nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Japan Cleared to Re-Start World’s Largest Nuclear Plant

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

 

TEPCO, which responded so badly to the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear disaster, has won approval from Japan’s nuclear reactor to crank back up the world’s biggest nuclear power plant.

The word “nuclear” has a lot more power in Japan than it does elsewhere. 

Tokyo Electric Power, or TEPCO (TKECY) as it is better known, has just won approval to re-start two reactors at the world’s largest nuclear power plant. Its shares got a jolt of 3% at that announcement.

Nuclear-linked stocks will be worth watching as the company pushes on with that attempt. TEPCO is, after all, the company that responded so badly to the disaster at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant in 2011.

The only country to have been hit by an atom bomb nevertheless embraced the technology behind nuclear power. Around one-fifth of all electricity is intended to be produced that way.

Then came the disaster at Fukushima. The March 2011 earthquake unleashed a tidal wave that ultimately killed 15,894 people, causing ¥21.5 trillion ($191 billion) in damage. Only the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in Ukraine was worse.

The tsunami deluged the nuclear reactors at Fukushima, and three of them melted down. That shined a spotlight on the inept operations and response of TEPCO, which ran the plant.

The company was terrible at responding to the disaster and even worse at responding to the public. Its executives went into shutdown mode, as Asian companies are wont to do. It denied facts that turned out to be true, downplayed the impact and generally pretended that there’s nothing to see here, we’ve got it all under control, please move along.

So it’s amazing that it’s back in big-time nuclear business. Most recently, Japan’s nuclear regulator, the Nuclear Regulation Authority, has granted TEPCO initial safety approval to restart two reactors, six and seven, at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, the world’s largest.

The five NRA commissioners voted unanimously for permission to crank the reactors back up. Formal approval will likely go ahead after a 30-day period for public comment.

397px-Kashiwazaki_Kariwa_Fault_Lines.PNG

 

The governor of Niigata prefecture, where that plant is based, says he won’t consider allowing the plant to run again until the prefecture conducts its own review of what went on at Fukushima, and that won’t happen until 2020 at the earliest.

Opinion polls show that a majority of the Japanese public now opposes nuclear power and would ultimately like Japan to cease producing it. It’s likely that nuclear power will come up as an issue in the Japanese election, slated for Oct. 22. 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe believes nuclear power is a viable and stable source of energy. His Liberal Democratic Party wants to see more of Japan’s nuclear reactors put back to work.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, a former defense minister in the Abe government, has formed a conservative party to rival Abe’s conservative government. Although she says she won’t run for prime minister, her Kibo no To, or Party of Hope, will contest many of the seats up for grabs.

The party is considering an anti-nuclear stance. “We’ll examine how to bring down the reliance to zero by 2030,” Koike told a news conference, according to the Japan Times.

Nuclear power is intended to produce around 22% of Japan’s electricity if all its plants are operating. Government plans call for another 27% to come from liquefied natural gas, around 23% from renewable sources, and only 26% from coal.

All 42 of Japan’s nuclear reactors were ordered to shut down in 2011.

Kyushu Electric Power (KYSEY) was the first company to fire back up a nuclear plant after the 2011 quake, on the island of the same name in the city of Sendai. That’s part of Japan’s industrial heartland.

Kansai Electric Power (KAEPY) was last week granted permission from the mayor of Ohi, in Fukui Prefecture, to re-start two reactors there. The company had applied in August for permission to do so, from Japan’s nuclear regulator, the Nuclear Regulation Authority. 

Meanwhile, TEPCO continues the cleanup of the mess at Fukushima. It has delayed the removal of used nuclear rods from fuel pools at the plant. It shifted fuel removal from 2017 to 2018 at the safest of the reactors, and from 2020 to 2023 for another two.

It also has to mop up about 770,000 tons of contaminated water that was pumped into the plant to cool the melted fuel reactors. That’s due to be cleaned out of around 580 tanks where it is stored on site by 2020 – the same year that Tokyo will host the Olympics.

https://www.thestreet.com/story/14332182/1/japan-set-to-restart-worlds-largest-nuclear-plant.html

kashiwazaki-kriwa npp location

Advertisements

October 10, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Nuclear National Family : The Fukushima disaster exposed fissures in Japanese society that its familial politics tries to paper over

63rages-social.jpg

 

In the history of nuclear disaster, Fukushima stands out in its singularity. There, two kinds of disasters were intermixed: the earthquake/tsunami, and the nuclear explosion. On March 11, 2011, nature and civilization collapsed in the worst imaginable manner. The first catastrophe was tragic enough—with 15,894 deaths, 6,152 heavy injuries, and 2,561 missing persons (as of March 2016). Then came the radioactive contamination. If it had been just the so-called natural disaster, it might have been possible for us to materialize a paradise built in hell or mutual aid society amid the zone of devastation, hand in hand with its natural resilience. But the second disaster instantaneously deprived us of all power to intervene in the radioactive terrain.

This is a new challenge not only for anti-nuke discourses and movements but also anarchism or anti-authoritarian politics in a broad sense. Interviews with Mari, a Japanese feminist, anti-capitalist activist, and writer, can attest to that. When I first interviewed her, on June 12, 2011, three months after the disaster, an anarchic sensibility was dramatically in evidence. The complexity of people’s emotions—grief (over the losses), fear (of the coming devastation), panic (due to uninformed dread), rage (against nuclear capitalism and the state), and even joy (tied to the possibility of a regime change)—generated an affective power that fueled a wide range of grassroots organizing, from everyday struggles such as do-it-ourselves radiation monitoring and voluntary evacuation, to all sorts of anti-nuke actions, including legal actions against Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the Japanese government.

In the second interview, which took place on July 1, 2016, Mari explains what happened to the affective climate during the time in between. The complexity of the emotions, once collectivized in an ensemble, could have been the strongest weapon for organizing a resistance movement, but by the time of our second interview, they had been overshadowed by the nationalist empathy for the industrial and commercial reconstruction of Fukushima. This is largely due to the conformism that has long dominated Japanese society, wherein the nation is assumed to be a big family ruled by the emperor, to which family, township, municipality, and civil society are deemed subunits. Even the annual Hiroshima commemoration is not totally free from nationalism.

Yet Mari believes that the magnitude of people’s sufferings post-Fukushima sustains the potential of affective politics to decompose this nationalist empathy. To achieve that, however, the struggles must shift their perspective: from shortsighted political goals to aims related to the enduring quality of radiation contamination, both temporally and spatially.

It has been five years since the disaster. How has the situation changed?

It has taken five years for the public to know how criminal the responses of the government have been. In part this has to do with the temporality of the nuclear disaster, which necessitates time for the victims and evacuees to settle in and reflect on their situations. Around 2013, the nuclear disaster was finally acknowledged as a “man-made disaster” by the government. Meanwhile, thanks to journalists’ tireless investigations, the fact was clarified that TEPCO had totally neglected measures to protect against the effects of a tsunami for over 10 to 12 years.

After the earthquake, a tsunami with a 15-meter wave hit the reactors. TEPCO was not unaware of such a possibility. It repeatedly ignored warnings by specialists. In fact, up until four days before the accident, the discussion concerning the need to take measures had gone back and forth between TEPCO and government agencies. The international code for nuclear policy states that it must be prepared for even a situation that may arise once in 10,000 years. TEPCO not only ignored it but also made special efforts to do away with it. Even after the accident, the government has subtly covered up the evasion. All in all, the people realize they have been consistently tricked and deceived by the authorities. It was some independent bloggers, journalists, lawyers, and reporters who strived to reveal all this. With the retrospective revelations, the victims were naturally infuriated. In this sense, the five years have been spent preparing evidence for lawsuits—about 40 cases with over 10,000 plaintiffs. So criminal actions, too, will follow. Although the legal fight has its limitations, this development requires attention.

All in all, the government has done nothing for or even harmed the disaster victims.

In the first place, the government refuses to count the number of—if I may use this term—the refugees. It has to do with its intention not to define who are refugees. The problem is that the category of those who are desperately migrating in fact and the legal category of refugees are not in sync. This is because the Japanese government, if it grasped the actual number, would not be able to deal with it unless it gave up “business as usual.” Therefore, it would rather underestimate the number by refusing to accept the reality. By paying attention only to the forced evacuees, it chooses to ignore the voluntary evacuees from Fukushima, not to mention those from Tokyo, and even treats them like “illegal immigrants.”

Meanwhile, radiation-related illnesses have been increasing, haven’t they?

Yes. Children’s thyroid cancer has evidently increased. Even the government acknowledges it, although adding a strange proviso that more cases may be discovered because of its obsession to nitpick. But we all know that at some point in the future, the government will be forced to admit the reality. So far, it has looked into the situation only in Fukushima but not in adjoining prefectures. So the people have been investigating the cases by themselves; for instance, in Kashiwa City in Chiba Prefecture, there are as many as 173 cases. In addition, leukemia among the nuclear workers has drastically increased. As someone has said, radiation is an ideal poison, because of the difficulty of proving causality in court.

My friends and I, both in and outside Japan, imagined that a radical change would come inevitably. But in five years, the situation is going in the opposite direction, toward the reinforcement of pronuclear and pro-rearmament nationalism. And yet the disaster continues—since March 11, the majority of people have become disaster victims in different ways and degrees. Not only in Fukushima but also Tokyo, an unprecedented number of residents have been and will be affected by radiation. The fact is made more and more invisible, however, buried by inattention. What do you think is creating this situation?

There are many factors on both personal and social levels. Those who live with dangerous contamination don’t want to think about, admit, and confront the fact, though they know it in their subconscious, because acknowledging it would force them to join along with a radical change in all existential dimensions. Reinforcing the denial is the sense of equilibrium that has been socially shared in the postwar period. Among the many things that have been said about catastrophe in the contemporary history of disaster, the most dreadful is the revelation that the seeds of the catastrophe had been embedded in the midst of the everyday life of the highly consumerist society; the possibilities of planetary catastrophe have been so deeply internalized in the high-consumerist and controlled society called Japan. And to say it in reverse, even a catastrophe of this magnitude is quickly absorbed into the everyday process of social reproduction.

When I visit Japan, walk around the city, and watch television, I am shocked by the normalness of consumer life as well as the images of joy in embracing it—of food, technology, culture, and tourism—co-existing with the radioactive contamination. That is to say, tragedy certainly co-exists in various respects. What is the status as well as the features of people’s emotional responses—rage, sorrow, dread, anxiety, and so on?

One thing I can say is this: There are certainly physical losses, such as health, home, family, subsistence, and so forth, but public discourses often emphasize the “loss of home” or “deprived community”—namely, the loss of what cannot be reduced to a monetary value. All in all, these expressions are saying that invisible things that are indispensable for constituting individuals—a place to live and act, mutual relations, and the ways and means of life—are largely destroyed.

What can one do when this happens? There are no formulas to deal with such situations. So people must continue to record what happens, how the situation changes, and how they feel about it. For instance, it took about 20 years for Michiko Ishimure to begin writing her magnum opus Paradise in the Sea of Sorrow, after her engagement with the Minamata mercury poisoning. The power of the novel, which involves real enunciations and events of the victims along with their movement, exists in her persistent documentation and commemoration of the everyday endless purgatory for oceanic lives, animals, children, farmers, fishers, and so on. Only by this strategy of persisting in the unbearable temporality can the events of even an absurdity that refuses interpretation spark resistance from time to time. The Fukushima nuclear disaster, too, is very much an event of temporality and feeling. And our strategy to confront it must be based on collective, persistent recording and memorializing.

In the entirety of social apparatuses, forces are in full gear to make us forget about and nullify all the events around the accident. The coming Tokyo Olympics 2020 is the symbolic machine for a nationwide obliviousness, but in the larger picture, the civilian use of nuclear power has always involved such effects from the outset. Nuclear accidents and the resulting illnesses involve a time lag that does not follow clean-cut regularity, from which oblivion effects are made to develop.

The nuclear disaster doesn’t have an end, and therefore healing by mourning is out of the question at this point. What unites us is rage, which is the basic weapon to organize ourselves to fight against nuclear capitalism and the state. But in the five years after, rage seems to have been replaced by counterparts—apathy and resignation—leading to passive onlooking rather than engagement. Mourning is solidly shared among the earthquake and tsunami victims, who have physically lost homes, families, and means of subsistence. Still, in this case, where the nuclear disaster immediately followed, another spatiotemporal dimension that is unthinkable for us was imposed, spreading like a social cancer and depriving us of any cathartic solution. In the second dimension, mourning is bracketed, because the effects of radioactive pollution are hard to prove as causes. We need time—until an undeniable number of clinical cases appear, probably after 10, 15, or 20 years, and nobody can then deny the effects as data—or the cathartic phase, which involves a full and massive attack against the nuclear regime, won’t come.

At this moment, the cancer patients along with their families focus more on cure than political action—that which can be organized based on a solid causal recognition. For that matter, the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still fighting for recognition even today, more than 70 years after the bombs. They are still suspended in devastation. All in all, for the struggles against nuclear power, the crux is how we manage to confront the unbearably long temporality, based on observations and recordings of the situational and sensual mutation. Therefore, at this moment in the struggle against radioactive pollution, sorrow and mourning seem to be futile.

What are you going to do from now on?

There are many things to be done. But I believe the basis for all projects is to patiently observe what is going on and listen to people’s voices. It seems to me that what is lacking is the will to see through the event: what it involves, where it leads, what are the effects to whom and what … Generally speaking, perspectives of social and political movements are too shortsighted.

After Fukushima, we saw a dramatic upsurge of the anti-nuke movement for two years. But after the Oi nuclear plant was restarted in spite of the mass direct action to blockade it, the movement quickly stagnated. The ultraconservative Abe administration came into power, realizing the reform of the U.S.– Japan security treaty toward Japan’s militarization. Thereafter it has been doing almost whatever it wants to do. No protest movements and no progressive politics have been able to stop it. Its policies are centered on a kind of shock doctrine and the politics of spectacle that constantly shift its ostensible focus in order to fade from our attention. To fight against this, we should not just respond to its moves but also construct multilayered strategies based on the non-spectacular developments of events—such as the increasing number of people getting sick or refugees having lives like fugitives—that are invisible in the media and incalculable in statistics.

Even before Fukushima, nuclear problems were always made to be obscure, as exemplified by the issues of nuclear workers and radioactive contamination. As analyzed in the inspiring book by Olga Kuchinskaya, The Politics of Invisibility, on the political situation after Chernobyl, nuclear politics is based on invisibility instead of open debate on scientific truth. In Japan, various safety standards have been set and reset after Fukushima, which have nothing to do with scientific consideration but are pure political decisions made tacitly for the benefit of nuclear industries.

How would you describe the situation people face in Japan after Fukushima?

A phrase from the book Voices From Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich speaks to it well:

Something occurred for which we do not yet have a conceptualization, or analogies or experience, something to which our vision and hearing, even our vocabulary, is not adapted. Our entire inner instrument is tuned to see, hear or touch. But none of that is possible. In order to comprehend this, humanity must go outside its own limits.

A new history of feeling has begun.

Ungraspability or spatiotemporal indeterminacy exists at the core of nuclear accidents and radioactive contamination. Radioactivity, which is invisible, omnipresent, and everlasting, has come to determine our future. In my adolescence, the so-called no-future thing was in fashion, yet it has now become reality. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, during Japan’s postwar period, an obsession with apocalyptic imagery—such as in Godzilla, Japan Sinks, and Akira—flourished in mass representation. But I think that to confront the post–Fukushima disaster situation, we need a much longer view: a planetary history. In this sense, I am interested in the recent debates on the Anthropocene.

Political discourses circulating around today’s Japan, including those of the sociopolitical movements, even feminism and anarchism, avoid dealing with the crux of the event. I would see an ultimate potency for emancipation if not healing not in these discourses but instead in the rumors and panics—the fundamental power to awe deriving from people’s dread and rage. This is to initiate our thoughts about what is really troubling or unsound. This is the only basis for resisting the status quo, which is constantly seeking to absorb the endlessly expanding accident. As Yu-Fu Tuan stresses in his Landscape of Fear, a community that has lost the power to fear will perish.

Meanwhile, as evident with the so-called anarchists in today’s Japan, claiming to be an anarchist and confronting a life in anarchy are two different things. Those who grasp people’s autonomous actions after the disaster as anarchy and go along with them anarchistically are limited. According to my observation, I can see anarchist practice in those who have been actively engaged in people’s autonomous projects to deal with irradiation rather than those who have organized a large-scale anti-nuke movement.

I myself am a feminist, but when I see those who take care of the health of their families—or more straightforwardly, “mothers”—struggling so radically, I feel embarrassed to think in the name of feminism. Those people who live the anarchic situation don’t know the -isms such as anarchism, Marxism, and feminism.

I see that in the exploitation of these existences, there exists the political core of the Fukushima dilemma. If so, it is necessary to discover the moment in which to transversally connect these modes and practices of existence. Would that be possible? Is patiently recording and observing radiation and illnesses—or a certain strategy of information and collective intelligence—helpful for that?

That has to be done, but we don’t know how to do that precisely yet. But the problem is that the discursive realm on the Fukushima disaster, including journalism, media, and academia, has proved futile in terms of dealing with the invisible exploitation of these existences. It is a sine qua non to break out of the form of conventional method and thought to tackle the problematic and then share the results widely. This incapacity has revealed the institutional limit of discourses. People point out the power of what’s commonly called the “nuclear village,” the network of pronuclear authorities, stretching out in the central and local governments, bureaucracy, companies, industries, academia, and media, which constantly discredits and incapacitates the spreading and exchange of critical information. But according to my observation, a village-like network where all anomalies are immediately silenced or ejected entraps all realms of political and intellectual practice in Japan even before the conspiratorial operations of the nuclear village.

I value the work of some independent bloggers, researchers, and journalists who dedicate themselves to analyzing what is happening. But I feel the need of more collaborative efforts toward building a collective intelligence and information-sharing network to fight against the pronuclear status quo. It is necessary to analyze the present situation, involving the incapacitated sociopolitical movements and the complexity of sovereign power. We need, to repeat, patient observation and sharp analysis. If we can share them, we can rise up for rebellion, together with nuclear workers and care workers. Trusting the potency of the people and sharing information and analysis would be the best means of organizing. It goes without saying that demonstrating and campaigning for election are far from enough. What’s necessary is less about stronger protests than a rebellion on wider, existential dimensions.

For a year or two after 3/11, the majority experienced the state of anarchy with fissures running across the social space and everyday life. People were enraged, feeling ferocious, with a desperate need to exert justice. The defeat of the movement was due to the organizers who could not tolerate the state of anarchy beyond their control. They could not deal with people’s power to live, grudge, rage, and panic. They sought to direct the mass impetus toward a well-mannered organization, a civil institution, with enlightened attitudes on politics and science. This was responsible for the stagnation today.

Now it is evident that the waste from the melted core of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors cannot be removed. This has long been known, but now it is being revealed bit by bit by the authority. But the people don’t seem to be infuriated any longer. “Oh, we had known it”—this sense of déjà connu seems to prevail among the public. This is the scariest thing. This is precisely the extension of the mechanism inherent in nuclear power that Günther Anders (1902–92), a German philosopher and antinuke activist, pointed out in terms of “apocalyptic blindness” [Apocalypse-Blindheit]. So it is necessary for us to be shocked, to fear anew. My hope is then to be enraged together—more than ever.

https://thenewinquiry.com/the-nuclear-national-family/

October 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Learning from Fukushima

9781760461393-b-thumb-fukushima.jpg

 

Edited by:

ISBN (print): 9781760461393

ISBN (online): 9781760461409

Publication date: September 2017

Imprint: ANU Press

DOI: 

http://dx.doi.org/10.22459/LF.09.2017

Disciplines:

Learning from Fukushima began as a project to respond in a helpful way to the March 2011 triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown) in north-eastern Japan. It evolved into a collaborative and comprehensive investigation of whether nuclear power was a realistic energy option for East Asia, especially for the 10 member-countries of ASEAN, none of which currently has an operational nuclear power plant. We address all the questions that a country must ask in considering the possibility of nuclear power, including cost of construction, staffing, regulation and liability, decommissioning, disposal of nuclear waste, and the impact on climate change. The authors are physicists, engineers, biologists, a public health physician, and international relations specialists. Each author presents the results of their work.

http://press.anu.edu.au/publications/learning-fukushima

Download for free : http://press.anu.edu.au/node/3873/download

October 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima after six years and half: the forgotten victims

22264738_10210123067249055_1931539089_n

 

In June 2011 I went to visit my daughter in Iwaki city, Fukushima prefecture, 3 months after the March 2011 disaster, worried about her situation there after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident. Iwaki city is located 43.35 km (26.94 miles) south of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. I stayed there one month.

Prior to my going to Iwaki, I stopped at the French embassy in Tokyo, to ask them some information about the situation in Fukushima and what measures I could take to protect myself from radiation.

The French embassy informed me that the situation was now under control, but that going there I should as a precaution take a 130 milligram potassium iodine tablet 4 hours before entering Fukushima prefecture.

The French embassy staff giving me one potassium iodine tablet from French army supplies. When I asked to them how long that tablet would protect me, telling them that I would stay there one month, they were out of words for a moment, then decided after all to give me 2 tablets. Somehow their words and their two tablets failed to reassure me.

The house of my relatives, closed to the seaside, had been hit by the Tsunami and had suffered heavy damages, causing them to relocate for the time being in another part of Iwaki city, more inland, at a relative house. Luckily no one had been injured by the tsunami as they were all away from home in town when the tsunami hit their house.

Unable to stay at the already overcrowded relative house, I had to look for an hotel where to stay. No easy, all the hotels in Iwaki city were occupied by Tepco technicians brought from outside Fukushima prefecture after the nuclear accident. I had hard time to find a vacant room. I finally found a small hotel with a vacant room. Everyday I would see the Tepco uniformed technicians returning to the hotel after their shift from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant exhausted, ashen faced and silent.

During that month talking with my relatives and others on location I learned that the people on location actually knew very little about what had happened inside the nuclear plant before and what was happening at that time. Tepco was giving very little information and the media wanting only to reassure was also not giving details about the nuclear accident.

Therefore the people directly affected and at risk knew practically nothing, as if an official wall of silence was withholding the needed informations from them, keeping them ignorant of the facts.

I also found that people were quite unaware of the consequences of radiation and the measures they should take to protect themselves. In that situation, I found that I was also myself quite ignorant about these things, as radiation and radioprotection were not part of the French school education program.

During my stay I avoided eating green leafy vegetables and seafood, following the advice given to me by the French embassy, therefore eating usually Fukushima beef, to learn later upon my return in France, that the beef had been also contaminated as those cows had been fed Fukushima contaminated hay.

Upon my return in France, I found that the French media were equally silent about the nuclear accident in Fukushima, pretending that the accident had already ended in March 2011 and that everything was back to normal and under control. Somehow I felt that in France too, information about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident was withhold, not surprising in a country so nuclearized, and where nuclear is not owned by a private company but by the State.

Faced with the lack of information, I decided to search on the internet about nuclear technology and its past nuclear accidents, about the consequences of exposure to radiation and possible remediations.

Though I had opened a Facebook account in 2008 I had never used it. End of June 2011 I started using Facebook to communicate about the ongoing Fukushima disaster, with three goals in mind:

1. To use this social network as a mean to break the wall of silence with which I had been confronted.

2. To provide to the people of Japan the information which was not been given to them by their government.

3. To raise awareness in the international community about the plight of the Fukushima people.

So as to reach as many people as possible and to be understood, it had to be done in English and not in French, my mother tongue.

I started in 2011 a Facebook group and a Facebook community page named Fukushima 311 Watchdogs, focused on the Fukushima disaster. The first year was very intense, as at the same time I was educating myself about nuclear, about the current situation in Fukushima day by day, and how to best use Facebook in reaching people. In that first year many of us got burned out and depressed, dealing everyday with the more bad news and the repeated lies coming from Tepco and the Japanese government.

In June 2012, I closed the Fukushima 311 Watchdogs Facebook group, to take a short break, then started a new Facebook group, The Rainbow Warriors, which would still deal about Fukushima and nuclear, but also about the other issues.


Rainbow Warriors is a proactive citizens group fighting against nuclear power and nuclear weapons and their production (the front and back end of the nuclear chain) and the widespread radiation that they produce and emit into the environment including the mining of uranium, and the dangerous unsafe storage of the nuclear waste they produce, actively networking, dedicated to creating a nuclear free world by working for the immediate shutdown of all nuclear power reactors and for an international ban of all nuclear weapons.
Committed to promoting the development and implementation of abundant, cost effective, safe energy from sun, wind, water, and geothermal sources, as well as instituting well-known methods of conservation and efficiency, which have been shown to be capable of meeting all our energy needs.
Additionally, members of this group are joining in the fight against anything that pollutes or that endangers our Earth and our lives by promoting clean alternative energy sources and healthful and natural practices in day to day living.
In this group, we address the burdens modern “civilization” is placing on us, as well as the earth and all its inhabitants. We are here on FB to share informations, but our main goal is to inspire our members to build their own local collective actions to fight the modern evils that we are adressing here, like some of us are doing, and to participate in such national and international actions.

First I encountered the lies of Tepco and the complicity of the Japanese media not bringing the facts out, soon replaced by a massive campaign of disinformation orchestrated by Dentsu (the largest advertising and public relations company in Japan) paid by the Japanese government to deny the existing health risks, always minimizing and twisting the facts, to reassure the population..

Most of the Japanese public, brainwashed to believe the repeated lies of the media lacks empathy and solidarity towards the Fukushima people; and Japanese antinuclear activists have been more focused on keeping the nuclear plants from being restarted than to organize concrete help for the Fukushima victims.

Antinuclear activists abroad are more concerned about closing nuclear plants at home than about the victims of the far-away Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant; interested in the Fukushima Daiichi disaster to the extent that it would serve their own local cause, the human tragedy taking place on location not their primary concern.

I believe that to focus on the technical aspects of the ongoing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster while ignoring the human tragedy is not to fully grasp the enormity of the situation. The nuclear plant technical aspects should never be our primary concern. We should not give all our attention to the guilty party to the detriment of its victims. We all do know that once started, this triple meltdown disaster will be ongoing for generations.

Especially as the Tepco drama is played out for us step by step under the guidance of Dentsu, a professional PR and advertising company, in a manner to render it more acceptable to the public. Tepco always gives us a sanitized version which leaves out the most essential details, details which come out only after time.

TEPCO and the decommissioning authorities reported on the ongoing delays at Fukushima Daiichi, that units 1-3 have each run into challenges that have further delayed work towards stabilization.

Various delays will push much of the major work until after the Olympic games in Tokyo. There is speculation this is by design for political reasons.

in March 2015, the chief of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, Akira Ono admitted that the technology needed to decommission three melted-down reactors does not exist, and he had no idea how it will be developed.

In a stark reminder of the challenge facing the Japanese authorities, Akira Ono conceded that the stated goal of decommissioning the plant by 2051 may be impossible without a giant technological leap.

For me the victims on location, those forced to live with the consequences of that ongoing disaster should always be our primary concern. Their voices should be heard by all, as only their testimonies will reveal to us the full extent of the human tragedy caused by a nuclear disaster, a disaster sparing no one and touching every aspect of their lives. Only they can teach us what could happen to us tomorrow should a similar event occur in our own backyard, especially as most people continue to believe the fallacy that it could never happen to them: the lies, the shallow excuses, the media manipulations of public opinion, the nuclear plant owner and the government only intent on minimizing their financial liabilities, and an international nuclear lobby always active to deny and minimize the severity of the disaster, how the local people will be largely left alone to shoulder the burden while the others manipulated by the media will ignore the reality of their plight.

I only feel disgust and anger towards those who sensationalize the Fukushima tragedy into fear porn on Youtube, blogs and Facebook just to grab attention for personal glory and/or financial gains.

Why is our attention so diverted from the most essential: the victims on location. Why is that information so minimized as to be almost non-existent?

My main purpose in sharing information about Fukushima, was to draw the attention of the public at large about the plight of the Fukushima nuclear disaster victims, to help as I can make their voices heard, to raise international sympathy and possible support for them.

6 years and half later, I feel that I have failed. General lack of empathy prevails. As long as we will not learn from the nuclear victims themselves and let their voices be heard, the game of let’s pretend and deny will continue, and we will fail to end nuclear, and more nuclear disasters will continue to occur.

I have therefore decided to step back, to begin a new chapter in my life.

Before to turn the page, I would like to give thanks to all those I have been fortunate enough to meet, to work with, to get to know, those who have consistently shown dedication and humility, those of you who have had always the Fukushima people’s welfare at heart.

Best wishes,

D’un Renard (Hervé Courtois)

October 5, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | 3 Comments

Watchdog’s safety clearance for Tepco reactors irks Fukushima victims

n-reactions-a-20171005.jpgAnti-nuclear activists protest on Wednesday near a building in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, where the Nuclear Regulation Authority held a meeting to give safety approval for two reactors at Tepco’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture.

 

Two nuclear reactors run by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. cleared the safety review of Japan’s nuclear watchdog on Wednesday, drawing fierce criticism from residents who remain displaced more than six years after the nuclear crisis at the utility’s Fukushima complex.

The government safety clearance of reactors 6 and 7 at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power station in Niigata Prefecture is a key step toward having operations resume.

It appears that things are moving forward as if the (Fukushima nuclear) crisis is over,” said Hiroko Matsumoto, 68, who lives in a temporary shelter house in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, away from her home in Tomioka, also in the prefecture, due to the triple meltdown at Tepco’s Fukushima No. 1 plant in March 2011.

I want (Tepco) to never forget that a serious nuclear accident can cause enormous damage,” she said.

The approval by the Nuclear Regulation Authority shocked residents in Niigata and surrounding areas who are concerned about the reactors’ reactivation, but others are hoping to see economic benefits from the restart.

I am surprised that the regulatory authority abruptly softened its stance toward Tepco. I doubt such a hasty decision can guarantee citizens’ safety,” said Nobuko Baba, 76, who lives about 23 kilometers east of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.

Whether to resume operation (of the two reactors) should be the decision of Niigata Prefecture citizens. I am counting on Gov. Ryuichi Yoneyama, who has been wary about it,” she said.

Yoneyama ordered a local investigation into the causes and impact of the Fukushima disaster, and is not expected to decide on whether he will approve a restart until the assessment is completed around 2020.

In contrast, Yasuo Ishizaka, 53, an executive of an industrial equipment company in Kashiwazaki, was happy to hear the news.

I am glad that the safety screening went smoothly, and it is a big step forward for the local economy,” Ishizaka said.

On Wednesday, anti-nuclear activists gathered near a building in Tokyo’s Minato Ward where the nuclear watchdog held a meeting and endorsed a draft document, which serves as certification that the two reactors have met the new, stricter safety standards introduced after the Fukushima disaster.

Amid chants of “Tepco should not be qualified” and “No reactor resumption,” a representative handed over a letter of protest to an official of the regulator.

With the authority’s safety approval, the two reactors became the first of Tepco’s idled units to pass the safety screening since the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

In a media statement on Wednesday, international environmentalist group Greenpeace criticized the regulator’s decision as reckless and said local opposition against the restarts remains strong.

It’s the same disregard for nuclear risks that resulted in Tepco’s 2011 triple reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 site. Approving the safety of reactors at the world’s largest nuclear plant, when it is at extreme risk from major earthquakes, completely exposes the weakness of Japan’s nuclear regulator,” said Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist for Greenpeace Germany.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/10/04/national/nuclear-watchdog-safety-clearance-tepco-reactors-fukushima-victims/#.WdXxBRdx3rd

October 5, 2017 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

The World’s Biggest Nuclear Plant Approved to Be Restarted in Japan

Fukushima operator can restart nuclear reactors at world’s biggest plant

Tepco, still struggling to decommission Fukushima Daiichi, gets initial approval to start two reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa

Screenshot from 2017-10-05 23-25-08.pngReactors No 6, right, and No 7 at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant.

 

The operator of Japan’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been given initial approval to restart reactors at another atomic facility, marking the first step towards the firm’s return to nuclear power generation more than six years after the March 2011 triple meltdown.

Japan’s nuclear regulator on Wednesday approved an application from Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) to restart two reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa – the world’s biggest nuclear power plant – even as the utility struggles to decommission Fukushima Daiichi.

The process will involve reviews and consultations with the public, and the restart is also expected to encounter strong opposition from people living near the plant on the Japan Sea coast of Niigata prefecture.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) ruled that the No 6 and No 7 reactors, each with a capacity of 1,356 megawatts, met stringent new safety standards introduced after the Fukushima disaster. The authority’s five commissioners voted unanimously to approve the restarts at a meeting on Wednesday.

The decision drew criticism from anti-nuclear campaigners.

Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, accused the NRA of being reckless.

He added: “It is the same disregard for nuclear risks that resulted in Tepco’s 2011 triple reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi site. Approving the safety of reactors at the world’s largest nuclear plant when it is at extreme risk from major earthquakes completely exposes the weakness of Japan’s nuclear regulator.”

Greenpeace said 23 seismic faultlines ran through the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa site.

Tepco said in a statement that it took the regulatory authority’s decision seriously and would continue making safety improvements at its plants while it attempted to decommission Fukushima Daiichi and compensate evacuees.

Despite the NRA’s approval, it could take years for the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors to go back into operation.

The governor of Niigata, Ryuichi Yoneyama, has said he will not decide on whether to agree to the restarts until Tepco completes its review of the Fukushima accident – a process that is expected to take at least another three years.

Fukushima evacuees voiced anger at the regulator’s decision.

It looks like things are moving forward as if the Fukushima nuclear crisis is over,” Hiroko Matsumoto, who lives in temporary housing, told Kyodo news. Matsumoto, whose home was close to Fukushima Daiichi, said Tepco should “never forget that a serious nuclear accident can cause enormous damage”.

Tepco has been seeking permission to restart the idled reactors to help it reduce spending on fossil fuel imports, which have soared since the disaster, triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami, forced the closure of all of Japan’s nuclear reactors. Four have since gone back online after passing safety inspections.

The utility faces huge compensation claims from people who were evacuated after three of Fukushima Daiichi’s six reactors went into meltdown on 11 March 2011, as well as a rising decommissioning bill.

Earlier this year, the Japan Centre for Economic Research said the total cost of the Fukushima cleanup – which is expected to take up to 40 years – could soar to between 50-70tn yen (£330bn-£470bn). Earlier estimates put the cost at about 22tn yen.

Nuclear power is expected to become a key issue in the election later this month.

The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has argued that reactor restarts are necessary for economic growth and to enable Japan to meet its climate change commitments. The government wants nuclear to provide about 20% of Japan’s energy by 2030.

But the newly formed Party of Hope, which has emerged as the main opposition to Abe’s Liberal Democratic party, wants to phase out nuclear power by 2030.

Opinion polls show that most Japanese people oppose nuclear restarts.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/04/fukushima-operator-tepco-restart-nuclear-reactors-kashiwazaki-kariwa

NRA approves safety measures at TEPCO plant in Niigata

 

Photo/Illustration The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture

 

Japan’s nuclear watchdog on Oct. 4 approved Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s safety measures taken to restart two reactors in Niigata Prefecture, the first such approval for the company since the Fukushima nuclear disaster unfolded.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority confirmed the results of its screening on the technological aspects of the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors that TEPCO wants to bring online at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant.

It was also the first time for the NRA to conclude that boiling-water reactors, the same type as those at TEPCO’s crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, met the new safety standards adopted after the meltdowns at the plant in 2011.

The NRA plans to hear opinions from the public about its judgment for 30 days before deciding on whether to make the approval official. It will also solicit the views of the minister of economy, trade and industry.

As one condition for official approval, the NRA is requiring the industry minister to oversee the utility’s management policy concerning its initiative and responsibility for work to decommission the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

From now, the NRA will check equipment designs and security regulations, including how TEPCO will guarantee its promise that its priority is on safety, not economic benefits.

The NRA’s screening process at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant went beyond checking technological aspects of TEPCO’s safety measures. Given TEPCO’s history of mistakes and blunders, NRA members also discussed whether the utility was even eligible to operate nuclear power plants.

In response to the NRA’s demands that TEPCO take full responsibility for decommissioning the Fukushima No. 1 plant, the utility in late August stressed that its stance of putting importance on safety is “a promise to the people.”

The NRA then approved TEPCO’s eligibility but attached some conditions.

In late September, however, it came to light that workers at the Fukushima No. 1 plant were erroneously setting water gauges to measure groundwater levels of wells around reactor buildings, which could cause leaks of highly contaminated water to the outside water.

Inspectors will face a formidable challenge in judging individual issues facing TEPCO based on security regulations.

However, even if TEPCO passes all of the screenings, it must win the consent of local governments to restart the reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant.

Niigata Governor Ryuichi Yoneyama has said that he will wait for three or four years to make decision on the restarts, until his prefectural government completes its own investigation into the cause of the 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201710040031.html

TEPCO reactors clear safety review for 1st time after Fukushima

Screenshot from 2017-10-05 18-14-56From left, the No. 5, No. 6 and No. 7 reactors of the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant in Niigata Prefecture are seen from a Mainichi Shimbun aircraft on Sept. 30, 2017.

 

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Two reactors in Niigata Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast run by the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant cleared government safety standards on Wednesday, becoming the first of the utility’s idled units to pass tightened screening.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority endorsed at its meeting a draft document that serves as certification that Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Nos. 6 and 7 reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power station have met the new, stricter safety standards introduced after the Fukushima disaster.

The two reactors are the newest among the seven units at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant. The complex is one of the world’s largest nuclear power plants, with a combined output capacity of 8.2 million kilowatts.

Despite the effective approval by the nuclear regulator, the actual restart of the two reactors will likely be at least a few years away as Niigata Gov. Ryuichi Yoneyama says it will take “around three to four years” for the utility to win local consent for the resumption of operation.

Formal approval of the restart by the nuclear watchdog is expected after receiving public opinions and consulting with the economy, trade and industry minister to confirm that Tepco is fit to be an operator.

The clearance of the two units is likely to be a boost for the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which is keen to retain nuclear power generation despite Japan suffering the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex in March 2011, triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

Tepco, facing huge compensation payments and other costs stemming from the Fukushima crisis, has been desperate to resume operation of its idled reactors so it can reduce spending on costly fossil fuel imports for non-nuclear thermal power generation.

It filed for safety assessments of the two idled reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in September 2013.

In addition to assessing technical requirements, the review focused on whether Tepco is qualified to once again operate a nuclear power plant as it struggles with work to scrap the Fukushima Daiichi complex, an effort expected to take until around 2051, and reduce contaminated water around the crippled plant where radiation levels remain high.

The two reactors are boiling-water reactors, the same as those that experienced meltdowns in the Fukushima crisis. No such types have previously cleared Japan’s safety standards after the Fukushima disaster, partly as they are required to conduct major refurbishment to boost safety.

Under the new safety requirements, BWRs must be equipped with filtered venting systems so that radioactive substances will be reduced when gas and steam need to be released to prevent damage to containment vessels.

The venting facilities are not an immediate requirement for pressurized water reactors as PWRs are housed in containers larger than those of BWRs, giving more time until pressure rises inside the containers.

In the review, the regulator had questioned Tepco on its posture to ensure the safety of the units. The company last month agreed to a request from the regulator to include a safety pledge as part of its legally binding reactor safety program.

Safety programs drawn up for reactors need to be approved by the regulator and if it finds a grave violation, it can demand the utility halt nuclear power operations.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20171004/p2g/00m/0dm/054000c

October 5, 2017 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Japan nuclear reactor operations: Shikoku shuts Ikata No.3

 TOKYO, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Shikoku Electric Power Co
said it shut its Ikata No. 3 reactor on Tuesday for planned
maintenance.
    The company expects the 890-megawatt No.3 reactor to resume
power generation from around Jan. 22, with commercial operations
likely to resume around Feb. 20, it said.
    Many of Japan's reactors are still going through a
relicensing process following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the
world's worst since Chernobyl in 1986, which highlighted
regulatory and operational failings at nuclear utilities. 
    The restart process has been protracted as all of the
country's reactors were eventually idled. Between September 2013
and August 2015 Japan had no nuclear plants in operation.
    Japan's nine regional power utilities and a wholesaler,
Japan Atomic Power Co, have 42 nuclear reactors for commercial
use, with a total generating capacity of 41.482 gigawatts. 
    The shutdown of the Ikata No.3 reactor will bring the number
of the nation's reactors that are online down to four, with a
combined capacity of 3.52 gigawatts, or 8.5 percent of the
country's total nuclear capacity, according to Reuters
calculations.
    The following table shows the status of Japan's nuclear
power plants. 

Screenshot from 2017-10-03 19-48-25
    
http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL4N1MA1OT

October 5, 2017 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Govt to aid disaster-hit areas in Olympic exchanges to publicize their reconstruction

985d7e2e07cac023189bbd1a94d41188

 

Ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the government plans to create a “reconstruction host town” program to promote exchanges between countries and territories participating in the Olympics and Paralympics and areas affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, it has been learned.

According to informed sources, the government aims to register all 127 municipalities in the three disaster-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima as reconstruction host towns. The new program aims to boost efforts to involve disaster-hit areas in the Games and spread information on disaster reconstruction to the world, the sources said. It is also expected to enhance the image of the “reconstruction Olympics,” as the concept currently lacks concrete measures.

Registration for host towns for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics began in January last year. The government will also create a separate “reconstruction host town program.” Under the new program, all applying municipalities will be registered as reconstruction host towns, in principle, according to the sources. Additionally, the government will dispatch officials from the Cabinet Secretariat and other bodies as needed. The officials will fully support cooperation between municipalities and government ministries, agencies and the Olympic organizing committee, while connecting the municipalities with countries participating in the Olympics and Paralympics. The government might also invite Olympic and Paralympic athletes to tour disaster-hit areas after the Games, with the hope that they will spread information about the areas’ current circumstances.

The current host town program provides financial support to municipalities so they can organize exchange activities with participating countries and territories. The program is modeled on the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics’s One School, One Country program, in which a country or a territory participating in the Games was paired with a school that would cheer on the country or the territory during events. As of Sept. 14, 252 municipalities across the country are registered as host towns and have launched exchanges with 74 countries and territories in total.

In the three disaster-hit prefectures, Morioka has registered as a host town for Canada, inviting the country to hold Olympic training camps for sport climbing and other events. Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, a host town for Samoa, plans to hold a dance festival featuring Pacific nations. However, municipalities affected by the disaster have prioritized reconstruction projects, so only 10 municipalities from disaster-hit prefectures have registered as host towns.

Municipalities registered as host towns can implement sports and cultural exchange programs with partner countries and territories for the duration of the Games, with half of the project costs covered by special tax grants from the government. Municipalities can host training camps by becoming host towns, and can receive government subsidies for renovating athletic facilities.

We are considering additional preferential measures for them,” a senior government official said of the new reconstruction host towns.

In the 2002 FIFA World Cup, which was cohosted by Japan and South Korea, Nakatsue village (now Hita city), Oita Prefecture, hosted the base camp for the Cameroonian national team. The village became famous for its hospitality, which resulted in a massive influx of tourists. Exchanges between the people and Cameroon continue to this day, raising expectations for the host town program to yield similar success.

Reconstruction has been touted as the theme for the upcoming Tokyo Games. However, questions have arisen over how the theme will factor into the Games, with only Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures hosting event venues. Miyagi Prefecture will host preliminary soccer round matches and Fukushima Prefecture will host preliminary softball round matches.

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003945623

October 5, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | 3 Comments

Muons suggest location of fuel in unit 3

Some of the fuel in the damaged unit 3 of the Fukushima Daiichi plant has melted and dropped into the primary containment vessel, initial results from using a muon detection system indicate. Part of the fuel, however, is believed to remain in the reactor pressure vessel.

FD3 muon measurements Oct 2 2017)Structures within the reactor building of unit 3 can be seen in images obtained using muon data (Image: Tepco)

 

Muons are high-energy subatomic particles that are created when cosmic rays enter Earth’s upper atmosphere. These particles naturally and harmlessly strike the Earth’s surface at a rate of some 10,000 muons per square meter per minute. Muon tracking devices detect and track these particles as they pass through objects. Subtle changes in the trajectory of the muons as they penetrate materials and change in direction correlate with material density. Nuclear materials such as uranium and plutonium are very dense and are therefore relatively easy to identify. The muon detection system uses the so-called permeation method to measure the muon data.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) installed a muon detection system on the first floor of unit 3’s turbine building. Measurements were taken between May and September this year.

Tepco said analysis of muon examinations of the fuel debris shows that most of the fuel has melted and dropped from its original position within the core.

Prior to the 2011 accident, some 160 tonnes of fuel rods and about 15 tonnes of control rods were located within the reactor core of unit 3. The upper and lower parts of the reactor vessel contains about 35 tonnes and 80 tonnes of structures, respectively.

The muon examination indicates that most of the debris – some 160 tonnes – had fallen to the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel and resolidified, with only about 30 tonnes remaining in the reactor core. Tepco said another 90 tonnes of debris remains in the upper part of the vessel.

The bulk of the fuel and structures in the core area dropped to the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV), Tepco believes. While part of the molten fuel is understood to have then fallen into the primary containment vessel (PCV), “there is a possibility that some fuel debris remains in the bottom of the RPV, though this is uncertain”, the company noted.

Similar muon measurements have already been conducted at units 1 and 2 at Fukushima Daiichi. Measurements taken at unit 1 between February and September 2015 indicated most of the fuel was no longer in the reactor’s core area. Measurements taken between March and July 2016 at unit 2 showed high-density materials, considered to be fuel debris, in the lower area of the RPV. Tepco said that more fuel debris may have fallen into the PCV in unit 3 than in unit 2.

FD1-3 fuel debris - September 2017 - 460 (Tepco)The current understanding of fuel location in units 1-3 (Image: Tepco)

 

Tepco said the results obtained from the muon measurements together with knowledge obtained from internal investigations of the primary containment vessels using remote-controlled robots will help it plan the future removal of fuel debris from the damaged units.

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS-Muons-suggest-location-of-fuel-in-unit-3-0210174.html

October 5, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | 1 Comment

Japanese beaches 60 miles away have become major source of radioactivity after Fukushima

beaches contaminated 2 oct 2017Beaches far away from Fukushima are still contaminated, more than six years later

 

Beaches are leaching highly radioactive caesium.

Eight beaches in Japan have been found to have high levels of radioactive caesium from the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant was struck by a magnitude 9 earthquake on 11 march 2011, causing reactor meltdowns and the release of radioactive matter into the immediate environment. Beaches up to 60 miles away from Fukushima are now a significant source of radioactive caesium released in the accident, a study in the journal PNAS has found.

The radioactive element caesium appears to ‘stick’ to sand in a freshwater environment, washing far away from the site of the meltdown. Once this water mixes with the salty sea water, the caesium is released from the sand, leaching back into the ocean.

“No-one expected that the highest levels of caesium in ocean water today would be found not in the harbour of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, but in the groundwater many miles away below the beach sands,” said study author Virginie Sanial of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The rate of discharge of radioactive caesium from the beaches was on a par with the direct discharge from the power plant itself, the authors say.

“It is as if the sands acted as a ‘sponge’ that was contaminated in 2011 and is only slowly being depleted,” said Ken Buesseler of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Sanial added: “Only time will slowly remove the caesium from the sands as it naturally decays away and is washed out by seawater.”

Many other coastal nuclear reactors could also spread radioactive material over great distances through this mechanism, the authors say.

“There are 440 operational nuclear reactors in the world, with approximately one-half situated along the coastline,” they observed.

However, the authors stressed that this groundwater was not a source of drinking water hence poses no health hazards to humans.

“No one is either exposed to, or drinks, these waters, and thus public health is not of primary concern here.”

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/japanese-beaches-60-miles-away-have-become-major-source-radioactivity-after-fukushima-1641570

October 5, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | 2 Comments

Scientists find new source of radioactivity from Fukushima disaster

No one is either exposed to, or drinks, these waters, and thus public health is not of primary concern here,” the scientists said in a study published October!!!

29-scientistsfiThe research team sampled eight beaches in Japan within 60 miles of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant and found high levels of radioactive cesium discharged from the 2011 accident in the brackish groundwater beneath the beaches. The cesium did not constitute a public health concern, but it showed how radioactive material can be transported far from accidents sites, where it attaches to and is stored by sand grains. Credit: Souichiro Teriyaki, Kanazawa University

 

Scientists have found a previously unsuspected place where radioactive material from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster has accumulated—in sands and brackish groundwater beneath beaches up to 60 miles away. The sands took up and retained radioactive cesium originating from the disaster in 2011 and have been slowly releasing it back to the ocean.

“No one is either exposed to, or drinks, these waters, and thus public health is not of primary concern here,” the scientists said in a study published October 2 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But “this new and unanticipated pathway for the storage and release of radionuclides to the ocean should be taken into account in the management of coastal areas where nuclear power plants are situated.”

The research team—Virginie Sanial, Ken Buesseler, and Matthew Charette of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Seiya Nagao of Kanazawa University—hypothesize that high levels of radioactive cesium-137 released in 2011 were transported along the coast by ocean currents. Days and weeks after the accident, waves and tides brought the cesium in these highly contaminated waters onto the coast, where cesium became “stuck” to the surfaces of sand grains. Cesium-enriched sand resided on the beaches and in the brackish, slightly salty mixture of fresh water and salt water beneath the beaches.

But in salt water, cesium no longer “sticks” to the sand. So when more recent waves and tides brought in salty seawater from the ocean, the brackish water underneath the beaches became salty enough to release the cesium from the sand, and it was carried back into the ocean.

“No one expected that the highest levels of cesium in ocean water today would be found not in the harbor of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, but in the groundwater many miles away below the beach sands,” said Sanial.

The scientists estimated that the amount of contaminated water flowing into the ocean from this brackish groundwater source below the sandy beaches is as large as the input from two other known sources: ongoing releases and runoff from the nuclear power plant site itself, and outflow from rivers that continue to carry cesium from the fallout on land in 2011 to the ocean on river-borne particles. All three of these ongoing sources are thousands of times smaller today compared with the days immediately after the disaster in 2011.

30-scientistsfi
The new study revealed a previously unsuspected pathway for radioactive material to be transported, stored for years, and subsequently released far from the site where it was initially discharged. Credit: Natalie Renier, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

 

The team sampled eight beaches within 60 miles of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant between 2013 and 2016. They plunged 3- to 7-foot-long tubes into the sand, pumped up underlying groundwater, and analyzed its cesium-137 content. The cesium levels in the groundwater were up to 10 times higher than the levels found in seawater within the harbor of the nuclear power plant itself. In addition, the total amount of cesium retained more than 3 feet deep in the sands is higher than what is found in sediments on the seafloor offshore of the beaches.

Cesium has a long half-life and persists in the environment. In their analyses of the beaches, the scientists detected not only cesium-137, which may have come from the Dai-ichi plant or from nuclear weapons tested in the 1950s and1960s, but also cesium-134, a radioactive form of cesium that can only come only from the 2011 Fukushima accident.

The researchers also conducted experiments on Japanese beach samples in the lab to demonstrate that cesium did indeed “stick” to sand grains and then lost their “stickiness” when they were flushed with salt water.

“It is as if the sands acted as a ‘sponge’ that was contaminated in 2011 and is only slowly being depleted,” said Buesseler.

“Only time will slowly remove the cesium from the sands as it naturally decays away and is washed out by seawater,” said Sanial.

“There are 440 operational nuclear reactors in the world, with approximately one-half situated along the coastline,” the study’s authors wrote. So this previously unknown, ongoing, and persistent source of contamination to coastal oceans “needs to be considered in nuclear power plant monitoring and scenarios involving future accidents.”

More information: Virginie Sanial el al., “Unexpected source of Fukushima-derived radiocesium to the coastal ocean of Japan,” PNAS (2017). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1708659114

https://phys.org/news/2017-10-scientists-source-radioactivity-fukushima-disaster.html

October 3, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | 1 Comment

No joke: Despite the evidence, nuclear power declared safe!

ikata 30 sept 2017.pngA touch-panel screen at a facility in Ikata explains that the nuclear power plant in the town was built to withstand strong earthquakes.

 

IKATA, Ehime Prefecture–It’s as if the 2011 nuclear disaster in Japan never happened.

A public relations facility here that was set up to publicize the safety of the Ikata nuclear power plant operated by Shikoku Electric Power Co. still insists that nuclear plants can withstand a tsunami of any height.

Like the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that went into triple meltdown, the Ikata facility faces the coast. A magnitude-9.0 earthquake on March 11, 2011, triggered tsunami that put the Fukushima facility out of action.

More than six years after that catastrophic event, the Ehime prefectural government is finally moving to revise the information designed to ease fears about a nuclear accident.

The contents on display will be updated before the end of the fiscal year because, as one prefectural government official put it, “Some of the information does not square with the current situation.”

The facility is located in the Minatoura district of Ikata about four kilometers east of the Ikata nuclear plant. It was established in 1982 by Ehime prefectural authorities to remove concerns the public may have about nuclear power generation.

It is operated by an organization that survives on funding from Shikoku Electric, the Ehime prefectural government and the Ikata town government.

In the last fiscal year, the facility had 1,761 visitors, including elementary school students who live nearby.

Near the entrance to the facility is a touch-panel screen where visitors can learn about nuclear power plants in a quiz format.

One question asks, “What would happen to a nuclear power plant if a large earthquake should strike?”

The three alternatives to choose from are: 1) Continue to generate power; 2) The reactor automatically stops to prevent any form of accident; and 3) It would be destroyed if a large earthquake struck.

The second choice is considered the correct answer.

The monitor also offers this reassurance: “(The nuclear plant) is a sturdy building that would not budge an inch in an earthquake, typhoon or tsunami.”

Another entry states that “it was designed with the largest possible quake in mind.”

Another question asks, “Would a nuclear power plant explode like a nuclear bomb?”

Again, there are three choices: 1) It would explode if used in a wrong way; 2) It would never explode; and 3) Nuclear reactors might explode once it ages.

The correct answer is again the second choice.

In fact, after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant were severely damaged by hydrogen explosions caused by core meltdowns after cooling functions were lost when power to the plant was lost.

About a year ago, facility operators have attached a sign to the touch-panel screen that says, “We are in the process of preparing a revision because some of the wording differs from the current situation.”

However, no explanation is offered to show what sections differ from reality.

A prefectural government official in charge of nuclear power safety measures said, “There is some accurate information so we decided it was preferable that some of it was viewed.”

But, the official added that the display would be revised along with improvements in other equipment. The cost of about 500,000 yen ($4,400) would be paid for from tax subsidies obtained through laws covering power generation.

After the Fukushima nuclear accident, a new display was added to show the safety measures being taken at the Ikata plant. There is also a video shown at the facility which explains there has been no noticeable spike in cancer rates or hereditary illness caused by radiation levels under 100 millisieverts.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201709300035.html

October 3, 2017 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Hazama Ando pair charged with padding expenses during Fukushima decontaminaton work

n-fukushima-a-20170930-870x531.jpgWorkers stand on a water tank containing contaminated water at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, in 2014

 

Two employees of general contractor Hazama Ando Corp. have been indicted without arrest for alleged fraud linked to a Fukushima radiation decontamination project.

The employees, who were indicted by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday, are Yuichi Yamashita, 48, and Yoshiji Moro, 50, who worked at the Tohoku branch of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. in Sendai. Both have admitted to the allegations, investigative sources said.

According to the indictment, the two padded the accommodation costs for workers involved in the decontamination project by ¥41 million and submitted a false report listing ¥200 million in expenses to the Tamura Municipal Government, which ordered the project, between July and August 2015. They are suspected of cheating the city out of some ¥76 million, and of supplying manipulated receipts as the supporting documents for the expense report.

Hazama Ando said in June this year that it had overstated expenses by some ¥27 million in its report to Tamura and about ¥53 million in its report to Iwaki, another city in Fukushima Prefecture. The prosecutor’s office apparently opted not to pursue the case in Iwaki.

In a statement Thursday, Hazama Ando said the indictment of the employees was a serious matter but denied the contractor had systematic involvement in the misconduct.

An official of the Tamura Municipal Government said the city will consult with the prefectural and central governments on getting back the money it paid to cover the inflated accommodation costs.

The decontamination project is part of the prefecture’s efforts to recover from the March 2011 core meltdowns at the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/09/29/national/crime-legal/hazama-ando-pair-charged-alleged-expense-padding-fukushima-cleanup-work/#.WdEIyBdx3rc

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

Radioactive Water “Possibly” Leaked From Reactors For Months “By Error” Says Tepco

wrong gauges measuring 28 sept 2017.jpgA Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) employee (center) speaks to the media in front of a monitor in the refrigerator building at the company’s Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant, in Okuma, Fukushima, Japan, on February 23. The company’s attempt to clean up and recover the wrecked site has been beset by frequent delays and rising costs.

 

Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: Radioactive Water May Have Been Leaking From Reactors for Months

The Japanese company in charge of cleaning up one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters said Friday its latest error may have caused contaminated water to leak into the ground for nearly half a year.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) said it erroneously configured gauges used to measure groundwater levels in six wells near Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant reactors Nos. 1 through 4, all of which were destroyed when a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastated the Japanese coast and caused a series of meltdowns at the plant.

The false readings, which have been relied on since April 19 and were discovered this week, meant that groundwater levels were actually more than two feet below what Tepco was measuring, The Japan Times reported. The company said this mistake caused groundwater levels to fall below the limit set to prevent radioactive water from flowing out of the plant and into the nearby wells, known as subdrains, at least once, in May.

Tepco spokesperson Shinichi Nakakuk said, however, the company’s readings did not show any significant increases in radioactivity outside of the facilities and that a leak was unlikely, according to Sky News.

Between May 17 and May 21, groundwater reportedly fell as much as 7 and a half inches below the safety levels at least eight times. Tepco has not been able to determine how long the dangerous levels persisted because they only measure the site hourly. Company officials said they were still investigating the incident, according to Japan’s NHK news outlet.

More than 15,000 people were killed when an earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan’s east coast, where the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is located. The threat of radioactive contamination following meltdowns at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant’s Nos.1, 2 and 3 reactors, as well as massive damage to the fourth, forced 150,000 residents to evacuate, most of whom have yet to return.

Since the disaster, plant owner Tepco has struggled through the recovery process, the price tag of which was raised to $192 billion last year, according to Reuters. The leading obstacle that the company faces is extracting the nuclear fuel that remains in the plant’s damaged nuclear reactors. The severe radiation levels have “killed” even robots specifically designed to swim underwater and detect the location of the melted nuclear fuel.

Lava-like rocks believed to be the elusive nuclear fuel were finally discovered in July using a small, custom-built robot known as “Little Sunfish,” according to Sky News. Actually removing the deadly substance, however, has once again been delayed and would not likely begin until 2023, according to Japanese officials.

Japan’s latest plan to clean up the site did not make any mention of what Tepco would do with about 777,000 tons of water contaminated with tritium, a nuclear byproduct that’s notoriously difficult to remove once mixed with water. In July, Tepco chairman Takashi Kawamura said the “decision has already been made” to dump the tritium-tainted water into the Pacific Ocean; however, he later said he would need Tokyo’s support to go through with the measure.

While Tepco and experts have said dumping the tritium-laced water used to cool down the reactors into the ocean would be relatively harmless, local fishermen and environmental activists have condemned the potential solution, saying it would further hurt the already damaged reputation of the region.

http://www.newsweek.com/fukushima-nuclear-plant-radioactive-water-leaking-months-674434

Botched Gauges Mean Radioactive Water Might Be Leaking From Fukushima

Radioactive, contaminated water may have leaked from the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor in Japan into nearby groundwater, report plant officials. The incident has not been confirmed, but is suspected to have occurred because of a fault in well placement.

The wells around the reactors are designed to pump groundwater away from the facility. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which operates the plant, said that six wells in the vicinity of the reactors were actually a full three feet below the required safe height to avoid contamination. This means it’s possible that radioactive waste water has been leaking into the soil at those sites.

The mistake was noticed in April 2017 during tests that preceded the digging of a new well, and TEPCO launched a full investigation. The mistake was a result of TEPCO erroneously configuring the gauges in the wells, repeatedly giving them false readings of the groundwater levels at those sites.

TEPCO tested all six questionable sites and found that the groundwater has no elevated levels of radioactivity. A leak is therefore unlikely, according to TEPCO spokesman Shinichi Nakakuki.=

The Fukushima plant suffered a triple meltdown following the devastating 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011, killing around 16,000 people. After the meltdown that forced 174,000 people to abandon their homes, further contamination occurred when melted-down nuclear fuel seeped into the groundwater.

The wells are to prevent radioactive water from leaking into the Pacific, but TEPCO has had repeated troubles with managing thousands of tons of contaminated water. Shortly after the meltdown, an underground barrier of frozen soil was built, but in 2016 they revealed that the measure had been ineffective. In July 2013, TEPCO revealed that radioactive water was leaking from the plant into the Pacific Ocean, something they had previously denied. 

TEPCO has been severely criticized by the Japanese government and public for their mishandling of the meltdown and ensuing crisis. In 2016, three of TEPCO’s top executives, including former Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, were indicted on charges of criminal negligence.

They are also the subject of 30 class action lawsuits from displaced and injured residents. The most recent lawsuit was resolved earlier in September, when the company was ordered to pay 376 million yen ($3.36 million) to 42 plaintiffs.

https://sputniknews.com/environment/201709301057827423-radioactive-water-fukushima-well-leak/

Botched gauge settings might have contaminated Fukushima groundwater from April onward: Tepco

The discovery of falsely configured monitoring equipment at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant means the groundwater flowing underneath it might have gotten contaminated from April onward, Tokyo Electric said Friday.

The utility said incorrect gauge settings were used to measure groundwater levels in six of the wells near reactors 1 and 4. This resulted in groundwater readings about 70 cm higher than reality, which means the beleaguered power utility has been mismanaging the groundwater there for months.

To prevent tainted water from leaking from the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. installed water gauges so it could keep the groundwater levels in the wells a meter higher than the contaminated water in the buildings.

Tepco adjusts the amount of water in wells called subdrains around the buildings to keep the groundwater higher than the tainted water inside them, which prevents it from flowing out. If the groundwater levels sink below the level of the radioactive water, it might leak out.

On Friday, Tepco said the estimated groundwater level in one of the six subdrain wells close to reactor 1 fell below the level in the reactor building at least eight times during the five-day period to May 21 because the gauges were set incorrectly.

Groundwater levels were 2 mm to 19 mm lower than the level in the buildings, Tepco said, adding that it does not know precisely how long each of these problematic situations lasted because water level data is collected by the hour.

Tepco said groundwater levels in five other wells affected by the incorrect settings did not fall below the levels in the nearby reactor buildings.

All six are in the area surrounded by an underground ice wall designed to prevent groundwater leakage.

According to Tepco, the incorrect settings date as far back as April 19. The earliest error affected the gauge in a well where groundwater fell to hazardous levels.

In the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, reactors 1, 2 and 3 at the plant experienced core meltdowns and reactors 1, 3 and 4 were severely damaged by hydrogen explosions following a massive offshore earthquake that spawned large tsunami in March 2011.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/09/29/national/radioactive-water-may-leaking-fukushima-reactor-buildings-since-april-tepco/#.Wc8cghdx3re

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

The hottest drive: Safecasting the newly reopened Route 114 in Namie

hottest drive 28 sept 2017Above: National Route 114 runs through the current exclusion zone in Namie. The area remains evacuated but the road was recently reopened for public use.

 

National Route 114 in Namie was reopened to public access on Sept 20th of this year. The route, also known as the Tomioka Highway, is a primary thoroughfare which runs east-west in Fukushima, primarily through the mountainous sections of Namie. Prior to the accident it was the major lifeline connecting Fukushima City in the west with the center of Namie and other coastal towns in the east. Since April 2011 the road has been officially closed to public access, as the entire town of Namie was placed under evacuation orders. However, Joe and Kalin shot this video on Rte 114 in Namie in May, 2012, so it was still at least partly accessible then, and to the best of our recollection remained so until Spring of 2013. In March this year, the previously more populated eastern portion of Namie was reopened for residence. But the rest of the town, through which Rte 114 runs, remains part of the “Difficult to return zone” (kikan konnan kuiki), usually marked in red on evacuation maps. It’s been difficult for us to get access to this area in the past, but longtime volunteer KM Aizu recently Safecasted the reopened road. He measured dose rates at 1 meter of up to 5.91 µSv/hr along one stretch. This is somewhat higher than the 5.53 µSv/hr shown by an official survey in August, as reported recently in the Asahi Shimbun.  It is also significantly lower than the 19.6 µSv/hr we measured there in Oct-Nov 2011.

KM Aizu commented that while driving on the road, which took about 45 minutes end-to-end, he thought, “It’s been a long time since I’ve been anywhere with dose rates this high.” The portion of Route 6 in front of Fukushima Daiichi is still up to about 5 µSv/hr, he noted, “But this is now the highest dose rate anywhere that is publicly accessible in Fukushima.”  As with Rte. 6 and the Joban Expressway, both of which cut through the “Difficult to return zone,” the government advises people not to stop along the way but to enter and leave the area quickly so as to minimize their radiation exposure. Barriers blocking access to side roads have been placed at over 80 locations along Rte 114, and according to our volunteer, the road is regularly patrolled by police cars. (KM Aizu noted that as with other law enforcement teams patrolling and manning roadbocks, the ones he saw were from other prefectures). He also noted that while Rte 6 is lined with houses and businesses to which somewhat efficient decontamination could be done before and after reopening it, Rte 114 runs almost entirely through forested hillsides.  The hillsides immediately flanking the road have been remediated to a distance of about 10 meters, but the remainder is essentially untouched. “If people went even a fairly short distance into the mountains,” he observed, “I’m sure the doses would be much higher.”

The reopening of Rte 114 will definitely make travel between Fukushima City and the coast easier for people and goods, and in that sense it will bring benefits and is probably justified. There have been increasing discussions about reopening Rte 399, which runs north-south between Iitate and Katsurao, intersecting Rte 114 in Namie, as well. This would essentially restore the basic road network through the area. Locals generally seem to acknowledge and accept the risks the potential exposures present, but nevertheless we urge people intending to travel in the region to be aware of the situation and to exercise adequate caution.

https://blog.safecast.org/2017/09/the-hottest-drive-safecasting-the-newly-reopened-route-114-in-namie/

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