The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Tepco and other utilities eye joint nuclear plant project in Aomori Prefecture

higashidori, aomori NPP.jpg
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and other major utilities will start talks this spring on jointly building and operating a nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, sources close to the matter said Friday.
The plan involves Tepco’s Higashidori nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture, the construction of which was suspended following meltdowns at the firm’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant in March 2011. Tohoku Electric Power Co., Chubu Electric Power Co., and Japan Atomic Power Co. are expected to participate in the project, according to the sources.
Kansai Electric Power Co. is also considering joining a group to discuss the role of each utility and how to shoulder the huge costs related to the Higashidori plant, they said.
The government, which holds the majority of Tepco’s voting rights through a state-backed bailout fund, is expected to support the move.
Tepco, which began constructing the Higashidori plant in January 2011, hopes to compile a joint venture plan around fiscal 2020.
Struggling under the burden of huge compensation payments and plant decommissioning costs from the Fukushima nuclear crisis, Tepco is aiming to rebuild itself through realigning its nuclear business. The utility has been asking other power companies since late last year to join in with construction of the Higashidori plant.
Other utilities may benefit from the joint business as they can share know-how and resources through the initiative at a time when profitability is deteriorating, due to suspensions of nuclear power plants for tighter safety screening introduced after the Fukushima disaster.
Still, many utilities remain wary that teaming up with the crisis-hit Tepco could result in their share of plant decommissioning costs increasing in the future.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Sanitising the Fukushima nuclear waste situation: Japanese newspaper succumbs to pressure

The Great Train Photo Robbery 

March 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | Leave a comment

In 2019, Japanese govt hopes to extract a small sample of melted nuclear fuel from Fukushima reactor 2

First samples of Fukushima plant nuclear fuel debris to be collected in FY 2019    (Mainichi Japan)  The government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) are set to extract a small sample of melted nuclear fuel from the bottom of the No. 2 reactor’s containment vessel at the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant as early as fiscal 2019.


March 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, wastes | Leave a comment

‘It feels like we’re in jail’: Japan spent $12 billion on seawalls after the devastating 2011 tsunami — and now locals are feeling like prisoners

Mar 12, 2018
Japan’s Fukushima disaster – a devastating string of events that included a tsunami with 42-foot high waves – left 18,000 dead in 2011.
In response, many towns along Japan’s coast have since built massive seawalls to help protect against future tsunamis.
Many locals aren’t happy with the walls, saying they feel like they’re “in jail.”
This month marks the seven-year anniversary of Japan’s Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, which caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
The catastrophic Fukushima disaster included a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, a resulting tsunami, and a power-plant accident, which left close to 18,000 people dead in total.
The tsunami also took 5 million tons of debris with it. While 70% of the debris sank, 1.5 million tons of it was left floating in the Pacific Ocean.
Since the devastation, some towns have prohibited building in flatter areas near the coast, while others have raised their land before building new structures.
Others are building seawalls. About 245 miles of seawall structure has been built along the coast to protect from future tsunamis. It has cost Japan about $12 billion to build these 41-foot concrete seawalls, according to Reuters, which block the view of the beaches and sea from residents – and some people aren’t happy with it.
“It feels like we’re in jail, even though we haven’t done anything bad,” an oyster fisherman, Atsushi Fujita, told Reuters. Others are worried about the walls discouraging tourism.
Ahead, a look at the resulting seawalls along Japan’s coast.
The new seawalls are 41 feet high and made of concrete.
These newer walls replaced the old 13-foot breakwaters, which were destroyed during the Fukushima disaster on March 11, 2011.
“It feels like we’re in jail, even though we haven’t done anything bad,” Atsushi Fujita, a 52-year-old oyster fisherman, told Reuters.
Around 245 miles of seawalls have been built at a cost of about $12.74 billion.
“The seawalls will halt tsunamis and prevent them from inundating the land,” Hiroyasu Kawai, a researcher at the Port and Airport Research Institute in Yokosuka, told Reuters.
“Even if the tsunami is bigger than the wall, the wall will delay flooding and guarantee more time for evacuation,” said Kawai.
Some locals are worried the tourism industry will be negatively effected by the seawalls.
“About 50 years ago, we came up here with the kids and enjoyed drives along the beautiful ocean and bays. Now, there’s not even a trace of that,” Reiko Iijima, a tourist from central Japan, told Reuters.
Others find it to be more than just an eyesore. “Everyone here has lived with the sea, through generations,” Sotaro Usui, head of a tuna supply company, told Reuters. “The wall keeps us apart — and that’s unbearable.”
Part of the seawalls in the city of Kesennuma have window cut-outs.
“They’re a parody,” Yuichiro Ito said of the windows. Ito lost his home and younger brother in the tsunami. “It’s just to keep us happy with something we never wanted in the first place.”
A man looks through a window of a seawall at a port in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.
Initially, many welcomed the building of the seawalls, but have become more critical of them over time.
Some locals told Reuters that they were not consulted enough in the planning stages, and money spent on rebuilding elsewhere, such as housing, has fallen behind.
Fishermen are also worried. Some told Reuters that the sea walls could block natural water flows from the land and impact future production.
Here, the “Miracle Pine,” a tree which is said to symbolize hope and recovery after it survived the 2011 tsunami, stands next to a damaged building in front of the newly built seawall in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, Japan.
Still, some locals are glad to have a wall. “I can’t say things like ‘the wall should be lower’ or ‘we don’t need it,'” Katsuhiro Hatakeyama, who has rebuilt his bed and breakfast business in the same location as before, told Reuters. “It’s thanks to the wall that I could rebuild, and now have a job.”

March 15, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Olympic Games Spin – Based on Olympic Sized Lies – theme for March 2018

Fukushima today is the focus of the nuclear lobby’s most egregious lies. It’s hard to know where to start in examining them.


Let’s start with ionising radiation. This year’s March 11 report, by Shin-ichi Hayama, on the macaque monkeys of Fukushima reveals that they have radioactive cesium in their muscles, and significantly low white and red blood cell counts.  They have reduced growth rate and smaller head sizes.  These “snow monkeys” are close relatives to humans. Hayama’s 10 year study of the macaque provides a unique examination of the effects of  chronic low level radiation  affecting generations of monkeys.

New nuclear power for Japan, and nuclear technology as a profitable export?   A visitor from another planet might well marvel at these fantasies – noting  Fukushima’s  radioactive shattered reactors, and ever growing masses of radioactive water – with Japan’s vulnerability to earthquakes.

The social costs continue – the rise in childhood and adolescent thyroid cancer, the worried evacuees, the stigma to Fukushim survivors.   The financial costs of it all are unimaginable – and will be exacerbated by many legal cases won against the nuclear industry.

So – how does the global nuclear industry, backed by banks and governments respond?

Why – by deciding to hold the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and pretending that everything is safe, clean green under control in North Eastern Japan!

LET THE OLYMPIC  SPIN BEGIN –   the survival of the nuclear industry depends on it!!



March 14, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 1 Comment

Harmful effects of radiation on Fukushima’s macaque monkeys

Stark health findings for Fukushima monkeys By Cindy Folkers


March 14, 2018 Posted by | environment, Fukushima continuing, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Successful legal action against nuclear power, and more court cases to come

Nuclear Power Facing a Tsunami of Litigation, Nippon, Shizume Saiji [2018.03.12]   In March 2011, a magnitude-9 earthquake triggered a giant tsunami that crippled the cooling system at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, leading to a catastrophic accident that continues to reverberate seven years later. Science reporter Shizume Saiji surveys the legal fallout from the meltdown, from claims against the government and the operator to a raft of actions aimed at permanently shutting down the nation’s nuclear power industry………….

Complacency and Opacity

In the wake of the Fukushima accident, NISA (since replaced by the Nuclear Regulation Authority) was faulted for its lack of independence. The agency was under the authority of the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, which promotes the use of nuclear power, and officials maintain that its regulatory powers were limited. In addition, a closed, inbred environment encouraged unhealthy ties between NISA and the electric power industry. As a consequence, NISA had fallen into the habit of accommodating and supporting the utilities instead of overseeing them. TEPCO, for its part, had developed a deeply rooted culture of denial, habitually concealing information that might supply ammunition to anti-nuclear activists or fuel fears among the local citizenry. The company brushed off the warnings, convincing itself that the danger from a giant tsunami was purely hypothetical.

So far, district courts have reached decisions on three major class-action suits, and in each case they have agreed with the plaintiffs that the state and TEPCO could have foreseen the danger from a major tsunami once the 2002 report on earthquake risks was released. Two of the district courts, Maebashi and Fukushima, found both the state and TEPCO negligent for failing to prevent the meltdowns. The Chiba District Court, on the other hand, dismissed claims against the state on the grounds that the government was focusing on earthquake safety at the time and may not have been able to formulate effective measures in time to protect Fukushima Daiichi against the March 2011 tsunami. With the government and TEPCO girding up to appeal the lower courts’ decisions, the cases could drag on for years……….

Fighting Nuclear Power, One Plant at a Time

On a different but related front, citizens’ groups and other plaintiffs are vigorously pursuing lawsuits and injunctions aimed directly at shutting down nuclear power plants around the country.

Efforts to block nuclear energy development through legal action date all the way back to the 1970s.

………. At present, almost all of Japan’s operable nuclear power plants are in the midst of some kind of litigation. In one case, the plaintiff is a local government: The city of Hakodate in Hokkaidō has filed a lawsuit to block the construction and operation of the Ōma Nuclear Power Station across the Tsugaru Strait in Aomori Prefecture.[Excellent graphs show 38 nuclear reactors suspended, and 3 operating]

Lawyers on a Mission

Lawyers Kawai Hiroyuki and Kaido Yūichi have been key figures in the fight against nuclear power since before the Fukushima accident. In the wake of the disaster, they founded the National Network of Counsels in Cases against Nuclear Power Plants, a group that has been pursuing legal action against nuclear facilities on behalf of citizens and other plaintiffs nationwide.

Kawai and Kaido are also representing the shareholders of TEPCO, who are suing the company’s former executives for an unprecedented ¥5.5 trillion. In addition, as lawyers for the Complainants for the Criminal Prosecution of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, the two attorneys are working alongside the prosecuting team in the criminal case against three TEPCO executives, which parallels the civil suit in terms of arguments, evidence, and testimony.

Even so, the trial—which officially opened last June and is expected to continue at least through the coming summer—is expected to attract intense media coverage as witness examinations begin this spring. More than 20 witnesses are scheduled to testify. The case also involves a massive volume of documentary evidence, including records of interviews conducted by the government’s Investigation Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station, along with countless pages of emails, internal memos, meeting minutes, and reports. Will all this information shed new light on the human factors behind the Fukushima accident? The nation will be watching closely.

(Originally published in Japanese on February 19, 2018).


March 14, 2018 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Long expensive ?intractable, task of cleaning up Fukushima’s radioactive water and rubble

Clearing the Radioactive Rubble Heap That Was Fukushima Daiichi, 7 Years On
The water is tainted, the wreckage is dangerous, and disposing of it will be a prolonged, complex and costly process, 
Scientific American, By Tim Hornyak on March 9, 2018  Seven years after one of the largest earthquakes on record unleashed a massive tsunami and triggered a meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, officials say they are at last getting a handle on the mammoth task of cleaning the site before it is ultimately dismantled. But the process is still expected to be a long, expensive slog, requiring as-yet untried feats of engineering—and not all the details have yet been worked out………

In the years since the disaster and the immediate effort to stanch the release of radioactive material, officials have been working out how to decontaminate the site without unleashing more radiation into the environment. It will take a complex engineering effort to deal with thousands of fuel rods, along with the mangled debris of the reactors and the water used to cool them. Despite setbacks, that effort is now moving forward in earnest, officials say. “We are still conducting studies on the location of the molten fuel, but despite this we have made the judgment that the units are stable,” says Naohiro Masuda, TEPCO’s chief decommissioning officer for Daiichi.

Completely cleaning up and taking apart the plant could take a generation or more, and comes with a hefty price tag. In 2016 the government increased its cost estimate to about $75.7 billion, part of the overall Fukushima disaster price tag of $202.5 billion. The Japan Center for Economic Research, a private think tank, said the cleanup costs could mount to some $470 billion to $660 billion, however. ……….

The considerable time and expense are due to the cleanup being a veritable hydra that involves unprecedented engineering. TEPCO and its many contractors will be focusing on several battlefronts.


Water is being deliberately circulated through each reactor every day to cool the fuel within—but the plant lies on a slope, and water from precipitation keeps flowing into the buildings as well. Workers built an elaborate scrubbing system that removes cesium, strontium and dozens of other radioactive particles from the water; some of it is recirculated into the reactors, and some goes into row upon row of giant tanks at the site. There’s about one million tons of water kept in 1,000 tanks and the volume grows by 100 tons a day, down from 400 tons four years ago……….


A second major issue at Fukushima is how to handle the fuel¾the melted uranium cores as well as spent and unused fuel rods stored at the reactors. Using robotic probes and 3-D imaging with muons (a type of subatomic particle), workers have found pebbly deposits and debris at various areas inside the primary containment vessels in the three of the plant’s reactor units. These highly radioactive remains are thought to be melted fuel as well as supporting structures. TEPCO has not yet worked out how it can remove the remains, but it wants to start the job in 2021. There are few precedents for the task………

Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, doubts the ambitious cleanup effort can be completed in the time cited, and questions whether the radioactivity can be completely contained. Until TEPCO can verify the conditions of the molten fuel, he says, “there can be no confirmation of what impact and damage the material has had” on the various components of the reactors—and therefore how radiation might leak into the environment in the future.

Although the utility managed to safely remove all 1,533 fuel bundles from the plant’s unit No. 4 reactor by December 2014, it still has to do the same for the hundreds of rods stored at the other three units. This involves clearing rubble, installing shields, dismantling the building roofs, and setting up platforms and special rooftop equipment to remove the rods. Last month a 55-ton dome roof was installed on unit No. 3 to facilitate the safe removal of the 533 fuel bundles that remain in a storage pool there. Whereas removal should begin at No. 3 sometime before April 2019, the fuel at units No. 1 and 2 will not be ready for transfer before 2023, according to TEPCO. And just where all the fuel and other radioactive solid debris on the site will be stored or disposed of long-term has yet to be decided; last month the site’s ninth solid waste storage building, with a capacity of about 61,000 cubic meters, went into operation.

As for what the site itself might look like decades from now, cleanup officials refuse to say. …….


March 14, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Thousands of Taiwanese rally for an end to nuclear power

Protest draws thousands calling for end to nuclear power,  – -By Wu Hsin-yun and Elizabeth Hsu)2018/03/11  Taipei, March 11 (CNA) An annual anti-nuclear march was held on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office Sunday, drawing about 2,000 people calling for an end to the use of nuclear power in Taiwan.

The protest, held on the seventh anniversary of the meltdown of the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant in northeast Japan on March 11, 2011, was organized by the National Nuclear Abolition Action Platform, an organization joined by hundreds of anti-nuclear civic groups from around Taiwan.

While pressing the government to decommission nuclear power plants as soon as possible, the other purpose of the Sunday’s demonstration was to prepare people for the potentially high cost of closing the nation’s three operating nuclear power plants and the disposal of nuclear waste, the organizer said.

Walking with protesters, Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) of the opposition New Power Party, said that as the government has already said Taiwan will be nuclear free by 2025, it should move forward with the plan, but is instead going backwards.

The recent approval of the reactivation of the second reactor at the Second Nuclear Power Plant after maintenance work is “obviously a backwards move,” Huang said.

The lawmaker named the nuclear plant as one of the most dangerous power plants on Earth due to its geographic position, in an area subject to volcanic, earthquake and tsunami activities, and raised safety concerns in the wake of reported radiation leaks and explosions in the past.

Three major demands were made during the protest, including on the disposal of nuclear waste, a transition to environmentally-friendly energy sources and the decommissioning or re-purposing of nuclear power plants in the country.

Northern Coast Anti-Nuclear Motion League member Chiang Ying-mei (江櫻梅) urged the government to proactively address the thorny problem of nuclear waste disposal, calling for the fast-tracking of three bills detailing the management of nuclear waste.

The bills include one on nuclear waste disposal, which is being considered by the Cabinet; the second on the establishment of a nuclear waste management center, which has been delivered to the Legislature for review; and the third involves revisions of provisions governing the management of radioactive materials.



March 14, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Japan’s Fukushima Survivors are stigmatised

‘You’re Contaminated’: The Stigma Against Japan’s Fukushima Survivors ,   A 2011 quake and tsunami led to a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, killing thousands and displacing more. Two ‘nuclear refugees’ explain why returning home is more complicated than it seems., Bobbie van der List, 

This month marks the seventh anniversary of the triple disaster that hit the east coast of Japan on March 11, 2011, when a 9.1 magnitude quake and tsunami led to a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Almost 16,000 people were declared dead.

While the nuclear disaster is becoming a distant memory for most Japanese, for some others it is their everyday reality. Nuclear refugees and evacuees face discrimination, separation from loved ones, and in some cases, they are even forced to return to the former evacuation zone.

The government, worried about people getting exposed to radiation, declared a 20-km evacuation zone around the plant and uprooted close to 165,000 people. As of today, there are still 50,000 people who haven’t returned to Fukushima.

Keiko Owada, 66, is one of them. When I meet her in Tokyo, she refers to the Japanese capital as her home for the past seven years. That will soon change due to the government’s decision to withdraw her free housing subsidies.

Because decontamination work has made progress and food declared safe from radiation, it has been deemed safe to return to most villages within the evacuation zone. The same goes for Owada’s village Naraha, where the evacuation order was lifted two years ago.

Owada is not excited about the prospect of returning to Naraha. “Would I continue to get financial support for my apartment here in Tokyo, I would have stayed here, yes. I’ll tell you why: there is no hospital in Naraha, only a small hospital for first aid. There is no supermarket, only a small convenience store. And the reason is simple: only a few people have returned.”

Life as an evacuee hasn’t always been easy, Owada explains. “It wasn’t like people were treating me any different, but my neighbors never greeted me. I think it’s because of the compensation I received and the free housing. They knew I was from Fukushima, that’s why.”

According to Owada, some of the other evacuees in Tokyo she knows have faced harsher treatment. “I know of others whose cars were damaged on purpose because they had a Fukushima license plate. That’s why I never parked my car in the middle of the parking lot, but always in a corner, so no one could see it.”

If anything, Owada’s story illustrates how many evacuees continued to live in fear. Displaced from their homes, dropped in a new community—the disaster is anything but over for them.

As an evacuee in Tokyo, Owada went back to Fukushima on numerous occasions. She can still recall her first time back in June 2011. The town of Naraha was still a no-go-area, and she and her family only had one hour to visit. “We wore protective clothes against radiation, with only a small plastic bag for gathering some personal belongings. We had too little time, and the bag was too little for our entire family. But I can remember the smell—[there were] rats everywhere and small animals’ feces.”

Of course, there are things she misses about her old town, like growing vegetables and fruits on her land. But it doesn’t take away the concerns she has about the dangers of radiation exposure, despite the government’s reassurance that it is safe to live there.

“Even though the streets and houses are decontaminated, they didn’t even touch with mountains and forests. Radiation hasn’t been cleaned everywhere. My house is right next to the mountains, so my house might get contaminated.”

Akiko Kamata, 66, still remembers how she was surprised by the alarm warning for a tsunami in her village of Odaka. When I meet her at a Tokyo café, she recalls how she sheltered in Fukushima the first few weeks after the disaster. “I still remember taking my first bath after 10 days, it felt so good.”

When Kamata got in touch with relatives living in other parts of Japan, she was shocked to hear one sister-in-law’s initial response. “After the disaster, I wanted to flee to Chiba [a prefecture next to Tokyo], my sister-in-law picked up the telephone and told me I didn’t have to come to their house. ‘You’re contaminated,’ she told me.” 

Eventually she did manage to find a place in Chiba, the region she grew up in as a child. “People were nice to us in Chiba. But still I noticed some skepticism. After I asked the regional authorities for financial support their answer was, ‘No, people in Chiba are victims of the earthquake as well.’”

Kamata did receive a one-off compensation payment from TEPCO: 7 million yen per person, or just over $65,600. Her husband received a similar amount.

Although Kamata is thankful for the financial support, they have not been compensated for the loss of income from their family business in Odaka. “I’m thinking about calling in the help of an organization that specializes evacuees with these type of claims,” she says.

Kamata has decided not to return to Odaka. Her husband’s illness (he suffers from a nerve disease that makes him reliant on Kamata’s support) got worse during the evacuation. She fears that it might worsen if they move back to Fukushima.

As Kamata remembers what life was like back in Fukushima, she uses a handkerchief to wipe a tear from her cheek. She barely speaks to her friends anymore.

“The disaster divided our communities, both physically as well as mentally. People got separated. One friend of mine in Chiba is thinking about divorcing her husband. He wants her to come back to Fukushima, but she doesn’t want this. One reason is exposure to radiation, but there are more reasons, such as her child’s school and the fact that they’ve gotten used to life in Tokyo.”

There is one more story she would like to share, Kamata says while crying. “One friend of mine is a farmer in Odaka. She had 10 cows. They evacuated to Chiba just like me and couldn’t go back to Fukushima to feed the cows. Once they could return for the first time to check on the animals, only three of them were still alive. The others died from starvation, and they were all looking at the same direction—the road the farmers would come from to feed them.”


March 14, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, PERSONAL STORIES, social effects | Leave a comment

What to do with Fukushima’s contaminated water?

How long will treated water be stored at Fukushima nuclear plant?  Japan News,  March 09, 2018, The Yomiuri Shimbun Steadily progressing with the decommissioning of the reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant will accelerate Fukushima Prefecture’s recovery. TEPCO must make safety the top priority when doing this work.

According to a schedule drawn up by the government and TEPCO, fuel from reactor No. 3’s spent nuclear fuel pool is slated to be removed in fiscal 2018. Equipment necessary for this work is already in place.

The large volume of nuclear fuel should not be kept inside the heavily damaged reactor. It is vital to reduce the risks posed by this fuel.

The schedule stipulates that the method for removing molten nuclear fuel from Nos. 1, 2 and 3 reactors — which suffered meltdowns — will be decided in fiscal 2019. To accomplish this, it also will be necessary to more precisely gauge the extent of the damage to the nuclear reactors and the levels of radioactive contamination.

In January, a camera sent in from the side of reactor No. 2 captured images of sediment that appears to be melted fuel at the bottom of the reactor. Moving forward, it is essential to retrieve some of this fuel to confirm its exact condition. …….

the “frozen soil wall” — constructed at a cost of ¥34.5 billion from government coffers — has had some effect in preventing water from seeping into the buildings. The underground wall freezes soil in a perimeter around the building and prevents groundwater from flowing through. The volume of contaminated water generated has declined from about 500 tons per day to about 150 tons. ……..

The frozen soil wall was expected to be a trump card for reducing the volume of contaminated water. While it cannot be counted on to be quite so effective, the government’s Committee on Countermeasures for Contaminated Water Treatment, a panel of experts, on Wednesday positively assessed the overall effort, saying, “A groundwater management system has been constructed.” It is vital to have multiple measures in place to prevent water contamination.

Yet challenges still abound. The committee pointed to the difficulties in dealing with heavy rain at the nuclear plant. Rainfall causes the volume of contaminated water to surge. Efforts to prevent rain from entering through damaged sections of the buildings and through drains must be sped up.

Contaminated water at the plant is treated and all radioactive materials, except tritium, are removed. What to do with this treated water also is a knotty problem. At other nuclear power facilities, treated water is released into the sea in accordance with discharge standards. About 850,000 tons of such water is being stored in tanks on the Fukushima nuclear plant grounds.

At some point, there will be no more room for new tanks. Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa has repeatedly said, “There is no option but to dilute the water and release it into the sea.” The government and TEPCO should not put off making a decision.

They will also need to take steps to thoroughly prevent harmful rumors from spreading, such as by ensuring that the safety of this process is widely known.


March 14, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

The fight for justice for Fukushima nuclear evacuees: the determination of Mrs Mizue Kanno

This woman is winning the fight for justice after Fukushima  by Kazue Suzuki and Shaun Burnie  


March 12, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, Legal, PERSONAL STORIES | Leave a comment

Trump will demand “preconditions” for nuclear summit with Kim Jong Un

Trump’s nuclear summit with Kim ‘will have preconditions’ SMH, 12 Mar 18  Washington: US President Donald Trump’s condition for meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is that there be no nuclear or missile testing, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Sunday.”There shouldn’t be confusion,” Mnuchin told NBC’s Meet the Press when asked about White House press secretary Sarah Sanders’ statement on Friday that there would be no meeting without concrete and verifiable actions by North Korea.

The President has made it clear that the conditions are that there’s no nuclear testing and there’s no missiles and those will be a condition through the meeting.”

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo said Trump was serious about the meeting, and that his acceptance of Kim’s invitation wasn’t “just for show.”…….


March 12, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Taiwan: protest rally calls for a nuclear-free island

Taiwanese protesters rally for ‘nuclear-free’ island, Agence France Presse  11 Mar 18 
Government has promised to phase out nuclear energy by 2025.  Hundreds of anti-nuclear protesters staged a rally in Taiwan on Sunday to demand the island’s government honour its pledge to abolish the use of atomic energy by 2025

Waving placards reading “nuclear go zero”, and “abolish nuclear, save Taiwan”, they gathered outside the presidential office in Taipei on the same day Japan marked the seventh anniversary of the Fukushima disaster.

Taiwan’s cabinet-level Atomic Energy Council recently decided to allow state-owned energy company Taipower to restart a reactor at a facility near Taipei, pending parliament’s final approval.

The reactor has been offline since May 2016 after a glitch was found in its electrical system, which the company said had since been resolved.

Anti-nuclear groups are now questioning whether Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will keep its promise to phase out nuclear energy.

“It would be violating the spirit of creating a nuclear-free homeland by 2025 pledged by the DPP,” said Tsui Shu-hsin of the prospect of restarting the reactor. Tsui is the spokeswoman for the Nuclear Go Zero Action Platform, which organised the rally.

Lawmaker Huang Kuo-chang, head of the opposition New Power Party, echoed the sentiment.

“The government should move forward, not backwards and restarting the reactor would be a regression,” he told reporters at the rally.

…….Taiwan started annual anti-nuclear rallies to commemorate Japan’s nuclear disaster on March 11, 2011, when the Fukushima energy plant was hit by a tsunami following an earthquake, knocking out power to its cooling systems and sending reactors into meltdown.

Taiwan, like Japan, is prone to frequent quakes as the island lies on a number of fault lines.

“Nuclear facilities are unsafe as Taiwan has many earthquakes,” 40-year-old protester Fan De-lu said. “The government needs to take the lead to actively develop alternative and green energy.”


March 12, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Taiwan | Leave a comment

Fukushima and the move towards renewable energy

“The nuclear disaster was not a natural disaster, it was a very man-made disaster,” Watanabe says. “So we felt that there was now a need for clean energy and greater energy independence.”

“It was at that symposium that I started to really think about the need for an energy shift away from nuclear power and about how rich the prefecture of Fukushima is in renewable resources,” Sato says.

“Nuclear power companies are not prepared for the cost of decommissioning and could in some cases go bankrupt. Banks and pension funds have lent them a lot of money because they have been regarded as stable, so bankruptcies could become a national financial problem. This would be difficult for the government to handle and might directly hurt pensioners,” he says. “But now the government is just hiding the problem and postponing managing it.”


Fukushima looks to renewable energy sources in the aftermath of nuclear disaster, Japan Times, BY KAJSA SKARSGÅRD  ,
Yauemon Sato | CHRISTINA SJOGREN11 Mar 18,

Steam rises from outdoor pools overlooking a waterfall at a 90-year-old hotel in Fukushima Prefecture’s Tsuchiyu Onsen.

“What has saved us since the disaster are the loyal regular guests and the new visitors who have come to study our town’s renewable energy plant. Without them, I’m sure we would have had to close,” says Izumi Watanabe, who has been director of Sansuiso Tsuchiyu Spa for 37 years.

“People come from other onsen areas all over Japan to learn how they can become energy independent and how the binary plant we have doesn’t affect our hot springs,” she says, challenging the preconception that onsen communities, fearing a negative impact on their tourism business, typically hold back the development of geothermal energy in Japan.

Watanabe was at a meeting in the city of Fukushima when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck seven years ago. She returned to Tsuchiyu Onsen to find her hotel intact, but two other hotels in the area damaged and the entire community without power.

or three snowy days, Watanabe sheltered 70 of her own and other hotels’ guests without electricity, telephones or working internet. Gathered together, they ate whatever stored food they could find. Over the next six months, her spa served as accommodation for police and rescue workers, grieving families and people displaced by the tsunami and nuclear crisis.

In total, this town of about 340 residents took in around 1,000 evacuees after the 2011 disasters. Five of the 16 hotels in Tsuchiyu Onsen have since gone out of business: two as a result of earthquake damage, the others on the back of a decline in visitor numbers from approximately 230,000 a year to about 70,000 as rumors of elevated radiation levels swirled. Members of the local community gathered together in October 2011 to discuss their future at what was dubbed the “Tsuchiyu Onsen reconstruction conference.” The locals decided they couldn’t simply go back to doing what they had done before — something new was needed to revive the town and create a safer future.

“The nuclear disaster was not a natural disaster, it was a very man-made disaster,” Watanabe says. “So we felt that there was now a need for clean energy and greater energy independence.”

A renewable energy plant and shrimp farm……….

A local, national concern

An hour’s drive inland, past Mount Adatara and Mount Bandai in the city of Aizu-Wakamatsu, people also started organizing after the nuclear disaster. In July 2011, around 200 people met in the sake brewery owned by Yauemon Sato, a ninth-generation brewer, to discuss the disaster and the future.

“It was at that symposium that I started to really think about the need for an energy shift away from nuclear power and about how rich the prefecture of Fukushima is in renewable resources,” Sato says.

Sato had no background in electricity production, but he did have experience in trying to get small breweries into markets dominated by larger manufacturers. He took one of the leading roles in the growing community power movement.

With the help of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies, which had also worked to promote locally owned renewable electricity production before the disaster, Aizu Electric Power Co. was established to manage the planned solar parks.

Today, the company has 70 solar power sites and Sato has become a vocal critic of the large nuclear- and fossil-fuel companies that control the grid through regional monopolies,  thereby hindering the new renewable energy companies from getting into the market.

The monopolies argue that they are protecting the stability of the grid, so at present newcomers in some regions can only connect a maximum voltage of 50 kilowatts onto the network.

“This is a severe problem,” Sato says. “In 2020, the government is going to separate the power transmission business from the power production business, but these big electric companies are creating sister companies to run the grid, so it will still be in the control of the same big companies and continue to be difficult for other producers to use.”

The Aizu region is where shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu’s rebels fought one of the last big battles against government troops in 1868. The people’s rights movement flourished here after the civil war. It matters here that it is the people of Fukushima who have paid the ultimate price for the nuclear power that was sold mainly to Tokyo.

Aizu Electrical Power Co., its logo a fist held up in the air over the letters AiPower, is challenging the electricity establishment of Japan, and is part of a bigger movement.

The first World Community Power Conference was held in the city of Fukushima in November 2016 on the same day as the Paris climate accord came into force. One of the organizers was the Japan Community Power Association, in which Sato is a board member. He is also the vice president of Genjiren, an anti-nuclear power association that, with the help of the former prime ministers Junichiro Koizumi and Morihiro Hosokawa, pitched a bill to the opposition parties in January calling for an immediate halt to nuclear power, together with a more ambitious national goal for renewables.

“Finally I feel that we have a political movement for an energy shift,” Sato says. “We want to make this a national citizens’ movement.”

Unsustainable politics defied

The grass-roots movement pushing for renewables is not alone. Both at home and abroad, the Japanese government has been criticized for failing to embrace broader renewable energy policies in the wake of the 2011 disasters while remaining open to the construction of additional coal plants and nuclear reactor restarts.

……… Tomas Kaberger, executive board chairman of the Renewable Energy Institute in Tokyo.  believes the government is willing to restart more reactors because it fears the financial consequences of failing to do so. The reactors are valuable for the balance sheets of the power companies, but in reality they represent a significant decommissioning liability.“Nuclear power companies are not prepared for the cost of decommissioning and could in some cases go bankrupt. Banks and pension funds have lent them a lot of money because they have been regarded as stable, so bankruptcies could become a national financial problem. This would be difficult for the government to handle and might directly hurt pensioners,” he says. “But now the government is just hiding the problem and postponing managing it.”…….


March 12, 2018 Posted by | Japan, renewable | Leave a comment