nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

“Chernobyl on the Seine” – Marie curie’s radioactive legacy

France Is Still Cleaning Up Marie Curie’s Nuclear Waste, Her lab outside Paris, dubbed Chernobyl on the Seine, is still radioactive nearly a century after her death. Bloomberg Business Week , By Tara Patel,  28 Aug 19,

 

August 29, 2019 Posted by | France, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

Who will clean up America’s nuclear wastes in Greenland?

Maine Voices: Long-buried U.S. nuclear waste would complicate any bid for Greenland https://www.pressherald.com/2019/08/24/maine-voices-long-buried-u-s-nuclear-waste-would-complicate-trumps-bid-for-greenland/

Would the U.S. or Denmark be responsible for cleaning up over 47,000 gallons of Cold War-era radioactive waste?

August 26, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Public Should Comment on New “WIPP Forever” Strategic Plan

Public Should Comment on New “WIPP Forever” Strategic Plan, http://nuclearactive.org/ August 22nd, 2019 The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is the nation’s first geologic disposal site for radioactive and hazardous waste.  https://wipp.energy.gov/  But WIPP should not be the only repository.  For decades, federal laws and state agreements and permits have established a limited mission for both the amount of waste allowed and how long the site can operate.  Other repositories are necessary since the nation has no plans to stop production of nuclear weapons that generate the plutonium waste. Other repositories also are required for commercial spent fuel and military high-level wastes.

In recent years, officials with the Department of Energy (DOE) have discussed various ideas to keep WIPP open for at least 50 years – twice as long as the original schedule – and to expand the types and amounts of waste.  One reason for the “WIPP Forever” plan is to avoid telling Congress and the public that it is time to develop other repositories – since no state is asking for those dump sites.

DOE announced the upcoming release of a Draft Five-Year Strategic Plan and public comment meetings in Santa Fe on Monday, August 26th from 3 to 5 pm at the Hotel Santa Fe, and in Carlsbad on Wednesday, August 28th from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Skeen-Whitlock Building.  While WIPP officials acknowledge that more informed public comment happens if the draft plan is released several days in advance, the document may not be available until just before the Santa Fe meeting.

Thus, what exactly is in the five-year plan is uncertain.  But it likely will presume that WIPP continues to operate until at least 2050 and the amount of waste totals at least thirty percent more than the legal limit of 175,564 cubic meters.  It will certainly include adding at least one new shaft and numerous underground disposal rooms beyond those ever included in past designs.  That additional space is for plutonium-contaminated waste previously designated for WIPP that doesn’t fit because of the underground contamination that makes some areas of the underground unusable.  The Plan also could include tons of weapons-grade plutonium and high-level waste that has always been prohibited by federal law and the state permit.

Don Hancock, of Southwest Research and Information Center, said, “Whatever the specifics of the WIPP Strategic Plan, the public can tell DOE that we do not agree with operating WIPP forever.  People can also tell State officials to enforce the legal limits on the amount and types of waste and set a closing date so that DOE and Congress know that it’s time to plan for either long-term storage at generator sites or new repositories in other states.”  http://www.sric.org/

August 22, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Germany shows how it can lead the world in neatly shutting down nuclear power

Spectacular Video Shows Nuclear Power Plant Demolition in Germany

How to demolish a nuclear power plant without blowing it up, By Sheena McKenzie, CNN August 16, 2019 London (CNN Business)This is how you demolish a nuclear power plant German-style. No big red button. No dramatic countdown. No “kaboom!”

August 17, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, Germany | Leave a comment

Tower of German nuclear station demolished. The plant was on line for only 13 months

Short-lived German nuclear plant’s cooling tower demolished  https://www.citynews1130.com/2019/08/09/short-lived-german-nuclear-plants-cooling-tower-demolished/, BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Aug 9, 2019 

BERLIN — The cooling tower of a former nuclear power plant next to the Rhine River in Germany that was online for just 13 months has been demolished, 31 years after it stopped producing electricity.

Remote-controlled excavators on Friday removed pillars that supported the tower at the Muelheim-Kaerlich plant, near Koblenz. The tower, whose top half had already been removed by a specially designed robot, collapsed under its own weight in a cloud of dust a couple of hours later.

Muelheim-Kaerlich was switched off in September 1988 after 13 months in service when a federal court ruled the risk of earthquakes in the area hadn’t been taken into account sufficiently. After a lengthy legal battle, demolition started in 2004. Operator RWE says nearly all radioactive material had already been removed by then.

August 10, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, Germany | Leave a comment

Removal of one metric ton of plutonium from Savannah River Site South Carolina

One metric ton of plutonium removed from massive nuclear facility in SC,  https://www.wspa.com/news/one-metric-ton-of-plutonium-removed-from-massive-nuclear-facility-in-sc/     by: Georgiaree Godfrey
Posted: Aug 8, 2019 / 09:06 PM EDT Updated: Aug 9, 2019 / 0JACKSON, SC (WSPA)- The South Carolina Attorney General announced earlier this week the successful completion of the removal of a portion of the plutonium being stored at the Savannah River Site in Aiken.

The Savannah River Site has been in the state since the late 1950’s and was originally home to a nuclear bomb making facility, but over the years the site has taken on the role of several different operations, including the storage of plutonium.

Savannah River Site is now home to a nuclear laboratory and facility to reuse the nuclear material left behind from the Cold War. Over the years the storage of that plutonium has become a concern.

“A lot of pollution left over from that so the main mission of the Savannah River Site for a long time has been the cleaning up of the contamination that exists,” explained Tonya Bonitatibus, the Executive Director of Savannah Riverkeeper. Savannah Riverkeeper monitors the quality of the Savannah River, which is used for drinking water for more than 1 million residents.

The United States Department of Energy notified the state’s attorney general of the removal of one metric ton of plutonium from the Savannah River Site.

In 2016, Congress passed a law to remove the plutonium if production goals to reuse the material were not met.

The plutonium removed so far is the first step in a wider cleanup after the state won a lawsuit against the DOE.

Bonitatibus continued, “The Savannah River Site has been the dumping ground for nuclear waste. It just has because nobody wants it. So it ends up being stored here leaking into the coastal plain and groundwater.”

The National Nuclear Security Administration says, “The material removed from the Savannah River Site (SRS) in Aiken, South Carolina, will be used for national security missions and is not waste.”

NNSA also released a removal plan that designated Texas and New Mexico as the destinations for the removed plutonium.

The ruling outlined that one metric ton of the plutonium would be removed each year. The process could take another 5 to 7 years to remove the plutonium being stored.

The removal was supposed to be completed by January 1, 2020. The process is 6 months ahead of schedule, according to NNSA.

Savannah River Site is located on land in Aiken, Allendale and Barnwell counties.

August 10, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium | Leave a comment

China buried nuclear waste in Sudan desert

Official: China buried nuclear waste in Sudan desert, Dabanga Sudan, November 12 – 2015 KHARTOUM China has buried dozens of containers with toxic waste in the desert of Northern Sudan, according to a high-ranking official. The waste was most probably coming from nuclear plants in China.

According to the former director of the Sudan Atomic Energy Commission in Sudan, Mohamed Siddig, 60 containers have been brought to Sudan together with construction materials and machinery for the building of the Merowe Dam (Hamdab Dam) in the Northern part of Sudan. He did not mention the exact year of the import and the date the nuclear waste was disposed. China worked on the dam between 2004 and 2009.

During a conference held by the Sudanese Standards and Metrology Organisation (SSMO) in Khartoum on Tuesday, he disclosed how the Sudanese authorities allowed the import of the waste ‘without inspection’.  He told the audience that 40 containers were buried in the desert not far from the Merowe Dam construction site. Another 20 containers were also disposed in the desert, though not buried…..

Mohamed Siddig was responsible for the Sudan Radioactive Waste Management programme that started in 1995, a central radioactive waste management facility was established in Soba near Khartoum. The Atomic Energy Committee is responsible for overseeing the safety in activities that involve the use of atomic energy in Sudan, and promoting the use of nuclear techniques.

Gold miners complain

In 2010, the government was already confronted by complaints of local gold diggers, according to the Sudanese newspaper El Tariq. Several gold workers approached the government complaining about many of the worker suffering from cancer and skin diseases. The Sudan authorities downplayed the questions saying the waste they dug up were remnants from earlier times. However witnesses told El Tariq that 500 sealed barrels were discovered in the El Atmur desert area in River Nile State…….https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/official-china-buried-nuclear-waste-in-sudan-s-desert

August 10, 2019 Posted by | AFRICA, China, wastes | Leave a comment

The Deep Isolation Texas nuclear waste plan

An excellent article, explaining Deep Isolation, and thoroughly outlining the global problem of radioactive trash.
What a pity, then, that this article, and its title, mindlessly accept the current dogma about nuclear power being the solution to climate change!. To believe this is to ignore nuclear’s serious problems, and especially the fact that the thousands of nuclear reactors required would never be built in time to have any effect on global warming – even if that claim were true – which it isn’t.

WHAT TO DO WITH THE DEADLY RADIOACTIVE WASTE?  ensia, 31 July 19

The Deep Isolation Texas demonstration 

“………Chernobyl’s reactor No. 4 site will remain dangerous for tens of thousands of years. In July 2019, 33 years after the explosion, 200 metric tons (220 tons) of uranium, plutonium, liquid fuel and irradiated dust was finally encased below an enormous 36,000-metric-ton (40,000-ton), €1.5 billion steel and concrete structure taller than the Statue of Liberty. The new sarcophagus will last about 100 years — after which it will deteriorate and future generations will have to decide how to dismantle and store it permanently.

Skip forward to Cameron, Texas, on January 16, 2019. This was a nerve-wracking day for Liz Muller, co-founder of California startup technology company Deep Isolation and her father, Richard Muller, professor emeritus of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and now chief technology officer at Deep Isolation.

The father-daughter team had invited 40 nuclear scientists, U.S. Department of Energy officials, oil and gas professionals, and environmentalists to witness the first-ever attempt to test whether the latest oil-fracking technology could be used to permanently dispose of the most dangerous nuclear waste.

At 11:30 a.m., the crew of oil workers used a wire cable to lower a 30-inch (80-centimeter)-long, 8-inch (20-centimeter)-wide 140-pound (64-kilogram) canister — filled with steel rather than radioactive waste — down a previously drilled borehole. Then, using a tool called a “tractor” invented by the industry to reach horizontally into mile-deep oil reservoirs, they pushed it 400 feet (120 meters) farther away from the borehole through the rock.

Five hours later, the crew used the tractor to relocate and collect the canister, attach it to the cable and pull it back to the surface — to the cheers of the workers. Until then, few people in the nuclear industry believed this could be done.

By avoiding the need to excavate large, expensive tunnels to store waste below ground, the Deep Isolation team believes it has found a solution to one of the world’s most intractable environmental problems — how to permanently dispose of and potentially retrieve the hundreds of thousands of tons of nuclear waste presently being stored at nuclear power plants and research and military stations around the world.

“We showed it could be done,” Elizabeth Muller says. “Horizontal, directional drilling has come a long way recently. This is now an off-the-shelf technology. Using larger canisters, we think about 300 boreholes with tunnels up to 2 miles (3 kilometers) long would be able to take much of the U.S.’s high-level nuclear waste. We think we can reduce by two-thirds the cost of permanent storage.” ……In 80-odd years of nuclear power, in which more than 450 commercial reactors, many experimental stations and tens of thousands of nuclear warheads have been built, great stockpiles of different levels of waste have accumulated.

Depending on how countries classify waste, only about 0.2–3% by volume is high-level waste, according to the World Nuclear Association, a London-based industry group that promotes nuclear power. Mostly derived from civil reactor fuel, this is some of the most dangerous material known on Earth, remaining radioactive for tens of thousands of years. It requires cooling and shielding indefinitely and contains 95% of the radioactivity related to nuclear power generation.

A further 7% or so by volume, known as intermediate waste, is made up of things like reactor components and graphite from reactor cores. This is also highly dangerous, but it can be stored in special canisters because it does not generate much heat.

The rest is made up of vast quantities of what is called low-level and very low level waste. This comprises scrap metal, paper, plastics, building materials and everything else radioactive involved in the operation and dismantling of nuclear facilities.

The consensus is that around 22,000 cubic meters (29,000 cubic yards) of solid high-level waste has accumulated in temporary storage but not been disposed of (moved to permanent storage) in 14 western countries, along with unknown amounts in China, Russia and at military stations. A further 460,000 cubic meters (600,000 cubic yards) of intermediate waste is being stored, and about 3.5 million cubic meters (4.6 million cubic yards) of low-level waste. Some 34,000 cubic meters (44,000 cubic yards) of new high-level and intermediate waste is generated each year by operating civil reactors, says another nuclear industry group, the World Nuclear Association (WNA).

The U.S., with 59 nuclear power plants comprising 97 working civil reactors each generating at least several tons of high-level waste per year, has around 90,000 metric tons (99,000 tons) of high-level waste awaiting permanent disposal, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Although it’s impossible to come up with a global total because of differences in how quantities are measured and reported, and with some inventories kept secret, other countries harbor significant amounts of waste as well.

Many Ideas

In the early days of nuclear power, waste of any sort was barely considered. BritishU.S. and Russian authorities, among others, dumped nuclear waste, including more than 150,000 metric tons (160,000 tons) of low-level waste at sea or in rivers. Since then, billions of dollars have been spent trying to identify how best to reduce the amount produced and then store it for what may be eternity.

Many ideas have been investigated, but most have been rejected as impractical, too expensive or ecologically unacceptable. They include shooting it into spaceisolating it in synthetic rockburying it in ice sheetsdumping it on the world’s most isolated islands; and dropping it to the bottom of the world’s deepest oceanic trenches.

Vertical boreholes up to 5,000 meters (16,000 feet) deep have also been proposed, and this option is said by some scientists to be promising. But there have been doubts because it is likely to be near impossible to retrieve waste from vertical boreholes…….

Only Finland is close to completing a deep repository for high-level waste. In May, work started on an “encapsulation” plant where waste will be packed inside copper canisters that will be transferred into 400- to 450-meter (1,300- to 1,500-foot)-deep underground tunnels. But doubt has been cast on the long-term safety of the canisters.

“The problem is intractable,” says Paul Dorfman, founder of the Nuclear Consulting Group, a group of around 120 international academics and independent experts in the fields of radiation waste, nuclear policy and environmental risk. “The bitter reality is that there is no scientifically proven way of disposing of the existential problem of high- and intermediate-level waste. Some countries have built repositories, some plan them. But given the huge technical uncertainties, if disposal does go ahead and anything goes wrong underground in the next millennia, then future generations risk profound widespread pollution.”

Many people now doubt that a satisfactory final repository will ever be found. ….. https://ensia.com/features/radioactive-nuclear-waste-disposal/#comment-344362

August 1, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes | 1 Comment

San Onofre’s nuclear waste: an intractable problem

But is interim storage really interim?……. the communities that give the OK to build an interim storage facility may end up having the waste stuck in their backyards for decades to come.
“Until there is an idea of a long-term repository,” said Maria Korsnick, CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, at a recent Senate hearing, “anybody that raises their hands for that consolidated interim storage [site] is, de facto, the long-term” site. 
Finding a repository for San Onofre plant’s nuclear waste is a difficult task L A Times,ROB NIKOLEWSKI

July 29, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear reactors at Fukushima No 2 plant to be decommissioned

Tepco says it will decommission nuclear reactors at Fukushima No. 2 plant https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/07/24/national/tepco-says-will-decommission-nuclear-reactors-fukushima-no-2-plant/#.XTjRFugzbIU, 24 July 19,

  Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. will decommission the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant, its president, Tomoaki Kobayakawa, told Fukushima Gov. Masao Ochibori at a meeting Wednesday.

The facility is the second nuclear plant that the utility company has decided to decommission after accepting it would need to shutter the nearby Fukushima No. 1 plant, which was crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster in the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

Tepco’s decision to scrap Fukushima No. 2, which is expected to cost some ¥280 billion ($2.6 billion), will be formally approved at the company’s board meeting later this month if local municipalities accept the plan.

The prefecture has demanded the utility scrap the reactors at Fukushima No. 2, saying their existence would hamper its reconstruction efforts. The plant has been offline since its operations were suspended due to the 2011 disaster.

If the plan goes ahead, all 10 nuclear reactors in the prefecture — four at the No. 2 plant and six at the No. 1 facility — will be scrapped.

It will also leave the utility company with only the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture and the planned Higashidori nuclear plant in Aomori Prefecture.

Kobayakawa said at the meeting, also attended by the mayors of the two towns — Naraha and Tomioka — that host the plant, that Tepco plans to build a new on-site storage facility for spent nuclear fuel from the reactors at the Fukushima No. 2 plant.

The fuel will be placed in metallic containers and cooled using a dry storage approach, according to the operator.

No decision has been made regarding final disposal of the spent fuel, raising concerns that the radioactive waste may remain on-site for a long time.

The Fukushima No.2 plant currently has around 10,000 assemblies of spent fuel cooling in pools.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

Danger in Using Commercial Satellites To Control Nuclear Weapons

Using Commercial Satellites To Control Nuclear Weapons Is A Bad Idea — But
It’s Being Discussed Forbes, Loren Thompson 24 July 19, “……. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the appearance of new
threats, though, the sense of urgency about nuclear security has waned. The
infrastructure supporting nuclear deterrence has decayed to a point where all three
legs of the strategic “triad”—land-based missiles, sea-based missiles and long-range
bombers—need to be replaced. Meanwhile, the architecture used to command and
control nuclear forces has changed little since the Reagan era.
Against this backdrop, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force said something curious at a meeting of
the Mitchell Institute on June 26. The institute recently produced a report focused on the need to
modernize technology for nuclear command and control. General David Goldfein opined that ongoing
efforts to network the Air Force were as relevant to control of nuclear forces as conventional forces.
In particular, he mentioned the “rapid and exciting expansion of commercial space”
as a trend that might facilitate the creation of resilient links for communicating with
nuclear forces. I was unaware of the chief’s comments until I saw a story by Mandy
Mayfield of National Defense Magazine entitled, “Air Force Wants To Utilize
Commercial Satellites For Nuclear Command, Control.” The Air Force is responsible
for most of the 200 systems comprising the nuclear command and control system, so
General Goldfein’s thoughts have to be taken seriously even if they are just random
musings.
This particular idea is dangerous.
Commercial satellites lack virtually all of the security features that would be
necessary to assure control of the nuclear arsenal in a crisis. First of all, they are not
survivable against a wide array of threats that China and Russia have begun posing
to U.S. orbital assets, ranging from kinetic attacks to electronic jamming to
electromagnetic pulse. Second, they are susceptible to cyber intrusion via their
ground stations that could impede their performance. Third, they frequently contain
foreign components, including in-orbit propulsion technology made in Russia, which
might be manipulated in a crisis or simply become unavailable during wartime.
Air Force planners presumably know all this, so why would General Goldfein suggest
relying on commercial satellites to execute the military’s most fateful decisions?
Perhaps for the same reason that the Army is backing into reliance on commercial
satellites for its next-generation battlefield networks. There are so many commercial
constellations in operation that it seems unlikely America’s enemies could shut them
all down in wartime, and they are a lot cheaper to use than orbiting dedicated military
satcoms with the requisite capacity and redundancy.
“Resilience” has become the watchword for modernizing military space activities, and
one way of creating resilience is to proliferate the pathways available for vital
communications to a point where adversaries can’t keep up with all the possible

options available to U.S. commanders. The same logic is leading technologists to
propose large numbers of cheap satellites in low-earth orbit as an adjunct to existing
military satcoms.
These “cheapsats” wouldn’t be anywhere near as capable as the secure
communications assets that Washington has placed in geostationary orbits, but there
would be so many that links could be sustained even in highly stressed
circumstances, such as the “trans-attack” phase of a nuclear war.
Or at least, so the reasoning goes.
……But the idea of relying on commercial satellites for command and control of
nuclear forces takes this reasoning a step too far, because market forces preclude
any of the hardening and other protective features that might be required in dedicated
military birds
……… think of all the ways an adversary like China might seek to interfere with
commercial satellites through their ground stations and uplinks, such as insertion of
malware via hacking and jamming of signals. ……..

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorenthompson/2019/07/23/using-commercial-satellites-to-control-nuclear-
weapons-is-a-bad-idea-but-its-being-discussed/#2da6f0751dfa

July 25, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In Texas oil town Andrews , there’s support for hosting nuclear waste dump

July 25, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | 2 Comments

USA’s Sensible, Timely Relief for America’s Nuclear Districts Economic Development (STRANDED) Act

Wiscasset could get $8 million for storing nuclear waste  https://www.pressherald.com/2019/07/24/wiscasset-could-get-8-million-for-storing-nuclear-waste/   A bill before Congress would compensate communities who store spent nuclear fuel that the federal government has failed to remove.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Push to speed up decommissioning of Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant

TMI nuclear plant can’t go away fast enough, some neighbors and ’79 accident survivors say, Penn Live Jul 23,   By 

As jarring as the closure of the Three Mile Island One nuclear power station is to longtime Harrisburg-area residents, a cadre of them told Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials Tuesday they’d like the plant’s planned decommissioning to take a faster track.

It’s known in NRC lingo as DECON, and it can allow for the deconstruction, clean-up and re-use of closed nuclear plants in less than a decade, as opposed to the six decade-plus track Three Mile Island Unit One’s owners, Exelon Generation, has started planning for.

Several longtime TMI watchdogs, born of the notorious 1979 partial meltdown at the adjacent Three Mile Island Two reactor, said the desire for speed is partly a matter of good riddance, and a world-weary resignation that past promises about the troubled plant have not panned out.

“How many dog and pony shows can you (the NRC) bring to Harrisburg over the last 40 years?” asked longtime TMI activist Gene Stilp, bemoaning the fact that under the current safe storage plan the island would be a nuclear waste dump long past the lifetimes of any current residents.

Stilp called on Exelon, and elected officials who fought for TMI’s economic preservation over the last two years, to put the decommissioning on a faster track to preserve more of the region’s existing nuclear-related jobs in the short term and allow for a faster rehabilitation of the site.

“You could start getting jobs for clean-up right now,” Stilp said. “Get retrained in some fashion and set up things for that. But you could actually have jobs right now and start on that. Not just monitoring the site… Start providing jobs right now, by starting the clean-up right now.

“This bargain with the devil to store it (spent nuclear fuel) on the Susquehanna River is an abomination to the river, an abomination to the citizens who live here…. and it provides more terrorist targets in a big way.”

NRC officials noted Tuesday it is ultimately the licensee’s decision whether to put a plant into safe storage or rapid decontamination.

Exelon’s current timeline calls for the site to spend most of the next 60 years in a “dormancy” stage, in which most activity will center around storage of spent fuel, and a wait for residual contamination levels to naturally break down until major reactor buildings and components can be dismantled.

Exelon, however, has recently changed paths with other retired nuclear plants – including one in New Jersey this year……..

There are other ways to join the TMI decommissioning conversation. Written comments on the report can be submitted through Oct. 9 either:

July 25, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

40 years, $2.5bn costs for 4 Fukushima Daini nuclear reactors to be shut down

Tepco to retire remaining reactors in Fukushima  https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Tepco-to-retire-remaining-reactors-in-Fukushima  Decommissioning is expected to take 40 years and cost $2.5bn JULY 20, 2019  TOKYO — Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings will scrap the four Fukushima Prefecture reactors that escaped damage in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, moving to decommission all of the nuclear power plants the public utility owns in the disaster-stricken region.

The shutdown of the Fukushima Daini plant, which is located just 12km away from the Daiichi Plant crippled by fuel meltdowns, will be formally authorized at the company’s board meeting at the end of the month. This marks the first decision by the utility, known as Tepco, to decommission nuclear reactors apart from the Daiichi facilities.

Costs for decommissioning Fukushima Daini are estimated to exceed 270 billion yen ($2.5 billion). While Tepco’s reserves are not enough to cover them, the government adopted new accounting rules allowing operators to spread a large loss from decommissioning over multiple years. The company also believes it has secured enough people with necessary expertise to move forward.

Tepco soon will inform Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori of its decision. The utility intends to submit the decommissioning plan to Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority by March next year.

The decision means all 10 reactors in Fukushima will be scrapped. The Daini reactors will be decommissioned in roughly 40 years, sharing the same timetable as the Daiichi site. Tepco owns one other nuclear plant, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa facility in Niigata Prefecture.

The Daini plant, where each reactor produced 1.1 gigawatts of power, served the Tokyo area for about three decades. Japan’s central government sought to restart the complex but faced withering opposition from local residents in Fukushima.

Including the Fukushima Daini facilities, a total of 21 reactors across Japan are now slated for decommissioning. Recent additions include two units at the Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture and one reactor at the Onagawa facility in Miyagi Prefecture.

July 23, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment