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Tsunami could overtake Fukushima Daiichi’s seawall



April 21, 2020

An estimate by a Japanese government panel suggests that tsunami could overwhelm a new seawall at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, if a mega-quake occurs in a deep-sea trench off northeastern Japan.

The panel of experts on Tuesday released its projection of the scale of tsunami that could be triggered by a massive quake along the Japan Trench.

The panel expects that waves as high as 13.7 meters could hit Futaba Town, Fukushima Prefecture, where the plant is located.

That is higher than the 11-meter-high seawall being built on the ocean side of the compound. The wall is one of the anti-tsunami measures taken by Tokyo Electric Power Company as it decommissions the plant.

Other measures include blocking the openings of the reactor buildings and deploying power supply vehicles on higher ground to continue cooling spent nuclear fuel.

TEPCO says it will examine the estimate and consider what measures to take.

Nearly 1,000 tanks of radioactive wastewater are stored in the compound. The operator says the projected tsunami won’t reach the higher ground where they are located.



April 24, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

New tsunami estimates for megaquakes off Japan



April 21, 2020

A Japanese government panel says tsunami waves measuring more than 20 meters high could hit northern Japan if a megaquake of magnitude 9 or stronger occurs in one of two deep-sea trenches.

The government panel has been studying the possible scale of an earthquake, and tsunami waves it could trigger, in either a part of the Chishima Trench or the Japan Trench. The targeted area of the Chishima Trench extends from the Kuril Islands to Hokkaido while the area of the Japan Trench extends from Hokkaido to Iwate Prefecture. The study began after the 2011 disaster in northeastern Japan.

The panel’s latest estimate says a quake along the Chishima Trench would have a magnitude of 9.3.

Parts of eastern Hokkaido would be hit by tremors with an intensity of six-plus to seven on the Japanese scale of zero to seven.

A wide area of eastern Hokkaido would see tsunami more than 20 meters high. Waves could reach 27.9 meters in the town of Erimo.

A quake along the Japan Trench would have a magnitude of 9.1. Parts of Aomori and Iwate prefectures could have tremors with an intensity of six-plus.

Tsunami waves would top ten meters in northeastern Japan. Hachinohe City in Aomori Prefectures would be hit by tsunami as high as 26.1 meters, and Miyako City in Iwate Prefecture as high as 29.7 meters. Some areas could be hit by waves higher than those that struck in 2011.

As these areas have had powerful earthquakes in the past, the panel says massive tsunami can strike at any time.

The Cabinet Office plans to estimate the extent of damage and draw up disaster control measures based on these new figures by the end of March next year.


April 24, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima decommissioning work to be downsized



April 17, 2020

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. said Thursday that it is preparing to reduce the number of workers involved in decommissioning the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, in response to the state of emergency being expanded to all 47 prefectures.

About 3,000 employees and staff from partner companies are currently working at the plant to decommission the reactors and other tasks. The reduction in personnel is a measure to reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading, however, the decommissioning process may be delayed if there is a prolonged reduction in staff.

TEPCO will maintain operations necessary for the stable management of the plant, including the cooling of melted fuel and nuclear fuel pools and the purification of contaminated water.

April 24, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima fish market in former no-go zone reopens in Namie

np_file_4790Women handle fish at the Ukedo wholesale fish market on Wednesday in the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture.


April 10, 2020

Namie, Fukushima Pref. – A fish market in the Pacific coastal town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, has reopened for the first time since it was devastated by the massive tsunami and nuclear disaster in March 2011.

The Ukedo regional wholesale market, which reopened Wednesday, was the first market to resume operations in an area formerly designated as a no-go zone following the unprecedented triple meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The market was filled with the energetic voices of fishermen and middlemen as it hosted its first auction in about nine years.

Nine years were long, and I’m so happy I’m in tears,” said Ichiro Takano, director of the local fishermen’s cooperative.

Sales are lower than usual due to the effects of the novel coronavirus, but I’ve been waiting for the market to reopen,” said Keiji Sato, a 73-year-old fisherman from the nearby city of Minamisoma.

Flounders and anglerfish brought to the market were quickly delivered to large-scale local supermarkets.

I hope that having people in the town eat fresh fish will contribute to revitalizing the region,” a market official said.

Prior to the reopening, fishermen operating in the region brought their catches to a market in Soma, also in the prefecture.

Some 20 small fishing boats affiliated with Namie and nearby ports are expected to bring their catches to the Ukedo market from now on, raising hopes of a boost in catch volumes and an increase in fish consumption in areas struck by the 2011 disasters.

Facilities in the Ukedo fishing port and market were swept away by the tsunami, and residents were forced to evacuate due to the nuclear accident.

The evacuation order was lifted in spring 2017 and construction of renewed port and market buildings was completed in October last year.

April 24, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima mothers record radiation for future generations

np_file_4946-870x580A member of Mothers’ Radiation Lab Fukushima cuts green tops off of turnips to measure their radiation level in a lab in Iwaki


April 10, 2020

Iwaki, Fukushima Pref. – A group of more than 10 mothers set up a citizen-led laboratory to monitor radiation levels in Fukushima communities only months after a massive earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns at a nuclear power plant in the prefecture nine years ago.

Since the foundation of the institute on Nov. 13, 2011, it has been recording and disclosing radiation data on foodstuffs and soil it collected or were brought in by people from different parts of the prefecture, as well as seawater off the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

If the risks of nuclear power had been thoroughly verified by the previous generations, I think the disaster would not have happened,” Kaori Suzuki, 54, an executive of Mothers’ Radiation Lab Fukushima, based in Iwaki, said in a recent interview.

But since it did occur, what we must do now is record our measurements and changes in the environment so we won’t make the same mistake,” said Suzuki, one of the founding members. “Passing down something that will be useful when major decisions must be made is the only thing we can do.”

The laboratory of 18 staff members, many of them mothers who mostly had no prior experience in measuring radiation, have trained themselves with support from scientists, and they now gauge levels of cesium 134, cesium 137, tritium and strontium 90 with five types of machines.

Samples they have measured include dust in vacuum cleaners, vegetables grown in home gardens, seasonal mushrooms picked in mountains and soil gathered in parks.

They have occasionally detected radiation above safety levels, and reports the lab releases every month on its website have specified which machine is used and other details for each outcome to make their activities as transparent as possible.

Their efforts have made academic contributions as well, with their measuring methods and results published in scientific journals such as Applied Radiation and Isotopes in 2016.

Suzuki said they started the initiative out of desperation to protect their children.

We had to measure and eat. It was a matter of life and death,” the mother of two said.

As of April 6, 468 people in Iwaki, about 50 kilometers south of the crippled Fukushima plant, had died as a result of the events of March 2011, while more than 20,000 remained evacuated in and outside the city.

Noriko Tanaka, 40, who joined the group in May 2018, said studying radiation levels has changed how she perceives the environment around her.

You don’t need to fear everything, randomly. Rather than worrying about everything and being stressed out by that, measuring and seeing the data make you relieved to find that some things are safer than you presumed,” Tanaka said.

On the other hand, if you find a highly contaminated spot, for example, in a park where you thought it was safe to play, you can take precautionary measures,” she said.

Tanaka, who after the disaster temporarily fled from Iwaki to her husband’s home in Saitama Prefecture, found out during the evacuation that the couple were expecting their first child.

She had hoped to stay there or relocate elsewhere for safety, but with some family members not recognizing risks, her family eventually returned to Iwaki. Her husband was working at her family’s electrical construction firm, expecting orders for reconstruction in areas devastated by the March 11, 2011, triple disaster.

At that time, the common atmosphere was like, ‘Do we need to go that far?’ I was pregnant and couldn’t live on my own. I couldn’t choose that. I had no choice but to be in Iwaki,” she said.

As time goes by, Tanaka has found that fewer people are discussing radiation effects.

The number of samples brought in by citizens last year was 1,573, up 131 from the year before, but it is showing a decreasing trend overall compared to years before, according to the lab.

The Olympic Games are coming, and there are fewer media reports on radiation levels than before,” she said.

Officials have dubbed the Tokyo Summer Games the “Reconstruction Olympics,” with the hope of showcasing the country’s recovery from the 2011 catastrophe.

Because of that concept, the starting point of the Japan leg of the torch relay for the Olympics, which were recently put off for a year to the summer of 2021 due to the global coronavirus pandemic, was a soccer training center in Fukushima Prefecture that served as a front-line base in the battle against the nuclear disaster.

Tanaka said logging accurate data and keeping them publicly available are all the more important. “To protect children, having information is essential in deciding what to eat or where to go,” she said, adding that judgments based on correct data will also prevent any discrimination.

Recalling that she lined up outside a supermarket for an hour with her children on March 13, 2011, Ai Kimura, who has two daughters, said, “Even now, sometimes I’m hit by remorse about my ignorance on radiation at that time.”

A couple of years later, Kimura, a member of the lab since March 2014, said she became even more insensitive to possible health risks after seeing her neighbors begin drying clothes and blankets outside, or having their children not wear masks.

But when I joined the lab and started taking measurements, I was stunned that some showed high levels of radioactive contamination,” the 40-year-old said. “I was depressed. What have I done to my children because of my ignorance? … I think there are many mothers (who blame themselves) like me.”

Kimura said she feels that the fears people have toward the new coronavirus are similar to those toward radiation, as they are both invisible.

Everyone forgets about (radiation) because its effects in 10 or 20 years are uncertain, unlike the new coronavirus that shows pneumonia-like symptoms in a couple of weeks,” she said. “I realized again that people in affected areas like us have been living every day with the same feelings toward the coronavirus pandemic.”

It’s exhausting,” she said, adding her daughters must have had a hard time as she made them do things differently from their friends, such as wearing masks. “But I felt I was not wrong when my daughter said to me recently, ‘I was being protected by you, mom.’”

In addition to conducting surveys on radiation readings in the environment and food items, the lab in May 2017 opened a clinic with a full-time doctor to provide free medical checkups on internal exposure.

I think it’s necessary to keep checking children’s health as they grow up, rather than drawing a conclusion saying there won’t be any problem with this level of radiation exposure,” said Misao Fujita, 58, a doctor who is a native of Tochigi Prefecture.

Fujita said the amount of radiation exposure dosage and risks of health damage differ among children even if they live in the same area, depending on such factors as their location and behavior in the days after the nuclear disaster, whether they evacuated and what they eat now.

Those who underwent Fujita’s medical checkups when they were children include a woman who now takes her own child to the clinic, in addition to a number of young decontamination workers.

The nuclear disaster is something that’s carried on to coming generations. That’s what we have left,” Fujita said. “We must also not forget that about 30,000 people are still unable to return to their hometowns in the prefecture. The disaster isn’t over yet.”

April 24, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Improved input needed from locals over nuke water disposal

jhjkStorage tanks filled with radioactive water at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, in 2019


April 9, 2020

The government recently heard the opinions of local communities in Fukushima on tackling the urgent challenge of disposing of radiation-contaminated water being generated by the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The water still contains tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, even after being treated with a filtering system.

Local residents who attended the meeting, held in the city of Fukushima, the capital of Fukushima Prefecture, were divided over the government’s proposal to dilute the tritium-laced water to safe levels and release it into the ocean or vaporize the water and release the steam into the atmosphere.

But they clearly shared deep concerns about damaging rumors such a step could generate.

Many participants also said the government has not provided the public with sufficient information about tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen with a half-life of slightly more than 12 years.

The government should seek a longer and more informed conversation on this issue with local communities without rushing to a conclusion.

The No. 1 to No. 3 reactors at the plant are still generating tons of polluted water each day as these reactors are being flooded to cool melted nuclear fuel and underground water keeps pouring in.

Since the filtering system is unable to eliminate tritium from the water, the treated water is stored in an increasing number of on-site tanks. The number of tanks has already topped 1,000 and Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the ruined plant, says there will be no space for new tanks around the summer of 2022.

In February, the ministry of trade and industry’s expert panel proposed two options–gradually releasing polluted water into the sea and allowing the polluted water to evaporate into the air–as realistic approaches. The subcommittee suggested that releases in the ocean would be the less troublesome of the two options for several technical reasons.

The meeting, held to discuss the panel’s recommendations, were attended by 10 people representing the prefectural and municipal governments and local industries.

If the water is released into the sea, it will be treated again with the filtering system and then diluted with seawater. But the Fukushima prefectural federation of fisheries cooperatives voiced opposition to this approach out of concerns about “the future of young people working in the industry.”

Given that the local fisheries catches have plunged and still remain at about 14 percent of the levels before the nuclear disaster, it is hardly surprising that the fishing industry refuses to accept this method.

But the local association of inns, hotels, restaurants and other businesses related to environmental health expressed its support for the proposal to release the water into the sea.

But the association demanded compensation for the losses the tourist industry could suffer until the end of the process, arguing that the damage will be due to a deliberate action instead of harmful rumors. 

While the local communities and industries are apparently divided and uncertain with regard to the proposed release of the polluted water into the environment and its repercussions, it should be noted that many of the event participants expressed concerns about harmful rumors.

The debate will not be really constructive unless the government and the utility show the entire picture of the plan to deal with the situation. This must include clear answers to such questions as what specific measures will be taken to prevent a fresh wave of harmful rumors that could be triggered by the release and how to compensate for any damage that might result.

During the meeting, local representatives spoke most of the time, with few exchanges with government officials taking place.

Representatives of citizens or consumers were not invited to attend the meeting.

Another similar meeting is scheduled in Fukushima Prefecture next week. But these events should not be regarded simply as part of the formalities for proceeding with the plan to release the water rather than as means for meaningful dialogue with local communities.

Some participants called for expanding the scope of the debate on the issue to involve other parts of the nation. One participant said the opinions of the fisheries industries of other prefectures should also be heard since there are no prefectural borders in the sea.

Another said if the step is really safe, its implementation in other prefectures should also be considered.

It should be kept in mind that disposal of the treated water is not a challenge facing only Fukushima.

April 24, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Dump N-Plant Water outside Fukushima: Local Mayor


April 9, 2020

Fukushima, April 9 (Jiji Press)–The mayor of the northeastern Japan city of Fukushima on Thursday called for treated radioactive water at the disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to be dumped outside Fukushima Prefecture.

“I want the water to be released into the ocean at a location that does not include ‘Fukushima’ in its name,” Hiroshi Kohata said at a press conference in the capital city of the prefecture. “If it’s released near the prefecture, it will certainly cause it to suffer harmful rumors,” he said.

The treated water at the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. <9501> plant, which suffered a triple meltdown following the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and monster tsunami in March 2011, still contains radioactive tritium.

“The water should be carried in a giant tanker and dumped in a place where it will cause as small an effect as possible,” the mayor said.

If this cannot be done, the water should be dumped near the Tokyo metropolitan area, Kohata suggested. “It makes sense to dispose of it at a place that has benefited from the power generation at the Fukushima No. 1 plant,” he said. Before the nuclear accident, the electricity produced at the plant in Fukushima Prefecture was sent to and consumed in the metropolitan area.


April 24, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO simulates release of Fukushima wastewater


April 6, 2020

Tokyo Electric Power Company has made public a simulation showing the flow of radioactive wastewater released into the ocean from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. TEPCO says winds and tides will spread the wastewater in an elongated shape along the coastline.

The Japanese government has been looking into ways to dispose of the roughly 1.2 million tons of wastewater accumulated at the plant, which contains approximately 860 trillion becquerels of tritium.

TEPCO’s simulation estimated the area of ocean that would contain more than 1 becquerel of radioactive materials per liter.

The simulation shows that when water containing 100 trillion becquerels of radioactive materials is released each year, the area would be 2 kilometers offshore from the plant and stretch 30 kilometers from north to south.

When wastewater with 22 trillion becquerels of radioactive materials is released per year, it would spread 700 meters from shore and stretch 3 kilometers from north to south.

A government panel said in a report released in February that releasing diluted radioactive water into the sea or air are realistic options. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency expressed some understanding for the plan. But the proposal drew opposition from local fishermen and others.

TEPCO has yet to show its simulation of wastewater released into the air.

April 24, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

North Korea already has its nuclear arsenal. even if Kim should die.

April 24, 2020 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear company EDF in spiralling debt crisis

April 24, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

Latest delay in Olkiluoto nuclear fuel loadings leads to Fitch revising outlook to negative

April 24, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

European Solar Generation Breaks Records, As Coronavirus Shutdowns Reduce Air Pollution

April 24, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, renewable | Leave a comment

Members of Congress from Massachusett want details on how Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant is handling COVID-19.

Mass. Delegation Seeks Details on Seabrook Nuclear Plant’s Pandemic Operations,  By ANNIE ROPEIK • APR 22, 2020  Members of Congress from Massachusetts want details on how Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant is handling COVID-19.

Seabrook Station is currently offline and in the midst of a periodic refueling. That process requires a large extra workforce.

The plant’s owner, NextEra, has said it’s operating under its pandemic plan but it hasn’t offered more details.

Now, Massachusetts U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and Congressman Seth Moulton of Salem, Mass., are asking for that plan.  The delegation wrote to NextEra and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission this week. They also want details on any federal coronavirus exemptions that NextEra is planning to request.

Activists with Seabrook watchdog groups like C-10 have raised similar concerns in recent weeks, about how the pandemic may affect the plant or put workers at risk.

Federal regulators have already said some nuclear plants can ask to have employees work longer shifts during the pandemic.

April 24, 2020 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment