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Japan to Give Plutonium from Spent Fuel to France, – (but the high level wastes must be returned to Japan)

 https://www.nippon.com/en/news/yjj2022062000945/japan-to-give-plutonium-from-spent-fuel-to-france.html  Tokyo, June 21 (Jiji Press)–The Japan Atomic Energy Agency will give France plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel from its Fugen advanced converter reactor, officials have said.

The agency will conclude a contract with a French nuclear company this month at the earliest, according to the officials.

The French side is expected to reprocess the spent nuclear fuel from the reactor, which is in the decommissioning process, in the central Japan prefecture of Fukui.

On Wednesday, the Japanese and French governments exchanged notes on the transportation and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel and the return of high-level radioactive waste to Japan.

The two sides agreed to start the removal of 731 spent nuclear fuel assemblies from Fugen in April 2023 and complete the work by the end of March 2027.

June 21, 2022 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan | Leave a comment

Apprehension in Japan, about the idea of getting nuclear-powered submarines.

Kishida cautious about Japan acquiring nuclear-powered sub Nikkei Asia, June 19, 2022

Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of the LDP’s junior coalition partner Komeito, echoed Kishida’s view, calling the idea of a nuclear-powered submarine “unrealistic.”

Ichiro Matsui, leader of the Japan Innovation Party, and Yuichiro Tamaki, head of the Democratic Party for the People, called for acquisition of a nuclear-powered submarine to boost deterrence and reconnaissance capacity……….

The main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan’s leader Kenta Izumi was against acquiring a nuclear-powered submarine, saying the country’s defenses “won’t get stronger simply because some deluxe equipment is added.”………………. https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/Indo-Pacific/Kishida-cautious-about-Japan-acquiring-nuclear-powered-subs

June 20, 2022 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Court rules Japanese government not responsible for Fukushima nuclear disaster damage

ABC News18 June 22

Key points:

  • The nuclear disaster, caused by a tsunami striking the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes 
  • The ruling in the government’s favour may set a precedent for future cases
  • The company Tepco were forced to pay damages to about 3,700 people in March K

Japan’s government is not liable for damages demanded by people whose lives were devastated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the country’s top court said on Friday, the first such ruling in a series of similar cases.

The ruling’s effect as a precedent will be closely watched, local media said………………  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-17/japan-government-not-responsible-for-nuclear-damage-court/101163670

June 18, 2022 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Japan gov’t to skip 1st U.N. nuclear ban meeting next week

 KYODO NEWS 15 June 22, – Japan will not join the first meeting of parties to a U.N. treaty banning nuclear weapons to be held in Vienna next week, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Wednesday, despite high expectations for its attendance as the only nation that has suffered atomic bombings.

Japan, which has not signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, did not complete the procedures for taking part in the three-day meeting, including as an observer, by the Tuesday deadline.

Survivors of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, as well as member nations of the U.N. treaty, had hoped that the Japanese government would participate in the gathering that kicks off next Tuesday………………. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/06/740ac3501176-japan-govt-to-skip-1st-un-nuclear-ban-meeting-next-week.html

June 16, 2022 Posted by | Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ukraine war – good chance for France to sell nuclear reactors to India, replacing deal with Russia.

Supply of six nuclear reactors: Question mark on Russia inputs, India evaluates French push at Jaitapur https://indianexpress.com/article/india/supply-of-six-nuclear-reactors-question-mark-on-russia-inputs-india-evaluates-french-push-at-jaitapur-7966435/

The Department of Atomic Energy is actively examining a binding techno-commercial offer submitted by the French state-owned power company to help build six third-generation EPR reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra. 

 by Mihir Mishra , Anil Sasi  June 13, 2022

Amid mounting uncertainties over the civil nuclear partnership with Russia in the wake of the Ukraine war, there are indications of fresh progress on the much-delayed deal with French power utility EDF for the supply of six EPR (European Pressurised Water Reactors) nuclear reactors.

The Department of Atomic Energy is actively examining a binding techno-commercial offer submitted by the French state-owned power company to help build six third-generation EPR reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra.

A high-level team from EDF was here late last month.

New Delhi had accorded an “in-principle” approval of the site at Jaitapur in Maharashtra for setting up of six reactors of 1650 MWe (megawatt electric) each as part of an umbrella nuclear deal signed with France in September 2008.

However, that proposal has been hanging fire on account of multiple factors, including the slowdown in nuclear projects globally post the Fukushima incident and internal reorganisation at French nuclear utility Areva (which was subsequently taken over by EDF).

If the Jaitapur deal takes off, it would be the largest nuclear power generating site in the country with a total capacity of 9,900 MWe and one of the biggest-ever export deals for the French side.

Sources said the issue of the techno-commercial offer came up during delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron in May.

June 14, 2022 Posted by | India, politics international | Leave a comment

Japanese youths at Vienna Nuclear Ban Treaty meeting, call for abolition of nuclear weapons 

Japanese youths to call for abolition of nuclear weapons at Vienna meeting,  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220612_14/   Fourteen Japanese youths plan to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons at the first meeting of signatories to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Vienna later this month.

In an online meeting on Sunday, Takahashi Yuta, a university student from Hiroshima, said the younger generation must take over from the atomic-bomb survivors, or hibakusha.

He said many young people will travel to the meeting in Vienna, and he wants to convey the hibakushas’ voices to the world.

Okuno Kako, another university student from Hiroshima, is also working on environmental

Okuno said if nuclear weapons are used, they would cause temperatures to fall globally. She added that nuclear tests and the production of nuclear weapons also adversely affect the environment.

She said she wants to appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons from the viewpoint of both environmental protection and peace, although they may appear to be unrelated.

The students plan to explain the hibakushas’ experiences at events organized by non-governmental organizations, and to give speeches calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

They also hope to convey the hibakushas’ views to representatives of the signatory countries in Vienna.

June 14, 2022 Posted by | Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Aging Fukui nuclear unit to restart in Aug., 2 months early

File photo taken Nov. 28, 2021, shows the No. 3 reactor of Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan.

June 10, 2022

An aging nuclear reactor in central Japan’s Fukui Prefecture will resume operating in August, about two months earlier than scheduled, with the unit expected to help ease tight electricity supply conditions during the busy summer season, its operator said Friday.

After being offline for about 10 years, Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama No. 3 reactor initially restarted in June last year, becoming the first nuclear unit to operate beyond the government-mandated 40-year service period introduced under new rules set after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

But the No. 3 unit was then suspended just four months after its restart after failing to meet the Oct. 25 deadline set by regulators to implement antiterrorism measures.

Kansai Electric said it will now start operation of a designated safety facility in late July and thus bring forward the schedule for the reactor’s restart from Aug. 12.

With the reactor back online, it is hoped the country’s power reserve rate, except for Hokkaido and Okinawa, in August will improve to 4.7 percent from 4.4 percent. The reactor was initially scheduled to operate from Oct. 20.

While the No. 3 unit was given the green light to operate, the Nos. 1 and 2 units of the plant in Mihama on the Sea of Japan coast were terminated in April 2015 in line with the 40-year limit.

Disaster-prone Japan has recently been struggling to provide stable power supply, with most of its nuclear power plants remaining offline under stricter safety regulations imposed since the Fukushima nuclear accident and an increasing number of aging thermal power plants being shut down.

“We will operate our nuclear plants in a safe manner while considering current challenges in the power supply and demand,” Kansai Electric said in a statement.

Even so, power supply still looks tight this summer as the government projects the reserve rate to drop to 3.1 percent in July, just 0.1 point above the required level for stable power supply.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda on Friday urged the public again to save energy such as by setting air conditioning to 28 C, turning off unnecessary lights and avoiding stacking too much food in refrigerators.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/06/a031a57f82df-aging-fukui-nuclear-unit-to-restart-in-aug-2-months-early.html

June 13, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan court: Nuclear plant’s tsunami safeguards inadequate.

TechXplore, 10 June 22,  A Japanese court on Tuesday ordered a utility not to restart a nuclear power plant because of inadequate tsunami safeguards, backing the safety concerns of residents at a time the government is pushing for more reactors to resume power generation after pledging to ban imports of Russian fossil fuels.

The Sapporo District Court ruled that Hokkaido Electric Power Co. must not operate any of the three reactors at its coastal Tomari nuclear power plant in northern Japan because the inadequate tsunami protection could endanger people’s lives.

The utility said it will appeal the ruling, which it called “regrettable and absolutely unacceptable.”………………..

About 1,200 people from the area of the Tomari plant and elsewhere filed a lawsuit in late 2012 demanding that it be decommissioned because of inadequate earthquake and tsunami protections. In its ruling, the court dismissed that demand.

Chief Judge Tetsuya Taniguchi said Hokkaido Electric failed to take steps to address safety concerns and demonstrate the adequacy of the plant’s existing seawall, which was built after the Fukushima disaster but has since faced questions about its weak foundation.

…………  The court also ruled that Hokkaido Electric had failed to adequately explain how it can ensure the safety of spent nuclear fuel inside the reactors. https://techxplore.com/news/2022-05-japan-court-nuclear-tsunami-safeguards.html

June 11, 2022 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

China Says It Does Not Want To See Another North Korean Nuclear Test  

NDTV

China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun has urged Washington to ease unilateral sanctions on North Korea and end joint military exercises with South Korea in a bid to revive talks with Pyongyang.

WorldReuters: June 10, 2022   United Nations: 

China’s U.N. envoy said on Thursday that Beijing does not want to see North Korea carry out a new nuclear test, which is partly why China vetoed a U.S.-led bid to impose new U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang over renewed ballistic missiles launches.

But Ambassador Zhang Jun warned against making presumptions on how Beijing might react at the United Nations if North Korea goes ahead with its first nuclear test since 2017. Washington has warned such a test could happen at “any time” and it would again push for more U.N. sanctions.

Let’s see what will happen, but I think we should not prejudge what will happen with a nuclear test,” Zhang told Reuters, two weeks after China and Russia vetoed imposing more U.N. Security Council sanctions on North Korea.

“The denuclearization is one of the key goals of China,” Zhang said. “We do not want to see another test.”

The double veto publicly split the 15-member Security Council for the first time since it started punishing Pyongyang in 2006. The body has steadily – and unanimously – ratcheted up sanctions over the years in a bid to cut off funding for North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

However, in recent years China and Russia have been pushing for an easing of sanctions on humanitarian grounds – and in the hope that North Korea can be convinced to return to negotiations with the United States on giving up its nuclear weapons…………………..   https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/china-says-it-does-not-want-to-see-another-north-korean-nuclear-test-3054324

June 11, 2022 Posted by | China, politics international | Leave a comment

EDITORIAL: Vienna meeting on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons -best chance for Japan to lead the way

Vienna meet best chance for Japan to make case for

nuclear abolition  https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14640066. June 8, 2022   Nuclear weapons must never be used. The international community must stand as one and make this plea. The urgency has never been greater than it is now.

As the only nation to have experienced atomic warfare, Japan’s mission is to lead the way.

The first meeting of the signatories to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will be held in Vienna late this month against the backdrop of Russia’s war against Ukraine, which has escalated into a threat to use nuclear weapons.

The treaty categorically forbids all signatory nations to own, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons.

It went into force in January last year and has been ratified by more than 60 nations and regions.

The conference has been eagerly awaited as an opportunity to counter moves by the nuclear powers to expand their weapons arsenals and continue calls for a world without nuclear weapons.

All U.N. members are qualified to attend. Some have chosen to participate as observers, without having signed or ratified the nuclear ban treaty.

They include Germany and Norway, members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, as well as Sweden and Finland, which have announced they plan to join the military alliance.

Participating in discussions for the elimination of nuclear weapons does not conflict with remaining under the U.S. “nuclear umbrella.”

Observer nations intend to focus on long-term goals while dealing with the current Russian threat.

But the Japanese government has not changed its decision to sit out the conference, asserting there is no point in participating without engaging the nuclear powers in the process.

How will the international community regard the absence of Japan at this conference, given that it is the nation most familiar with the horrors that befell Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

We deplore the government’s stance.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, elected from Hiroshima, has stressed that background in projecting his political persona. He has appraised the nuclear ban treaty as “an important exit.”

We understand Kishida’s position of stressing the importance of Japan’s alliance with the United States.

But that stance must be all the more reason for him to seek Washington’s understanding and proudly attend the Vienna conference. That, we believe, is what “peace diplomacy” boils down to.

In the meantime, the government has appointed young anti-nuclear activists as “special youth envoys” and is sending them to the conference to convey the horrors of atomic bombing to the world.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, elected from Hiroshima, has stressed that background in projecting his political persona. He has appraised the nuclear ban treaty as “an important exit.”

We understand Kishida’s position of stressing the importance of Japan’s alliance with the United States.

But that stance must be all the more reason for him to seek Washington’s understanding and proudly attend the Vienna conference. That, we believe, is what “peace diplomacy” boils down to.

In the meantime, the government has appointed young anti-nuclear activists as “special youth envoys” and is sending them to the conference to convey the horrors of atomic bombing to the world.

We hope the delegation will remind the world firmly of the inhumanity of nuclear weapons.

During the Cold War, nuclear weapons were perceived as “the ultimate weapons that cannot be used.”

But since then, they have been reduced in size and become more readily available. Conspicuous moves have been made to lower the hurdle of their deployment. Fears of an accidental nuclear explosion have not evaporated.

How do we reconcile nuclear disarmament and arms control with initiatives for the abolition of nuclear weapons?

It will be a tough challenge, but we must keep striving to reach this goal.

–The Asahi Shimbun, June 8

June 9, 2022 Posted by | Japan, politics international, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Nuclear Contaminated Water From Fukushima Should Never Be Out Of One’s Mind

Nuke Contaminated Water From Fukushima Should Never Be Out Of One’s Mind,  https://nation.com.pk/2022/06/07/nuke-contaminated-water-from-fukushima-should-never-be-out-of-ones-mind/ By Zhou Dingxing.  Jun 7, 2022,  In 2011, the “3/11” earthquake in Japan caused the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant reactor core, unleashing enormous amounts of radioactive material. The operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), decided to pour in seawater to cool the reactor and contain the leakage. And because the used seawater became highly contaminated with radioactive material, TEPCO had to put it in storage tanks. A decade on, the nuclear contaminated water generated by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are about 150 tons per day in 2021, and will reach the upper limit of the storage tank capacity of 1.37 million tons in the spring of 2023.

According to estimates by the Japan Centre for Economic Research, it will cost 50-70 trillion yen (about $400-550 billion) to scrap and decontaminate the reactor, the bulk of which goes to the treatment of contaminated water. So in April 2021, the Japanese government announced that the problem of increasing amounts of nuclear contaminated wastewater would be addressed by dumping it into the sea. On May 18, 2022, the Japan Atomic Energy Regulatory Commission granted initial approval for TEPCO’s ocean dumping plan.

After the Fukushima nuclear accident, the Japanese government set up the “Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation” (NDF), which is an official agency with 50.1 percent of TEPCO’s voting rights, in order to prevent TEPCO from going bankrupt. In other words, TEPCO is now under direct jurisdiction and control of the Japanese government. It is not hard to see that both TEPCO and the Japanese government are the masterminds behind the nuclear contaminated water dumping plan, because for them, this is the most expedient, cost-effective and trouble-saving way. Japan would need to spend only 3.4 billion yen (about $27 million) according to this plan. But the threat to nature, the environment and human life as a result of such reckless actions was probably never on their minds.

NUCLEAR CONTAMINATED WATER IS NOT NUCLEAR TREATED WATER

Monitoring data collected in 2012 showed that the concentration of Cesium in the waters near Fukushima was 100,000 becquerels per cubic meter, which is 100 times higher than what was detected in the Black Sea after the Chernobyl nuclear leak. Ten years later in 2021, 500 becquerels of radioactive elements per kilogram of weight could still be detected in the flat scorpionfish caught by Japanese fishermen off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, or five times higher than Japan’s own standards. In the 11 years since the nuclear disaster, one or two thyroid cancer cases have been reported for every 60,000 children in Fukushima Prefecture, much higher than the normal rate.

The Japanese government and TEPCO have repeatedly claimed that nuclear contaminated water is “safe” to be dumped into the ocean because it would go through the multi-nuclide removal system (Advanced Liquid Processing System, ALPS). But it is only the radioactive substance called “Tritium” that has reached this standard. And what Japan doesn’t say is that, even after treatment, the water still contains other radioactive substances such as Strontium 90 and Carbon 14 that cause genetic mutation in the ecosystem.

Since the release of the ALPS-related report, the Japanese government has not held any briefings or hearings for the public. And in order to justify the dumping plan, the Japanese government contacted citizen and groups to ask them to stop using the words “nuclear contaminated water”, and use “nuclear treated water” instead. Vigorous public relations (PR) efforts have also been carried out to whitewash the plan. In the 2021 budget of the Japanese Reconstruction Agency, PR expenses related to the Fukushima nuclear accident have increased to 2 billion yen (around $16 million), over four times than the previous year figure. The money has been used on professional teams to weaken and remove negative public opinion in Japan and abroad about the nuclear contaminated water through various propaganda programs.

Furthermore, TEPCO’s track records for handling the nuclear accident have been filled with deception and distortion. In 2007, TEPCO admitted that it had tampered with data and concealed potential safety hazards in a total of 199 regular inspections of 13 reactors in its nuclear power plants since 1977, including the cooling system failure in the Fukushima nuclear accident. One week after the 2011 nuclear accident when experts had already made the judgment that the cores of Units 1 to 3 of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant had melted, the company still refused to announce the truth to the public, and instead chose to use “core damage,” a term that was significantly less alarming. With a past so bad it is hard to make one believe that TEPCO will dump “safe” nuclear contaminated water into the sea.

WAVES OF OPPOSITION AT HOME AND ABROAD

The Japanese government has so far failed to provide sufficient and credible explanations on the legitimacy of the nuclear contaminated water dumping plan, the reliability of nuclear contaminated water data, the effectiveness of the purification devices, and the uncertainty of the environmental impact. To promote the plan under such circumstances has only brought about wide criticism and questions by various communities in Japan and beyond.

Up to 70 percent of the people in Fukushima Prefecture have expressed opposition to the dumping plan. Konno Toshio, former president of Fukushima University, was opposed to advancing the ocean dumping plan without prior understanding at home and abroad, because this plan could affect future generations and must be treated with great caution. The fishery cooperatives and local councils in Miyagi Prefecture, which is adjacent to Fukushima Prefecture, believe that the dumping of nuclear contaminated water into the ocean may affect the safety of local aquatic products and cause significant economic losses to related industries. Already, 180,000 people in Japan have signed the petition to the Japanese government to adopt disposal options other than ocean dumping.

Vladimir Kuznetsov, academician at the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, said that radioactive substances in the nuclear contaminated water can only be partially filtered, and the treated water still contains extremely dangerous radionuclides, which will pollute marine life and spread to the entire ocean through fish migration. This will gravely harm the global marine environment and cause serious harm to the health of people in the periphery. According to a research model established by GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, half of the Pacific Ocean will be polluted in less than 57 days if nuclear contaminated water is dumped at the speed announced by Japan.

Voices of justice

Japan’s ocean dumping plan of nuclear contaminated water is a serious threat to the marine environment, and it damages marine interests of the neighbors and other littoral countries. It also violates multiple international conventions such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on Assistance in Nuclear Accidents or Radiation Emergencies, and the Convention on Nuclear Safety as well as principles of the international law. Many countries, including China, have expressed concern over or opposition to it.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement criticizing the Japanese government for not consulting with or providing any related information to its neighbors when the decision was made, and expressing grave concern over Japan’s dumping of nuclear polluted water into the ocean. The South Korean Foreign Ministry summoned the Japanese ambassador to Seoul to make a serious protest against Japan’s unilateral decision while large crowds gathered in front of the Japanese embassy to protest. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has launched an assessment of Japan’s plan.

The spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly pointed out that Japan’s dumping of nuclear contaminated water into the ocean is extremely irresponsible, and demanded that Japan fully consult with neighbouring countries, other stakeholders, and relevant international institutions to find a proper way to dispose of the nuclear contaminated water, before which the dumping into the ocean shall not be initiated.

The ocean is a treasure for all mankind and our home for survival. It is essential for sustainable development and our future. To dump nuclear contaminated water from Fukushima into the ocean is a major issue that bears on the environment for human survival and health, it is not just Japan’s internal affairs. Although keenly aware of the grave harm to the global marine environment caused by the dumping of such water into the sea, Japan has attempted to push through the plan without exhausting all other safe methods. Such an opaque and irresponsible approach is unacceptable, let alone trusted by countries in the region and the larger international community.

The author is a scholar on international studies

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Japan, oceans, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

Governor of Shimane agrees to restart idled nuclear reactor

Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane nuclear power plant is located in Matsue, the capital of Shimane Prefecture.

June 2, 2022

Shimane Governor Tatsuya Maruyama has agreed to a restart of the No. 2 reactor at Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane nuclear power plant after more than a decade.

With the governor’s consent, the company’s procedures for obtaining local consent are completed, meaning it could come back online as early as next year, although it still requires final regulatory approval.

“If the reactor does not restart, the impact on the local economy will be huge,” Maruyama said during a plenary session of the prefectural assembly meeting on June 2, and added that the restart is now “inevitable.”

“It is important that the local consent was obtained,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a news conference on June 2.

“With the continuing rise in fuel prices and an energy supply bottleneck, it is necessary to utilize (nuclear power) to the maximum.”

After being suspended for about 10 years, this all but clears the way for the reactor, which is the only one in Japan located in a prefectural capital, to be restarted as early as fiscal 2023.

The utility had halted it in January 2012 for a regular inspection and has kept it offline since then.

The reactor passed the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s safety inspection in September 2021, and then in February this year, the city government of Matsue, which hosts the plant, agreed to restart it.

The No. 2 reactor is a boiling water reactor, the same type as the ones that melted down at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in 2011.

Restarting it would mark the first time since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake for a boiling water reactor to be brought back into operation.

But the company’s construction plan and safety regulations will first have to be accepted by the regulator, and construction of new safety countermeasures against the potential risk of earthquakes and tsunami must be completed.

Construction of those safeguards is expected to wrap up in February 2023.

About 460,000 people live in the evacuation area of the nuclear power plant. The figure is the third largest in Japan.

Under the evacuation plan, in the event of an emergency, many of the residents in the prefecture would be expected to evacuate to 49 municipalities in Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures.

The number of those who need support to evacuate, such as hospital patients, people with disabilities and pregnant women, is expected to be about 58,000.

They would be expected to evacuate by bus or social welfare vehicles arranged by the Shimane and Tottori prefectural governments.

But some have questioned the viability of the plan.

Concerns have been raised if adequate support exists for people who require special assistance to evacuate the area, whether Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures would be prepared to take in that many evacuees, and if evacuation routes could be secured in the event of a natural disaster.

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14635842?fbclid=IwAR15pPzg_Rq3CPMV8FSYJQHCgA169bxqhwdn8SrWckfQAwh3DrGdaY2s26c

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Shimane Prefecture OKs restart of nuclear reactor

This photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter on Sept. 11, 2021, shows, clockwise from right, the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 reactors at Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane nuclear power plant in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture.

June 2, 2022

MATSUE, Japan (Kyodo) — Shimane Prefecture in western Japan approved Thursday a plan to restart a nuclear reactor of the same type as those that suffered meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant following the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The green light for the No. 2 unit at Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane nuclear plant in the prefectural capital of Matsue was announced by Gov. Tatsuya Maruyama in a prefectural assembly session.

The company is seeking to restart the reactor in 2023 at the earliest. Inactive since 2012, it will likely be the country’s first boiling water reactor to be restarted since the Fukushima disaster.

Japan has been gradually restarting idled nuclear plants. But the reactors brought back online have been limited, so far, to another type — pressurized water reactors.

“I understand that (nuclear power) plays a certain role” in Japan’s energy policy, Maruyama said. “I thought that restarting is unavoidable at present, so I decided to accept it.”

Some residents visited the assembly to hear the governor’s remarks from the audience seats.

“I have opposed nuclear plants. Not to mention the danger, I think it is very unstable as an energy source. I want (the governor) to work by looking at citizens, not the state,” Masafumi Ashihara, a 72-year-old civic group member, said.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a press conference the central government will ensure safety is prioritized.

The Shimane plant is the only one in the country located in a prefectural capital. It is some 9 kilometers away from the prefectural government office.

In Japan, evacuation plans must be formulated for people living within 30 km of a nuclear plant.

About 460,000 people in six cities across Shimane and Tottori prefectures live within the evacuation area for the Shimane plant. The other heads of local governments in the area have already approved the plan to restart the reactor.

Still, concerns remain among residents over how effective the evacuation plan would be in a nuclear accident.

In Matsue, around 28,000 people who will need assistance evacuating, such as elderly residents, live within a 5 to 30 km radius of the plant, while approximately 1,700 such residents live in a 5 km radius, according to a survey by Kyodo News. Both figures are the highest among municipalities that host nuclear plants in Japan.

“We would need to thoroughly inform people, who may or may not be concerned about an accident, of the evacuation plan,” Maruyama said at a press conference.

Chugoku Electric cleared national safety standards in September 2021 for restarting the reactor. The utility is scheduled to complete its safety measures next February.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220602/p2g/00m/0na/024000c

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Hokkaido Electric ordered not to restart its nuclear reactors

Takeichi Saito, who heads the group of plaintiffs, speaks at a news conference after the Sapporo District Court’s ruling on May 31.

May 31, 2022

SAPPORO–In a blow to Hokkaido Electric Power Co., the Sapporo District Court on May 31 ordered that the reactors at its Tomari nuclear plant remain offline.

The utility has been seeking to soon bring the plant back into operation, as surging fuel costs for thermal power plants have pushed down its revenues.

Presiding Judge Tetsuya Taniguchi cited safety concerns in the ruling, siding with a request by more than 1,000 plaintiffs from the area who raised concerns there are not sufficient safeguards to protect it from natural disasters.

“A sea wall required under the nuclear regulations does not exist,” Taniguchi said. “The plaintiffs’ right (to life) could be violated even without judging other points of contention.”

But he dismissed the plaintiffs’ demand for decommissioning the plant, saying there is no specific circumstance that would warrant it.

The court ruling cannot force the plant to halt operations unless it is finalized at a higher court.

But it could impact the assessment by the government’s nuclear watchdog, the Nuclear Regulation Authority, which has been working for nine years to determine if the plant meets the new regulations.

A group of about 1,200 plaintiffs from in and outside of Hokkaido launched the suit against the power company in November 2011, after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant in March that year.

They sought a halt to the operation of the plant’s three reactors, arguing that their constitutional rights to life and health would be violated in the event of an accident involving the release of radioactive substances.

The three reactors were taken offline between April 2011 and May 2012 for regular checks and have remained idle since.

Hokkaido Electric applied for a restart in 2013, soon after the more stringent reactor regulations were enforced by the government following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The regulator has in the meantime been assessing whether the reactors meet the new safety standards.

But it is not clear when the assessment will end, mainly due to what the watchdog says is the utility’s lack of experts capable of engaging in discussions on safeguards against earthquakes, tsunami and volcanoes with NRA inspectors.

The central issue in the lawsuit was whether concrete danger should be anticipated by restarting the plant, which is located in the Shakotan Peninsula facing the Japan Sea.

The plaintiffs contended that an active seismic fault measuring up to 100 kilometers exists in waters about 15 km from the plant. They argued that the planned sea wall would not protect the plant from the anticipated maximum height of a potential tsunami strike.

They also said that an earthquake powerful enough to cause such a tsunami would liquify the ground and cause the sea wall to sink. And they contended that the plant is also suspected to sit along an active seismic fault.

With an overall output of 2.07 gigawatts, the plant accounted for about 40 percent of the electricity needs in Hokkaido prior to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

But the plant remaining offline does not pose serious problems to the local power supply, partly because new thermal plants went into operation.

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14634215?fbclid=IwAR0xR7m6l5-RSuv9CnahdBdSCOzS5W61nFmxXj5glVMmMBI7IKaovuJNiVg

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , | 1 Comment

Court rules against restarting nuclear power plant in Hokkaido

This Sept. 25, 2021 file photo shows Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s Tomari nuclear power plant in Tomari, Hokkaido.

May 31, 2022

SAPPORO (Kyodo) — A Japanese court on Tuesday ordered a nuclear power plant in Hokkaido to remain offline as requested by over 1,000 plaintiffs due to safety concerns, in a rare decision issued while the operator is seeking permission from authorities to restart the plant.

The Sapporo District Court ruled that Hokkaido Electric Power Co. should not resume operation of all three reactors at its Tomari nuclear plant in northern Japan in the suit filed in November 2011. It marks the third district court ruling for a nuclear plant to be suspended.

But the court rejected that the plant be decommissioned as requested by some 1,200 plaintiffs including local residents, in the first ruling on the scrapping of a nuclear power station.

All three reactors had been taken offline for regular inspections by May 2012 and remain idled, with Hokkaido Electric Power undergoing screening by the Nuclear Regulation Authority to restart them under tighter rules introduced after the 2011 Fukushima crisis.

In the latest in a series of similar suits filed since the nuclear crisis, Presiding Judge Tetsuya Taniguchi said the power company has “not provided evidence of the safety” of spent nuclear fuel stored at the plant and the plant does not have adequate protection against tsunami.

The court ruled that in the case of a plant accident, 44 of the plaintiffs who live within a 30-kilometer radius would have their human rights hindered.

Taniguchi added that the court had decided in January to terminate the hearing as the utility was not expected to be able to provide evidence for its claims in the foreseeable future.

“This is the first step toward creating a future without nuclear power plants in Hokkaido. It’s groundbreaking,” said 69-year-old Takeichi Saito, who led the group of plaintiffs.

But Hokkaido Electric Power said it cannot accept the ruling and will “promptly” file an appeal.

The company said in a release that it had repeatedly explained to the court the safety of the plant from both scientific and technical standpoints.

The case is a setback for the government’s efforts to reboot reactors that meet the post-Fukushima regulations after the nuclear disaster led to a nationwide halt of nuclear plants and increased dependence on coal-fired and gas-fired power generation.

Japan will likely need to rely on nuclear power to meet its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and cutting greenhouse gas emissions 46 percent in fiscal 2030 from fiscal 2013 levels. As of May 16, only 10 of the country’s 36 reactors have resumed operation under the stricter rules.

The country is also faced with the issue of reducing dependence on Russian coal and gas following Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine.

The plaintiffs argued there are active faults near the Tomari plant and in the nearby sea and the operator could be underestimating the size of potential earthquakes when designing the reactors’ quake resistance.

They claimed soil liquefaction could occur around seawalls near the plant in the event of an earthquake and the utility has not taken sufficient measures to protect against tsunami.

The power company countered that there are no active faults around the nuclear complex or in the nearby sea, and that the possibility of soil liquefaction is low.

Other district courts ordered the suspension of the Oi nuclear power plant’s No. 3 and 4 units in Fukui Prefecture in May 2014, and Tokai No. 2 located in Ibaraki Prefecture in March 2021.

However, no rulings over reactor suspension have been finalized. The order on the Oi plant was subsequently overturned by a high court and the Tokai No. 2 case is still pending.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220531/p2g/00m/0na/042000c?fbclid=IwAR0-Quh6NneShgl2DFKU6TffIlsDtshZY8I3vL_Jp2-7_Y49h2e-QlVRZyo

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment