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Prime Minister Kishida makes first inspection of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after taking office

October 17, 2021

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made his first inspection tour of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Okuma and Futaba towns, Fukushima Prefecture) after assuming office on March 17. The Tokyo Shimbun’s nuclear power coverage team flew over the nuclear power plants by the Oozuru helicopter on March 11, and found that even a decade and a half after the accident, the reality is far from being “under control.

 On the south side of the site, around the reactor buildings of Units 1-4, there are many cylindrical tanks for storing water that has been purified from contaminated water. On the north side of the site, containers filled with rubble and debris were piled up. Since the accident, the amount of waste contaminated by radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has only increased. There is no way to even begin full-fledged containment work, such as removing the nuclear fuel (debris) that has melted down inside the reactor.

No progress in cutting high-dose vent pipes
 The only progress that can be seen from the outside is that the exhaust pipes between the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors, which were 120 meters high, will be cut in half in 2020, reducing the risk of collapse. According to TEPCO’s plan, the removal of the pipes connecting the exhaust stack to the reactor buildings should have started, but the area around the pipes was quiet.
 This pipe was highly contaminated during the accident by the venting process to reduce the pressure inside the reactor. Since it was dangerous for people to get close to the pipes, TEPCO planned to remove the pipes by remote control and was scheduled to start in early October. However, the mock-up test has been prolonged and there is still no way to start it. The fact that the process is not proceeding as planned has become the norm.

The construction site of a shaft for storing treated water for discharge into the ocean

 Looking at Units 5 and 6, which did not have serious accidents, there were cranes and other heavy equipment along the sea. In this area, a shaft will be dug to release the treated water into the ocean. From there, an underground tunnel will be dug about one kilometer to the sea floor, and the treated water mixed with seawater will be released offshore. TEPCO is aiming to start releasing the treated water around spring 2011, and will continue to explain the plan to the local community, but there is strong opposition, especially from the fishing industry.

Some tanks under construction
 At the southern end of the site, new tanks were being constructed in preparation for the oceanic release. Four tanks were visible before their lids were attached. TEPCO says it will secure a total of 23 tanks (about 30,000 tons) by November 2010.

A gaping hole in the underground drainage channel.

 A gaping hole was found near the building of the ALPS (Advanced Radionuclide Purging System), which purifies and treats contaminated water. They were working on the construction of an underground drainage channel to drain rainwater when it rains heavily. Beside the heavy machinery, we could see a circular tube that appeared to be a tunnel member. The underground tunnel will be connected to the sea by next year’s typhoon season.

Unplanned debris “temporary accumulation” drastically increases in 9 months
In the northern part of the site, many containers were piled up. This is a “temporary accumulation site” where debris from the work was placed in an unplanned location. Because the planned debris storage area did not take into account slopes and other factors, there were fewer places to place containers than initially expected, and we were forced to rearrange the way we arranged the containers. In January of this year, they stopped the delivery of containers to the planned site and started to organize them, but in March, water containing radioactive materials leaked from one of the containers. However, in March, water containing radioactive materials leaked from one of the containers, and the number of temporary accumulations has been increasing rapidly due to delays in inspections.
 The number of inadequately managed temporary accumulation sites is scattered at about 150 locations, and the total amount of debris is unknown. The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has pointed out the inadequate management of these sites, and TEPCO has been on the back foot in its response.
 In January, there were only a few containers at this site in the northern part of the city, but over the past nine months, it has become densely packed. TEPCO has explained that they will minimize the number of temporary storage areas, but it is doubtful that they will be able to move such a large amount to the planned site.

Even from the air, it is obvious that the situation has gone astray, and there is still much work to be done to bring the accident under control. The Liberal Democratic Party has pledged to restart nuclear power plants in the House of Representatives election, but we must not turn our backs on the reality that once an accident occurs, even after a decade and a half, it is impossible to control.
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/136565?fbclid=IwAR1ExIyeyHbEi8CdZshXWhEoZMBorNbuYDnpZV1hLdnm2XYr5grar6-iEuA

October 17, 2021 - Posted by | Fukushima 2021 |

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