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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Risky tax-payer funding for Britain’s Wylfa nuclear power venture

FT 16th Jan 2018, The British and Japanese governments have agreed to explore options for
joint-financing of a nuclear power station in Wales, a softening of the
UK’s previous refusal to commit public funds to construction of new
reactors.

Letters have been exchanged between London and Tokyo in which the
governments expressed support for the Wylfa nuclear project on Anglesey and
agreed to consider contributing to its financing, according to several
people involved in the process.

Wylfa is being developed by Horizon, a subsidiary of Hitachi, the Japanese conglomerate whose reactor technology
will be used by the plant. Partial public financing for Wylfa would
represent a new approach to nuclear construction in the UK by drawing on
the government’s access to cheap debt to reduce capital costs.

But it would also expose taxpayers to some of the associated heavy expense and
high risk. Ministers have been rethinking policy after heavy criticism of
the £20bn Hinkley Point C plant under construction in Somerset. The full
cost of that project is being met by its French and Chinese investors and
recovered through a levy on consumer bills.

Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported last week that the UK and Japanese governments were
willing to work with financial institutions to extend as much as $20bn in
loans to finance Wylfa, and also to acquire a stake in Horizon. Several
people involved in the project said no such details had yet been agreed but
the exchange of letters between the two governments late last month had
“increased confidence on all sides”.
https://www.ft.com/content/dd916c18-facd-11e7-9b32-d7d59aace167

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January 19, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Troubled Toshiba plans to eliminate negative net worth by selling Westinghouse claims to U.S. hedge fund

 https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/01/18/business/corporate-business/troubled-toshiba-plans-eliminate-negative-net-worth-selling-westinghouse-claims-u-s-hedge-fund/#.WmFS_aiWbIU

KYODO Toshiba Corp. said Thursday it is set to eliminate its negative net worth and improve its finances by some ¥410 billion ($3.68 billion) after agreeing to sell its claims in its now-bankrupt U.S. nuclear unit to a U.S. hedge fund.

The company has agreed to sell claims related to Westinghouse Electric Co. to the Baupost Group LLC for $2.16 billion, with the transaction set to be completed by the end of the month. Westinghouse-related shares will be sold by the end of March to Canada’s Brookfield Business Partners LP, which will acquire the U.S. nuclear unit.

The value of Westinghouse itself is $1 after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.

Following the sale of Westinghouse-related claims and shares, Toshiba will likely secure net assets of ¥270 billion.

Toshiba had projected its negative net worth would stand at some ¥750 billion at the end of March, but raised ¥600 billion through a third-party allocation of new shares last month, effectively removing the risk of delisting. But it still needed cash to improve its financial standing.

The Japanese conglomerate is also looking to complete the sale of chip unit Toshiba Memory Corp. by the end of March to further improve its dire financial standing. The sale, announced in September to a consortium led by U.S. fund Bain Capital, has been reported to be worth roughly ¥2.4 trillion.

Toshiba Memory is currently going through antitrust screenings in multiple countries.

January 19, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

The bizarre coincidence of two false alarms announcing the start of nuclear war

Japanese Public Broadcaster NHK Issues False Alarm Over North Korean Missile Launch
It’s deja vu, all over again.
Just four days after residents of Hawaii lived through 38 minutes of doomsday hell, after a false public broadcast alarm announced that a ballistic missile launch was headed for the island, only to reverse and announce later it was a mistake, moments ago Japan’s National broadcaster NHK’s app issued a false J-Alert to phones over a North Korean missile launch at 6:55 p.m. Tuesday evening local time.
The message, received by phone users with the NHK app installed on their devices, read: “NHK news alert. North Korea likely to have launched missile. The government J alert: evacuate inside the building or underground. “
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It then promptly corrected the error just 5 minutes later, at around 7 p.m.
After the false alert, NHK issued an on-air apology on Tuesday evening local time, saying “the news alert sent earlier about NK missile was a mistake. No government J alert was issued.”
“Around 6:55pm earlier we reported on the NHK’s news site and NHK’s news disaster prevention application ‘Pattern of North Korean missile launch’ but this was incorrectly issued. J alert has not appeared. I must sincerely apologize,” the news outlet wrote.
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The bizarre coincidence of two false alarms announcing the start of nuclear war is certainly suspicious.
The false alert came on the same day as the US and Canada planned to host talks in Vancouver over the crisis on the Korean Peninsula after a year of missile tests and threats from the North.
As a reminder, on Saturday, an emergency alert notification sent out to residents of Hawaii warning of an incoming “ballistic missile threat” turned out to be a false alarm. The error was blamed on an employee who “pushed the wrong button.” “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL,” the emergency alert read.
The warning went out on television and radio as well as cell phones, according to Hawaii Gov. David Ige, sparking panic amongst some residents. A second emergency alert was sent to phones in Hawaii 38 minutes after the initial message confirming the false alarm.
 
Japan issues false alarm over missile launch, days after Hawaii alert gaffe
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese public broadcaster NHK issued a false alarm on Tuesday saying North Korea appeared to have launched a missile and urging people to take shelter, but it managed to correct the error within minutes.
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The mistake took place at a tense time in the region following North Korea’s largest nuclear test to date in September and its claim in November that it had successfully tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach all of the U.S. mainland.
Pyongyang regularly threatens to destroy Japan and the United States.
But there were no immediate reports of panic or other disruptions following the NHK report. A similar gaffe caused panic in the U.S. state of Hawaii at the weekend.
Japan’s public broadcaster NHK’s false alarm about a North Korean missile launch which was received on a smart phone is pictured in Tokyo, Japan January 16, 2018.
NHK’s 6.55 p.m. (0955 GMT) alert on its web site said: “North Korea appears to have launched a missile…The government urges people to take shelter inside buildings or underground.”
The same alert was sent to mobile phone users of NHK’s online news distribution service.
In five minutes, the broadcaster put out another message on the website correcting itself and said no government warning, called “J-alert”, had been issued.
“This happened because equipment to send a news flash onto the Internet had been incorrectly operated. We are deeply sorry,” an NHK announcer said on its 9:00 p.m. news program, bowing deeply in apology.
Last Saturday, a false missile alert during a civil defense drill caused panic across Hawaii. A state emergency management agency spokesman attributed it to human error and a lack of fail-safe measures.

January 18, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Abe snubs head of Nobel-winning no-nukes group

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Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and Akira Kawasaki, a member of the group’s international steering committee, place a wreath at the Cenotaph for A-bomb Victims in Hiroshima on Monday.
HIROSHIMA – The leader of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, has been denied a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the nongovernmental organization Peace Boat said Monday.
ICAN has asked the Japanese government twice since late December to arrange a meeting between Abe and Executive Director Beatrice Fihn during her visit to Japan, but the Foreign Ministry declined the requests, citing scheduling conflicts, according to Peace Boat, a major steering group member of the Geneva-based organization.
 
Expressing disappointment over failing to meet Abe on her first visit to Japan, Fihn said in Hiroshima that she wanted to talk with him about how the world can avoid devastation of the type inflicted on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Fihn said she hopes to meet with the prime minister at the next opportunity.
Atomic-bomb survivors also expressed disappointment.
“Does Prime Minister Abe understand the significance of ICAN winning the Noble Peace Prize? It is very regrettable to feel this difference of attitudes between the government and atomic-bomb survivors,” said Hiroko Kishida, a 77-year-old hibakusha in Hiroshima.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference in Tokyo that ICAN’s requests were declined “due to a conflict of schedule. Nothing more, nothing less.”
Fihn arrived in Japan on Friday. After visiting Nagasaki through Sunday, she moved on to Hiroshima and was scheduled to hold discussions with Diet members in Tokyo on Tuesday before leaving Japan on Thursday.
Abe departed Japan on Friday for a six-nation European tour and is scheduled to return home Wednesday.
ICAN, founded in 2007, is a coalition of NGOs that involves about 470 groups from more than 100 countries.

January 16, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

ICAN chief calls on Japan to join treaty banning nuclear weapons

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NAGASAKI (Kyodo) — The leader of the antinuclear group International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, on Saturday called on Japan to take part in the treaty banning nuclear weapons.
In a keynote speech at a symposium in Nagasaki, one of two atomic-bombed cities, ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn criticized the Japanese government for not joining the treaty banning nuclear weapons, adopted by 122 U.N. members in July.
“The Japanese government should know better than any other nation the consequences of nuclear weapons, yet Tokyo is happy to live under the umbrella of U.S. nuclear protection, and has not joined the treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons,” Fihn said. “Is your government okay with repeating the evil that was done to Nagasaki and Hiroshima to other cities?”
Japan sat out the treaty negotiations, as did the world’s nuclear-armed countries and others relying on the deterrence of the U.S. nuclear umbrella.
Japan remains the only country to have sustained wartime atomic bombings, over 72 years after the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and of Nagasaki three days later.
Fihn said as long as the Japanese government believes in the effect of deterrence from the U.S. nuclear umbrella, it means encouraging nuclear proliferation and along with other nations living under the protection of nuclear alliances, it is moving the world closer toward the eventual use of nuclear weapons.
“It is unacceptable to be a willing participant in this nuclear umbrella,” she said.
The executive director of the international group campaigning for a total ban on nuclear weapons, meanwhile, applauded atomic bomb survivors, or hibakusha, for their efforts to speak out not to repeat the tragedy.
“The nuclear ban treaty would not exist without the hibakusha,” she said.
At a panel discussion held after the speech, Nobuharu Imanishi, director of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Arms Control and Disarmament Division, said Japan is facing a “severe security environment” given North Korea’s nuclear and missile development.
“Joining the treaty would damage the legitimacy of nuclear deterrence provided by the United States,” he said.
In responding to his remarks, Fihn called on symposium visitors to put more pressure on politicians through grassroots activities to have them change the nuclear policy.
She has requested that the Japanese government set up a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during her stay in Japan.
Asked at a press conference about what she would like to tell the prime minister if she can meet him, Fihn said she wants to ask Abe to show leadership in the movement for nuclear disarmament as the leader of the only country to have been attacked with nuclear weapons.
Abe is currently on a six-nation European tour through Wednesday.

January 16, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Japanese and British taxpayers at risk as their governments commit to $20 billion loan for Wylfa nuclear project

Asahi Shimbin 11th Jan 2018, Japan and Britain have agreed to provide the lion’s share of financing for
a nuclear power plant project planned by Hitachi Ltd. on the island of
Anglesey off northwest Wales, sources said.
The two governments are set to extend a combined 2.2 trillion yen ($20 billion) in loans with the help of
financial institutions and acquire a stake in Horizon Nuclear Power Ltd., a
British company purchased by Hitachi to operate the plant. The total cost
of the project is estimated at 3 trillion yen.
It is extremely rare forgovernments to shoulder such a huge portion of the overall project cost. By
doing so, they must share the risk if the project suffers a financial loss,
but that tab could eventually be passed on to taxpayers.
http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201801110057.html

January 13, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, politics, UK | Leave a comment

How tidal energy could help Japan with its nuclear power problem

After the tsunami: how tidal energy could help Japan with its nuclear power problem, The Conversation,  Simon Waldman, Most of the new renewable energy available in 2030 is likely to be solar and wind, along with existing hydropower, but some contribution from the tides is possible. To this end, a zone in the Goto Islands of Nagasaki Prefecture has been designated for tidal energy development, and a cluster of companies plans to install the first turbine in 2019. This project will be of the tidal stream type, where underwater turbines are placed in the free flow without any dam or barrage, similar to the MeyGen projectin Scotland……
If the relatively small-scale development in Goto is a success, it could act as a proving ground and a springboard, leading to the use of tidal energy in other locations all over Japan. And for a country ambivalent about its return to dependence on nuclear power, additional contributions from renewable energy will be welcome. https://theconversation.com/after-the-tsunami-how-tidal-energy-could-help-japan-with-its-nuclear-power-problem-89106

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

Bill calling for “immediate halt” to Japan’s reliance on nuclear power

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Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, far right, speaks at a press conference at the House of Representatives First Members’ Office Building in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward on Jan. 10, 2018, to announce the bill for a nuclear free, renewable energy plan. Sitting on the far left is former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa.
Junichiro Koizumi-led group pitches bill calling for ‘immediate halt’ to Japan’s reliance on nuclear power
A group advised by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on Wednesday unveiled details about a bill calling for an “immediate halt” to Japan’s reliance on nuclear power to prevent a recurrence of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The group is seeking to submit the bill to an upcoming Diet session in cooperation with opposition parties.
Sporting his signature leonine hairdo, Koizumi, one of Japan’s most popular prime ministers in recent memory, made a rare appearance before reporters with his unabated frankness, lashing out at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over his persistent pro-nuclear stance.
“You may think the goal of zero nuclear power is hard to achieve, but it’s not,” Koizumi said, adding that he believes many lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party support nuclear power passively out of respect for Abe, but that they could be persuaded to embrace a zero-nuclear policy under a different leader.
“Judging from his past remarks, I don’t think we can realize zero nuclear power as long as Abe remains in power. But I do think we can make it happen if he is replaced by a prime minister willing to listen to the public,” Koizumi told a packed news conference organized by Genjiren, an anti-nuclear association for which he serves as an adviser along with Morihiro Hosokawa, another former prime minister.
Claiming that the March 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant exposed the “extremely dangerous” and “costly” nature of atomic power — with a means of disposing of spent fuel still not in sight — the bill drafted by Genjiren calls for Japan’s “complete switch” to renewable energy.
Specifically, it demands that all active nuclear reactors be switched offline immediately and that those currently idle never be reactivated. It also defines the government’s responsibility to initiate steps toward a mass decommissioning and to map out “foolproof and safe” plans to dispose of spent fuel rods.
The bill sets forth specific numerical targets, too, saying various sources of natural energy, including solar, wind, water and geothermal heat, should occupy more than 50 percent of the nation’s total power supply by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.
That Japan has experienced no mass power shortage following the shutdown of all 48 reactors in the wake of the 2011 crisis, except for a handful since reactivated, is in itself a testament to the fact that “we can get by without nuclear power,” Koizumi said.
A 2017 white paper by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry shows Japan’s reliance on nuclear power has plunged to a mere 1 percent after the Fukushima meltdowns. The vast majority of Japan’s power is supplied by sources such as liquefied natural gas, coal and oil.
Although the controversy over nuclear power has rarely emerged as a priority in recent parliamentary debates, the creation of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan may herald a breakthrough.
Later Wednesday, Genjiren pitched the bill to the CDP in a meeting with some of its members, including former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who was in power when the Fukushima crisis erupted.
The CDP seeks to submit its own “zero nuclear power” bill to a regular Diet session slated to kick off later this month, positioning itself as a clearer anti-nuclear alternative to Abe’s ruling party than its predecessor, the Democratic Party.
The DP, which until recently held the most seats among opposition parties in both houses of the Diet, had failed to go all-out in crusading against nuclear power under the previous leadership of Renho, who goes by only one name.
At a party convention last March, Renho balked at adopting an ambitious target of slashing Japan’s reliance on nuclear power to zero by 2030 after reportedly facing resistance from party members beholden to the support of electricity industry unions.
In a preliminary draft unveiled Wednesday, the CDP’s bill-in-the-making called for ridding Japan of nuclear power “as soon as possible.”
 
Civic group proposes bill for Japan to exit nuclear power
TOKYO (Kyodo) — A Japanese civic group of activists, scholars and former politicians proposed a bill Wednesday to promote the country’s use of renewable energy and exit nuclear power in the hope of gaining the support of ruling and opposition parties.
“We will definitely realize zero nuclear plants by winning the support of many citizens,” former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who serves as the group’s adviser, told a press conference.
Koizumi, whose remarks still carry influence among the public, and former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa have been campaigning against the resumption of nuclear reactors taken offline after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Hosokawa is also an adviser to the group.
The leader of the group, Tsuyoshi Yoshiwara, later exchanged views with officials of the anti-nuclear Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition force in the House of Representatives. The group is urging lawmakers to submit the bill to the Diet’s ordinary session to be convened on Jan. 22.
The government led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who doubles as the head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, is promoting the restart of idle nuclear reactors.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a separate press conference Wednesday the government’s stance to bring reactors back online once they clear safety reviews of the Nuclear Regulation Authority “will not change.”
“We will also seek to lower the dependence on nuclear power as much as possible by maximizing the use of renewable energy and the thorough implementation of energy-saving measures,” the top government spokesman said.

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January 11, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

KEPCO studying moving spent nuclear fuel from Fukui to Aomori

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Kansai Electric Power Co. is considering transferring spent nuclear fuel stored in its three nuclear plants in Fukui Prefecture to an intermediate storage facility in Aomori Prefecture, sources said on Jan. 6.
KEPCO had promised to move the fuel outside the prefecture when the Fukui prefectural government allowed the utility to restart two reactors at its Oi nuclear power plant.
KEPCO President Shigeki Iwane has said that a facility will be secured by the end of 2018 to accept the fuel.
According to the sources, KEPCO is also considering other locations. However, the intermediate storage facility, located in Mutsu in northern Aomori Prefecture, is a promising candidate because it has already been constructed.
However, since consent from local governments is required, KEPCO could face difficulties in transferring the fuel to the facility.
At present, KEPCO is storing spent nuclear fuel, which is produced in its Takahama, Oi and Mihama nuclear power plants in Fukui Prefecture, in pools in their compounds. However, about 70 percent of the capacity of those pools have been filled.
If the restarts of the reactors in the plants proceed as expected, the remaining 30 percent will also be filled in about seven years. Therefore, KEPCO is trying to secure an intermediate storage facility to temporarily store the fuel by putting it in metal containers.
The intermediate storage facility in Mutsu was jointly constructed by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and Japan Atomic Power Co. at a cost of about 100 billion yen ($884.6 million) to store spent nuclear fuel produced by their nuclear plants.
However, acceptance of the fuel from those plants has yet to start because the facility is currently undergoing screenings to see if it is in compliance with new safety standards introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The intermediate storage facility has a capacity of accepting a total of 5,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel.
KEPCO is considering securing storage space there by purchasing part of the shares of a company that will operate the facility.

January 8, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kansai Electric Power Co considers moving spent nuclear fuel to Aomori Prefecture

KEPCO studying moving spent nuclear fuel from Fukui to Aomori http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201801070021.html, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, January 7, 2018  Kansai Electric Power Co. is considering transferring spent nuclear fuel stored in its three nuclear plants in Fukui Prefecture to an intermediate storage facility in Aomori Prefecture, sources said on Jan. 6.

KEPCO had promised to move the fuel outside the prefecture when the Fukui prefectural government allowed the utility to restart two reactors at its Oi nuclear power plant.

KEPCO President Shigeki Iwane has said that a facility will be secured by the end of 2018 to accept the fuel.

According to the sources, KEPCO is also considering other locations. However, the intermediate storage facility, located in Mutsu in northern Aomori Prefecture, is a promising candidate because it has already been constructed.

However, since consent from local governments is required, KEPCO could face difficulties in transferring the fuel to the facility. At present, KEPCO is storing spent nuclear fuel, which is produced in its Takahama, Oi and Mihama nuclear power plants in Fukui Prefecture, in pools in their compounds. However, about 70 percent of the capacity of those pools have been filled.

If the restarts of the reactors in the plants proceed as expected, the remaining 30 percent will also be filled in about seven years. Therefore, KEPCO is trying to secure an intermediate storage facility to temporarily store the fuel by putting it in metal containers.

The intermediate storage facility in Mutsu was jointly constructed by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and Japan Atomic Power Co. at a cost of about 100 billion yen ($884.6 million) to store spent nuclear fuel produced by their nuclear plants.

However, acceptance of the fuel from those plants has yet to start because the facility is currently undergoing screenings to see if it is in compliance with new safety standards introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The intermediate storage facility has a capacity of accepting a total of 5,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel.

KEPCO is considering securing storage space there by purchasing part of the shares of a company that will operate the facility

January 8, 2018 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Japanese taxpayers now join in Britain’s scandalous subsidising of the nuclear industry

The profitability of nuclear plant construction has been worsening all over the world

Nevertheless, the government intends to extend all-out support for the project.

Japanese gov’t to guarantee bank loans for Hitachi’s nuclear plant project in Britain https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180103/p2a/00m/0na/004000c  (Mainichi Japan) The Japanese government is poised to guarantee the full amount of loans that three megabanks will extend for a nuclear plant construction project in Britain by Hitachi Ltd., sources familiar with the project said.

January 7, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Radioactive debris at Fukushima – a huge challenge to Japanese govt and TEPCO

Challenges ahead for debris removal at Fukushima https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180102_05/ This year will mark the 7th anniversary of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant that occurred in March, 2011. The plant’s operator is hoping to eventually remove fuel debris from the damaged reactors.

Fuel debris is a mixture of melted nuclear fuel and broken reactor parts. Removing the debris is considered to be the biggest hurdle to the decommissioning of the reactors.

Last year, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, investigated the inside of the containment vessels of 3 reactors and confirmed, for the first time, the existence of lumps that are believed to be fuel debris in the No.3 reactor.

TEPCO plans to conduct a fresh probe of the No.2 reactor this month to confirm whether a mass on the floor under the reactor, observed last year, is actually fuel debris.

The government and TEPCO aim to begin removing debris in 2021. They are planning to determine which reactor to start with, and how to conduct the procedure, during fiscal 2019.

Workers will try this year to figure out which details need to be considered in order to make the decision.

Removing the debris requires thorough safety measures. For example, radioactive materials must be prevented from spreading and workers must be protected from exposure to radiation.

This autumn, the operator also plans to start removing spent nuclear fuel rods from the storage pool of the No.3 reactor building.

January 3, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Is Fukushima a healthy place to play Olympic ball games?

The Japanese government wants to show the fake side of Fukushima,”

Large swaths of Fukushima remain uninhabitable, with cleanup at the plant estimated to take up to 40 years and cost almost $200 billion

Would You Play Ball at Fukushima?, NYT,  FUKUSHIMA, Japan — A sea of brightly colored banners and advertisements decorated Fukushima train station in early November to celebrate coming road races and Fukushima United, the local soccer club.

January 1, 2018 Posted by | Japan, politics international, spinbuster | Leave a comment

About 50% of local bodies near nuke plants want say over reactor restarts

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In the background, from left, the No. 1, 2, 3, and 4 reactor buildings of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant are seen, in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Oct. 31, 2016. In front are tanks used to store contaminated water.
Roughly 50 percent of local governments within a 30-kilometer radius of a nuclear power plant — excluding municipalities where the plant is located — want to have a say in the restarting of nuclear reactors, a Mainichi Shimbun survey has found.
Among 121 neighboring local bodies, 60 of the 119 that provided answers in the survey said that they wanted to have a say in whether nuclear reactors can be reactivated.
Since the meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)’s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in 2011, the reactivation of nuclear reactors has been subject to consent from prefectures and municipalities hosting the facilities. However, taking into consideration the widespread damage and risks associated with the disaster in 2011, neighboring authorities have also been keen to get involved in the approval process.
A total of 155 local governments were targeted in the survey, which was conducted between September and November 2017 and addressed to local government heads and also to assemblies. The local authority where the Fukushima No. 1 power plant is located also took part.
Thirty-four of the 155 authorities (13 prefectural and 21 municipal) have a commercial nuclear power plant directly within their jurisdictions. The remaining 121 neighboring local bodies (eight prefectural and 113 municipal) are situated within 30 kilometers of a power plant.
Of the 155 local bodies approached, 153 local government heads — excluding those of Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture and Ikeda, Fukui Prefecture — gave answers while 154 local assemblies, excluding that of Iitate, cooperated.
Local government heads were asked whether they are for or against reactor restarts at the local nuclear power plant, the extent of their local government’s involvement, and the status of any safety agreements with electric power companies. Assemblies were asked whether or not they have adopted any written statements concerning the restarting of nuclear reactors, among other questions.
Regarding the right to approve reactivation of reactors at nuclear power plants and the right to conduct on-site investigations — which have effectively already been given to mainly local governments where plants are located — the local government heads were asked if these rights should be extended to neighboring bodies as well. In response, 56 heads stated that it was necessary to grant such rights, seven said that it is partly necessary, 24 said it was unnecessary, one head did not know, 60 gave other answers, and five did not reply.
Altogether, 60 of the 63 heads who said the granting of such rights was “necessary” or “partly necessary” belong to neighboring local governments. Of these 60 local bodies, 16 said that they are against restarting nuclear reactors.
Meanwhile, of the 24 heads who said the granting of these rights was “unnecessary,” 10 belong to local governments where a nuclear power plant is located, including Fukui Prefecture — revealing a difference in attitudes between the immediate and nearby local governments.
However, of the immediate local governments, the town of Okuma in Fukushima Prefecture — which was seriously affected by the 2011 disaster — said that the rights need to be extended on the grounds that, “Once an accident happens, the impact spreads across a wide area.”
The village of Tokai in Ibaraki Prefecture — where the Japan Atomic Power Co.’s Tokai No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant is based — was among those that replied that it is “partly necessary” to extend the rights.

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December 31, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

World’s Biggest Nuke Plant Gets a Long-Awaited OK

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This Sept. 30, 2017 aerial photo shows the reactors of No. 6, right, and No. 7, left, at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, Niigata prefecture. 
TEPCO gets OK to restart nuclear reactors, to the displeasure of some
(Newser) – The biggest nuclear power plant in the world sits idle, as it has for nearly seven years. But that state is set to change, and not without public trepidation. The Guardian reports that Japan’s nuclear watchdog this week gave Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) the green light to restart two of the seven reactors at Kashiwazaki-kariwa, which fell victim to the country’s nuclear power moratorium in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima disaster. That calamity occurred on TEPCO’s watch, and the utility says the money it will generate from Kashiwazaki-kariwa’s power is key to funding its continuing decommissioning efforts at Fukushima. It has poured more than $6 billion into Kashiwazaki-kariwa in an effort to make it immune to the series of disasters that befell Fukushima.
A 50-foot seawall provides tsunami protection, for instance, and 22,000 tons of water sit in a nearby reservoir, ready for the taking if reactors need sudden cooling. But locals aren’t convinced—the Japan Times reports some people shouted at the meeting where the restart approval was granted—and that matters: Though the restarts are penciled in to occur in spring 2019, the AFP reports local authorities need to give their OK, and that process could take years. The plant is located in Niigata prefecture, and locals there cite the active seismic faults in the area as a major concern; the Guardian notes “evidence that the ground on which Tepco’s seawall stands is prone to liquefaction in the event of a major earthquake.” A second is the fear that should an evacuation be necessary, it would be much less successful than that of Fukushima due to the bigger population.

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment