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Confusion to the public” and “embarrassing expressions”…Nuclear Regulation Commission blacked out documents provided by METI, which were not made public

Three internal review documents of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), which are conspicuously blacked out, in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on March 3.

February 3, 2023
On February 3, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), the secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), released documents on its review process in response to the issue of undisclosed information exchange between the NRA and officials of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) over the review of nuclear power plant operation periods. The Agency did not disclose any of the materials it had provided to the Regulation Authority, and most of the internal review materials were “blacked out” with only three pages. The Agency’s backward-looking attitude toward information disclosure was conspicuous, and it was not clear whether the views of the Agency, which promotes nuclear power generation, had any influence on the regulatory system.
◆The Regulatory Agency reiterated that it had “exhausted all necessary explanations.
 What was made public was the status of internal studies at the Regulatory Agency for reviewing the operating period, which was stipulated to be “40 years in principle, with a maximum of 60 years. Although the Regulatory Agency received from the Ene Agency an imaginary diagram of the revision of the law and other materials, it did not disclose any of the materials prepared by the Ene Agency, saying that the Ene Agency, the preparer, should decide whether or not to disclose the information.
Although the Regulatory Agency’s internal study materials were believed to envision multiple patterns of legal revision related to the operation period and describe the advantages and challenges of each, the majority of the materials were not disclosed. At the press conference, Yoichiro Kurokawa, director of the Regulatory Agency’s General Affairs Division, explained, “The documents contain the views of the person who prepared them and are far removed from the views of the organization, so disclosing them would cause confusion among the public.
 When asked by the media about the content of the blacked-out section, Mr. Kurokawa stated that in the section on the advantages of the proposed amendment of the articles to the minimum necessary, it was stated that “on the surface of the text, it looks almost unchanged,” and added, “In the first place, since we are changing the regulations for the operation period, it is inappropriate to say that ‘almost unchanged’ is the case. There were expressions that seemed embarrassing, and we determined that it was not appropriate to disclose them.”
 At the press conference, a number of people pointed out that the disclosure was insufficient, but Section Chief Kurokawa reiterated that “we have done all the necessary explanations.
 Before the Regulatory Commission ordered a review of the regulatory system regarding the operation period in October of last year, the Regulatory Agency had met with EneAgency officials at least seven times between July and September to exchange information. (Nozomi Masui)


February 4, 2023 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

UN Members Urge Japan to Resolve Wartime Disputes, Fukushima Water Release

February 2, 2023

Member states of the United Nations have urged Japan to resolve issues surrounding the wartime sexual slavery and forced labor issues as well as its planned release of radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean.

Such calls were made during the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of Japan in Geneva on Tuesday, with countries from Europe and other regions urging the Japanese delegation to immediately suspend and abolish the death penalty and ban discrimination against sexual minorities.

Recommending that improvements be made in universal human rights issues, the member nations cast light on Japan’s wartime atrocities, with Beijing urging Tokyo to responsibly reflect on its wrongdoings against the sexual slavery victims and to offer compensation.

Yoon Seong-mee, the deputy chief of the South Korean mission in Geneva, advised Tokyo to closely cooperate with Seoul to restore the victims’ honor and dignity and pay attention to helping heal their psychological wounds.

The member states also raised concerns over Tokyo’s planned Fukushima water release starting this year, with Pacific Island Countries calling for a comprehensive investigation into its impact and the disclosure of the findings.

Japan, in response, maintained its position that the sexual slavery issue was resolved in a 2015 agreement between Seoul and Tokyo. As for the water release, it said the radioactive level is far below the upper threshold of international safety standards and that the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) is monitoring the purification process.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Discharge of treated Fukushima plant water into ocean draws attention

Mind you this article is from Japan News Yomiuri the mouthing the official lines of the Japanese government, which is of course for dumping the Fukukushima accumulated radioactive water in the Pacific ocean and which would want us to believe that it is filtered “absolutely pure”….

TEPCO plans to gradually reduce the treated water over the next several decades during the decommissioning period.

K4 tank group for discharging treated water

February 2, 2023

TOKYO – The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant will soon mark the 12th anniversary of the unprecedented meltdown that resulted from the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. The most pressing issue at present is the discharge of treated water into the ocean, as the on-site storage capacity is approaching its limit.

The government, during a ministerial meeting held on Jan. 13, projected that the discharge would begin in the spring or summer this year. However, local fishermen concerned about reputational damage and Pacific island nations are opposed to the ocean discharge.

Treated water, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings, is that which has been purified “until the concentration of radioactive materials, with the exception of tritium, falls well below regulatory standards for safety.”

To find out more, I visited TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, where decommissioning work is expected to take 30 to 40 years.

My visit on Jan. 26 was my first to the site in about 10 years. Compared to the last time, when it was stuffy being in protective clothing with a full face shield, I was surprised to find that I could move around most of the area with a helmet and disposable mask.

Subcontracted workers were busy here and there, and in the parking lot, vehicles that had been used to move within the premises after the accident were still parked there. The vehicles are no longer in use more than a decade after the accident, but because they are radioactive and cannot be disposed of normally, they remain on the site, having served their purpose.

The four tips of a structure jut out of the sea. The water outlet is right beneath this point.

“It’s right over there,” said a TEPCO Holdings official, pointing offshore from the quay in front of reactors No. 5 and No. 6, which were spared from the accident.

Under a clear sky, I could see the four tips of a tower that jutted out of the sea. The tower is located 1 km offshore. The treated water will be discharged into the ocean through a water discharge outlet located on the seafloor approximately 12 meters undersea where the four tips are seen.

The installation of the water discharge outlet caisson has already been completed. Currently, work is underway to backfill the excavated seafloor around the outlet with concrete and mortar, and it is expected to be completed by the end of June.

“The days when the work can be done are limited due to severe sea conditions, such as waves and wind,” explained the official in charge at the site.

The shielded tunnel boring machine stopped excavating about 830 meters along the 1-km-long undersea tunnel to the water discharge outlet and is waiting for the connection from it.

The water intake tank almost in its final stage

Work is also progressing on the shore near the quay wall. Water tanks connecting to the tunnel were under construction. There are two tanks: the upstream tank, which is wide, and the adjacent downstream tank, which is about 16 meters deep. The upstream tank, divided by concrete walls that create channels, appeared to be almost complete, revealing its full extent. The system has been created so that treated water, diluted with seawater, enters the upstream tank, flows through the channels, then overflows into the downstream tank.

Once the discharge begins, TEPCO will directly confirm that the tritium concentration in the treated water has been diluted to below the target level through the mixing with seawater at this location, which can be considered the final point before the water is discharged.

Safety Considerations

K4 tanks are used for receiving, measuring/confirming, and discharging treated water on a rotating basis.

The Pacific Islands Forum, an organization of nearly 20 countries and regions including Australia and New Zealand, has called for a postponement of the ocean discharge. The PIF is of the opinion that the discharge into the ocean would have a significant negative impact on the fishing industry, given the lingering effects of past atomic bomb tests and other factors. China and South Korea have also expressed concern.

Local fishing cooperatives and other groups in Japan are also opposed. The government plans to seek their understanding by using funds totaling ¥80 billion set up to support the local fishing industry and to counter reputational damage.

Contaminated water is being generated at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant because water is used to cool nuclear fuel that melted and solidified in reactor cores that were involved in the meltdown. This water is purified of 62 nuclides, including cesium and strontium, using an advanced liquid processing system (ALPS) and other equipment. However, since tritium cannot be removed by ALPS, it must be diluted with a large amount of seawater to a concentration of 1,500 becquerels per liter or less before being discharged into the ocean. Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen with three particles rather than the usual one.

Tritium produced from reactor operations is being released by nuclear power plants around the world. It does not arise only from plants that have experienced accidents.

Japan’s regulatory concentration limit for tritium in water is 60,000 becquerels per liter, and the World Health Organization’s drinking water standard guideline is 10,000 becquerels per liter. TEPCO’s aim for 1,500 becquerels per liter is 40 times more stringent than the national standard.

Treated water processed by ALPS is clear and colorles

Moving to higher ground, 33.5 meters above sea level, I found a group of huge white tanks called K4. There are 35 such tanks with a capacity of 1,000 metric tons each. Thirty of these tanks, or 30,000 metric tons, are used to release treated water. From here, the treated water flows through transfer pipes toward the sea, being diluted with seawater along the way. The transfer pipes have two shutoff valves that stop the flow in the event of an earthquake, tsunami, or other emergency.

“Thirty tanks are divided into three groups of 10 tanks,” explained the TEPCO official. “Each group has a role of receiving, measuring/confirming, and discharging, and these roles are rotated.

“The treated water is stirred in the tanks to make it homogeneous, then the concentration of radioactive substances is measured,” the official added. “If it meets the government’s regulatory standards, it is discharged.”

From there, through further dilution with seawater, the treated water will have tritium concentrations at TEPCO’s stricter standard.

Measurements of the treated water are conducted by TEPCO and an outside inspection agency. TEPCO will disclose all such figures to the public and seek their understanding of the safety of the water.

Race Against Time

Storage tanks for treated water fill the southern part of the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant site.

Looking around the site from a window on the seventh floor of a large rest area, I saw a row of tanks lining the south side of the premises. These tanks store treated water. There are approximately 1,000 tanks, currently storing approximately 1.32 million cubic meters. The total capacity of the tank complex is 1.37 million cubic meters, which means that 96% of the tanks are already filled. Based on the calculation that 140 cubic meters of treated water is generated per day, the tanks will be full around this summer or autumn.

Why does this treated water continue to be generated in the first place? Inside the meltdown-affected reactors, fuel that melted and solidified is called fuel debris, which needs to be cooled by circulating water. Water that comes in contact with fuel debris becomes contaminated with radioactive substances. If this cooling water continues to be circulated without any increase in volume, there is no problem with using it in the reactor. The problem is that rainwater and groundwater continue to enter the damaged reactor buildings, causing a surplus of contaminated water. This excess contaminated water is processed by ALPS, generating treated water.

In the ALPS facility, the HIC, a special container that stores the slurry waste removed from the pre-processing step, is being exchanged for a new one.

Initially, about 540 cubic meters of treated water was generated per day, meaning one tank was filled in two days. Later, the amount was reduced to 130 cubic meters per day in fiscal 2021 through the use of facings to prevent rainwater from seeping into the ground and by building an ice wall underground to surround the building to reduce the amount of groundwater flowing in. Last year, when only June and October had much rain, the amount was below 100 cubic meters per day.

The discharge of treated water into the ocean, however, would have to be greater than the amount generated in a single day to decrease the overall amount. So how much is planned to be released per day? According to calculations based on the performance of the seawater pumps, 500 cubic meters per day could be released.

The TEPCO official denied this, saying, “That will never happen.”

He explained: “It will take time to measure radioactive substances before the discharge. We have received comments from various parties that it would be better to take our time and release the water in a way that would have as little impact or cause as little change as possible.”

TEPCO plans to gradually reduce the treated water over the next several decades during the decommissioning period.

Ensuring safety, making public disclosures, and gaining domestic and international understanding of the oceanic release: The decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is approaching one of its climaxes this year, with a great many difficult challenges ahead.


February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Government to Revise Basic Policy on Final Disposal of Nuclear Waste for First Time in Eight Years

February 2, 2023
The Japanese government has decided to revise its basic policy for the first time in eight years toward the final disposal of high-level radioactive waste (so-called “nuclear waste”) generated by nuclear power generation.

The government has decided to implement “geological disposal,” in which a final disposal site will be established and buried deeper than 300 meters below the ground. However, the number of target areas has not increased since then, and there are calls from local residents to expand their interest nationwide.

Against this backdrop, the government has decided to revise for the first time in eight years its basic policy outlining the details of its efforts to realize final disposal, and has compiled a new draft basic policy.

The draft clearly states that “the government will work together and under its own responsibility toward the final disposal of the waste,” and it also states that the government will take a front-loaded approach to the issue.

The proposal also includes a new initiative to hold discussions with the heads of local governments where nuclear power plants are located, among other things.

Through these efforts, the government hopes to increase the number of regions that will accept surveys and move forward with the selection of a final disposal site. PCc

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

TEPCO: Fuel debris samples taken from damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor

February 1, 2023

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it has retrieved samples from inside the No. 1 reactor containment vessel. It says the samples are likely to contain fuel debris.

The plant suffered a triple meltdown in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Its operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, said on Wednesday that underwater robots successfully sucked water out from two locations inside the vessel.

The company has been examining the inside of the No.1 reactor containment vessel. It says the accumulated matter at the bottom is thought to contain fuel debris.

The project to collect samples initially began early last month, but was suspended due to technical errors. It was resumed on Tuesday.

Experts hope that a close analysis of the samples will help lead to successful removal of fuel debris — one of the greatest challenges in the plant’s decommissioning process.

TEPCO said it will try taking samples from two other locations inside the vessel. It also said it will spend about a year identifying the types and amounts of chemical elements contained in the samples.

The company also plans to send robotic cameras inside the pedestal, a structure that props up the reactor.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , | Leave a comment

Amid fears of contamination, Japan will soon dump treated water from Fukushima Nuclear Plant into the Pacific

31 January 2023

Pacific island nations, neighboring countries in Asia, scientists, and others criticized an international organization’s endorsement of plans to dump tens of thousands of tons of contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean. The plan to schedule the discharge of approximately 1.3 million tons of water on an ongoing basis for the next three decades has alarmed the Pacific community because of possible adverse impacts on nearby marine ecosystems and their way of life.

Following a January 2023 visit to the Fukushima nuclear facility to receive updates on plans to dispose of the contaminated water, Gustavo Caruso, a Director within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Department of Nuclear Safety and Security and Chair of the Task Force, voiced support for the plans. As an international association, the IAEA says it promotes the “safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear energy,” which includes the disposal of nuclear waste.

“[Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority] prepared thorough evidence of how they are aligning the regulatory plans related to […] treated water discharge with the IAEA safety standards,” said Caruso in a statement following the visit. According to the IAEA statement, “Before any water discharge begins – scheduled for this year – the IAEA will issue a comprehensive report containing the collected findings and conclusions of the Task Force across all aspects of the review conducted as of that time.”

In March 2011, an earthquake and tsunami resulted in a nuclear disaster in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. After power was disrupted and emergency generators failed, three nuclear reactors onsite lost cooling capabilities and experienced a core meltdown.

Water used to cool the reactors, along with groundwater below the complex, became contaminated with radioactive materials. This water has been collected, treated, and stored onsite since 2011 in dozens of massive storage tanks that now crowd the nuclear complex.

Since 2021, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has been preparing the infrastructure for the “safe” release of Fukushima’s treated water through a process called the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS). In August 2022, TEPCO announced the installation of facilities that will allow for water discharge after consulting with Japanese authorities and local residents. It vowed to cooperate with various stakeholders in explaining the systematic release of water and its scientific basis:

We will continue to do our utmost to increase the understanding of people of Fukushima and society at large regarding the handling of ALPS treated water as part of the decommissioning work, by focusing on our efforts to disseminate information based on scientific evidence to parties within and outside Japan in an easy-to-understand manner and taking every opportunity to listen to the concerns and opinions of the public and explain our approach and response.

But Henry Puna, the secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), reiterated the regional opposition to Japan’s plan of releasing Fukushima’s treated water into the Pacific Ocean:

Based on our experience with nuclear contamination, continuing with ocean discharge plans at this time is simply inconceivable and we do not have the luxury of time to sit around for four decades in order to ‘figure it out.’

The decision for any ocean release is not and should not only be a domestic matter for Japan, but a global and transnational issue that should give rise to the need to examine the issue in the context of obligations under international law.

I am asking today, what our Pacific people did not have the opportunity to ask decades ago when our region and our ocean was identified as a nuclear test field.

PIF enumerated alternative options such as “safe storage and radioactive decay, bioremediation, and use of treated water to make concrete for special applications.”

During a conference held at New Zealand’s University of Otago in November 2022, participants described Japan’s plan as a manifestation of “nuclear colonial violence”:

TEPCO and the Japanese government’s plan to discharge radioactive wastewater into the Pacific shows direct disregard for the sovereignty and self-determination of Pacific peoples and the ocean their livelihoods depend upon.

We condemn attempts by the Japanese government and TEPCO to trivialise the nature and extent of the damages the radioactive wastewater discharge will cause to the people, ocean life, and places of the Pacific.

Speaking on behalf of Pacific civil society groups, Noelene Nabulivou of DIVA for Equality urged Japanese authorities to consider the perspectives of Pacific communities:

Japan’s internal process of approval for this construction needs to consult the Pacific, as it threatens the livelihood of Pacific peoples and the environment we depend heavily on. This is all happening in the context of massive loss and damage from the climate emergency, that is also not of our making.

The Chinese foreign ministry called Japan’s decision to go ahead with its controversial plan “irresponsible” and “self-serving. Meanwhile, the US National Association of Marine Laboratories cited the “lack of adequate and accurate scientific data supporting Japan’s assertion of safety.” Robert Richmond, a marine biologist at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, noted that “there is a strong consensus internationally that continued use of the ocean for dumping waste is simply not sustainable.”

Local opposition to the contaminated water discharge has been supported by Sato Kazuyoshi, a municipal councilor in Iwaki, a city neighboring the Fukushima nuclear complex. In a Facebook post, Sato said:

On January 13, near the entrance to Onahama Port, Iwaki City, we held a rally, ‘Iwaki Citizens Against the Release of Contaminated Water from Nuclear Power Plants into the Ocean.’ The beginning of this year’s standing. On earlier that day, there were reports that government ministers had confirmed the release (of contaminated water) ‘from spring to summer.’

Since June 2021, we have been holding a this rally on the 13th of every month: ‘Don’t pollute the sea any more!’

At noon, I stood with an illustration banner by Eisaku Ando, a sculptor who moved from Iwaki to Nara, and a placard saying ‘Don’t pour contaminated water into the sea!’ Nearly 20 participants from their respective standpoints said that they would not allow contaminated water to be released into the ocean! and impassioned speeches. A Japanese citizen who had returned from Canada for a visit also joined us, showing the international spread of opposition to the ocean release of contaminated water.

TEPCO is working closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has been releasing regular reports about the safety procedures being done at Fukushima. IAEA assured the public that it will release its comprehensive report before the actual discharge of treated water in about three months’ time.


February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Residents of Namie-cho voiced their concerns at a briefing session

Residents (foreground, left) speak out against Namie Town and the national government’s decision to lift the restrictions on the lifting of the restrictions, questioning the resumption of their farming operations.

January 31, 2023

On March 30, Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture, held explanatory meetings for local residents in Fukushima and Sendai cities in preparation for the lifting of the evacuation order for the specific reconstruction and revitalization center (reconstruction base) located in the difficult-to-return zone. In response to the government’s claim that the requirements for lifting the evacuation order have been met, participants raised questions about the continued high radiation levels and the resumption of farming operations.

 According to Namie Town’s plan for reconstruction centers, decontamination and infrastructure development will be completed in March of this year. Therefore, the evacuation order for the base is expected to be lifted by the end of March.

 The lifting of the evacuation order requires three conditions: (1) a decrease in radiation levels, (2) decontamination and infrastructure improvement, and (3) sufficient consultation with local residents. Briefing sessions for residents were held at seven locations until February 5, and consultations have only just begun, but on February 30, the government decided that “the requirements for lifting the evacuation have been met as a result of a comprehensive assessment of the efforts made to restore the area.

 Mayor Eiki Yoshida said, “There are 80% of the town’s land outside of the base, which is called ‘white land. We will strive for the lifting of the restrictions on the outside areas while keeping a close eye on the lifting of the restrictions at the end of March.

 There are 302 households and 818 residents who can live in the recovery centers. As of March 25, there are 9 households and 18 people who have applied for accommodation in preparation for the lifting of the restrictions. The number of demolitions of houses and other structures has reached 310, and many people are worried that they do not have a home to return to, even if they want to stay in preparation or return home.

 Akio Kanno, 71, who evacuated to Hyogo Prefecture and attended the Sendai meeting, said, “It is not reconstruction if there are almost no residents returning and no buildings. What are we going to do with the original community?

 At a briefing in Fukushima City, many participants expressed concern about radiation exposure.

 The government and the town explained that the radiation dose was below the evacuation standard of 20 millisieverts per year and that the results of demonstration cultivation showed that six crops, including spinach, komatsuna, and cabbage, were below safe standards.

 However, Motoharu Shiga, 75, the head of a ward in the Suemori area, one of the reconstruction sites, and an evacuee to Fukushima City, said, “Root vegetables that were not subject to the demonstration cultivation are still highly radioactive. After returning home, we will not be able to eat only foods that are below the standard,” he pointed out. (Editorial board member Noriyoshi Otsuki)

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Takahama nuclear reactor in Fukui halted after alert goes off


The No. 4 reactor at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama nuclear power plant in Takahama, Fukui Prefecture

Jan 30, 2023

Fukui – A reactor at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama nuclear power station in Fukui Prefecture was automatically halted Monday after an alert went off warning of a rapid decrease in the number of neutrons within the unit, the complex’s regulator and operator said.

The No. 4 reactor was halted at 3:21 p.m., the Osaka-based utility said, adding that there has been no indication of the incident causing environmental contamination. The reactor’s cooling function is normal, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The No. 4 reactor restarted in November after being shut down for routine inspections.

The seaside plant has four reactors and faces the Sea of Japan.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Inside Fukushima Daiichi Unit 5 Nuclear Reactor – “It’s so small, can you fit a robot inside?” 50μSv exposure in 3 hours of coverage

January 29, 2023
On March 11, 2023, it will soon be 12 years since the world’s worst accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Okuma and Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture), which caused the meltdown of Units 1 through 3. There is still no word on when the nuclear fuel (debris) that has melted down inside the containment vessels will be removed. On March 27, a team of reporters from this newspaper went inside Unit 5, which is almost the same type as Units 1-3 where the accident occurred, but was spared from the accident. The team was confronted with the difficulty of working inside the reactor to bring the accident under control. (Kenta Onozawa, photo by Takeshi Yamakawa)
Unit 5 was not in operation at the time of the accident at the nuclear power plant in 2011, as it was undergoing routine inspection.
 Wearing protective clothing that covered his entire body, he tried to enter the work space for equipment maintenance, located directly under the “pressure vessel” that contained the nuclear fuel, and hit his head. Above his head hung a device for moving the control rods that are inserted into the nuclear fuel, and he had to crouch down to enter the space. The circular work space is about four meters in diameter. It was so narrow that it was difficult to move.

The workspace is located directly below the pressure vessel of Unit 5, which is almost the same type as Units 1-3. The control rod drive unit and other equipment looms overhead in this narrow space of about 4 meters in diameter at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Once down at the bottom of the containment vessel, one cannot walk straight due to the complex arrangement of various piping and equipment above one’s head and under one’s feet.
 In Unit 1, this thick wall of concrete had been removed, leaving the reinforcing steel inside exposed.

TEPCO plans to put a robot inside the opening after March to examine the overall damage to the wall. However, we wondered whether the robot could really enter the narrow space, which is believed to contain much debris and collapsed equipment. A TEPCO spokesperson minced no words, saying, “Without actually checking the damage to the wall with the robot, we cannot determine whether the earthquake resistance has been maintained.
 Meanwhile, on the seaward side of the Unit 5 reactor, work was steadily progressing on a water tank to temporarily store water diluted with a large amount of seawater in preparation for the discharge of contaminated water into the ocean after purification. The government expects to begin discharging the water “in spring or summer,” but it is unclear how to gain the “understanding” of fishermen, which is a prerequisite for such a release.

Workers constructing a water tank to temporarily store treated water before it is discharged into the ocean. A lifeline is attached to the workers at the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on March 27.

The reporter was exposed to about 50 microsieverts (μSv) in about three hours of reporting. This is one twentieth of the annual exposure limit for the general public, and this is calculated to have occurred in only a short period of time. The debris removal, which is the main task of restoring order after the accident, is still in the preparation stage, and the situation inside the reactor is still not fully understood. We were reminded once again of the magnitude of the remaining problems.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , | Leave a comment

Plaintiffs’ Opinion Statement: “Recurrence is always in the back of my mind,” Defense Objects to Estimation of Radiation Exposure

Defense lawyers make an appeal in front of the Tokyo District Court before the opening of the trial.

January 26, 2023
On January 25, the fourth oral argument was held at the Tokyo District Court in a lawsuit filed by seven men and women aged 18-28 who lived in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident, claiming that they developed thyroid cancer as a result of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Two of the plaintiffs, a man and a woman, made statements, claiming that the recurrence of the accident was always on their minds.

 The plaintiffs, a man in his 20s who was a junior high school student and a woman in her 20s who was an elementary school student at the time of the accident, made statements on the day. The man has repeatedly suffered recurrences of cancer and has undergone a total of four surgeries and isotope therapy, in which radioactive iodine is administered internally to destroy cancerous tissue when the cancer spreads.

 After the second surgery, in which her thyroid gland was completely removed, she lost her voice and became anxious, even thinking that it might be easier to just die. He confessed that he had made up his mind to “value my own will from now on. I am prepared for a recurrence of cancer, but I want to look only forward. I want to see if my illness is recognized as an effect of radiation exposure.

 Two years ago, a health survey conducted by the Fukushima prefectural government found that she had thyroid cancer, and she underwent surgery. After the surgery, she became emotionally unstable, and she was “on the edge mentally” as she raised her voice to her family. If this continues, I will end up in a state of ambiguity for a long time. Why were we forced to stand (in court)? I hope you will understand at least that much.

 TEPCO claims that the plaintiffs were exposed to an estimated 10 millisieverts or less of radiation to the thyroid gland based on a report issued by a United Nations scientific panel, and that since the risk of developing thyroid cancer does not increase below 100 millisieverts, their cancer was not caused by the nuclear accident.

 In response, the defense submitted a written opinion by Professor Emeritus Shinichi Kurokawa of the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK), who analyzed data from monitoring posts in Fukushima City from March 15 to 16, 2011, and found that the thyroid exposure of a one-year-old child was approximately 60 millisieverts from breathing alone. He claimed that the Science Commission’s radiation exposure estimate was “a drastic underestimate and irrational.

 The next argument date is set for March 15. Two more plaintiffs are scheduled to present their opinions. (Tetsuya Kasai)

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s decision to dump Fukushima water is based on biased data, argue scientists

A panel of global experts is urging Japan to halt its plans to dump the radioactive water

Numerous tanks currently store contaminated water at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.


A panel of scientists is arguing that the Japanese government’s decision to discharge radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean is based on incomplete and biased data.

The experts contend that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the nuclear plant, concluded that the contaminated water was safe without properly measuring a significant number of radioactive materials (nuclides). The discharge of the wastewater from the Fukushima plant could begin as soon as this coming spring.

This latest analysis comes from a panel of scientists organized by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), an intergovernmental organization made up of 18 Pacific Island countries including New Zealand and Fiji.

These scientists are recommending the Japanese government cease its plans to release the wastewater from the nuclear plant into the ocean and instead seek alternative options.

At a debate held at Korea’s National Assembly on Thursday, the scientists stressed that TEPCO’s contaminated water measurement data cannot function as the basis for deciding on the release of the wastewater into the ocean.

The panel of scientists, including five experts in nuclear energy and oceanography, was formed last March by the PIF. As parties with a direct stake in the consequences of the potential discharge of Fukushima wastewater, the PIF requested relevant information and data from Japan regarding this issue.

On Jan. 13, the Japanese government decided to dilute 1.3 million tons of contaminated water stored in over 1,000 tanks at the Fukushima plant with water and then to release it into the ocean either this coming spring or summer.

“The data provided by Japan to the forum is incomplete, inadequate, inconsistent, and biased, making it unsuitable for making any decisions,” said Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, an adjunct professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and head of the panel of scientists.

“Since wastewater is not being released into nature in a planned or controlled way from a normally functioning power plant, in this case the word ‘dumping’ should be used instead of the ‘release’ of wastewater,” Dalnoki-Veress said.

The reason the panel believes the data provided by TEPCO is biased is that TEPCO is focusing only on nine materials, including strontium and cesium, among a total of 64 radioactive materials. The remaining 55, which were not measured, are presumed to be always present with the same effect.

The panel of scientists also pointed out that it is not enough to gauge the actual composition and concentration levels of the wastewater as the measurement of materials was performed on a 30-liter sample just before the water in the storage tanks to be treated with the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) were full.

In a report published by the panel on this issue, the scientists raised fundamental questions about the reliability of the Japanese data, saying there are “many abnormal and suspicious measurement values in TEPCO’s measurement data.

” For example, the panel pointed out that measurements for tellurium (Te)-127, a radionuclide with a half-life of only 9.4 hours, ranged from hundreds of thousands to nearly tens of billions of becquerels (Bq) per liter. This is because, if it had been released during the Fukushima accident, it would have broken down a long time ago in terms of its half-life.

“Unless the core is intermittently in a dangerous state of meltdown, these measurements indicate problems with TEPCO’s measurement and data quality control procedures,” the report stated.

The panel also pointed out the major problem that issues such as how tritium present in the wastewater is changed into organic-bonded tritium in the sea, which will affect the marine ecosystem, or the effects of strontium-90’s bioconcentration, are not being properly examined.

“The assumption that dilution is the solution to pollution is scientifically outdated and ecologically inadequate,” the panel said. “The [wastewater] dumping measures are an issue that transcends generations and borders and require much greater contemplation,” they added.

As an alternative to releasing the polluted water into the ocean, the scientists recommended the wastewater be stored for a long time to reduce its radioactivity levels until the polluting elements can be removed using biological methods such as employing animals, plants and fungi. After this, the treated water could be used in the process of making concrete in places with as little human contact as possible.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Judge to be Changed Just Before Tokai Daini Nuclear Power Plant Appeals Court; Plaintiffs See Problems with His Past Representation of the State

Tokai Daini Nuclear Power Plant is under construction for restart, from the Oozuru helicopter in Tokai-mura, Ibaraki Prefecture, in August 2021.

January 25, 2023
The Tokyo High Court, which is in charge of the lawsuit against Japan Atomic Power Company’s Tokai No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant (Tokai-mura, Ibaraki Prefecture), is expected to move to a different division in the appeal trial of the injunction lawsuit against the plant’s operation. The plaintiffs’ lawyers had asked the presiding judge to voluntarily withdraw from the case, citing problems with the fact that he had represented the national government in past administrative lawsuits related to nuclear power plants. The first date of the appeal hearing, which was scheduled for March 31, has been canceled. (Mayumi Kojima)
Defense team “appreciates the decision.
 According to the defense team, the chief judge in charge of the case, Norio Nagatani, worked for many years in the Litigation Division of the Ministry of Justice, which is in charge of proving the government’s case in administrative lawsuits. In addition to representing the government in several nuclear power plant-related lawsuits, he was also a councilor in charge of litigation and in a position to direct the administrative lawsuit (later withdrawn) that sought an injunction against the operation of Tokai No. 2 from the government.
 Last September, Nagatani was transferred from the head of the Hiroshima District Court to the Tokyo High Court, where he became the presiding judge for the appeal of the injunction lawsuit. In December, the defense lawyers asked Nagatani to voluntarily withdraw from the case on the grounds that a fair trial would not be conducted.
 According to attorney Yuichi Kaito of the defense team, on the 25th of this month, Mr. Nagatani explained to them that “in view of various circumstances, the case will be reassigned. A new department is expected to take over the proceedings.
 At a press conference held in Tokyo on March 25, attorney Hiroyuki Kawai said, “Mr. Nagatani said he would be fair and neutral regardless of his background, but objectively speaking, there is an inference that he is siding with the administration. (I commend him for making the decision to change the case. Mr. Kaito said, “You should not be both the representative of the government and the presiding judge in administrative lawsuits. (The exchange of judges (between judges and prosecutors) was banned by the DPJ administration, and the exchange of judges with representatives of the state in administrative lawsuits should also have been banned,” he noted.
◆Although the motion was filed… “It is highly unusual for a judge to actually be replaced.”
 The appeal of the injunction lawsuit against the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant by Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC), which resulted in the unusual prospect of a change in the trial division in charge of the case, was heard by the court. It is rare for judges to be replaced under the same circumstances, and an expert pointed out that “the very fact that he tried to preside over the case in the first place shows a lack of common sense.
 According to the plaintiffs’ lawyers in the Tokai No. 2 lawsuit, a Supreme Court judge avoided participating in the hearing of the Hyakuri Air Base (Ibaraki Prefecture) lawsuit, in which the constitutionality of the Self Defense Forces was disputed and the Supreme Court rejected the appeal in 1989, because he had been involved in the government’s substantiation activities in the past. In 1991, a judge at the Odawara Branch of the Yokohama District Court was replaced after the plaintiffs alleged that he had conducted the case in a way that favored the defendants.
 In 2018, the Kanazawa Branch of the Nagoya High Court rejected a motion by the plaintiffs to replace a judge at the first instance court that had vacated an injunction on KEPCO’s Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at the Ooi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture. The Kanazawa District Court also rejected the plaintiffs’ motion for an injunction against Hokuriku Electric Power Co.’s Shiga Nuclear Power Plant (Ishikawa Prefecture), which is currently under litigation.
 Former judge Hajime Tada, attorney-at-law, commented on the replacement motion, “It is often a kind of a warning shot to the court. It is extremely unusual for a judge to actually be replaced. In the case of Tokai Daini, he pointed out, “It cannot be said that the court can make a neutral decision, and it is quite natural for the court to change the trial division. He criticized the change, saying, “It shows that the court is leaning toward the administration and disrespects the independence of the judiciary. (Kenta Onozawa)
Plaintiffs’ Residents Welcome the Decision
 The plaintiff residents living near the Tokai Daini Nuclear Power Plant voiced their surprise and welcome. Hiroko Kawano, 80, whose home is 1.7 km from the plant, said, “It was too badly done, so I am glad. I think the plaintiffs’ petition was approved,” she said happily.
 She learned of Judge Norio Nagatani’s background at a rally held by the plaintiffs’ group in Tokyo on April 22. I thought the government was doing an amazing job,” he said. Although there is supposed to be separation of powers, it looks as if the government has intervened in the appointment of the court.
 Kiyoko Aizawa, 81, of Tokai-mura, said, “I thought the government would continue to forcefully proceed. The news reports have been covering the situation, so perhaps they couldn’t just ignore it. Tokai No. 2 is decrepit, and there are many people living around it. I don’t know who the next presiding judge will be, but I definitely want to win.
 A 74-year-old man living in Hitachi City, a neighbor to the north of Tokai Village, said, “The court effectively accepted our side of the story, and I think they really meant to hit us where it hurts. I don’t think the government’s major policy of wanting to overturn the first trial at any cost has changed. I don’t think the government has changed its major policy of wanting to overturn the first trial at any cost, and I think they may try some more tricks.
 On the other hand, Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC) responded to an interview with this newspaper, saying, “We do not know the details of the case, so we will refrain from commenting. (Nagasaki High School and University)

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Case blaming TEPCO ex-execs for 2011 nuclear accident goes to Supreme Court

Jan. 24, 2023

An appeal was filed with Japan’s Supreme Court on Tuesday over a high court ruling that acquitted three former power utility executives over the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Former Tokyo Electric Power Company Chairman Katsumata Tsunehisa and former vice presidents Takekuro Ichiro and Muto Sakae were indicted in 2016 on charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury. The indictment was based on a decision by a prosecution inquest panel composed of randomly chosen citizens.

Patients at a hospital in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima and others died during evacuations prompted by nuclear meltdowns at the plant after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The former executives, who are in their 70s and 80s, are accused of being responsible for 44 of those deaths.

The Tokyo High Court found the three men not guilty last Wednesday, following a similar ruling by the Tokyo District Court in 2019.

In handing down its ruling, the high court deemed that the defendants were not required to suspend the plant’s operation to avoid accidents as there was no way to predict the giant tsunami.

Court-appointed lawyers acting as prosecutors in the case said after the ruling that the decision is tantamount to denying the need to take measures against earthquakes and tsunami that remain scientifically unpredictable.

TEPCO declined to make comments on the appeal, but said it apologizes for causing worries and troubles to many people.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , | Leave a comment

Lawyers condemn acquittal of Fukushima ex-execs

January 18, 2023

Lawyers supporting the victims of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster criticised a Japanese court’s ruling on Wednesday that absolved Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) of responsibility for the disaster.

Three former executives of TEPCO were found not guilty of negligence over the nuclear meltdowns and the subsequent deaths of more than 40 elderly residents during their forced evacuation.

Prosecution lawyer Shozaburo Ishida described the verdicts as “absolutely unacceptable.”

The Tokyo High Court ruling upheld a 2019 lower court decision that also acquitted the three former top TEPCO officials, noting that a tsunami of that magnitude was unforeseeable.

The court said ex-TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 82, and two other former executives were also not guilty of causing the deaths of 44 elderly patients whose already waning health deteriorated during or after forced evacuations from a local hospital and a nursing home.

The executives were accused of failing to anticipate the massive tsunami that struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on March 11, 2011, following a magnitude 9 earthquake, and of failing to take measures that might have saved the plant.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , | Leave a comment