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‘South Korea Considers Joining IAEA Monitoring of Fukushima Discharge Plan’

November 4, 2020

Presidential chief of staff Noh Young-min said South Korea is considering joining the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s monitoring of Japan’s reported plan to release radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. 

In a parliamentary audit Wednesday, Noh said Japan is expected to request reliable international agencies such as the IAEA to play a role in securing global trust in the process. 

He said the Seoul government has consistently asked Japan to transparently disclose information and maintain sufficient communication and consultations with the international community.

He said a task force set up within the presidential office continues to monitor the issue and discuss countermeasures.

Meanwhile the chief of staff said the top office was cooperating with calls to submit records related to the prosecution’s investigation into hedge fund fraud scandals involving Lime and Optimus asset management, adding that some records have already been submitted.


November 15, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan faces another Fukushima disaster crisis

Collecting sea water samples near the damaged Fukushima nuclear power station.

November 3rd, 2020, by Paul Brown

A plan to dump a million tonnes of radioactive water from the Fukushima disaster off Japan is alarming local people.

LONDON, 3 November, 2020 − The Japanese government has an unsolvable problem: what to do with more than a million tonnes of water contaminated with radioactive tritium, in store since the Fukushima disaster and growing at more than 150 tonnes a day.

The water, contained in a thousand giant tanks, has been steadily accumulating since the nuclear accident in 2011. It has been used to cool the three reactors that suffered a meltdown as a result of the tsunami that hit the coast.

Tritium is a radioactive element produced as a by-product by nuclear reactors under normal operation, and is present everywhere in the fabric of the reactor buildings, so water used for cooling them is bound to be contaminated by it.

To avoid another potentially catastrophic meltdown in the remaining fuel the cooling has to continue indefinitely, so the problem continues to worsen. The government has been told that Japan will run out of storage tanks by 2022.

Announcement delayed

As often happens when governments are faced with difficult problems, the unpalatable decision to release the contaminated water into the sea has not been formally announced, but the intention of the government to take this course has been leaked and so widely reported.

Immediately both local and worldwide adverse reaction has resulted. There are the direct effects on the local fishermen who fear that no one will want to buy their catch, but over a wider area the health effects are the main concern.

As ever with the nuclear industry, there are two widely different views on tritium. The Health Physics Society says it is a mildly radioactive element that is present everywhere, and doubts that people will be affected by it. But the Nuclear Information and Resource Service believes tritium is far more dangerous and increases the likelihood of cancers, birth defects and genetic disorders.

The issue is further complicated because the Fukushima wastewater contains a number of other radionuclides, not in such high quantities, but sufficient to cause damage. Ian Fairlie, an independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment, is extremely concerned about Japan’s plans and the health of the local people.

“Ten half-lives for tritium is 123 years: that’s how long these tanks will have to last – at least. This will allow time also for politicians to reflect on the wisdom of their support for nuclear power”

In a detailed assessment of the situation he says other highly dangerous radioactive substances, including caesium-137 and strontium-90, are also in the water stored at Fukushima.

They are in lower quantities than the tritium, he says, but still unacceptably high – up to 100 times above the legally permitted limit. All these radionuclides decay over time − some take thousands of years − but tritium decays faster, the danger from it halving every 12.3 years.

In a briefing for the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA), a UK based organisation, another independent analyst, Tim Deere-Jones, discusses research that shows that tritium binds with organic material in plants and animals.

This is potentially highly damaging to human health because it travels up the food chain in the marine environment, specifically accumulating in fish. This means fish-eating communities on the Japanese coast could ingest much larger quantities of tritium than some physicists think likely.

Relying on dilution

Tim Deere-Jones is also concerned that the tritium will be blown inshore on the prevailing wind in sea spray and will bio-accumulate in food plants, making it risky to eat crops as far as ten miles inland. Because of the potential dangers of releasing the water the NFLA has asked the Japanese government to reconsider its decision.

The government has not yet responded though, because officially it is still considering what to do. However, it is likely to argue that pumping the contaminated water into the sea is acceptable because it will be diluted millions of times, and anyway seawater does already contain minute quantities of tritium.

Dr Fairlie is among many who think this is too dangerous, but he admits there are no easy solutions.

He says: “Barring a miraculous technical discovery which is unlikely, I think TEPCO/Japanese Gov’t [TEPCO is the Tokyo Electric Power Company, owner of the Fukushima Daiichi plant]  will have to buy more land and keep on building more holding tanks to allow for tritium decay to take place. Ten half-lives for tritium is 123 years: that’s how long these tanks will have to last – at least.

“This will allow time not only for tritium to decay, but also for politicians to reflect on the wisdom of their support for nuclear power.” − Climate News Network

November 15, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima: Detecting Radiation at Japan’s 2021 Olympic Venues

November 2, 2020

Fairewinds ongoing scientific research with Dr. Marco Kaltofen of WPI has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication in the Journal of Environmental Engineering Science. As soon as the Journal of Environmental Engineering Science has an online preprint link available, Fairewinds will release details and a link to the publication.

Fairewinds ongoing Japan Project in this peer-reviewed journal article included samples from Fairewinds’ 4th Japan Trip in September 2017.  Fairewinds Energy Education sponsored chief engineer Arnie Gundersen and Dr. Kaltofen for two weeks in Japan to meet with community volunteer citizen scientists, who were conducting sampling and submitted that data for scientific review by Fairewinds and Dr. Kaltofen at WPI. During his three previous trips to Japan, Mr. Gundersen taught citizen scientists how to sample dust for radiological analysis. Fairewinds Energy Education and WPI students have been collecting and testing samples from citizen science volunteers and our crews from Olympic & Paralympic venues and host communities in Greater Tokyo & Fukushima Prefecture.

This unique project tracks the divergent releases of beta versus alpha-contamination in Northern Japan and potential radiation exposures to visitors and athletes at the upcoming 2021 Games that Japan’s government has named the Recovery Olympics. 

Fairewinds is incredibly grateful to Leon and Rosa Cloder, our host in Tokyo Dr. H. M. Homma, and Steve Leeper (the Founding Partner & Vice President of the Peace, Education, Art, Communication (PEAC) Institute Nonprofit) for hosting us. Our special thanks to Fairewinds other friends in Japan for their hard work and support that made this project possible. We would not have been able to conduct the scientific work we do without the individual donors and foundations who have consistently donated to support Fairewinds travel expenses to Japan and any associated project costs. Good Science takes patience, time, and money.

With the acceptance of this journal article for publication, Fairewinds Energy Education continues the scientific journal research work it began in 2011. The publication of Radioactively-hot particles detected in dusts and soils from Northern Japan by combination of gamma spectrometry, autoradiography, and SEM/EDS analysis and implications in radiation risk assessment in ‘Science of the Total Environment (STOTEN)’ was co-authored by Dr. Marco Kaltofen, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), and Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education. That Journal article detailed the analysis of radioactively hot particles collected in Japan following the Fukushima Dai-ichi meltdowns. [Full Report here]

In his ongoing scientific work, Dr. Marco Kaltofen has also researched and is the author of Microanalysis of Particle-Based Uranium, Thorium, and Plutonium in Nuclear Workers’ House Dust published by Environmental Engineering Science Journal Vol. 36, No. 2, February 4, 2019. This peer-reviewed journal article describes how X-ray techniques can detect exotic dust particles containing radioactive matter, thus allowing any analyst to remotely detect nano- and micro-scale traces of the radioactive fuels unique to specific types of weaponization activity. The method firmly distinguishes between natural uranium work, uranium enrichment, fission weapon development, and even three-stage advanced fusion weapons used for MIRV’d delivery systems.

November 15, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Wood incinerator completed at Fukushima Daiichi

November 1, 2020

An incineration facility to dispose of wood contaminated with radioactive substances has been completed at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The 2011 nuclear accident at the plant led to the dispersal of radioactive substances, contaminating the reactor buildings as well as other buildings and roads at the facility.

Trees were also contaminated with low levels of radiation. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, has been building a facility to burn the wood from the trees cut down to make space for tanks to store wastewater.

The incineration facility is expected to undergo a final inspection by the government this month.

The five-story facility is fitted with filters to remove radioactive substances. It is scheduled to start operating in March.

Officials say more than 100,000 cubic meters of wood will be incinerated.

Tokyo Electric Power expects the amount of contaminated waste, such as metal and concrete, to increase as the decommissioning work progresses. It plans to cut the volume of such waste to about one-third through reuse and other procedures.

An official of a TEPCO subsidiary in charge of decommissioning, Saito Noriyuki, said the waste must ultimately be disposed of, but there are many challenges. He said the company will manage the waste in a responsible way.

November 15, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , | Leave a comment