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A series of defective products at a French MOX fuel plant Abnormal nuclear reaction at a nuclear power plant

A shipping container containing MOX fuel being unloaded from a ship by crane. At left is the containment vessel of the No. 4 reactor at the Takahama Nuclear Power Plant of Kansai Electric Power Co. November 17, 2021.

September 3, 2022

A series of defective products have been found at the Mellox plant in southeastern France, which manufactures fuel for plutonium thermal power generation, in which plutonium is burned in nuclear power plants. In addition, an abnormal increase in nuclear reactions has also been observed at some nuclear power plants that are conducting plu-thermal power generation. What in the world is going on?

 The plant also manufactures fuel for the Japanese market. No problems have been found so far with the fuel for the Japanese market, but production has been delayed, and future product deliveries are now unpredictable.

 Plutonium is extracted from spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants through chemical processing (reprocessing). Plutonium is mixed with uranium in the case of pressurized-water nuclear power plants that conduct plutonium thermal power generation, and baked into pellets, cylindrical grains about 8 mm in diameter. This is called mixed uranium-plutonium oxide fuel (MOX fuel). In the case of a pressurized-water nuclear power plant that conducts plutonium thermal power generation, approximately 320 pellets are stacked inside fuel rods, and another 260 fuel rods are bundled together to form a fuel assembly (approximately 4.1 meters in height).

Highly Difficult Homogenization

 It is difficult to uniformly mix plutonium and uranium. According to ASN data and other sources, “plutonium spots,” dense clumps of plutonium, were found in the fuel pellets produced at the MELOX plant. Plutonium spots were found in the fuel pellets manufactured at the MELOX plant.

 On the other hand, a phenomenon in which the amount of neutrons, which indicate a nuclear reaction, increases more than expected near the upper and lower ends of MOX fuel rods was confirmed at a French nuclear power plant conducting a plutonium thermal operation.

 According to ASN, the combination of this plutonium mass problem and the two anomalies of partially elevated nuclear reactions was predicted to “raise questions about the integrity of the fuel, depending on the circumstances of the accident.

 According to Chihiro Uesawa, 56, an engineering specialist at the NPO Nuclear Information and Data Center (Nakano Ward, Tokyo), concerns are that the fuel could melt or the tubes covering the fuel could break. When plutonium is used as fuel, it has been pointed out that there is a possibility of a localized increase in nuclear reactions. This has become apparent,” Uesawa said.

September 4, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

New submersion method in consideration for Fukushima debris cleanup

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex is seen on Feb. 9, 2022. From left, the No. 4, No. 3, No. 2 and No. 1 reactors.

September 2, 2022

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which suffered core meltdowns in 2011, is considering a new submersion method for removing radioactive fuel debris that would wholly encase a reactor building in a water-filled, tank-like structure, a source close to the company said Thursday.

Conceptual breakthroughs with the method, whose advantages include using water’s ability to interrupt radiation and thereby provide a safer working environment, have made it a promising candidate for the cleanup of the defunct nuclear plant, according to the source close to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

But with no proven track record in the nuclear field, investigations are ongoing into future technological issues and costs, among other contingencies. The source said it could “require advanced technology to stop water leaking out and become a huge construction project.”

Were it to go ahead, the process from building to actual debris removal would be lengthy and would likely affect total decommissioning costs, currently pegged at about 8 trillion yen ($57.45 billion).

In the aftermath of the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, nuclear fuel cooling processes failed at the Fukushima plant’s reactors 1 through 3, causing the fuel to melt and resolidify into radioactive debris mixed with concrete, metal and other materials present in the reactors.

Debris removal is the operator’s most challenging issue in the Fukushima plant cleanup. Some 880 tons of the radioactive waste material is estimated to have been created by the nuclear meltdown across the three reactors.

The new submersion method, which is currently expected to be applied to the No. 3 reactor, would involve building a strong, pressure-resistant structure, such as a ship’s hull or a plane’s body, completely encapsulating the reactor, including underground.

The structure could then be filled with water, and removal work would take place from the top.

The operator initially considered a similar method to fill the reactor’s containment vessel with water. But the idea was abandoned due to potential difficulties fixing holes in the structure and the possibility it would increase workers’ exposure to radiation.

Preparations are being made to include the new submersion method in the 2022 edition of a strategic plan for decommissioning to be compiled by the state-backed Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp., which is helping the operator scrap the reactors.

In the case of the No. 2 reactor, preparations remain under way for its debris removal via a dry method, involving extracting the material without filling the reactor with water. The NDF intends to keep it as a potential option in its strategic plan.

While the No. 2 reactor’s cleanup was slated to begin this year, on Aug. 25, the government said removal work would be delayed a further 12 to 18 months to ensure safety and reliability.

The government and the power company are operating under a plan to complete debris removal and finish decommissioning work sometime between 2041 and 2051.

Amid the extensive cleanup in Fukushima, the Japanese government said on Aug. 24 that it is considering the construction of the next generation of nuclear plants amid an increasingly fraught energy supply environment and the country’s dependency on imported natural resources.

September 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

As Japan builds nuclear dumping facilities, Pacific groups say ‘stop’

September 1, 2022

Pacific civil society groups are calling on Japan to halt its plans to dump radioactive nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.

Earlier this month the Japanese government started building facilities needed for the discharge of treated, but still radioactive, wastewater from the defunct Fukushima nuclear power plant.

In a joint statement, civil society groups, non-governmental organisations and activists described the Fumio Kishida Government’s plans as a fundamental breach of Pacific peoples’ right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

Joey Tau from the pan-Pacific movement Youngsolwara Pacific said this breaches Pacific peoples’ rights to live in a clean environment.

Tau told Pacific Waves the Pacific Ocean is already endangered and Japan’s plan will have devastating impacts.

“We have a nuclear testing legacy in the Pacific. That continues to impact our people, our islands and our way of life, and it impacts the health of our people.

“Having this plan by Japan poses greater risks to the ocean which is already in a declining state.

“The health of our ocean has declined due to human endured stresses and having this could aggravate the current state of our region.

“And also, there are possible threats on the lives of our people as we clearly understand in this part of the world, the ocean is dear to us, it sustains us,” Tau said.

Tau said both the opposition in Vanuatu and the president of the Federated States of Micronesia have expressed serious concerns at Japan’s plans, and the Pacific Islands Secretariat this year has appointed an international expert panel to advise the Forum Secretary-General and national leaders.

The Northern Marianas’ House of Representatives has also condemned Japan’s plan to dump the nuclear waste.

Tau said the plans should not proceed without the Pacific people being able to voice their concerns and being better advised.

September 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Plants Showing ‘Unusual Growing Patterns’ as Residents Return

One more spin doctor well at work: despite biologist Tim Mousseau’s many fieldtrips to study very precisely the Fukushima radiation’s effects on flora and fauna, an unknown radiobiologist Carmel Mothersill comes out on Newsweek to minimize the risks of the well existing radiation effects on location stating that ‘there is a low risk to people and pets.’

An artwork titled “FUTABA”, a part of the Futaba Art District project is seen on a wall of a shuttered store on August 31, 2022, in Futaba, Fukushima, Japan.

August 31, 2022

Japan’s Fukushima, the site of the world’s second-worst nuclear disaster, is showing “unusual growing patterns” among vegetation in the area because of the radiation contamination.

In 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant lost power during a tsunami and earthquake that hit Japan’s Pacific coast. This caused systems in three reactors to fail and the cores to overheat. Nuclear material then bored holes in each reactor, causing radiation to leak. This resulted in a series of explosions and a catastrophic nuclear disaster. The event is second only to Chernobyl as the worst nuclear disaster.

Over 300,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes, and an exclusion zone had to be created. Slowly, following remediation, areas have opened up again, meaning people can return. Recently, the town of Futaba lifted its evacuation order.

Tim Mousseau, a professor of biological sciences at the University of South Carolina and a radiation expert, told Newsweek that a “vast region near the power plant” is still “significantly contaminated” but that levels are much lower than they used to be. However, the effects of radiation continue to be seen in the plants in the area, he said.

“There have been a few studies of the plants showing effects of the radiation. For example, it has been shown that Japanese fir trees show unusual growth patterns similar to that observed for pine trees in Chernobyl,” Mousseau said. “Such effects are still open for study, as they are preserved in the growth form of the plant/tree as long as it is still living.”

He continued, “Many areas are still contaminated above levels that most would consider safe for people to live, although most of the region is now relatively safe for short visits.”

Carmel Mothersill, a radiobiologist and the Canada research chair in environmental radiobiology, said that remediation efforts have also affected the area’s vegetation.

“The biggest disruption to the environment was the remediation effort where all vegetation was removed and up to a meter of soil was also taken off to clean it up. But the damage to forests and meadows is terrible,” she said.

“The disruptions to everyday life caused by the accident were permanent for many of the residents, and this is unlikely to change soon for the most affected regions of Fukushima,” Mousseau said. “This is not so much because of persistent radiation per se but also because much of the infrastructure was damaged or destroyed and has deteriorated over the past decade.”

Mousseau also said that the ongoing effects of the contamination and “other human disturbances” remain largely unknown, as “research in the region has dropped off dramatically in the past years because of COVID and Japan’s restrictions on visitors from outside the country.”

“Assuming Japan removes travel restrictions, more research will be conducted,” he said.

While some areas are opening back up to the public, most of the Fukushima area remains evacuated, Mothersill said.

“People are nervous and not happy to go back,” she said. But where people are living, radiation levels are very low, ‘meaning there is a low risk to people and pets.’

September 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Midnight countdown held as evacuation order on Fukushima town lifted after 11 yrs

One of the organizers of the “okaeri project” event waves his hand after opening a door set up in front of JR Futaba Station in Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, on Aug. 30, 2022.

August 30, 2022

FUTABA, Fukushima — People shouted, “Welcome back!” at the stroke of 12:00 a.m. on Aug. 30 to celebrate the lifting of evacuation orders here, 11-plus years after townspeople were barred from returning following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant meltdowns.

The town of Futaba was one area designated as “difficult to return” due to fallout from the plant, which the town cohosts with the neighboring municipality of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture. All Futaba residents were forced to evacuate to other parts of Japan after the March 2011 nuclear disaster at the power station run by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

After 11 years and five months, the town has been deemed habitable once more, with the establishment of a “Specified Reconstruction and Revitalization Base.” And to celebrate, resident volunteers organized the “okaeri (welcome back) project” event in the town center in front of Futaba Station, on the JR Joban Line. A countdown was held, and when the clock struck 12, organizers opened a pink wooden “door of hope” as the people there yelled, “Welcome back!”

About 2,000 candles were lit at the venue on the night of Aug. 29, creating a magical atmosphere. Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa told the crowd, “I will dedicate myself to reconstruction work, so that it (Futaba) will become a town where people will be happy to come back to.”

September 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment

Evacuation order finally lifted for Fukushima nuclear plant town

The town of Futaba, which hosts the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. An evacuation order for the town was lifted on Tuesday for the first time since the March 2011 disaster.

Aug 30, 2022

Fukushima – An evacuation order in a town hosting the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was lifted Tuesday for the first time since the March 2011 disaster 11 years and five months ago, as the municipality prepares for the return of some of its residents.

The order for the Fukushima Prefecture town, which hosts the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. complex, was imposed after the massive earthquake and tsunami hit the country’s northeast, triggering reactor meltdowns and making the area uninhabitable due to high radiation levels.

Futaba is the last municipality to see an evacuation order lifted among 11 municipalities subject to such orders in the wake of the disaster. Although residents are now allowed to return home, over 80% of the municipality, by acreage, remains designated as “difficult-to-return” zones.

The parts reopened for habitation are located near JR Futaba Station in the town’s previously downtown area and its northeast, where many commercial and public facilities, such as the Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum, are located.

With relatively low radiation levels, people had been allowed to enter the northeastern area since March 2020 but not to reside there.

As of late July, 3,574 people from 1,449 households, or over 60% of the town’s population, were registered as residents of the two areas accounting for just 15% of Futaba’s total area.

But the number of residents who participated in a preparatory program started in January, allowing them to return temporarily, totaled just 85 people from 52 households.

Following the disaster, most of the town’s residents were evacuated outside the prefecture, along with the town office’s functions. A number of them have since settled outside the town.

While Futaba aims to increase its population to 2,000 by around 2030, a survey of residents last year found that 60.5% had decided not to return, far exceeding the 11.3% who expressed a desire to return.

As for areas other than those that are reopening or scheduled to reopen, the government plans to decontaminate individual locations after confirming that residents intend to return. Futaba and Okuma, a neighboring town to the south that also hosts the crippled power station, are expected to start such work in fiscal 2024.

Although the government said last August it is aiming for the return of residents to areas outside reconstruction and revitalization bases by the end of the decade, the prospects are unclear as areas covering over 300 square kilometers in seven municipalities of the prefecture are designated as difficult-to-return zones.

In Okuma and Futaba, the return of such residents is likely to occur around fiscal 2025 or 2026 at the earliest, considering the time needed for infrastructure building, according to a government official.

Earlier this month, Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa asked industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura to “show a road map toward decontamination of the entire area” when he visited Fukushima after assuming the ministerial post.

Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori also pointed out that “the steps and scope of decontamination, as well as how to treat the homes and land of those who do not wish to return, have not been worked out.”

The evacuation order was lifted a day after Futaba celebrated the reopening of a residential police box located approximately 3 km northwest of the nuclear plant in the municipality.

The police box, which will house one officer, was shuttered immediately after the nuclear disaster.

“I would like to support the town by keeping the peace here so residents can return feeling secure,” said Hirotaka Umemiya, 40, as he began his duties in the town.

A separate ceremony was held Saturday for the opening of Futaba’s new town office, which was temporarily located in the neighboring city of Iwaki, with its operations set to start Sept. 5.

Three nuclear reactors on the Okuma side of the Fukushima No. 1 complex suffered meltdowns, while the two reactors on the Futaba side was unscathed.

September 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment

The government is planning to “promote” nuclear power plants…but there are so many difficulties to overcome before this can be realized, and there are doubts about the assurance of safety and security

August 25, 2022
 The government aims to make a major change in its nuclear energy policy, which has denied the construction of new nuclear power plants since the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on August 24. The government also plans to consider extending the operating periods of existing nuclear power plants again and to further promote their restart. The government is moving forward with the use of nuclear power plants because of the tight power supply and demand caused by the crisis in Ukraine. However, there are serious doubts about the safety and security of nuclear power plants, and it is not clear whether the public will understand this. (The government is now considering the use of nuclear power plants.)
The government is clearly stating that it is “considering” the construction of new and additional nuclear power plants…The government is promoting the extension of the operation period and the restart of a total of 17 reactors.

◆Next generation nuclear reactors” – Technology not yet established
 We will discuss all options for a stable energy supply. We will discuss all options for a stable energy supply and will not rule out the construction of new reactors. Yuji Iida, director general of the Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), emphasized this before the Green Transformation (GX) Executive Conference, which was held on March 24 to discuss decarbonization policies.
The “Basic Energy Plan” approved by the Cabinet last October did not mention the construction of new nuclear power plants, and successive prime ministers have repeatedly stated that it was not envisioned at this time. Conscious of public sentiment in the aftermath of the nuclear accident, the government has avoided going into the issue.
 The new plants to be considered this time are not existing nuclear power plants, but next-generation models, such as nuclear power plants with improved accident countermeasures and small reactors. Although the government emphasizes safety, many of these next-generation reactors are still in the process of being tested overseas, and it is difficult to say that they have been established as commercial power generation facilities.
 One official at an electric power company commented, “We don’t have the capacity to build new reactors when we can’t even restart existing nuclear power plants. The first step is to operate the current nuclear power plants and restore their technological capabilities.

◆ Extension of operating period: Regulatory Commission not optimistic
 In 2013, after the Fukushima accident, the law was amended to set the operating period of nuclear power plants at 40 years in principle, and to allow for a one-time extension of 20 years. The law was amended in 2013 after the Fukushima accident to allow for a one-time 20-year extension of the 40-year operating period. Four reactors were approved by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), of which Kansai Electric Power’s Mihama Unit 3 (Fukui Prefecture) has restarted.
 If the units are operated for more than 60 years, which would mean a re-extension, the law may need to be revised again. At a press conference on March 24, Chairman Toyoshi Sarada of the Regulatory Commission said, “Detailed technical discussions are needed. In the U.S., operation for 80 years is permitted, but Mr. Sarada pointed out that “Japan has many earthquakes, and we should not be dragged down by foreign countries.

◆ Seven new reactors restarted → Inadequate anti-terrorism and evacuation plans hindering operations
The government has also set a target of restarting seven reactors at five nuclear power plants that have yet to be restarted, although they meet the new regulatory standards, sometime after next summer or winter.
 In April of last year, the regulatory commission ordered a de facto ban on the operation of TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Station in Niigata Prefecture because of a problem with a faulty intrusion detector that had been left unattended. The order was not lifted until the plant was found to be in an improved condition, and its inspections have continued.
 Furthermore, Niigata Prefecture has made its own verification work a condition for whether or not it will agree to restart the plant, and the completion of the work is “not foreseeable” (Prefectural Nuclear Safety Division). In light of the inadequacies of the anti-terrorism measures, even a member of the Liberal Democratic Party’s prefectural assembly, which is pro-nuclear power generation, has voiced his desire not to have TEPCO operate the plant, and the sense of distrust is deep-rooted.
 The Japan Atomic Power Company’s Tokai No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant in Ibaraki Prefecture has more than 900,000 people living within a 30-kilometer evacuation zone, the largest in the nation, and the plan has been extremely difficult to formulate. In addition to the prefectural government, only five of the 14 municipalities in the prefecture have been able to formulate a plan. In addition, the Mito District Court ordered an injunction against the operation of the plant last March, citing problems with the effectiveness of the evacuation plan.
 There is almost no chance that both reactors will be able to operate within the government’s target of a little over a year.

August 28, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

More data needed before ocean release of Fukushima water

The full extent of the nuclear isotopes in the damaged plant’s tanks requires more study

There is insufficient information to assess the potential impact that releasing into the ocean contaminated water stored at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant will have on the environment and human health.

by Ken Buesseler, Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, Antony M. Hooker, Arjun Makhijani and Robert H. Richmond

August 26, 2022

The Nuclear Regulatory Authority last month announced its approval for the discharge of more than 1 million tons of contaminated water from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant directly into the ocean.

Japan’s nuclear regulator has stated that this can be done safely and the International Atomic Energy Agency has supported this position. We would argue that there is insufficient information to assess potential impacts on environmental and human health and issuing a permit at this time would be premature at best.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the plant’s operator, is taking this step as part of the decommissioning and cleanup process of the plant. Every day, more than 150 tons of water accumulates at the site due to groundwater leakage into buildings and the systems used to cool the damaged reactors. The water is currently stored in more than 1,000 tanks at the site and what to do with their ever-increasing number has been a topic of concern for many years.

The justification for ocean discharge focuses largely on the assumed levels of radioactivity from tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen that cannot be easily removed by an advanced liquid processing system, which is used for treating the contaminated water. To reduce tritium to levels that will be 1/40th of the regulatory standards, dilution of the tank water with seawater has been proposed prior to release. However, tritium is only part of the story, and a full assessment of all of the water contaminants stored in tanks at the site has yet to be made and verified by independent parties.

Our specific concerns include the adequacy, accuracy and reliability of the available data. A key measure of safety is a risk factor that combines the activities of more than 60 radioactive contaminants — the so-called sum of ratios approach. However, only a small subset of these radioactive contaminants — seven to 10 of them, including tritium — have been regularly measured. The assumption is that this subset alone will reflect the possible risks and the other contaminants are at constant levels. We disagree with this approach, as the data show wide variability in the contaminant concentrations between tanks, as well as differences in their relative amounts.

For example, some tanks low in tritium are high in strontium-90 and vice versa. Thus, the assumption that concentrations of the other radionuclides are constant is not correct and a full assessment of all 62 radioisotopes is needed to evaluate the true risk factors.

Moreover, only roughly a quarter of the more than 1,000 tanks at the site have been analyzed. This combined with the large variability among tanks, means that final dilution rates for tritium and the cleanup necessary for all contaminants are not well known. By Tepco’s own estimates, almost 70% of the tanks will need additional cleanup but that estimate is uncertain until all of the tanks are assessed.

The bottom line is that it is impossible to engineer and assess the impact of any release plan without first knowing what is in the tanks. The actual cost and duration of the project, as well as the amount of dilution needed, all depend upon the accuracy and thoroughness of the data. For example, the amount of seawater needed, and hence the time to release, will depend directly upon dilution factors.

Tepco stated in its radiological impact assessment that to meet its requirements, dilution will be needed by a factor “greater than 100.” In fact, the dilution rate we calculate is 250 on average and more than 1,000 times for many of the tanks where analyses are available. Scaling to those higher averages and extremes would increase capacity needs, costs and overall duration of the releases. In addition, comparisons against other possible disposal options — such as vapor release, using enhanced tritium removal technologies, geological burial or the storage option we suggest below — cannot be made without a better assessment of the current tank contents.

Even for tritium, its high levels are not adequately addressed, as it is assumed to be present only in inorganic form as tritiated water. However, there are also organically bound forms of tritium (OBT) that undergo a higher degree of binding to organic material. OBT has been found in the environment at other nuclear sites and is known to be more likely stored in marine sediments or bioaccumulated in marine biota. As such, predictions of the fate of tritium in the ocean need to include OBT as well as the more predictable inorganic form in tritiated water. Tepco has yet to do this.

The focus on tritium also neglects the fact that the nontritium radionuclides are generally of greater health concern as evidenced by their much higher dose coefficient — a measure of the dose, or potential human health impacts associated with a given radioactive element, relative to its measured concentration, or radioactivity level. These more dangerous radioactive contaminants have higher affinities for local accumulation after release in seafloor sediments and marine biota. The old (and incorrect) belief that the “solution to pollution is dilution” fails when identifying exposure pathways that include these other bioaccumulation pathways.

Although statements have been made that all radioactivity levels will meet regulatory requirements and be consistent with accepted practices, the responsible parties have not yet adequately demonstrated that they can bring levels below regulatory thresholds. Rebuilding trust would take cleanup of all of the tanks and then independently verifying that nontritium contaminants have been adequately removed, something the operator has not been able to do over the past 11 years. Post-discharge monitoring will not prevent problems from occurring, but simply identify them when they do occur.

As announced, the release of contaminated material from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant would take at least 40 years, and decades longer if you include the anticipated accumulation of new water during the process. This would impact not only the interests and reputation of the Japanese fishing community, among others, but also the people and countries of the entire Pacific region. This needs to be considered as a transboundary and transgenerational issue.

Our oceans provide about half of the oxygen we breathe and store almost one-third of the carbon dioxide we emit. They provide food, jobs, energy, global connectivity, cultural connections, exquisite beauty and biodiversity. Thus, any plan for the deliberate release of potentially harmful materials needs to be carefully evaluated and weighed against these important ocean values. This is especially true when contaminated material is being released that would be widely distributed and accumulated by marine organisms.

The Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster is not the first such incident, nor will it be the last. The challenge presented by this present situation is also an opportunity to improve responses and chart a better way forward than to dump the problem into the sea. Moreover, even accepted practices and guidelines require much more thorough preoperational analysis and preparation than is in evidence so far.

We conclude that the present plan does not provide the assurance of safety needed for people’s health or for sound stewardship of the ocean. We have reached this conclusion as members of an expert panel engaged by the Pacific Island Forum, a regional organization comprising 18 countries. However, we have penned this commentary in our individual capacities and our views may or may not be shared by the forum secretariat or its members.

The recent decision to support the release by the Nuclear Regulation Authority is surprising and concerning. In addition, the International Atomic Energy Agency should withhold its support for the release without these issues being resolved. Once the discharge commences, the opportunity to examine total costs and weigh the ocean discharge option against other alternatives will have been lost.

It has been stated that there is an urgency to release this contaminated water because the plant operator is running out of space on site. We disagree on this point as well, as once the tanks are cleaned up as promised, storage in earthquake-safe tanks within and around the Fukushima facility is an attractive alternative. Given tritium’s 12.3-year half-life for radioactive decay, in 40 to 60 years, more than 90% of the tritium will have disappeared and risks significantly reduced.

This is the moment for scientific rigor. An absence of evidence of harm is not evidence that harm will not occur, it simply demonstrates critical gaps in essential knowledge. Having studied the scientific and ecological aspects of the matter, we have concluded that the decision to release the contaminated water should be indefinitely postponed and other options for the tank water revisited until we have more complete data to evaluate the economic, environmental and human health costs of ocean release.

Ken Buesseler is a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and director of the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress is scientist-in-residence at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Antony M. Hooker is director of the Center for Radiation Research, Education and Innovation at the University of Adelaide. Arjun Makhijani is president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. Robert H. Richmond is director of the Kewalo Marine Laboratory at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

August 28, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Number of evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture due to the nuclear power plant accident

Mr. Seiichi Nakate (right) handed a written request to the Reconstruction Agency at the House of Representatives building in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on March 23.

August 23, 2022
On August 23, three groups of evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture requested the Reconstruction Agency not to exclude approximately 6,600 people from the number of evacuees from outside of Fukushima Prefecture due to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, because their whereabouts cannot be confirmed. The reduction in the number of evacuees in the statistics may lead to a trivialization of the damage caused by the nuclear power plant accident.
 The Reconstruction Agency compiles the number of evacuees based on the information that evacuees have reported to the municipalities where they have taken refuge. In some cases, such as when evacuees move away without notifying the local government, their whereabouts are lost. As a result of the survey conducted since last September, approximately 2,900 people’s whereabouts are unknown, and approximately 2,480 people have moved without notifying the municipality. In addition, a total of 6,604 people will be excluded from the evacuee statistics, including approximately 1,110 people who answered “will not return” in the survey.
 As of April, the number of out-of-prefecture evacuees was approximately 23,000, a decrease of more than 3,300 from January, as reports continue to follow this policy. The number is expected to continue to decrease as each municipality works to correct the situation.
 The request was made on this day by the National Association of Evacuees for the “Right to Evacuation” and others. Seiichi Nakate, 61, co-chairman of the association and an evacuee from Fukushima City to Sapporo City, said, “Even though I no longer have the intention to return, I am aware that I am an ‘evacuee. I cannot allow myself to be excluded by the government.” He handed the written request to a Reconstruction Agency official. The official explained that the exclusion would be made in order to match the actual situation of the evacuees, but that it would not affect the support measures.
 At the press conference, Nakate said, “Eleven years have passed since the accident, and the number of official support measures at the evacuation sites is decreasing every year. The evacuee statistics are the basis for all support measures, and I am concerned that they may lead to further reductions in support in the future. (Kenta Onozawa)

August 28, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

The legacy of Shinzo Abe: a Japan divided about nuclear weapons

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation due to health concerns on August 28, 2020. Shinzo Abe was assassinated while giving a speech at an election rally on July 8, 2022 in Nara, Japan.

August 24, 2022

On August 1, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida became the first Japanese leader to ever attend the Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which is taking place this month at UN headquarters in New York. Kishida, whose family hails from Hiroshima, is one of the very few voices within Japan’s ruling party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), to consistently emphasize the humanitarian impacts of the use of nuclear weapons and Japan’s unwavering commitment to nuclear disarmament. This contrasts with his most-recognized predecessor, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose assassination on July 8, 2022, shocked the entire world.

Abe’s views about nuclear weapons. Shinzo Abe was known to hold views that underscored the effectiveness of nuclear deterrence and the usefulness of nuclear weapons. He even hinted at the possibility that Japan could one day acquire such weapons. During his eight years as prime minister, Abe made Japan’s ambivalent nuclear policy emphasize the importance of the US nuclear umbrella. In doing so, he shifted further away from the brief momentum in favor of nuclear disarmament created by former US President Barack Obama and Abe’s predecessors. From 2012 to 2020, Abe’s second term[1] was marked by heightened tensions and a rapidly deteriorating regional security environment—from China’s aggressive military buildup advancing claims in the East China Sea to North Korea’s increasing nuclear and missile capabilities. In February 2017, during a visit to US President Donald Trump in Washington, Abe successfully obtained reassurance about the unwavering “U.S. commitment to defend Japan through the full range of U.S. military capabilities, both nuclear and conventional.” One year later, in another remarkable sign of Abe’s focus on the role of nuclear weapons, his Foreign Minister Taro Kono issued swift and unequivocal praise of President Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review.

The increasingly tense regional security environment over the past 10 years may certainly have influenced the Abe government’s nuclear views. But Abe’s focus on nuclear weapons started before 2012. Shinzo Abe’s political rhetoric certainly caused several uproars among the Japanese public throughout his political career. But its analysis provides a useful glimpse into his and his party’s nuclear thinking. In one famous example, in May 2002, Shinzo Abe reportedly told students at Waseda University: “The possession of nuclear bombs is constitutional, so long as they are small.”[2] Then Japan’s deputy chief cabinet secretary, Abe was undeterred by the public outcry that followed his remarks and will maintain his views for the rest of his career.

Two decades later, as Russia was invading Ukraine, Shinzo Abe said on television that Japan needs to discuss the option of a NATO-style nuclear-sharing agreement with the United States. This was an apparent revision by Abe of the third principle of Japan’s Three Non-Nuclear Principles, which states Japan shall never permit the introduction of nuclear weapons into its territory. Japan’s Three Non-Nuclear Principles of not possessing, not producing, and not introducing nuclear weapons were established in 1967 by Prime Minister Eisaku Sato, Abe’s great-uncle. Although these principles were never made into law, they are still viewed as the cornerstone of Japan’s official nuclear policy to this day.

In his February 2022 television interview, Abe did try to stand by these principles, saying: “Japan is a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. As a country that has suffered atomic bombings, it is important to move toward the goal of nuclear abolition.” Still, his remarks about nuclear sharing were harshly criticized by the Hibakusha community—the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

A long political tradition of rhetorical ambivalence. Shinzo Abe’s positive view about the potential value of nuclear weapons for Japan was certainly not unique among Japanese politicians and has been shared by many within the LDP. Several of Abe’s government ministers spoke publicly in favor of the nuclear option or answered that “Japan should consider acquiring nuclear weapons if the international situation calls for it” in surveys by the Mainichi Shimbun, one of Japan’s major newspapers. These included Abe himself, former Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, and five former defense ministers. Shinzo Abe’s younger brother and current Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi gave the same response to the Mainichi survey in 2012, although in 2020 he ruled out the nuclear option and publicly supported the Three Non-Nuclear Principles.

Abe’s 2002 assertion about the legality of possessing nuclear weapons under the Japanese Constitution has been made several times by Japanese politicians since the 1950s. For instance, Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi—Abe’s grandfather—stated in May 1957 during a session of the Diet (Japan’s parliament) that the postwar Constitution did not explicitly forbid Japan from possessing nuclear weapons if they were small. This caused several members of the Diet to interrogate Kishi at the time. Later, during a Diet session in April 1968, a socialist member asked State Minister Kaneshichi Masuda to clarify his position on Japan’s security arrangement with the United States, to which Masuda responded, I translate, “the Constitution, indeed, does not forbid Japan to possess tactical nuclear weapons if they’re solely for self-defense. … Just like the Constitution does not forbid the entry of another country’s nuclear weapons.” But Masuda immediately added that the Three Non-Nuclear Principles are here to cover that loophole.

In March 1973, Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka also reaffirmed the Three Non-Nuclear Principles. But this time, he added that “while [Japan is] not able to have offensive nuclear weapons, we are not saying that we will have no nuclear weapons at all.” “[S]trategic nuclear weapons are offensive in character and tactical nuclear weapons are defensive,” Tanaka explained, and “defensive nuclear weapons are constitutional.” A similar argument was made by Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda in 1978 during a Diet debate: “[A]rticle 9 of the Constitution does not prohibit the possession of nuclear weapons by Japan. Japan can have them if their purpose is for a minimum level of defense. However, Japan also has the Three Non-Nuclear Principles.”

Shinzo Abe’s position of questioning the limits of Japan’s non-nuclear policy is therefore part of a long political tradition advancing the idea that nuclear weapons might be a possibility for Japan.

Getting rid of Japan’s non-nuclear policy? The long-standing reluctance by Japanese elites to publicly discuss nuclear weapons for Japan, called “the nuclear taboo,” derives from the strong public aversion to such weapons. This aversion was amplified after the Lucky Dragon no. 5 incident on March 1, 1954, when a Japanese fishing boat was contaminated by the nuclear fallout from the US nuclear test at Bikini Atoll. From that day, whenever a Japanese politician even mentioned nuclear weapons, the public reacted very strongly and stayed skeptical of any rhetoric that might suggest the non-nuclear principles and Japan’s status as a Hibakukoku—a country that suffered atomic bombings—not be upheld. Japanese officials and LDP members together have lamented that discussions over a nuclear Japan are still considered taboo. Former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba commented in 2017: “How can we take any responsibility if the Three Non-Nuclear Principles are actually four: not possessing, not producing, not introducing, and not even discussing nuclear weapons?” The gap between what the public expects Japanese politicians to say—and not say—and the LDP’s rhetoric about nuclear weapons truly reveals the ambivalence of the country’s official nuclear policy, which has been in place since the end of World War II.

In an ill-timed and bold rhetorical shift, however, Abe omitted the usual pledge to uphold the Three Non-Nuclear Principles in his Hiroshima speech on August 6, 2015. The omission, during the official ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings, caused great anxiety among many and prompted angered responses from the Hibakusha community. Anti-nuclear activist and Hibakusha Tomoyuki Mimaki noted: “It seems like the government is disrespecting the Three Non-Nuclear Principles.” Another activist, Kazuo Okoshi, commented: “Some politicians advocate for nuclearization. This is proof that the Three Non-Nuclear Principles are weakening.” Probably in response to the public outcry following his omission, Abe did mention the Three Non-Nuclear Principles in his speech in Nagasaki three days later. In doing so, Abe was reassuring the Japanese that there would be no change to the official nuclear policy.

This long history of mixed messages and rhetorical mishaps by leaders of Japan’s ruling party can be read as the inevitable consequence of the country’s ambiguous nuclear policy, swinging between effective nuclear deterrence and global nuclear disarmament aspirations. But this posture can be also understood as creating a hedging strategy about nuclear weapons perceived as necessary by many within the LDP. Politicians of the ruling party may indeed have seen it as advantageous for Japan to flash the “nuclear card” from time to time while still referring to the Three Non-Nuclear Principles.

Talking to different audiences. The ambivalent nature of Japan’s nuclear policy may appear useful in catering to different audiences at home and abroad. The first and most obvious audience intended to receive signaling about the nuclear card consists of Japan’s regional adversaries, especially China. Statements about the constitutional right to possess nuclear weapons exemplify such rhetoric and are partly aimed at keeping Japan’s adversaries uncertain about their neighbor’s ultimate security intentions. As former Executive Director of the International Energy Agency Nobuo Tanaka wrote in 2018: “[G]iven recent geopolitical developments in Northeast Asia, eliminating Japan’s nuclear capability could be very unwise. If so, whether and how we should maintain Japan’s nuclear capability needs to include the national security perspective as part of a serious public discussion. Japan will never ever build nuclear weapons, and yet being suspected of doing so by some of its neighbors, is probably the strongest national security reason for Japan to continue to use nuclear power.”

The second audience is domestic. Japan is widely viewed as a nuclear threshold state, as it has significant latent capabilities due to its highly advanced nuclear fuel cycle technologies. That Japan refuses to develop nuclear weapons despite its latent nuclear status has been used by Japanese officials to reassure the public about the security of the archipelago, while keeping its moral stance vis-à-vis global peace. Possessing latent nuclear capabilities yet not going nuclear is indeed considered proof that Japan is an international role model and fits in the official narrative that Japan is a bridge-builder between nuclear and non-nuclear states. At the same time, because this rhetoric is ambiguous, it also provides Japanese leaders with another way to remind the public of the country’s potential to go nuclear, if it decides to.

The first recorded instance of such reassurance discourse dates from 1958. In his memoirs published in 1983, Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi wrote after a visit to the new Tokai-mura nuclear facility “Japan does not have nuclear weapons, but by showing that we possess the technology to build them, we can increase our political leverage at the international level when it comes to disarmament issues and nuclear testing.”

A more explicit version of this argument features in a Diet debate in October 2006, when Akira Amari, minister of economy, trade, and industry under Shinzo Abe’s first premiership, stated, I translate: “Japan has the capabilities [to go nuclear], but doesn’t. The fact that Japan declares that it has no intention of doing so while maintaining those capabilities is what truly makes Japan’s policy convincing. If a country that doesn’t have the capabilities to go nuclear declares that it will not go nuclear, it is just lip service. However, Japan does have the technical capabilities, yet it asserts that it will not go nuclear: this is exactly what makes Japan a credible and persuasive advocate for the abolition of nuclear weapons around the world.” In other words, retaining nuclear latency adds credibility to disarmament matters.

The third audience is the United States, with which Abe has been particularly keen to engage. On some occasions, nuclear statements made by Japanese officials have alluded to a “nuclear option.” These were directed to the United States and meant to test its commitment to defend Japan. Commenting on North Korea’s nuclear test and ballistic missile launch of early 2016, Abe stated, in presence of US Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris, that “[t]he missile launch by North Korea was not only a direct threat to Japan but also a challenge to the United States.” Japanese political scientist Shogo Imoto commented at the time: “It is clearly an exaggeration to state that Mr. Abe is thinking of nuclear weapons for Japan. However, I interpret [his quote] as the following: ‘If the United States abandons Japan now and runs away from the North Korean threat, Japan will seriously consider a shift in its policy and nuclearize. Japan wants the United States to be fully aware of this as you tackle the North Korean issue.’”

These messages have appeared each time Japan felt its regional environment was becoming more challenging, as happened in December 1964 when Japan’s Prime Minister Eisaku Sato reportedly told US ambassador Edwin Reischauer that Japan could develop nuclear weapons. Sato’s remarks were made after China had conducted its first successful nuclear bomb test in October 1964.

The fourth and last audience is the most conservative part of the Japanese public. Using the slogan “Take Japan back” (Nippon wo torimodosu), Abe’s campaign for a second term appeared to go beyond the mainstream conservatism of LDP politicians and revealed the prime minister’s overtly nationalistic values and agenda. When Abe rose to power for the second time in 2012, many Japanese and international analysts warned about his revisionist and nationalist views and the regional instability they could cause. Some analysts even labeled Abe as “the most conservative leader in Japan’s postwar history.” Abe, however, quickly managed to eclipse his nationalist label by skillfully handling newly elected US President Donald Trump and even enjoyed a new reputation as a proactive diplomat seeking engagement and mediation. But in the nuclear rhetoric of Shinzo Abe, as of his closest allies, one could still find hints and allusions to nuclear weapons’ prestige and relevance to international politics.

Abe’s nuclear legacy. The deeply ambivalent messages that paved Abe’s political career point to the perception by LDP leaders that a nuclear stance needs to simultaneously address all four audiences—adversaries, allies, the Japanese public, as well as its most conservative fraction. But Shinzo Abe’s views on nuclear weapons do not only reflect the longstanding strategy of his party. His continued, strong emphasis on the need for nuclear deterrence also resulted in a sharper divide and a greater hostility between the government and largely anti-nuclear public opinion in Japan. Moreover, even though Abe’s views were not at odds with the LDP, his government’s reliance on nuclear deterrence uniquely contributed to consolidating Japan’s nuclear hedging posture even further. The delays and hesitation by Abe’s government in presenting a clear roadmap for the management of the country’s plutonium stockpile as well as its nuclear energy policy also exacerbated the distrust of the public, still embittered by how the government managed the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Japan’s current prime minister, Fumio Kishida, is now highlighting Japan’s goal of nuclear disarmament and publicly rejected Abe’s idea of nuclear sharing. But the country’s nuclear hedging posture is so entrenched in the political thinking of the LDP’s leadership that it is highly unlikely Japan’s ambivalent nuclear policy will change in the foreseeable future.

Kishida’s speech on August 1 at the United Nations on the first day of the NPT Review Conference already drew harsh criticism from the Hibakusha community for failing to mention the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW, also called the “ban treaty”) and for not clarifying Japan’s future role in nuclear disarmament. Kishida’s efforts to re-center the country’s nuclear policy towards disarmament may be sincere, but it will have to overcome the wide gap between the public and the government that Abe’s focus on nuclear deterrence further exacerbated.

Through his security-oriented nuclear views, Shinzo Abe attempted to diminish the Japanese public’s long-standing allergy to and the country’s emotional wounds over nuclear weapons. However, his nuclear legacy has created an even wider divide in Japan—between those who think of nuclear policy exclusively in terms of disarmament and those who prefer emphasizing Japan’s deterrence needs. How Abe’s nuclear legacy will impact the future of nuclear policy in Japan—in one direction or another—is an open question.


[1] Shinzo Abe served four terms as prime minister of Japan, in 2006–2007, 2012–2014, 2014–2017, and 2017–2020. His last three contiguous terms from 2012 to 2020 are often referred to as his “second term.” Abe has been the longest-serving prime minister in Japan to date.

[2] What Shinzo Abe is reported to have said is not entirely clear. Some news outlets report that he said: “There is no problem with atomic bombs, constitutionally speaking. As long as they’re small.” (Wall Street Journal Japanese version) Others state he said: “The possession or use of nuclear weapons is not a problem constitutionally, as long as they’re small” (Sunday Mainichi magazine). As this was an oral remark at an event at Waseda University, it is difficult to know what Abe said exactly. In any case, his remarks were later criticized very harshly by the Japanese public.


August 28, 2022 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Tepco considering delay to removing Fukushima nuclear debris

An Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) employee walks through the electric room in the refrigerator building at the company’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima, Japan, February 23, 2017.

August 24, 2022

TOKYO, Aug 24 (Reuters) – Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (Tepco) is considering abandoning a plan to start removing nuclear debris from a reactor in its wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant by the end of the year, Kyodo reported on Wednesday.

The plan will be postponed for about a year due to a delay in the development of a robot arm that will be used to remove the debris, the report said citing unnamed sources.

“Nothing has been decided at this point in time,” a Tepco spokesperson said in response to a request for comment from Reuters.

A huge tsunami hit the Tepco-operated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011, causing three reactors to melt down and prompting over 160,000 people to evacuate. The damaged plant is currently being decommissioned.

August 28, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Government policy change, considering new and additional nuclear power plants, restarting 7 additional reactors, and extending operating periods

Prime Minister Kishida (screen) addresses the GX Executive Conference online on the afternoon of August 24 at the Prime Minister’s Office.

August 24, 2022
On August 24, the government announced its policy to consider the construction of next-generation nuclear power plants to ensure a stable supply of electricity in the future. This is a shift in the basic policy of the previous energy policy, which did not envision the construction of new nuclear power plants or the rebuilding of existing ones. It will also consider extending the operating period of nuclear power plants, which had been set at a maximum of 60 years. It will also aim to restart an additional seven nuclear power plants that have already passed the new regulatory standards screening process from next year onward. The government is prepared to promote nuclear power plants in order to ensure a stable power supply while promoting decarbonization.
 This was put forth at the “GX Action Council” held at the prime minister’s office to realize a decarbonized society. A conclusion will be reached by the end of the year. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida emphasized that “the government will take all possible measures in the forefront to restart nuclear power plants.

August 28, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Signatures submitted for “Hear the Plaintiffs” – Childhood Thyroid Cancer Trial

Aug. 23, 2022
Please allow all of the young plaintiffs to make a statement.”

On August 3, a support group for the plaintiffs in the 311 Childhood Thyroid Cancer Trial, who are suing Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) for thyroid cancer caused by exposure to radiation as a result of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, submitted a petition to the court asking for statements of opinion from all the plaintiffs. On February 2 and 3, a group of supporters of the plaintiffs submitted signatures to the court demanding that all plaintiffs make a statement of their opinions.

The signatures were submitted by the 311 Thyroid Cancer Children Support Network. The group submitted 6,395 signatures to the Tokyo District Court, which it had been calling for since June, demanding that all plaintiffs state their opinions and that the case be tried in “grand court. At a press conference held prior to the submission, attorney Kenjiro Kitamura stressed the importance of the statements of opinion, saying, “It is extremely important to hear directly from the plaintiffs themselves about the reality of the damage, including their suffering and thoughts.

Attorney Yuki Saito, who is in charge of the two plaintiffs, explained that the plaintiffs in this trial are of a relatively young generation, and that “the plaintiffs became ill when they were small children and suppressed their feelings so that their parents would not worry. He stated that it is extremely difficult to have multiple plaintiffs present their opinions on a single trial date because it takes a lot of effort just to prepare one plaintiff’s opinion statement.

After the opinion statements, the plaintiffs were able to talk about their feelings with each other.

A plaintiff who participated in the press conference also reflected, “Around the time I joined this trial, I rarely talked about my painful experiences and feelings to other people,” and added, “Plaintiff No. 2 spent two months last time (for the first oral argument) to talk about his suffering. After facing her suffering and putting it into words, and delivering her voice directly to the judge, she was able to learn about the feelings of others in similar situations, and she was able to talk about her feelings with other plaintiffs.” and expressed the plaintiffs’ thoughts and feelings

Attorney Kitamura commented that the plaintiffs, who had kept their minds closed, were beginning to face up to the damage they had suffered through the trial, “For them, it is like rubbing salt in the wound, but I think it is a necessary step for them to take a new step forward. He added, “No matter how painful it is, facing it is inherently redeeming.” He added emphatically, “I think it is absolutely necessary for us to really move forward from now on.”

August 28, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment

S. Korean researchers find ways to decontaminate radioactive water from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant

August 23, 2022

Plans by Japan to release wastewater from the devastated Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean are fueling renewed interest in efforts to effectively eliminate radioactive elements.
Well researchers here appear to be have made some remarkable advances to that end.
Shin Ye-eun has details.

“In a few months, we may see coasts like where I’m at right now contaminated with nuclear waste.
That’s because Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has given the green light to release radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant starting next spring.
Though the Japanese government said it would dilute the water so tritium levels fall below what’s considered dangerous, neighboring countries like South Korea and China have expressed concerns.
That’s why a group of researchers here in the country has decided to take action.
They’ve found a way to get rid of harmful, radioactive elements like iodine from the sea.
Let’s go find out how.”

The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute took the initiative in 2019.
In just three years, they have accomplished what other researchers around the world couldn’t.
They found a way to selectively remove radioactive iodine from water.

What did the trick was coating magnetic iron nanoparticles with platinum.
Because platinum sticks well to iodine, it can suck the radioactive particles out.
Being able to selectively remove radioactive elements is set to be a game changer.

“We’ve now found a way to easily and efficiently save the earth. Unlike other adsorbents out there, ours can be used up to 1-hundred times. Because we’re able to selectively get rid of radioactive iodine, the cleaned-up water can still be of use.”

The latest development can also be used at hospitals, to clean up radioactive waste from anticancer drugs.
It can also selectively extract natural iodine, which is used to make medicine.
The team leader said more developments are on the way.

“Right now, we’re only able to decontaminate 20 liters of water at once. We hope we can expand the maximum capacity before this development gets commercialized. We’re also working on extracting other radioactive elements like caesium.”

“Once this technology is commercialized, South Korea will be one of the first countries in the world to suck out millions of tons worth of iodine from the sea.

August 28, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Respite for Japan as radioactive water accumulation slows in Fukushima

Isn’t it a strange coincidence that at the time Tepco is forcing down our throat its plan to dump its “tainted” water into our sea it is now announcing that it has managed to reduce its “tainted” water accumulation, they really think that we are that stupid to not see through their lies, that after 12 years of repeated lies!!!

This photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter in February 2022 shows tanks used to store treated water on the premises of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

August 20, 2022

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Tanks containing treated water at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant are likely to reach capacity around the fall of 2023, later than the initially predicted spring of next year, as the pace of the accumulation of radioactive water slowed in fiscal 2021.

The slowdown, based on an estimate by operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., gives some breathing space to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government if any roadblocks are thrown up in the plan to discharge the treated water into the sea starting around spring next year.

China and South Korea as well as local fishing communities that fear reputational damage to their products remain concerned and have expressed opposition to the plan.

About 1.30 million tons of treated water has accumulated at the Fukushima Daiichi plant following the 2011 nuclear disaster, and it is inching closer to the capacity of 1.37 million tons.

The water became contaminated after being pumped in to cool melted reactor fuel at the plant and has been accumulating at the complex, also mixing with rainwater and groundwater.

According to the plan, the water — treated through an advanced liquid processing system, or ALPS, that removes radionuclides except for tritium — will be released 1-kilometer off the Pacific coast of the plant through an underwater pipe.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has been conducting safety reviews of the discharge plan and Director General Rafael Grossi says the U.N. nuclear watchdog will support Japan before, during and after the release of the water, based on science.

An IAEA task force, established last year, is made up of independent and highly regarded experts with diverse technical backgrounds from various countries including China and South Korea.

Japan’s new industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura says the government and TEPCO will go ahead with the discharge plan around the spring of 2023 and stresses the two parties will strengthen communication with local residents and fishermen, as well as neighboring countries, to win their understanding.

Beijing and Seoul are among the 12 countries and regions that still have restrictions on food imports from Japan imposed in the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami triggered nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima plant in March 2011.

“We will improve our communication methods so we can convey information backed by scientific evidence to people both at home and abroad more effectively,” Nishimura said after taking up the current post in a Cabinet reshuffle Wednesday.

Kishida instructed Nishimura to focus on the planned discharge of ALPS-treated water that will be diluted with seawater to one-40th of the maximum concentration of tritium permitted under Japanese regulations, according to the chief of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The level is lower than the World Health Organization’s recommended maximum tritium limit for drinking water.

TEPCO will cap the total amount of tritium to be released into the sea as well.

Meanwhile, the Kishida government has decided to set up a 30 billion yen ($227 million) fund to support the fisheries industry and said it will buy seafood if demand dries up due to harmful rumors.

Fishing along the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, known for high-quality seafood, has been recovering from the reputational damage caused by the nuclear accident but the catch volume in 2021 was only about 5,000 tons, or about 20 percent of 2010 levels.

Construction of discharge facilities at the Fukushima plant started in August, while work to slow the infiltration of rain and groundwater was also conducted.

TEPCO said it was able to reduce the pace of accumulation of contaminated water by fixing the roof of a reactor building and cementing soil slopes around the facilities, among other measures, to prevent rainwater penetration.

The volume of radioactive water decreased some 20 tons a day from a year earlier to about 130 tons per day in fiscal 2021, according to the ministry.

The projected timeline to reach the tank capacity has been calculated based on the assumption that about 140 tons of contaminated water will be generated per day, according to METI.

However, storage tanks could still reach their capacity around the summer of next year if heavy precipitation or some unexpected events occur, the ministry said.

As part of preparations for the planned discharge, the Environment Ministry has started measuring tritium concentration at 30 locations on the surface of the sea and seabed around the Fukushima plant, four times a year.

Similarly, the Nuclear Regulation Authority has increased the number of locations it monitors tritium levels by eight to 20. The Fisheries Agency has started measuring tritium concentration in marine products caught along the Pacific coast stretching from Hokkaido to Chiba Prefecture.

Given that it is expected to take several decades to complete the release of treated water, NRA and METI officials urged TEPCO to further curb the generation of contaminated water at the plant.

“We want TEPCO to step up efforts so as to lower the volume of the daily generation of contaminated water to about 100 tons or lower by the end of 2025,” a METI official said.

August 21, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment