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Formal restart approval of tsunami-hit Tokai N°2 nuclear plant near Tokyo

Tokai No. 2 nuke plant passes tighter safety checks introduced after 2011 quake

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This July 17, 2018 file photo shows the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant, front, in the village of Tokai in Ibaraki Prefecture.
26 sept 2018
TOKYO — The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) officially determined on Sept. 26 that the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant north of Tokyo meets new, more stringent safety standards introduced after the March 2011 triple core meltdown and massive radiation leaks at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Tokai plant operator Japan Atomic Power Co. intends to restart the reactor and operate it 20 years beyond its original 40-year lifespan.
The only nuclear power station in the greater Tokyo area became the first nuclear power station to pass the NRA screening among those affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, which triggered the nuclear disaster at TEPCO’s Fukushima No.1 plant in northeastern Japan.
Restarting the 1.1-million-kilowatt Tokai No. 2 plant in the village of Tokai in Ibaraki Prefecture, about 160 kilometers northwest of central Tokyo, is no easy task, however. Japan Atomic needs to obtain approval from neighboring municipalities to resume reactor operations. Devising an evacuation plan in case of an accident for the some 960,000 residents living within a 30-kilometer radius of the plant is also a major challenge.
To get permission for the 20-year reactor life extension, Japan Atomic must also obtain government approval for relevant construction and extension plans before Nov. 27 this year, when the reactor will turn 40. The construction plan and the operational extension screening is almost finished, and both will be approved before the deadline.
Japan Atomic plans to complete safety enhancement work by March 2021 and then restart the plant at a later date. The work will cost some 174 billion yen, and Japan Atomic is depending on financial support from TEPCO and Tohoku Electric Power Co. to cover the outlay.
Tokai No. 2 became the eighth nuclear power station, and the 15th reactor, to pass the NRA safety screening. It is the second boiling water reactor after TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station certified as meeting the new safety standards. The reactors are a similar type to the ones at the Fukushima No. 1 plant that suffered core meltdowns.
(Japanese original by Riki Iwama, Science & Environment News Department)
 

Tsunami-hit nuclear plant near Tokyo wins formal restart approval

 
Tokai Reactor #2, Hit By March 11, 2011 tsunami gets NRA approval to reopen but needs approval of surrounding communities to do so. NRA sounds just like NRC.
Sept 26, 2018
The nuclear watchdog on Wednesday formally approved the restart of an almost 40-year-old nuclear power plant northeast of Tokyo that has sat idle since it was damaged during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, which also caused meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
The Tokai No. 2 plant in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, operated by Japan Atomic Power Co., is the first nuclear plant affected by the disaster to clear screening by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.
The earthquake on March 11, 2011, left the plant without an external power source, and a 5.4-meter tsunami incapacitated one of its three emergency power generators. The plant managed to cool down its reactor over three and a half days after the disaster as the two other power generators remained operational.
The Fukushima plant, which used the same boiling water reactor as the Tokai plant, suffered core meltdowns and spewed out a massive amount of radioactive material after losing its external power supply and emergency power generators in the calamity.
Still, it is unclear when the Tokai plant will actually restart as construction work to enhance its safety will not be completed until March 2021. Also, it needs to obtain consent from all of its surrounding communities. It is the only nuclear power plant in the country to need consent from local governments beyond its host municipality.
In addition, the sole reactor in the complex turns 40 years old in November and faces two more screenings to extend its operation by up to 20 years beyond the normal 40-year limit. It is expected to pass the screenings.
It operator must also compile an evacuation plan covering the 960,000 residents within a 30-kilometer radius of the plant — the largest number of potential evacuees for a nuclear plant in the country due to its location in the metropolitan region.
In Tokyo, protesters gathered in front of the NRA office in the morning and shouted slogans against the restart.
Some civic group members submitted to the watchdog a letter calling for a decision against the plant’s resumption with the signatures of some 8,000 people. “A plant that passes a lax screening is not safe,” the document said.
Sengetsu Ogawa, 54, a local anti-nuclear activist in Ibaraki Prefecture, said, “I have doubts about the way the NRA conducts screenings as it is believed to rubber stamp operators’ applications (for restarts).”
“Japan has been rocked by major disasters such as floods and earthquakes for the past two months. Based on these circumstances, the NRA should conduct a screening again,” he said.
Tokai No. 2 is the eighth nuclear plant approved by the NRA to restart under stricter safety rules introduced after the Fukushima disaster.
Among plants with boiling water reactors, it is the second to be given the green light following the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear complex run by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the operator of the crisis-hit Fukushima plant.
Japan Atomic Power applied for the restart in May 2014 with a plan to construct a 1.7-km-long coastal levee, predicting a potential tsunami as high as 17.1 meters.
With costs for safety measures at the plant estimated to reach some ¥180 billion ($1.6 billion), the operator, whose sole business is nuclear energy production, has struggled as none of its reactors has been online since the 2011 disaster.
Tepco and Tohoku Electric Power Co., which receive power supply from Tokai No. 2, have offered to financially support Japan Atomic Power.
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September 27, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Japan vows to cut its nuclear hoard but neighbours fear the opposite

Poor region of Japan is now very dependent on Rokkasho nuclear recycling project
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Japan Nucle­ar Fuel Ltd.’­s plant in Rokka­sho, Japan , Aug. 2, 2018.
Japan has amassed a large stockpile of plutonium and neighbours fear that the country may decide to build more nuclear weapons.
25 Sept  2018

More than 30 years ago, when its economy seemed invincible and the Sony Walkman was ubiquitous, Japan decided to build a recycling plant to turn nuclear waste into nuclear fuel.

It was supposed to open in 1997, a feat of advanced engineering that would burnish its reputation for high-tech excellence and make the nation even less dependent on others for energy.

Then came a series of blown deadlines as the project hit technical snags and struggled with a Sisyphean list of government-mandated safety upgrades. Seventeen prime ministers came and went, the Japanese economy slipped into a funk and the initial $6.8 billion budget ballooned into $27 billion of spending.

Now, Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd, the private consortium building the recycling plant, says it really is almost done. But there is a problem: Japan does not use much nuclear power anymore.

The country turned away from nuclear energy after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, and only nine of its 35 reactors are operational.

It is a predicament with global ramifications. While waiting for the plant to be built, Japan has amassed a stockpile of 47 metric tons of plutonium, raising concerns about nuclear proliferation and Tokyo’s commitment to refrain from building nuclear arms even as it joins the United States in pressing North Korea to give up its arsenal.

In August, North Korea’s state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper accused Japan of accumulating plutonium “for its nuclear armament.”

Japan pledged for the first time this past summer to reduce the stockpile, saying the recycling plant would convert the plutonium into fuel for use in Japanese reactors.

But if the plant opens as scheduled in four years, the nation’s hoard of plutonium could grow rather than shrink.

That is because only four of Japan’s working reactors are technically capable of using the new fuel, and at least a dozen more would need to be upgraded and operating to consume the plutonium that the recycling plant would extract each year from nuclear waste.

“At the end of the day, Japan is really in a vice of its own making,” said James M. Acton, a researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

“There is no easy way forward, and all those ways forward have significant costs associated with it.”

A handful of countries reprocess nuclear fuel, including France, India, Russia and the United Kingdom.

But the Japanese plan faces a daunting set of practical and political challenges, and if it does not work, the nation will be left with another problem: about 18,000 metric tons of nuclear waste in the form of spent fuel rods that it has accumulated and stored all these years.

rokkasho fuel.pngA stora­ge facil­ity for spent fuel rods at Japan Nucle­ar Fuel Ltd.’­s plant in Rokka­sho, Japan­, Aug 2018.

 

Japan’s neighbours, most notably China, have long objected to the stockpile of plutonium, which was extracted from the waste during tests of the recycling plant and at a government research facility, as well as by commercial recycling plants abroad.

Most of this plutonium is now stored overseas, in France and Britain, but 10 metric tons remain in Japan, more than a third of it in Rokkasho, the northeastern fishing town where the recycling plant is being built.

Japan says it stores its plutonium in a form that would be difficult to convert into weapons, and that it takes measures to ensure it never falls into the wrong hands.

But experts are worried the sheer size of the stockpile — the largest of any country without nuclear weapons, and in theory enough to make 6,000 bombs — could be used to justify a nuclear buildup by North Korea and others in the region.

Any recycling plan that adds to the stockpile looks like “a route to weaponise down the road,” said Alicia Dressman, a nuclear policy specialist. “This is what really concerns Japan’s neighbours and allies.”

Japan maintains that its plutonium is for peaceful energy purposes and that it will produce only as much as it needs for its reactors. “We are committed to nonproliferation,” said Hideo Kawabuchi, an official at the Japan Atomic Energy Commission.

But the launch of the Rokkasho plant has been delayed so long — and popular opposition to restarting additional nuclear reactors remains so strong — that scepticism abounds over the plan to recycle the stockpile.

Critics say Japan should concede the plant will not solve the problem and start looking for a place to bury its nuclear waste.

“You kind of look at it and say, ‘My God, it’s 30 years later, and that future didn’t happen,’” said Sharon Squassoni, a nonproliferation specialist at George Washington University.

“It’s just wishful thinking about how this is going to solve their myriad problems.”

 

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Ikata NPP’s reactor to restart as Hiroshima court judges volcanic erution frequency to be extremely low

Ruling puts onus on anti-nuclear plaintiffs citing volcanic risks

Capture du 2018-09-27 10-21-00
Lawyer Hiroyuki Kawai, center, explains the Hiroshima High Court’s decision on Sept. 25 to lift a temporary injunction barring operations of the Ikata nuclear plant.
September 26, 2018
HIROSHIMA–The Hiroshima High Court has significantly raised the bar for plaintiffs seeking suspensions of nuclear plant operations on grounds of a possible volcanic eruption.
In a ruling handed down on Sept. 25, the court overturned a temporary injunction order that had halted operations at the Ikata nuclear plant, saying the plaintiffs must present highly credible evidence of the risk of a catastrophic volcanic eruption.
The plaintiffs argued that Shikoku Electric Power Co. must suspend operations of its Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture because of the dangers posed by Mount Aso in central Kyushu, Japan’s southern main island.
They said a pyroclastic flow from the volcano would reach the plant about 130 kilometers away in the event of an eruption on a scale similar to one that occurred about 90,000 years ago.
But the high court dismissed their argument by referring to “socially accepted ideas.”
“The frequency of such an eruption is extremely low,” Presiding Judge Masayuki Miki said. “The government has not taken any measures to deal with it, and a large majority of the public don’t see the risks of a major eruption as a problem, either.”
He added, “Unless the court is given reasonable grounds for the possibility of a major eruption, it is a socially accepted idea that the safety of a facility will not be undermined even if measures are not in place to prepare for such a scenario.”
The ruling was based on an assessment issued in March by the Secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority that risks to nuclear facilities from a catastrophic volcanic eruption are within a socially acceptable range.
Kenta Tsunasaki, one of the plaintiffs, said he was appalled by the ruling.
“We are again witnessing the exact same attitude toward a massive eruption of a volcano,” he said, referring to the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that caused the 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. “The judiciary must have forgotten about the Fukushima disaster.”
Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant operator, has argued that the scale of the tsunami that struck the nuclear complex could not be foreseen.
Many volcanologists agree that catastrophic eruptions rarely occur.
But Yoshiyuki Tatsumi, professor of volcanology at Kobe University, questioned the court’s dismissal of the possibility of a huge eruption.
“The low occurrence does not assure safety,” he said. “A catastrophic eruption is one of the worst disasters in terms of the degree of danger, which is calculated by multiplying the expected number of victims and the rate of occurrence.”
Tatsumi also said it is difficult to predict when Mount Aso will have a major eruption because its eruption cycle is irregular.
(This article was compiled from reports by Sotaro Hata, Toshio Kawada and Shigeko Segawa.)

 

Reactor can restart in Japan after little risk seen from volcano

Shikoku Electric plans to resume operations at the Ikata plant in October
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The No. 3 unit at the Ikata power plant in Ehime Prefecture
September 25, 2018
OSAKA — A Japanese court ruled Tuesday that a nuclear reactor operated by Shikoku Electric Power could restart, clearing the way for it to join the small handful of nuclear facilities that have resumed operating following a catastrophic earthquake in 2011. 
The Hiroshima High Court overturned Tuesday its own provisional injunction from December, accepting the utility’s claim that a volcano in the vicinity poses little risk.
Following the decision, Shikoku Electric said it will restart the No. 3 unit at its Ikata power plant in Ehime Prefecture on Oct. 27.
High courts have often overruled suspensions handed down by district courts. Examples include the Nos. 3 and 4 units at Kansai Electric Power’s Oi and Takahama plants in Fukui Prefecture. With the Hiroshima high court’s decision, all reactors that had temporary suspension orders on them are able to restart.
The chief issue in the Ikata case was whether a nearby caldera of Mt. Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture is at risk of erupting.
“No proof has been shown of the possibility that a large-scale, catastrophic eruption will occur, and the likelihood that [lava flows] will reach the reactor is sufficiently low,” the court said in its ruling Tuesday.
But the restart could be stopped again by an Oita District Court decision due Friday on another provisional injunction to halt the Ikata unit.
The 890-megawatt No. 3 reactor is one of five across three plants nationwide to restart under standards introduced after the 2011 tsunami. It resumed operations in August 2016, but was halted in October 2017 for routine inspections. The shutdown has cost Shikoku Electric about 30 billion yen ($266 million), the company said.

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Hiroshima High Court signs off on restart of reactor at Shikoku Electric’s Ikata nuclear power plant

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Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata nuclear power plant is seen in Ehime Prefecture.
 
Sept. 25, 2018
HIROSHIMA – The Hiroshima High Court on Tuesday accepted an appeal by Shikoku Electric Power Co. allowing it to restart a halted reactor at its Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture, saying worries over a volcanic eruption damaging the plant are groundless.
The decision is an about-face from its earlier provisional injunction that demanded the utility halt the No. 3 unit at the plant until the end of this month, citing safety risks associated with potential volcanic activity in a nearby prefecture.
The temporary suspension order, issued last December following a request from a local opposition group, marked the first case in which a high court had prohibited operations at a nuclear plant since the 2011 triple meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant led to a nationwide halt of such plants.
Presiding Judge Masayuki Miki said in the ruling, “There is no reason to believe in the possibility of a destructive volcanic eruption during the plant’s operating period and there is only a small chance of volcanic ash and rocks reaching the plant,” which is about 130 kilometers away.
Following the court’s decision, Shikoku Electric said it will reboot the No. 3 reactor on Oct. 27. The unit has been idle for maintenance since October last year.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority, the country’s nuclear watchdog, said, “Drawing on the lessons learned from the nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, we will continue to impose strict regulations based on scientific and technical knowledge.”
Separately, residents in nearby Oita, Kagawa and Yamaguchi prefectures have also been seeking to stop the reactor in pending court cases. The Oita District Court is scheduled to hand down a decision on Friday.
In addition, a request to extend the period of the injunction beyond Sunday has been filed with the Hiroshima District Court.
In the injunction, the high court had said the power company underestimated the risks of heated rocks and volcanic ash reaching the plant if a big eruption occurs at Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture.
That decision constituted a major victory for the nation’s anti-nuclear movement and dealt a blow to the central government and utility firms, which are hoping to bring more reactors back online.
Shikoku Electric claimed in the appeal that it believes there is a “low possibility” of the volcano having a large-scale eruption while the reactor is in operation.
Plaintiffs, however, argued that the resumption of operations at the plant is “unreasonable” because of a “high risk of an accident.”

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

UK media manipulation of Chris Busby, George Galloway and Max Keiser revisited

Posted by Shaun McGee aka arclight

Posted to Nuclear-news.net

Posted on 27th Sept 2018

Following up on the reporting of the arrest of Chris Busby on the 12th September 2018 where media were reporting the raid and these reports continued for more than 24 hours.

Screenshot from 2018-09-27 10:38:22
There is just one point I would like to mention here. In this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ix2-B5bSKeU&t=529s ) there are a few small inaccuracies but nothing too drastic, the message of support was clear. On the single point that was made in the video that the police were called to a domestic situation where he and his female friend were having a row is not correct. I left a comment on the thread under the video correcting this (my tag is arclight2011 on YT). This got me thinking about that inaccuracy and where it may have come from?

In fairness to the You Tuber, the wording on the media does sort of hint that there was a domestic situation. The exact phrase without the full context was repeated by all media except the more cautious Telegraph was;

Police were called to an address because of concerns for the welfare of a woman” (source links below)

Checking the Google search on the subject today on the 27th September 2018 (last month search parameter), the first page has all the original inaccurate articles with no right of reply except for the Devon Live link that had been updated with prof Busby`s response to the incident. Even the 3 videos I could see today had no right of response though there are a few videos that report the situation much more fairly with the right of reply. It seems Google search does not want Prof Busby`s voice to be heard.

This is a well worn tactic found in the Britains media and they were giving that impression even though I was posting regular updates explaining that Prof Busby was in Wales (200 miles away) at the time on his FB page hour by hour (which the press must have been well aware of.).

The UK press is beholding to the Police Press Office and I think the way it was reported it was a bit slanted, though some press did eventually give him a right of reply where he did explain the situation though the reach of those articles was not as good as the initial click bait fake inaccurate ones as I mentioned above re Google search. The fact that most media used the exact phrases like the one above means that this copy most likely came from the Police Press Office within a very short space of time of the home invasion.

Then there was George Monbiots article in the Guardian (In 2011) claiming that Prof Busby was selling vitamin supplements for his own personal benefit after the Fukushima story (used widely by anonymous pro nuclear commenter’s all over the internet). The Guardian still refuses ,to this day, to allow Prof Busby a right of reply but you can find his response to this slander on the source notes below as well as the Guardian “slant” on this fake news story.

In fact they did something similar with George Galloway (In 2013) when he called police because 2 new employees were found accessing his personal off line computer so he called the police to have them arrested. It eventually transpired that these two were working on behalf off or were MI5 agents. In the early press coverage of that story the press did not mention that the employees were arrested at Mr Galloways request but that “The police raided George Galloways office and removed a computer” .. Sounds a bit more scary doesn’t it? hinting that he had child porn or the like! I will leave you a link to my blog post on that story for your entertainment https://nuclear-news.net/2013/03/25/max-keiser-and-george-galloway-and-john-catt-pensioner-under-attack-the-uks-security-state-gone-mad/

In a time of reported fake news and the EU, USA and western media in general are able to manipulate a story in such a way leaves the whole system of media accuracy in disrepute and means they can slander public figures and get away with it. As you can see by the 2013 blog post, this happens to many figures and omitting details with no source links . Putting in links will soon be made illegal under new rules being rolled out as well as the obvious corporate capture of the media by a handful of media moguls and Social and tech media giants, this bodes ill for us all;
The war against facts
UK https://www.pressgazette.co.uk/uk-holds-at-40th-in-world-press-freedom-rankings-but-campaign-group-says-its-nothing-to-be-proud-of/
USA https://www.aclu.org/issues/free-speech/freedom-press
EU https://www.liberties.eu/en

Source documents for this article;

Busby FB page with all the updates as they happened (scroll down and look for my comments Sean Arclight on FB) https://www.facebook.com/chris.busby.714?ref=br_rs
Main stream media articles without right of reply
https://news.sky.com/story/dr-chris-busby-police-become-unwell-at-chemical-weapons-experts-devon-home-11496768 (Though Sky did try to contact Chris but he was dealing with the aftermath of the home invasion)
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/13/chemical-weapons-expert-arrested-police-taken-devon-home/
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/devon-police-chemical-weapons-expert-ill-russia-today-chris-busby-bideford-a8537176.html
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7250170/chris-busby-devon-police-ill-chemical-poisoning-nuclear-expert-russia-today/
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-devon-45516797
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/police-fall-ill-at-chemical-expert-s-home-l2cmh6xb7
https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/police-chris-busby-russia-today-2005659 (Gave a right of reply and the only one on Google search first page)

My initial response video to the situation posted early in the day

Ritchie Allen gives Prof Busby a fair and professional right of reply loloking at all the possible reasons for such a home invasion

Police Press Office Devon
https://www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/news/media-services-contacts/
George Monbiots slanderous article after Fukushima
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/nov/21/christopher-busby-radiation-pills-fukushima
LLRC (NGO) gives Prof Busby a right of reply to the Guardians smear piece
http://www.llrc.org/pronuke/monbiot/monbiot21nov2011.htm

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments