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‘Scorpion‘ robot mission inside Fukushima reactor aborted

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December 8, 2019

A “scorpion” robot sent into a Japanese nuclear reactor to learn about the damage suffered in a tsunami-induced meltdown had its mission aborted after the probe ran into trouble, Tokyo Electric Power company said Thursday.

TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, sent the remote-controlled device into the No. 2 reactor where radiation levels have recently hit record highs.

The “scorpion” robot, so-called because it can lift up its camera-mounted tail to achieve better viewing angles, is also designed to crawl over rubble inside the damaged facility.

But it could not reach its target destination beneath a pressure vessel through which nuclear fuel is believed to have melted because the robot had difficulty moving, a company spokeswoman said.

“It‘s not immediately clear if that‘s because of radiation or obstacles,” she said, adding that TEPCO is checking what data the robot was able to obtain, including images.

A massive undersea earthquake on March 11, 2011 sent a huge tsunami barrelling into Japan‘s northeast coast, leaving more than 18,000 people dead or missing, and sending three reactors into meltdown at the plant in the worst such accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

The Japanese government said in December that it expects the total costs — including compensation, decommissioning and decontamination — to reach 21.5 trillion yen ($189 billion) in a process likely to take decades as high radiation levels slow operations.

The robot, 60 centimetres (24 inches) long, is made by Toshiba and equipped with two cameras and sensors to gauge radiation levels and temperatures.

“Scorpion‘s mission is to take images of the situation and collect data inside the containment vessel,” TEPCO spokesman Shinichi Nakakuki said earlier.

“Challenges include enduring high levels of radiation and moving on the rough surface,” he said.

Radiation levels inside the reactor were estimated last week at 650 sieverts per hour at one spot, which can effectively shut down robots in hours.

But the probe — designed to withstand up to 1,000 sieverts of radiation in total — would not sustain severe damage because it was unlikely to remain for too long at a single point, Nakakuki said.

https://livingstonledger.com/scorpion-robot-mission-inside-fukushima-reactor-aborted/

December 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Robot pulled from Fukushima reactor due to radiation

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December 6, 2019

Cleaner robot pulled from Fukushima reactor as record radiation levels damage its camera

A remote-controlled cleaning robot sent into a damaged reactor at Japan‘s Fukushima nuclear plant had to be removed before it completed its work because of camera problems most likely caused by high radiation levels.

It was the first time a robot has entered the chamber inside the Unit 2 reactor since a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami critically damaged the Fukushima Da-ichi nuclear plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it was trying to inspect and clean a passage before another robot does a fuller examination to assess damage to the structure and its fuel. 

WHAT HAPPENED? 

The robot went only part way into a space under the core that TEPCO wants to inspect closely. 

It crawled down the passage while peeling debris with a scraper and using water spray to blow some debris away. 

The dark brown deposits grew thicker and harder to remove as the robot went further.

After about two hours, the two cameras on the robot suddenly developed a lot of noise and their images quickly darkened — a sign of a problem caused by high radiation.

 

The second robot, known as the ‘scorpion,‘ will also measure radiation and temperatures.

Thursday‘s problem underscores the challenges in decommissioning the wrecked nuclear plant. 

Inadequate cleaning, high radiation and structural damage could limit subsequent probes, and may require more radiation-resistant cameras and other equipment, TEPCO spokesman Takahiro Kimoto said.

We will further study (Thursday‘s) outcome before deciding on the deployment of the scorpion,‘ he said.

TEPCO needs to know the melted fuel‘s exact location and condition and other structural damage in each of the three wrecked reactors to figure out the best and safest ways to remove the fuel. 

It is part of the decommissioning work, which is expected to take decades.

During Thursday‘s cleaning mission, the robot went only part way into a space under the core that TEPCO wants to inspect closely. 

It crawled down the passage while peeling debris with a scraper and using water spray to blow some debris away. The dark brown deposits grew thicker and harder to remove as the robot went further.

After about two hours, the two cameras on the robot suddenly developed a lot of noise and their images quickly darkened — a sign of a problem caused by high radiation.

Operators of the robot pulled it out of the chamber before completely losing control of it.

The outcome means the second robot will encounter more obstacles and have less time than expected for examination on its mission, currently planned for later this month, though Thursday‘s results may cause a delay.

Both of the robots are designed to withstand up to 1,000 Sieverts of radiation. 

The cleaner‘s two-hour endurance roughly matches an estimated radiation of 650 Sieverts per hour based on noise analysis of the images transmitted by the robot-mounted cameras. 

That‘s less than one-tenth of the radiation levels inside a running reactor, but still would kill a person almost instantly.

Kimoto said the noise-based radiation analysis of the Unit 2‘s condition showed a spike in radioactivity along a connecting bridge used to slide control rods in and out, a sign of a nearby source of high radioactivity, while levels were much lower in areas underneath the core, the opposite of what would normally be the case. 

He said the results are puzzling and require further analysis.

TEPCO officials said that despite the dangerously high figures, radiation is not leaking outside of the reactor.

Images recently captured from inside the chamber showed damage and structures coated with molten material, possibly mixed with melted nuclear fuel, and part of a disc platform hanging below the core that had been melted through. 

https://insiderfinancial.net/robot-pulled-from-fukushima-reactor-due-to-radiation.html

December 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Pentagon to get more control over the news? Is this a GOOD idea?

December 8, 2019 Posted by | media, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Radiation levels inside Fukushima high enough to kill robot sent to clean

serveimage

December 6, 2019

A remote-controlled cleaning robot sent into a damaged reactor at Japan‘s Fukushima nuclear plant had to be removed Thursday before it completed its work because of camera problems most likely caused by high radiation levels.

It was the first time a robot has entered the chamber inside the Unit 2 reactor since a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami critically damaged the Fukushima Da-ichi nuclear plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said it was trying to inspect and clean a passage before another robot does a fuller examination to assess damage to the structure and its fuel. The second robot, known as the “scorpion,” will also measure radiation and temperatures.

Thursday‘s problem underscores the challenges in decommissioning the wrecked nuclear plant. Inadequate cleaning, high radiation and structural damage could limit subsequent probes, and may require more radiation-resistant cameras and other equipment, TEPCO spokesman Takahiro Kimoto said.

“We will further study (Thursday‘s) outcome before deciding on the deployment of the scorpion,” he said.

TEPCO needs to know the melted fuel‘s exact location and condition and other structural damage in each of the three wrecked reactors to figure out the best and safest ways to remove the fuel. It is part of the decommissioning work, which is expected to take decades.

The remote-controlled “cleaning” robot, bottom, was sent in to inspect and clean a passage for another robot in the damaged nuclear facility. (TEPCO/Associated Press)

During Thursday‘s cleaning mission, the robot went only part way into a space under the core that TEPCO wants to inspect closely. It crawled down the passage while peeling debris with a scraper and using water spray to blow some debris away. The dark brown deposits grew thicker and harder to remove as the robot went further.

More obstacles for second mission

After about two hours, the two cameras on the robot suddenly developed a lot of noise and their images quickly darkened — a sign of a problem caused by high radiation. Operators of the robot pulled it out of the chamber before completely losing control of it.

The outcome means the second robot will encounter more obstacles and have less time than expected for examination on its mission, currently planned for later this month, though Thursday‘s results may cause a delay.

Both of the robots are designed to withstand up to 1,000 Sieverts of radiation. The cleaner‘s two-hour endurance roughly matches an estimated radiation of 650 Sieverts per hour based on noise analysis of the images transmitted by the robot-mounted cameras. That‘s less than one-tenth of the radiation levels inside a running reactor, but still would kill a person almost instantly.

Kimoto said the noise-based radiation analysis of the Unit 2‘s condition showed a spike in radioactivity along a connecting bridge used to slide control rods in and out, a sign of a nearby source of high radioactivity, while levels were much lower in areas underneath the core, the opposite of what would normally be the case. He said the results are puzzling and require further analysis.

TEPCO officials said that despite the dangerously high figures, radiation is not leaking outside of the reactor.

Images recently captured from inside the chamber showed damage and structures coated with molten material, possibly mixed with melted nuclear fuel, and part of a disc platform hanging below the core that had been melted through.

https://livingstonledger.com/radiation-levels-inside-fukushima-high-enough-to-kill-robot-sent-to-clean/

December 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

High-level radiation hot spots found at J-Village, the starting point of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay

1e892707-191026_j_villageThe Japan leg of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic torch relay will start at a the J-Village soccer facility in Fukushima Prefecture.

Tokyo, Japan, 4 December 2019 – High-level radiation hot spots have been found at the sports complex where the 2020 Tokyo Olympic torch relays will begin, according to a survey to be released by Greenpeace Japan. The radiation levels around J-Village Stadium in Fukushima Prefecture were as high as 71 microsieverts per hour at surface level. This is 1,775 times higher than the 0.04 microsieverts per hour prior to the Fukushima Daiichi triple reactor meltdown in 2011.

Greenpeace’s Nuclear Monitoring & Radiation Protection Advisors detected and documented several radiation hot spots on 26 October during its annual survey, which will be published in spring 2020. On 18 November, Greenpeace Japan sent a letter to Minister Koizumi of the Japanese Ministry of the Environment

, demanding immediate decontamination measures and assurance that the public will not be exposed to radiation hot spots during the Olympics and Paralympics events at J-Village. Copies were also sent to the President of the International Olympic Committee, as well as the Presidents of the International Paralympic Committee, Japanese Olympic and Paralympic Committees, and the Governor of Fukushima Prefecture, who is also the President of J-Village. 

Greenpeace has yet to receive a response from the Japanese government but is publicly releasing the information on the radiation hot spots due to an article published today (4 December) by Sankei Shimbun.

The article reports some details of Greenpeace Japan’s letter to the Japanese government and Olympic bodies, which was leaked to the media by an unknown official. The article states that the soil around the particular hotspot with 71 microsieverts per hour at surface level was removed by TEPCO yesterday (3 December).

While general radiation levels were low at the J-Village, these radiation hot spots are of significant public health concern. Radiation hot spots of such high levels can be found in the closed area around Fukushima (so-called Area 3), but should not be present in publicly accessible areas. Yet, they are at a location that has been the focus of an extensive decontamination program and is also the starting point for the Olympic torch relay in Japan. 

These radiation hot spots highlight both the scale of contamination caused by the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, and the failure of decontamination efforts. We have called on the Ministry of Environment to act urgently and to initiate immediate decontamination,” said Kazue Suzuki, Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Japan. 

The radiation hot spots at the parking lot close to J-Village are of particular concern because they are located in an area that is currently visited by a large number of people. The highest figures were: 71µSv/h at contact, 32µSv/h at 10cm, 6µSv/h at 50cm and 1.7µSv/h at 1m, while the official Japanese government’s decontamination threshold is 0.23µSv/h. 

There is a risk that heavy rain will spread these higher levels of contamination on public roads, and thus re-contaminate already decontaminated surfaces. This could partially undo earlier efforts to decontaminate the public areas in J-Village. From our observations, it is unlikely that radiation hot spots of such high levels re-emerged from re-contamination after the previous decontamination. It is more logical that the decontamination was not sufficiently and thoroughly conducted in the first place,” said Shaun Burnie, Senior Nuclear Specialist at Greenpeace Germany and the team leader of the survey.

To protect public safety, Greenpeace Japan demands that the Japanese government conduct an immediate and extensive radiation survey of the public areas in and around J-Village and nearby Olympic/Paralympic venues. Furthermore, they should promptly conduct decontamination if further radiation hot spots are identified. Regular screenings of the radiation levels in J-Village should be also conducted to monitor possible re-contamination of public areas.

Greenpeace’s Nuclear Monitoring & Radiation Protection Advisors will soon re-test the J-Village to determine if subsequent decontamination attempts have been adequately conducted.

https://www.greenpeace.org/japan/uncategorized/press-release/2019/12/04/11770/?fbclid=IwAR2ipzVjeLhwCvAc4szkNbgg_tBfcL4SU7RM9eeLbY6Zt_W43D3qYfZSbHg

December 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

OLYMPICS/ S. Korea to bring food, check for radiation at Tokyo Games

korea japan.jpg

December 4, 2019

SEOUL–South Korea’s Olympic committee plans to buy radiation detectors and ship homegrown ingredients to Japan for its athletes at the Tokyo Games because of worries local food may be contaminated by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Japan has posted data to show the country is safe from Fukushima radiation and many countries have lifted Fukushima-related food restrictions.

The Korea Sports & Olympic Committee (KSOC) plans to ship red pepper paste, a key ingredient in Korean dishes, and other foods, and check for radiation in meat and vegetables that can only be sourced locally due to stringent quarantine rules, a KSOC meals plan report shows.

“Apparently, ingredients and food will be transported from South Korea as much as possible, possibly including canned food,” Shin Dong-keun, a ruling Democratic Party member of the parliamentary sports committee who was recently briefed by KSOC, told Reuters in an interview.

“For this Olympic games, food is our team’s main focus so they can provide safe meals for the athletes to erase radiation worries, as opposed to in the past, food was meant to play the supplementary role of helping with their morale.”

KSOC plans to arrange local Korean restaurants to prepare meals for baseball and softball players competing in Fukushima, as shipping boxed lunches from Tokyo is not feasible, it said in the “2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics Meals Support Center Plan.”

“These Korean restaurants should only handle food confirmed as radiation free,”

The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, located about 220 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, was rocked by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011, sparking three reactor meltdowns.

More than 160,000 residents fled nearby towns in the aftermath as radiation from the reactors contaminated water, food and air.

RADIATION HOT SPOTS

Greenpeace said on Wednesday that radiation hot spots have been found at the J-Village sports facility in Fukushima where the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay will begin.

South Korea has stepped up demands for a Japanese response to concerns food produced in the Fukushima area and nearby sea could be contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima plant.

Japan is having trouble removing more than 1 million tons of contaminated water from the crippled plant.

When it finalizes menus around April, the KSOC will consider asking Tokyo to ease its stringent quarantine ban on South Korean produce, an official at the committee said.

The official said South Korea was preparing a separate meals plan due to concerns from the public and politicians over food safety, unlike the United States and Australia whose athletes will mainly eat food provided by the host country, Japan.

The official requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

South Korea’s concerns about possible contamination from the nuclear disaster has become a thorn in already contentious ties with Japan.

Seoul has banned imports of seafood from Japan’s Fukushima region since the nuclear disaster, prompting Tokyo to launch a World Trade Organization complaint. Japan has said many nations such as the United States and Australia had lifted or eased Fukushima-related restrictions.

Japanese officials use international events to promote the recovery of areas hit by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster to show produce from Fukushima Prefecture is safe.

Mineral water from Fukushima was served on tables at the last month’s Group of 20 foreign ministers meeting it hosted in Nagoya.

The South Korean Olympic committee plan to purchase radiation detecting equipment by February and station an inspector at its own cafeteria in Tokyo during the games to check contamination levels, according to the KSOC report.

The budget for the Tokyo Olympics meals service is earmarked at 1.7 billion won ($1.44 million or 155 million yen), which includes twice the amount of money for buying and shipping ingredients than previous games, according to the committee.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201912040049.html?fbclid=IwAR1CWlV5oDPx_ROTX5jh4WMeFnTmh7rykUwnbPa3dPHgYGTPqZZUmicAUxo

December 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Olympics-Radiation hot spots found at Tokyo 2020 torch relay start – Greenpeace

1e892707-191026_j_village.pngJ-village

December 4, 2019

TOKYO, Dec 4 (Reuters) – Radiation hot spots have been found at the J-Village sports facility in Fukushima where the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay will begin, Greenpeace Japan said on Wednesday.

Greenpeace found that radiation levels around the recently refurbished venue, which also hosted the Argentina team during the Rugby World Cup earlier this year, were significantly higher than before the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor meltdown following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Greenpeace’s survey found radioactivity readings taken at J-Village on Oct. 26 as high as 71 microsieverts per hour at surface level.

People are exposed to natural radiation of 2,000-3,000 microsieverts a year, so anyone staying in the vicinity of J-Village for two or more days could be exposed to more than that.

These readings, although not deemed life-threatening if exposed for a short length of time, are 1,775 times higher than prior to the March 2011 disaster, according to the NGO.

The Olympic flame is due to arrive from Greece in Japan on March 20, with the torch relay officially starting from J-Village on March 26.

Greenpeace said in a statement that it had sent its findings to Japan’s Ministry of Environment, but had received no response.

“There is a risk that heavy rain will spread these higher levels of contamination on public roads, and thus re-contaminate already decontaminated surfaces,” warned Greenpeace nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie, team leader of the J-Village survey, in a statement.

An ministry official acknowledged to Reuters on Wednesday that the ministry had been alerted to higher radiation level readings in an area surrounding J-Village and that decontamination measures had been taken.

“The ministry cooperated with related groups to decrease radiation levels in that area,” said the official.

“On Dec. 3, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) took measures to decrease radiation levels in said area.”

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station, located about 220 km (130 miles) northeast of Tokyo, was rocked by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011, sparking three reactor meltdowns.

More than 160,000 residents fled nearby towns in the aftermath as radiation from the reactors contaminated water, food and air. Greenpeace called on the Japanese government to conduct more extensive radiation surveys in the area and the NGO planned to return to J-Village soon to “determine if subsequent decontamination attempts have been adequately conducted.”

Tokyo 2020 organisers could not be immediately reached for comment.

Worries that local food could be contaminated by the nuclear disaster has prompted plans by South Korea’s Olympic committee to buy radiation detectors and ship homegrown ingredients to Japan for its athletes at the Tokyo Games. (Additional reporting by Mari Saito; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

https://af.reuters.com/article/africaTech/idAFL8N28E0L7?fbclid=IwAR01no7I0LUG2acAbapUgk9ERcWBHsndxvGdEeC1mYvj_fEYJZ-SEHlEr6g

December 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Radiation hotspots ‘found near Fukushima Olympic site’

Greenpeace calls for fresh monitoring of region where nuclear disaster occurred

 

1002.jpegThe Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which was the site of a nuclear disaster in 2011. Officials are keen to showcase the area’s recovery.

Wed 4 Dec 2019

Greenpeace has said it detected radiation hotspots near the starting point of the upcoming Olympic torch relay in Fukushima.

Japan’s environment ministry said the area was generally safe but it was in talks with local communities to survey the region before the 2020 Games, which open on 24 July.

The government is keen to use the Olympics to showcase Fukushima’s recovery from the 2011 tsunami. It intends to use J-Village, a sports complex located about 12 miles from the nuclear plant that was damaged in the disaster, as the starting point for the Japan leg of the torch relay taking place in March.

Originally designed as a training centre for athletes, J-Village functioned for years as a logistics hub for crews working to control and decommission the defunct reactors.

After a cleanup process, the sports centre became fully operational again in April this year, shortly after the torch relay decision.

Greenpeace urged fresh radiation monitoring and continued cleanup efforts, saying it had detected some spots with radiation levels as high as 1.7 microsieverts per hour when measured one metre above the surface.

This compared with the national safety standard of 0.23 microsieverts per hour, and a normal reading in Tokyo of about 0.04 microsieverts per hour. The hotspots showed a reading of 71 microsieverts per hour at the surface level, Greenpeace said.

However, J-Village’s website said the radiation reading at its main entrance was 0.111 microsieverts per hour on Wednesday, while one of its fields showed a reading of 0.085 microsieverts per hour.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the Fukushima plant, said it cleaned the spots on Tuesday after the environment ministry told the firm about them.

Greenpeace said it relayed its findings to the Japanese government as well as local and international Olympic organisers. The group will publish a report of its findings in the region next year.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/04/radiation-hotspots-found-near-fukushima-olympic-site-greenpeace

December 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima launches first sake promotion event in New York

Fukushima ‘hot’ sake anyone?
n-sake-a-20191204-870x603.jpg
Customers at a Japanese restaurant in New York drink Fukushima sake
Dec 3, 2019
NEW YORK – The Fukushima Prefectural Government launched a weeklong sake promotion event in New York City on Monday, hoping to boost recognition of its Japanese rice wine among U.S. consumers amid a sales slump in the domestic market.
Ten Japanese restaurants in the city are participating in the first-ever Fukushima Sake Week through Sunday, offering 23 varieties of sake from 13 breweries.
The event is aimed at increasing sake sales in the U.S. and European markets as Japanese sake brewers face declining domestic sales due partly to changing consumer tastes.
Sake brewers in Fukushima Prefecture are also facing export restrictions to some countries such as China following the nuclear disaster triggered by a powerful earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
Sakamai, one of the restaurants taking part, is offering three brands.
Ken Chino, floor manager at Sakamai, said, “I am always impressed by Fukushima sake.”
The Fukushima Prefectural Government official in charge of trade promotion said, “By holding this event in New York where information is disseminated, we hope that the high quality (of Fukushima’s sake products) will be spread to the world and also shared by people in the regions where safety concerns still take root.”

December 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear debris removal to begin in 2021

1111111.jpg(Photo taken in Fukushima Prefecture on Aug. 10, 2018, shows the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.)

December 3, 2019

Japan on Monday unveiled a revised plan to remove molten nuclear fuel debris from the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi power plant in 2021, a process said to be the biggest hurdle in the cleanup of the devastated facility.

The debris removal work should start at the plant’s No. 2 reactor, according to the medium- to long-term road map released by the government.

The plan also called for completing the removal of 4,741 fuel rods left inside the pools of Nos. 1 to 6 units by 2031, giving a specific time frame for the first time.

“As more people return and rebuilding progresses in the areas around the Daiichi plant, we will take measures based on the basic principle of balancing rebuilding and decommissioning,” said industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama, who heads the government team tasked with decommissioning.

(Photo taken in Fukushima Prefecture on Aug. 10, 2018, shows the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant )

The plan, revised for the fifth time, maintained the outlook of completing the decommissioning of the plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. in 30 to 40 years following the nuclear meltdowns triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

But given issues that have halted work and caused delays so far, it remains uncertain whether the plan will proceed as scheduled.

The No. 2 unit was in operation when the crisis began and some fuel has apparently melted through the reactor pressure vessel that holds the fuel and accumulated at the bottom of the outer primary containment vessel.

Among the three reactors that experienced core meltdowns, the reactor building housing the No. 2 unit did not suffer hydrogen explosions. The radiation levels near the reactor containment vessel are also estimated to be lower than others.

Prior to removing the nuclear debris, an earlier plan called for taking samples from the reactor within fiscal 2019 ending in March, but the revised plan states it will be done in time for the 2021 removal, and the removal to expand to 2031.

Removal of spent fuel has already begun at some of the reactors as they need to be cooled to avert melting. The fuel, including some unspent fuel, which is currently being stored inside respective pools, need to be taken to a common pool to be stored stably, although its final destination is yet to be decided.

All fuel has been removed from the pool of No. 4, which was being halted for a regular checkup at the time of the crisis, and the removal of fuel from No. 3 began in April. The same work will begin at Nos. 1 and 2 in fiscal 2023, according to the latest plan.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/12/957487f7b687-fukushima-nuclear-debris-removal-to-begin-in-2021.html

December 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

METI eyes 2031 end to Fukushima No. 1 cleanup

n-fukushima-a-20191203-870x565.jpg
The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is seen in this photo taken on March 11.
by Mari Yamaguchi
Dec 2, 2019
The industry ministry on Monday unveiled a revised plan to remove molten nuclear fuel debris from the meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 power plant in 2021 — a process said to be the biggest hurdle to decommissioning the six-reactor facility.
Work to remove the debris should start with the No. 2 reactor, according to the mid- to long-term road map released by the government.
Designating a specific time frame for the first time, the plan also calls for completing the removal of 4,741 fuel rods left inside the cooling pools for reactor Nos. 1 to 6 by 2031.
“As more people return and rebuilding progresses in the areas around the No. 1 plant, we will take measures based on the basic principle of balancing rebuilding and decommissioning,” said Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshi Kajiyama, who heads the state team tasked with decommissioning the heavily damaged plant.
The plan, revised for the fifth time, maintains the general outlook for finishing the cleanup within 30 to 40 years of the triple meltdown, which was triggered by the mega-quake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
But, given issues that have halted work and caused delays so far, it remains uncertain whether the plan will proceed as scheduled.
Here is a look at some of the challenges facing Fukushima No. 1:
Melted fuel debris
By far the toughest challenge is removing the 800 tons of nuclear fuel that melted in the three reactors before dropping from their cores and hardening at the bottom of the primary containment vessels.
Over the past two years, Tepco has made progress gathering details mainly from two of the reactors. In February, a small telescopic robot sent inside the No. 2 reactor showed that small pieces of debris can come off and be lifted out. Thus debris removal is scheduled to begin there by the end of 2021.
Earlier, assessments of the No. 3 reactor were hampered by high radiation and water levels in the PCVs. A robot survey at the No. 1 reactor also failed from extremely high radiation.
Experts say a 30- to 40-year completion decommissioning target is too optimistic. Some doubt that removing all of the fuel is even doable and suggest an approach like Chernobyl — contain the reactors and wait until radioactivity naturally fades.
Fuel rods
Together, the three reactors have more than 1,500 units of mostly spent nuclear fuel rods inside that must be kept cool in pools of water. They’re among the highest risks at the plant because the pools are uncovered, and loss of water from structural damage or sloshing in the event of another major quake could cause them to melt and release massive radiation.
The manager of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., started removing rods from the No. 3 reactor pool in April and aims to get all 566 out by March 2021. Removal of rods from units 1 and 2 is to begin in 2023.
By 2031, Tepco plans to remove thousands of rods at the two units that survived the tsunami and store them in dry casks on the compound. Over 6,300 fuel rods were in the six reactor cooling pools at the time, and only the pool at No. 4 has been emptied.
Tainted water
The government and Tepco have been unable to get rid of the more than 1 million tons of radioactive water that has been treated and stored on site, fearing public repercussions. The utility has managed to cut the volume by pumping up and diverting groundwater upstream, as well as by installing a costly underground “ice wall” around the reactor buildings to keep water from entering.
Tepco says it only has space for up to 1.37 million tons until summer 2022, raising speculation it might release the tainted water after the 2020 Olympics. Tepco and experts say that the tanks are hampering decommissioning work and that the space they occupy must be freed up to build storage for the debris and other radioactive materials to be removed. There is also the risk that the tanks might fail and release their contents in the event of another quake, tsunami or flood.
Experts say a controlled release of the water into the ocean is the only realistic option, one that will take decades. For years, a government panel has been discussing methods amid opposition from fishermen and residents who fear it will damage their products and their health.
Radioactive waste
Japan has yet to develop a plan to dispose of the highly radioactive waste that will come out of the reactors. Under the road map, the government and Tepco will compile a plan sometime after the first decade of removal work ends in 2031.
Managing the waste will require new technologies to compact it and reduce its toxicity. Tepco and the government say they plan to build a temporary storage site for the waste. But finding a site and getting public consent to store it there will be nearly impossible, raising doubts the cleanup can be finished within 40 years.
Manpower concerns
Securing a workforce for the decades-long project is yet another challenge, especially in a country with a rapidly aging and declining population. Tepco announced plans to hire foreign workers for the decommissioning process under Japan’s new visa program to attract unskilled foreign labor, but put it on hold after receiving government instructions on careful planning to address concerns about language problems and safety. Universities are also struggling to attract students in nuclear science, a formerly elite major that has become unpopular since the Fukushima crisis.

 

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December 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | 1 Comment

Ontario’s First Nations to vote on nuclear waste plan near Lake Huron

December 8, 2019 Posted by | Canada, indigenous issues | Leave a comment

To store Canada’s nuclear wastes close to Lake Huron – the worst of the worst

December 8, 2019 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

Britain, France, and Germany press Iran over its ballistic missile program

December 8, 2019 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment