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Fukushima rice farmers innovate to survive, 10 years after disaster

Rice planting for commercial sales began in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, in May, 2017, for the first time since the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear disaster. |

February 21, 2021

Fukushima – Although the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture still casts a shadow over local agriculture a decade later, rice farmers are working to shake off radiation-related rumors and pass on Fukushima’s rice farming to the next generation.

Some are pinning hopes on an original rice brand developed in the prefecture to find a way to overcome the difficulties posed by the triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant. The disaster was triggered by the major earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

The annual rice harvest in Fukushima, which totaled 445,700 tons in fiscal 2010, slid to 353,600 tons in the following year and has since remained at around 350,000-380,000 tons. Although exports of Fukushima-grown rice have been increasing in recent years thanks to promotion measures by the national government, shipments to Hong Kong, for example, plunged to 2.6 tons in fiscal 2019 from some 100 tons in fiscal 2010 due to the strengthening of purchase restrictions introduced after the disaster.

All Fukushima-made rice had to undergo checks for cesium and other residual radioactive substances to secure safety. Finally, in 2020, rice grown in areas other than 12 municipalities near the accident-hit power plant was switched to random checks.

Also in 2020, rice of the “Fuku, Warai” (lucky, laughter) original brand was harvested for the first time after 14 years of development by the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Center. Of the total 37 tons harvested, the producers sold 16.8 tons via the internet and stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area, exceeding the sales projection of 15 tons. Full-scale sales of the rice, whose features include sweetness and a rich scent, will start in fiscal 2021.

Fukushima Prefecture plans to allow only farmers certified by the Good Agriculture Practice program and other selected producers to engage in the cropping of the new rice brand, in order to ensure quality and credibility.

“I take pride in producing safe and secure rice,” said Shiroyuki Terasawa, 70, who is the only producer of the new rice brand in the Hamadori coastal region in Fukushima Prefecture. “I want everyone to know that Fukushima-grown rice is tasty.”

Terasawa’s rice field in the city of Minamisoma was washed away by the tsunami. Despite worries about rumors related to the nuclear disaster, he restarted full-scale farming in 2015, out of a sense of responsibility for keeping local agriculture alive.

According to an official from the Fukushima prefectural government, some of those who initially abandoned farming have returned in recent years, partly thanks to large-scale streamlined farm operations realized through the establishment of agricultural corporations.

Terasawa also set up a corporation and started so-called smart farming, utilizing drones and GPS devices, on large-scale farmland of some 55 hectares. “Although the scenery and the environment have changed from before the disaster, I want to stay active in farming as long as I live.” he said.

Ami Endo, 23, from Minamisoma, experienced the disaster when she was 13.

“I wanted to restore the rural landscape and interactions among people in the local community that used to be common” before the disaster, she said, explaining her decision to go to an agricultural technical college and work in the farming sector.

Endo gave her father a push to resume farming although he was reluctant to begin again. They have been rice cropping together since 2019.

“I don’t see people of my age at community gatherings,” Endo said, aware that young people are moving away from agriculture.

She stays positive, however, saying: “I can learn things I don’t know from my predecessors in the community. I want to create an all-round company that will handle production, commercialization and distribution (of agricultural products).”https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/21/national/fukushima-rice-innovation/

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Water levels at Fukushima reactor containers falling after quake

A Tepco employee wearing a protective suit and mask gives lectures in front of No. 3 reactor building at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, in February 2019.

February 20, 2021

Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. has said that the water levels in the containment vessels for the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors at its disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have fallen by tens of centimeters.

The water levels are continuing to drop by several centimeters each day, Tepco said Friday.

The event has had no radiation impact outside of the plant’s premises, the company said, noting that the injection of water into the reactors, as well as operations to cool melted nuclear fuel debris at the bottom of the containment vessels, are continuing.

The plant was heavily damaged in the powerful March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

On Feb. 13, an earthquake measuring a strong 6 — the second-highest level on the Japanese seismic intensity scale — rocked the Tohoku region, which includes Fukushima Prefecture. Existing damage to piping and other parts of the containment vessels may have expanded as a result of the temblor, Tepco officials said.

The utility is continuing to pump 3 tons of water per hour into the reactor containers to cool the fuel debris.

While water continues leaking to the reactor buildings through the damaged areas of the containment vessels, the water levels in the No. 1 and No. 3 reactor containers had been kept at some 1.9 meters and 6.3 meters from the bottom, respectively, before Saturday’s earthquake.

According to the officials, workers detected a fall in the water level in the No. 1 reactor container around 11 p.m. Thursday.

The water level is seen to have dropped by 40-70 centimeters in the No. 1 reactor container and by some 30 centimeters in the No. 3 reactor container, the officials said.

Drops in the water levels are believed to have started around Monday in the No. 1 reactor vessel and around Sunday in the No. 3 reactor vessel, they said.

The sizes of the falls in the water levels are almost the same as those observed during an experiment conducted last year to suspend water injection, the officials said.

The company will take measures, such as increasing water injection, as needed while continuing to monitor the water levels, the officials said.

Ramping up water injection will lead to an increase in the amount of radioactive water, possibly affecting the quantity of water that is kept in tanks at the premises of the nuclear power station after being treated to remove some radioactive substances.https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/20/national/fukushima-water-leak-earthquake/

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Post-Fukushima reactor halt produces inexperienced nuclear plant workers in Japan

February 20, 2021

The suspension of nuclear reactors in Japan after the 2011 Fukushima disaster has kept many workers there from engaging in plant operations, resulting in inexperienced employees accounting for nearly a quarter of the workforce at plants, according to a Kyodo News tally.

Of 1,923 employees at 15 nuclear power stations as of November to December, 460 had no prior work experience at online plants, the tally based on data from 10 Japanese utilities showed nearly a decade after the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and a massive tsunami hit on March 11, 2011, and caused triple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The crippled facility is not included in the 15 plants.

Photo taken in November 2014 shows a signboard reading “Nuclear power: energy for a bright future” in the northeastern Japan town of Futaba, which co-host the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crippled by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

At four plants run by Tohoku Electric Power Co., Chubu Electric Power Co. and Chugoku Electric Power Co., those with no prior work experience make up more than 40 percent.

A total of 50 reactors were shut after the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986 for safety concerns. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said his government will seek to promote the restart of reactors under his clean energy and environment initiatives.

But the nuclear power industry faces a challenge in resuming and running reactors, as utilities are not able to offer enough on-the-job training opportunities given that many reactors remain suspended, industry experts say.

The government implemented stricter regulations for restart to address safety concerns. Nine reactors since have been rebooted under the tighter rules as of Feb. 8.

The government has set a target for nuclear power generation to account for 20 to 22 percent of the country’s electricity supply by 2030, which requires restarting 20 to 30 reactors.

In the nuclear power business, 27 percent of the total workforce joined the 10 companies after the Fukushima disaster, as the industry seeks to pass on lessons learned from the catastrophe.https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/02/cff1e6c7f07f-post-fukushima-reactor-halt-produces-inexperienced-plant-workers.html

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Japan gov’t, TEPCO ordered to pay $2.63 mil. over Fukushima nuclear crisis

Plaintiffs’ lawyers hold banners in front of the Tokyo High Court on Feb. 19, 2021, that say they have won a damages suit against the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. over the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.

February 19, 2021

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A Japanese high court on Friday overturned a lower court decision that dismissed the state’s responsibility in the 2011 nuclear crisis, ordering both the government and the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s operator to pay damages to 43 people who had to evacuate from their hometowns as a result.

The Tokyo High Court ordered the state to cover the total damages of 278 million yen ($2.63 million) together with Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., following the precedent set by the Sendai High Court last September.

It marked the third high court ruling among 30 similar lawsuits filed across the country, and the second in which both the state and the utility were ordered to pay damages over radioactive contamination following the meltdowns at the plant.

Presiding Judge Yukio Shiraishi said it was “extremely unreasonable” for the government not to use its regulatory power to force the operator widely known as TEPCO to take preventive measures against the tsunami that triggered the world’s worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

If it had done so, “the impact of the tsunami would have been significantly reduced, and the facility would not have lost all power,” he said.

The court also ruled that the evacuees should be compensated for their mental distress, in addition to the 100,000 yen per month to be awarded to them as consolation for prolonged evacuation.

In a lawsuit filed with the Chiba District Court, 45 people collectively sought around 2.8 billion yen in damages from the government and the plant operator after they were forced to move from Fukushima Prefecture to Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo.

In 2017, the district court told TEPCO to pay a total of 376 million yen to 42 of the evacuees, but cleared the state of liability, prompting the plaintiffs to appeal the decision.

The focal point of the lower court case was whether the government and utility were able to foresee the huge tsunami that hit the coastal plant on March 11, 2011, and take preventive measures beforehand based on the government’s long-term earthquake assessment that was made public in 2002.

The Chiba court ruled that both the state and TEPCO could have predicted the tsunami, but the accident may have been unavoidable even if preventive steps had been taken.

In contrast with Friday’s ruling, the district court ruled the government’s failure to exercise regulatory power to force TEPCO to take preventive measures was “not unreasonable.”

In January, the Tokyo High Court also deemed the government was not responsible for the nuclear disaster in a suit filed by plaintiffs who evacuated to Gunma Prefecture, eastern Japan, and elsewhere. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210219/p2g/00m/0dm/001000d

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Water leaks indicate new damage at Fukushima nuclear plant

Radioactive cooling water levels inside the wreckage of Fukushima Daiichi units is falling in a least two units. This indicates that new damage from the recent 7.3 M earthquake has created drainage routes for more radioactive contamination to escape to the offsite environment.

This Sept. 4, 2017, aerial file photo shows Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant’s reactors, from bottom at right, Unit 1, Unit 2 and Unit 3, in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan. The utility operating a wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant said Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, it has detected cooling water levels at two of its three melted reactors have fallen over the past few days apparently due to additional damage done to its reactors from a powerful earthquake that shook the area last weekend.


February 19, 2021

TOKYO (AP) — Cooling water levels have fallen in two reactors at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant since a powerful earthquake hit the area last weekend, indicating possible additional damage, its operator said Friday.

New damage could further complicate the plant’s already difficult decommissioning process, which is expected to take decades.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Keisuke Matsuo said the drop in water levels in the Unit 1 and 3 reactors indicates that the existing damage to their primary containment chambers was worsened by Saturday’s magnitude 7.3 quake, allowing more water to leak.

The leaked water is believed to have remained inside the reactor buildings and there is no sign of any outside impact, he said.

In 2011, a powerful magnitude 9.1 earthquake and tsunami damaged the Fukushima plant’s cooling systems, causing three reactor cores to melt and nuclear fuel to fall to the bottom of their primary containment vessels.

TEPCO will monitor the water and temperatures at the bottom of the containment vessels, Matsuo said.

Since the 2011 disaster, cooling water has been escaping constantly from the damaged primary containment vessels into the basements of the reactor buildings. To make up for the loss, additional cooling water has been pumped into the reactors to cool the melted fuel remaining inside them. The recent decline in the water levels indicates that more water than before is leaking out, TEPCO said.

More than 180 people received mostly minor injuries from Saturday’s earthquake, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. The quake also triggered landslides, damaged homes and a high-speed train line, and caused widespread power and water supply disruptions.

TEPCO initially reported that there was no abnormality at the plant from Saturday’s quake.

Matsuo said the cooling water level fell as much as 70 centimeters (27 inches) in the primary containment chamber of the Unit 1 reactor and about 30 centimeters (11 inches) in Unit 3. TEPCO wasn’t able to determine any decline in Unit 2 because indicators have been taken out to prepare for the removal of melted debris, it said.

Increased leakage could require more cooling water to be pumped into the reactors, which would result in more contaminated water that is treated and stored in huge tanks at the plant. TEPCO says its storage capacity of 1.37 million tons will be full next summer. A government panel’s recommendation that it be gradually released into the sea has faced fierce opposition from local residents and a decision is still pending.

Meanwhile, the Tokyo High Court on Friday held the government as well as TEPCO accountable for the 2011 nuclear disaster, ordering both to pay about 280 million yen ($2.6 million) in compensation to more than 40 plaintiffs forced to evacuate to Chiba, near Tokyo, for their lost livelihoods and homes.

Friday’s decision reverses an earlier ruling by the Chiba district court that excluded the government from responsibility. Judge Yukio Shirai said the government could have foreseen the risk of a massive tsunami and taken measures after a long-term assessment in 2002 of seismic activities.

Lawyers representing the plaintiffs welcomed the decision and said it would affect other pending cases.

“The case raises the question of whether we should tolerate a society that prioritizes economic activities over people’s lives and health,” said Izutaro Mangi, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs.https://apnews.com/article/water-leaks-fukushima-new-damage-a7ecf765d0233b1cad7332ff9fed5ffe?fbclid=IwAR1OEHbFv9DnWxom8Jw5sBW9_se6ph-7R_H-tQiL9Op_C2JIddwrZa6HqcY

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Texas tantrums and anti-wind strawmen — daryanenergyblog

Recently there’s been some blackouts in Texas caused by unseasonably cold weather. In fact its the sort of extreme weather we’d be expecting due to climate change (which doesn’t just lead to hotter weather, it can also cause shifts in weather patterns leading to more extremes of weather, such as more intense rainfall, hurricanes and […]

Texas tantrums and anti-wind strawmen — daryanenergyblog

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Water level drops at Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Units 1 and 3

February 19, 2021

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has announced that the water level inside the containment vessels of the Unit 1 and Unit 3 reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which are filled with water to cool down the melted down nuclear fuel, is dropping.
There is a possibility that a broken part of the containment vessel expanded after the earthquake on the 13th of this month, increasing the amount of water leaking out, but there has been no noticeable change in the values of monitoring posts, etc., and there is no impact on the outside.

According to the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), at around 11:00 p.m. on the 18th, it was confirmed that the water level in the containment vessel of the Unit 1 reactor, which is used to cool down the melted down nuclear fuel, had dropped.
TEPCO confirmed the data and found that the water level has been declining since the 15th of this month in the Unit 1 reactor and since the 17th in the Unit 3 reactor.
The water level in the Unit 1 reactor is estimated to have dropped by 40 to 70 centimeters, and in the Unit 3 reactor by about 30 centimeters.
However, the thermometers installed at the bottom of the reactors do not show any rise in temperature, there is no noticeable change in the radiation level inside the containment vessel, and there is no abnormality in the values of the monitoring posts installed at the site boundary. There is no problem with the cooling of the nuclear fuel and no external impact.
The containment vessel was broken during the accident at the nuclear power plant, and a certain amount of cooling water that is poured into the vessel usually leaks out, but the earthquake on the 13th of this month may have widened the damaged area and increased the amount that leaked out.
In the towns of Okuma and Futaba, where the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is located, a tremor of lower 6 on the Japanese intensity scale was observed.
If the water level continues to drop, TEPCO is considering increasing the water injection rate, which is currently set at 3 cubic meters per hour.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/lnews/fukushima/20210219/6050013511.html?fbclid=IwAR0CjCLPZXz2hBtGGcV4DghnfenN5vssaY4zj-XGsOh7SeX_gFqtiVuaEqc

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Continues To Supply Surprises

Back-scattered electron (BSE) image of the cross section of the most radioactive particle (FTB26) accompanied by elemental maps of its major constituents. Credit: Satoshi Utsunomiya et al.

February 18, 2021

The 10 year anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident occurs in March. Work just published in the Journal ‘Science of the Total Environment’ documents new, large (> 300 micrometers), highly radioactive particles that were released from one of the damaged Fukushima reactors.

Particles containing radioactive cesium (134+137Cs) were released from the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) during the 2011 nuclear disaster. Small (micrometer-sized) particles (known as CsMPs) were widely distributed, reaching as far as Tokyo. CsMPs have been the subject of many studies in recent years. However, it recently became apparent that larger (>300 micrometers) Cs-containing particles, with much higher levels of activity (~ 105 Bq), were also released from reactor unit 1 that suffered a hydrogen explosion. These particles were deposited within a narrow zone that stretches ~8 km north-northwest of the reactor site. To date, little is known about the composition of these larger particles and their potential environmental and human health impacts.


Now, work just published in the journal Science of the Total Environment characterizes these larger particles at the atomic-scale and reports high levels of activity that exceed 105 Bq.


The particles, reported in the study, were found during a survey of surface soils 3.9 km north-northwest of reactor unit 1 (Fig. 1).


From 31 Cs-particles collected during the sampling campaign, two have given the highest ever particle-associated 134+137Cs activities for materials emitted from the FDNPP (specifically: 6.1 × 105 and 2.5 × 106 Bq, respectively, for the particles, after decay-correction to the date of the FDNPP accident).


The study involved scientists from Japan, Finland, France, the UK, and USA, and was led by Dr. Satoshi Utsunomiya and graduate student Kazuya Morooka (Department of Chemistry, Kyushu University). The team used a combination of advanced analytical techniques (synchrotron-based nano-focus X-ray analysis, secondary ion mass spectrometry, and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy) to fully characterize the particles. The particle with a 134+137Cs activity of 6.1 × 105 Bq was found to be an aggregate of smaller, flakey silicate nanoparticles, which had a glass like structure. This particle likely came from reactor building materials, which were damaged during the Unit 1 hydrogen explosion; then, as the particle formed, it likely adsorbed Cs that had had been volatized from the reactor fuel. The 134+137Cs activity of the other particle exceeded 106 Bq. This particle had a glassy carbon core and a surface that was embedded with other micro-particles, which included a Pb-Sn alloy, fibrous Al-silicate, Ca-carbonate / hydroxide, and quartz (Fig. 2).


The composition of the surface embedded micro-particles likely reflect the composition of airborne particles within the reactor building at the moment of the hydrogen explosion, thus providing a forensic window into the events of March 11th 2011 (Fig. 3). Utsunomiya added, “The new particles from regions close to the damaged reactor provide valuable forensic clues. They give snap-shots of the atmospheric conditions in the reactor building at the time of the hydrogen explosion, and of the physio-chemical phenomena that occurred during reactor meltdown.” He continued, “whilst nearly ten years have passed since the accident, the importance of scientific insights has never been more critical. Clean-up and repatriation of residents continues and a thorough understanding of the contamination forms and their distribution is important for risk assessment and public trust.


Professor Gareth Law (co-author, University of Helsinki) added, “clean-up and decommissioning efforts at the site face difficult challenges, particularly the removal and safe management of accident debris that has very high levels of radioactivity. Therein, prior knowledge of debris composition can help inform safe management approaches”.


Given the high radioactivity associated with the new particles, the project team were also interested in understanding their potential health / dose impacts.


Dr Utsunomiya stated, “Owing to their large size, the health effects of the new particles are likely limited to external radiation hazards during static contact with skin. As such, despite the very high level of activity, we expect that the particles would have negligible health impacts for humans as they would not easily adhere to the skin. However, we do need to consider possible effects on the other living creatures such as filter feeders in habitats surrounding Fukushima Daiichi. Even though ten years have nearly passed, the half-life of 137Cs is ~30 years. So, the activity in the newly found highly radioactive particles has not yet decayed significantly. As such, they will remain in the environment for many decades to come, and this type of particle could occasionally still be found in radiation hot spots.”


Professor Rod Ewing (co-author from Stanford University) stated “this paper is part of a series of publications that provide a detailed picture of the material emitted during the Fukushima Daiichi reactor meltdowns. This is exactly the type of work required for remediation and an understanding of long-term health effects”.


Professor Bernd Grambow (co-author from IMT Atlantique) added “the present work, using cutting-edge analytical tools, gives only a very small insight in the very large diversity of particles released during the nuclear accident, much more work is necessary to get a realistic picture of the highly heterogeneous environmental and health impact”.

Reference
Morooka K, Kurihara E, Takehara M, et al. New highly radioactive particles derived from Fukushima Daiichi Reactor Unit 1: Properties and environmental impacts. Science of The Total Environment. 2021;773:145639. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145639
https://www.technologynetworks.com/tn/news/fukushima-continues-to-supply-surprises-345722

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , | Leave a comment

New highly radioactive particles found in Fukushima

Date: February 17, 2021 Source: University of Helsinki Summary: The 10 year anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident occurs in March. Recent work documents new, large (> 300 micrometers), highly radioactive particles that were released from one of the damaged Fukushima reactors.

The 10 year anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident occurs in March. Work just published in the Journal ‘Science of the Total Environment’ documents new, large (> 300 micrometers), highly radioactive particles that were released from one of the damaged Fukushima reactors.

Particles containing radioactive cesium (134+137Cs) were released from the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) during the 2011 nuclear disaster. Small (micrometer-sized) particles (known as CsMPs) were widely distributed, reaching as far as Tokyo. CsMPs have been the subject of many studies in recent years. However, it recently became apparent that larger (>300 micrometers) Cs-containing particles, with much higher levels of activity (~ 105 Bq), were also released from reactor unit 1 that suffered a hydrogen explosion. These particles were deposited within a narrow zone that stretches ~8 km north-northwest of the reactor site. To date, little is known about the composition of these larger particles and their potential environmental and human health impacts.

Now, work just published in the journal Science of the Total Environment characterizes these larger particles at the atomic-scale and reports high levels of activity that exceed 105 Bq.

The particles, reported in the study, were found during a survey of surface soils 3.9 km north-northwest of reactor unit 1.

From 31 Cs-particles collected during the sampling campaign, two have given the highest ever particle-associated 134+137Cs activities for materials emitted from the FDNPP (specifically: 6.1 × 105 and 2.5 × 106 Bq, respectively, for the particles, after decay-correction to the date of the FDNPP accident).

The study involved scientists from Japan, Finland, France, the UK, and USA, and was led by Dr. Satoshi Utsunomiya and graduate student Kazuya Morooka (Department of Chemistry, Kyushu University). The team used a combination of advanced analytical techniques (synchrotron-based nano-focus X-ray analysis, secondary ion mass spectrometry, and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy) to fully characterize the particles. The particle with a 134+137Cs activity of 6.1 × 105 Bq was found to be an aggregate of smaller, flakey silicate nanoparticles, which had a glass like structure. This particle likely came from reactor building materials, which were damaged during the Unit 1 hydrogen explosion; then, as the particle formed, it likely adsorbed Cs that had had been volatized from the reactor fuel. The 134+137Cs activity of the other particle exceeded 106 Bq. This particle had a glassy carbon core and a surface that was embedded with other micro-particles, which included a Pb-Sn alloy, fibrous Al-silicate, Ca-carbonate / hydroxide, and quartz.

The composition of the surface embedded micro-particles likely reflect the composition of airborne particles within the reactor building at the moment of the hydrogen explosion, thus providing a forensic window into the events of March 11th 2011. Utsunomiya added, “The new particles from regions close to the damaged reactor provide valuable forensic clues. They give snap-shots of the atmospheric conditions in the reactor building at the time of the hydrogen explosion, and of the physio-chemical phenomena that occurred during reactor meltdown.” He continued, “whilst nearly ten years have passed since the accident, the importance of scientific insights has never been more critical. Clean-up and repatriation of residents continues and a thorough understanding of the contamination forms and their distribution is important for risk assessment and public trust.

Professor Gareth Law (co-author, University of Helsinki) added, “clean-up and decommissioning efforts at the site face difficult challenges, particularly the removal and safe management of accident debris that has very high levels of radioactivity. Therein, prior knowledge of debris composition can help inform safe management approaches.”

Given the high radioactivity associated with the new particles, the project team were also interested in understanding their potential health / dose impacts.

Dr Utsunomiya stated, “Owing to their large size, the health effects of the new particles are likely limited to external radiation hazards during static contact with skin. As such, despite the very high level of activity, we expect that the particles would have negligible health impacts for humans as they would not easily adhere to the skin. However, we do need to consider possible effects on the other living creatures such as filter feeders in habitats surrounding Fukushima Daiichi. Even though ten years have nearly passed, the half-life of 137Cs is ~30 years. So, the activity in the newly found highly radioactive particles has not yet decayed significantly. As such, they will remain in the environment for many decades to come, and this type of particle could occasionally still be found in radiation hot spots.”

Professor Rod Ewing (co-author from Stanford University) stated “this paper is part of a series of publications that provide a detailed picture of the material emitted during the Fukushima Daiichi reactor meltdowns. This is exactly the type of work required for remediation and an understanding of long-term health effects.”

Professor Bernd Grambow (co-author from IMT Atlantique) added “the present work, using cutting-edge analytical tools, gives only a very small insight in the very large diversity of particles released during the nuclear accident, much more work is necessary to get a realistic picture of the highly heterogeneous environmental and health impact.”


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Helsinki. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kazuya Morooka, Eitaro Kurihara, Masato Takehara, Ryu Takami, Kazuki Fueda, Kenji Horie, Mami Takehara, Shinya Yamasaki, Toshihiko Ohnuki, Bernd Grambow, Gareth T.W. Law, Joyce W.L. Ang, William R. Bower, Julia Parker, Rodney C. Ewing, Satoshi Utsunomiya. New highly radioactive particles derived from Fukushima Daiichi Reactor Unit 1: Properties and environmental impacts. Science of The Total Environment, 2021; 773: 145639 DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145639

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210217134852.htm

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , | Leave a comment

Korean, Japanese bishops oppose discharge from Fukushima plant

Scientists, environmentalists and fishing groups are against the idea of releasing contaminated water into the sea

February 17, 2021

Catholic bishops in South Korea and Japan have issued a joint statement to strongly oppose the Japanese government’s decision to discharge radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea.

Following years of debate over the disposal of the liquid which includes water used to cool the Fukushima Daiichi plant that was hit by a massive tsunami and earthquake in 2011, Japanese authorities have decided to release a million tonnes of treated water into the sea.

The initial plan was to start releasing the water from 2022 but a final decision has not been made, according to Japanese media.

Most of the radioactive isotopes have been removed using a complex filtration process. But one isotope, tritium, cannot be removed, so water has been stored in huge tanks that will fill up by 2022, the BBC reported.

Scientists, environmentalists and fishing groups have opposed the idea of releasing contaminated water into the sea, citing possible risks. 

“We oppose the discharge of tritium-containing water, a radioactive material that has been purified and treated, into the ocean,” said a joint statement from the Justice and Peace Commissions of the bishops’ conferences of Korea and Japan, the Korean bishops’ ecological and environmental committee and the Japanese bishops’ subcommittee on nuclear for peace.

The statement has been signed by heads of each organization and concerns have been raised about the direct impact of the contaminated water on public health and marine life. 

“The water contains tritium, which is a radioactive material, purified through the contaminated water treatment system of the Fukushima plant. Secondary treatment of radionuclides remaining in the treated water is still in the testing stage, and no definite results have been obtained,” the statement said.

The statement also pointed out that the report from the Japanese government did not mention the effects of the treated water on marine life, the marine environment and human health.

“Once released into the sea, radioactive material cannot be restored to its original state. It will have impacts on humans and nature. It will cause greater anxiety and damage to people around the world.”

In a separate statement, the Korean bishops’ ecological and environmental committee expressed concerns about the recent tritium leak at the Wolseong nuclear power plant in Gyeongju in South Korea.

On Jan. 7, Korean media reported on radioactivity leaking from the plant, prompting Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company to investigate. The initial results exposed a wide range of radioactive contamination in the plant and adjacent areas

The Korean Church demanded the government “conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the leakage and immediate follow-up measures for radioactive leaks in all nuclear power plants.”

https://www.ucanews.com/news/korean-japanese-bishops-oppose-discharge-from-fukushima-plant/91444?fbclid=IwAR1JLaLQWebu-172EBcPXom7MOG_77cVEsiIf4xJKNabysOGHEYAhfibLu4#

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Fukushima Meltdowns (New Video): Much Still Unknown 10 Years Later

By The Fairewinds Crew

February 17, 2021

As we approach the 10th commemoration of Japan’s March 11, 2011, Fukushima Dai-ichi triple meltdowns, organizations around the globe, including environmental groups, nonprofits (like Fairewinds Energy Education), engineering and pronuclear organizations, and media organizations like Japan’s Nippon TV, will release new information.

Some of this information is really new and recently uncovered. Other media events will bring people together to share and discuss what these major meltdowns meant to the people of Japan and communities worldwide. And sometimes, these media events are just a corporation or an agency marketing new nukes by putting their positive spin on nuclear power rather than acknowledging its dangers. For example, nuclear zealots continue to claim that atomic power reactors are safer for workers than working at Toys R Us, and reactors cannot meltdown and certainly will never blow up. The Fukushima disaster proved them wrong, but yet they persist!

As Fukushima Daichi Units One, Two, and Three were melting down, Nippon TV, the largest and flagship station of the Nippon Television Network System, dispatched television film crews to monitor the events as they unfolded. No one in the world has ever captured the core melting down, but Nippon TV captured two meltdown-induced explosions on film.

Now, Nippon TV has just released a new digital copy of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Unit One and Unit Three explosions.

At Fairewinds, we congratulate Nippon for the excellent work they did to create the original initial explosion footage in 2011 and on this essential remastered copy just completed in 2021. Nippon’s newly released digital footage is important historically and technically.

That said, the new video footage and Nippon’s ensuing interview with Tokyo Electric Company (TEPCO), the atomic power corporation that owns all six Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plants, contain three glaring technical errors.  

  • First, Fairewinds continues to have significant concerns about TEPCO’s technical interpretations of these explosions’ cause. 
  • Second, TEPCO is blaming newly uncovered lethal radioactivity sitting at the top of the containment structure on the supersonic shockwave.
  • Third, TEPCO does not discuss that there likely was a second explosion that occurred 3 seconds after the first.

Understanding the mechanics behind explosions is critical to understanding what happened at Fukushima and what such a danger means to nuclear power anywhere in the world.

  1. There are two explosion methods: a deflagration shock wave, which happened at Fukushima Unit One and Three Mile Island in Middletown, Pennsylvania, in the United States. While still destructive, a deflagration shockwave travels at subsonic speeds (less than 760 miles an hour, the speed of sound). 
  2. The second type of explosion is called a detonation shockwave. It is much more destructive because it travels at supersonic speeds. In 2011, with Geoff Sutton’s assistance from the United Kingdom, Fairewinds clearly showed that the Unit Three explosion was the more destructive detonation shockwave while Unit One’s was a deflagration.

Does it matter whether or not an explosion at Fukushima was a detonation or a deflagration? Absolutely! Hydrogen gas at room (atmospheric) pressure cannot create a supersonic shockwave. Fairewinds’s 2011 findings that a detonation shockwave occurred should have changed the scientific and nuclear engineering analyses of such events worldwide.

No nuclear power radioactive release containment system built anywhere in the world will withstand a detonation shockwave!

The fact that a detonation shockwave did occur is something the nuclear industry has ignored since Fairewinds’ Arnie Gundersen and Geoff Sutton identified it did happen at Fukushima Unit Three in 2011.

The nuke industry and its regulatory handlers do not believe that a supersonic shockwave explosion will ever happen in a nuclear power plant. If they admitted that an atomic reactor containment system would fail by Does it matter whether or not an explosion at Fukushima was a detonation or a deflagration? Absolutely! Hydrogen gas at room (atmospheric) pressure cannot create a supersonic shockwave. Fairewinds’s 2011 findings that a detonation shockwave occurred should have changed the scientific and nuclear engineering analyses of such events worldwide.

No nuclear power radioactive release containment system built anywhere in the world will withstand a detonation shockwave!

The fact that a detonation shockwave did occur is something the nuclear industry has ignored since Fairewinds’ Arnie Gundersen and Geoff Sutton identified it did happen at Fukushima Unit Three in 2011.

The nuke industry and its regulatory handlers do not believe that a supersonic shockwave explosion will ever happen in a nuclear power plant. If they admitted that an atomic reactor containment system would fail by detonation, the nuke industry would also have to acknowledge that nuke plants’ containment systems are not failsafe. Nuclear power containment systems will fail when there is a supersonic shockwave explosion.

The supposedly failsafe containment system at Fukushima Dai-ichi Unit Three failed and released massive amounts of radioactivity into the local environment and the worldwide atmosphere. Such an enormous human tragedy will happen again at an atomic power reactor somewhere in the world.

Think about that. No nuke in the world can withstand a supersonic shockwave, and here is the evidence on international TV and across the Internet that it occurred in 2011, as Fairewinds said.

Fairewinds second area of concern about TEPCO’s analysis on this latest NIPPON video is the linkage of recently discovered lethal radiation levels at the top of the containment to the supersonic detonation. Ten years ago, immediately following the three meltdowns at Fukushima in 2011, Fairewinds identified superheated highly radioactive gases escaping from this same area that TEPCO suddenly claims it has just uncovered in 2021. The containment was leaking before the explosion and continued to spread radioactivity after the blast. Still, no nuclear engineer or scientist is surprised that significant contamination continues to leak from the damaged containment system. The containment was breached, which allowed this radiation to leak! However, there is no evidence to suggest that the explosion is the cause of that leak since the containment was leaking before the supersonic shockwave.

Finally, Nippon’s remastered video vividly shows Fairewinds’ third concern. The eye is drawn to the detonation’s sudden flash and the ensuing upward-moving black cloud of rubble. Now, look again. About three seconds after the initial vertical blast, a white cloud suddenly moves horizontally at ground level to the north.

Detonation, the nuke industry would also have to acknowledge that nuke plants’ containment systems are not failsafe. Nuclear power containment systems will fail when there is a supersonic shockwave explosion.

The supposedly failsafe containment system at Fukushima Dai-ichi Unit Three failed and released massive amounts of radioactivity into the local environment and the worldwide atmosphere. Such an enormous human tragedy will happen again at an atomic power reactor somewhere in the world.

Think about that. No nuke in the world can withstand a supersonic shockwave, and here is the evidence on international TV and across the Internet that it occurred in 2011, as Fairewinds said.

Fairewinds second area of concern about TEPCO’s analysis on this latest NIPPON video is the linkage of recently discovered lethal radiation levels at the top of the containment to the supersonic detonation. Ten years ago, immediately following the three meltdowns at Fukushima in 2011, Fairewinds identified superheated highly radioactive gases escaping from this same area that TEPCO suddenly claims it has just uncovered in 2021. The containment was leaking before the explosion and continued to spread radioactivity after the blast. Still, no nuclear engineer or scientist is surprised that significant contamination continues to leak from the damaged containment system. The containment was breached, which allowed this radiation to leak! However, there is no evidence to suggest that the explosion is the cause of that leak since the containment was leaking before the supersonic shockwave.

Finally, Nippon’s remastered video vividly shows Fairewinds’ third concern. The eye is drawn to the detonation’s sudden flash and the ensuing upward-moving black cloud of rubble. Now, look again. About three seconds after the initial vertical blast, a white cloud suddenly moves horizontally at ground level to the north.

Community-volunteer citizen-scientists Arnie met while collecting radioactive samples in Fukushima prefecture say they heard more than one explosion. They said it sounded like the snapping of bamboo burning in a fire. This new video shows that there were at least two explosions, one vertically and one horizontally. As more data becomes available, Fairewinds Energy Education will put forward the reasons why, but as of now, the entire explosion sequence at Fukushima Unit Three is something the nuclear industry zealots want to ignore. They continue to hope that history will not repeat itself while they continue to build and operate more lethally radioactive and highly risky atomic reactors.

Throughout the Nippon video, the announcer reverentially refers to TEPCO and the Japanese Regulators as “the authorities” and “officials”.  This kind of public propaganda occurs because TEPCO, the Japanese Government and its regulators, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have successfully captured the Japanese media.

What was called for in 2011 and is still desperately required in 2021 are independent experts. These would be people from outside TEPCO, its captive regulators, or its allies embedded in the nuclear industry. Once again, Fairewinds calls for an independent consortium of experts who would be able to give a frank assessment of the magnitude and extent of the problems that lie ahead for the failed Fukushima cleanup.

Did you know that in 2013, Fairewinds and 16 other international experts coauthored a letter to the United Nations (UN) asking it to establish this independent panel? The UN never had the courtesy even to acknowledge that it received these serious requests and recommendations. Such machinations by TEPCO, the Japanese Government, and the international nuclear industry are indeed a human rights and environmental injustice issue!

Ten years have passed, yet Japan’s citizens still wait for independent oversight of the Fukushima disaster. The people of Japan deserve better than the authorities covering up the truth and lying to them.

https://www.fairewinds.org/demystify/japans-fukushima-meltdowns-10-years-later-new-video-shows-much-still-unknown?fbclid=IwAR2SuwEuej6D2kwpmSIztaE7k2tEOyJPikIOOqg4DeBrvbc-ENXRF7oKTeA

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan town mayor OKs restarting nuclear reactor over 40 years old

The No. 3 reactor at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama Nuclear Power Station is seen from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter on Oct. 20, 2020.

February 16, 2021

TSURUGA, Fukui — The mayor of a central Japan town hosting a nuclear power plant operated by Kansai Electric Power Co. informed the speaker of the municipal assembly on Feb. 15 that he would approve the restart of a reactor at the plant that is more than 40 years old.

Mayor Hideki Toshima of the Fukui Prefecture town of Mihama told Mihama Municipal Assembly Speaker Yoshihiro Takenaka that he would approve the restart of the No. 3 reactor at Mihama Nuclear Power Station, which began operating in the 1970s. The assembly had already approved the reactivation of the aging reactor.

Meanwhile, Mayor Yutaka Nose of the prefectural town of Takahama, home to Kansai Electric’s Takahama Nuclear Power Station, whose No. 1 and 2 reactors are also over 40 years old, has given the green light for resuming the operations of the two rectors, while the Takahama Municipal Assembly has also approved of the move.

Now that local consent has been secured, the focus has shifted to the decisions expected from Gov. Tatsuji Sugimoto and the prefectural assembly.

The Mihama plant’s No. 3 reactor went online in December 1976. In response to the meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station following the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese government limited the operational life of nuclear reactors to “40 years in principle” in July 2013, while allowing a one-time extension of up to 20 years if the reactor fulfilled safety standards. The No. 3 reactor at the Mihama power station, along with the No. 1 and No. 2 rectors at the Takahama plant, have passed screening by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

Mayor Toshima said on Feb. 15 that conditions to approve the restart “have all been met, including understanding from the townspeople and consent from the municipal assembly, as well as promising feedback over regional development by the central government and Kansai Electric.” He added, “Both supporters and skeptics of the reactor restart are concerned about its safety. I will make sure to pay attention to the process.”

Toshima had spoken with Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama online three days prior. He had then expressed his intension to approve the reactivation, saying that the central government had given him positive responses about regional development and other measures he had requested.

As a general rule, a nuclear power plant operator is expected to obtain consent for restarting a rector from the local governments around the plant as well as local assemblies. As a condition for approving the restart, the Fukui Prefectural Government said Kansai Electric would need to present candidate sites outside the prefecture for interim spent nuclear fuel storage facilities. The prefectural government maintained that until that condition was achieved, the parties were “not even at the starting line of discussion.”

However, after Kansai Electric proposed on Feb. 12 that it would finalize a planned site for the storage facilities by the end of 2023, the prefectural government demonstrated a positive attitude toward reactivation. Discussion on restarting the aging reactor may develop further at the prefectural assembly session convening on Feb. 16.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210216/p2a/00m/0na/008000c

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima spillage raises questions about threat of future earthquakes

A road in Nihonmatsu has been blocked by a landslide on Feb. 14 following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake the day before in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture.

Feb.16,2021

The occurrence of a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in the waters off of Fukushima on Feb. 13 is prompting growing concerns about the safety of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, as some mention the possibility of other quakes at a similar scale.

Experts said that with no way of knowing how large future earthquakes will be, swift preparations are needed to prevent damage to the plant.

According to reporting by Japan’s NHK television network on Feb. 15, the Japanese government’s Earthquake Survey Committee stressed the need to be on the alert over the next week or so for earthquakes at a “strong 6” on the Japanese seismic intensity scale. The warning suggested the possibility of additional quakes on par with the one on Feb. 13, which was a strong 6.

“We need to prepare,” the committee said, noting the possibility of eastern Japan being “ambushed by strong vibrations and/or a tsunami caused by a large-scale earthquake.”

In an interview with NHK, Tohoku University professor Shinji Toda said there was the “possibility of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami occurring in the waters off of Fukushima and Miyagi, as well as the north and south of the area where the [2011 Tohoku] earthquake occurred 10 years ago and the area outside of the Japan Trench.”

Hong Tae-kyung, a professor of earth system sciences at Yonsei University, warned that the associated ground motion could be large relative to the scale of the earthquake itself.

“The scale of this earthquake was within a predictable level for the region, but the fact that the ground motion was so much larger gives pause,” he explained.

“Ground motion differs according to earthquake scale, sedimentary layer thickness, observation position and other factors, and it’s common for ground motion to be larger near the coast due to the sedimentary layer’s thickness. But even when you take all of that into account, the ground motion was very large,” he said.

“There’s a possibility the ground motion exceeded what the Fukushima nuclear power plant could withstand in terms of its design.”

With predictions that additional large-scale earthquakes could occur, observers are calling for swift preparations to prevent damage to the Fukushima plant. According to Kyodo News and other Japanese media, some spillage was determined to have occurred during the earthquake in tanks holding spent nuclear fuel at the upper layers of the No. 5 and 6 reactors at the Fukushima plant.

Japanese nuclear power authorities and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which operates the plant, stated that there had been no radiation exposure as a result of the tank spillage.

Institute of Nuclear Safety director Han Byeong-seop agreed that the “nuclear power plant safety issues resulting from the earthquake were not at a concerning level,” but stressed the “need to prepare for a compound disaster in the wake of an earthquake.”

“The amount of water that spilled from the spent nuclear fuel in this earthquake was minute, so it wasn’t at a worrisome level, and there does not appear to have been any damage to the power plant,” he said.

“But with the Tohoku earthquake in 2011, there was major damage resulting from a compound disaster involving both an earthquake and tsunami, and there’s no way of predicting the scale of additional earthquakes that we might see this time,” he added.

“There need to be continued preparations for a compound disaster.”

Oh Chang-whan, a professor of earth and environmental sciences at Jeonbuk National University, said, “Nuclear power plants are designed to be safe during earthquakes, yet even so we saw issues with water spillage.”

“Nobody can predict for certain what kind of damage an earthquake or tsunami might cause. We need to prepare,” he urged.

http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/983206.html

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , | Leave a comment

At the nuclear power plant in Fukushima found a leak of radioactive water

February 14, 2021

A radioactive water leak was discovered at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. It is reported by RIA Novosti citing a press release from TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company).

TEPCO specialists found out that due to the earthquake in northeast Japan, a small amount of water poured out of the pools for storing spent nuclear fuel at various units of the Fukushima-1 and Fukushima-2 nuclear power plants.

Representatives of the company said that about 160 milliliters of water were spilled at the first power unit of the Fukushima-2 nuclear power plant, and another 1.4 liters spilled from another pool. They assured that this incident should not affect the cooling of the spent fuel. Local media also reported that about 600 milliliters of water spilled out at the fifth power unit of the emergency nuclear power plant “Fukushima-1”, and 1.6 liters of liquid at the sixth. Another 600 milliliters were missing in the common pool for the two power units.

It is noted that the spilled water does not pose a threat to the environment, since its volumes are too small, and the content of radioactive substances in it is insignificant.

Earlier it was reported that in northeast Japan happened powerful earthquake. The magnitude of the earthquake was 7.1, the epicenter was recorded in the area of ​​Fukushima prefecture. The number of victims of the disaster exceeded 100 people.

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby planning to take over the U.N Climate Change Conference

Meet the Young Generation Network and its group of nuclear schills who will lead the attempted nuclear takeover of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 1 – 12 November 2021.

  The team is mainly targeting the UN-controlled ‘blue zone’ at the conference, which is where the many international policymakers, government officials and legislators will be concentrated.

Just by chance?   They all happen to be ambitious young people who hope to have a big career in the nuclear industry.   Well, you can’t blame them for that.  But  let’s be wary of their advice on nuclear power as the solution for global heating.


Arun Khuttan.
 End States Engineer at Magnox Ltd.UKAlice Cunha da Silva. Latin America Nuclear Leader | Westinghouse Electric Company.

Hannah Paterson
, Technology Manager at Sellafield Ltd UK

Matthew Mairinger 
Technical Engineer with Ontario Power Generation, Canada

Miguel Trenkel-Lopez 
Assistant Engineer at Magnox Ltd,Bristol, UK

Saralyn Thomas 
  Formerly at AREVAnuclear company, now at Abbott Risk Consulting (ARC) Risk Management consultancy services to the Nuclear Industry

Vicki Dingwall
 of EDF nuclear company

February 21, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, spinbuster | 1 Comment