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Fukushima nuclear station seismometers not functioning when latest earthquake happened

Fukushima nuclear plant operator: Seismometers were broken

The operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant says two seismometers at one of its three melted reactors have been out of order since last year and did not collect data when a powerful earthquake struck the area earlier this month

By MARI YAMAGUCHI Associated Press, 23 February 2021,    TOKYO — The operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant said Monday that two seismometers at one of its three melted reactors have been out of order since last year and did not collect data when a powerful earthquake struck the area earlier this month.

The acknowledgement raised new questions about whether the company’s risk management has improved since a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed much of the plant.

The malfunctioning seismometers surfaced during a Nuclear Regulation Authority meeting on Monday to discuss new damage at the plant resulting from a magnitude 7.3 quake that struck the region on Feb. 13. Cooling water and pressure levels fell in the Unit 1 and 3 reactors, indicating additional damage to their primary containment chambers.

The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., has repeatedly been criticized for coverups and delayed disclosures of problems at the plant.

Regulatory officials asked TEPCO at the meeting why it did not have seismological data from the Unit 3 reactor for Saturday’s quake, and utility officials acknowledged that both of its seismometers had failed — one in July and the other in October — and had never been repaired.

TEPCO also said that seismometers at all but two of the reactor buildings that survived the 2011 disaster were submerged by water from the tsunami and have never been replaced.

During Monday’s meeting, regulatory officials said they were concerned about the declining water levels and pressure in the Unit 1 and 3 primary containment chambers because of the possibility that the quake had expanded the existing damage or opened new leakage paths, and urged the utility to closely check for any increased radiation levels in the ground water surrounding the reactor buildings.

TEPCO said no abnormality has been detected in water samples so far.

New damage could further complicate the plant’s already difficult decommissioning process and add to the large amounts of contaminated water being stored at the plant.

Since the 2011 disaster, cooling water has been escaping constantly from the damaged primary containment vessels into the basements of reactor and turbine buildings, where the volume increases as groundwater seeps in. The water is pumped up and treated, then part of it is reused as cooling water, while the rest is stored in about 1,000 tanks.

TEPCO initially reported there was no abnormality at the plant from Saturday’s earthquake. But on Monday, it said about 20 of the tanks had slid slightly due to the quake, a storage container carrying radioactive waste had tilted, and asphalt pavement at the plant was cracked.  AT TOP

February 23, 2021 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Fukushima – radioactive water into the sea – a nightmare for fishermen

A decade after the Fukushima meltdown, this Japanese region faces a new nightmare — radioactive water in the sea, ABC, By North Asia correspondent Jake Sturmer and Yumi Asada in Fukushima, Japan, 21 Feb 21, 

I won’t lie — I was a little nervous heading inside the destroyed nuclear plant at the centre of Japan’s 2011 nuclear accident.

It was a rare opportunity to look at how the clean-up effort was going 10 years on.

But weighing on my mind as I headed inside and took a look around was that this was of the most radioactive places on earth right now.

I’ve been inside Fukushima’s no-go zones, where the radiation levels are so high it’s unliveable and overgrown weeds entangle anything in their way — from abandoned homes, cars and even vending machines.

It is always an eerie experience seeing entire towns frozen in time and the stories from those who once called it home are equally chilling.

This is the first time I’ve been in the place responsible for it……..

It’s been 10 years since Japan’s worst nuclear accident, which was triggered by the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the country and a massive tsunami that wiped out everything in its path.

Yet the aftershocks from the devastating March 11 disaster continue to rattle these parts — the most recent occurring only a week ago.

Japan’s nuclear disaster site is still a hive of activity

When the tsunami hit the nuclear plant in 2011, it cut power and consequently cooling to three operational reactors.

At that point, only flooding the reactors with seawater could have cooled them quickly enough to avoid a meltdown.

But that decision was delayed because of fears it would permanently destroy the reactors.

By the time the government ordered the seawater to be used, it was too late. The nuclear fuel overheated and melted down.

Some of the reactors exploded and the twisted wreckage of the blast is still exposed today.

When I arrived at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, I was given a radiation dosimeter and handed a plastic bag containing gloves, a mask and three pairs of socks.

I had been given specific instructions to put on one after the other.

The idea was to prevent any radioactive material from getting onto my pants — if it does, the officials jokingly told me, I’ll have to leave them there.

Once I’m ready, I follow an official through a maze-like path to the Whole Body Counter room.

That’s where I have a scan that measures the existing radiation levels inside my body so they can check how much I have been exposed to throughout the day.

It’s a bustling hive of activity — there are thousands of workers here and as we pass by many say ‘otsukaresama deshita’, a Japanese phrase that loosely translates to ‘thank you for your service’.

We’re accompanied and guided by several officials from the plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)……….

The long process of removing 800 tones of radioactive fuel

TEPCO has spent the last 10 years trying to cool and stabilise the three reactors so that they can eventually start to remove the molten fuel debris that sits inside them.

As we pull up to the destroyed reactors, which contain more than 800 tonnes of highly radioactive molten nuclear fuel, we can see many workers in full protective equipment heavily involved in the decontamination effort.

In the space of just a few steps, radiation levels spike from 80 microsieverts an hour to 100. At the same time, my radiation alarm goes off to tell me I’ve accumulated 0.02 millisieverts of radiation while at the plant.

It’s about the same as a chest x-ray and nothing to be worried about at this stage — but our minders tell us we shouldn’t spend too much more time here.

It’s estimated the full clean-up effort will take another 30-40 years, though some experts feel this is optimistic.

The company was hoping to start removal of the highly radioactive debris this year, but the coronavirus pandemic will prevent that from happening.

“We are planning to remove the fuel debris from Unit 2 using a robot arm and the plan was to make the arm and carry out a performance test in the UK,” TEPCO’s Yoshinori Takahashi told me.

“But because of the coronavirus, the manufacturing process and testing has been delayed.”

The delay could be up to 12 months. But that is not the most pressing issue facing TEPCO.

How do you remove a million tonnes of contaminated water?

All of the water that touches the highly radioactive molten fuel also becomes contaminated.

The water is processed to remove more than 60 different types of radioactive materials from it, but the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) doesn’t completely purify the water.

The radioactive element, tritium, remains inside all of the stored water, albeit at “low” levels, according to TEPCO.

Currently, 1.2 million tonnes of contaminated water is stored in more than 1,000 tanks spanning the entire power plant facility. But by the end of next year, the tanks and the site will be full.

The Japanese government is now weighing up what to do next.

A panel of experts has recommended disposing of it in the ocean as the most practical option as opposed to releasing it into the air, which TEPCO said would be more difficult to monitor.

Mr Takahashi said tritium was a weak form of radiation and that the water would be released in such limited quantities over such a long period that it would be safe.

But for those who make their living from the part of the ocean where TEPCO is proposing to dump its contaminated water, they fear the damage this poses to their reputation.

That includes Haruo Ono, who has been fishing in Fukushima’s waters for 50 years.

Fisherman worried about what water release will mean for their livelihoods

Although most fishermen are receiving compensation payments from TEPCO to cover their revenue shortfalls, he fears that if contaminated water is released into the ocean, it will finish off the industry for good.

“They say it’s OK to release tritium, but what do consumers think? We can’t sell fish because the consumers say no,” he said.

The 70-year-old is opposed to the scheme and says he’s hoping to watch the decommissioning first-hand over the next 30-40 years……………

February 22, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Post-Fukushima reactor halt produces inexperienced nuclear plant workers in Japan

February 20, 2021

The suspension of nuclear reactors in Japan after the 2011 Fukushima disaster has kept many workers there from engaging in plant operations, resulting in inexperienced employees accounting for nearly a quarter of the workforce at plants, according to a Kyodo News tally.

Of 1,923 employees at 15 nuclear power stations as of November to December, 460 had no prior work experience at online plants, the tally based on data from 10 Japanese utilities showed nearly a decade after the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and a massive tsunami hit on March 11, 2011, and caused triple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The crippled facility is not included in the 15 plants.

Photo taken in November 2014 shows a signboard reading “Nuclear power: energy for a bright future” in the northeastern Japan town of Futaba, which co-host the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crippled by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

At four plants run by Tohoku Electric Power Co., Chubu Electric Power Co. and Chugoku Electric Power Co., those with no prior work experience make up more than 40 percent.

A total of 50 reactors were shut after the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986 for safety concerns. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said his government will seek to promote the restart of reactors under his clean energy and environment initiatives.

But the nuclear power industry faces a challenge in resuming and running reactors, as utilities are not able to offer enough on-the-job training opportunities given that many reactors remain suspended, industry experts say.

The government implemented stricter regulations for restart to address safety concerns. Nine reactors since have been rebooted under the tighter rules as of Feb. 8.

The government has set a target for nuclear power generation to account for 20 to 22 percent of the country’s electricity supply by 2030, which requires restarting 20 to 30 reactors.

In the nuclear power business, 27 percent of the total workforce joined the 10 companies after the Fukushima disaster, as the industry seeks to pass on lessons learned from the catastrophe.

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Japan town mayor OKs restarting nuclear reactor over 40 years old

The No. 3 reactor at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama Nuclear Power Station is seen from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter on Oct. 20, 2020.

February 16, 2021

TSURUGA, Fukui — The mayor of a central Japan town hosting a nuclear power plant operated by Kansai Electric Power Co. informed the speaker of the municipal assembly on Feb. 15 that he would approve the restart of a reactor at the plant that is more than 40 years old.

Mayor Hideki Toshima of the Fukui Prefecture town of Mihama told Mihama Municipal Assembly Speaker Yoshihiro Takenaka that he would approve the restart of the No. 3 reactor at Mihama Nuclear Power Station, which began operating in the 1970s. The assembly had already approved the reactivation of the aging reactor.

Meanwhile, Mayor Yutaka Nose of the prefectural town of Takahama, home to Kansai Electric’s Takahama Nuclear Power Station, whose No. 1 and 2 reactors are also over 40 years old, has given the green light for resuming the operations of the two rectors, while the Takahama Municipal Assembly has also approved of the move.

Now that local consent has been secured, the focus has shifted to the decisions expected from Gov. Tatsuji Sugimoto and the prefectural assembly.

The Mihama plant’s No. 3 reactor went online in December 1976. In response to the meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station following the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese government limited the operational life of nuclear reactors to “40 years in principle” in July 2013, while allowing a one-time extension of up to 20 years if the reactor fulfilled safety standards. The No. 3 reactor at the Mihama power station, along with the No. 1 and No. 2 rectors at the Takahama plant, have passed screening by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

Mayor Toshima said on Feb. 15 that conditions to approve the restart “have all been met, including understanding from the townspeople and consent from the municipal assembly, as well as promising feedback over regional development by the central government and Kansai Electric.” He added, “Both supporters and skeptics of the reactor restart are concerned about its safety. I will make sure to pay attention to the process.”

Toshima had spoken with Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama online three days prior. He had then expressed his intension to approve the reactivation, saying that the central government had given him positive responses about regional development and other measures he had requested.

As a general rule, a nuclear power plant operator is expected to obtain consent for restarting a rector from the local governments around the plant as well as local assemblies. As a condition for approving the restart, the Fukui Prefectural Government said Kansai Electric would need to present candidate sites outside the prefecture for interim spent nuclear fuel storage facilities. The prefectural government maintained that until that condition was achieved, the parties were “not even at the starting line of discussion.”

However, after Kansai Electric proposed on Feb. 12 that it would finalize a planned site for the storage facilities by the end of 2023, the prefectural government demonstrated a positive attitude toward reactivation. Discussion on restarting the aging reactor may develop further at the prefectural assembly session convening on Feb. 16.

February 21, 2021 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Water leaks indicate new damage at Fukushima nuclear plant

February 20, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

New study on highly radioactive particles emitted during Fukushima nuclear meltdown

Fukushima Continues To Supply Surprises   Feb 18, 2021 | Original story from the University of Helsinki

The 10 year anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident occurs in March. Work just published in the Journal ‘Science of the Total Environment’ documents new, large (> 300 micrometers), highly radioactive particles that were released from one of the damaged Fukushima reactors.

Particles containing radioactive cesium (134+137Cs) were released from the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) during the 2011 nuclear disaster. Small (micrometer-sized) particles (known as CsMPs) were widely distributed, reaching as far as Tokyo. CsMPs have been the subject of many studies in recent years. However, it recently became apparent that larger (>300 micrometers) Cs-containing particles, with much higher levels of activity (~ 105 Bq), were also released from reactor unit 1 that suffered a hydrogen explosion. These particles were deposited within a narrow zone that stretches ~8 km north-northwest of the reactor site. To date, little is known about the composition of these larger particles and their potential environmental and human health impacts.

Now, work just published in the journal Science of the Total Environment characterizes these larger particles at the atomic-scale and reports high levels of activity that exceed 105 Bq.

The particles, reported in the study, were found during a survey of surface soils 3.9 km north-northwest of reactor unit 1

From 31 Cs-particles collected during the sampling campaign, two have given the highest ever particle-associated 134+137Cs activities for materials emitted from the FDNPP (specifically: 6.1 × 105 and 2.5 × 106 Bq, respectively, for the particles, after decay-correction to the date of the FDNPP accident).

The study involved scientists from Japan, Finland, France, the UK, and USA, and was led by Dr. Satoshi Utsunomiya and graduate student Kazuya Morooka (Department of Chemistry, Kyushu University). The team used a combination of advanced analytical techniques (synchrotron-based nano-focus X-ray analysis, secondary ion mass spectrometry, and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy) to fully characterize the particles. The particle with a 134+137Cs activity of 6.1 × 105 Bq was found to be an aggregate of smaller, flakey silicate nanoparticles, which had a glass like structure. This particle likely came from reactor building materials, which were damaged during the Unit 1 hydrogen explosion; then, as the particle formed, it likely adsorbed Cs that had had been volatized from the reactor fuel. The 134+137Cs activity of the other particle exceeded 106 Bq. This particle had a glassy carbon core and a surface that was embedded with other micro-particles, which included a Pb-Sn alloy, fibrous Al-silicate, Ca-carbonate / hydroxide, and quartz (Fig. 2).

The composition of the surface embedded micro-particles likely reflect the composition of airborne particles within the reactor building at the moment of the hydrogen explosion, thus providing a forensic window into the events of March 11th 2011 (Fig. 3). Utsunomiya added, “The new particles from regions close to the damaged reactor provide valuable forensic clues. They give snap-shots of the atmospheric conditions in the reactor building at the time of the hydrogen explosion, and of the physio-chemical phenomena that occurred during reactor meltdown.” He continued, “whilst nearly ten years have passed since the accident, the importance of scientific insights has never been more critical. Clean-up and repatriation of residents continues and a thorough understanding of the contamination forms and their distribution is important for risk assessment and public trust.

Professor Gareth Law (co-author, University of Helsinki) added, “clean-up and decommissioning efforts at the site face difficult challenges, particularly the removal and safe management of accident debris that has very high levels of radioactivity. Therein, prior knowledge of debris composition can help inform safe management approaches”.

Given the high radioactivity associated with the new particles, the project team were also interested in understanding their potential health / dose impacts.

Dr Utsunomiya stated, “Owing to their large size, the health effects of the new particles are likely limited to external radiation hazards during static contact with skin. As such, despite the very high level of activity, we expect that the particles would have negligible health impacts for humans as they would not easily adhere to the skin. However, we do need to consider possible effects on the other living creatures such as filter feeders in habitats surrounding Fukushima Daiichi. Even though ten years have nearly passed, the half-life of 137Cs is ~30 years. So, the activity in the newly found highly radioactive particles has not yet decayed significantly. As such, they will remain in the environment for many decades to come, and this type of particle could occasionally still be found in radiation hot spots.”

Professor Rod Ewing (co-author from Stanford University) stated “this paper is part of a series of publications that provide a detailed picture of the material emitted during the Fukushima Daiichi reactor meltdowns. This is exactly the type of work required for remediation and an understanding of long-term health effects”.

Professor Bernd Grambow (co-author from IMT Atlantique) added “the present work, using cutting-edge analytical tools, gives only a very small insight in the very large diversity of particles released during the nuclear accident, much more work is necessary to get a realistic picture of the highly heterogeneous environmental and health impact”.

February 20, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

ICAN chief urges Japanese govt to attend UN Nuclear Ban Treaty meeting

February 18, 2021 Posted by | Japan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New highly radioactive particles found in Fukushima

February 18, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Japan town mayor OKs restarting nuclear reactor over 40 years old

February 18, 2021 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Leak at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant a concern after Japanese Earthquake

Leak at a Nuclear Power Plant concern after Japanese Earthquake,  eturbo news,  Juergen T Steinmetz, February 13, 2021

  1. Strong Earthquake in Japan 10 years after the devastating tsunami in 2011
  2. 7.3 strong, the earthquake reports little damage
  3. A leak in a nuclear plant and widespread power outage are initial concerns

The 7.3 magnitude quake which hit near Fukushima on Saturday night 11.04 pm local time hit off of Fukushima just weeks before the 10th anniversary of a quake on March 11, 2011 that devastated northeast Japan…………

, most concerning are reports of a leak at Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power plant, according to public broadcaster NHK – though this has been denied by the facility owners.

Pool water used for storing spent nuclear fuel may have leaked and contaminated the surrounding area, the outlet said.

However, reports also suggest the risk to workers and the surrounding area is low as the level of radiation is not an extreme risk……….

February 15, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

An earthquake shakes Japan’s Fukushima region

An earthquake of 7.1 degrees on the Ritcher scale shook eastern Japan that Saturday (02/13/2021) and was strongly felt in Tokyo, without the Japanese authorities activating the tsunami warning for the moment.

Expansion continues


Highest seismic activity before an earthquake occurs, are zero. The radioactivity contained in the pools of water that accumulate is a minor problem within this frame. We also remember that Japan’s nuclear program is a consequence of the unconditional surrender imposed by the U.S. after the Second War, to have control in the fissile material zone and lay its largest base on the island of Okinawa.
It was not an accident.
It’s not an earthquake fault.
It was the deliberate action of a conquest strategy, which made Japan a time bomb for all humanity.

February 13, 2021 Posted by | incidents, Japan | 1 Comment

Powerful magnitude 7.3 earthquake jolts Fukushima area

Powerful magnitude 7.3 earthquake jolts Fukushima area, Japan Times 14 Feb 21, A powerful magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck late Saturday off the coast of Tohoku, leaving at least 50 people injured and knocking multiple power plants offline.

The quake, which measured a strong 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale — the second-highest level — jolted Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures in the Tohoku region. No tsunami warning was issued.

The injuries were reported in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, but it was not immediately clear if anyone was seriously hurt.

Nationwide, at least 950,000 homes were without power as of midnight, top government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said at a news conference. Kato later said that multiple power plants in the nation were offline.

A government source said the power outage situation was expected to improve through the early hours of Sunday but that more time would be needed in the Tohoku region.

The quake, which was also felt in Tokyo, where it registered a 4 on the Japanese scale, struck at around 11:07 p.m., according to the Meteorological Agency. The epicenter was off the coast of Fukushima, about 220 kilometers (135 miles) north of Tokyo. Its focus was estimated to be at a depth of about 55 kilometers.

At a news conference early Sunday morning, a Meteorological Agency official said aftershocks of up to a strong 6 on the Japanese scale could occur for at least a week. The official said Saturday’s quake was believed to be an aftershock of the Great East Japan Earthquake that struck the same region on March 11, 2011.

“Because (the 2011 quake) was an enormous one with a magnitude of 9.0, it’s not surprising to have an aftershock of this scale 10 years later,” said Kenji Satake, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute.

The quake registered a strong 6 in the southern part of Miyagi, and in the Nakadori central and Hamadori coastal regions of Fukushima, the agency said…….

No abnormalities have been found at the Fukushima Nos. 1 and 2 nuclear power plants, according to Tokyo Electric Power. The same was true for Japan Atomic Power Co.’s inactive Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in the village of Tokai in Ibaraki Prefecture and Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture, according to their operators……….

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga immediately directed government agencies to assess damage, rescue any potential victims, work with municipalities and provide necessary information about any evacuation plans and damage as soon as possible. The government was setting up a task force to examine the quake.

Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi directed the Self-Defense Forces to gather information on the scope of the damage and be prepared to respond immediately.

The quake, which comes less than a month before the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, registered a 4 on the Japanese scale as far north as Aomori Prefecture and as far west as Shizuoka Prefecture. It was the strongest quake in the region since April 7 that year, the meteorology agency said.

February 13, 2021 Posted by | incidents, Japan | Leave a comment

Expert panel reports that North Korea is relying on cyberattacks to fund nuclear weapons.

February 13, 2021 Posted by | North Korea, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

New types of computer malaware target nuclear facilities

February 13, 2021 Posted by | ASIA, incidents | Leave a comment

French nuclear attack submarine patrolling South China Sea 

February 11, 2021 Posted by | China, France, weapons and war | Leave a comment