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Mitsubishi Heavy, Hitachi to develop new nuclear reactor for 2030s use

A rendering of a new type of nuclear reactor to be developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. with four major Japanese utilities. (Courtesy of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

September 29, 2022

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and a subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd. will separately develop next-generation nuclear reactors in what could be the first two projects in the government’s recent policy shift to push nuclear energy.

Mitsubishi Heavy said Thursday it will develop with four major Japanese utilities an advanced light-water reactor, a new type of pressurized water reactor, or PWR, deemed safer than existing models, and plan to put it into use in the mid-2030s.

The four power companies — Kansai Electric Power Co., Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Shikoku Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. — all operate Mitsubishi Heavy reactors at their nuclear plants.

The new reactor, called SRZ-1200, is designed to be more resilient to natural disasters, such as tsunamis and earthquakes, as well as terrorist attacks, Mitsubishi said.

The facility, with an output of about 1.2 million kilowatts, will also enhance equipment to seal off melted nuclear fuel in a containment vessel and prevent or limit radiation leaks in the event of an accident.

Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd., a Hitachi subsidiary, will also develop an advanced nuclear reactor based on light-water reactor technology for use in the mid-2030s, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday. Hitachi has an 80.01 percent stake in the subsidiary, with the rest owned by General Electric Co.

These plans come as the Japanese government announced in August that it would promote the construction of next-generation nuclear power plants to ensure a stable electricity supply without producing carbon dioxide emissions, in a major reversal from its policy of no new nuclear energy.

Among a variety of next-generation nuclear reactor types, the government plans to prioritize developing advanced light-water reactors as it could utilize existing supply chains, given the technological similarities to PWRs.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno welcomed the news of Mitsubishi Heavy’s project, saying at a press conference, “I hope relevant ministries will consider (helping the development of) next-generation reactors based on research and development activities like this.”

Concerns over the safety of nuclear power generation remain strong in Japan after a massive earthquake and tsunami caused the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011 — the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

Such safety concerns prompted the government to shelve the construction of new nuclear reactors, even as Japanese nuclear regulators set stricter safety regulations after the Fukushima disaster.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220929/p2g/00m/0bu/053000c

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October 1, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , | 2 Comments

Mitsubishi Heavy to develop new nuke reactor with 4 utilities

An artist’s rendering of the advanced light water reactor SRZ-1200 to be jointly developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and four major Japanese power utilities (Provided by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.)

September 30, 2022

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and four major Japanese power utilities will work together to develop a next-generation nuclear reactor that will go online in the 2030s, the company announced on Sept. 29.

The announcement comes as the central government reverses course from its cautious nuclear energy policies set in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plans to develop an advanced light water reactor, an improved version of conventional pressurized water reactors. It will do so jointly with Kansai Electric Power Co., Kyushu Electric Power Co., Shikoku Electric Power Co. and Hokkaido Electric Power Co.

It will be one of the next-generation reactors that the administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is considering promoting, along with other next-generation reactors, alongside rebuilding existing ones.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has been working with the four utilities, which operate pressurized water reactors, to develop new technology to enhance the safety of the reactors.

A Mitsubishi Heavy Industries official said the new reactor will be safer than conventional ones since it will be equipped with a “core catcher,” designed to cool melted reactor cores in the event of a reactor meltdown like the ones at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in March 2011.

The new reactor could also generate 1.2 gigawatts of electricity, equivalent to the capacity of a large nuclear reactor in Japan, according to the official.

But the company has yet to decide which utility will build the planned reactor and where it will be built because of difficulties finding a new construction site amid a strong public distrust toward nuclear reactors.

One potential candidate site is KEPCO’s Mihama nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture, according to a source. The utility is decommissioning the plant’s No. 1 and No. 2 reactors, while more than 40 years have passed since the No. 3 reactor first went online.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has not disclosed the cost to build the new reactor, either.

One estimate suggests the construction of a new nuclear reactor will require 1 trillion yen ($6.91 billion), nearly double the amount spent on building an existing one, due to additional expenses required to comply with stricter safety regulations.

The central government plans to include nuclear reactors in its new support measures to encourage the construction of power plants amid calls from major utilities for financial support.

The government had long maintained that it had no plans to push for the construction of new nuclear reactors or the rebuilding of existing ones in the wake of the 2011 nuclear disaster.

But the Kishida administration changed that policy after energy costs began to soar and the country faced the prospect of a severe power shortage. Kishida said in August that he will consider promoting the development and construction of next-generation rectors with new safety mechanisms.

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14731525

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima: Novel Fixes Fail, Waste Dumping Threatens Pacific Ocean

September 30, 2022

by John Laforge

During the 11-year-long, estimated $57.4 billion (partial) decontamination efforts at the destroyed Fukushima-Daiichi reactor site in Japan, almost every novel program invented to deal with the complex, unprecedented triple catastrophe has initially failed and then needed to be re-invented. Unworkable schemes instigated to repair, decontaminate, plug-up, or prevent ongoing radioactive contamination, along with cover-ups and corruption by the Tokyo Electric Power Co. which runs the operation, have left the Japanese public wary of the company’s plans and of safety assurances from the government.

Japan’s extensive bull-dozing and mass collection of contaminated topsoil and debris, poisoned by the meltdowns’ radioactive fallout, has filled approximately 20 million one-ton bags. These millions of tons of cesium-contaminated waste are standing outdoors in mountainous stacks scattered across seven states. Some of the heavy bags have been jostled and broken open by torrential rains during typhoons.

Attempts to locate and examine the total of 900 tons of melted reactor fuel (which possibly burned through the wrecked “containments” and foundations of the three units) have failed, because robotic cameras have repeatedly been destroyed by the ferociously hot and radioactive melted wastes. Eleven years after the catastrophe, the condition and location of the melted fuel masses, known as “corium,” is still uncertain because Tepco has yet to develop a robust enough camera.

The reactors’ concrete foundations were so severely broken up by the record 9.0 magnitude earthquake, that groundwater rushes through cracks and broken pipes, pours over the three huge masses of corium and becomes highly contaminated with a mix of at least 62 radioactive materials. Tepco’s installation of an expensive “ice wall” that was dug into the ground behind the wrecked reactors, was intended to divert the groundwater keeping it away from the foundations. This fix has also failed.

Tepco has slowed the direct flow of the contaminated water into the Pacific by filtering it and then collecting it in giant tanks. But the tank farm is plagued by leaks and by the discovery that the filter system has failed. In 2018, Tepco admitted that its “Advanced Liquid Processing System” or ALPS had not removed iodine-129, ruthenium-106 and technetium-99, as well as carbon-14, and 60 other long-lived poisons, putting the lie to its repeated assurances that ALPS would remove everything but tritium. The company then promised that it would re-treat the collected water, before dumping all 1.3 million tons of the waste water into the Pacific.

In July, Japan’s nuclear regulator formally approved Tepco’s plan to dump the water into the ocean beginning in spring 2023 and continuing for 30 years. The reactors produce 140 cubic meters of contaminated water every day, a combination of ground- and rainwater that seeps into the wreckage, and cooling water mechanically poured over the three corium piles. While independent scientists and environmental historians have charged that dumping would constitute the worst premeditated maritime pollution in recorded history, Tepco’s ocean pollution solution has already been okayed by the government in Tokyo and by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Ocean dumping would violate international law

In August, Tepco announced that it would begin constructing a tunnel to the sea for releasing the waste water. Complaints from scientists, environmental groups and Pacific Rim countries, particularly South Korea and China, have not forced Japan to reconsider the plan.

Certain international treaties forbid such deliberate pollution of the global commons. The “Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter,” or London Convention, prohibits any intentional release of radioactive wastes into the sea. Writing in The Korea Times, environmental attorney Duncan Currie and nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie of Greenpeace Germany noted that ocean dumping would also violate the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea by posing a direct threat to the marine environment and the jurisdictional waters of the Korean peninsula.

Tepco says the tritium concentration in the wastewater will be lowered before dumping by diluting it with seawater. However, dilution is basically a public relations scheme since the total amount of radioactive tritium will remain the same. Greenpeace’s Burnie and Currie and others have warned about tritium’s ability to form organically-bound tritium, and that — if ingested with seafood —the biological power of tritium’s beta radiation can damage human DNA.

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

Source: https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/09/30/fukushima-novel-fixes-fail-waste-dumping-threatens-pacific-ocean/

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Primary Containment Vessel of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 1.

by Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center · Published September 30, 2022 · Updated September 30, 2022

Pedestal with Exposed Reinforcing Steel

By Kamisawa Chihiro (CNIC)

Survey of the pedestal exterior in the Unit 1 primary containment vessel

On February 9, 2022, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TEPCO) and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID) conducted a survey into the underground level of the primary containment vessel (PCV) of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) Unit 1, using an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The survey was intended to be a preliminary to investigating the conditions inside the vessel. The survey revealed that there were vast amounts of deposits, which were attributed to melted nuclear fuel, and exposed reinforcing steel, which appeared to be the skeletons of damaged concrete structures.

On March 14, the two parties started a close visual inspection along the periphery of the pedestal (reinforced concrete base on which the reactor pressure vessel was installed) with an ROV. However, on March 16, a serious earthquake of magnitude 7.4 occurred off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture. The water level in the PCV of Unit 1 declined due to the earthquake, and the inspection was suspended.

The two parties thereafter adjusted the water level by increasing the rate of water feed to the reactor, realizing the required water level in the PCV. On May 17, close inspection of the PCV interior was resumed using the ROV. The visual inspection was continued until May 21. The thickness of the deposits were also measured and thermal neutron flux measurements were conducted to learn whether the deposits were from nuclear fuel. It was confirmed that a major part of the deposits was from the fuel.

Fuel debris deposits and damaged wall concrete on the pedestal periphery

In the survey, the outside of the pedestal was visually inspected in detail with the underwater ROV camera along more than half the cylindrical surface of the pedestal (Figure 1).

Fig. 1: Overview of Pedestal Periphery Survey Using an Underwater ROV (Compiled from TEPCO and IRID Data)

The videos and photographs taken from the pedestal periphery show there are deposits that have accumulated deep on the PCV floor (Photograph 1).

The lower periphery of the drywell has eight vent pipes that connect to the suppression chamber. Each vent pipe is provided with a jet deflector to protect the pipe inlet. About one-third of the length of the jet deflectors are buried in the deposits from below (especially deflectors C through F). It was confirmed that deposits also exist behind the jet deflectors. This shows that fuel debris is likely to have entered the suppression chamber.

TEPCO says that the piping and valves of the reactor auxiliary cooling system and the piping of the reactor recirculation system are not seriously damaged.

However, as those photographs show, the piping and valves of the reactor auxiliary cooling system are covered with deposits, while keeping their original shape. Especially, the greater part of the piping looks to be buried under the deposits, and it is unknown whether the piping is damaged or not (Photograph 2).

The valves and piping of recirculation system B do not look seriously damaged as far as the released videos and photographs show. The valves and piping of system A on the opposite side look vague, and it is unknown whether they are damaged or not. It seems possible that there is an anomaly in the proximity of the piping elbow near the pedestal opening.

The pedestal opening lies nearly halfway around from the underwater ROV entry position. Before the 2011 accident, operators entered the space below the reactor through this opening to inspect and maintain the control rod drive and neutron instrumentation.

Currently there is no concrete on either side of the pedestal opening, which must have been there before the accident. As the photographs show, the reinforcing steel skeletons are exposed, and deposits have settled on them (Photographs 3 and 4). The sheet-steel cylindrical structure called the inner skirt, built inside the pedestal, is also exposed.

This means that, on both the sides of the opening, the originally 120-centimeter-thick concrete wall of the pedestal has completely vanished down to the height of about 100 centimeters from the base floor of the PCV. The data by TEPCO and IRID, as shown in Figure 1, indicates the approximate positions of the exposed reinforced steel, but we believe that these are not the only positions where steel is exposed.

The Unit 1 pedestal and lower part of the PCV have the construction shown in Figure 2. The wall of the pedestal base is about 120 centimeters thick. According to the report of the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s investigative hearing with TEPCO, the inner skirt was originally buried in the pedestal base down to about the height of about 100 centimeters.

This means that, on both the sides of the opening, the originally 120-centimeter-thick concrete wall of the pedestal has completely vanished down to the height of about 100 centimeters from the base floor of the PCV. The data by TEPCO and IRID, as shown in Figure 1, indicates the approximate positions of the exposed reinforced steel, but we believe that these are not the only positions where steel is exposed.

How did the concrete vanish?

Concrete is produced from cement and aggregates such as sand and crushed stones, which are mixed with water and then solidified. Concrete and cement are known to have the following characteristics under elevated temperature (Kasami and Ohno, “Solid-state Properties of Concrete in High-temperature Ranges”).

  • When placed in a high-temperature range for a brief period, such as when exposed to a fire, concrete may flake off or explosively crack.

The characteristics of concrete and cement under more moderate temperature changes can be explained as follows:

  • When a hydration reaction has continued sufficiently in the hardened cement body, free water and gel water are lost at about 105°C.
  • When the body is further heated, part of the chemically bound water starts to be given off, and in the temperature range from approximately 250°C to 350°C, calcium silicate hydrates in the cement lose about 20% of their retained moisture.
  • Between 400°C and 700°C, the moisture remaining in the calcium silicate hydrates is mostly lost. Calcium hydroxides are dehydrated and decomposed.

Melted nuclear fuel that consists mostly of uranium dioxide may reach 2,800°C. The melting temperature for concrete is about 1,200°C (which may differ depending on the amount of aggregates).

The core and concrete reaction analysis conducted by TEPCO in 2011 assumed that concrete erosion started when the temperature was at 1,500 K (approximately 1,227°C), concluding that the pedestal concrete floor was eroded down to a depth of sixty-five centimeters.

Did the melted nuclear fuel blow out from the bottom of the Unit 1 RPV, drop down to the floor inside the pedestal, spread over the floor, and attack the concrete wall of the pedestal, causing concrete flaking or explosive cracking? It is also possible that while such a process went ahead, the concrete, heated to 400°C through 700°C, became progressively weaker and fell apart little by little.

The reinforcing steel and inner skirt are not significantly deformed or melted as far as the videos and photographs show. However, the condition of other structures and to what extent the reinforcing concrete fell apart are also unknown at present.

Can the RPV tolerate a massive earthquake?

The loss of the concrete of the pedestal base presents a concern: The RPV, standing on the pedestal, may collapse or fall.

TEPCO, referring to the results of the RPV and PCV seismic assessment conducted by IRID in 2016, is extremely optimistic, stating that, even if a part of the pedestal is deteriorated or damaged, the pedestal can retain the function of supporting the RPV against an assumed earthquake, using the criteria at the time, of a ground motion Ss of 600 Gal.

However, a close examination of IRID’s assessment and TEPCO’s perspective show that their assumptions are overly optimistic. As an example, the model used for the seismic assessment is incorporated into the function of the containment vessel stabilizer and pressure vessel stabilizer, which control the lateral movement of the containment vessel and pressure vessel respectively, but the integrity of those stabilizers is unknown at present.

The TEPCO and IRID analysis concludes, based only on the observed ranges, that the reinforcing steel of the pedestal base does not show damage such as buckling, and that the function of the inner skirt has not deteriorated. The conditions used for the analysis lack discreteness. These conditions may change as the survey is continued in the future. As an example, greater damage in the concrete walls and floor may be discovered. In that case, completely different results may be derived from the seismic assessment.

References (all in Japanese)

  • 東京電力, 福島第一原子力発電所1~3号機の炉心状態について, 2011年11月30日

TEPCO. “Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Units 1, 2 and 3 Reactor Core Conditions,” Nov. 30, 2011.

www.tepco.co.jp/nu/fukushima-np/images/handouts_111130_09-j.pdf

  • IRID, 2014年度補正予算廃炉・汚染水対策事業費補助金, 圧力容器/格納容器の耐震性・影響評価手法の開発 (2016年度成果報告), 2017年7月

IRID. “Fiscal 2014 Supplementary Budget Grant for Decommissioning and Contaminated Water Countermeasures — Development of RPV and PCV Earthquake Resistance and Impact Evaluation Methods (Fiscal 2016 Achievement Report),” July 2017.

irid.or.jp/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/20160000_11.pdf

  • 東京電力・IRID・日立GEニュークリアエナジー, 福島第一原子力発電所1号機原子炉格納容器内部調査の実施状況 (2月9日調査分) について, 2022/2/10

TEPCO, IRID and Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy. “Updates on Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 1 Reactor PCV Interior Survey (of Feb. 9)” [Video], Feb. 10, 2022.

www.tepco.co.jp/library/movie/detail-j.html?catid=107299&video_uuid=k593g02e

  • 東京電力・IRID・日立GEニュークリアエナジー, 福島第一原子力発電所1号機原子炉格納容器内部調査(ROV-A2) の実施状況 (3月14~16日の作業状況), 2022/3/24

TEPCO, IRID and Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy. “Updates on Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 1 Reactor PCV Interior Survey (ROV-A2) (Mar. 14–16)” [Video], Mar. 24, 2022.

www.tepco.co.jp/library/movie/detail-j.html?catid=107299&video_uuid=s19dq021

  • 東京電力・IRID・日立GEニュークリアエナジー, 福島第一原子力発電所1号機原子炉格納容器内部調査(ROV-A2)の実施状況 (2022年5月17~19日の作業状況), 2022/5/23

TEPCO, IRID and Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy. “Updates on Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 1 Reactor PCV Interior Survey (ROV-A2) (May 17–19)” [Video], May 23, 2022.

www.tepco.co.jp/library/movie/detail-j.html?catid=107299&video_uuid=og07od6u

  • 東京電力・IRID, 廃炉・汚染水・処理水対策チーム会合/事務局会議 (第102回), 1号機 PCV内部調査の状況について, 2022年5月26日

TEPCO and IRID. “Updates on Unit 1 PCV Interior Survey,” Decommissioning, Contaminated Water and Treated Water Team Secretariat Meeting (102nd), May 26, 2022.

www.meti.go.jp/earthquake/nuclear/decommissioning/committee/osensuitaisakuteam/2022/05/3-3-2.pdf

  • 東京電力・IRID, 第100回特定原子力施設監視・評価検討会, 資料3: 1号機原子炉格納容器内部調査の状況 [東京電力], 2022年6月20日

TEPCO and IRID. “Document No. 3: Updates on Unit 1 Reactor PCV Interior Survey,” 100th Meeting of Specific Nuclear Facility Monitoring and Evaluation Study Group, June 20, 2022.

www.nra.go.jp/data/000393949.pdf

  • 東京電力・IRID, 第30回東京電力福島第一原子力発電所における事故の分析に係る検討会, 資料1-1: 1号機PCV内部調査の状況について, 2022年6月30日

TEPCO and IRID. “Document 1-1: Updates on Unit 1 PCV Interior Survey,” 30th Meeting of TEPCO FDNPS Accident Analysis Study Group, June 30, 2022.

www.nra.go.jp/data/000395861.pdf

  • 東京電力・IRID, 第30回東京電力福島第一原子力発電所における事故の分析に係る検討会, ・補足説明資料1: 1号機PCV内部調査の状況について, 2022年6月30日

TEPCO and IRID. “Supplement 1: Updates on Unit 1 PCV Interior Survey,” 30th Meeting of TEPCO FDNPS Accident Analysis Study Group, June 30, 2022.

www.nra.go.jp/data/000395885.pdf

  • 原子力規制委員会, 第30回東京電力福島第一原子力発電所における事故の分析に係る検討会, 追加説明資料, 2022年6月30日

NRA. “Additional Explanatory Document,” 30th Meeting of TEPCO FDNPS Accident Analysis Study Group, June 30, 2022.

www.nra.go.jp/data/000395866.pdf

  • 嵩英雄, 大野定俊, 高温下コンクリートの物性、 コンクリート工学 Concrete Journal, 1984年22巻3号, p. 13–20

Kasami, H. and Ohno S. (1984). Solid-state Properties of Concrete in High-temperature Ranges, Concrete Journal, 22 (3), pp. 13–20.

www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/coj1975/22/3/22_13/_article/-char/ja/

Source: https://cnic.jp/english/?p=6276

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

The TEPCO Shareholders’ Lawsuit: Why TEPCO Executives Have Been Ordered to Pay 13 Trillion Yen in Compensation

by Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center · September 30, 2022

By Kaido Yuichi (Attorney representing TEPCO Shareholders)

Attorneys and supporters celebrate their victory outside the Tokyo District Court (Kaido Yuichi, the author, is pictured in the blue jacket)

A Nuclear Accident that Could Have Led to Collapse of the Nation Itself

We succeeded in winning a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs on July 13 in the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) shareholders’ derivative lawsuit* that I began working on immediately after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (NPS) accident. During the 10 years since we filed this lawsuit in March 2012, 62 sessions were held in Tokyo District Court. Judge Asakura Yoshihide of Tokyo District Court Commercial Division, who presided over the trial, took about 40 minutes to read the summary, with joyful applause filling the courtroom.

The ruling recognized damages in excess of the amounts paid for decommissioning, compensation for damages to the victims, and the costs of interim storage measures for decontamination resulting from the Fukushima Daiichi NPS accident, which had occurred due to breach of duties by the four TEPCO executives (Katsumata Tsunehisa (former Chairman), Shimizu Masataka (former President), Takekuro Ichiro and Muto Sakae (both former Vice-Presidents)).

The ruling thus ordered the four defendants to pay damages of 13.321 trillion yen ($97 billion) to TEPCO.

The ruling says first, that a nuclear power plant (NPP) operator has the obligation to prevent any chance of a serious accident, and that it was the executives’ responsibility to order the company to take measures to prevent a serious accident from occurring as a result of a tsunami. It also says that serious accidents at NPPs, such as reactor core damage, result not only in broken communities, but “could lead the nation itself to collapse.” The ruling determined that there was a duty to society in the public interest to prevent even the remote chance of such serious accidents from occurring. Here, the Supreme Court’s 1992 decision on Ikata NPP was cited.**

I think this ruling, in mentioning “collapse of the nation itself,” strongly reflects the judge’s experience in visiting a “difficult-to-return zone” and entering one of the reactors involved in the accident for on-site consultation.

Long-term Assessment by Suihon Reliable as Basis for Tsunami Countermeasures

In addition, this ruling recognized the reliability of the long-term assessment published in July 2002 by the Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion (a government agency abbreviated as Suihon) as a basis for implementing tsunami countermeasures. The assessment in question had indicated that tsunami-generating earthquakes had occurred offshore along Japan’s Pacific coast along the Sanriku (northernmost Honshu) area down to the Boso (Chiba) area three times in the past 400 years, and that there was a 6 percent chance of such a tsunami-generating earthquake occurring during the subsequent 30 years off the coast of Fukushima.

In particular, the long-term assessment was judged as having high reliability that was recognized as follows:

“In light of the facts that Suihon is an institution established as a state organ for the purpose of centralized earthquake evaluation; that the nature of long-term assessment is the objective evaluation of seismic activity, mainly through scientific knowledge, for the purpose of promoting earthquake disaster countermeasures; that the long-term assessment was compiled over the course of three stages of discussions by the Subduction Zone Subcommittee, the Long-term Assessment Committee, and the Earthquake Investigation Committee; and that many of our nation’s top-level earthquake and tsunami researchers were brought together to produce it, it is clear that the views in this long-term assessment cannot be regarded as if they were merely a prediction presented in one researcher’s paper or such. These points by themselves provide the scientific reliability that corresponds to definitive authority.”

Various views had been expressed, including that there were differences between localities from north to south, such as the presence of accretionary complexes (wedges) along the Japan Trench, but none of them had amounted to anything more than hypothetical conjecture and could not form a basis for tsunami countermeasures. Regarding the tsunami evaluation technology employed by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers in 2002, on which TEPCO’s executives based their assertion that there were no wave-generating sources located off the coast of Fukushima, it was judged as having been put together without actual consideration of such wave-generating sources.

The initial decision by Tokyo District Court on September 19, 2019 in the TEPCO criminal trial held that the Suihon’s long-term assessment lacked reliability as a basis for halting nuclear reactors. It found the defendants innocent while making no judgement regarding measures aside from halting reactors for avoiding that outcome. Thus the current ruling is the exact opposite.

Whether the national government bears any responsibility with regard to the Fukushima nuclear accident is disputed. The majority opinion expressed in the Supreme Court’s ruling last June 16 mysteriously evaded a decision on this burning issue. Furthermore, in the elaborate Miura minority opinion included in that ruling for appearances’ sake, the reliability of basing tsunami countermeasures on the long-term assessment was recognized, just as it has been in the current ruling.

The clear judgement indicated in the current ruling is likely the result of influence from testimonies during the criminal trial from Long-term Assessment Committee Chairman Shimazaki Kunihiko, Maeda Kenji of the Suihon Secretariat and Tsuji Yoshinobu, a leading expert in earthquake research, who were adopted as witnesses along with Hamada Nobuo, director of Japan Meteorological Agency’s seismology and volcano division, who was also a subcommittee member. Not one of these experts challenged the conclusion of the long-term assessment; rather, they testified that the opinions summarized in the consensus should have been respected by both the national government and the electric power industry.

Moreover, this ruling held that reliability as a basis for tsunami countermeasures was recognized even for the knowledge revealed in Satake Kenji’s thesis, in which he modeled the wave source that produced the tsunami in the 869 Jogan earthquake based on a survey of tsunami sediments. This ruling did not limit its judgement to the reliability of public institutions’ views only.

Defendants’ Liability Owing to Unsatisfactory Professional Conduct

In addition, regarding the fact that defendant Muto Sakae rejected proposals from TEPCO’s civil engineering group, who suggested taking tsunami countermeasures in June and July 2008, and took no countermeasures whatsoever over a period of several years until their assessment was compiled (inaction in this case), Muto was suspected of delaying countermeasures. However, even if the rationality of his actions could be acknowledged somehow, the inaction by the civil engineering group resulted in continuation of conditions under which the nuclear reactors would have been unable to handle a natural disaster, and he was found guilty because there was no latitude for allowing that.

Regarding the plaintiff’s claim that postponement of the measures could be seen as unreasonable, the ruling recognized that, “Given facts such as that in his consultations with other NPS operators, Sakai Toshiaki of TEPCO’s civil engineering group said that, regarding the policies behind Muto’s decisions, it was a matter of how TEPCO would manage if the Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini reactors were shut down while those at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa were idled; the fact that after giving his opinion on the long-term assessment in an e-mail to Takao Makoto and Kaneto Toshimichi of the same engineering group, Sakai also pointed out regarding the Jogan tsunami that the Electric Technology Research Association was asking if it would be too much trouble to ask for more time, and he took it to mean that with regard to Muto’s decision he should play for time and not implement tsunami countermeasures; and that there were critical reactions to Muto’s decision policies among councils within Japan’s nuclear power industry, such as ‘Are such delays okay? and ‘Why has such a decision been made?’ Suspicions that Muto’s decision may have been a deliberate ploy to put off measures for the sake of TEPCO’s management cannot be dispelled. However, even based on these points, a certain rationality to Muto’s decision has been deemed as undeniable, but I think this is because the ruling has been written in such a way that it will not be overturned by the high court.

First, with this kind of judgement assumed, this ruling acknowledges facts such as that TEPCO’s civil engineering group had established a policy of taking tsunami countermeasures, explained this to others in the company including the president at a “Gozen Kaigi” (literally “Imperial Council”) in February 2008, and also explained its policy for taking tsunami countermeasures in response to Suihon’s long-term assessment in a Q&A it compiled for handling inquiries at the time of the interim quake-resistance back-check in March. In the Q&A, it states that Muto’s decision in itself was “Not based on the engineering group’s explanations and opinions, but his own judgement in opposition to those.”

The first ruling by the criminal court mentioned above held that the information revealed at the ‘Imperial Council’ with the president was unacceptable, misinterpreting the evidence, but it did recognize the reliability of the prosecutor’s statement from Yamashita Kazuhiko, director of the Countermeasure Center for the Niigata Chuetsu Offshore Earthquake, who testified on this point.

Also, given that consideration by the civil engineering group would take at least several years and construction of seawalls would take at least several years more, in the event of a tsunami, there was a high likelihood of it resulting directly in a serious accident with enormous damage, and thus the current ruling holds that these countermeasures had a high priority, that it was an urgently important issue and that it indicates problems regarding the very basis of TEPCO’s management. Moreover, if this way of thinking is “hindsight” after the accident, it notes, “In the final analysis, there was a common perception at TEPCO that such a tsunami would not be brought up until measures such as a seawall could be completed” and “It shows a lack of ability to envisage severe accidents, a lack of awareness regarding safety, and laxity in perceptions, which should have been considered fundamental for TEPCO as an NPS operator to have had prior to the accident. This is unacceptable.” Thus the defendants were found guilty.

Defendant Takekuro, who was the executive in charge of nuclear power, also heard defendant Muto’s explanation in a similar way in August of that year, so his responsibility was recognized in the same way as Muto’s.

Also, even regarding then President Shimizu and then Chairman Katsumata, at the February 2009 Imperial Council, views were recognized from persons with reasonable credibility that took a large-scale tsunami into account, so indeed it was affirmed that they had the duty of due care because they could have made an appropriate decision by investigating and discussing tsunami countermeasures. The defendants claimed that the Imperial Council served simply as a venue for sharing information, but the ruling did not recognize the defendants’ excuse, because “An Imperial Council should be considered an important meeting regarding the conduct of affairs at TEPCO, and that the president, chairman and other executives attend it and express their opinions means that these are not just private words and deeds, but actions in the execution of business by the directors.”

A Fundamental Lack of Safety Awareness and Sense of Responsibility Required from NPS Operators

In the section of the ruling summing up judgments that recognized unsatisfactory professional conduct by the defendants, the ruling pointed out the responsibility of TEPCO’s executives in the following harsh terms.

“Looking at the circumstances of this case, TEPCO did not take action based on safety awareness, which is a matter of course and very rigorously demanded from a nuclear power plant operator, with consideration of all possible countermeasures before accidents happen, and in accordance with the degree of risk, how such countermeasures may be implemented quickly based on the latest scientific knowledge so that even unlikely severe accidents do not have a chance to occur. Instead, almost consistently, they failed to reveal information they had obtained themselves in their relations with NISA (Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency) and other regulating authorities…and what stands out is that they took great pains to figure how they could use the most convenient parts of experts’ opinions while ignoring inconvenient parts and keeping them from coming to light so that they could maintain the status quo to the utmost.

“Even when the division in charge of tsunami countermeasures, which was negotiating with NISA and others, found the situation no longer sustainable and declared that they would take genuine measures against tsunamis, the defendants did not accept the opinions of that division. To the contrary, they decided to continue examining matters such as wave sources using external organizations (citation note: this refers to the Japan Society of Civil Engineers) through which they could effectively involve themselves in discussions. Moreover, during that time, they implemented no tsunami countermeasures whatsoever.

“Within TEPCO at that time, the judgement and responses of the defendants may have been actions that could have been viewed as reasonable and a matter of course, so to speak, but it must be said that the safety awareness and sense of responsibility required from nuclear power plant operators and their executives whether before or after the accident in this case were fundamentally lacking.”

The above words can be viewed in the context of comprehensive recognition of facts on such matters as results of tsunami height calculations and behind-the-scenes negotiations with experts, which TEPCO could not bring itself to submit even to NISA, or if it did, it presented them in a misleading way.

Then, what the defendants chose as their tsunami countermeasures were items like large-scale seawalls, which were expected to take a certain amount of time to implement—measured in multiple years—while continuing to operate the reactors as these countermeasures were being completed, but it would have been possible for them to have thought of and implemented emergency measures against tsunamis such as waterproofing the main buildings and rooms with important equipment. Those countermeasures could have been completed before the accident, and in fact, examples of those are acknowledged to have been implemented at the Hamaoka NPS, Tokai Daini NPS and JAEA (Japan Atomic Energy Agency) prior to the time the accident occurred. Judge Asakura Yoshihide and his team conducted an on-site investigation of the Fukushima Daiichi NPS in October 2021 and confirmed conditions at the site and specific places where waterproofing work should have been implemented.

The majority opinion of the Supreme Court mentioned above, which denied the government’s liability, overlooked this point, but the Miura minority opinion in the Supreme Court’s ruling indicated a similar judgement as in the current ruling.

Against the Denial of Responsibility and Disavowal of Damage by TEPCO and the Government

The only trials looking into the individual responsibility of former management figures in the nuclear accident and TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi NPS have been the TEPCO criminal trial and the current shareholder derivative lawsuit.

The excellent ruling we achieved this time made it clear to the entire nation that the Fukushima nuclear accident occurred due to a fundamental lack of safety awareness and sense of responsibility among TEPCO’s executives. We can say that we have gained an extremely valuable bridgehead against the denial of responsibility and disavowal of damage by TEPCO and the Japanese government. Requests were made at the hearing of immediate appeal of the TEPCO criminal trial by the designated lawyers and plaintiffs’ representatives to look into the evidence for the ruling and to reopen the case. If we are able to reopen that case and have the documented facts associated with this ruling examined as evidence, there is a tremendously strong possibility of having the verdict of innocent reconsidered.

The four defendants have appealed the ruling. The plaintiffs are appealing former Managing Executive Officer Komori Akio’s exclusion from the demand for compensation on the grounds that his term as an executive at TEPCO had been too short. The stage for the case will move on to Tokyo High Court, and I invite you to keep an interested eye on it in the future.

*A shareholders’ derivative lawsuit can be launched by shareholders against company executives whose actions have caused the company damages. If the plaintiffs win the lawsuit, damages are paid by the executives to the company, not to the shareholders.

**The Supreme Court’s judgement on the annulment of the Ikata NPP Unit 1 operating license, even though it rejected the annulment, stated that it was the duty of NPP operators to ensure that the safety of their NPPs was based on the most recent information available.  

Source: https://cnic.jp/english/?p=6288

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Current State of Post-Accident Operations at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (Jan. to Jun. 2022)

by Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center · September 30, 2022

By Matsukubo Hajime (CNIC)

State of the Plant

The water temperature in the containment vessels and the spent fuel pools (SFPs) varies mostly around less than 35oC and no great changes have been seen. The state of releases of Xenon-135 (half-life roughly nine hours), released when uranium fuel undergoes fission is also unchanged and it can therefore be estimated that the state of the reactors is stable. Further, according to an assessment by TEPCO in June 2022, around 17,000 becquerels per hour (Bq/h) of radioactive materials were being released to the atmosphere from the buildings (Fig.1).

At the same time, decay heat has fallen greatly with the passage of time, and thus the volume of cooling water injected into the reactors has been reduced (falling from 7-10m3 per hour in May 2011 to 1.5-2.1m3 per hour as of June 2022).

The state of removal of spent nuclear fuel from the SFPs is summarized in Table 1. Spent nuclear fuel removal from Units 4 and 3 has been completed. However, as it has not been possible to remove control rods and other high-dose equipment stored in the SFPs, preparatory work is underway for removal of this equipment from Unit 3 in the second half of FY2022 and from Unit 4 in the second half of FY2024. Units 1 and 2 are being prepared for spent nuclear fuel removal.

Preparations for the removal of fuel debris are also under way. The arrival of the device for removing debris from Unit 2, developed in the UK, was delayed due to the spread of the coronavirus and finally arrived at the Naraha mockup facility in Japan in February. Removal tests are scheduled to be conducted during 2022. Plans are underway for an internal investigation device to be inserted into Unit 1 reactor pressure containment vessel (PCV), and also to withdraw water in two stages from the Unit 3 PCV and suppression chamber due to a water level drop.

The changes in the average number of workers onsite per day is shown in Fig. 2. As of June 2022, the number of workers was 4,100, about half the number it was at its peak. Changes in the number of cases of work non-conformance (work states that differ from the states originally intended or acts or judgments that differ from those that should have been taken) up to March 2022 are shown in Fig.3, as reported on the TEPCO website. As ever, problems appear to occur frequently, and this attests to the severe conditions under which work is being carried out at the site.

State of Contaminated Water

Contaminated water countermeasures at FDNPS can be broadly divided into three areas: 1) Reduction of groundwater flowing into buildings, 2) Reduction of contaminated water flowing into the sea, and 3) Reduction of the toxicity of contaminated water. The main countermeasures to reduce water inflow into the buildings are, from higher elevations downward, (A) Pumping up groundwater at the groundwater bypass and releasing it into the sea (754,521m3 up to August 22, 2022), B) Installation of a frozen earth barrier (on-land water barrier, total length roughly 1,500m) surrounding FDNPS Units 1-4. C) Pumping up water at the subdrains and releasing it into the sea (1,365,094m3 up to August 22), and D) Paving of the site with asphalt to suppress permeation of rainwater into the soil. Measures to prevent the discharge of contaminated water into the ocean include A) Groundwater leakage prevention by a steel water barrier on the sea side, B) Pumping up of groundwater dammed up behind the sea-side water barrier from the well points and groundwater drains (roughly 278,000m3 up to August 3; highly contaminated groundwater is being transferred to the turbine building), and other measures.

To reduce the toxicity of contaminated water, after removal of cesium and strontium, and removal of impurities using a reverse osmosis (RO) membrane, radionuclides other than tritium are removed by the multi-radionuclide removal equipment (ALPS – Advanced Liquid Processing System) and then stored in tanks (containing 1,310,518m3 as of August 4. However, due to past equipment malfunctions and operational policies, in many cases radionuclides other than tritium are also present, resulting in only around 32% of the stored water being below the notification concentration). Besides this, roughly 12,660m3 water remain in buildings, as well as 10,634m3 strontium-treated water, etc., 7,605m3 water treated by RO, 100m3 concentrated brine, and 9,280m3 concentrated wastewater etc. also existing onsite.

The frozen earth barrier consists of about 1600 freeze pipes buried in the ground. The freeze pipes are each 30 meters long and -30°C coolant is circulated through them to freeze the surrounding soil. The effectiveness of the frozen earth barrier has been questioned since it was first installed, but since 2019 there have been several coolant leakage incidents. This is due not to the technology but to aging of the equipment, which was originally not intended for long-term operation.

Concerning TEPCO’s policy of releasing contaminated water into the ocean after ALPS treatment, the policy to release the water was authorized at the 25th Meeting of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority on July 22, and the construction was approved by the governor of Fukushima Prefecture and the mayors of both Okuma Town and Futaba Town in August. TEPCO is aiming to begin.

Source: https://cnic.jp/english/?p=6292

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Reaches a Turning Point

by Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center · September 30, 2022

By Yamaguchi Yukio (CNIC Co-Director)

After the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima in March 2011, the town of Futaba, located in Hamadori (the Fukushima coastline), became the only municipality in Fukushima Prefecture to decide to move its administration out of the prefecture. After changing evacuation sites several times, gradually moving further and further away from Futaba, the town’s government offices and many of its residents settled in a disused school in Kazo City, Saitama Prefecture, at the end of March 2011. It seemed as if the nuclear power plant town, where Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) reactors Units 5 and 6 are located, had “drifted” 250 kilometers away from home. The evacuation was ordered based on the Special Act on Nuclear Emergency Preparedness and Response, and it was a difficult evacuation, the people evacuating “with nothing but the clothes on their back.”

The evacuation order for Futaba Town was lifted on August 30 this year, eleven-and-a-half years after it was imposed. However, there are very few who are willing to return to their hometown. As of March 2022, 19 households (26 people), or 0.4% of the pre-disaster level, had applied for “Preparation of Accommodation.”* The rich natural environment that was once part of the area no longer exists, and there is no prospect for the revival of community life.

The decommissioning of the plant at FDNPS is not expected to be completed anytime soon, as nothing like this has been experienced before and the radiation is likely to cause unexpected issues. That is not a problem when fission is used as a nuclear weapon, because the objective is to annihilate the opponent. However, that is not the case for “commercial use.” International organizations promoting nuclear power have set “standards” (radiation dose limits), but they are not reliable. It is impossible to properly evaluate the effects of low-dose exposure with current scientific knowledge alone. It is also a trans-scientific issue (a question that can be asked by science but cannot be answered by science).

The government decided on a plan to treat the radioactive water from FDNPS with ALPS, reduce its radioactivity level, and then discharge it into the ocean. The plan is to be implemented from 2023. The government and those who support the plan claim that there is no safety problem because the concentration will be much lower than the standard, even though the “standard” itself is questionable. However, that cannot be proven. It is only possible to prove it by repeating experiments under exactly the same conditions (including in the natural environment) as exist in reality and obtain results with a sufficiently high degree of confidence in the effects on humans as well as on ecosystems. It may be possible to do so, but it would probably take hundreds of years. The experiments might also lead to irreversible disasters. This kind of “experiment” is not feasible because it would take a long time and be too costly. In addition, simulations are also unlikely to allow us to draw solid conclusions.

There are many who are opposed to the oceanic release plan by the government and TEPCO, and who have presented reasons for their opposition. One thing I would like to add about “harmful rumors” is that this expression has the connotation of “irresponsible rumors that make something which is actually harmless appear to be harmful.” I do not agree with this connotation.

The government and nuclear energy proponents pushed forward the nuclear power plants without regard for the opinions of citizens and residents. This caused a nuclear catastrophe, the government has adopted an evacuee return policy without taking responsibility, and it is now about to discharge contaminated water into the ocean. The reason why such an absurdity has occurred is that the government has become extremely powerful. The separation of legislative, administrative, and judicial powers is said to be the basis of democracy, but the equilibrium of these three powers has been seriously disturbed. Nevertheless, the Mito District Court decision (Tokai Daini NPP Lawsuit, 18 March 2021) , the Sapporo District Court decision (Tomari NPP Lawsuit, 31 May 2022), the Supreme Court’s opinion by Justice Miura (17 June 2022), and the Tokyo District Court judgement (TEPCO Shareholder Lawsuit, 13 July 2022) remind us that the judiciary still exists.

Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) once advocated the idea of a “five-power constitution” on the grounds that the three powers alone were not sufficient. Considering the current situation in Japan, I suggest the right to vote alone is powerless to curb the tyranny of the government. We need more powerful civic rights so that ordinary citizens can get together and be as powerful as the other three institutions.

Although the existence of “experts” is crucial in today’s world of science and technology, there are still many problems that cannot be answered by “experts” alone. Eleven-and-a-half years after March 11, METI committees, acting as if Fukushima is now history, often use expressions such as “innovative reactors” and insist that “nuclear power is the key to decarbonization.” I believe citizen power is needed more than ever before.

*”Preparation of Accommodation”: A system that allows disaster victims to stay overnight in their homes, which is prohibited in the evacuation zone, in order to facilitate preparations for a smooth resumption of life in their hometowns after the evacuation order is lifted.

Source: https://cnic.jp/english/?p=6286

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment

Seoul asks IAEA for verification of Japan’s plan to discharge treated water from Fukushima plant

September 28, 2022

The South Korean government has asked the IAEA for thorough verification of Japan’s plan to discharge treated water from the Fukushima Number One nuclear power plant into the ocean. Attending the 66th Regular Session of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna on Tuesday, Seoul’s vice minister of science and ICT, Oh Tae-seok, also called for Tokyo to share details of the process with the rest of the international community in a transparent manner. He also asked for unwavering support from IAEA member-states in denuclearizing North Korea, stressing that the regime’s nuclear programs pose a serious threat to international society.

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

New head of nuclear regulator vows to maintain ‘transparency’.

Shinsuke Yamanaka, new chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, addresses the media during his inaugural news conference in Tokyo on Sept. 26.

September 27, 2022

The new chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority vowed to maintain “independence and transparency” as the government agency performs its watchdog role over Japan’s nuclear industry. 

Shinsuke Yamanaka, 66, an expert on nuclear material science, took the helm of the NRA on Sept. 26.

“I will never forget the Fukushima nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant,” he said at a news conference. “With this resolve, I remain committed to the NRA’s policy to regulate the nuclear industry while steadfastly maintaining independence and transparency.”

The appointment of Yamanaka, who has been an NRA commissioner since 2017, comes as the administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida seeks a return to more reliance on nuclear energy. It is the first such move since the 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant.

The administration is considering building nuclear plants and new reactors to replace aged ones, something the industry ministry and nuclear industry have pushed for years.

Yamanaka pledged that the NRA will continue to remain neutral.

“The NRA should sincerely carry out its duties while keeping in mind that the safety of nuclear energy is never a guarantee,” he said. 

On the NRA’s prolonged examinations of reactors to assess if they meet the new reactor safety regulations, Yamanaka said his agency will be open to measures to help speed the process.

“Our basic stance is to conduct strict inspections, but we are willing to take measures to expedite the regulation procedures and improve communications between us and nuclear plant operators,” he said. 

Japan hosted 54 commercial reactors before the Fukushima nuclear accident. Of these, 27 reactor operators had applied for restarts under the more stringent reactor regulations that went into force in 2013. Only 10 have gone back online so far, however, as the NRA examinations continue.

Yamanaka also cited three things he wants to focus on in the coming years: strengthening the NRA’s ability to disseminate information, having a field-oriented approach and developing human resources.

Before joining the NRA, he did fuel safety research related to severe nuclear reactor accident at Osaka University.

Yamanaka’s term will run until September 2027. He replaced Toyoshi Fuketa, who finished his term as the second chairman of the NRA, which was established in 2012.

The same day, Tomoyuki Sugiyama, who specializes in reactor safety, joined the NRA as one of four commissioners.

Sugiyama had researched reactor safety at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Nuclear Safety Research Center.

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14728584

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Japan asking world to pay too high a cost

September 26, 2022

The president of the Pacific island state of Micronesia vehemently denounced Japan’s decision to discharge nuclear-contaminated water from its Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the Pacific Ocean at the United Nations last week. If anyone still believes this a viable option, his words should disabuse them of the notion.

In an address to the UN General Assembly in New York, David Panuelo said Micronesia had the “gravest concern” about Japan’s decision to release the so-called Advanced Liquid Processing System water into the ocean. “We cannot close our eyes to the unimaginable threats of nuclear contamination, marine pollution, and eventual destruction of the Blue Pacific Continent”, he said on Thursday. “The impacts of this decision are both transboundary and intergenerational in nature … I cannot allow for the destruction of our ocean resources that support the livelihood of our people.”

Japan insists that the release of the water used to cool the melted nuclear fuel rods at the three destroyed reactors at Fukushima is safe, as it has been processed to remove almost all radioactive elements and thus these are greatly reduced.

But that is not true. There has been increasing evidence suggesting that the ALPS has consistently failed to eliminate many radioactive elements including iodine, ruthenium, rhodium, cobalt and strontium. In late September 2017, Tokyo Electric Power Company, which runs the nuclear plant, was forced to admit that around 80 percent of the water stored in tanks at the Fukushima site still contains radioactive substances above legal levels. The water amounted to more than 1.3 million metric tons by July, and is still being added to at the rate of about 300 tons a day.

TEPCO and Japanese government officials also say that tritium, which cannot be removed from the water, is not harmful as it already exists in the sea. But what Tokyo doesn’t say is that the concentration of tritium in the water in the holding tanks is about a million times more than in the open sea. Scientists also say the long-term impact on marine life from exposure to such large volumes of radioactive water is unknown.

Dumping hazardous, nuclear-contaminated water is not only illegal under international law, but also unethical as this is not the only option that Tokyo has at its disposal to deal with the waste. For example, the Japanese government can still buy more land and keep on building more holding tanks to allow for radioactive decay to take place and buy more time for scientists to find better ways to deal with the aftermaths of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Tokyo should not proceed with its reckless cheapest-option plan to dump the contaminated water into the ocean as the cost it is asking the world to pay is too high.

https://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202209/26/WS63319171a310fd2b29e79cee.html

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima radioactive sludge storage container will be full of nuclear wastewater purification may be hindered.

September 26, 2022

According to Kyodo News on the 25th, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) stated that since the container for storing sludge generated during nuclear sewage treatment will be full by the end of April 2023 at the earliest. Work on the treatment of nuclear wastewater at the island’s first nuclear power plant may face obstacles.

A slurry-like mixture of liquids and solids is reported to be produced during the purification of nuclear wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant with polynuclide removal equipment (ALPS). This sludge produces strong radiation, so during processing they are placed in special polyethylene containers and kept in radiation-blocking cement boxes.

As of August, the cement boxes in the factory area were 96% full, and if no measures are taken, they will be full by the end of April 2023 at the earliest. At that point, if there is nowhere for the sludge to pile up, the ALPS cannot continue to operate.

According to reports, there are currently 4,192 storage places for storage containers, and TEPCO plans to add 192 more on this basis. But even if the storage space is increased, the filling time can only be delayed by about a year. Therefore, the problem of reducing the amount of sludge generated is still under discussion.

TEPCO expects that storage can be reduced if equipment to extract moisture from sludge is activated. However, due to reasons such as seismic design re-evaluation, it is not yet possible to determine when the equipment will be put into use.

On March 11, 2011, an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 occurred in the waters off northeastern Japan and triggered a huge tsunami. Affected by the earthquake and tsunami, a large amount of radioactive material leaked from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

On April 13, 2021, the Japanese government officially decided to discharge the Fukushima nuclear sewage into the sea after filtering and diluting it. However, in the process of nuclear sewage treatment, problems such as filter damage and excessive strontium-90 activity of the radioactive material after treatment were encountered successively. . Japan’s decision to discharge sewage into the sea was also strongly opposed by residents of Fukushima Prefecture and the National Federation of Fisheries Trade Unions in Japan.

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Businesses worry about reputational damage from Fukushima water discharge

Seiji Suzuki checks on his baby sardine catches at the Otsu fishing port in Kitaibaraki, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Sep 26, 2022

The plan to discharge treated water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the ocean has been met with a wave of opposition, not only from residents of Fukushima Prefecture, but also those living in neighboring Ibaraki Prefecture.

Businesses in Ibaraki are calling for a fostering of public understanding and providing consumers with a sense of security to prevent harmful rumors from spreading.

At the Otsu fishing port in Kitaibaraki, which borders the southern part of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, containers of freshly caught baby sardines are brought into processing plants one after another. The silver-colored fish shine under the late August sunlight and its lingering summer heat.

“We want to offer a taste of fresh, in-season fish,” said fisherman Seiji Suzuki, 31, who was busy landing his catches.

While keeping himself busy in a bustle of the port, Suzuki cannot shake off his anxiety about the future, as the Fukushima No. 1 plant, located about 70 kilometers away, plans to discharge processed water containing radioactive tritium into the ocean as early as next spring.

“The ocean (off the coast of Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures) is connected. If the water is released, the image of seafood from Ibaraki Prefecture will be tarnished, and sales will be hit again,” Suzuki lamented.

According to the Otsu Fisheries Cooperative, seafood from Ibaraki Prefecture, like that from Fukushima Prefecture, is distributed throughout Japan as “Joban-mono,” referring to the seafood culled from the waters off the coast of both prefectures.

Major species from Ibaraki Prefecture include baby sardine, flounder, and anglerfish. “It’s almost the same as those in Fukushima,” a member of the fisheries cooperative said.

Ibaraki Prefecture’s fisheries output declined by about 30% after the Fukushima meltdown disaster, according to the fisheries ministry. Since 2012, the output has gradually recovered, and in recent years it has exceeded the pre-accident level due to an increase in fish catches.

However, radiation sampling inspections for almost all edible fish species are still being conducted. According to Ibaraki Prefecture, there has not been a discussion about abolishing the inspections. “Many consumers are concerned about the safety of seafood. This is even more so since there are plans to discharge treated water into the ocean,” a prefectural official said.

According to a survey conducted by the Ibaraki Shimbun newspaper of voters in the prefecture at the time of Upper House election this summer, 44.3% of respondents were opposed to the water discharge, more than the 35.5% who were supportive. The remaining 20.2% said that they were not sure or gave no answer. By age and gender, young respondents and women were particularly cautious about the water discharge.

Yoshinori Sakamoto, director of the Otsu Fisheries Cooperative, stresses there is no border between waters off Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures. “If treated water is released into the ocean, Ibaraki seafood will suffer reputational damages as well,” he said.

The government may disseminate information about the scientific safety of the products, but unless the information is widely shared by consumers and a sense of security is fostered, consumers will be reluctant to buy the products, which will lead to price falls, he said.

Looking back on the many years of suffering from harmful rumors following the Fukushima nuclear accident, Sakamoto said, “We have finally come this far. It is a matter of life and death, and I am opposed to the water release under the current situation, where providing consumers with a sense of security is not guaranteed.”

A third nightmare

This is not the first time Ibaraki Prefecture has faced reputational damage from nuclear incidents. The September 1999 criticality accident at JCO, a nuclear fuel processing company in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, caused extensive damages to residents and businesses in the region.

In the accident at the Tokai Plant of JCO, three workers were heavily exposed to radiation after a nuclear fission chain reaction occurred by accident, and two of them subsequently died. More than 600 residents of the surrounding area were also exposed to radiation, and more than 300,000 residents were forced to evacuate or stay indoors.

According to a report by Ibaraki Prefecture, a wide range of industries were affected, including agriculture, livestock, fisheries, commerce and tourism, with damages totaling more than ¥15 billion.

Businesses affected by the JCO criticality accident and the Fukushima No. 1 meltdown disaster are deeply concerned about a “third nightmare” from the planned discharge of treated water from the Fukushima plant.

Chizuko Suda runs a seafood restaurant in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Chizuko Suda, 57, who runs a seafood restaurant near the Nakaminato fishing port in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki Prefecture, is one of those who experienced the reputational damage caused by the 1999 incident.

Suda’s restaurant is located about 15 km south of the JCO plant. She remembers that the number of customers dropped to less than half of what it was before the accident, although she does not know the amount of damage because she was not the owner at the time. “It took three years for things to get back to normal,” she recalls.

Twelve years after the JCO accident, the Fukushima No. 1 accident struck. Almost every day, tourists asked if it was safe to visit the area around her restaurant and if the seafood was safe. Each time, she told them that tests for radioactive materials had confirmed that the area was safe to visit. Even so, sales dropped to 20% to 30% of what they were before the accident. Once again, she felt the pain of harmful rumors.

After going through such experiences twice, Suda wonders if there is any way to prevent it from happening again with the release of treated water into the ocean. The key is to foster public understanding, she says. “If it is scientifically safe, that fact should be released nationwide. This would be an opportunity for the public to think about the water discharge issue as their own.”

She has relatives in the coastal areas of Fukushima Prefecture, and she feels that it is “unacceptable to force only the people in Fukushima to bear the burden.”

Meanwhile, the fishing industry is not the only businesses concerned about the impact of water discharge.

Hiroyuki Onizawa, 60, a dried sweet potato processor in Hitachinaka who was affected by both accidents, also urges the government to take a cautious approach. “It would be better not to discharge,” he says, stressing that the image of Ibaraki Prefecture could be worsened.

Yoshihisa Takeshi, 46, who runs an inn in Kitaibaraki that offers Joban-mono anglerfish as its specialty, feels the need to dispose of treated water. “We have no choice but to discharge it,” he said.

On the other hand, he called on the government to provide support for a wide range of businesses in addition to taking measures against harmful rumors. The discharge “will definitely have a negative effect,” he said.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/09/26/national/ibaraki-fukushima-water/

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Uncle Sam’s Long Trail of Wreckage

the Biden administration opted to use Ukraine in a Western proxy war against Russia. 

Washington and London appear to have sabotaged a possible peace accord between Moscow and Kiev. 

 The Biden administration is risking nuclear war with Russia to assist a corrupt, authoritarian regime in a country of little importance to the United States.

Until the early 1990s, Ukraine wasn’t even an independent country, much less a U.S. vital interest.

Very few policymakers even concede that Washington’s overseas military adventures often have not turned out as planned.

The American Conservative, Ted Galen Carpenter, Sep 28, 2022, The leaders and most of the news media in the U.S. seem to believe that Washington’s foreign policy over the past several decades has been a success and benefitted both the United States and the world. That assumption wasn’t really true even during the Cold War, although that confrontation eventually resulted in the peaceful demise of America’s nasty totalitarian adversary. There was plenty of collateral damage along the way, with the suffering caused by Washington’s conduct in Vietnam and Afghanistan being the most glaring examples.

The performance of U.S. leaders after the Cold War has been even worse. An array of disruptive, bloody tragedies—most notably those in the Balkans, Afghanistan (again), Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen—mark Uncle Sam’s global trail of wreckage. The Biden administration’s decision to use Ukraine as a pawn in Washington’s power struggle with Russia is fast becoming the latest example.

Very few policymakers even concede that Washington’s overseas military adventures often have not turned out as planned. The news media, which is supposed to serve as the public’s watchdog, have routinely ignored or excused America’s foreign-policy disasters. Instead, when one intervention fails, they simply move on to lobby for the next crusade pushed by U.S. leaders.  Consider how few news accounts now deal with the ongoing violence and chaos in places such as Libya, Syria, and Yemen, even though Washington was a major contributor to all of those tragedies.

Paul Poast, a scholar with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, aptly describes the conflict in Syria as America’s “forgotten war.” “That the war in Syria has become the “forgotten war,” he observes, “points to a more disturbing trend in U.S. foreign policy: The United States is so engaged in wars and interventions around the world that a conflict involving the U.S. military that has killed hundreds of  thousands of civilians does not even register with the American public anymore.”………………………………………

The turmoil in Iraq is less severe, but is still damaging the country. Political disputes and mass demonstrations against the current government regularly surface in Iraq. Pro-Iranian militias continue to play a prominent role in the country’s government, and the three-way split among Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs, and Kurds is becoming ever more contentious. Political violence among rival factions shows no signs of subsiding, nor does public resentment against the presence of U.S. troops. Washington so lacks trust in its “ally” that officials once threatened to seize the country’s bank reserves if Iraqi leaders continued to press for the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

The level of human tragedy in Libya and Yemen is horrifying. Washington and its NATO allies bear almost exclusive responsibility for the situation in Libya………………………

The latest application of Washington’s meddlesome policy is in Ukraine. U.S. leaders ignored repeated Russian warnings that making Ukraine a NATO member or even an unofficial NATO military asset would cross a line that threatened Russia’s security.  When Moscow finally responded to the provocations with an invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Biden administration opted to use Ukraine in a Western proxy war against Russia. 

The conflict has already done enormous damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure and taken thousands of lives. Worse, Washington and London appear to have sabotaged a possible peace accord between Moscow and Kiev. 

The U.S. foreign-policy record over the past three decades could hardly be worse. It is crucial not to let policymakers and their media mouthpieces get away with convenient collective amnesia and imitations of Pontius Pilate. Instead, they need to be held fully accountable for their blunders and deception.

Future U.S. policymakers also need to avoid repeating the faulty performance of their predecessors. To do so, they must make three significant changes to U.S. foreign policy. 

First, Washington should utterly renounce nation-building. Trying to remake alien societies by force and impose Western political, economic, and social values is the essence of folly.

Even when the United States has not yet been drawn into a new war to enforce crumbling nation-building goals, as in Bosnia and Kosovo, such armed social experiments are an exercise in futility and frustration. Worse, nation-building missions frequently worsen conditions in the targeted country, and the predictable failure of U.S. objectives even can lead to Washington’s outright humiliation. The debacle in Afghanistan is a stark reminder of that danger.

Second, the United States must avoid the temptation to engage in regime-change wars. Such offensives often are a prelude to disastrous nation-building ventures. That was the case in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Those wars not only made matters worse for the populations in the three countries, but worsened the security situation for neighboring states and even the United States. In both Iraq and Libya, U.S. actions toppled secular dictators, paving the way for chaos that strengthened the position of Islamic jihadists. Granted, the secular dictators were brutal and sometimes caused problems for the United States, but Washington’s “solution” clearly made matters worse, not better.

Third, U.S. leaders must do a much better job of distinguishing vital national interests from secondary or peripheral ones. Washington’s current policy of using Ukraine as a proxy for a war against Russia is a troubling example of the failure to make such basic distinctions. The Biden administration is risking nuclear war with Russia to assist a corrupt, authoritarian regime in a country of little importance to the United States.

Until the early 1990s, Ukraine wasn’t even an independent country, much less a U.S. vital interest. To accept the risks the Biden administration is incurring is irresponsible and violates the U.S. government’s responsibility to the American people.

Unless these policy changes are made, it is just a matter of time until a new set of officials repeat the disastrous blunders of their predecessors. If they do, the consequences to America and the world will be equally damaging.  Indeed, the Ukraine adventure reveals that the consequences could be even worse than the wreckage already wrought by Uncle Sam.  https://www.theamericanconservative.com/uncle-sams-long-trail-of-wreckage/

October 1, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | 2 Comments

Sanctions against Russian exports – but that doesn’t apply to NUCLEAR EXPORTS, (while they bring in funding for Russia’s war!)

ED note. When will they all wake up? The nuclear industry is essential for the nuclear weapons so beloved by the governments that have them.

Keeping the nuclear industry going is essential for the wealth, power and influence of the global nuclear lobby, and the future of all their crackpot super-costly ‘advanced’ nuclear gimmicks.

Apparently we can all accept cutting back gas, oil, food ……. but must not let anyone curtail that sacred cow – the nuclear industry

Russia’s nuclear trade with Europe flows despite Ukraine war, By SYLVIE CORBET, September 30, 2022,

PARIS (AP) — While the European Union has agreed to curtail its use of Russian oil and gas, its member nations continue to import and export nuclear fuel that is not under EU sanctions — to the chagrin of the Ukrainian government and environmental activists.

A cargo ship carrying uranium that departed from the French port of Dunkirk traveled across the North Sea on Thursday, heading toward the Russian Baltic port of Ust-Luga. It was the third time in just over a month that the Panama-flagged Mikhail Dudin ship docked in Dunkirk to transport uranium from or to Russia.

Environmental group Greenpeace France denounced the ongoing shipments and called for stopping all trade in nuclear fuel, which it said was “financing the war in Ukraine, extending (Europe’s) energy dependence and delaying the transition to renewable energy.”

The EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, did not propose targeting Russia’s nuclear sector in its latest sanctions package presented Wednesday.

“France ensures strict compliance by economic players with all the European sanctions adopted against Russia. Civil nuclear power is not affected by these sanctions,” the French Foreign Affairs Ministry told the Associated Press.

The ministry that EU nations “did not consider this to be a relevant area for ending Russian aggression against Ukraine.”

Ukraine, meanwhile, is pushing for European sanctions in that area. The Ukrainian president’s economic adviser, Oleg Ustenko, said Wednesday that “in terms of uranium, we think it’s extremely important to impose sanctions, not only on Russian oil.”

“Oil, gas, uranium and coal, all this should be banned. Because they are using this money in order to finance this war,” Ustenko said.

According to Greenpeace France, reprocessed uranium meant to be transported to Russia were loaded onto the Mikhail Dudin on Wednesday. Pauline Boyer, an energy campaigner at Greenpeace France, said the ship’s repeated trips between Russia and France show “the extent to which the French nuclear industry is trapped in its dependence on Russia.”

French authorities have repeatedly said the country does not depend on Russia to supply the nuclear power plants that provide 67% of its electricity — more than any other nation………………………………………..

The Lingen plant is operated by Framatome, which is majority-owned by French utility giant EDF. It is supplying nuclear fuel to plants in France, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Britain, Spain, Sweden and Finland.

Faced with activists’ protests, the German government took a critical view toward the uranium shipment but said it couldn’t stop the fuel from being processed because it isn’t covered by the EU’s war-related sanctions on Russia.

At the end of last month, enriched uranium unloaded from the Mikhail Dudin in Dunkirk was destined for the Rhone valley in southern France, which is home to major sites of the French civil nuclear industry, according to Greenpeace France.

The French nuclear sector has a series of contracts with Russian state-controlled energy giant Rosatom, including some to import enriched uranium destined for European nuclear power plants and to export reprocessed uranium to Russia. Rosatom is one of the world’s biggest actors in the nuclear energy market.

Multinational company Orano, headquartered in France, has a contract with Rosatom to buy reprocessed uranium to convert it into nuclear fuel at its Seversk plant, in Siberia, and ultimately use it in reactors to produce energy.

The U.S. power industry also imports uranium from Russia to feed its nuclear plants.

AP recently tracked millions of dollars worth of shipments of radioactive uranium hexafluoride from Russian state-owned Tenex JSC, the world’s largest exporter of initial nuclear fuel cycle products, to Westinghouse Electric Co. in South Carolina. https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-france-global-trade-only-on-ap-business-c521f2248c823f69f0a677735a78e89d

October 1, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

TODAY. My biased coverage of Ukraine war and Donbass referendums.

Why do I repeatedly give the pro Russian view of these events?

Well, it’s simply because the avalanche of Ukraine news and views in the prevailing English-language media is stridently anti-Russian, and heroically pro-Ukraine..

Think about it. We, the anglophone nations, plus Europe, are NOT at war with Russia. There might be some excuse for this appallingly bad coverage if we were formally at war.

Universally, it would seem, we swallow the story that the Donbass referendums are a sham. And where do we get our news from – it’s always Kiev – the heart of pro Ukraine propaganda, and hundreds of kilometres away from the Donbass region.

And what is our news avalanche like in style and content? Well on Australian TV media they showed the effect of the gas leak (attributed of course to Russian sabotage), as a close-up of a baby crying.! All we get is emotional coverage of unhappy people. Now this is true, and Ukrainian people are suffering. But it’s not a factual picture, and not the whole picture, of how the war is going.

And as for the history, the background to this war, and why it came about – forget it! All we get is unrelenting USA and NATO propaganda.


And for the future – like silver-tongued Anthony Blinken, and his Australia’s mimic Richard Marles – all we get is the mantra we must keep the “Global-Rules-Based-Order” !

Somebody has to raise questions about a view that differs from this avalanche. So that is why I, and a few others, do it

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes | 3 Comments