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Nuclear fuel debris to be collected from 2021

31 july 2017.jpg

 

A government advisory body has compiled a draft blueprint for recovering nuclear fuel debris from the No. 1 to 3 reactors that melted down at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant, it has been learned.

According to the draft from the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation, the recovery project will prioritize collection of debris that has piled up at the bottom of the reactors, installing a robot arm into the reactor containment vessels from the side and controlling it remotely as its main operation.

The aim is to start the project in 2021. All the decommissioning work is expected to be completed sometime from 30 to 40 years after the disaster occurred.

The draft was presented Monday at an expert panel meeting held by the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, to discuss ways to decommission reactors and get rid of contaminated water. The government will decide sometime in September, based on the blueprint, on a means to remove debris from each reactor.

Fuel penetrated pressure vessels that contain reactor cores, causing debris to form at different levels on the bottom of the containment vessels of the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors.

It was decided to recover the fuel from the side because that will allow work to retrieve fuel from spent pools located in the upper part of the reactor buildings to be conducted at the same time. If recovery was attempted from above, the robot arm would have to reach down to the bottom of the containment vessels, about 30 meters away. The distance would be only about 10 meters if the arm is installed from the side, making it easier to work on the project. The draft deems it feasible to recover debris from the side to get things started.

Details will be discussed in the future, but the draft suggests making use of holes in the containment vessels’ wall or boring new ones, from which the robot arm can be installed to be operated remotely.

Fuel debris

A substance created when atomic fuel such as uranium reaches high heat, begins to melt with metal fuel cladding and the material of the reactor’s structure, and then consolidates. The shape, hardness and content of debris vary depending on how it was formed, so it can resemble rocks, pebbles or sand. When recovering it, care must be taken not to trigger recriticality.

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003852307

August 7, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Radioactive Contamination of Oceans: Sellafield, La Hague, Fukushima

Frankly speaking, I find it amazing that the people and the media talk so much about Fukushima Daiichi having leaked contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean since March 2011, and about Tepco possible future release of the tritiated water accumulated on site into the Pacific Ocean.

Whereas nobody ever talks about how much contaminated water the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing site on England’s west coast has been releasing into the Irish Sea (then from there flowing into the Atlantic Ocean), and how much contaminated water the La Hague nuclear fuel reprocessing site on France west coast has been releasing into the English Channel (then from there flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.

If you think that Fukushima Daiichi is contaminating the Pacific Ocean since 2011, why are aren’t you aware that Sellafield and La Hague have been contaminating the Atlantic Ocean for decades already?

Both sites having large pipes underwater going far from the land into the sea, both releasing their contaminated water at sea now for decades, with the gracious authorization of the IAEA.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sellafield
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Hague_site

It might be because few people actually know about it, or because it is easier to point the finger to somebody else far away than at home. Of course it also serves the political and economic interests of both England and France to make their people mindful of what’s happening over there in Fukushima while keeping them blind about what’s happening in their own backyards, their media editors knowing very well what issues are to be avoided as too sensitive to be handled.

Of course I am not saying that the radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean by Fukushima Daiichi should not be published, not looked into, not adressed.

What I am saying is that the radioactive contamination of the Atlantic by Sellafield and La Hague in parallel should be also published, looked into, as much adressed, not swept under the carpet, and the people well informed about it, especially as this has been going on for decades authorized by the IAEA.

 

A few related articles about Sellafield :

There is more radioactive plutonium in the sediments off the Sellafield plant in the Irish Sea than at the underwater Russian Novaya Zemlya nuclear weapons test site, according to Greenpeace.

The environmental group yesterday released further data arising from its ongoing survey of the Irish Sea. It has been measuring radioactive contamination in sediments and seaweed along British and Irish coasts for several weeks. Last week it visited Dundalk bay, retrieving seaweed as part of this activity. The data released yesterday related to the plutonium and caesium content of sediment taken adjacent to a Sellafield waste-discharge pipe two kilometres off the Cumbrian coast.”

June 1988 : Irish Sea radioactivity `worse than at nuclear site’ https://www.irishtimes.com/news/irish-sea-radioactivity-worse-than-at-nuclear-site-1.161463

 

“A record number of radioactive hotspots have been found contaminating public beaches near the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria, according to a report by the site’s operator.

As many as 383 radioactive particles and stones were detected and removed from seven beaches in 2010-11, bringing the total retrieved since 2006 to 1,233. Although Sellafield insists that the health risks for beach users are “very low”, there are concerns that some potentially dangerous particles may remain undetected and that contamination keeps being found.”

July 2012 : Record number of radioactive particles found on beaches near Sellafield https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/jul/04/radioactive-particles-beaches-sellafield

 

“Greenpeace has warned that the dumping of the reprocessing plant’s liquid waste has made the Irish Sea among the most contaminated waters in the world, even though Ireland itself produces no nuclear energy. Irish fishermen have been angered by catches of unsaleable mutated fish and by findings that they have been exposed to low-level radiation.”

Jan 2014 : Irish free to sue British nuclear operators over contamination http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/irish-free-to-sue-british-nuclear-operators-over-contamination-9039178.html

 

“Radioactive waste from the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria is contaminating shellfish hundreds of kilometres away on the west coast of Scotland, according to a new scientific study.

Scottish researchers discovered traces of radioactive carbon discharged from Sellafield in the shells of mussels, cockles and winkles as far north as Port Appin in Argyll, 160 miles from the notorious nuclear plant.”

December 2015 : Scottish shellfish are contaminated by radioactive waste from Sellafield http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14157272.Scottish_shellfish_are_contaminated_by_radioactive_waste_from_Sellafield/

 

A few related articles about La Hague :

According to the ACRO, in general, “there is more tritium in the Channel than in the Pacific waters near the Fukushima power station”. (They certainly should know as they regualarly monitor and analyze the contamination near La Hague, and they have repeatedly traveled to Fukushima to cooperate with the Iwaki Mother’s Radiation Lab to measure contamination there). http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2013/03/28/concentration-anormale-en-tritium-relevee-dans-la-mer-a-proximite-de-la-hague_3149613_3244.html#UGUVieKghcxVdjVv.99

The tritium rejected at La Hague is 1,000 times higher than what is allowed at the nearby Flamanville nuclear plant.” https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/lsd-la-serie-documentaire/lombre-des-centrales-nucleaires-44-des-poubelles-radioactives

 

Conclusion from my friend Pierre Fetet (Fukushima’s blog) :

“There are several differences between La Hague and Fukushima (for Sellafield, I do not know enough):

At La Hague, for example, there is an authorization to reject 50,000 billion Bq of Tritium per day.

While in Fukushima, it is not known at all how much is continuously discharged into the sea in terms of radioactivity, except that it is 300 tons per day of contaminated water and that is not authorized by anyone.

The big difference is that in France that crime is allowed but confidential and that in Fukushima that crime is suffered and mediatized.

But you’re right Hervé, people are not aware and remain uninformed of what is really going on.”

 

For information: Releases by La Hague

20637872_10214212853938087_5602193404803544621_n.jpgAnnual Radionuclide Releases Report in terabecquerel (1 terabecquerel = 1 000 000 000 000 becquerels )

 

Special credits to Pierre Fetet and Javale Gola

August 3, 2017 Posted by | radiation | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Installation of Unit 3 fuel removal cover dome roof at Fukushima Daiichi

Tokyo Electric Power Co. shows its installation work to cover the upper part of the No. 3 nuclear reactor building that was blown off by the March 2011 hydrogen explosion at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

 

OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–Tokyo Electric Power Co. showed reporters its progress in installing a new roof above Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant’s No. 3 reactor building on Aug. 2, ahead of work to remove spent nuclear fuel from a storage pool.

The company demonstrated how it is carrying out the work, which is necessary because the upper section of the reactor building was blown off in a hydrogen explosion in the nuclear disaster at the plant in March 2011.

The roof project marks a step toward removing nuclear fuel assemblies in the spent nuclear fuel storage pool in the building.

august 2 2017 new roof reactor 3.jpgA photograph taken from an Asahi Shimbun helicopter shows a section of the half-tubular shaped roof being installed over the No. 3 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on Aug. 2.

 

To prevent the spread of radioactive material, TEPCO started to set up the half-tubular shaped cover to shield the damaged reactor building at the end of last month.

new roof for reactor 3 august 2 2017 2.jpgA section of the roof is lifted by a crane to place it on top of the No. 3 nuclear reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on Aug. 2.

 

new roof for reactor 3 august 2 2017 3An artist’s rendition of the completed roof that will shield the upper part of the No. 3 nuclear reactor building that was blown off in the March 2011 hydrogen explosion at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

 

The 566 nuclear fuel assemblies currently lying in the pool will become a significant risk if another major disaster strikes the area.

TEPCO is expected to start removing the fuel from around mid-fiscal 2018.

Early on Aug. 2, part of the roof measuring around 17 meters high and weighing 37 tons was lifted to the top floor of the reactor building with a large crane.

Workers connected the new part of the cover to another section that had been installed at the end of July, completing one eighth of the roof. When finished, it will be about 60 meters long.

Dedicated removal machines are needed to retrieve the fuel from the storage pool. The machines that had been used at the plant prior to the accident were removed because they were severely damaged by the hydrogen explosion.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201708020046.html

Source : Tepco

2017.7.31 Installation of Unit 3 fuel removal cover dome roof at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/news/library/archive-e.html?video_uuid=z2v3h93c&catid=61785

Installation of Unit 3 spent fuel removal cover dome roof at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (On-site demonstration) Photos taken on: Aug 2, 2017

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/news/library/archive-e.html?video_uuid=w8a3j0h4&catid=69631

August 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

7 summers later, weeds engulf Fukushima’s abandoned areas

 

The startling effects of the passage of time come into sharp focus in aerial images taken of Fukushima’s “difficult-to-return zones” in the seventh summer since the March 2011 nuclear disaster.

The bird’s-eye view pictures were captured in abandoned areas near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Okuma and Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture.

The disaster unfolded after the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake spawned a tsunami that devastated coastal areas of the Tohoku region, including Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The Okuma outlet of Plant-4, a large shopping mall located 3 kilometers away from the nuclear plant along National Route No. 6, had been bustling with visitors before the disaster.

Today, weeds grow from the cracks of the asphalt-surfaced mall parking lot, slowly creeping through the expanse of space.

One striking image shows the exterior of the TEPCO-owned condominium building, which housed its employees in Futaba, is becoming covered with rampant weeds that have reached the second floor.

Another photo shows cars that cannot be recovered are partially buried, appearing as if they are sinking into a sea of green.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201708010034.html

August 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Tritium at Fukushima: A Primer

There is much to be said about Tritium and Fukushima. I strongly recommend watching this interview with Kevin Kamps on Fukushima conditions, including and especially the huge volumes of tritiated water stored at the site:

 

Tritium is quite devious because its difficult to detect internally.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about tritium. My friend Clyde Stagner introduced me to the ubiquity and dangers of tritium in the environment. You can read his book (Hidden Tritium at Amazon) and my blog description of his work here.

Today I had lunch with a friend who is an atmospheric chemist and we discussed how tritium in fog, or tritiated fog, might differ from ordinary fog.

We had a great discussion that I will follow up on later with implications drawn for webcam watching.

Living downwind from the Palo Verde Nuclear Power plant, and swimming quite often in open water, I imagine that I bear a certain number of hydrogen atoms with two neutrons, an isotope of hydrogen called Tritium, found rarely on earth before the twentieth century, but common in the upper atmosphere. On earth, tritium finds oxygen and binds to create tritiated water.

How radioactive am I compared to my ancestors who lived before the nineteenth century?

Related posts:

LTR-13-0077 – Clyde Stagner Ltr. re: Concerns regarding tritium in …

https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1303/ML13030A330.pdf

Jan 29, 2013 – Clyde Stagner … Subject: Tritium in Phoenix & People of Phoenix … an AMERSHAM PLANT in Cardiff, Wales (Ref: Figure 3,”Hidden Tritium“.

Majia’s Blog: Tritium in Swimming Pools

majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/tritium-in-swimming-pools.html

May 13, 2012 – Stagner has calculated the probable concentration of tritium in swimming … Clyde Stagner’s book, Hidden Tritium, can be found at Amazon.com.

Majia’s Blog: Tritium and Nuclear Power Plants: “Blowdown” Worsens …

majiasblog.blogspot.com/2013/01/tritium-and-nuclear-power-plants.html

Jan 22, 2013 – My friend Clyde Stagner studied tritium emissions and … Stagner is author of Hidden Tritium and has had a long, distinguished career, .

Majia’s Blog: Encanto Park and Radioactive Tritium

majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/encanto-park-and-radioactive-tritium.html

Aug 14, 2012 – Capt Stagner is petitioning the NRC to resume tritium monitoring in …. Clyde Stagner’s book, Hidden Tritium, can be found at Amazon.com.

Majia’s Blog: Tritium Contaminating Our Environment: A Letter …

majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/tritium-contaminating-our-environment.html

Jul 17, 2012 – Monitoring of tritium in the area stopped after 2010 despite rising levels …. Clyde Stagner’s book, Hidden Tritium, can be found at Amazon.com.

Related article:

Impact of low doses of tritium on the marine mussel, Mytilus edulis: genotoxic effects and tissue-specific bioconcentration.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16039156

Source :

http://majiasblog.blogspot.fr/2017/08/tritium-at-fukushima-primer.html

 

 

 

 

August 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Inside Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 Robot Probe Inspections

TEPCO released three videos of its robot probe inspections inside unit 3. The videos provided some interesting information, showing some unexplained “blobs”, thick adhered substances, concrete spalling seen in fires, possible melted fuel formations, and thought to be solidified melted fuel around the lower end of a control rod.

TEPCO think the graphite gaskets sealing the control rod holes in bottom of the reactor vessel melted allowing molten fuel to flow through these holes to drip down into the reactor pedestal. Structures in the pedestal show some of the patterns created by the thick substances that appear to have splattered around the containment structures.

TEPCO cites 364 tons of fuel debris (melted fuel, internal reactor parts and control rods) to be expected at unit 3. The videos only show very small views of the damage found making it difficult to determine how much fuel debris was actually found inside unit 3’s pedestal.

 

 

 

Source : Tepco

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/news/library/archive-e.html?video_uuid=qf64ne97&catid=61785

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/news/library/archive-e.html?video_uuid=o6lm23vu&catid=61785

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/news/library/archive-e.html?video_uuid=u10b97j8&catid=61785

August 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

How to Clean Up Hundreds of Tons of Melted Nuclear Fuel

In more than 6 years they have not been able to really find yet the melted fuel, despite their beautiful PR stunt last week, and now they talk about which techniques to use to remove it. Maybe they should better find it first before talking how to remove it, that is if most of it has not been already vented and projected into our skies.

gghjkl.jpg

 

How to Clean Up Hundreds of Tons of Melted Nuclear Fuel

More than six years after three nuclear reactors melted down in Japan, the country is homing in on the lost fuel inside one of them. Japan’s biggest utility and owner of the wrecked Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc., last week released images that for the first time showed what’s likely melted fuel inside the No. 3 reactor.

If confirmed, the nation will have to devise a way to remove the highly radioactive material, a mixture of melted nuclear fuel and reactor debris known as corium. The cleanup process that may last 40 years and cost 8 trillion yen ($72 billion) will require technology not yet invented.

Here are a few ways the removal could be done, including the government’s preferred approach by taking it out the side:

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Special tools and techniques will have to be developed to undertake such a task that has never been attempted before anywhere in the world,” said Dale Klein, an adviser to Tepco, as the utility is known, and a former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “Once Tepco has identified the characteristics of this material, then they can develop a plan to remove this material in a safe manner.”

-1x-1 2.png

 

The search for the fuel has left a trail of dead experimental robots specifically designed to find and photograph the estimated combined 600 metric tons of fuel and debris in the three melted reactors. While the No. 3 reactor was the last unit to be probed, its the first to produce a strong indication of where the fuel came to rest. The removal process is slated to begin in 2021.

-1x-13.png

 

Long-handled devices guided by a television monitor system were developed to remove fuel core debris at Three Mile Island in the U.S. after its 1979 meltdown. The so-called defueling process took from 1985 to 1990 and involved removing the partially melted fuel core from inside the pressure vessel of the No. 2 reactor, which remained intact. Fukushima offers a more complex challenge since three reactors suffered total meltdowns, with melted fuel rupturing pressure vessels and falling to the bottom of the units.

No such effort is being made at Chernobyl, where a concrete sarcophagus was used to entomb the wrecked plant that melted down in 1986.

Technology research and development should focus on removing fuel through the side, the Nuclear Damage Compensation & Decommissioning Facilitation Corp., Tepco’s top government shareholder, said Monday. That method is safer for workers than flooding the reactor, which would also require the management of radioactive water.

Japan will decide how it will remove the fuel by September, Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko said after the discovery last week, according to national broadcaster NHK.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-31/how-japan-could-remove-melted-nuclear-fuel-it-hunted-for-6-years

 

31 july 2017 fuel removal technique.jpg

New proposal suggests removing Fukushima plant’s melted nuclear fuel from side

A method to remove melted nuclear fuel debris on the bottom of the containment vessels of Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant’s first, second and third reactors from the side was proposed by the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation (NDF) on July 31.

Hajimu Yamana, head of the NDF, which is tasked with considering how to remove fuel debris from the reactors, for the first time explained the organization’s specific method proposal to the heads of local governments at a countermeasures for the decommissioning and handling of the contaminated water council meeting held in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture.

The method would focus on prioritizing the removal of debris from the bottom of the vessels from the side, using robotic arms and other remote devices while flushing water over the debris.

However, ways to block radiation and countermeasures against the scattering of airborne radioactive dust still remain unsolved. The central government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) plan to finalize their policy to remove the debris and amend the decommission schedule in September.

In all three of the reactors, contaminated water has collected at the bottom of the containment vessels. The NDF had previously considered a “flooding method” that would fill the containment vessels completely with water to block radiation from leaking. However, measures to repair the containment vessels and prevent leakage of the radioactive water would be difficult, so the plan was put aside for having “too many issues.”

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170801/p2a/00m/0na/014000c

August 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Blast from the Past: Plutonium Contamination from Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3

94 Plutonium-300x300

 

 

From Majia’s blog

I was reviewing my notes regarding plutonium found at Fukushima and I found this news story worth remembering:

Amina Khan (of the Los Angeles Times). (March 8, 2012). Plutonium near Fukushima plant poses little risk, study says Published: Thursday, March 8, 2012 http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20120308/NEWS02/703089849

The levels of radioactive plutonium around Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant aren’t much higher than the amount of plutonium remaining in the environment from Cold War-era nuclear weapons tests, and it probably poses little threat to humans, a new study indicates.

The paper, published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports, provides the first definitive evidence of plutonium from the accident entering the environment, the authors say. It examines the area within a roughly 20-mile radius of the plant and details the concentration of plutonium isotopes deposited there after explosions ripped open multiple reactors.

At the three sites examined, the levels for certain isotope ratios were about double those attributed to residual fallout from above-ground nuclear tests conducted by the U.S. and former Soviet Union at the dawn of the Cold War….

Robert Alvarez, who has served as a senior policy adviser in the U.S. Energy Department, said he would have been surprised if researchers had not found evidence of plutonium contamination near the plant. “They were irradiating plutonium in Unit 3, which experienced the biggest explosion,” he said. In fact, the explosion was so massive that investigators found fuel rod fragments a mile away, leading to speculation that a supercritical fission event may have also occurred, Alvarez said.

The article is referring to a study by Zheng et al. Here is my synopsis of the study’s findings:

A study released in Scientific Reports published by Nature titled ‘Isotopic evidence of plutonium release into the environment from the Fukushima DNPP accident’ by Zheng et al found that a wide array of highly volatile fission products were released, including 129mTe, 131I, 134Cs, 136Cs and 137Cs, which were all found to be ‘widely distributed in Fukushima and its adjacent prefectures in eastern Japan.’[i]

The study also found evidence of actinides, particularly Pu isotopes, on the ground northwest and south of the Fukushima DNPP in the 20–30 km zones. The study called for long-term investigation of Pu and 241Am dose estimates because of findings of ‘high activity ratio of 241Pu/239+240Pu (> 100) from the Fukushima DNPP accident.’

The study concluded that in comparison to Chernobyl, the Fukushima accident ‘had a slightly higher 241Pu/239Pu atom ratio, but lower ratio of 240Pu/239Pu.’ Unit 3 was seen as the likely source for the high Pu detections.

[i] J. Zheng, K. Tagami, Y. Watanabe, S. Uchida, T. Aono, N. Ishii, S. Yoshida, Y. Kubota, S. Fuma and S. Ihara (8 March 2012 ) ‘Isotopic Evidence of Plutonium Release into the Environment from the Fukushima DNPP Accident,’ Scientific Reports, 2, http://www.nature.com/srep/2012/120308/srep00304/full/srep00304.html.

http://majiasblog.blogspot.fr/2017/07/blast-from-past-plutonium-contamination.html

August 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

No human rights in terrifyingly contaminated Namie in Fukushima

The evacuation orders of the most populated areas of Namie, Fukushima were lifted on March 31, 2017.

We are publishing the most recent soil surface density map of Namie created by a citizen’s measurement group named the “Fukuichi Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project“(http://www.f1-monitoring-project.jp/index.html). Their members are mainly from Tokyo metropolitan region.

namie-20170722-1.jpg

 

Their map is simply terrifying. This is far much higher level of radio-contamination than in the Radiation Control Zone. Any area becomes designated as such when the total effective dose due to external radiation and that due to radioactive substances in the air is likely to exceed 1.3mSv per quarter – over a period of three months, or when the surface density is likely to exceed 40,000Bq/m2. In the Radiation Control Zone, it is prohibited to drink, eat or stay overnight. Even adults, including nuclear workers, are not allowed to stay more than 10 hours. To leave the zone, one has to go through a strict screening.

Namie’s radio contamination is far over these figures! The average soil contamination density of the total of 314 points where the soil was collected and measured is 858,143Bq/m². The maximum value was 6,780,000Bq/m², and the minimum was only 31,400Bq/m²!

And people, including infants and pregnant women, are told to go back to these areas to live, because it is supposed to be safe. Basically the Japanese government does not recognize the fundamental human right to live in a healthy environment. The population is facing a tough future, for the compensation will be cut off soon, and the housing aid by the central government finishes at the same time. As for the auto-evacuees who fled from areas which are not classified as evacuation zones but are nevertheless radio-contaminated, they had only very little compensation and the housing aid was cut off at the end of March 2017. Continuing to live as nuclear refugees is becoming more and more difficult. We consider that this is a violation of basic environmental human rights.

Let us not forget to thank the members and volunteers of the Fukuichi Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project team. They are mostly elderly people over 60 years old. However, that doesn’t mean that they can be exposed to radiation. We thank them and pray for their health.

2Measurement devices

 

3Kit for soil collection

 

4Kit carried on the back

 

5

 

6

 

8Collected soil samples

 

9Analysing the soil samples

 

You might think that Japanese just endure their fate without complaining. This is not true. Many people are fighting and protesting. Let us cite, among numerous on-going trials, the one called the “Trial to require the withdrawal of the 20mSv dose as the limit for evacuation” filed by residents of Minamisoma city in Fukushima, who are against the lifting of the evacuation order when the radiation dose decreases below 20mSv/year. Let us remind you that the Japanese government has adopted 1mSv/year, the internationally recognized dose limitation for public recommended in 1990 by ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection), and this is still the limit for the public all over Japan EXCEPT in Fukushima. This is one of the reasons why many people from Fukushima ask themselves: “Is Fukushima really a part of Japan?” or “Are we the people abandoned by the State?”

Related articles of this site :

Forest fire in the exclusion zone in Fukushima: Why monitoring the radiation dose is not enough for radioprotection

The scandalous deficiency of the health scheme in Fukushima

Incredible contamination in Namie, Fukushima

New data show massive radiation levels in Odaka, Minamisoma

Source: https://fukushima311voices.wordpress.com/2017/07/31/no-human-rights-in-terrifyingly-contaminated-namie-in-fukushima/

July 31, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

An election campaign in an unknown town

31/7/2017 by Mayumi MATSUMURA

Yesterday morning, while I was waiting with my mother-in-law the pickup bus from the Day Care Center for the Elderly, I heard voices approaching. They seemed to say “Good morning” using a loudspeaker attached to an advertising car.

 

However, the voices were weak, considering that they came from a loudspeaker. They also seemed very reserved and embarrassed to disturb people. (Translator’s note: In Japan during the election time, candidates and their teams roam the streets in vehicles shouting their names and asking for support). I listened. The voices said: “Good morning, I am XXXX, candidate for the election of the mayor of Tomioka”.

 

The voices were really reserved, weak …

They made me so sad. Profoundly moved, I opened the kitchen window and waved my hands.

The first car stopped.

The voice said, “Oh, thank you, thank you. ”

 

“Courage and good luck! I’m sorry, I’m not from Tomioka, but … ” I said.

A voice replied, “Thank you, thank you for your words of support.”

 

I waved my hands and shouted words of encouragement to the second and third vehicle where the candidate was seated.

My eyes were filled with tears.

They run an election campaign in an unknown city, without knowing where the residents of Tomioka are, where their voters took refuge.

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If it were their own town, they would campaign with dignity from the electoral car in a loud voice. But they were belittling themselves, roaming through the unknown streets.

 

Tears have troubled the visions.

However, I continued to wave my hands until the vehicles disappeared.

It has been 6 years and 4 months since we left our home.

There will never be a restful end to our journey.

 

___

On July 28, 2017 published on Facebook by Mrs. Mayumi MATSUMURA, evacuee from the town of Namie, Fukushima prefecture.

http://nosvoisins311.wixsite.com/voisins311-france/single-post/2017/07/31/Une-campagne-%C3%A9lectorale-dans-une-ville-inconnue

51215e_a5a44230d0cd4c608a6b4753b2863272

July 31, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Footage from reactor 3 may force rewrite of Fukushima road map, officials say

n-fukushima-a-20170731-870x560This underwater robot was used in the recent probe of reactor 3 at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

The first images of melted fuel from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant indicate that it did not burn through the pressure vessel of reactor 3, but exited through the holes used to insert the control rods, officials say.

While the landmark robot footage from the primary containment vessel of unit 3 is helping Tokyo Electric grasp the reality of the damaged fuel assemblies, it may also force it to rewrite the road map for decommissioning the meltdown-hit plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., better known as Tepco, sent an underwater robot into reactor 3 earlier this month to confirm its hypothesis that the core — the fuel assemblies in the pressure vessel — broke apart and fell to the bottom, letting molten fuel burn through and drip into the primary containment vessel.

According to Tepco spokesman Takahiro Kimoto, however, the images taken beneath the PCV indicate the pressure vessel probably withstood the heat of the molten fuel. He said the fuel apparently seeped through the holes for the control rods.

We do not presume that the vessel, which is 14 cm thick, melted and collapsed together with the fuel, but that part of the fuel instead made its way down through holes,” Kimoto said. The control rods are used to moderate the chain reaction and are inserted vertically into the core.

Tepco said it estimates reactor 3 has about 364 tons of fuel debris, and that similar amounts will be found in reactors 1 and 2. Removing the fuel from the reactors is the largest challenge in defueling the aged plant — a process that could take up to 40 years to complete.

The camera on the underwater robot also captured images of rubble around the fuel debris, which could slow the removal process. The rubble includes devices for supporting the control rods at the bottom of the PCV and scaffolding for maintenance workers beneath the pressure vessel.

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko said the government and Tepco will try to draft a plan for removing the melted fuel in September, with an eye to hammering out the specifics in the first half of fiscal 2018 and starting the work in 2021.

But the findings from reactor 3 may force them to alter the state’s road map for decommissioning Fukushima No. 1, officials said.

An entity providing technical support for the project has urged that efforts be made to remove the melted fuel from the submerged lower part of the PCV by keeping air in the upper part, according to a source familiar with the plan.

Although filling the PCV completely with water would largely reduce the radiation risk to the robot probes, the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. is reluctant to do so because it is damaged and the toxic water will just leak out, the source said.

At the other two reactors, Tepco thinks most of the fuel in reactor 1 fell to the bottom of the primary containment vessel, and that some of the fuel in reactor 2 remained in the pressure vessel. The company made the estimates based on cosmic ray imaging analysis and by sending robots and endoscopes into the PCVs of the two reactors.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/07/30/national/footage-reactor-3-may-force-rewrite-fukushima-road-map-officials-say/#.WX7Mha0ZOV5

July 31, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Gov’t says 70% of land suitable for nuclear waste disposal

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The Japanese government unveiled Friday a map indicating potential deep-underground disposal sites for high-level radioactive nuclear waste, identifying some 70% of the country’s land as suitable.

Based on the map, the government is expected to ask multiple municipalities to accept researchers looking into whether those areas can host sites to dispose of waste left by nuclear power generation. But the process promises to be both difficult and complicated amid public concerns over nuclear safety following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The nationwide map showed that up to 900 municipalities, or half of the country total, encompass coastal areas deemed “favorable.” Areas near active faults, volcanoes and potential drilling sites such as around oil fields are considered unsuitable.

For permanent disposal, high-level radioactive waste, produced as a result of the process of extracting uranium and plutonium from spent fuel, must be stored more than 300 meters underground so that it cannot impact human lives or the environment.

The government will store the waste in vitrified canisters for up to some 100,000 years until the waste’s radioactivity decreases.

As of March, some 18,000 tons of spent fuel existed in Japan with the figure set to increase as more nuclear plants resume operation. When spent fuel that has already been reprocessed is included, Japan will have to deal with about 25,000 such canisters.

The map, illustrated in four different colors based on levels of the suitability of geological conditions, was posted on the website of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Energy minister Hiroshige Seko said Friday that the unveiling of the colored map is an “extremely important step toward the realization of the final disposal but also the first step of a long road.”

Taking the map as an opportunity, “we hope to have communications (with municipalities) nationwide and earn the understanding of the public,” he said.

“It scientifically and objectively shows nationwide conditions, but it is not something with which we will seek municipalities’ decisions on whether to accept a disposal site,” Seko said.

Areas near active faults, volcanoes and oil fields which are potential drilling sites are deemed unsuitable because of “presumed unfavorable characteristics” and colored in orange and silver.

Areas other than those are classified as possessing “relatively high potential” and colored in light green.

Among the potential areas, zones within 20 kilometers of a coastline, around 30 percent of total land, are deemed especially favorable in terms of waste transportation and colored in green.

The map has also colored as suitable a part of Fukushima Prefecture, where reconstruction efforts are underway from the 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami that led to the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.

But Seko said the government has no plans at this stage to burden the prefecture additionally with the issue of disposal of high-level radioactive waste.

The minister also indicated that Aomori Prefecture in northeastern Japan, home to a facility to reprocess nuclear fuel, is exempt as the prefectural government and state have agreed not to construct a nuclear waste disposal facility there.

Japan, like many other countries with nuclear plants, is struggling to find a permanent geological disposal repository, while Finland and Sweden are the only countries worldwide to have decided on final disposal sites.

A process to find local governments willing to host a final repository site started in 2002 in Japan, but little progress was made due mainly to opposition from local residents.

In 2015, the government decided to choose candidate sites suitable on scientific grounds for building a permanent storage facility, rather than waiting for municipalities to offer to host such a site.

The government aims to construct a site that can house more than 40,000 canisters, with estimated costs amounting to 3.7 trillion yen ($33 billion).

https://japantoday.com/category/national/update1-gov%27t-says-70-of-land-suitable-for-nuclear-waste-disposal#.WXxbhcFJL1A.twitter

July 31, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Unit 2 Radiation Readings Revised

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TEPCO revised unit 2’s containment inspection radiation readings done earlier in 2017, claiming a set of instrument and calibration errors caused the inaccurate readings.

TEPCO claims that their camera based radiation estimates were too high due to an oversight where they forgot to reset the sensitivity threshold on the equipment that was reading camera interference.

The final claim made in the report for downgrading the radiation readings was that one of the 4 sensors was reading considerably higher than the other 3. When they took that sensor out of the readings the other 3 sensors read considerably lower.

Source : Tepco’s handout

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2017/images/handouts_170727_03-e.pdf

 

 

July 31, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Study: Radioactive Hot Particles Still Afloat Throughout Japan Six Year After Fukushima Meltdowns

Radioactive particles of uranium, thorium, radium, cesium, strontium, polonium, tellurium and americium are still afloat throughout Northern Japan more than six years after a tsunami slammed into the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant causing three full-blown nuclear meltdowns. That was the conclusion reached by two of the world’s leading radiation experts after conducting an extensive five-year monitoring project.

Arnie Gundersen and Marco Kaltofen authored the peer reviewed study titled, Radioactively-hot particles detected in dusts and soils from Northern Japan by combination of gamma spectrometry, autoradiography, and SEM/EDS analysis and implications in radiation risk assessment, published July 27, 2017, in Science of the Total Environment (STOLEN).

Gundersen represents Fairewinds Associates and is a nuclear engineer, former power plant operator and industry executive, turned whistleblower, and was CNN’s play-by-play on-air expert during the 2011 meltdowns. Kaltofen, of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), is a licensed civil engineer and is renowned as a leading experts on radioactive contamination in the environment.

415 samples of “dust and surface soil” were “analyzed sequentially by gamma spectrometry, autoradiography, and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray analysis” between 2011 and 2016. 180 of the samples came from Japan while another 235 were taken from the United States and Canada. The study further clarifies, “Of these 180 Japanese particulate matter samples, 57 were automobile or home air filters, 59 were surface dust samples, 29 were street dusts (accumulated surface soils and dusts) and 33 were vacuum cleaner bag or other dust samples.”

108 of the Japanese samples were taken in 2016, while the other 72 were gathered in 2011 after the meltdowns. Gundersen and Kaltofen tapped 15 volunteer scientists to help collect the dust and soil — mostly from Fukushima Prefecture and Minamisouma City. “A majority of these samples were collected from locations in decontaminated zones cleared for habitation by the National Government of Japan,” the study revealed. For the 108 samples taken in 2016, an “International Medcom Inspector Alert surface contamination monitor (radiation survey meter) was used to identify samples from within low lying areas and on contaminated outdoor surfaces.”

A Fairewinds Associates’ video from 2012 features Gundersen collecting five samples of surface soil from random places throughout Tokyo — places including a sidewalk crack, a rooftop garden, and a previously decontaminated children’s playground. The samples were bagged, declared through Customs, and brought back to the U.S. for testing. All five samples were so radioactive that according to Gundersen, they “qualified as radioactive waste here in the United States and would have to be sent to Texas to be disposed of.” Those five examples were not included as part of the recently released study, but Gundersen went back to Tokyo for samples in 2016. Those samples were included, and were radioactive, and according to Gundersen were “similar to what I found in Tokyo in [2012].”

 

Furthermore, 142 of the 180 samples (about 80 percent) contained cesium 134 and cesium 137. Cesium 134 and 137, two of the most widespread byproducts of the nuclear fission process from uranium-fueled reactors, are released in large quantities in nuclear accidents. Cesium emits intense beta radiation as it decays away to other isotopes, and is very dangerous if ingested or inhaled. On a mildly positive note, the study shows that only four of the 235 dust samples tested in the United States and Canada had detectable levels of cesium from Fukushima.

Cesium, due to its molecular structure, mimics potassium once inside the body, and is often transported to the heart where it can become lodged, thereafter mutating and burning heart tissue which can lead to cardiovascular disease. Other isotopes imitate nutritive substances once inside the body as well. Strontium 90 for example mimics calcium, and is absorbed by bones and teeth.

“Different parts of the human body (nerves, bones, stomach, lung) are impacted differently,” Kaltofen told EnviroNews in an email. “Different cells have radio-sensitivities that vary over many orders of magnitude. The body reacts differently to the same dose received over a short time or a long time; the same as acute or chronic doses in chemical toxicity.”

In contrast to external X-rays, gamma, beta or alpha rays, hot particles are small mobile pieces of radioactive elements that can be breathed in, drunk or eaten in food. The fragments can then become lodged in bodily tissue where they will emanate high-intensity ionizing radiation for months or years, damaging and twisting cells, potentially causing myriad diseases and cancer. The study points out, “Contaminated environmental dusts can accumulate in indoor spaces, potentially causing radiation exposures to humans via inhalation, dermal contact, and ingestion.”

The study also explains, “Given the wide variability in hot particle sizes, activities, and occurrence; some individuals may experience a hot particle dose that is higher or lower than the dose calculated by using averaged environmental data.” For example, a person living in a contaminated area might use a leaf blower or sweep a floor containing a hefty amount of hot particle-laden dust and receive a large does in a short time, whereas other people in the same area, exposed to the same background radiation and environmental averages, may not take as heavy a hit as the housekeeper that sweeps floors for a living. People exposed to more dust on the job, or who simply have bad luck and haphazardly breathe in hot radioactive dust, are at an increased risk for cancer and disease. High winds can also randomly pick up radioactive surface soil, rendering it airborne and endangering any unsuspecting subject unlucky enough to breath it in.

Hot particles, or “internal particle emitters” as they are sometimes called, also carry unique epidemiological risks as compared to a chest X-ray by contrast. The dangers from radiation are calculated by the dose a subject receives, but the manner in which that dose is received can also play a critical factor in the amount of damage to a person’s health.

“Comparing external radiation to hot particles inside the body is an inappropriate analogy,” Gundersen told EnviroNews in an email. “Hot particles deliver a lot of energy to a very localized group of cells that surround them and can therefore cause significant localized cell damage. External radiation is diffuse. For example, the weight from a stiletto high heal shoe is the same as the weight while wearing loafers, but the high heal is damaging because its force is localized.”

Kaltofen elaborated with an analogy of his own in a followup email with EnviroNews saying:

Dose is the amount of energy in joules absorbed by tissue. Imagine Fred with a one joule gamma dose to the whole body from living in a dentist’s office over a lifetime, versus Rhonda with exactly the same dose as alpha absorbed by the lung from a hot particle. Standard health physics theory says that Fred will almost certainly be fine, but Rhonda has about a 10 percent chance of dying from lung cancer — even though the doses are the same.

External radiation and internal hot particles both follow exactly the same health physics rules, even though they cause different kinds of biological damage. Our data simply shows that you can’t understand radiation risk without measuring both.

Some isotopes, like plutonium, only pose danger to an organism inside the body. As an alpha emitter, plutonium’s rays are blocked by the skin and not strong enough to penetrate deep into bodily tissue. However, when inhaled or ingested, plutonium’s ionizing alpha rays twist and shred cells, making it one of the most carcinogenic and mutagenic substances on the planet.

“Measuring radioactive dust exposures can be like sitting by a fireplace,” Dr. Kaltofen explained in a press release. “Near the fire you get a little warm, but once in a while the fire throws off a spark that can actually burn you.”

“We weren’t trying to see just somebody’s theoretical average result,” Kaltofen continued in the press release. “We looked at how people actually encounter radioactive dust in their real lives. [By] combining microanalytical methods with traditional health physics models… we found that some people were breathing or ingesting enough radioactive dust to have a real increase in their risk of suffering a future health problem. This was especially true of children and younger people, who inhale or ingest proportionately more dust than adults.”

“Individuals in the contaminated zone, and potentially well outside of the mapped contaminated zone, may receive a dose that is higher than the mean dose calculated from average environmental data, due to inhalation or ingestion of radioactively-hot dust and soil particles,” the study says in summation. “Accurate radiation risk assessments therefore require data for hot particle exposure as well as for exposure to more uniform environmental radioactivity levels.”

https://www.environews.tv/072917-study-plutonium-hot-particles-still-afloat-throughout-japan-six-year-fukushima-meltdowns/

July 31, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Muon Scan in Fukushima Unit 3 Finds No Fuel in Reactor Vessel

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On July 28 Tepco announced the unit 3 reactor muon scan preliminary results. The muon scan can detect masses of nuclear fuel if over at least a cubic meter.

Tepco declared that they will continue the muon scan, however this continued scan will certainly refine the data but not change much the results.

Tepco admitted finding no significant amount of fuel inside the unit 3 reactor vessel. These muon scans do not quantify possible fuel in the containment structure or in the base mat concrete of the building.

A recently done ROV inspection of the unit 3 containment structure, including the pedestal area below the reactor vessel, clearly located some melted fuel. However as the video and imagery published was limited and heavily edited, it is currently unclear how much fuel was found in that area.

Source : Tepco’s handout

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2017/images/handouts_170727_01-e.pdf

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Unit 3 muon Measurement result 29 july 2017 3.jpg

July 31, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment