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Fukushima Prefecture has over 9 million bags of nuclear waste

December 12, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

2 nuclear reactors in Fukui Prefecture to be shut down

Nuclear watchdog OKs decommissioning plan for two reactors at Kepco’s Oi plant in Fukui   https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/12/11/national/nuclear-watchdog-oks-decommissioning-kepco-fukui/#.XfFJqegzbIUKYODO   The nation’s nuclear watchdog approved a plan Wednesday to decommission two reactors in Fukui Prefecture, a move their operator decided to take rather than shoulder the high cost of implementing safety upgrades.

Kansai Electric Power Co. will spend ¥118.7 billion to dismantle the Nos. 1 and 2 units at the Oi nuclear power plant, with work expected to wrap up in the fiscal year ending March 2049.

The units, which each have an output capacity of more than 1 million kilowatts, are the most powerful reactors to be approved for decommissioning by the Nuclear Regulation Authority since a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami caused a meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in March 2011.

Following the disaster, the government placed a 40-year limit on the lifespan of reactors in the country, with a possible 20-year extension if strict safety standards are met.

As both units came online in 1979 and were approaching the 40-year limit, Kansai Electric had a choice of applying for the extension or scrapping them.

In December 2017, the utility announced it would scrap the aging reactors, citing the high cost of implementing additional safety measures. Kansai Electric submitted the decommissioning plan to the authority in November 2018.

The plant’s Nos. 3 and 4 units came online in 1991 and 1993, respectively, and are currently active.

Around 23,000 tons of low-level radioactive waste will be remain following the dismantling process, according to the plan, along with another 13,200 tons of nonradioactive waste.

The plan does not state where the waste will be stored.

December 12, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

The status of Japan’s nuclear policy and future prospects

December 10, 2019 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Radiation- high levels near start of Japan’s 2020 Olympic Torch Relay

Nuclear Radiation Hot Spots Found At Starting Point Of Japan’s 2020 Olympic Torch Relay https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2019/12/nuclear-radiation-hot-spots-found-at-starting-point-of-japans-2020-olympic-torch-relay/, George Dvorsky, Dec 5, 2019, High levels of radiation have been detected near Japan’s J-Village, a sports facility and the starting point of the upcoming Olympic torch relay, according to Greenpeace. The discovery was made by surveyors with Greenpeace Japan, which warns that monitoring and decontamination efforts in Fukushima are inadequate.

Radiation levels as high as 71 microsieverts per hour were found on the surface near J-Village in northeastern Japan, according to a Greenpeace press release issued Wednesday. This level of radiation is hundreds of times greater than what’s stipulated in Japan’s decontamination guidelines, prompting Greenpeace Japan to demand that the Japanese government conduct regular radiation monitoring and decontamination of regions affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

J-Village National Training Centre is in Fukushima prefecture, which is located 20 kilometres from the damaged nuclear power plant. This sports facility will be the starting point of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay, which is scheduled to begin on March 26, 2020. That J-Village was chosen as the starting point for the relay is by design, as the Japanese government is promoting the games as the “reconstruction Olympics.” The Olympics will begin on July 24, 2020 in Tokyo, some 239 kilometres from the damaged reactors.

December 5, 2019 Posted by | Japan, radiation | Leave a comment

South Korea taking measures to ensure that its Olympic team gets radiation-free food

South Korea team to bring radiation detectors to Tokyo Olympics over ‘contamination fears’, Independent 4 Dec 19,

Committee claim food may be compromised despite lifting of Fukushima-related restrictions, Ju-min Park,

South Korea‘s Olympic committee plans to buy radiation detectors and ship homegrown ingredients to Japan for its athletes at the Tokyo Games because of worries local food may be contaminated by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Japan has posted data to show the country is safe from Fukushima radiation and many countries have lifted Fukushima-related food restrictions.

The Korea Sports & Olympic Committee (Ksoc) plans to ship red pepper paste, a key ingredient in Korean dishes, and other foods, and check for radiation in meat and vegetables that can only be sourced locally due to stringent quarantine rules, a Ksoc meals plan report shows.

Apparently, ingredients and food will be transported from South Korea as much as possible, possibly including canned food,” Shin Dong-keun, a ruling Democratic Party member of the parliamentary sports committee who was recently briefed by Ksoc, told Reuters in an interview.

“For this Olympic games, food is our team’s main focus so they can provide safe meals for the athletes to erase radiation worries, as opposed to in the past, food was meant to play the supplementary role of helping with their morale.”

Ksoc plans to arrange local Korean restaurants to prepare meals for baseball and softball players competing in Fukushima, as shipping boxed lunches from Tokyo is not feasible, it said in the “2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics Meals Support Centre Plan”.

“These Korean restaurants should only handle food confirmed as radiation free.”…….

Radiation Hot Spots

Greenpeace said on Wednesday that radiation hot spots have been found at the J-Village sports facility in Fukushima where the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay will begin.

South Korea has stepped up demands for a Japanese response to concerns food produced in the Fukushima area and nearby sea could be contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima plant…….

The official said South Korea was preparing a separate meals plan due to concerns from the public and politicians over food safety, unlike the United States and Australia whose athletes will mainly eat food provided by the host country, Japan.  ……

The South Korean Olympic committee plan to purchase radiation detecting equipment by February and station an inspector at its own cafeteria in Tokyo during the games to check contamination levels, according to the Ksoc report.

The budget for the Tokyo Olympics meals service is earmarked at 1.7 billion won (£1.2bn), which includes twice the amount of money for buying and shipping ingredients than previous games, according to the committee.  https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/tokyo-2020-olympics-south-korea-radiation-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-a9232291.html

December 5, 2019 Posted by | Japan, South Korea | Leave a comment

Safety concerns linger although Onagawa reactor cleared to restart

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The Onagawa nuclear power plant in Miyagi Prefecture.
November 29, 2019
Tohoku Electric Power Co. announced Nov. 27 that the No.2 reactor at its Onagawa nuclear power plant in Miyagi Prefecture has cleared the regulatory screening for a restart, more than eight years after it was damaged in the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima disaster.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has produced a draft report on its safety inspections of the reactor, saying it has met the new safety standards introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The NRA’s action means the unit, which is a boiling water reactor like those at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, has passed a key test for its reactivation.
The nuclear safety watchdog has spent six years assessing the safety of the reactor since the utility applied for a license to bring the unit back online.
Tohoku Electric Power has taken safety measures to ensure that the reactor will withstand an earthquake with a shaking intensity twice larger than previously assumed. The company has also promised to build a 29-meter high seawall in line with the lessons learned from the 2011 disaster, when the plant came close to being hit by the tsunami. Special facilities to respond to a severe accident will also be installed.
Despite all these new safety measures, the risk of the unexpected occurring, resulting in damage to the reactor, should not be ruled out.
There are still more things that should be done and considered before debating the appropriateness of allowing the utility to restart the reactor when the promised measures have been taken. The work is expected to be completed in fiscal 2020.
The biggest worry about the plan to bring the reactor back on stream is the lack of a viable plan for emergency evacuations of local residents.
The Oshika Peninsula, where the nuclear plant stands, has a rugged coastline that turns back upon itself repeatedly. This topographic feature limits possible emergency escape routes.
The local populations of both Onagawa and Ishinomaki, which host the plant, are aged, with people 65 years or older accounting for more than 30 percent of all the residents. One in every five local residents lives alone.
An evacuation plan based on the use of private cars and buses will be difficult to carry out. That will be all the more so in cases of complex disasters such as an earthquake and tsunami occurring in succession.
Some 210,000 people live within 30 kilometers from the nuclear plant including residents of five other neighboring municipalities. The local governments within this radius are legally required to develop evacuation plans. It will be a herculean task to secure evacuation centers that can take in all these people.
The governments of many nuclear host communities in rural areas where the local economy is heavily dependent on state subsidies and jobs provided by nuclear plants will agree to reactor restarts.
But many local residents in these communities remain deeply concerned about the safety of the reactors in their towns and cities.
Earlier this month, a group of Ishinomaki citizens filed a request with the Sendai District Court for an injunction to ban the Miyagi governor and the Ishinomaki mayor from approving the utility’s plan to restart the reactor. The legal action clearly reflects local residents’ anxiety.
A proposal to hold a local referendum on the planned reactor restart based on 110,000 signatures was submitted to the prefectural assembly although it was rejected.
The heads of some local governments in the region have expressed their opposition to the utility’s plan to resume operation of the reactor, saying they cannot take the responsibility to protect the lives of local residents during emergencies.
The Asahi Shimbun has argued that a wider scope of communities around nuclear power plants should be involved in the process. As for the Onagawa plant, there is a system to communicate the opinions of the five surrounding municipalities to Tohoku Electric Power through the prefectural government.
The Fukushima disaster has shown in a graphic manner that a wide range of areas are affected by any serious nuclear accident.
Both the Miyagi prefectural administration and Tohoku Electric Power should pay serious attention to the voices of local communities in wide areas surrounding the nuclear plant.
Nuclear power generation has been promoted under a national policy while nuclear plants have been operated by private-sector companies.
Commenting on Tohoku Electric Power’s plan to resume operating the reactor at the Onagawa plant, Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai has said the central government should make the final decision and take responsibility for it.
In addition to the local administrations and utilities involved, the central government needs to address doubts and concerns among local residents related to a plan to restart a nuclear reactor.
Already, nine reactors have been reactivated under the new nuclear safety standards.
But the Onagawa plant is located in an area that has been repeatedly hit by earthquakes and tsunami. Experts say there are risks of the plant being struck by a major disaster. These facts should not be forgotten.

December 2, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Nuclear watchdog approves restart of Onagawa reactor in Miyagi hit by 3/11 tsunami

First Japanese boiling water reactor (like Fukushima Daiichi) has just been approved for restart of operations. This is the tenth Japanese nuclear power plant to restart since all nuclear power operations were shutdown following the March 11, 2011 triple catastrophe (earthquake, tsunami and triple meltdown.)
Interesting that Japanese nuclear regulators required the restart of these boiling water reactors be predicated on the installation of filtered hardened containment vents (FHCV). The FHCV allows the operator during a severe nuclear accident to vent to the General Electric design’s vulnerable and substandard containment structure of extreme pressure, heat, explosive non-compressible hydrogen gas and while retaining the radioactivity in newly constructed high efficiency filtration system housed in a separate hardened containment. The original FHCV was proposed by US Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff in November 2012 as a requirement for the continued operation of 23 U.S. General Electric Mark I boiling water reactors and rejected by a majority vote of the Commissioners. For U.S. reactors financial margins come before public safety margins.
 
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Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s Onagawa nuclear power plant in Miyagi Prefecture is seen on Feb. 18
Nov 27, 2019
A nuclear power plant reactor that was damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster and idled under stricter safety standards following the Fukushima crisis won approval from the nuclear watchdog on Wednesday for operations to resume.
The No. 2 unit of Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s Onagawa plant in Miyagi Prefecture received the green light after the addition of disaster prevention measures, including a towering seawall that is nearing completion.
 
The approval, given in a unanimous vote, was the first to be secured by the operator under the revised standards. The reactor is only the second of those damaged in the March 2011 calamity to clear the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s new safety regulations, after the Tokai No. 2 power station in Ibaraki Prefecture.
Before the reactor can be restarted, the plant, which straddles the town of Onagawa and the city of Ishinomaki, still needs to finish installing anti-disaster measures, which are expected to be completed in fiscal 2020, and receive consent from the local governments.
Tohoku Electric expects to spend ¥340 billion ($3.1 billion) on the measures, the bulk of that being spent the seawall — which will run along 800 meters of Pacific coast and rise 29 meters above sea level to guard against tsunami as high as 23.1 meters. In the March 2011 disaster, parts of the basement floors of Onagawa’s No. 2 unit were flooded.
Costs for enhanced safety measures have ballooned and are expected to swell further with the construction of facilities to be used in the event of a terrorist attack, also required under the new safety standards.
The Onagawa plant is the closest nuclear plant to the epicenter of the magnitude 9.0 quake that struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, and heavy shaking triggered an automatic shutdown of its three reactors.
Its No. 2 reactor building suffered flooding from the subsequent 13-meter tsunami, losing up to 70 percent of its capacity to resist earthquakes, and tremors damaged four out of five external power supplies at the plant. But the remaining line was enough to cool the reactors into a cold shutdown, unlike the situation at the Fukushima No. 1 plant run by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., or Tepco, where the triple meltdowns occurred.
Tohoku Electric applied for safety screening for the No. 2 reactor at the Onagawa plant in December 2013, and its restart should save the utility ¥35 billion annually in fuel costs.
The No. 1 reactor is scheduled to be decommissioned, and the utility is still considering whether to seek approval to restart the No. 3 reactor.
The Onagawa No. 2 reactor may become the first boiling water reactor — the same type used at the Fukushima No. 1 plant — to resume operations following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, which claimed nearly 16,000 lives. More than 2,500 remain missing today. In Onagawa, those killed or missing total more than 800.
Other boiling water reactors at Tepco’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture and the Tokai No. 2 plant of Japan Atomic Power Co. have already secured NRA approval to resume operations, but have yet to obtain local consent.
Onagawa’s approval will be formalized following a roughly one-month period where the NRA will accept comments from the public. During the meeting Wednesday, NRA Commissioner Shinsuke Yamanaka said the safety of the plant’s structural design had been reviewed carefully, in consideration that the Tohoku region has been hit by big earthquakes in the past.
At Onagawa, more than 80 percent of houses were damaged following the March 2011 tsunami, and locals were divided on whether to back the restart of the plant.
“It is OK to restart if it’s safe,” said Shoichi Chubachi, 82, who still lives in public housing for people who lost their homes in the disaster. “The town has reaped benefits from the nuclear plant. I cannot say I’m opposed.”
“I think there’s sufficient electricity without nuclear power,” said housewife Chisato Uno, 69. “Taking into account our children and grandchildren, no nuclear power is better.”
A woman in her 80s who lives alone expressed concerns. “I can’t drive a car and I cannot evacuate because my legs are weak,” she said.

December 2, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Thorny topic of Fukushima food at the 2020 Olympics

Should Fukushima food be served at the Olympics? Japan Times, BY KARYN NISHIMURA, AFP-JIJI 26 NOV 19, FUKUSHIMA – For years, the government has sought to convince consumers that food from Fukushima is safe despite the nuclear disaster. But will it serve the prefecture’s produce at the Tokyo Olympics?

It’s a thorny subject for the authorities. They pitched the Olympics in part as a chance to showcase the recovery of areas affected by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Government officials tout strict checks on food from the prefecture as evidence the produce is completely safe, but it remains unclear whether athletes and sports teams from around the world will be convinced.

In Fukushima, producers are keen to see their products served in the Olympic Village and have submitted a bid to the organizers………

It’s a thorny subject for the authorities. They pitched the Olympics in part as a chance to showcase the recovery of areas affected by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Government officials tout strict checks on food from the prefecture as evidence the produce is completely safe, but it remains unclear whether athletes and sports teams from around the world will be convinced.

In Fukushima, producers are keen to see their products served in the Olympic Village and have submitted a bid to the organizers.

But the figures have only gone some way to reassuring foreign officials: Numerous countries including China, South Korea and the U.S. maintain restrictions on the import of some or all produce from Fukushima.

South Korea, currently locked in a dispute with Japan over wartime issues, has been vocal about its concerns ahead of the Olympics, even raising the possibility of bringing in its own kitchen and food.

“We have requested the Olympic organizers to provide objective data verified by an independent third body,” the South Korean Sports and Olympic Committee said in a statement earlier this year.

“Since Japan repeatedly said its food from Fukushima is safe, we have demanded they provide statistics and data to back up their claims,” an official with the committee said.

The position underlines a long-running problem for Japan: While it points to its extensive, government-mandated checks as proof of safety, many abroad feel the government is not an objective arbiter…….

The International Olympic Committee has said it is still weighing how to handle the matter……. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/11/26/national/fukushima-food-olympics-tokyo-2020/#.Xd7rfugzbIU

November 28, 2019 Posted by | health, Japan | Leave a comment

Onagawa nuclear plant to get approval for restart

Nuclear watchdog approves restart of Onagawa reactor in Miyagi hit by 3/11 tsunami, Japan Times KYODO, STAFF REPORT. NOV 27, 2019

A nuclear power plant reactor that was damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster and idled under stricter safety standards following the Fukushima crisis won approval from the nuclear watchdog on Wednesday for operations to resume.

The No. 2 unit of Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s Onagawa plant in Miyagi Prefecture received the green light after the addition of disaster prevention measures, including a towering seawall that is nearing completion.

The approval, given in a unanimous vote, was the first to be secured by the operator under the revised standards. The reactor is only the second of those damaged in the March 2011 calamity to clear the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s new safety regulations, after the Tokai No. 2 power station in Ibaraki Prefecture.

Before the reactor can be restarted, the plant, which straddles the town of Onagawa and the city of Ishinomaki, still needs to finish installing anti-disaster measures, which are expected to be completed in fiscal 2020, and receive consent from the local governments.

Tohoku Electric expects to spend ¥340 billion ($3.1 billion) on the measures, the bulk of that being spent the seawall — which will run along 800 meters of Pacific coast and rise 29 meters above sea level to guard against tsunami as high as 23.1 meters. In the March 2011 disaster, parts of the basement floors of Onagawa’s No. 2 unit were flooded.

Costs for enhanced safety measures have ballooned and are expected to swell further with the construction of facilities to be used in the event of a terrorist attack, also required under the new safety standards.

The Onagawa plant is the closest nuclear plant to the epicenter of the magnitude 9.0 quake that struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, and heavy shaking triggered an automatic shutdown of its three reactors……..

Onagawa’s approval will be formalized following a roughly one-month period where the NRA will accept comments from the public. During the meeting Wednesday, NRA Commissioner Shinsuke Yamanaka said the safety of the plant’s structural design had been reviewed carefully, in consideration that the Tohoku region has been hit by big earthquakes in the past. ……..

“I think there’s sufficient electricity without nuclear power,” said housewife Chisato Uno, 69. “Taking into account our children and grandchildren, no nuclear power is better.”….https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/11/27/national/nuclear-watchdog-restart-reactor-march-2011-tsunami/#.Xd7b2-gzbIU

November 28, 2019 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Pope Francis calls for a ‘world without nuclear weapons’ during Nagasaki visit

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Pope Francis speaking at the Nagasaki hypocenter memorial. Photograph: Ciro Fusco/EPA
November 24, 2019
Pontiff urges disarmament as he tours Japan’s atomic bomb sites and meets survivors of the 1945 attacks
Pope Francis has condemned the “unspeakable horror” of nuclear weapons during a visit to Nagasaki, one of two Japanese cities destroyed by American atomic bombs towards the end of the second world war.
 
Speaking on the second day of the first papal visit to Japan for 38 years, Francis urged world leaders to end the stockpiling of nuclear weapons, saying it offered their nations a false sense of security.
 
“Convinced as I am that a world without nuclear weapons is possible and necessary, I ask political leaders not to forget that these weapons cannot protect us from current threats to national and international security,” he told hundreds of people at the city’s rain-drenched atomic bomb hypocenter park on Sunday.
Trump and Putin have killed off a vital nuclear treaty. Here’s how we fight back
Rebecca Johnson
 
Earlier, Francis had placed a wreath and prayed at the foot of a memorial to the 74,000 people who died instantly and in the months after the US dropped a nuclear bomb on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945, three days after it had carried out a nuclear attack on Hiroshima, in which 140,000 people died by the end of the year.
 
“This place makes us deeply aware of the pain and horror that we human beings are capable of inflicting upon one another,” Francis said, standing next to a large photograph of a young boy carrying his dead baby brother on his back at a crematorium in the aftermath of the attack on Nagasaki.
 
Francis was given the photograph several years ago and has since distributed tens of thousands of copies. He was due to meet the widow and son of Joe O’Donnell, the American military photographer who took it.
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A photo taken by US marine Joe O’Donnell, showing a boy carrying his dead brother on his back after the Nagasaki bombing. Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
 
The 82-year-old pontiff, who will visit Hiroshima later Sunday, has long been a vocal opponent of nuclear weapons. The Holy See was among the first countries to sign and ratify a 2017 nuclear prohibition treaty. But nuclear powers, and countries such as Japan that fall under the US nuclear umbrella, have refused to sign it.
 
“In a world where millions of children and families live in inhumane conditions, the money that is squandered and the fortunes made through the manufacture, upgrading, maintenance and sale of ever more destructive weapons, are an affront crying out to heaven,” Francis said.
 
He urged world leaders to recommit to arms control efforts and the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons. “We need to ponder the catastrophic impact of their deployment, especially from a humanitarian and environmental standpoint, and reject heightening a climate of fear, mistrust and hostility fomented by nuclear doctrines.”
 
A survivor of the Nagasaki bombing said he hoped the pope’s words would make nuclear powers think seriously about disarmament. Describing his experience 74 years ago as “a living hell,” Minoru Moriuchi, an 82-year-old Catholic, said: “My father’s sister ran away to our house with her two children and I never forgot the sight – their bodies were reddish-black and completely burnt.
 
“Four other relatives were brought in … but they didn’t look like humans,” he told Agence France-Presse.
 
In Hiroshima, Francis was due to meet ageing survivors of the atomic bombings – the hibakusha – at the city’s peace memorial park.
 
The symbolism of his visit to Nagasaki extends beyond its tragic place in wartime history.
 
Francis was scheduled to pay tribute at a site in the city devoted to martyrs among Japan’s earliest Christians, whose religion was banned by the country’s shogun rulers in the early 1600s. Suspected believers were forced to renounce their faith or be tortured to death. Many continued to worship in secret, as “hidden Christians” until the ban was lifted in the late 1800s.
 
Francis is the first pope to visit Japan – where there are fewer than half a million Catholics – since 1981, when John Paul II traveled to Nagasaki and Hiroshima to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons amid cold war tensions between the US and the Soviet Union.
 
On Monday, Francis will meet survivors of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, as well as Japan’s new emperor, Naruhito, and the prime minister, Shinzo Abe.
 

November 25, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

109 Fukui officials received money in Kansai Electric gift scandal

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November 21, 2019
Can someone say quid pro quo? In a scandal that continues to rock the Fukui prefecture, an investigation involving a former mayor and major utility has now found that more than 100 former and current gov’t officials received gifts or money!
This photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter on May 30, 2019, shows the No. 3, left, and No. 4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan.
November 21, 2019
FUKUI, Japan (Kyodo) — A total of 109 current and former Fukui prefectural officials received money and other gifts from a former deputy mayor of Takahama who is at the heart of a gift scandal involving Kansai Electric Power Co., an investigative committee said Thursday.
The committee set up by the prefecture last month had been looking into whether Eiji Moriyama exercised influence over the central Japan prefecture’s public work projects, after the late deputy mayor of Takahama was found to have given massive gifts to the utility’s top officials.
The revelation that the utility officials received a total of 320 million yen ($3 million) worth of gifts from 2006 led to the resignation of its Chairman Makoto Yagi. Kansai Electric operates a nuclear plant in Takahama and Moriyama, who died in March, served as an adviser to its subsidiary for more than 30 years.
The three committee members, all lawyers, interviewed about 300 people including former governors, deputy governors and other senior officials in compiling their report.
Moriyama had also served as a human rights researcher for the prefecture between 1971 and 2018.

November 25, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Undersea survey for new nuke plant deferred due to protests in western Japan

When will the Japanese government and big utilities ever learn? Aren’t three meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi enough to teach them that there is NO future in building new nukes!

fghgjkkm.jpgA planned construction site for the Kaminoseki nuclear power station is seen in the foreground, while Iwaishima Island lies in the background, in the town of Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on May 29, 2019.

November 15, 2019

SHUNAN, Yamaguchi — An undersea boring survey for the construction of a nuclear power plant on a planned land reclamation site off Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, has been deferred due to protests by local residents opposing the project.

Chugoku Electric Power Co. had originally planned to start the survey on Nov. 14 in waters off Kaminoseki in western Japan, and complete it by Jan. 30 next year. However, daily protests by anti-nuclear power residents aboard fishing boats and inclement weather had delayed measurements and other preparation work, prompting the power company to postpone the survey.

The Hiroshima-based utility intends to study whether there are active faults in the area by drilling the seabed to a depth of about 60 meters. The survey falls under preparations for safety screening accompanying construction of the Kaminoseki nuclear plant under new regulatory standards for nuclear complexes introduced in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The Yamaguchi Prefectural Government had granted permission for the boring survey on Oct. 31.

The power company plans to start boring after ensuring safety in the area. Residents, meanwhile, say they will continue their protests.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20191115/p2a/00m/0na/010000c

November 25, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

To Make the Olympics Look Good Japanese Government Wants Evacuees To Return To Fukushima

 

While Japan might want to make the Olympics look good, – internationally the IAEA , nuclear nations and global nuclear industries want the Olympics to make the nuclear industry look good!

 

November 23, 2019 Posted by | Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Problematic question of Fukushima food at the Olympic Games

Japan grapples with serving Fukushima food at Olympics, Channel News Asia, 20 Nov 19, FUKUSHIMA: For years, Japan’s government has sought to convince consumers that food from Fukushima is safe despite the nuclear disaster. But will it serve the region’s produce at the Tokyo Olympics?

It’s a thorny subject for the authorities. They pitched the Games in part as a chance to showcase the recovery of areas affected by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Government officials tout strict checks on food from the region as evidence that the produce is completely safe, but it remains unclear whether athletes and sports teams from around the world will be convinced.

In the Fukushima region, producers are keen to see their products served at the Olympic village and have submitted a bid to the organisers.

“The Fukushima region has put forward food from 187 producers and is second only to Hokkaido when it comes to meeting the specified criteria in terms of range of products,” said Shigeyuki Honma, assistant director general of the local government’s agriculture and forestry planning division.

“Fukushima wants to serve athletes its rice, its fruits, beef and vegetables. But the committee still has to decide.”……

the figures have only gone some way to reassuring foreign officials: numerous countries including China, South Korea, and the United States maintain restrictions on the import of some or all produce from Fukushima.

South Korea, which is currently locked in a dispute with Japan over wartime issues, has been vocal about its concerns ahead of the Olympics, even raising the possibility of bringing in its own kitchen and food.

“We have requested the Olympic organisers to provide objective data verified by an independent third body,” the South Korean Sports and Olympic Committee said in a statement earlier this year.

“Since Japan repeatedly said its food from Fukushima is safe, we have demanded they provide statistics and data to back up their claims,” an official with the committee told AFP.

The position underlines a long-running problem for Japan: while it points to its extensive, government-mandated checks as proof of safety, many abroad feel the government is not an objective arbiter……..

The International Olympic Committee said it was still weighing how to handle the matter.

“Food menus and catering companies for the Olympic Village are under discussion and have yet to be defined,” a spokesman told AFP.

The Tokyo 2020 organisers said promoting areas affected by the 2011 disaster remains a key goal…….

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/japan-grapples-with-serving-fukushima-food-at-olympics-12109828

November 21, 2019 Posted by | environment, Japan | 1 Comment

Environmentalists say Fukushima water too radioactive to release

Japan: Environmentalists say Fukushima water too radioactive to release  https://www.dw.com/en/japan-environmentalists-say-fukushima-water-too-radioactive-to-release/a-51331676Officials in Japan have claimed that water exposed to radiation in the Fukushima nuclear disaster is now safe to dump into the Pacific. Environmentalists say the water is too contaminated. Julian Ryall reports. 20 Nov  19 Environmental groups are skeptical of a Japanese government declaration claiming that contaminated water stored at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is safe to release into the ocean.

Officials from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry addressed a government committee Monday, and said that the health risk associated with releasing water that absorbed radionuclides in the aftermath of the March 2011 nuclear accident would be “small.”

During the hearing, the officials said that releasing the water over the course of one year would cause exposure amounting to a miniscule fraction of the radiation that humans are naturally exposed to annually.

The officials said that storage facilities are already close to capacity, with over 1 million tons of contaminated water being stored in steel tanks on the site in northeast Japan.    Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima plant, estimates that with around 120 tons of ground water leaking into the basement levels of the three reactors that suffered meltdowns as a result of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the storage tanks will reach capacity in the summer of 2022.

Contamination questions

TEPCO and the government have long believed that the best way to dispose of the water is to simply release it into the ocean. They claimed until this year that contaminated water had been cleansed by a so-called advanced liquid processing system to the point that virtually all the radionuclides had been reduced to “non-detect” levels.

Leaked TEPCO documents, however, show that varying amounts of 62 radionuclides — including strontium, iodine, cesium and cobalt — have not been removed from the water.

The company has also been criticized for refusing to permit independent organizations to test the water that is being stored at the site.

Nevertheless, environmentalists fear that preparations are under way to release the water into the environment.

“Even a year ago, when the first report on options for disposing the treated water was presented to the committee, it seemed clear to me even then that the preferred option was to release it into the ocean,” said Azby Brown, the lead researcher for Tokyo-based nuclear monitoring organization Safecast Japan. Other options included evaporation and burying the water.

“My take on this is that they have already reached a decision and that all these discussions now on the options are purely theater.”

Calls for added storage capacity

Safecast, Greenpeace and other environmental organizations have called for the company to build more tanks on the site. Additionally, when the area within the plant perimeter is full, they advocate building more storage on adjacent farmland that can no longer be used because it is too highly contaminated.

Brown said TEPCO officials ruled that option out on the grounds that they want to limit the tanks to the existing site.

“Honestly, I don’t see much evidence of genuine consideration of the other options,” he said.

Others are more optimistic that the government and TEPCO will eventually conclude that it would be too damaging to their reputations to dump the water into the Pacific.

“They do seem to be coming back to this option regularly, but once you start to look at the logistics of it, very quickly it’s clear that it’s virtually impossible,” said Hideyuki Ban, co-director of the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center.

We do not know the levels of radionuclides in the water they say has been treated, but the best guess we have is that levels of tritium are at about 1 million becquerels per liter,” he said.

“The government has set a level of 60,000 becquerels per liter as the target before the water is released, but TEPCO says they want to get it down to 1,500 becquerels.”

“To do that is going to take a long time, and then every tank of water that was going to be released would have to be tested to make sure that it meets those standards,” Ban said. “We think that they would be better off just deciding to keep storing the water for the next 30 years.”

The best of bad options?

TEPCO said that a final decision on how to dispose of the water will be made by the government after all the available options have been taken into consideration.

But a company official told DW that time is running out for a decision to be made.

“In three years, the capacity that we are adding at the site at the moment will be used up and there is nowhere else to build tanks,” he said. “We have a three-year window for the government to decide on a policy and a course of action.”

November 21, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment