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Pacific islands urge Japan to delay release of Fukushima waste over contamination fears

January 18, 2023

SYDNEY, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Pacific island nations are urging Japan to delay the release of water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant over fears fisheries will be contaminated, the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) said on Wednesday.

The Japanese government said last week that water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant could be released into the sea “around this spring or summer,” raising concerns from island nations still grappling with the legacy of nuclear testing decades ago.

Japan had approved the future release of more than 1 million tonnes of water from the site into the ocean after treatment in April 2021.

The PIF, a regional bloc of 17 island nations, argues the release of the water could have a major impact on fishing grounds that island economies rely on, and where up to half of the world’s tuna is sourced.

“Our region is steadfast that there be no discharge until all parties verify it is safe,” PIF Secretary General Henry Puna said on Wednesday at a livestreamed public meeting in Suva, Fiji.

“We must prevent action that will lead or mislead us towards another major nuclear contamination disaster at the hands of others,” he added, saying Pacific islanders continued to endure the long-term impacts of the nuclear testing legacy on a daily basis.

The United States conducted nuclear testing in the Pacific islands in the 1940s and 1950s and the Marshall Islands continues to campaign for more compensation from Washington over lasting health and environmental effects.

France conducted atomic testing between 1966 and 1996 at Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia in the southern Pacific Ocean.

Ken Buesseler, a scientist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, told the forum on Wednesday that a PIF scientific expert panel was urging Japan to reconsider the waste release because it was not supported by data and more information was needed.

Radioactivity moves across the ocean with currents and tides and risks contaminating fish, he said.

A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said Japan had examined several options to address “a unique and challenging situation.” “Japan has weighed the options and effects, has been transparent about its decision, and appears to have adopted an approach in accordance with globally accepted nuclear safety standards,” the spokesperson said.

“We look forward to the Government of Japan’s continued coordination with the IAEA as it monitors the effectiveness of this approach,” the official added, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Japan’s foreign ministry has previously said that regulators deemed it safe to release the water, which would be filtered to remove most isotopes but would still contain traces of tritium, an isotope of hydrogen hard to separate from water.

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/pacific-islands-urge-japan-delay-release-fukushima-waste-over-contamination-2023-01-18/

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January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima: court upholds acquittals of three Tepco executives over disaster

High court in Japan agreed defendants could not have predicted the massive tsunami that crippled the power plant and triggered a nuclear meltdown

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma. Three Tepco executives have had their acquittals on negligence charges upheld by a court in Japan.

January 18, 2023

Three former executives from the company that operates the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have had their not-guilty verdicts upheld by a court in Japan, dealing a blow to campaigners demanding the firm take legal responsibility for the disaster in March 2011.

The Tokyo high court on Wednesday cleared Tsunehisa Katsumata, the former chairman of Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), along with former vice-presidents Ichiro Takekuro and Sakae Muto, of professional negligence resulting in death.

The court said the defendants could not have predicted the massive tsunami that crippled the power plant and triggered the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chornobyl in 1986.

The three men were indicted in 2016 for allegedly failing to take measures to defend the plant against tsunamis, resulting in the deaths of 44 people, including elderly patients at a hospital, who had to be evacuated after the disaster.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant, on Japan’s north-eastern coast, was hit by a massive tsunami caused by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, the strongest in Japan’s recorded history.

More than 18,000 people died in the tsunami, but no one was recorded as having been directly killed by the nuclear meltdowns, which caused massive radiation leaks and forced the evacuation of more than 150,000 people living nearby – some of whom have only recently been given permission to return to their homes.

Wednesday’s ruling affirmed a similar verdict delivered by the Tokyo district court in September 2019.

The trial focused on whether the former executives should have foreseen the massive tsunami and taken extra precautions, such as constructing a bigger seawall, to prevent a catastrophe.

A government evaluation of earthquake risks published in 2002 estimated that tsunami waves of up to 15.7 metres (51ft) in height could strike Fukushima Daiichi. The findings were passed on to Tepco in 2008 – three years before the disaster when a 14-metre wave struck, the Kyodo news agency said.

Tepco has argued it was powerless to take precautions against a tsunami of the size that struck the plant almost 12 years ago, and that it had done everything possible to protect it.

The original district court ruling, however, cast doubt on the credibility of the government’s evaluation, saying the defendants “could not have logically predicted tsunami waves over 10 metres in height”, Kyodo reported.

Although they have twice been acquitted in the only criminal case against Tepco executives arising from the disaster, a separate verdict in July in a civil case against the same three men and Tepco’s former president, Masataka Shimizu, ordered them to pay ¥13.32tn (£80bn at the time) for failing to prevent the disaster.

In contrast to Wednesday’s decision, the court said the government’s assessment had been reliable enough to oblige Tepco to take preventive measures.

While that ruling – the first to find Tepco executives liable for damage resulting from the disaster – carries symbolic significance, lawyers have said the defendants do not have the means to pay the sum, believed to be the largest ever awarded in a civil lawsuit in Japan.

Media reports said they would be expected to pay as much as their assets allowed.

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Where the judgement of the Tokyo High Court went wrong

Credits to Yuichi Kaido

January 18, 2023

If you read this, you can understand that yesterday’s decision by the Tokyo High Court considers nuclear power safety measures inadequate and prepare for the next brutal accident.

At the beginning of the attorney general’s statement published yesterday, we said: Regarding the long-term evaluation of the projection, the verdict said, “as a country, it is debated and placed weight that cannot be overlooked,” but in this view, it denied the necessity for tsunami measures based on the research findings to base this, and the reliability based on the “real possibility” of stopping nuclear power plants from running.

Seeking “realistic possibilities” about scientific opinion based on accident measures is clearly a mistake, given the current state of geology. I believe such a judgement exonerates not taking necessary accident measures and dangerous logic to prepare for the next nuclear accident. “

I think the conclusion is clear which of these two decisions will withstand the criticism of history by Judge Hosoda, who refused the local inspection, flipped the empty arguments on the desk and wrote an empty verdict, will stand up to the criticism of history.

*******************

The degree of credibility required by knowledge

Since operators who install (and operate nuclear power plants have a duty above all to prevent brutal accidents, the safety of nuclear power plants is impaired by the expected tsunami (predictable tsunami) based on the latest scientific and technical findings, the safety of the nuclear power plant plants is impaired, and if brutal accidents occur, they are obliged to take necessary measures to prevent this, and the director recognizes the risk, or can take action. As explained in No. 2 (The defendants’ duty of good governance as the director of Tokyo Electric Power).

Conversely, at nuclear power plant, the risk of accidents occurring in case of an event that exceeds the expected is greatly different between earthquakes and tsunami, and if you use only a dry site concept like the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant as a measure against tsunami, it is absolutely safe as long as the tsunami does not exceed the expected height, but if it exceeds the expected height, there will be a cliff edge incident that causes sudden damage to the core and reaches the core, due to a severe accident caused by loss of all power. Therefore, if our predictions are credible for scientifically predicted tsunami, it will be extremely important to avoid the presumed tsunami measures.

Therefore, considering whether a certain degree of credibility is required in order to have scientific opinion on predictions of tsunami, which is required for the director of the company that sets up and runs nuclear power plants to avoid measures

(1) If safety measures are taken as a prerequisite for tsunami in the world, and the company that operates and operates nuclear power plants, and safety is the first priority, while in reality, resources are limited, etc., etc., and if safety measures are a priority, as a prelude to all the predictions of tsunami of all the contents that exist in the world, (there is a risk of lack of resources (without resources and resources) that should be allocated for the truly necessary measures, or there is a surplus.

There is a risk of incalculable risk of bodily safety. It is therefore believed that in nuclear engineering, zero risk is not required, and safety measures should be taken that do not create undue risks ( 生155).

On the other hand, scientific findings, often earthquakes and tsunami. Opinions on natural phenomena are constantly advancing and developing that natural phenomena, such as earthquakes and tsunami, are essentially a matter of the galaxy, and since it is principle impossible to make complete predictions. Since it is impossible to experiment on them, we can only learn from past events, but there is a limit that there is little data from the past. Therefore, with regard to findings widely considered established, i.e. not the latest scientific findings, not necessarily all researchers agree, the latest scientific opinion, where clarification and understanding are currently progressing, there will essentially be researchers who disagree. Therefore, for example, if you ask for excessive reliability of scientific findings in the pretext of tsunami, such as the absence of disagreement among researchers, or the attached data is complete, the tsunami that is waiting to happen will not be sufficient, and the safety of nuclear power plants will not be shaken (severe accidents caused by the loss of all power).

Therefore, when considering these collectively, in order to have scientific findings on tsunami predictions that are required by the directors of companies that establish and operate nuclear power plants to avoid measures, the findings expressed in the papers of certain researchers and so on are not enough, for example, in public institutions and councils that consider tsunami forecasts, serious scrutiny has been made among researchers and experts who have a considerable amount of research practice in that field, You have to understand that there is and enough. And in the case of such findings, it can be said that unless there are specific circumstances such as collected despite being scientifically and strictly unreasonable, the director of the company that installs and operates the nuclear power plant can be obliged to follow the tsunami measures based on that findings.

(2)a In this regard, the defendants and Tokyo Electric Power Corporation are required to quote the opinion of Professor Imamura ( 、156) regarding the scientific findings of the predictions of tsunami, where the CEO of the company that operates and operates nuclear power plants are required to take measures, and to be able to justify the need for measures, using a scientific basis, specifically, the tsunami, or at least the scientific consensus has been obtained that it is always tsunami, in which there is a scientific consensus that it is always a tsunami or at least a scientific basis. Insisting on needing and etc.

の However, if interpreted as the above assertion, many researchers and experts with relevant practice recognize that it is reasonable to assume that there is a chance of large-scale tsunami earthquake occurring in a certain area, when the location of wave sources cannot be calculated on a specific basis and the interval of occurrence over a certain period of time, the director of the company operating nuclear power plant is a measure to prevent severe accidents from tsunami (Opinion of Prof. Imamura According to this thinking, if an unexpected tsunami occurs at a nuclear power plant, the Cliff Edge event is likely to cause extremely severe damage due to loss of total power. If the prediction is credible, it would be necessary to avoid tsunami measures, but not to take measures except certain things, i.e. the severity of total power loss due to a tsunami, if the prediction is reliable. It is clear that it is unreasonable, given the importance of ensuring the high safety of nuclear power plants, which is hidden in standards related to the standard of safety etc.

考 Also, views like the above claim require that, in addition to the credibility of scientific findings, the information for nuclear companies to take easy measures is clear, but since there are some uncertainties in the findings, it is possible to take measures with the appropriate room taken into account on the safety side (this opinion indicates that it is dangerous, but it is unreasonable that measures cannot be mandatory if it is not indicated what extent to take. ), overstating the convenience of measures by nuclear power operators rather than ensuring safety is not acceptable.

According to the construction industry (I have to say that the allegations made by the defendants and Tokyo Electric Power Corporation are difficult to accept.

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo court upholds not guilty verdict for ex-Tepco execs over Fukushima disaster

Support group members of plaintiffs show off banners reading “All innocent. Wrongful judgment” after the The Tokyo High Court upheld a not guilty verdict for former Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) executives of negligence over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power station disaster, in front of the court in Tokyo, Japan, January 18, 2023

TOKYO, Jan 18 (Reuters) – The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday upheld a not guilty criminal verdict by a lower court that cleared former Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) (9501.T) executives of negligence over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power station disaster.

Former Tepco Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 82, and one-time executives Sakae Muto, 72, and Ichiro Takekuro, 77, were all found not guilty by the Tokyo District Court in 2019, in the only criminal case to arise out of the world’s worst nuclear crisis since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

The ruling on Wednesday to uphold the not guilty verdict sits at odds with a separate civil case brought to the Tokyo court by Tepco shareholders, which found four former executives responsible for the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Judges ordered the former executives to pay 13 trillion yen ($99.14 billion) in damages in the civil lawsuit. The court judged that the executives could have prevented the disaster if they had exercised due care. Criminal lawsuits in Japan are broadly interpreted to have a higher standard of proof than civil cases.

“I’m really surprised. Most other lawsuits have found that Tepco is guilty, so I can’t understand why the criminal court is the odd one out,” said Masako Sawai, who is part of a civil group accusing the former executives of negligence.

The trial, which started in June 2017, was conducted by state-appointed lawyers after prosecutors decided not to bring charges against the Tepco executives.

“We are aware that there is an ongoing lawsuit over the criminal responsibility of three former executives regarding the nuclear disaster, but we will refrain from commenting on the case,” a spokesperson for Tepco said.

The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear station, located about 220 kilometres (130 miles) northeast of Tokyo, was rocked by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011, sparking three reactor meltdowns and prompting Japan to shut down its entire fleet of nuclear reactors.

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/tokyo-court-upholds-not-guilty-verdict-ex-tepco-execs-over-fukushima-disaster-2023-01-18/?fbclid=IwAR2_1kbQYYHVEKrBcK8Fr4uR8pT0dpDiKCTK9MuzAt1BUHNHxmAaHBAO60k

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Soil separation and soil storage in Fukushima

Credits to Arkadiusz Podniesinsk

January 10, 12023

Today I visited the temporary waste dump adjacent to the power plant. I’ve been here several times, but this is the first time I’m with someone who can explain everything.

So, the temporary waste dump is a large area of 1600 hectares where contaminated soil from decontamination of areas from the whole prefecture goes. Before the disaster, most of these areas were cultivated fields, but there was also a fish processing plant, a school, a kindergarten and other public utilities. After the disaster, the entire area was bought by the government for the purpose of a landfill.

Currently, several plants have been built here that deal with sorting contaminated soil, ie. by separating wood, leaves, metals and other pollution (except radioactive contamination). The fire material is then burned and the ash is stored in special concrete containers. On the other hand, large, 15 meters high hills are dumped from the cleared soil, although when the grass grows they look more like small hills. Several layers of insulation are laid at the bottom of each mound and an irrigation system is being built that collects the flowing contaminated water to the treatment plant. Every mound has such an installation. At the end, I have attached a photo so that you can better understand the process described.

According to the name, the land will be stored here temporarily (up to 30 years) until a place for final storage is found. Research is currently underway on how to effectively reduce the amount of contaminated soil (volume reduction, recycling, new technologies) to minimize the amount of soil that will go to final landfill.

The whole thing is really impressive and above all works. It seems that the Japanese are seriously taking the issue of decontamination, although I personally don’t think that after 30 years such gigantic amounts of land should be transferred elsewhere again. Or at least I won’t see that anymore 🙂.

https://www.facebook.com/arek.podniesinski

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , | Leave a comment

High Court’s TEPCO Fukushima Ruling Could Be Bellwether for Other Cases

From left: Tsunehisa Katsumata, Ichiro Takekuro and Sakae Muto

January 16, 2023

Could the meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have been prevented? The Tokyo High Court is looking into a criminal case and will soon rule on whether the unprecedented accident could have been prevented by expecting such a massive tsunami. Civil court rulings on the same issue have been split, so all eyes are on the high court to see how it will rule.

The Tokyo High Court will on Wednesday hand down its ruling on whether three former executives of what was then Tokyo Electric Power Co. are responsible for the accident in 2011. The three had been acquitted by the Tokyo District Court of charges of professional negligence resulting in death.

The lower court’s ruling in September 2019 acquitted former TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former Executive Vice Presidents Ichiro Takekuro and Sakae Muto, who were in charge of the nuclear power plant.

During closing arguments of the appeal at the Tokyo High Court on June 6, 2022, court-appointed lawyers for the prosecution criticized the lower court decision.

“Denying that the defendants had responsibility is unjust,” one said, demanding the district court ruling be overturned.

The three defendants were handed mandatory indictment on charges related to causing the nuclear accident by failing to take measures even though they could expect such a huge tsunami, resulting in the deaths of 44 people who were evacuated from Futaba Hospital in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture.

The two main points of contention in the trial of the three men are whether the massive tsunami could have been expected and whether the accident could have been prevented by taking measures.

In the district court, the judges ruled that “the only way to prevent the accident was to stop the operation of the plant.”

As for expectations of a natural disaster, the government had released in 2002 a long-term assessment that presents the possibility of a massive earthquake and tsunami hitting off places such as Fukushima Prefecture. The district court ruled that such an assessment was unreliable and deemed that the defendants could not be held criminally liable because they “could not expect a massive tsunami in concrete terms and were under no legal obligation to stop the operation of the plant.”

The district court limited the possible measures to prevent the accident to the “shutdown of the plant,” a measure that is not readily practiced.

During the appeal, the appointed lawyers for the prosecution emphasized that a shutdown of a plant is the last resort, and the accident could have been prevented through basic measures such as building higher seawalls and making the plant facilities watertight. The defense reiterated that there were no errors in the judgment of the lower court.

Split decisions

The appeal began in November 2021 and concluded after three hearings at the Tokyo High Court. The appointed lawyers requested the examination of witnesses, including former Japan Meteorological Agency officials who participated in the compilation of the assessment, as well as an on-site inspection by judges. But these requests were turned down.

During a civil trial at the Tokyo High Court in February 2021, however, the ruling adopted the long-term assessment as “reliable” evidence.

At the Supreme Court, an appeal of this civil suit was heard and ruled upon in June 2022. The top court did not clearly express the reliability of the assessment nor the predictability of a massive tsunami, but ruled that the central government, the defendant, was not responsible for the accident.

“The size of the tsunami was larger than expected, and the accident could not have been prevented,” the Supreme Court said.

Shortly after this trial, however, the Tokyo District Court in July recognized the reliability of the assessment in a shareholder derivative lawsuit filed by shareholders of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings. The court, in saying that “the tsunami was predictable and the accident could have been prevented,” ordered the abovenamed former TEPCO executives and former TEPCO President Masataka Shimizu to pay about ¥13 trillion in compensation. This case adopted almost the same evidence as the current criminal trial, but the conclusion was the opposite of the one reached by the same court in the criminal trial.

Chuo University Assistant Prof. Satoshi Tanii, who specializes in the theory of criminal negligence, said that the hurdle for finding liability in a criminal trial where an individual faces punishment can be higher than that for a civil trial.

“In addition to the reliability of the long-term assessment, whether the measures to prevent accidents are limited to a shutdown or include more practical moves such as watertight measures will become one of the points that will determine the guilt or innocence of the defendants,” he said.

Source: https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/society/crime-courts/20230116-84274/

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Interview: Japan’s unilateral radioactive wastewater discharge irresponsible, harmful: green activist

The Japanese government has claimed that the contaminated water could be diluted with water and discharged at a low concentration after being treated with an advanced liquid processing system (ALPS).

The green activist, however, noted that the radioactive substances cannot be completely filtered through the ALPS, saying substances, such as tritium, will be poured into the sea unfiltered.

According to the South Korean environmental group’s analysis of the 2021 data from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, cesium was detected from 8 percent of Japanese fishery products.

“The Pacific Ocean is not the sea of Japan, but the sea of everybody … Pollutants will flow to neighboring countries in a situation that a lot of radioactive materials have already been released and contaminated (the marine ecosystem),” said the green activist.

(Xinhua) January 16, 2023

SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) — Japan’s unilateral push to discharge radioactive wastewater from its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean is irresponsible and harmful, as the Japanese government pursued it without consultations with neighboring countries, a South Korean green activist said.

“It is very concerned that Japan is still unilaterally pushing for the discharge of the Fukushima contaminated water,” Ahn Jae-hun, energy and climate change director at the Korea Federation for Environment Movement, told Xinhua on Saturday.

“Neighboring countries such as (South) Korea and China could suffer more direct damage, so Japan had to consult with them. The problem is that Japan follows its own process (without consultations),” said Ahn.

“A sizeable amount of the contaminated water, such as tritium, is difficult to purify no matter how much purification is performed. It is very irresponsible to release it as it is.”

Japan’s planned release of tritium-laced wastewater from the Fukushima power plant into the sea will start around this spring or summer, according to Kyodo News reports citing the Japanese government.

Japan decided in April 2021 to start dumping about 1.25 million tons of nuclear wastewater into the ocean spanning 30 years from 2023.

The Japanese government has claimed that the contaminated water could be diluted with water and discharged at a low concentration after being treated with an advanced liquid processing system (ALPS).

The green activist, however, noted that the radioactive substances cannot be completely filtered through the ALPS, saying substances, such as tritium, will be poured into the sea unfiltered.

“A lot of radioactive materials have already flowed into the sea after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Because of that, fish contaminated with cesium are caught in waters off Fukushima,” said Ahn.

According to the South Korean environmental group’s analysis of the 2021 data from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, cesium was detected from 8 percent of Japanese fishery products.

“Once (the contaminated water) is thrown into the sea, it cannot be retrieved. Environmental effects from radioactive materials cannot be felt immediately, but will inevitably appear over a long period of time,” Ahn said.

“The Pacific Ocean is not the sea of Japan, but the sea of everybody … Pollutants will flow to neighboring countries in a situation that a lot of radioactive materials have already been released and contaminated (the marine ecosystem),” said the green activist.

The South Korean government, which has opposed the radioactive wastewater dumping by Japan, reiterated its opposition.

“Putting top priority on public health and safety, the government will continue to respond by maintaining its position that the contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant should be safely disposed of in accordance with international standards from the objective and scientific perspectives,” a South Korean foreign ministry official said Friday.

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

China urges Japan to safely dispose of nuclear-contaminated water

Xinhua | 2023-01-16

BEIJING — China once again urges Japan to take the reasonable concerns of relevant parties seriously and dispose of its nuclear-contaminated water in a science-based, open, transparent and safe manner, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday.

Wang made the remarks at a daily news briefing here in response to reports that Japan would pipe nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power station into the ocean during the spring and summer this year.

Wang said that over the past two years, the international community has strongly questioned and opposed the unilateral and erroneous decision of the Japanese government to discharge nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean, and expressed grave concerns over the impact such an action would have on the marine environment and public health.

Wang said the majority of the Japanese public is also opposed to this irresponsible approach. When polled, 55 percent of respondents opposed the disposal of contaminated water into the ocean.

“It is regrettable that the concerns of all parties have yet to be given due attention or be addressed by Japan,” Wang said, adding that Japan has failed to provide scientific and credible explanations concerning the legitimacy of its plan, the accuracy of data on the nuclear-contaminated water, the effectiveness of the treatment system, and the uncertainties about the environmental impact.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has sent three technical task forces to Japan and so far, there has been no conclusive resolution on Japan’s proposal, Wang said, noting that the agency has also issued many requests to Japan, seeking clarifications or making recommendations for improved disposal plans.

“Under such circumstances, it is reckless and irresponsible for Japan to approve the discharge plan and proceed with the relevant construction project,” he said.

Wang said that China once again urges Japan to take the reasonable concerns of relevant parties seriously, and dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in a science-based, open, transparent and safe manner. Japan should subject to the strict monitoring of the IAEA, and protect the marine environment, health rights and interests of all people, he added.

“Without authorization and full consultation with its neighbors, other stakeholders and relevant international institutions, Japan should not begin the discharge of nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean,” Wang said.

https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202301/16/WS63c551cea31057c47eba9e94.html

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Righting shoddy nuclear waste storage site to cost Japan 36 bil. yen (280 million US$)

File photo taken in October 2021 shows the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Tokai Reprocessing Plant in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, eastern Japan

Jan 15, 2023

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency estimates that it will cost taxpayers 36.1 billion yen ($280 million) to rectify the shoddy storage of radioactive waste in a storage pool at the Tokai Reprocessing Plant, the nation’s first facility for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, an official said Sunday.

Around 800 containers of transuranic radioactive waste, or “TRU waste,” were dropped into the pool from 1977 to 1991 using a wire in the now-disused plant in Tokai, a village in Ibaraki Prefecture northeast of Tokyo. They emit high levels of radiation.

The waste includes pieces of metal cladding tubes that contained spent nuclear fuel, generated during the reprocessing process. The containers are ultimately supposed to be buried more than 300 meters below surface.

The agency has estimated that 19.1 billion yen will be needed to build a new storage facility for the containers, and 17 billion yen for a building that will cover the storage pool and the crane equipment to grab containers.

The 794 containers each are about 80 centimeters in diameter, 90 cm tall and weigh about 1 ton, with many lying on their sides or overturned in the pool. Some have had their shape altered by the impact of being dropped.

The containers were found stored in the improper manner in the 1990s. While the agency said the storage is secure from earthquakes and tsunamis, it has nonetheless decided to improve the situation.

The extractions have been delayed by about 10 years from the original plan and are expected to begin in the mid-2030s.

The Tokai Reprocessing Plant was the nation’s first plant that reprocessed spent fuel from nuclear reactors to recover uranium and plutonium. Between 1977 and 2007, about 1,140 tons of fuel were reprocessed. The plant’s dismantlement was decided in 2014 and is expected to take about 70 years at a cost of 1 trillion yen.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2023/01/a53b75be634e-righting-shoddy-nuclear-waste-storage-site-to-cost-japan-36-bil-yen.html?fbclid=IwAR0noJR_TWvTNwv4_hAdYklAJ8kwH8RMeimCap7YVvL8vc8hz8JneYMBBlo


January 20, 2023 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Japanese public opposes plan to dump radioactive water into sea

TOKYO, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) — The Japanese government’s latest radioactive wastewater discharge plan scheduled for this spring or summer is facing an angry backlash among the public, especially those in the fishing industry, who felt uneasy about the decision.

The Japanese government on Friday said a controversial plan to release radioactive wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan’s northeast into the Pacific Ocean will start in the spring or summer.

Japan’s dumping of the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea is suspected of violating the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, as well as the 1996 protocol to the convention, Masahide Kimura, member of a Japanese anti-nuclear campaign group, told Xinhua.

Such a plan also violates the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as Japan’s foreign ministry admitted that the area where the discharge occurred is not of inland waters, Kimura said.

Kimura believed that spreading radioactive materials should not be allowed, as only storage is the means of prevention, and efforts should be prioritized to stop the inflow of groundwater and prevent the continued increase of nuclear-contaminated water.

Japan’s environment ministry has not yet assessed the environmental impact of the decades-long discharge of the nuclear-contaminated water into the North Pacific Ocean, he noted.

“The opposition to the discharge of treated water into the ocean has not changed in the slightest,” Masanobu Sakamoto, president of the National Fisheries Cooperative Federation of Japan, said in a statement on Friday, demanding a serious response from the government.

Government support for the fishing industry is essential to make up for the damage done to its reputation, Takuya Tasso, governor of Japan’s Iwate Prefecture, told the press.

Despite strengthened information released by the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) since last December, the discharge plan at present has not yet gained the “full understanding of citizens and fishery stakeholders,” according to Hiroyuki Uchida, mayor of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture.

Uchida hoped that the government and TEPCO would earnestly fulfill their original commitment, which meant no disposal of the nuclear-polluted water will be carried out without the understanding of relevant parties.

An official with the Miyagi Prefecture Fisheries Co-operative told the press that they will continue to express opposition, ensuring that fishermen do not suffer losses while firmly stating what is necessary to sustain their livelihoods.

In fact, the government’s plan to dump the contaminated water into the sea has been opposed by civil groups in Japan since it was launched in April 2021.

Last September, a joint petition of 42,000 people opposing the discharge plan and demanding other ways to deal with the contaminated water was submitted to TEPCO and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry by representatives from livelihood co-operative societies in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures as well as the fisheries association of Miyagi.

About 51 percent of respondents were “against” and “relatively opposed” to the idea of discharging the filtered wastewater into the sea after diluting it to national standards, according to a survey by the country’s public broadcaster NHK at the end of 2020.

A poll published by the Asahi Shimbun in early 2021 showed that 55 percent surveyed were opposed to the disposal of the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea after treatment.

https://english.news.cn/20230115/4b8b560c8bf7452f819a331d92383644/c.html

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s unilateral radioactive wastewater discharge irresponsible, harmful: green activist

“The Pacific Ocean is not the sea of Japan, but the sea of everybody … Pollutants will flow to neighboring countries in a situation that a lot of radioactive materials have already been released and contaminated (the marine ecosystem),” said the green activist.

File photo taken on Oct. 12, 2017 shows huge tanks that store contaminated radioactive wastewater in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.

Source: Xinhua 2023-01-15

“It is very concerned that Japan is still unilaterally pushing for the discharge of the Fukushima contaminated water,” energy and climate change director at the Korea Federation for Environment Movement said.

SEOUL, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) — Japan’s unilateral push to discharge radioactive wastewater from its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean is irresponsible and harmful, as the Japanese government pursued it without consultations with neighboring countries, a South Korean green activist said.

“It is very concerned that Japan is still unilaterally pushing for the discharge of the Fukushima contaminated water,” Ahn Jae-hun, energy and climate change director at the Korea Federation for Environment Movement, told Xinhua on Saturday.

“Neighboring countries such as (South) Korea and China could suffer more direct damage, so Japan had to consult with them. The problem is that Japan follows its own process (without consultations),” said Ahn.

“A sizeable amount of the contaminated water, such as tritium, is difficult to purify no matter how much purification is performed. It is very irresponsible to release it as it is.”

Japan’s planned release of tritium-laced wastewater from the Fukushima power plant into the sea will start around this spring or summer, according to Kyodo News reports citing the Japanese government.

Japan decided in April 2021 to start dumping about 1.25 million tons of nuclear wastewater into the ocean spanning 30 years from 2023.

The Japanese government has claimed that the contaminated water could be diluted with water and discharged at a low concentration after being treated with an advanced liquid processing system (ALPS).

The green activist, however, noted that the radioactive substances cannot be completely filtered through the ALPS, saying substances, such as tritium, will be poured into the sea unfiltered.

“A lot of radioactive materials have already flowed into the sea after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Because of that, fish contaminated with cesium are caught in waters off Fukushima,” said Ahn.

According to the South Korean environmental group’s analysis of the 2021 data from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, cesium was detected from 8 percent of Japanese fishery products.

“Once (the contaminated water) is thrown into the sea, it cannot be retrieved. Environmental effects from radioactive materials cannot be felt immediately, but will inevitably appear over a long period of time,” Ahn said.

“The Pacific Ocean is not the sea of Japan, but the sea of everybody … Pollutants will flow to neighboring countries in a situation that a lot of radioactive materials have already been released and contaminated (the marine ecosystem),” said the green activist.

The South Korean government, which has opposed the radioactive wastewater dumping by Japan, reiterated its opposition.

“Putting top priority on public health and safety, the government will continue to respond by maintaining its position that the contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant should be safely disposed of in accordance with international standards from the objective and scientific perspectives,” a South Korean foreign ministry official said Friday.

https://english.news.cn/20230115/d0affa1c0f3747e8b36fce7babbe7644/c.html

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima News Live:Japan Plans To Release Water From Destroyed Nuclear Plant

January 13, 2023

Japan said that it will dispose a million tonnes of water into the sea from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant this year. Despite the International Atomic Energy Agency calling the process safe, concerns have been raised by the neighbouring countries

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan Eyes Delay of Fukushima Plant Water Release

The plan to released treated radioactive wastewater has been fiercely opposed by local residents and Japan’s neighbors, including China and South Korea.

This aerial photo shows the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, north of Tokyo, on March 17, 2022.

By Mari Yamaguchi
January 14, 2023

Japan has revised the timing of a planned release to the sea of treated but still radioactive wastewater at the Fukushima nuclear power plant to “around spring or summer,” indicating a delay from the initial target of this spring, after factoring in the progress of a release tunnel and the need to gain public support.

The government and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, announced in April 2021 a plan to begin releasing the treated wastewater into the sea starting in spring 2023. They say more than 1 million tons of water stored in about 1,000 tanks at the plant are hampering its decommissioning and risk leaking in the event of a major earthquake or tsunami.

Under the current plan, TEPCO will transport the treated water through a pipeline from the tanks to a coastal facility, where it will be diluted with seawater and sent through an undersea tunnel, currently under construction, to an offshore outlet. The company has acknowledged the possibility of rough winter weather and sea conditions delaying the tunnel progress.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu told reporters Friday the government has adopted a revised action plan, which includes enhanced efforts to ensure safety and measures to financially support the local fishing industry and a new release target of “around spring or summer this year.”

TEPCO President Kobayakawa Tomoaki said that despite the government’s new timing for the wastewater release, his company still aims to have the facility ready by the spring. He also acknowledged a lack of local understanding about the release and pledged to continue efforts to ease safety concerns.

A massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed the Fukushima plant’s cooling systems, causing three reactors to melt and release large amounts of radiation. Water used to cool the damaged reactor cores, which remain highly radioactive, has since leaked into the basements of the reactor buildings and has been collected, treated and stored in tanks.

The release plan has been fiercely opposed by fishermen, local residents, and Japan’s neighbors, including China and South Korea. Fukushima residents worry the reputation of their agricultural and fishing products will be further damaged.

Most of the radioactivity is removed from the water during treatment, but tritium cannot be removed and low levels of some other radionuclides also remain. The government and TEPCO say the environmental and health impacts will be negligible as the water will be slowly released after further treatment and dilution by large amounts of seawater.

Some scientists say the impact of long-term, low-dose exposure to tritium and other radionuclides on the environment and humans is still unknown and the release plan should be delayed. They say tritium affects humans more when it is consumed in fish.

Japan is cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency to increase the safety, transparency, and understanding of the water discharge plan. An IAEA team that visited Japan a number of times for talks and plant inspections last year will visit again in January to meet with nuclear regulators and will release a final report before the planned release begins.

https://thediplomat.com/2023/01/japan-eyes-delay-of-fukushima-plant-water-release/

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima water to be released into ocean in next few months, says Japan

Authorities to begin release of a million tonnes of water from stricken nuclear plant after treatment to remove most radioactive material

A worker stands near tanks used to store treated radioactive water used to cool the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The water is soon to be released into the ocean.

January 13, 2023

The controversial release of more than a million tonnes of water from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will begin in the northern spring or summer, Japan’s government has said – a move that has sparked anger among local fishing communities and countries in the region.

The decision comes more than two years after the government approved the release of the water, which will be treated to remove most radioactive materials but will still contain tritium, a naturally occurring radioactive form of hydrogen that is technically difficult to separate from water.

Japanese officials insist the “treated” water will not pose a threat to human health or the marine environment, but the plans face opposition from fishermen who say it risks destroying their livelihoods, almost 12 years after a magnitude-9.0 earthquake triggered a huge tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people along Japan’s north-east coast.

Tsunami waves crashed into Fukushima Daiichi, knocking out its backup electricity supply, triggering meltdowns in three of its reactors and sending large quantities of radiation into the atmosphere in the most serious nuclear accident since Chornobyl a quarter of a century earlier.

The wastewater in Fukushima is being stored in more than 1,000 tanks that officials say need to be removed so the plant can be decommissioned – a process expected to take 30 to 40 years.

Japan’s foreign ministry said in July that regulators had deemed it safe to release the water, which will be gradually discharged into the Pacific ocean via a tunnel after being treated and diluted.

The plan’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), has said its water treatment technology – known as Alps – can remove all radioactive materials from water except tritium, which it says is harmless in small amounts.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has also pointed out that nuclear plants around the world use a similar process to dispose of wastewater containing low-level concentrations of tritium and other radionuclides.

South Korea and China have voiced concern about the discharge, while the Pacific Islands Forum said recently it had “grave concerns” about the proposed release.

Writing in the Guardian, the forum’s secretary general, Henry Puna, said Japan “should hold off on any such release until we are certain about the implications of this proposal on the environment and on human health, especially recognising that the majority of our Pacific peoples are coastal peoples, and that the ocean continues to be an integral part of their subsistence living”.

The South Korean government, which has yet to lift its ban on Fukushima seafood, has said that releasing the water would pose a “grave threat” to marine life. Fishing unions in the area oppose the release, warning it would cause alarm among consumers and derail more than a decade of efforts to reassure the public that Fukushima seafood is safe to eat.

Under the plan approved by Japan’s cabinet on Friday, fishermen who fear that the release will impact their livelihoods will be able to access a new ¥50bn ($385m) fund, the Kyodo news agency said.

“We would like to thoroughly explain these measures to fishing communities and other relevant parties while listening to their concerns,” the chief cabinet secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, said at the meeting, according to Kyodo.

The liquid, which Japanese officials claim is “treated” rather than “contaminated”, comprises water used to cool the damaged reactors, and rain and groundwater that seeps into the area.

Kyodo said the IAEA had conducted several safety reviews of the plan and would issue a report based on its findings, as well as providing support before, during and after the discharge.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/13/fukushima-water-to-be-released-into-ocean-in-next-few-months-says-japan

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fishermen are angry and give up on the policy of discharging treated wastewater into the ocean

January 14, 2023
On January 13, people involved in the fishing industry in Fukushima Prefecture and the surrounding area voiced their anger and resignation over the government’s plan to begin discharging treated water from TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean “around this spring or summer.

In the afternoon of the same day, the fishing port of Kakedo (Namie-cho, Fukushima Prefecture), located about 6 km north of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, was deserted after the landing had already finished, but several fishermen were working on their fishing nets and boats.
 A young fisherman who had started fishing for baby sardines looked resigned: “The government will force me to release the treated water even if I scream,” he said. But I am still afraid of the reputational damage it will cause.
 In Fukushima Prefecture, a test fishery that has been in operation since the nuclear accident ended in March 2021. The catch is about one-fifth of what it was before the accident, but it is gradually recovering. The owner of a fresh fish store in Minamisoma City, which mainly handles fish from the Hiketo fishing port, said angrily, “The fishing season is finally picking up, but if the fish are affected by the release, it will be the end of the season.

The government and TEPCO “have done nothing but lie…keep your promises.
 The fishermen’s wish is to continue the fishing industry. Satoshi Nozaki, chairman of the Fukushima Prefectural Fisheries Federation, has appealed to the government and TEPCO, saying, “We want to continue fishing in Fukushima so that we can hand on to our successors” and “We cannot consent to the discharge into the ocean. The prefectural fisheries federation said it has not been contacted by the government and cannot make any formal comment, but a representative stressed, “We will remain resolutely opposed to this.
 We want them to stop discharging into the ocean. I am just disappointed,” said Tsuneko Nemoto, 66, who runs a trawl fishing business based in the Nakaminato fishing port in Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki Prefecture. She is mindful of the government’s and TEPCO’s promise not to discharge the waste into the ocean without the understanding of those involved. “I don’t trust them because they have lied to us so many times, but they must keep their promise,” she said.
 A representative of the Miyagi Prefectural Fisheries Federation also stated clearly that they were opposed to ocean discharge. He also said that he doubted whether the government’s dissemination of information about the treated water was reassuring to consumers. (Takeshi Yamakawa, Natsuko Katayama, Nozomi Masui, Nagasaki University of Technology)

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment