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Japan proposes Fukushima water release to sea or air

The ministry said a controlled release into the sea was the best option because it would “stably dilute and disperse” the waste from the plant using a method endorsed by the United Nations’ Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. It also would facilitate monitoring of radiation levels in the environment.

In the proposal, the ministry noted that evaporation is a method that was tested and proven following the 1979 core meltdown at Three Mile Island, where it took two years to get rid of 87,000 tons of radioactive tritiated water.


The government and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., have been unable to get rid of the more than 1 million tons of radioactive liquid that has been treated and stored, due to opposition from local fishermen and residents fearing further damage to Fukushima’s reputation and recovery.

The utility has managed to cut down the volume of the liquid by pumping up groundwater from upstream before it reaches the plant, and installing a costly underground “ice wall” around the reactor buildings to prevent other water from running into the area. Tepco says it has space to store only up to 1.37 million tons of the waste liquid, and only until the summer of 2022, raising speculation that it may be released after the Tokyo Olympics next summer. Tepco and experts say the tanks get in the way of decommissioning work and that they need to free up the space to build storage for debris removed and other radioactive materials. The tanks also could spill out their contents in the event of a major earthquake, tsunami or flood….

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A Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) official wearing radiation protective gear stands in front of the Advanced Liquid Processing Systems during a press tour at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Nov. 12, 2014.
December 23, 2019
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has proposed gradually releasing or allowing to evaporate massive amounts of treated but still radioactive water at the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant.
The proposal made Monday to a body of experts is the first time the ministry has narrowed down the options available to just releasing the water. It is meant to tackle a huge headache for the plant’s operator as storage space runs out, despite fears of a backlash from the public.
Nearly nine years after the 2011 triple meltdowns at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the radioactive water is still accumulating as the water is needed to keep the cores cooled and minimize leaks from the damaged reactors.
For years, a government panel has been discussing ways to handle the crisis and to reassure fishermen and residents who fear potential health impacts from releasing the radioactive water as well as harm to the region’s image.
In Monday’s draft proposal, the ministry suggests a controlled release of the water into the Pacific, allowing the water to evaporate, or a combination of the two methods.
The ministry said a controlled release into the sea was the best option because it would “stably dilute and disperse” the water from the plant using a method endorsed by the United Nations’ Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. It also would facilitate monitoring of radiation levels in the environment.
Releasing the entire amount of water over one year would only increase radiation levels to thousands of times less than the impact humans usually get from the natural environment.
In the proposal, the ministry noted that evaporation has been a tested and proven method following the 1979 core meltdown at Three Mile Island, where it took two years to get rid of 87,000 tons of tritium water.
The government and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., have been unable to get rid of the more than 1 million tons of radioactive water that has been treated and stored due to opposition from local fishermen and residents fearing further damage to Fukushima’s reputation and recovery. The utility has managed to cut down the volume of water by pumping up groundwater from upstream and installing a costly underground “ice wall” around the reactor buildings to keep the water from running into the area.
TEPCO says it has space to store only up to 1.37 million tons and only until the summer of 2022, raising speculation that the water may be released after the Tokyo Olympics next summer. TEPCO and experts say the tanks get in the way of decommissioning work and that they need to free up the space to build storage for debris removed and other radioactive materials. The tanks also could spill out their contents in a major earthquake, tsunami or flood.
Experts, including those at the International Atomic Energy Agency who have inspected the Fukushima plant, say the controlled release of the water into the ocean is the only realistic option, though it will take decades.
A government panel earlier compiled a report that listed five options, including releasing the water into the sea and evaporation. The three others included underground burial and an injection into offshore deep geological layers.
The panel has also discussed possibly storing the radioactive water in large industrial tanks outside the plant, but the ministry proposal ruled that out, citing risks of leakage in case of corrosion, tsunamis or other disasters and accidents, as well as the technical challenge of transporting the water elsewhere.

December 24, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

No to nuclear: Japan wants reactors phased out, post-Fukushima

Japan is less reliant on atomic energy, but concerns are growing about its return to climate-damaging fossil fuels.

 

decbb2323b9e48d09c85ce1cba528c75_18.jpgJapan’s anti-nuclear movement grew rapidly after the Fukushima disaster. Experts doubt that the country’s nuclear plants will ever generate the same levels of energy as they once did.

December 20, 2019

Tokyo, Japan – At the end of a decade in which northeastern Japan was devastated by a tsunami that triggered a nuclear disaster at Fukushima, atomic energy looks unlikely to make a comeback.

In the nearly nine years following the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, the country’s reliance on atomic power for electricity generation has plummeted to between 3 and 5 percent from about 30 percent before the disaster, according to the Tokyo-based Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center.

And despite a period of uncertainty in the immediate aftermath of the meltdowns triggered when Fukushima’s cooling systems were overwhelmed by the tsunami created by the magnitude 9.0 undersea earthquake, the world’s third-largest economy has shown it can function with radically less nuclear power.

The public mood turned dramatically after Fukushima and the national trauma that ensued and combined with the increasing costs from aligning ageing plants with stringent post-disaster safety requirements, it is unlikely the nuclear industry will return to previous levels, according to experts, even as the government envisions nuclear power accounting for about 20-22 percent of electricity generation in 2030.

“It is obvious that it is very difficult to meet this target,” said Hajime Matsukubo, secretary-general of the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center.

And while experts say while the anti-nuclear movement may seem to have quietened down, anti-nuclear feeling is firmly entrenched.

‘They say no’

“Japanese people’s sentiment (has) changed after Fukushima Daiichi and it is continuing until now,” said Matsukubo, whose non-profit organisation was established in 1975 by concerned atomic scientists to gather and publicise nuclear information and raise public awareness on the industry.

He said that even if people appear not as focused, if they are asked pointedly if they agree with nuclear power: “They say no.”

1a9972929a5d4b018a2c4e3cbc9457a9_18The Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant avoided the disaster at Fukushima, two-and-a-half hours’ drive south, and the government has said its No 2 reactor could be up-and-running by late next year

Before Fukushima, Japan had 54 operational reactors and for a brief time in the accident’s aftermath, not a single one was in operation. So far, nine have been restarted and authorities are considering the cases of a dozen more, according to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry figures. A further 24 are either under decommissioning or lined up for it.

Late last month, regulators gave initial approval for the restart of a reactor at the facility closest to the epicentre of the March 2011 quake. The No 2 reactor at the Onagawa nuclear plant could be running again late next year if further conditions are met. Onagawa was damaged in the double disaster, where the tsunami wave rose as high as 13 metres, but avoided Fukushima’s catastrophic meltdowns.

Japan imports nearly all its crude oil and natural gas. Underscoring such dependency, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a nationally televised news conference in 2016 that the nation could not “do without” nuclear power.

But Shinjiro Koizumi, minister for the environment and nuclear issues and the son of anti-nuclear former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, said after his appointment in September that the country needed to wean itself off the atom.

“We will be doomed if we let nuclear accidents recur,” he said, according to Kyodo News.

Safety costs

Japan’s mass-circulation newspaper Mainichi Shimbun in an editorial after the Onagawa decision cited the newspaper’s own research that found 11 top power suppliers had spent in excess of 5 trillion yen ($45.7bn) on nuclear safety since Fukushima.

“As costs balloon, it is becoming increasingly difficult, even absurd, for the government and power companies to maintain the argument that nuclear power is ‘cheap’,” the editorial said.

The more thoroughly safe the plants become, the more time and money is needed,” it continued. “We must ask, then: is it realistic to press on with the safety upgrade and reactor restart policy? We cannot dispel our suspicions that the answer is, in fact, ‘no’.”

Japan has clearly shown it can function on less nuclear-generated power, but the shift has come at a cost: an increasing reliance on fossil-fuel alternatives such as coal, oil and natural gas. And with concerns over climate change intensifying, that is drawing international attention.

“I’m very much aware of the challenges of Fukushima to the Japanese electrical sector,” said Paul Simpson, CEO of London-based non-profit CDP, which runs a global disclosure system that aids investors, companies and local governments in managing their environmental footprint.

Simpson, speaking at a forum on decarbonisation in Tokyo last month, stressed that coal was simply no longer an option and countries still using it must search for alternatives, citing Germany’s plan for no new coal use by 2040.

Alternative energies

Japan needs to find a transition pathway from this, and I know this is challenging,” he said. “But coal is socially unacceptable … from a climate-risk perspective but also from an air pollution perspective.”

 

3ca31b63ac0f4d4da8edaf08e0f669b2_18.jpgCustomers browse in a Tokyo shop that specialises in products from Fukushima

According to Matsukubo, about 30 percent of Japan’s electricity generation comes from coal and 43 percent from natural gas. And the country has moved to build new coal-fired power plants since Fukushima.

“It’s disastrous,” Matsukobo said, stressing that Japan needs to move to renewable sources of energy; an area in which Simpson also pointed out Japan is lagging, even though the government has promised to increase the country’s use of renewables by 2030.

There was always some ambivalence about atomic energy in Japan – the only country to suffer a nuclear weapon attack when the United States dropped bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the closing days of World War II.

Pope Francis, visiting Japan in November, surprised no one when he condemned nuclear weapons. But the pontiff, the first to venture to the country since 1981, went so far as to suggest that nuclear energy itself was a problem.

“I have a personal opinion: I wouldn’t use nuclear energy until it is totally safe to use,” the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Roman Catholics said in comments to reporters during his flight back to Rome from Tokyo, Kyodo reported.

Ramping down

Alexander Brown, who has studied the anti-nuclear protest movement in Japan, said that because Japan had supported atomic power for so long, there was a sense of inertia despite post-Fukushima opposition, ageing infrastructure and the remote chance of new reactors getting the green light.

“There’s a sort of built-in time limit to how long the industry as a whole can continue,” said Brown, currently a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science international research fellow at Japan Women’s University.

He also emphasised, however, that Japan’s turn against nuclear energy had also coincided with a key change in its domestic economy; less industrially robust and therefore not as hungry for energy as before.

Why have the lights stayed on,” Brown asked rhetorically. “One is, yes, increased fossil fuel use, but another is there’s just less demand than there was in the peak time of manufacturing onshore in Japan.”

Brown calls that an “uncomfortable truth” for much of Japan’s ruling establishment – including the prime minister and his eponymous “Abenomics” economic revitalisation programme – which clings to a belief in a model of vigorous growth.

And I think one of the amazing things when I look at the anti-nuclear movement, to me, was it was full of people looking at what are other ways that we can live,” he said.

How can we embrace other values other than high consumption, high pollution, extreme overwork and look at things like de-growth economics.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/japanese-turn-nuclear-decade-wrought-fukushima-191220000003532.html

 

December 24, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Stations Near Fukushima N-Plant to Be Out of Evacuation Zone

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December 20, 2019
Fukushima, Dec. 20 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government plans to lift evacuation orders for areas surrounding train stations close to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, it was learned Friday.
The government and the town of Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, in northeastern Japan, agreed to lift an evacuation order around the town’s Yonomori Station on East Japan Railway Co.’s Joban Line on March 10 next year.
It will be the first instance of an evacuation order being lifted for an area designated as a “difficult-to-return zone” after the March 2011 nuclear disaster. The decision is expected to be made official by the government’s Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters.
The government is also in talks with municipalities over removing evacuation orders for districts surrounding two other Joban Line stations, ahead of the train line’s planned full reopening by the end of March next year.
The government is holding discussions with the prefectural government and the town governments of Futaba and Okuma, which both host the nuclear plant, on the dates for lifting the orders for areas around Futaba and Ono stations, located in Futaba and Okuma, respectively. According to sources, the negotiators are expected to settle on March 4 as the date for the Futaba station area.

 

December 24, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Severed section of JR Joban Line in Fukushima to reopen in March

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A train arrives at JR Futaba Station in Fukushima Prefecture during a test run on Dec. 18.
December 19, 2019
FUTABA, Fukushima Prefecture–A disrupted section of the JR Joban Line near the beleaguered Fukushima nuclear plant is expected to reopen March 14, bringing the entire line back in service for the first time in nine years.
A test run to check signal lights, rails and crossings started in Fukushima Prefecture Dec. 18.
As part of the test, a five-car train arrived around 10:20 a.m. at the newly built Futaba Station, about 4 kilometers northwest of the plant.
The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant suffered a triple meltdown following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, with residents in wide areas ordered to evacuate.
The tests will continue through Dec. 20, with the train making two round trips a day between Tomioka and Namie, the 20.8-kilometer section of the line that has remained out of service.
If service in the section is resumed, the Joban Line will connect Nippori in Tokyo to Iwanuma in Miyagi Prefecture, covering about 344 km.
Futaba Station features a glass-walled corridor connecting the east and west sides. However, many nearby buildings were dismantled following the disaster, leaving plots of empty land.
No residents can be seen around here as evacuation orders due to the nuclear disaster have been in place throughout the town.
As the section set to reopen is within 10 km of the nuclear plant, the train will run through the “difficult-to-return zone” that has excessive levels of radiation.
Japan Railways has been engaged in decontamination efforts in the area since March 2016 to lower radiation levels by removing trees along the tracks and replacing gravel.
Coinciding with the resumption of the entire line, evacuation orders for areas around Yonomori, Ono and Futaba stations within the section are expected to be lifted.
Orders for roads connecting the stations and areas where access is not restricted would also be lifted, allowing passengers to access the stations.

December 24, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo ‘Recovery Olympics’ offer scant solace to displaced victims of Fukushima nuclear disaster

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An abandoned elementary school classroom remains cluttered Dec. 3 with school bags and other belongings left by students as they rushed out after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the nearby Fukushima nuclear power plant in Futaba.
December 18, 2019
FUTABA, FUKUSHIMA PREF. – Nine years after an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster devastated wide areas of the prefecture, the torch relay for the 2020 Summer Games will kick off in Fukushima.
Some baseball and softball games will also be held in the prefecture, allowing Tokyo organizers and the government to label these games the “Recovery Olympics.” The symbolism recalls the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, which showcased Japan’s re-emergence just 19 years after World War II.
But tens of thousands still haven’t recovered in Fukushima, displaced by nuclear radiation and unable to return to deserted places like Futaba.
Time stopped in the town of 7,100 when disaster stuck on March 11, 2011.
Laundry still hangs from the second floor of one house. Vermin gnaw away at once intimate family spaces, exposed through shattered windows and mangled doors. The desolation is deepened by Japanese tidiness, with shoes waiting in doorways for absent owners.
“This recovery Olympics is in name only,” Toshihide Yoshida said. He was forced to abandon Futaba and ended up living near Tokyo. “The amount of money spent on the Olympics should have been used for real reconstruction.”
Japan is spending about ¥2.8 trillion ($25 billion) to organize the Olympics. Most is public money, though exactly what are Olympic expenses — and what are not — is always disputed.
The government has spent ¥34.6 trillion for reconstruction projects for the disaster-hit northern prefectures, and the Fukushima plant decommissioning is expected to cost ¥8 trillion.
The Olympic torch relay will start in March at J-Village, a soccer venue used as an emergency response hub for Fukushima plant workers. The relay goes to 11 towns hit by the disaster, but bypasses Futaba, a part of Fukushima that Olympic visitors will never see.
“I would like the Olympic torch to pass Futaba to show the rest of the world the reality of our hometown,” Yoshida said. “Futaba is far from recovery.”
The radiation that spewed from the plant at one point displaced more than 160,000 people. Futaba is the only one of 12 radiation-hit towns that remains a virtual no-go zone. Only daytime visits are allowed for decontamination and reconstruction work, or for former residents to check their abandoned homes.
The town has been largely decontaminated and visitors can go almost anywhere without putting on hazmat suits, though they must carry personal dosimeters to measure radiation absorbed by the body and surgical masks are recommended. The main train station is set to reopen in March, but residents won’t be allowed to return until 2022.
A main-street shopping arcade in Futaba is lined by collapsing store fronts and sits about 4 km (2.5 miles) from the nuclear plant, and 250 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo. One shop missing its front doors advertises Shiseido beauty products with price tags still hanging on merchandise. Gift packages litter the ground.
Futaba Minami Elementary School, where no one died in the evacuation, has nonetheless been untouched for almost nine years and has the feel of a mausoleum. School bags, textbooks and notebooks sit as they were when nearly 200 children rushed out.
Kids were never allowed to return, and “Friday, March 11,” is still written on classroom blackboards along with due dates for the next homework assignment.
On the first floor of the vacant town hall, a human-size daruma good-luck figure stands in dim evening light at a reception area. A piece of paper that fell on the floor says the doors must be closed to protect from radiation.
It warns: “Please don’t go outside.”
The words are underlined in red.
“Let us know if you start feeling unwell,” Muneshige Osumi, a former town spokesman, told visitors, apologizing for the musty smell and the presence of rats.
About 20,000 people in Tohoku died in the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami. Waves that reached 16-meters-high killed 21 people around Futaba, shredding a seaside pine forest popular for picnics and swimming.
A clock is frozen at 3:37 p.m. atop a white beach house that survived.
Nobody perished from the immediate impact of radiation in Fukushima, but more than 40 elderly patients died after they were forced to travel long hours on buses to out-of-town evacuation centers. Their representatives filed criminal complaints and eventually sent former Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. executives to court. They were acquitted.
When Tokyo was awarded the Olympics in 2013, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assured International Olympic Committee members that the nuclear disaster was “under control.” However, critics say the government’s approach to recovery has divided and silenced many people in the disaster-hit zones.
Under a development plan, Futaba hopes to have 2,000 people — including former residents and newcomers such as construction workers and researchers — eventually living in a 550-hectare site.
Yoshida is unsure if he’ll return. But he wants to keep ties to Futaba, where his son inherited a filling station on the main highway connecting Tokyo and Tohoku.
Osumi, the town spokesman, said many former residents have found new homes and jobs and the majority say they won’t return. He has his own mixed feelings about going back to his mountainside home in Futaba. The number of residents registered at the town has decreased by more than 1,000 since the disaster struck, indicating they are unlikely to return.
“It was so sad to see the town destroyed and my hometown lost,” he said, holding back tears. He reflected on family life, the autumn leaves, and the comforting hot baths.
“My heart ached when I had to leave this town behind,” he added.
Standing outside Futaba Station, Mayor Shiro Izawa described plans to rebuild a new town. It will be friendly to the elderly, and a place that might become a major hub for research in decommissioning and renewable energy. The hope is that those who come to help in Fukushima’s reconstruction may stay and be part of a new Futaba.
“The word Fukushima has become globally known, but regrettably the situation in Futaba or (neighboring) Okuma is hardly known,” Izawa said, noting Futaba’s recovery won’t be ready by the Olympics.
“But we can still show that a town that was so badly hit has come this far,” he added.
To showcase the recovery, government officials say J-Village and the Azuma baseball stadium were decontaminated and cleaned. However, problems keep popping up at J-Village with radiation “hot spots” being reported, raising questions about safety heading into the Olympics.
The radioactive waste from decontamination surrounding the plant, and from across Fukushima, is kept in thousands of storage bags stacked up in temporary areas in Futaba and Okuma.
They are to be sorted — some burned and compacted — and buried at a medium-term storage facility for the next 30 years. For now they fill vast fields that used to be rice paddies or vegetable farms. One large mound sits next to a graveyard, almost brushing the stone monuments.
This year, 4 million tons of those industrial container bags were to be brought into Futaba, and another million tons to Okuma, where part of the Fukushima plant stands.
Yoshida said the medium-term waste storage sites and the uncertainty over whether they will stay in Futaba — or be moved — is discouraging residents and newcomers.
“Who wants to come to live in a place like that? Would senior officials in Kasumigaseki go and live there?” he asked, referring to the high-end area in Tokyo that houses many government ministries.
“I don’t think they would,” Yoshida added. “But we have ancestral graves, and we love Futaba, and we don’t want Futaba to be lost. The good old Futaba that we remember will be lost forever, but we’ll cope.”

December 24, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Toshiba warns it may not continue as ‘going concern‘

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December 18, 2019
Toshiba Corp. projected a $9.2 billion loss for its fiscal year and warned it may not be able to continue as a “going concern.”
The Japanese electronics giant released unaudited results Tuesday, reporting steep losses related to the bankruptcy filing of its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co. last month. For the first nine months of the year, which ends in March, it lost $4.8 billion.
The maker of computer chips and household appliances said expenses related to nuclear power construction by Westinghouse will “significantly” impact its liquidity.
“There are material events and conditions that raise the substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern,” the company said in its twice-delayed financial report.
Toshiba released the unaudited results, an unusual move, because it said its auditor couldn‘t reach a conclusion due to uncertainties related to the acquisition of U.S. nuclear construction company CB&I Stone and Webster.
One of Japan‘s most renowned electronics manufacturers, Toshiba has been roiled by soaring costs that followed the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, which also hurt its public sentiment toward nuclear energy. It still must decommission the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which suffered repeat meltdowns after the 2011 tsunami in northeastern Japan.

December 24, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Japan Gov’t liability denied for nukes damages, Tepco to pay minimal damages to evacuees

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Satoshi Abe (standing), head of the plaintiffs’ legal team, speaks at a news conference following the Yamagata District Court ruling in the city of Yamagata, northern Japan, on Dec. 17. 2019.
TEPCO ordered to pay minimal damages to Fukushima evacuees; Japan gov’t liability denied
 
December 18, 2019
YAMAGATA — The Yamagata District Court on Dec. 17 ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to pay a total of 440,000 yen in damages to five plaintiffs who evacuated due to the March 2011 triple-meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, while also absolving the Japanese state of liability.
Not only did the ruling dismiss the plaintiffs’ damages claims against the central government, the compensation amount falls far short of the more than 8-billion-yen (about $73 million) total sought by the 734 people in 201 households who were party to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs, who evacuated from Fukushima to neighboring Yamagata Prefecture in northern Japan following the nuclear disaster, have stated they will appeal.
The ruling was the 13th by a district court in similar cases filed across the country. Among those, 10 lawsuits were filed against the government and TEPCO, and the state was found liable in six of them.
Regarding the plaintiffs beyond the five granted compensation, Presiding Judge Nobuyuki Kaihara stated that “the consolation money sought does not exceed what they have already been paid by Tokyo Electric,” among other reasons for denying them damages.
The decision went on to say that “there was a limit” to what degree the tsunami that disabled the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s cooling systems could have been predicted, and therefore the Japanese state was not liable to pay the nuclear disaster evacuees compensation. The court also found that though TEPCO was liable for some damages, “we cannot conclude that the company committed gross negligence. Practically speaking, it is difficult to say that the firm could have implemented rational controls (at the plant) to prevent an accident.”
The plaintiffs’ suit had demanded 11 million yen in compensation per person — the highest of any nuclear disaster evacuee civil suit in Japan save one filed with the Fukushima District Court. More than 90% of the households that were party to the Yamagata lawsuit had lived in the city of Fukushima and other parts of the northeastern prefecture not covered by mandatory evacuation orders.
“The ruling was a result that betrayed our expectations,” commented Satoshi Abe, who led the plaintiffs’ legal team. Meanwhile, the Nuclear Regulation Authority secretariat refrained from comment on the case, while TEPCO stated that it would “examine the content of the ruling and consider a response.”
Court denies state liability for nuke damages
December 18, 2019
YAMAGATA (Jiji Press) — The Yamagata District Court rejected Tuesday the claim that the government is liable for damages over the March 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Meanwhile, the court ordered TEPCO to pay a total of ¥440,000 in compensation to five plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by 734 people of 201 households who evacuated to Yamagata Prefecture after the nuclear accident.
About 90% of the plaintiffs, who sought some ¥8,074 million in total damages, are evacuees from outside areas for which a government evacuation order was issued following the triple meltdown accident at the plant, stricken by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The ruling marked the 10th of its kind for collective lawsuits against the government and TEPCO over the nuclear accident. This is the fourth time that state liability for damages has been denied.
The plaintiffs said the government and TEPCO could have predicted a tsunami that would lead to a nuclear accident on the basis of a long-term assessment to forecast the scale and probability of earthquakes. The assessment was disclosed by a government organization in 2002.
The accident could have been avoided if the government and TEPCO had set up coastal levees and made the emergency power system watertight, the plaintiffs also said.
But Presiding Judge Nobuyuki Kaihara rejected the claim of government liability for compensation. “Although there was a foreseeability [of the accident], we can’t help saying that there was a limit to it,” he said.
The court ordered TEPCO to pay some compensation under the law to compensate for nuclear-related damages.
“I wanted [the court] to understand our hardship,” said a female plaintiff who evacuated with her three children from Fukushima Prefecture, which hosts the crippled nuclear power plant
 

December 24, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

J-Village still contaminated – major uncertainties over decontamination and Olympic torch route

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December 17, 2019
J-Village is the starting point of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic torch relay, and radioactive contamination still remains in the parking lot and the nearby forests at this sports complex in Fukushima prefecture, according to Greenpeace Japan’s most recent survey. The Japanese Ministry of Environment confirmed that the high-level radioactive hotspot identified by Greenpeace in October and a newly-identified hotspot had been removed by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). Despite this, on 13-14 December, Greenpeace measured public areas in and around J-Village again and still detected radioactive contamination. 
Remarkably, after removing just two hotspots, the standard procedures of decontamination were not followed by TEPCO. The standard practice for Fukushima decontamination is to decontaminate up to 20 metres from the public road. In this case, only the specific hotspots were removed over an area of about 1 square metre, despite the fact that the wider surroundings of the hotpots also showed high levels of radiation. 
“We welcome the action of the government and TEPCO to remove the hotspots near J-Village. However, radioactive contamination at J-Village is not under control and remains complex, with high levels of radiation in the area that can spread and re-concentrate with heavy rainfall,” said Heinz Smital, nuclear physicist and radiation specialist at Greenpeace Germany who is currently in Fukushima.
The original location of the highest radiation hotspot identified by Greenpeace on 26 October was 71 microSieverts per hour (µSv/h) close to the surface and 32µSv/h at 10cm. On 13 December, Greenpeace’s radiation survey team found the radiation levels of the same location to be  lower than 1 µSv/h at 10cm during the re-test.
However, on the same day just to the north of this hotspot, Greenpeace identified a patch of ground adjacent to the parking lot, where levels were up to 2.2 µSv/h at 10cm. Near the entrance of this same parking lot, Greenpeace measured 2.6 µSv/h at 10cm and 1 µSv/h at 1 meter. Additionally, at the edge of a forest north of the car park, radiation hotspots of 2.6 µSv/h at 10cm were identified. A second forest 300 meters north showed consistent levels of 0.6 μSv/h at 10cm, and 0.4 µSv/h at 1 meter, which is almost double the government’s decontamination target.
“Many questions and uncertainties remain: how were such high levels of radiation (71 µSv/h at close to surface) not detected during the earlier decontamination by TEPCO? Why were only the most alarming hotspots removed and not the wider areas following the standard decontamination procedures? Given these apparent failures, the ability of the authorities to accurately and consistently identify radiation hotspots appears to be seriously in doubt. We call on the authorities to act swiftly and effectively to provide a comprehensive decontamination action plan that can reassure the public,” said Smital.
Notes:
Greenpeace video and stills of its latest survey are available on request.
1. High-level radiation hotspots found at J-Village, starting point of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay IPR
2. Greenpeace Japan’s letter to the Japanese Ministry of the Environment
3. Monitoring Results of Air Dose Rates in and around J-Village December 12, 2019 – Japanese Ministry of Environment Report (English)

December 24, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

$4000 Settlement for Fukushima Daiichi Evacuees

$4000 settlement for all their losses and 9 years of misery…

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Dec 17, 2019

The Yamagata District Court awards a group of Fukushima evacuees a minor settlement in a suit seeking damages from the government and TEPCO for suffering caused by 2011’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

[© Nippon TV News 24 Japan]

https://www.nippon.com/en/news/ntv20191217002/$4000-settlement-for-fukushima-daiichi-evacuees.html

December 24, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Unit 3 Spent Fuel Damage Identified

unit3_spentfuelrack_damaged_channelbox_web.jpg
December 16, 2019
TEPCO has identified twelve fuel assemblies with damaged lifting handles. Further damage can not be identified at this point as the assemblies are still in the fuel racks in the spent fuel pool. The location of the newer 6 damaged assemblies are from the location where the fuel handling crane and a concrete hatch fell into the pool.
 
TEPCO is working on a plan for eventually moving these damaged assemblies to the common pool. This will require a custom basket to hold the fuel in the transport cask and a shielded section for storage in the common pool. Even with these additional problems TEPCO still plans to have all of the spent fuel removed from the unit 3 spent fuel pool by the end of fiscal 2020.
 
TEPCO report in Japanese
 

December 24, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Liquidators Are Real

The robotic equipment failed. So they sent up humans for 4 days to finish the job.
Tepco needs a serious review over the initial dismantling plan for Fukushima.

 

01Fukushima: Tepco sends workers to repair where robots failed. High radiation.

Some weird stuff is happening at the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant right now. While Japan has decided to drop radioactive water in the ocean, Tepco sent humans to repair where robots failed.

On December 3, workers were sent to the top of the exhaust stack (about 110 meters high) standing beside the Unit 1 and 2 buildings to finish cutting a cylinder body with an electric tool after the robotic infrastructure failed.

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The workers at the top of 110-m high Fukushima Dai-ichi vent stack were exposed to an estimated 810 μSv, making this action an emergency response.
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But officials first said radiation would not be above 300 μSv:
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According to TEPCO, the workers cut 1.1 meters out of the remaining 1.3 meters. The work resumed on Dec. 4 early morning due to forecast of strong winds.
 
Within the six hours of work, the workers were wearing masks covering their entire face to protect them from radioactive substances. According to officials, they were exposed to a maximum dose of 0.47 mSv.
 
The cylinder body of the exhaust pipe will be cut into 2-4 meter pieces at a time and should be halved around next March (60 meters). Let’s hope that the robotic saw blade will not fail again!
 
Meanwhile Fukushima radiation dust is still coming in… And that’s not good for the Olympic Games 2020:
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December 24, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment