The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

TEPCO in the dark about conditions inside shattered Fukushima nuclear reactors: they will now try aerial drones

World Nuclear News 22nd March 2018,Unmanned aerial system technology is being developed to fly into the containment vessels of the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan to assess their condition.

Tokyo Electric Power Company contracted the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) of the USA
to carry out the work. The greatest challenge in decommissioning the plant will be removing the fuel debris from the three reactors that suffered meltdowns in the March 2011 accident.

However, radiation levels in those reactor buildings remain too high for workers to enter. Therefore remotely
operated equipment, such as robots, is needed to carry out investigations and tasks within those areas. A number of ground- and underwater-based robotic systems have already been sent inside the containment vessels of
units 1, 2 and 3.

However, damage and high radiation levels have limited access to information vital to decontamination and decommissioning efforts.


March 23, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Radioactive Cesium 134 from Fukushima nuclear disaster – found in British Columbia, Canada

Vancouver Sun 12th March 2018, A radioactive metal from the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan has
been discovered in the Fraser Valley, causing researchers to raise the
alarm about the long-term impact of radiation on B.C.’s west coast.
Examination of a soil sample from Kilby Provincial Park, near Agassiz, has
for the first time in this province found Cesium 134, further evidence of
Fukushima radioactivity being transported to Canada by air and water.

March 23, 2018 Posted by | Canada, environment, Fukushima continuing | 1 Comment

  The “forbidden life” of those caring for abandoned animals in Fukushima

Hero rescues pets from Fukushima nuclear wasteland

The 3/11 kitten that wasn’t   The “forbidden life” of those caring for abandoned animals in Fukushima, Beyond Nuclear , By Linda Pentz Gunter, 20 March 18   “………. countless animals were indeed abandoned in Japan due to the natural disasters and the forced exile of those living too close to the stricken nuclear plant. Some international rescue groups did go in to try to help, but early on found conditions and access restrictions challenging if not prohibitive.

However, there were also individuals and groups in Japan who were not willing to sit back and watch animals starve. In addition to the rescue operations, a spay-neuter organization began work to prevent the inevitable proliferation of pets who, if they had survived at all, had now become strays. Shelters were eventually built with funds donated by supporters.

But there were some, chronicled in several remarkable films, who either never left, or who quickly returned to Fukushima Prefecture, with one sole purpose in mind: to look after the animals. Their charges soon multiplied and for some, it has become a full-time vocation.

In a 2013 ITN short news segment, we are introduced to 58-year old Keigo Sakamoto, who had already established an animal sanctuary in Nahara, just over 12 miles from the Fukushima plant. He was one who refused the order to evacuate, then found himself completely trapped within the zone, cut off from supplies. He survives on the generosity of individuals and stores outside the zone where he regularly collects discarded food and other supplies essential to keeping his animals — and himself — alive.

Then there are farmers who returned to save their livestock. One such, 53-year old Naoto Matsumura, is featured in the 18-minute Vice documentary, Alone in the Zone. He lives in what was then the ghost town of Tomioka — whose station reopening story we featured last week. But Matsumura could not accept the idea that dogs, cows, goats, ducks and even ostriches should be cast off without a care.

At first he evacuated with his family, fearing all the reactors were going to blow. But when his family faced rejection by relatives who said they were “contaminated”, and the hassle of evacuation shelters became unendurable, he returned home alone. And stayed. “I couldn’t leave the animals behind,” he said. “I am opposed to killing off the animals in the zone.”

Feeding them, and refusing to sign the “death warrant” requirement from the government, will, he hopes, spare them from slaughter. “So many of their fellow cattle died in pain,” he said, recalling the tragedy of cows left in barnes to starve. “To me, animals and people are equal.” ……


March 21, 2018 Posted by | environment, Fukushima continuing, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Informational power to the people: Safecast volunteers monitor Fukushima radiation


NGO Safecast co-founder Pieter Franken explains to schoolgirls how to assemble a Geiger counter kit in their classroom in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture. 

Tracking Fukushima’s radiation ,  Source: AFP   Editor: Fu Rong     Beneath the elegant curves of the roof on the Seirinji Buddhist temple in Japan’s Fukushima region hangs an unlikely adornment: a Geiger counter collecting real-time radiation readings.

The machine is sending data to Safecast, an NGO born after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster that says it has now built the world’s largest radiation dataset, thanks to the efforts of citizen scientists like Seirinji’s priest Sadamaru Okano.

Like many, Okano lost faith in the government after the nuclear meltdown seven years ago.

“The government didn’t tell us the truth, they didn’t tell us the true measures,” he said.

Okano was in a better position than most to doubt the government line, having developed an amateur interest in nuclear technology 20 years earlier after the Chernobyl disaster. To the bemusement of friends and family, he started measuring local radiation levels in 2007.

“The readings were so high, 50 times higher than natural radiation,” he said of the post-disaster data. “I was amazed. The news told us there was nothing, the administration was telling us there was nothing to worry about.”

That dearth of trustworthy information was the genesis of Safecast, said co-founder Pieter Franken, who was in Tokyo with his family when disaster hit. Franken and friends had the idea of gathering data by attaching Geiger counters to cars and driving around.

“Like how Google does Street View, we could do something for radiation in the same way,” he said. “The only problem was that the system to do that didn’t exist and the only way to solve that problem was to go and build it ourselves. So that’s what we did.”

Within a week, the group had a prototype and got readings that suggested the 20-kilometer exclusion zone declared around the Fukushima plant had no basis in the data, Franken said.

“Evacuees were sent from areas with lower radiation to areas with higher radiation” in some cases, he said.

The zone was eventually redrawn, but for many local residents it was too late to restore trust in the government.

Okano evacuated his mother, wife and son while he stayed with his flock.

A year later, based on his own readings and after decontamination efforts, he brought them back. He learned about Safecast’s efforts and in 2013 installed one of their static counters on his temple.

“I told them: ‘We are measuring the radiation on a daily basis… so if you access the (Safecast) website you can choose (if you think) it’s safe or not’.”

Norio Watanabe has been a Safecast volunteer since 2011. In the days after the disaster evacuees flocked to Koriyama, which was outside the evacuation zone. He assumed his town was safe.

He sent his children away, but stayed behind to look after his mother, a decision he believes may have contributed to his 2015 diagnosis of thyroid cancer.

“As a scientist, I think the chance that it was caused by the Fukushima accident might be 50-50, but in my heart, I think it was likely the cause,” he said.

His thyroid was removed and is now healthy, but Watanabe worries about his students, who he fears “will carry risk with them for the rest of their lives.”

“If there are no people like me who continue to monitor the levels, it will be forgotten.”

Safecast now has around 3,000 devices worldwide and data from 90 countries. Its counters come as a kit that volunteers can buy through third parties and assemble at home.

March 19, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, PERSONAL STORIES, politics, radiation | Leave a comment

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

The Great Train Photo Robbery 

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Harmful effects of radiation on Fukushima’s macaque monkeys

Stark health findings for Fukushima monkeys By Cindy Folkers

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

Japan’s Fukushima Survivors are stigmatised

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to do with Fukushima’s contaminated water?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fukushima Prefecture aims comforting propaganda about (non) radioactive food to youth market overseas

Fukushima makes anime to counter harmful rumors’s Fukushima Prefecture has produced animated films stressing the safety of its agricultural and fishery products to dispel overseas rumors about radioactive contamination from the 2011 nuclear accident.

The prefecture has been trying to expand the international markets for its farm produce and seafood. The main challenge is to refute the negative rumors that have persisted since the nuclear accident.

The 5 “anime” films, each lasting about 4 minutes, are aimed at promoting the safety and quality of local peaches, rice, beef and other items.

In the films, high school girls play the roles of the food items and work hard together to improve their taste.

The prefectural government also plans to make available English, Chinese, Spanish and French versions, which will be shown for the first time at an event in Hong Kong in March.

These versions will also be posted on the Internet.

A prefectural official says the films represent the aspirations of food producers in Fukushima and will convey the safety of their products on an affable note, mainly to younger generations abroad.

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

Environmental impact of Fukushima nuclear disaster more long-lasting than expected

Bags of radioactive waste during radioactive decontamination process after the daiichi nuclear power plant irradiation, Fukushima prefecture, Iitate, Japan

New evidence of nuclear fuel releases found at Fukushima, February 28, 2018  Manchester University

Uranium and other radioactive materials, such as caesium and technetium, have been found in tiny particles released from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors.

This could mean the environmental impact from the fallout may last much longer than previously expected according to a new study by a team of international researchers, including scientists from The University of Manchester.

The team says that, for the first time, the fallout of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor fuel debris into the surrounding environment has been “explicitly revealed” by the study.

The scientists have been looking at extremely small pieces of debris, known as micro-particles, which were released into the environment during the initial disaster in 2011. The researchers discovered uranium from nuclear fuel embedded in or associated with caesium-rich micro particles that were emitted from the plant’s reactors during the meltdowns. The particles found measure just five micrometres or less; approximately 20 times smaller than the width of a human hair. The size of the particles means humans could inhale them.

The reactor debris fragments were found inside the nuclear exclusion zone, in paddy soils and at an abandoned aquaculture centre, located several kilometres from the nuclear plant.

It was previously thought that only volatile, gaseous radionuclides such as caesium and iodine were released from the damaged reactors. Now it is becoming clear that small, solid particles were also emitted, and that some of these particles contain very long-lived radionuclides; for example, uranium has a half-life of billions of years.

Dr Gareth Law, Senior Lecturer in Analytical Radiochemistry at the University of Manchester and an author on the paper, says: “Our research strongly suggests there is a need for further detailed investigation on Fukushima fuel debris, inside, and potentially outside the nuclear exclusion zone. Whilst it is extremely difficult to get samples from such an inhospitable environment, further work will enhance our understanding of the long-term behaviour of the fuel debris nano-particles and their impact.”

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is currently responsible for the clean-up and decommissioning process at the Fukushima Daiichi site and in the surrounding exclusion zone. Dr Satoshi Utsunomiya, Associate Professor at Kyushu University (Japan) led the study.

He added: “Having better knowledge of the released microparticles is also vitally important as it provides much needed data on the status of the melted nuclear fuels in the damaged reactors. This will provide extremely useful information for TEPCO’s decommissioning strategy.”

At present, chemical data on the fuel debris located within the damaged nuclear reactors is impossible to get due to the high levels of radiation. The microparticles found by the international team of researchers will provide vital clues on the decommissioning challenges that lie ahead.

March 2, 2018 Posted by | environment, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Debris in Fukushima nuclear reactor 2 – it “fell out of reactor”

Tepco spots Fukushima fuel debris in reactor 2, says fuel rod assembly ‘fell out of reactor’, BY KAZUAKI NAGATA STAFF WRITER

Tokyo Electric on Friday said it had spotted what is almost certainly fuel debris in reactor 2 at the Fukushima No. 1 plant that shows its fuel assembly likely dropped through the pressure vessel.

While Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. got a peek at lava-like objects that looked like melted fuel in reactor 3 last year, this is the first time it has located similar debris in reactor 2.

Tepco inserted a 13-meter pipe-shaped device with two cameras on its tip into a 12-cm utility hole in the primary containment vessel to capture images of the area directly beneath the pressure vessel, which holds the core.

One camera spotted a handle for the fuel rod assembly lying at the bottom of the PCV, surrounded by sediment.

This means “there must have been a hole big enough to let the fuel rod assembly fall out of the reactor, so we are almost certain that the sediment around it is fuel debris,” Tepco spokesman Takahiro Kimoto explained at a news conference at the utility’s headquarters in Chiyoda Ward.

Kimoto also said the image shows pebble-like objects that look similar to the fuel debris witnessed at the Three Mile Island facility in Pennsylvania after its partial core meltdown in 1979.

The fuel melted after the mega-quake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, knocked out all power to the Fukushima No. 1 plant, crippling its vital cooling systems.

As a result, some of reactor 2’s fuel rods apparently melted and penetrated the bottom of the 20-cm-thick pressure vessel before dropping to the bottom of the PCV.

Locating the fuel debris is crucial to decommissioning the crippled plant, which is expected to take more than three decades. Tepco plans to decide on a plan for removing the fuel in fiscal 2019.

This is the first internal probe of reactor 2’s primary containment vessel since February last year, when it inserted a rod about 10 meters long to capture images of the interior.

At that time, Tepco found some black sediment stuck to the steel grating beneath the pressure vessel but could not tell what it was.

Last July, the utility sent a robot inside reactor 3’s PCV, where it found what was believed to be melted fuel debris.

March 2, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment