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Radiation doses underestimated in study of city in Fukushima

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Workers decontaminate land in Date, Fukushima Prefecture, in 2013.
 
January 9, 2019
A nuclear physicist who has drawn attention for tweeting about fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster has admitted that he and a colleague underestimated radiation doses in an article for an international scientific journal.
Ryugo Hayano, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, said the error, which he recognized on Jan. 8, was “unintentional.”
The article, carried in the Journal of Radiological Protection’s online edition in July 2017, listed average radiation doses that were one-third of the actual levels for people in Date, a city around 60 kilometers northwest of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, he said.
Hayano’s admission came after an atomic nucleus expert contacted the journal last year to point out unnatural data carried in the report and call for a correction.
The radiation doses in the article were based on figures kept by Date residents after the nuclear accident unfolded in March 2011.
“Even if residents lived in the most contaminated area of Date for 70 years, the median of the doses would not exceed 18 millisieverts,” the article concluded.
However, Shinichi Kurokawa, professor emeritus with the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization, an institute jointly used by national universities, raised doubts about the data presented in some sections of the report.
When Hayano and his colleague re-examined the figures, they found that they mistook a monthly dose recorded on a dosimeter as the figure for three months of exposure.
Hayano said the conclusion of the report still stands.
“Even after the error was fixed, I believe the average of annual doses will be within the 1-millisievert mark,” he said.
The benchmark upper limit for radiation exposure among ordinary people is 1 millisievert a year.
Hayano has frequently tweeted about radiation levels and doses from the nuclear disaster.
He was also involved in another research paper that analyzed radiation doses among people in Date. Kurokawa also questioned the veracity of a chart in the second report.
The second report has often been cited in discussions by the government’s Radiation Council on setting standards for protecting people from radiation.
The two research papers were produced after the Date city government provided Hayano’s research team with data on radiation doses of about 59,000 residents.
But it has emerged that data for 27,000 citizens were provided without their consent.
The city plans to set up an investigation panel to find out why it occurred.
Date has a population of 61,000.

January 9, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

JAPC denies granting local prior consent for Tokai reactor restart

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The Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, which is operated by the Japan Atomic Power Co.
January 8, 2019
Although telling six municipalities they have the right to prior consent before restarting the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant, operator Japan Atomic Power Co. (JAPC) is apparently reneging on that promise.
JAPC reached a draft agreement with the local governments to obtain their consent before restarting the Tokai No. 2 plant reactor in Ibaraki Prefecture, according to documents from Naka in the prefecture.
The documents, obtained by The Asahi Shimbun through an information disclosure request, detail the six years of negotiations between JAPC and the six local governments and a new safety agreement reached in March 2018.
The six are Tokai village, which hosts the plant, and the five surrounding cities of Hitachi, Hitachinaka, Naka, Hitachiota and Mito.
However, when asked by The Asahi Shimbun if the agreement contained a clause that JAPC would obtain prior consent from the six municipal governments on the restart, the company replied “No.” The six municipalities said the right to prior consent had been agreed upon.
JAPC has apparently changed its stance.
The new safety agreement, concluded on March 29, 2018, stipulates that when JAPC seeks to restart the Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant or extend its operation, it will effectively obtain prior approval from Tokai village and five surrounding municipalities.
The apparent break from tradition to give surrounding local municipalities the right of prior consent drew widespread attention as the “Ibaraki method.”
The concept of working out an agreement started in February 2012 when the heads of the six municipalities met to discuss nuclear power and local vitalization.
Tatsuya Murakami, then Tokai village chief, talked about the wide-ranging effects from the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
He said that the issue of whether to allow a restart of the Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant couldn’t be decided by Tokai village alone and that it was necessary for surrounding municipalities to have the same right.
However, JAPC rejected the proposal, saying that it needed to maintain a consistent approach with another nuclear plant it operates.
The negotiations continued, and in March 2017 the circumstances changed. In a meeting held that month, JAPC President Mamoru Muramatsu proposed a new safety agreement to the six municipalities.
As for their prior consent, he said, “We’ve determined that we can’t restart the nuclear plant until we obtain consent from the municipalities.”
The municipalities asked Muramatsu if that effectively meant they had the right to “prior consent.”
The JAPC president replied, “That’s correct.”
On Nov. 22, 2017, JAPC presented a new safety agreement, which included “effective prior consent,” in a meeting of the heads of the municipalities.
The municipalities again asked whether they had the right to prior consent. A JAPC official replied, “Yes.”
On Nov. 24, 2017, JAPC applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) for a 20-year extension of the operation of the nuclear plant. The deadline for the application was Nov. 28, 2017.
On Nov. 7, 2018, immediately after the NRA approved the 20-year extension, however, JAPC Vice President Nobutaka Wachi said, “The word ‘veto power’ can’t be found anywhere in the new agreement.”
The remark caused a backlash from the six municipalities, and Wachi apologized for his remark. However, relations between JAPC and the municipalities have deteriorated.
In the fall of 2018, The Asahi Shimbun conducted a survey of JAPC and the six municipalities. It asked them, “Is there anything in writing that states that JAPC must obtain prior consent from the six municipal governments in the new agreement?”
In response, JAPC said, “No.” A JAPC official explained, “The new agreement is a plan to effectively obtain prior consent from the six municipalities (by continuing to talk thoroughly with them until they grant their consent).”
The Asahi Shimbun told JAPC that official documents have a description that can be interpreted as granting the municipalities the right to prior consent.
The JAPC official said, “We will refrain from making a comment about the content of discussions from closed meetings.”

January 9, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Niigata gov’t to handle radioactive mud stored since Fukushima crisis

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Niigata Gov. Hideyo Hanazumi speaks at a press conference in Niigata, on Jan. 8, 2019.
January 8, 2019
NIIGATA, Japan (Kyodo) — The Niigata prefectural government said Tuesday it will dispose of radioactive mud that has been stored since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and ask the operator of the crisis-hit plant to shoulder the costs.
The prefecture in central Japan, located about 200 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, has stored around 60,000 tons of mud containing radioactive cesium and requested Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. since 2012 to dispose of it.
But the operator has refused, saying it is not able to handle industrial waste. The disposal costs are estimated at 3 billion yen ($27.5 million) and TEPCO formally expressed its readiness to pay in December.
The level of radioactive cesium in the mud is below 8,000 becquerels per kilogram, which could be disposed of by regular landfill operations, and most of it is below 100 becquerels per kg, according to the prefecture.
The local government has stored the mud instead of disposing of it, arguing that TEPCO should take responsibility for the damage caused by fuel meltdowns at the plant triggered by the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
The Niigata prefectural government has also stored the waste as some local residents were concerned about safety despite the low level of radioactive cesium.
Niigata Gov. Hideyo Hanazumi said at a press conference Tuesday it is “not realistic” to keep asking TEPCO to dispose of the mud and expressed “regret” that it had taken so long for the operator to decide how to handle the matter.
The contaminated mud, produced at an industrial water supply facility that takes in water from a river containing radioactive materials, is growing by 5,000 tons annually and the storage facility could become full later this year, according to the prefecture.
Municipalities other than Niigata have also been grappling with radioactive mud as a result of the crisis at the six-reactor Fukushima complex, with some shouldering the disposal costs.

January 9, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Hydrogen sulfide present in Fukushima contaminated water tanks

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January 7, 2019
Mako Oshidori reported from a recent TEPCO press conference that the company has admitted to finding hydrogen sulfide in some of the contaminated water tanks at Fukushima Daiichi.
 
The instances of hydrogen sulfide was found in newer welded tanks in the G3 tank farm in August.
TEPCO found levels up to 50 ppm in some of the tanks.
If it oxidizes to sulfuric acid it can corrode steel and concrete storage equipment including the water tanks.
 
TEPCO claims that the cause of the hydrogen sulfide gas was due to anaerobic bacterial decomposition. Hydrogen sulfide gas is a corrosion concern for the contaminated water tanks.
 
This is a problem from a human health standpoint for workers in the area. TEPCO cites a level of at least 50 ppm. They do not report the exact concentrations over 50 ppm. Health effects can happen at doses lower than 50 ppm. As exposure doses increase so do the health dangers. High concentrations can cause rapid death. With tanks creating this gas byproduct the risk exists of a worker accidentally coming in contact with a concentrated amount of this gas. Workers in the tank farms do not wear respirators, only paper particle filtration masks.
 
TEPCO stated they would continue to investigate the conditions in the on site tanks for gas and corrosion.
 

January 9, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

US Senator Wyden: Trump DOE Wants To Reinterpret Statutory Definition Of High-Level Nuclear Waste – Comment Deadline Wednesday Night 11:59 PM ET — Mining Awareness +

Comment here till Wednesday, January 9, 2019, 1159 pm Eastern Time (DC, NYC, etc): https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOE_FRDOC_0001-3696 See more here: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2019/01/06/trump-perry-doe-plan-to-reclassify-high-level-nuclear-waste-as-low-level-through-an-orwellian-stroke-of-a-pen-comment-by-wed-night-1159-pm-eastern-time-january-9th/ US Senator “Wyden said DOE’s push to reinterpret the definition of high-level radioactive waste is of great importance to Oregonians because the department’s Hanford Reservation in Washington is on the banks of the Columbia River. Hanford […]

via US Senator Wyden: Trump DOE Wants To Reinterpret Statutory Definition Of High-Level Nuclear Waste – Comment Deadline Wednesday Night 11:59 PM ET — Mining Awareness +

January 9, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment