 HAST tank content according to Windscale Enquiry 1977 and Royal Commission 1976

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September 6, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Russia’s nuclear wastes, and the clean-up of Andreeva Bay 

Three shiploads with spent nuclear fuel are to be sent from site this year and the whole cleanup is to be completed in year 2024, representatives of nuclear power company Rosatom said in this week’s meeting in the Joint Russian-Norwegian Commission Nuclear Safety.

The cleanup of the Andreeva Bay is one of the biggest ongoing bilateral cooperation projects between Norway and Russia and Norwegian tax payers have over the years covered project expenses worth hundreds of millions of kroner.

The nuclear waste storage, which is located only about 55 km from the border to Norway, holds about 22,000 spent nuclear fuel elements, and was long considered a ticking environmental bomb.

Shipments to Mayak

The cooperation on site marked a milestone in late June 2017, when the first batch with 470 spent fuel elements left Andreeva Bay. Present were a number of dignitaries, among them Norway’s then foreign minister Berge Brende. They all waved as special purpose vessel «Rossita» set course for Murmansk, where the deadly materials will be reloaded onto special trains and sent to reprocessing plant Mayak.

«It is a big day for the environment, for Russian-Norwegian cooperation, for people in Finnmark and the Kola Peninsula and all the ones who care about the Barents Sea,» Brende told the Barents Observer at a press briefing following the event.

However, far from everything is smooth and easy in cooperation over the complex and highly sensitive nuclear wastes. Access to site by independent controllers is strictly regulated and information  sparse. The Norwegian journalists that have been invited to take part in official visits have not been allowed to bring cameras.

Growing concern

The situation might have become ever more complicated this week, after two leading Norwegian officials on nuclear safety were held back on the Russian border.

One of the two people is Per-Einar Fiskebeck, the long-serving special adviser at the Finnmark County Governor’s office, who for decades have closely followed up the Andreeva Bay project.

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs describes the incident as «serious» and confirms that it is concerned about the situation.

«It is worrying if this would affect the further progress in the nuclear safety cooperation, which otherwise has been a success story in the Norwegian-Russian relationship in the north,» a comment from the ministry reads. Continue reading

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

If Democrats take over Congress in November, there’ll be cuts to USA’s nuclear weapons spending

Cuts to nuclear spending and special ops oversight: Expectations for new congressional leadership https://www.defensenews.com/smr/defense-news-conference/2018/09/05/cuts-to-nuclear-spending-and-oversight-of-socom-what-to-expect-from-a-democratic-hasc/

September 6, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Nuclear power: molten salt reactors and sodium-cooled fast reactors make the radioactive waste problem WORSE

Burning waste or playing with fire? Waste management considerations for non-traditional reactors https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00963402.2018.1507791, Lindsay Krall &Allison Macfarlane, 31 Aug 18

 ABSTRACT

Nuclear energy-producing nations are almost universally experiencing delays in the commissioning of the geologic repositories needed for the long-term isolation of spent fuel and other high-level wastes from the human environment. Despite these problems, expert panels have repeatedly determined that geologic disposal is necessary, regardless of whether advanced reactors to support a “closed” nuclear fuel cycle become available. Still, advanced reactor developers are receiving substantial funding on the pretense that extraordinary waste management benefits can be reaped through adoption of these technologies. 

Here, the authors describe why molten salt reactors and sodium-cooled fast reactors – due to the unusual chemical compositions of their fuels – will actually exacerbate spent fuel storage and disposal issues. Before these reactors are licensed, policymakers must determine the implications of metal- and salt-based fuels vis a vis the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and the Continued Storage Rule.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, technology, wastes | Leave a comment

Third summit this year between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un

Third summit this year between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un stands in contrast to rift with Washington, South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, will travel to North Korea for a third meeting with the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, as denuclearisation talks with the US stall.Moon would travel to Pyongyang between 18 and 20 September, said Chung Eui-yong, head of the South’s National Security Office, as he returned from a one-day meeting with Kim in North Korea. It will be the third time this year the leaders of the two Koreas have met, after talks in the border village of Panmunjom in April and May.

“Chairman Kim Jong-un reaffirmed his firm commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, and expressed his willingness to closely cooperate with not only South Korea but also the United States to that end,” Chung said according to the South’s Yonhap news agency.

The third meeting comes with talks between the US and North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear programme having made little progress since a summit between Donald Trump and Kim in June. Trump cancelled a trip by his top diplomat last month. While North Korea has repeatedly agreed to working towards the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”, experts warn the language is vague and fails to address key US demands that the North give up its nuclear weapon unilaterally and allow weapons inspectors into the country…………

South Korea’s diplomatic overtures have also highlighted a growing rift between Seoul and Washington, with US officials frustrated by the pace of nuclear negotiations and South Korean authorities focused on improving ties with their unpredictable neighbour.

North Korean state media echoed many of the same statements conveyed by officials in Seoul, with language that emphasised denuclearisation as a shared responsibility, not one for Pyongyang alone.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said: “Noting that it is our fixed stand and his will to completely remove the danger of armed conflict and horror of war from the Korean Peninsula and turn it into the cradle of peace without nuclear weapons and free from nuclear threat, he said that the North and the South should further their efforts to realise the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.”

North and South Korea will also open a long-planned liaison office in the North Korean city of Kaesong before Moon and Kim meet, according to Chung. Officials from the two countries will hold talks early next week to finalise details for Moon’s trip.    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/06/north-korea-kim-moon-meeting-trump-nuclear

September 6, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea | 1 Comment

“Modest but detectable level(s)” of radioactive material found in Hanford workers’ cars

Tri City Herald 4th Sept 2018 , Hanford Challenge is calling for an independent study of the threat that
radioactive contamination might pose to the Tri-Cities from the Hanford
nuclear reservation. On Tuesday it released a research report by Marco
Kaltofen, an engineer with Boston Chemical Data Corp., who has been
collecting Hanford-area samples at times since at least 2008.

His latest report found “modest but detectable level(s)” of radioactive material
that had collected on the air filters of three vehicles belonging to
Hanford workers. The vehicles had been checked and cleared to leave the
Hanford nuclear reservation, where they had been at the Plutonium Finishing
Plant.
https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article217827665.html

September 6, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

USA and Russia – in 20th Century -devised hideously elaborate ways of blowing each other up

Top-secret ‘doomsday machine’ documents reveal terrifying nuclear apocalypse plans https://metro.co.uk/2018/09/04/top-secret-doomsday-machine-documents-reveal-terrifying-nuclear-apocalypse-plans-7911916/ Jasper Hamill  4 Sep 2018 It’s no secret that the US and Russia spent much of the 20th century devising hideously elaborate ways of blowing each other up. Now declassified documents written in 1964 have revealed the true extent of the apocalyptic atomic broadside Washington planned to unleash against its greatest enemy. A pair of top-secret memos written by top military chiefs shows the US was intending to implement an ‘overkill’ strategy which would have flattened Russian cities and killed tens of millions of people.

They demonstrate how generals were considering the possibility of unleashing thousands of nukes in a bid to cause ‘95% damage’ to targets such as military facilities and ‘urban-industrial centres’ including major cities. The files also document plans to blow up 30% of all the people living in 30 Chinese cities, saying this outcome would be ‘desirable’. The secret files were unearthed by George Washington University’s National Security Archive and shed light on a secret nuclear strategy called the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), which is often referred to as a ‘doomsday machine’ and has never been declassified. Researchers are only able to learn about this highly disturbing scheme by reading other documents which discuss it, meaning the release of the two memorandums is a major step forward in understanding the grim fate which would have befallen the world if a nuclear war erupted.

‘US nuclear war plans [made] during the Johnson administration included the option of a retaliatory strike against nuclear, conventional military, and urban-industrial targets with the purpose of removing the Soviet Union “from the category of a major industrial power” and destroying it as a “viable” society,’ wrote the National Security Archive in a statement. ‘The document, the Joint Staff’s review of SIOP guidance in June 1964, showed continued acceptance by policymakers of the cataclysmic nuclear strike options that had been integral to the plan since its inception. Accordingly, the SIOP set high damage requirements – 95% for the top priority nuclear targets – ensuring that it remained an “overkill” plan, referring to its massively destructive effects. ‘Prepared and continually updated by the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, the SIOP has been characterized by some as a “doomsday machine”.’ The latest declassified document is a review of SIOP conducted by the Joint Staff, a group of senior military leaders.

It lays out plans for retaliatory and preemptive strikes against Russia or China which range in severity from an assault aimed at knocking out nuclear weapons facilities to a blitzkrieg designed to ‘destroy the will and ability of the Sino-Soviet bloc to wage, remove the enemy from the category of a major industrial power and assure a post-war balance of power favourable to the United States’. The plans also expose a scheme to use ‘population loss as the primary yardstick for effectiveness in destroying the enemy society with only collateral attention to industrial damage’, the National Security Archive added. What this means is that the US was willing to bomb Russia back to the Stone Age and viewed the destruction of its population as a valid strategy of war…. https://metro.co.uk/2018/09/04/top-secret-doomsday-machine-documents-reveal-terrifying-nuclear-apocalypse-plans-7911916/?ito=cbshare

 

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Reference, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japan nuclear plant’s power restored after quake triggers Hokkaido blackout

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August 6, 2018
(Reuters) – Power was restored to a nuclear energy plant in Hokkaido, northern Japan on Thursday after a strong earthquake left it relying on emergency generators for 10 nervous hours, but it may be a week before lights are back on all over the major island.
Triggering a blackout just after 3 a.m. local time, the magnitude 6.7 quake left at least seven people dead, more than 100 injured and dozens missing on Hokkaido, an island of about 5.3 million people whose capital is Sapporo. A major coal-fired power station was also damaged in the temblor that shut down the grid.
The situation at utility Hokkaido Electric Power’s (9509.T) three-reactor Tomari nuclear plant provided an uncomfortable, if comparatively brief, echo of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. Reactors there melted down after a massive tsunami knocked out back-up generators, designed to maintain power to cool reactors in emergencies.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Hokkaido’s Tomari NPP using emergency generators after powerful M6.7 earthquake

tomari npp.jpg

Tomari nuclear plant using emergency generators

Aug. 6, 2018
Japan’s nuclear regulatory body says the Tomari nuclear power plant in Hokkaido is using emergency generators to cool fuel after the region was hit by a powerful earthquake.
The plant’s operator Hokkaido Electric Power Company says all 3 channels from outside power sources were cut off about 20 minutes after the quake struck early Thursday.
The plant’s 3 reactors are all currently offline, with a total of 1,527 fuel assemblies in its storage pools.
Following the quake, 6 emergency diesel-powered generators automatically switched on to cool the nuclear fuel. No changes in storage pool water levels or temperature have been reported.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority and Hokkaido Electric say it is not yet clear when outside power sources will be restored, with all thermal power plants in Hokkaido currently shut down.
The emergency generators will be able to keep the Tomari plant running for at least 7 days, based on diesel fuel supplies stored on its premises.
They added that the earthquake did not seem to cause any irregularities in key plant facilities and radiation monitoring posts have shown no change.

Hokkaido nuclear plant on backup power after quake, reviving memories of Fukushima disaster

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Tomari Nuclear Power Station in the village of Tomari, Hokkaido, is seen in 2015. The plant is running on emergency power after a powerful earthquake knocked out electricity in Hokkaido on Thursday
September 6, 2018
A nuclear power station in Hokkaido is relying on emergency backup power after a powerful earthquake knocked out electricity on the northern island Thursday, offering a stark reminder of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
The three-reactor Tomari nuclear plant, operated by Hokkaido Electric Power Co. and in shutdown since the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, lost power after a magnitude 6.7 quake hit the island in the early hours, the government said.
The plant’s fuel rods are being cooled with emergency power supplied by diesel generators, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters Thursday.
There were no radiation irregularities at the plant, Suga said, citing the operator.
The atomic regulator said the diesel generators have enough fuel to last seven days.
Hokkaido Electric has shut down all fossil fuel plants, cutting power to all its nearly 3 million customers, a spokesman said.
Industry minister Hiroshige Seko has instructed Hokkaido Electric to restart its biggest coal plant after the station was tripped by the earthquake.
The blackout shut down Hokkaido’s New Chitose Airport, a popular gateway to the island, making it the second major airport to be knocked out in the country in two days after a typhoon swamped Kansai International Airport, the nation’s third biggest.
The March 11, 2011, magnitude 9 earthquake that struck off the northern Honshu coast set off a massive tsunami that devastated a wide swath of the Pacific coastline and left nearly 20,000 dead.
The quake knocked out power to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, and the tsunami swamped diesel generators placed low in reactor buildings, leading to a series of explosions and meltdowns in the world’s worst nuclear disaster for 25 years.
The crisis led to the shutdown of the country’s nuclear industry, once the world’s third biggest. Seven reactors have come back online after a protracted relicensing process.
The majority of Japanese remain opposed to nuclear power after Fukushima highlighted failings in regulation and operational procedures in the industry.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear plant worker died from radiation exposure on the job: ministry

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The Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant is seen in this Feb. 15, 2018
 
September 5, 2018
TOKYO — The death from lung cancer of a male worker at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima has been confirmed as work-related, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced on Sept. 4.
The announcement marks the government’s first recognition of a fatality linked to radiation exposure at the facility since a triple core meltdown occurred there in March 2011.
The ministry ruled in favor of granting workman’s compensation on Aug. 31. According to the ministry, the man had worked mainly at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and other atomic power stations nationwide over a period of about 28 years and three months between June 1980 and September 2015. He was exposed to a total radiation dose of approximately 195 millisieverts.
After the March 2011 disaster triggered by the massive Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the worker, who was in his 50s, was exposed to roughly 34 millisieverts of radiation by December 2011. In September 2015, his exposure reached around 74 millisieverts. He was in charge of measuring radiation on the premises of the Fukushima No. 1 plant, and he is said to have worn a full-face mask and protective suit while working, according to the ministry.
The man was diagnosed with lung cancer in February 2016. The timing of his death was withheld in accordance with his bereaved family’s wishes, ministry officials explained.
For the death by lung cancer of a worker at a nuclear power plant to be recognized as work-related under current guidelines, the individual must be exposed to 100 millisieverts or more of radiation and the development of the disease must happen five years or more after the exposure.
The ministry made the latest recognition based on opinions of a panel of experts specializing in radiology and other disciplines.
A public relations official of TEPCO Holdings Inc. commented, “We would like to continue to secure the safety of power plants and improve the work environment.”
(Japanese original by Shunsuke Kamiashi, City News Department)

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima episode of Netflix’s Dark Tourist sparks offence in Japan

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05 September, 2018,
Government unhappy after programme hints food in region is still contaminated with radiation and host enters clearly marked no-go zone
The recent Netflix series Dark Tourist is a grimy window into areas scarred by tragedy, providing a perspective as rare as it is compelling – but a controversial Japan-set entry in the series may have gone too far.
The country’s Reconstruction Agency is set to hold talks with the Fukushima prefectural government about a unified response to the second episode in the series, which looked at a tour for foreign visitors to some of the areas worst affected by the 2011 tsunami, earthquake and nuclear-plant disaster.
The episode raised hackles in Tokyo and Fukushima after David Farrier, the New Zealand journalist who hosts the series, was filmed eating at a restaurant in the town of Namie – a former nuclear ghost town which reopened its doors to visitors in April 2017 – and stating that he expected the food to be contaminated with radiation.
Farrier was also filmed aboard a tour bus nervously watching as the numbers on a Geiger counter continued to rise beyond levels members of the party had been told were considered safe.
At one point in the programme, which was released on July 20, a woman holding a Geiger counter says radiation levels “are higher than around Chernobyl”.
Farrier also slips away from the group without permission, and enters an abandoned game arcade within the no-go zone around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.
The prefectural government and the Reconstruction Agency, which was set up after the disaster to oversee the nuclear clean-up and rebuilding efforts in the region, are reported to be unhappy that Farrier entered a clearly marked no-go zone and the programme’s suggestion that food in northeast Japan was not safe to eat.
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Authorities are also unhappy the programme failed to specify that the high levels of radiation initially reported in the area have fallen significantly, and only a relatively small area is still officially listed as “difficult to return to” for local residents.
“We are examining the content of the video,” a prefecture official told the Jiji news agency.
The Fukushima government declined to provide further comment on Dark Tourist or the action that it might take.
A spokesman for the Reconstruction Agency in Tokyo told the South China Morning Post a response would be prepared after consultations with the prefectural authorities.
“We would like to provide accurate knowledge and correct information about the situation surrounding radiation in Fukushima Prefecture to the domestic and international media,” the official said. “We cannot comment specifically on the Netflix case at this point.”
An estimated 100,000 foreign tourists have visited Fukushima last year, many attracted by the offer of trips described as “dark tourism”.
Authorities, however, have been working hard to get across the message that the vast majority of the Tohoku region of northeast Japan is perfectly safe to visit and that local food and produce is safe to consume.
Campaigns are also under way to rebuild export markets for local foodstuffs.
The condemnation from authorities comes as Japan acknowledges for the first time that a worker at the Fukushima plant died in 2016 from radiation exposure.
The country’s Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry ruled that compensation should be paid to the family of the man in his 50s who died from lung cancer, an official said.
The worker had spent his career working at nuclear plants around Japan and worked at the Fukushima plant at least twice after the March 2011 meltdowns. He was diagnosed with cancer in February 2016, the official said.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima government considers action over Dark Tourist episode

September 4, 2018
DARK Tourist has been a global hit, but officials in Japan are not happy with scenes in this episode.
ITS willingness to boldly take audiences to some of the most offbeat, off-putting and downright disturbing places on the planet has made the Netflix series Dark Tourist a global sensation.
The first season of the groundbreaking documentary series, which was released in July, follows host David Farrier’s excursions to grim locations, from a forbidden ghost city on Cyprus to the Milwaukee sites where serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer murdered his victims.
But the series has landed in hot water due to its second episode that was filmed in Japan.
There, government officials are considering taking action against Netflix over footage from inside Fukushima, which was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
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The second episode of Dark Tourist sees host David Farrier on a nuclear bus tour in Fukushima.
 
In the episode, Farrier, a New Zealand journalist, takes a bus tour with other foreign sightseers into areas affected by the catastrophic nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
 
The bus passes radioactive exclusion zones and Farrier and the other tourists become increasingly nervous by the skyrocketing readings on their Geiger counters, which measure radiation.
At one point in the episode, the reading is 50 times higher than levels deemed to be safe.
In another scene, the group visits a local restaurant where Farrier is concerned about eating locally sourced food that may be contaminated.
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Farrier was unsure about eating local food.
 
In another, he comes close to being arrested after sneaking into an abandoned arcade that was deemed a no-go zone by the government.
Now, officials from the Fukushima Prefectural Government said they are investigating the Dark Tourist episode, concerned it would “fuel unreasonable fears related to the March 2011 disaster at Tokyo’s Electric’s tsunami-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant”.
A senior government official told The Japan Times they are working with the Reconstruction Agency in considering how to respond to the footage.
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The camera followed Farrier as he broke away from the tour group and entered an off-limits arcade.
 
“We’re examining the video content,” the official said.
The three issues of apparent concern to officials were Farrier being worried about eating the restaurant’s food, his visit to the off-limits arcade, and the exact location of the bus not being specified when the high radiation readings alarmed the tourists.
Farrier previously said it was “super disconcerting” to visit the areas affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
“Essentially, you’re in the middle of a microwave,” he told the New Zealand Herald.
“You can’t feel anything but this device is telling you that the radiation is way higher than is safe.”
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In the episode, Farrier and the other tourists are concerned about the readings on their Geiger counters.
 
Hundreds of thousands of people fled for their lives when a tsunami swept through Fukushima and set off three nuclear meltdowns at the Daiichi power plant, exposing the region to radioactive material.
The Japanese government has deemed some of the affected areas to be safe to return to, but many remain abandoned. Other areas are still designated as off limits.
But Fukushima’s perceived nuclear danger and its eerie setting have made it one of the world’s most popular drawcards for “dark tourists” — travellers who seek out locations with disturbing histories and associations with death and tragedy.
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Although dark tourism is booming, many area of Fukushima remain no-go zones.
 
So-called nuclear tourism attracted about 94,000 overseas visitors to Fukushima in 2017.
Similar nuclear tours operate in the Ukrainian ghost town of Pripyat, which has been a radioactive wasteland since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade urges Australian travellers to exercise a high degree of caution in Areas 1 and 2 near the Fukushima Daiichi power plant and advises against all travel to Area 3 due to “very high” health and safety risks.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

B.S. Propaganda Explaining that Radioactive Water Sea Dumping in Fukushima is Essential

As always the propaganda organs of the nuclear village and of the Japanese government are lying by omission, twisting the real facts, in order to justify their intention to dump the Fukushima daiichi’s 7 years accumulated radioactive water at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the sea, to dump it into the Pacif Ocean would be criminal, plain ecocide.
As this 920 000 tons of radioactive water is not only tritium-laced water as the media would like the public to believe. It contains also other types of harmful radionuclides as Tepco has recently admitted:
TEPCO Admitted Almost 200 Billion Bq of Priorly Undeclared Radionuclides Water Contamination
Radioactive tritium and other types of radionuclides in Fukushima nuclear plant water, despite water treatment
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‘Carefully explaining treated water discharge in Fukushima essential’

Sept. 4, 2018
How should “treated water,” which continues to accumulate at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, be disposed of? A plan must be quickly decided so this water does not cause delays in reactor decommissioning work.
Water is used to cool the reactor cores that melted down at the nuclear plant. Groundwater also flows into the plant, where it becomes contaminated by radioactive substances. Water collected at the site and passed through a purification facility is called “treated water.”
More than 900,000 tons of such water is being stored in tanks. This volume is said to be expected to increase by 50,000 tons to 80,000 tons each year.
About 900 tanks of various types already have been built on the plant’s premises. Finding space for additional tanks is becoming increasingly difficult, and plans to build more tanks run only until the end of 2020. If these tanks fill up the plant’s premises, there likely will not be enough room to perform the work needed to decommission the reactors.
The problem is that about 900 trillion becquerels of the radioactive substance tritium (an isotope known as hydrogen-3) remain in the treated water. In principle, removing tritium from water is difficult. The most promising option is releasing this water into the ocean. This would be done after dilution to bring the concentration of tritium to acceptable standards.
Tritium is generated daily at nuclear plants in Japan and overseas and then discharged into the sea in accordance with set standards. The volume released from Japanese nuclear power plants during the five years before the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake averaged about 380 trillion becquerels per year.
Relieve locals’ concerns
Each year, cosmic rays create about 70 quadrillion becquerels of tritium. Japan’s annual rainfall naturally contains about 223 trillion becquerels. The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry and the Nuclear Regulation Authority have explained that levels of tritium below a certain concentration have no negative impact on the environment, among other things.
Releasing tritiated water into the ocean, after the safety of this process has been thoroughly confirmed, is unavoidable.
At public hearings held by the ministry in a bid to turn this plan into reality, many attendees offered the opinion that assurances of the safety of discharging this water “couldn’t be trusted.”
Although this is a technically complex problem, the materials and explanations given at these hearings were very simple. As the explanations were made on the assumption that attendees had basic knowledge about topics such as radiation, attendees demanded the ministry “reexamine the plan from scratch.”
Criticism also focused on the fact that radioactive substances other than tritium remain in the treated water. This was triggered by some media reports on the issue just before the hearings.
Since four years ago, TEPCO has explained it attached great importance to efficiency in the purification process. This was to reduce the impact of radiation on workers at the plant and other people. TEPCO plans to remove the remaining radioactive substances when the water is discharged, but this process was not mentioned in the materials distributed at the hearings.
It appears the lack of explanation about possible risks has fueled the backlash to the discharge plan.
Locals, including people involved in the fishing industry, oppose releasing the water into the ocean because of possible damage and losses arising from negative public misperceptions. They are concerned that discharging treated water could once again have a negative impact on confidence in products from the area, which has been slowly recovering.
Of course, efforts must be made to call on local residents to get behind the plan. The government and TEPCO also should take stronger measures over wide areas to counter harmful misperceptions.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Extended screening pushes back MOX fuel plant construction for 3rd time

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Sep 4, 2018
AOMORI – Construction in Aomori Prefecture of the world’s first commercial reactor to operate solely on plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel will be pushed back for the third time due to prolonged safety checks, the utility building the reactor said Tuesday.
Electric Power Development Co. had been planning to begin construction of major facilities at the Oma nuclear power plant in the prefecture during the latter half of this year, but told the Oma Municipal Assembly on Tuesday it has decided to delay the work by about two years. The delay means the new target for the reactor to begin operations is fiscal now 2026.
The move clouds the course of Japan’s policy for the nuclear fuel cycle, in which the reactor was supposed to play a key role. Mixed oxide (MOX) fuel is produced by extracting plutonium from spent nuclear fuel and mixing it with uranium. Tokyo is also under international pressure to slash its stockpile of plutonium, which has the potential to be used to produce nuclear weapons.
“We would like Electric Power Development to put top priority on safety and respond appropriately to the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s screening,” industry minister Hiroshige Seko said at a news conference.
The company, also known as J-Power, initially sought to start operations at the nuclear plant, to be located in the Aomori town of Oma with an output of 1.38 million kilowatts, in fiscal 2021, but put it back by one year in 2015 and then postponed it to fiscal 2024 in 2016.
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Construction of the reactor began in 2008 after gaining state approval, but was stalled following the nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant triggered by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
About 40 percent of the construction has been completed, but work so far has centered on setting up office buildings and conducting road repairs.
J-Power applied for safety checks in December 2014, but NRA examinations have focused on assumptions about tsunami and earthquake risk at the overall complex and not at its nuclear facilities. An official at the company told the Oma Municipal Assembly that it may take two more years for the reactor to pass the screening.
J-Power said it hopes to start construction of the reactor and other facilities in the latter half of 2020 and complete it by the second half of 2025.
“It’s very regrettable that the project will be postponed once again. I hope (J-Power) will strive to swiftly pass the screening and help revitalize the regional economy,” Oma Mayor Mitsuharu Kanazawa said at the assembly meeting after hearing from the company official.
The Oma plant has also faced lawsuits seeking suspension of the project.
Residents in Hakodate, Hokkaido, which is some 23 kilometers northwest of Oma across the Tsugaru Strait, filed a lawsuit against the company and the central government with the Hakodate District Court in July 2010, claiming they are concerned about the large amount of highly toxic plutonium that will be used as reactor fuel.
The city of Hakodate also filed suit against the two parties with the Tokyo District Court in April 2014, saying it fears the impact of an accident at a so-called full-MOX reactor will be far more devastating than that of the Fukushima disaster, which led to the long-term evacuation of many local residents.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Fukushima Considering Action Over Netflix’s ‘Dark Tourist’ Nuclear Episode

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August 3, 2018
The local government and the Reconstruction Agency are not happy with portrayals of unspecified high-radiation locations and speculation over contaminated food.
Japan’s Reconstruction Agency and Fukushima Prefectural Government are considering legal action over the episode of Netflix’s Dark Tourist, which visited places still dealing with the aftermath of the March 2011 triple nuclear meltdown.
The episode, the second in the series released on the streaming giant July 20, sees New Zealand journalist David Farrier visit Japan, with just more than half of the program following him on an organized bus tour through areas near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant.
Farrier and the other tourists become concerned as the readings on their Geiger counters showed radiation higher than they were told to expect and what is deemed to be safe levels. The group eventually decides to cut the tour short, but not before eating at a restaurant in the area and Farrier leaving the group to enter an off-limit gaming arcade. While at the restaurant, Farrier talks about his concerns about the food being unsafe, before finishing his meal.
“We’re examining the video content,” a senior official from the prefecture told news agency Jiji.
The parts of the video that the authorities have taken objection to are the section showing the high radiation levels, but not saying where they were filmed, the speculation about food contamination and Farrier’s excursion into the off-limits area.
Almost 100,000 foreign tourists are estimated to have visited Fukushima last year on what have been dubbed nuclear tourism tours.
Nearly 20,000 people died in March 2011, when a huge earthquake set off a devastating tsunami that knocked the cooling systems of the nuclear plant out of action, leading to three reactors at Daiichi melting down.
The local and national government have been working to have bans on food produces from the area rescinded, which they have been gradually achieving.
During the episode, Farrier also visits the Aokigahara forest, an area known for suicides. YouTuber Paul Logan faced a backlash at the beginning of the year after posting a video from the forest, where he had discovered a corpse. Farrier also stays in a robot-run hotel and takes a tour to the abandoned Hashima Island. Once a coal mine, the industrial wasteland of the island has attracted tourists and attention in recent years, appearing in the James Bond film Skyfall and the Japanese Attack on Titan live-action movies.
Other episodes feature tourism related to voodoo, drug barons, mass murderers and survivalists.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | Leave a comment