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Cost of the Fukushima nuclear disaster estimated at up to 81 trillion yen

An aerial view shows workers wearing protective suits and masks working atop contaminated water storage tanks at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, in this photo taken by Kyodo August 20, 2013. Japan’s nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday it is concerned that more storage tanks at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant will spring leaks, following the discovery that highly contaminated water is leaking from one of the hastily built containers. Picture taken August 20, 2013. Mandatory Credit. REUTERS/Kyodo (JAPAN – Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT POLITICS ENERGY)
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Think tank puts cost to address nuke disaster up to 81 trillion yen  http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201903100044.html By ATSUSHI KOMORI/ Staff Writer, March 10, 2019  In a startling disparity, a private think tank puts the cost of addressing the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster between 35 trillion yen and 81 trillion yen ($315 billion and $728 billion), compared with the government estimate of 22 trillion yen.

The calculation, by the Tokyo-based Japan Center for Economic Research, showed that the total could soar to at least 60 percent more and up to 3.7 times more than the 2016 estimate by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

In releasing the latest estimates on March 7, the center said it is time for serious debate over the role nuclear energy should play in the nation’s mid- and long-term energy policy.

Of the highest price tag of 81 trillion yen, 51 trillion yen would go toward decommissioning the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and treating and disposing of radioactive water. The ministry put the cost for these tasks at 8 trillion yen.

The center calculated the compensation to victims at 10 trillion yen, while the comparable estimate by the ministry was 8 trillion yen.

Although the center’s estimate for the decontamination operation was 20 trillion yen, the ministry’s projection was 6 trillion yen.

The biggest disparity in the estimates between the think tank and the ministry is that the former put the treatment and disposal of contaminated water at 40 trillion yen and included the cost for disposing of polluted soil produced during cleanup operations in the overall costs.

If contaminated water is released in the sea after it is diluted with water, the overall costs could be 41 trillion yen, including 11 trillion yen estimated for decommissioning and disposal for tainted water.

The least expensive way of coping with the accident–35 trillion yen–would be to encase the plant in a concrete sarcophagus, rather than undertaking the formidable challenge of retrieving melted nuclear fuel from the reactors, and releasing contaminated water into the sea. In this case, it would cost 4.3 trillion yen to close down the plant and dispose of the radioactive water.

But this scenario drew fire from residents in the affected municipalities as they view covering nuclear fuel debris with a massive structure would be tantamount to asking them to give up hope of eventually returning to their hometowns.

The center’s latest projections followed its estimates two years ago, in which the number varied from 50 trillion yen to 70 trillion yen.

It updated its projections based on the findings about treatment and disposal of radioactive water and progress in cleanup operations over the past years.

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March 23, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | 1 Comment

Fukushima radioactive water – a million tons, and still coming

Fukushima water headache: 1 million tons and counting http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201903190042.html THE ASAHI SHIMBUN,March 19, 2019The crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant reached an undesired milestone on March 18: Storage tanks at the site now contain more than 1 million tons of radiation-contaminated water.The announcement by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., came as the utility and the central government continue to weigh water-disposal methods while hearing the concerns of fishermen who fear for their livelihoods.

Toyoshi Fuketa, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, has repeatedly said a decision must be made soon on how to deal with the contaminated water.

“We are entering a period in which further delays in deciding what measure to implement will no longer be tolerable,” Fuketa recently said.

Groundwater becomes contaminated when it flows into the buildings of the three reactors that suffered meltdowns in 2011 following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. Water that is used to cool the nuclear fuel debris is processed to remove radioactive substances, but the system cannot get rid of tritium.

These problems have forced TEPCO to store the contaminated water in hundreds of tanks installed at the Fukushima plant.

If more storage tanks are constructed, the overall capacity of 1.37 million tons at the site will likely be reached by the end of 2020.

Fukushima fishermen are already on alert for the one option they have already criticized–diluting the water and dumping it into the Pacific Ocean.

The economy ministry in 2016 said that measure could be implemented in the shortest time frame and at a low cost.

Fuketa has also said this is the most realistic option, but he noted that it would require years of preparation.

ome experts said the go-ahead for the dilution measure should have been given at the end of 2018 to start the process before the storage tanks reach capacity.

Economy ministry officials tried to explain various measures being considered at a public hearing in Fukushima in August 2018, including releasing the diluted water into the ocean.

“It will have a devastating effect on fishing in Fukushima,” said Tetsu Nozaki, who heads the Fukushima prefectural federation of fisheries cooperative associations.

Fukushima fishermen have slowly resumed operations since all forms of fishing were prohibited after high levels of radiation were found in fish caught off the Fukushima coast.

Fish auctions restarted at Fukushima ports in spring 2017, but the volume of fish brought in is still only about 20 percent of levels before the 2011 nuclear accident.

The last thing Fukushima fishermen want is an increase of negative publicity about their catches if the diluted water is dumped into the Pacific.

The government has spent about 34.5 billion yen ($309 million) to build a frozen underground earth wall around the three reactor buildings to divert the groundwater to the ocean. The “ice wall” has cut down the flow of groundwater, which at one time reached about 500 tons a day.

But still, groundwater continues to flow into the three reactor buildings at a rate of about 100 tons daily.

(This article was compiled from reports by Chikako Kawahara, Hiroshi Ishizuka, Toshio Kawada and Kazumasa Sugimura.)

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

Fukushima Prefecture to lose 15 high schools, due to population decline

As population declines, Fukushima Prefecture to lose 15 of its 96 high schools, Japan Times , FUKUSHIMA MINPO, MAR 15, 2019

The Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education will reduce its number of prefecture-run high schools by 15 by the end of fiscal 2023 as the region continues to struggle with a dwindling number of students due to a declining birthrate.

The mergers will be implemented over the span of three years from fiscal 2021 and will reduce the number of high schools in the prefecture from 96 to 81.

Twenty-five schools will be merged and reorganized into 13 under the plan, which will integrate schools located in close proximity of one another. Each school will retain four to six classes per grade.

With the merger, the prefecture’s 88 day schools and seven night schools will be reduced to 74 and six, respectively, by the end of March 2024, according to the education board’s reform plan revealed Feb. 8. Fukushima’s only correspondence school will remain open……… https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/03/15/national/population-declines-fukushima-prefecture-lose-15-96-high-schools/#.XIwdDSIzbGg

March 16, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, social effects | Leave a comment

Nobody wants to host Fukushima’s millions of cubic metres of radioactive soil

Fukushima grapples with toxic soil that no one wants   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/11/fukushima-toxic-soil-disaster-radioactive Eight years after the disaster, not a single location will take the millions of cubic metres of radioactive soil that remain, Justin McCurry in Okuma 12 Mar 2019 
Workers at a soil separation facility for decontamination work in Okuma. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Not even the icy wind blowing in from the coast seems to bother the men in protective masks, helmets and gloves, playing their part in the world’s biggest nuclear cleanup.

Away from the public gaze, they remove the latest of the more than 1,000 black sacks filled with radioactive soil and unload their contents into giant sieves. A covered conveyor belt carries the soil to the lip of a huge pit where it is flattened in preparation for the next load. And there it will remain, untouched, for almost three decades.

It is repetitive, painstaking work but there is no quick way of addressing arguably the most controversial physical legacy of the triple meltdown that occurred eight years ago at the nearby Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

In the years after the disaster, about 70,000 workers removed topsoil, tree branches, grass and other contaminated material from areas near homes, schools and public buildings in a unprecedented ¥2.9tn (£21bn) drive to reduce radiation to levels that would enable tens of thousands of evacuees to return home.

The decontamination operation cleaned generated millions of cubic metres of radioactive soil, packed into bags that carpet large swaths of Fukushima prefecture.

Japan’s government has pledged that the soil will moved to the interim storage facility and then, by 2045, to a permanent site outside of Fukushima prefecture as part of a deal with local residents who do not want their communities turned into a nuclear dumping ground.

But the government’s blueprint for the soil is unravelling: so far, not a single location has agreed to accommodate the toxic waste.

While workers inside the ruined nuclear plant struggle to contain the build-up of more than 1m tonnes of radioactive water, outside, work continues to remove, process and store soil that will amount to 14m cubic metres by 2021.

The task is expected to take another two years, according to Jiro Hiratsuka, an environment ministry official who is guiding a small group of foreign journalists, including the Guardian, around the interim storage facility.

“We are required by law to find a final storage place outside Fukushima, so it can’t be kept here indefinitely,” Hiratsuka said. “It’s true that we have yet to find an appropriate location, but a lot will depend on how much space we need and the level of radioactivity in the soil.”

There is opposition, too, to the idea of using soil with lower radiation levels – or less 8,000 becquerels per kilogram – as the foundation for roads, embankments and other infrastructure in Fukushima.

The storage facility straddles the towns of Okuma and Futaba, located west of the power plant, where radiation levels are still too high for residents to return. So far, 2.3m cubic metres of soil – about 15% of the total – have been brought to the site.

The operation involves thousands of workers, including drivers who make 1,600 return trips every day. So far, 355,000 trucks have been used – and officials say they need more.

“I am aware that some people are saying it would be better to keep it here, but the people of Okuma and Futaba have had a really tough time, and they agreed the soil could be kept here on the condition that it would eventually be moved out of Fukushima,” Hiratsuka said.

Despite the decontamination efforts, only a small number of residents who were ordered to leave after the triple meltdown have returned to neighbourhoods where evacuation orders have been lifted, according to local government data.

A poll by the Asahi newspaper and a local broadcaster found that almost two-thirds of evacuated residents felt anxious about radiation despite official claims that decontamination work had been a success.

As Japan marked the eighth anniversary on Monday of the magnitude-9 earthquake and deadly tsunami that triggered the Fukushima meltdown, environmental groups warned that some “safe” neighbourhoods still contained radiation hotspots.

Greenpeace investigation revealed high levels of radiation in areas that had been declared safe, and accused the government of misleading the international community about the risks faced by returning evacuees and decontamination workers.

“Some areas still have significantly high levels of radiation,” said Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist at Greenpeace Germany who is based in Japan. “They are much higher than background radiation before the accident.”

Minoru Ikeda, who took part in the decontamination effort, said workers cut corners to meet strict deadlines. “There were times when we were told to leave the contaminated topsoil and just remove the leaves so we could get everything done on schedule,” he said. “Sometimes we would look at each other as if to say: ‘What on earth are we doing here?’”

He was sceptical of official claims that a permanent home would be found the for soil. “I don’t believe for a minute that they will be able to move all that soil out of Fukushima,” he said. “The government has to come up with a plan B.”

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

Radioactive boars thrive in Fukshima towns

Times 11th March 2019 The towns around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant are among the
most perilously radioactive in the world, yet in their own strange way they have never been busier. The people who lived here fled in a rush after the meltdown of the nuclear reactors, but a new citizenry has established itself and is thriving in the unusual conditions. They squat in family groups in the wooden interiors of the traditional Japanese houses. They
thrive on the fruit on the trees and the water that flows around the old rice fields. They are hairy, tusked and weigh 200lb.

They are the radioactive wild boars of Fukushima. It is eight years today since the massive earthquake and tsunami that smashed into Fukushima Dai-ichi, and a good deal has changed since the terrible weeks that followed. The spewing
reactors have been largely contained, although it will be a lifetime before they are fully dismantled. The radiation in the towns has been reduced and in those marginal areas where the levels are lowest people have been permitted to return.

Even when gas and electricity are reconnected, their once thriving towns have few shops, schools or social services. But there is another obstacle to their return: the takeover of the evacuation zone by wild animals. In the absence of Man, nature has marched off the forested mountains and taken over his former home. Raccoons and rats, monkeys and
palm civets have all taken advantage of the empty houses to find food, shelter and a convenient place to breed. But none has better adapted, or done more damage, than the wild boar.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/26b333e2-435f-11e9-924d-9729bcd51a7f

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, Reference | 1 Comment

Eight Years on, Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Still Poses Health Risks

https://havanatimes.org/?p=149927  March 9, 2019 By Akio Matsumura HAVANA TIMES – On March 11, we commemorate the 8th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. To an outside observer, this anniversary passes as a technical progress report, a look at new robot, or a short story on how lives there are slowly returning to normal.

Yet in Japan, the government has not figured out how to touch or test the irradiated cores in the three crippled reactors, which continue to contaminate water around the site of the melt down. The government does not know where it will put that radioactive material once it can find a way to move it.

Meanwhile, the government and site operator are running out of room to store the contaminated water, which is filling up more and more tanks. The cleanup is estimated to take forty years and the cost is estimated at $195 billion.

The latest publicly released findings of radiation levels are from 2017, when Tokyo Electric Power Company had to use a remote-controlled robot to detect the levels in Reactor 2, since no human can approach the crippled reactor.

The rates read 530 sieverts per hour, the highest since the March 2011 meltdown. We have no reason to believe that they have fallen since then. Remote-control robots are being used in the other reactors as well, indicating that radiation levels are similarly high there.

Even using the robot, work can only be carried out for very short times, since the robots can only stand 1000 sieverts of exposure – less than two hours in this case.

This is an extremely high amount of radiation. After TEPCO published the rate, the Asahi Shimbun reported that “an official of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences said medical professionals have never considered dealing with this level of radiation in their work.”

The Japan Times quoted Dr. Fumiya Tanabe, an expert on nuclear safety, who said that the “findings show that both the preparation for and the actual decommissioning process at the plant will likely prove much more difficult than expected.”


Fukushima’s Children Need International Attention

There have been many victims of this disaster. Thousands of people have been displaced from their homes. Local fishermen are worried that the government will proceed with its plan to dump the storage tanks of contaminated water into the ocean.

Others worry that the flow of the radioactive wind and contaminated water are reaching North America and will continue to do so for the next forty years.

Above all of these important issues, it is the children of Fukushima who most need our attention. They are at risk of higher rates of cancer because of their exposure to the contamination from the initial explosion. In Chernobyl, the only comparable case we have, more than 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer were found in children according to the UN through 2005.

There is evidence that thyroid cancer rates are higher among Fukushima’s children than the national population, but it is a latent disease: it is still too early to tell what the full impact will be. But it is clear the case needs action.

Scientists will always offer different opinions, swayed first by uncertainty, but also, sadly, by politics, money, and ambition.

Some will claim that the evidence has been exaggerated, underestimated, or that perhaps we’re at too early a stage to be certain. Or that we need more time to clarify the results. I have seen many instances of these arguments at the United Nations and international science conferences. Why do we wait and make another mistake?

Helen Caldicott, a medical doctor and founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, part of a larger umbrella group that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985, wrote: “The truth is that most politicians, businessmen, engineers and nuclear physicists have no innate understanding of radiobiology and the way radiation induces cancer, congenital malformations and genetic diseases which are passed generation to generation. Nor do they recognize that children are 20 times more radiosensitive than adults, girls twice as vulnerable as little boys and fetuses much more so.”

UNICEF Can Lead

We face many complex challenges of climate change, poverty alleviation, and national security. The health and welfare of children must always be our top priority. They are our future; our deepest purpose is to care and provide for them. By deciding not to fully investigate the effects of Fukushima, we fail them.

We all agree with that personally, but which institution is best positioned to carry out the mission? To me, UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, is the only answer. Indeed, putting children above national security is at UNICEF’s core.

Maurice Pate, an American humanitarian and businessman who joined UNICEF at its inception in 1947, agreed to serve as the Executive Director upon the condition that UNICEF serves the children of “ex-enemy countries, regardless of race or politics.” In 1965, at the end of Pate’s term, the organization won the Nobel Peace Prize.

To this day, its mission includes a commitment to “ensuring special protection for the most disadvantaged children – victims of war, disasters, extreme poverty, all forms of violence and exploitation and those with disabilities.” The children of Fukushima deserve the protection of UNICEF.
——
*Akio Matsumura is also the Secretary General of the Global Forum Moscow Conference hosted by President Gorbachev at the Kremlin in 1990 as well as of the Parliamentary Earth Summit Conference hosted by Brazil National Assembly in Rio de Janeiro in 1992

March 10, 2019 Posted by | children, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s radioactive water – over 1000 tanks of it, and no solution in sight

8 years on, contaminated water remains big problem for Fukushima clean-up, Japan Today, Mar. 10   By Kiyoshi Takenaka  OKUMA

Eight years after the Fukushima nuclear crisis, a fresh obstacle threatens to undermine the massive clean-up: 1 million tons of contaminated water must be stored, possibly for years, at the power plant.

Last year, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said a system meant to purify contaminated water had failed to remove dangerous radioactive contaminants.

That means most of that water – stored in 1,000 tanks around the plant – will need to be reprocessed before it is released into the ocean, the most likely scenario for disposal.

Reprocessing could take nearly two years and divert personnel and energy from dismantling the tsunami-wrecked reactors, a project that will take up to 40 years.

It is unclear how much that would delay decommissioning. But any delay could be pricey; the government estimated in 2016 that the total cost of plant dismantling, decontamination of affected areas, and compensation, would amount to 21.5 trillion yen ($192.5 billion), roughly 20 percent of the country’s annual budget.

Tepco is already running out of space to store treated water. And should another big quake strike, experts say tanks could crack, unleashing tainted liquid and washing highly radioactive debris into the ocean.

Fishermen struggling to win back the confidence of consumers are vehemently opposed to releasing reprocessed water – deemed largely harmless by Japan’s nuclear watchdog, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) – into the ocean.

“That would destroy what we’ve been building over the past eight years,” said Tetsu Nozaki, head of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations. Last year’s catch was just 15 percent of pre-crisis levels, partly because of consumer reluctance to eat fish caught off Fukushima.

SLOW PROGRESS

On a visit to the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi plant last month, huge cranes hovered over the four reactor buildings that hug the coast. Workers could be seen atop the No. 3 building getting equipment ready to lift spent fuel rods out of a storage pool, a process that could start next month.

In most areas around the plant, workers no longer need to wear face masks and full body suits to protect against radiation. Only the reactor buildings or other restricted areas require special equipment.

Fanning out across the plant’s property are enough tanks to fill 400 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Machines called Advanced Liquid Processing Systems, or ALPS, had treated the water inside them. …..

The utility has promised to re-purify the water if the government decides that releasing it into the ocean is the best solution. It is the cheapest of five options a government task force considered in 2016; others included evaporation and burial.

TEPCO and the government are now waiting for another panel of experts to issue recommendations. The head of the panel declined an interview request. No deadline has been set.

……… STORING INDEFINITELY

Another option is to store the water for decades in enormous tanks normally used for crude oil. The tanks have been tested for durability, said Yasuro Kawai, a plant engineer and a member of Citizens’ Commission on Nuclear Energy, a group advocating abandoning nuclear energy.

Each tank holds 100,000 tons, so 10 such tanks could store the roughly 1 million tons of water processed by ALPS so far, he said.

The commission proposes holding the tritium-laced water, which has a half life of 12.3 years, in tanks for 123 years. After that, it will be one thousandth as radioactive as it was when it went into storage.

No Safe Dose – Berkeley

Although experts caution that tanks would be vulnerable to major quakes, Japan’s trade and industry minister, Hiroshige Seko, said the committee would consider them anyway.

“Long-term storage … has an upside as radiation levels come down while it is in storage. But there is a risk of leakage,” Seko told Reuters. “It is difficult to hold the water indefinitely, so the panel will also look into how it should be disposed of eventually.”

Space is also a problem, said Akira Ono, TEPCO’s chief decommissioning officer. By 2020, the utility will expand tank storage capacity by 10 percent to 1.37 million tons, and about 95 percent of total capacity will probably be used by the end of that year, he said.

“Tanks are now being built on flat, elevated spots in stable locations,” Ono said. But such ideal space is getting scarce, he added.

Many local residents hope TEPCO will just keep storing the water. If it does get released into the ocean, “everyone would sink into depression,” said fishing trawler captain Koichi Matsumoto. …… https://japantoday.com/category/national/Eight-years-on-contaminated-water-remains-big-problem-for-Fukushima-clean-up

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Eight years later, Fukushima nuclear wreck still resulting in mounting tons of radioactive water, with no solution

Eight years after triple nuclear meltdown, Fukushima No. 1’s water woes show no signs of ebbing, Japan Times, BY RYUSEI TAKAHASHI, STAFF WRITER, 8 Mar 19,

This is the first in a series examining how the northeast and the nation are progressing with efforts to deal with the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.

Nearly a thousand storage tanks are scattered across the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, holding a staggering 1.1 million tons of treated water used to keep its melted reactor cores cool while they rust in the sun.

Plant manager Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., or Tepco, plans to build more of the gigantic tanks to hold another 0.27 million tons, which is roughly the equivalent of 108 Olympic-size swimming pools. The new tanks are expected reach full capacity in four or five years

Each tank takes seven to 10 days to fill and holds between 1,000 to 1,200 tons of liquid, Tepco officials told reporters during a tour in February organized by the Japan National Press Club. It’s been eight years since Fukushima No. 1 suffered three core meltdowns triggered by tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake, but the situation with the tanks may be a sign Tepco has yet to get the facility under control.

“Space isn’t a big issue at this point in time, but five or 10 years from now, after we’ve started removing the melted fuel debris, we’re going to need facilities to store and preserve it,” Akira Ono, president of Fukushima No. 1 Decontamination and Decommissioning Engineering Co., a Tepco unit overseeing the decommissioning process, said at a news conference in January.

The water issue is eating up both space and resources, but a solution is unlikely to emerge anytime soon.

The International Atomic Energy Agency published a report in November that said the physical constraints of the site “leave little room for additional tanks” beyond what Tepco has allocated.

The IAEA report went on to say it believes storing tainted water in “above ground tanks . . . can only be a temporary measure while a more sustainable solution is needed” and a “decision on the disposition path should be taken urgently.”

Beyond 2020, Tepco has not allocated any additional space for holding treated water on the site and has no plans to do so at this time. The utility said the tanks will likely become a headache if they remain at the plant.

“At that point, we may need to rethink how we’re using the space,” Ono said.

Eight years ago when the monstrous tsunami hit, the entire plant lost power and reactors 1, 2 and 3 lost coolant, causing their cores to overheat. The fuel rods consequently melted, dripping molten fuel that burned through their pressure vessels and pooled in their primary containment vessels. Reactors 1, 3 and 4 then suffered hydrogen explosions.

Tepco must inject water into the reactors indefinitely to keep the melted cores cool, but water tainted by contact with the fuel and associated debris has been leaking from the damaged containment vessels and into the basements of the reactor buildings, where tons of fresh groundwater flows in daily through holes in their damaged walls.

The contaminated water is pumped out and passed through a filtration device called the Advanced Liquid Processing System — which is supposed to remove every radionuclide except for tritium — and stored in the tanks.

Tepco has taken steps to limit the amount of groundwater seeping into the reactor buildings, including wells to intercept and divert it and an underground ice wall around the buildings to block any inflow.

According to Tepco, however, about 83 tons of water are seeping into the reactor buildings each day. Although this is an improvement from some 300 tons in previous years, Tepco must keep making more tanks.

At the moment, Tepco is waiting for a government panel’s advice on what to do with the tritium-tainted water. The panel is considering five disposal methods: ground injection, sea discharge after diluting the tritium concentration, discharging it as steam, discharging it as hydrogen, and solidification followed by underground burial……

there are concerns about the impact an ocean discharge may have on fisheries still trying to recover from the nuclear crisis.

Fishing in the area has resumed on a trial basis and workers still perform radiation checks before shipping their hauls to fish markets. The waters off Fukushima Prefecture are at the confluence of two ocean currents — the Oyashio from the north and Kuroshio from the south — which make for the good fishing grounds that have been a vital part of the agrarian prefecture’s economy.

Eight years after the meltdowns, however, residents are still struggling to convince the world that fish from the area are safe to eat. Many believe public perception alone will cripple Fukushima’s fishing industry anew if the tainted water is expelled into the ocean — even if the tritium has been reduced to below international standards.

Trust issues continue to plague Tepco after it claimed ALPS was filtering every radionuclide from the cooling water except tritium. Last August it came to light that the allegedly treated water still contained other dangerous contaminants, including iodine, cesium and strontium. Some of the concentrations were above current safety limits.

This has further angered Fukushima residents and made it harder to get their approval for dumping the water held by the tanks into the sea.

During a public hearing hosted by METI in August, participants urged the government and Tepco to consider finding an off-site location to store the water instead of discharging it into the ocean.

“Without a national debate and without the understanding of Japanese citizens or the countries importing our products, as a fisherman of Fukushima Prefecture, I strongly oppose the plan to discharge the treated water into the ocean,” Tetsu Nozaki, chairman of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Association, told the hearing.

“To release the ALPS-treated water into the ocean, at this time, would deal a disastrous blow to the fishermen of Fukushima and rob them of their hard work and motivation,” he said…….

Meanwhile, the crippled plant faces other serious challenges — including how to extract the molten fuel…….

Miyano said Tepco and the government — with the help of scientists, nuclear physicists and engineers from around the world — are inventing new technologies as they devise a way to remove the debris……. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/03/07/national/eight-years-triple-meltdown-fukushima-no-1s-water-woes-slow-recede/#.XIMmYMkzbGh

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | 3 Comments

The indigenous fight for the truth on Fukushima’ s radioactive impact on the world

The future of all life: Indigenous sovereignty and the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Bay View, National Black Newspaper,  by Harun Minhaj, March 4, 2019 In 2011, an unprecedented series of die-offs began to strike dead hundreds of millions of sea creatures in the northern Pacific Ocean. As one sailor who frequently travels the Pacific remarked in October of 2013:

“I’ve done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I’m used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3,000 nautical miles, there was nothing alive to be seen.”

What precipitated such a dramatic devastation of marine life in the Pacific Ocean?

Just a few months before the die-offs began, the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Complex in Japan caused the greatest pollution of the marine environment by radioactive contaminants in history. Far from over, these releases are still ongoing.

More than 400 tons of radioactive water have been flowing into the Pacific every day since the meltdowns began.

Although the full extent of the damage from Fukushima Daiichi has yet to be determined, the volume of these releases alone shows that we are dealing with something unprecedented in history.

Indigenous elders and scientific community sound the alarm

I was first alerted to the severity of the Fukushima disaster by Bay Area Indigenous Elder Zachary RunningWolf. A full-time activist and community leader in the Bay Area, RunningWolf has long campaigned for racial and environmental justice in a myriad of ways……..

For the last nine years, he has also led a four-day monthly stop driving boycott to combat global warming…

When RunningWolf ran for mayor of Berkeley in 2016, he made addressing Fukushima a central component of his campaign. For RunningWolf and many Indigenous elders concerned about the ongoing violence against Mother Earth, stopping the Fukushima nuclear crisis is of the highest priority.

Consider this call for action released in 2013 by a council of Indigenous elders called the Caretakers of Mother Earth:

“The People of the Earth understand that the Fukushima nuclear crisis continues to threaten the future of all life. We understand the full implications of this crisis even with the suppression of information and the filtering of truth by the corporate owned media and nation states. We strongly urge the media, corporations and nation states to acknowledge and convey the true facts that threaten us, so that the international community may work together to resolve this crisis, based on the foundation of truth” (emphasis added).

The deep concern expressed by RunningWolf and the Caretakers of Mother Earth about the impact of Fukushima’s radiation on the Pacific is shared by thousands of scientists. For instance, the platform adopted by the more than 5,000 scientists who make up the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry declared in 2014 that “the Fukushima nuclear accident on 11 March 2011 emerged as a global threat to marine biodiversity in the Pacific Ocean and human health in coastal communities.”

Other scientific organizations such as the Nordic Probabilistic Safety Assessment Group have gone even further. This institution – which is by no means “anti-nuclear” as it was founded by the nuclear utilities of Finland and Sweden – predicted in 2011 based on official estimates of radioactivity released into the Pacific that around 50-100 million fish would die from just one of the most deadly and prolific isotopes which had been released. ……….

Along with the unprecedented die-offs, a consistent set of symptoms frequently occurring together was observed across species:

Some of these symptoms (such as cancer, hair loss, and mutations) are well-known consequences of radiation sickness, while other more obscure ones such as high levels of parasites have been confirmed in studies of sea life to occur as a consequence of radiation. Altogether, only radiation sickness can produce such a widespread, prolonged epidemic exhibiting all these symptoms.

The genocidal impact of Fukushima radiation in the Pacific

It would be extremely foolish to assume this devastation in the Pacific Ocean will not profoundly impact human life. It is widely recognized that for numerous reasons our very survival depends on the health of the oceans, most notably because they produce the majority of the oxygen that we must breathe to live.

Native peoples, whose traditional livelihoods are often intimately bound up with the health of the ocean, are on the front line of this struggle. ……..

As aboriginal advocates have argued, the violence of nuclear contamination in desecrating their lands and culture must be recognized as a kind of cultural genocide. In this case, where the Pacific Ocean itself has been desecrated, Fukushima’s radiation must be recognized as constituting a genocidal assault on numerous Indigenous peoples’ cultures and livelihoods.

Furthermore, the radiation in Pacific seafood poses a significant health risk to the people who consume it. Estimates calculated by a wide variety of experts in nuclear power, chemistry and medicine show that this risk has been severely underestimated, and in fact more than 1 million people would die from cancer and other diseases if the consumption of radioactive Pacific seafood continues unabated.

In the Bay Area, Indigenous Blackfeet Elder RunningWolf has long been warning the public to avoid consuming Pacific seafood since even before the 2016 Berkeley mayoral race, while calling for the University of California – with its flagship campus located in Berkeley – to be held accountable for issuing no health warnings in turn.

As aboriginal advocates have argued, the violence of nuclear contamination in desecrating their lands and culture must be recognized as a kind of cultural genocide…………… https://sfbayview.com/2019/03/the-future-of-all-life-indigenous-sovereignty-and-the-fukushima-nuclear-disaster/

March 9, 2019 Posted by | environment, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

The stigma continues, however much the propaganda spouts about the Fukushima nuclear ‘recovery’

The Fukushima nuclear disaster’s legacy: An inescapable stigma, Commentary: Pockets of innovation, like a drone testing field, have some hoping the region sheds its notoriety. But it’s not that simple. CNet

BY ROGER CHENG MARCH 7, 2019 The J-Village hotel and sports complex in Fukushima was immaculate, its grand lobby welcoming us with bright lights and pristine marble floors. Several furnished conference rooms stood ready to host one event after another.

There’ was just one jarring thing: the utter silence throughout the facility.

It was our first night in the Fukushima region, and my photographer, James Martin, and my interpreter had arrived a little after 10 p.m. Initially, we weren’t sure if this was the right location – we seemingly had the only vehicle in the parking lot, and a quick search of those conference rooms found no staff.

It wasn’t until we located the reception desk, tucked out of sight from the main lobby, that we found another human. The employee noted that only 15 guests were staying in the 200-room hotel.

Welcome to Fukushima.

That first night proved to be one of the more memorable moments in a trip that included a visit inside one of the most radioactive hotspots in the world, a look at a massive underground ice wall and a virtual reality experience that took me to places no human could survive. It stood out because it illustrated the long way this area has to go before any semblance of normalcy can return…….

Eight years on, there’s been little progress with the actual cleanup. While three of the six reactors have been safely decommissioned, the remaining three have proven to be such a challenge that Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, just last month finally succeeded in sending a robot down to the Unit 2 reactor to pick up some of debris in the highly radioactive core.  ………

Tepco and local government officials are pushing the concept of an “Innovation Coast” in the region through facilities like the Naraha Center for Remote Control Technology and the Robot Test Field in nearby Minamisoma. The idea is to tap into the investment already being made in the cleanup effort and create a Silicon Valley of robotics and drone technology.
“What we want to do is turn that on its head and create a positive image of Fukushima around the world,” Akifumi Kitashima, director of the robot industry promotion unit for the Fukushima prefectural government, says through an interpreter…….

there are reminders of the disaster everywhere. Drive on the nearby Joban Expressway and you’ll periodically run into signs with a readout of the radiation level. The daily weather report on the local evening news contains an update on the radiation in the area.

I periodically drove past fields containing hundreds of bags of radiated dirt.

At the same time as my tour of Daiichi in November, former Tepco executives were in court to deal with charges of professional negligence. Despite Tepco’s efforts to clean the mess up, there continues to be mistrust of the company and of nuclear power…….. https://www.cnet.com/news/the-fukushima-nuclear-disasters-legacy-an-inescapable-stigma/

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

University of California covers up the truth on Fukushima radiation

The future of all life: Indigenous sovereignty and the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Bay View, National Black Newspaper,  by Harun Minhaj, March 4, 2019  “………..As the Caretakers of Mother Earth have warned, the nuclear establishment has been working tirelessly to cover up and downplay the consequences of this nuclear disaster. The University of California has long played an essential role in this establishment, as it designed the core physical package of every single nuclear warhead in the U.S. arsenal. And now, formerly secret documents show that UC played an indispensable role in the federal response to – and cover-up of – the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The estimates secretly forecasted by the LLNL’s model predicted very high doses to children in California from radioactive iodine, which is known to cause serious thyroid illnesses. Subsequent measurements found that this model’s predictions of radiation exposure in California were far more accurate than lower estimates and actually underestimated the radiation found 30 km off the coast of Japan.

Yet the UC never issued a single health warning to anyone living on the West Coast prior to their exposure to this deadly radiation. Instead, at the very time that the UC’s LLNL was modeling “estimates of possible plume arrival times and dose for U.S. locations,” UC Berkeley scientists were at the forefront of corporate media coverage on outlets such as ABC7 proclaiming brazen falsehoods such as “there is no plume.”

The LLNL’s model was continually being refined and updated “based on meteorological analyses and available field data” to ensure its predictions were maximally accurate, yet UC Berkeley scientists were simultaneously telling the public that “you cannot predict how the weather is going to carry radiation particles over the West Coast, if anything at all.”

Even worse was the initial UC Berkeley claim that the radiation reaching California was “not harmful at all” and posed “no risk to California,” despite the LLNL’s forecast of very high doses to children in California from radioactive iodine.

Meanwhile, the head of UC Berkeley’s Nuclear Engineering Department secretly admitted that “it is possible that we will find that some people have received doses … that could exceed the levels that current Protective Action Guidelines are designed to prevent.” The Protective Action Guidelines (PAGs) are legal limits on radiation exposure set by the EPA designed to minimize the risk of harm, and this professor subsequently suggested that, should they be exceeded, “this could provide a basis for immediate action to change PAGs.”

When UC Berkeley began testing for radioactive iodine from the Fukushima fallout in California, it found levels in rainwater up to 181 times the EPA’s safe drinking water standards. And although rainwater and tap water should not be conflated, radioactive isotopes climb their way up the food chain in increasing concentrations in numerous ways, such as the soil of produce farms and the pastures of milk-giving cattle.

The UC cover-up of West Coast fallout

Far from being incidentally related to the case, the University of California’s Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) was in fact the federal contractor given the responsibility of projecting the damage or “dose” from Fukushima Daiichi’s fallout to Japan, the Pacific Ocean and U.S.-occupied Turtle Island.

And, indeed, radioactive materials from Fukushima were detected across California’s food web, while UC Berkeley’s own measurements showed that food items such as milk were regularly exceeding the EPA’s PAGs in both 2011 and 2012 until they stopped taking these measurements.

The response to these findings was once again denial and distortion. The EPA soon increased its PAG “safe limit” by more than 400 times, to such a high level that all of these findings would retroactively cease to be considered health risks.

In the meantime, UC Berkeley engineers once again asserted there was no cause to worry and falsely minimized these readings by conflating external radiation as received from plane travel with the more dangerous internal radiation received through ingesting radioactive particles, which remain in the body emitting radiation for much longer and have the ability to concentrate in specific vulnerable organs such as the thyroid.

But the initial epidemiological evidence is in, and it already shows a variety of illnesses and deaths across the West Coast significantly correlated with the arrival and presence of Fukushima fallout, such as over 100 additional fetal deaths and birth abnormalities in the state of Washington in 2011 and increased rates of congenital hyperthyroidism in California infants born shortly after the meltdowns – around 1,500 additional borderline and severe cases.

The EPA soon increased its PAG “safe limit” by more than 400 times, to such a high level that all of these findings would retroactively cease to be considered health risks.

The University of California totally failed to make public the initial LLNL projections of “very high doses” to California infants and provide adequate health warnings – such as avoiding contaminated milk or taking natural iodine supplements – despite having this legal responsibility both as a federal contractor and as the operator of California’s Poison Control System, which administers such warnings on behalf of the California Emergency Medical Services Authority for the entire state.

The UC cover-up of Pacific fallout and seafood contamination

As serious as the consequences of the fallout on California were, the radiation California and the West Coast received was only a small fraction (<2 percent) of the total, of which the majority (~80 percent) fell into the Pacific.

From the very beginning, UC scientists were involved in studying the Pacific die-offs. Indeed, it was UC scientists who declared when studying the 2011 marine invertebrate mass die-offs that “[N]o previously documented mortality event has been so severe over such a large region …” Yet these UC scientists who had been studying this epidemic from the very beginning have failed to ever monitor the sick and dead animals for radiation, despite one of the lead scientists admitting that Fukushima could not be ruled out as a cause.

When their major study was published in 2018, it included no consideration of Fukushima or radiation whatsoever. Apparently, it was a moot point – the UC’s website on the die-offs had already been claiming for years there was “no evidence” of Fukushima radiation having an impact, even though they had never looked for any despite having already admitted it couldn’t be ruled out.

To make matters worse, one of the principal UC authors of this study falsely claimed that Fukushima radiation could not have precipitated the die-off, because “many more creatures would be affected.” By this time, the unprecedented and concurrent die-offs of fish, marine mammals and sea birds had already been reported.

In denying the impact of Fukushima on the Pacific, these scientists are hardly alone. Overand over again, UC professors – frequently in leadership positions and with government ties – have minimized the impact by relying on the widely debunked fallacy of “dilution.”

Yet dilution has been known to be a false solution to radiation for over 50 years now. In 1955, a once-secret memo from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) – then headquartered in Berkeley – noted that the “dissipation of radioactive fallout in ocean waters is not a gradual spreading out of the activity from the region with the highest concentration to uncontaminated regions, but that in all probability the process results in scattered pockets and streams of higher radioactive materials in the Pacific.”

This is due to a variety of reasons, including the flow of currents and the role played by sediment and debris in transporting radiation. Furthermore, studies have shown that the bioconcentration of radioactive particles up the food chain increasingly amplifies its prevalence in smaller and larger marine organisms by factors ranging from 3 to 300.

While this memo may have previously been secret, the “no threshold” model of radiation has been well-established for almost as long, and is the accepted foundation of radiation protection for the Environmental Protection AgencyNational Academy of Sciences, and many other institutions.

In the 1960s, UC Berkeley Nuclear Scientist John Gofman established the Biomedical Research Division of the UC’s LLNL, when he was employed by the AEC to discredit findings which showed that “low level” radiation from nuclear weapons tests was exposing infants in surrounding areas to dangerous amounts of radiation.

Instead, Gofman’s research confirmed these dangers, and at the end of the decade he gave a report showing that there is no threshold beneath which radiation exposure is “safe”: lower levels correspond to a lower – b­ut very real – risk of disease. Consequently, dilution does nothing more than spread the impact of radiation amongst a larger population vulnerable to disease, with each individual facing a lower risk but the overall aggregate impact remaining the same.

The AEC disliked these findings and forced Gofman out of the LLNL, illustrating the reprisals nuclear scientists often face for challenging the pro-nuclear establishment.

Numerous projections of the spread of Fukushima radiation in the Pacific Ocean have predicted that, far from becoming increasingly diluted, once the radiation leaves the immediate vicinity of the Fukushima shoreline it would actually become increasingly concentrated as it approaches the West Coast due to the dynamics of ocean currents, with eventual peak concentrations reaching levels up to 10 times higher than off the coast of the rest of Japan.

There is no threshold beneath which radiation exposure is “safe”: lower levels correspond to a lower – b­ut very real – risk of disease.

What measurements are available not only confirm these projections, showing increasing concentrations traveling east across the Pacific Ocean roughly correlating to these models, they also show that the vast quantities of radioactive particles the Nordic PSA Group predicted would kill at least 50-100 million fish were indeed present throughout large areas of the Pacific Ocean.

In other words, a vast array of scientific knowledge, regulatory precedent, expert models, and empirical data directly contradicts the denials of the UC nuclear establishment that Fukushima’s radiation is of no concern in the Pacific due to “dilution.”

Once again, these denials have serious consequences not just in terms of the ecocidal impact of Fukushima Daiichi’s radiation on Pacific sea life. Based on the thoroughly disproven dilution fallacy, several prominent UC scientists have also denied that there are any health impacts from Fukushima radiation in the Pacific, including the risks entailed in eating contaminated seafood.

The Nordic Probabilistic Safety Assessment Group, however, founded by the nuclear utilities of Finland and Sweden and therefore not at all “anti-nuclear,” concluded in its 2011 report that even if seafood radiation levels from Fukushima stay below legal limits, more than 1 million people would die from just one of the elements of concern, cesium-137. They wrote:

“The fish, seafood, whale meat and seaweed consumed may have concentrations below legal limits, but the radioactive content will be increased from normal levels. As noted in Section 3.6.3, the ingestion dose could be substantial even if the legal limits for the foodstuff are preserved. This cycle will last for many generations, because of the food chain of fish and other marine fauna, and the radioactivity will be recycled and in fact the meat content will increase rather than decreasing by decay. Even if only one one-hundredth of the radioactivity (more than 1e15 Bq of CS137) were to enter this recirculation pattern, the collective whole body ingestion dose over many generations would exceed 1e7 Sv, sufficient to kill more than 1,000,000 people.”

As predictions of mass die-offs and increasingly concentrated radiation crossing the Pacific to the West Coast have already come true, ignoring the scientific evidence about the dangers this radiation poses to us too promises to have deadly consequences. With over 1 hundred million sea creatures having already perished as predicted by the nuclear utility-founded Nordic PSA Group, this institution’s estimate that more than 1 million people could also die if human consumption of Pacific seafood continues unabated is supported by a solid track record based on the scientific method, unlike the UC’s ongoing denials and distortions of even the most basic facts of the Fukushima disaster………….https://sfbayview.com/2019/03/the-future-of-all-life-indigenous-sovereignty-and-the-fukushima-nuclear-disaster/

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Schools refitted in Fukushima, but enrolment remains dismal

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, March 1, 2019  Local governments in Fukushima Prefecture have spent billions of yen to create ideal education environments, including new or renovated school buildings, high-tech classes, free lunches and uniforms, and long-distance buses.

But these schools may be forced to close down. There just aren’t enough children in areas near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to sustain their operations.

The enrollment figures have dispirited local government officials, who agree that schools and their students are the key to recovery from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident…….http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201903010026.html

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Ineffective solutions being pursued to deal with the Fukushima nuclear reactors’ wreck

The future of all life: Indigenous sovereignty and the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Bay View, National Black Newspaper,  by Harun Minhaj, March 4, 2019 …………Allowed to participate only in Berkeley’s fifth mayoral debate, RunningWolf emphasized in his concluding remarks the importance of addressing the Fukushima nuclear crisis and holding the UC accountable for providing no solutions or health warnings. Ever since, he has been struggling against a complicit media which has refused to cover his story and corrupt local institutions which refuse to address or even investigate this election interference and the violation of not just numerous local and national laws, but many international laws as well. ………

By interfering with the election to keep RunningWolf out of office, local and state police departments have joined the UC in the cover-up of the continued threat Fukushima Daiichi poses through contaminated seafood and the ongoing impacts and leakage of radioactive fallout.

As a result, Fukushima Daiichi continues to leak deadly radiation into the Pacific, while RunningWolf is illegally being prevented from working towards a real solution and holding the UC responsible for its genocidal cover-up.

RunningWolf, along with nuclear experts such as whistleblower Arnie Gundersen, has long advocated that the first necessary solution is for the Fukushima Daiichi plants to be encased in a concrete sarcophagus like at Chernobyl, along with preparatory measures to prevent further contamination of the surroundings and end the ongoing leakage into the Pacific Ocean.

But as a number of Japanese experts have testified, this solution is being rejected “to avoid taking responsibility,” as it would require “admitting that no one can live near the plant for a generation.”

Once again, the UC is deeply complicit, by enabling the Japanese government and TEPCO (Fukushima Daiichi’s operator) to continue pursuing false solutions which do not stop the leakage or require “admitting defeat.”

The UC is intimately involved in an ongoing effort which has cost more than $100 million of Japanese tax revenue on a two-pronged effort using the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)’s Muon Imaging Technology alongside expensive robots to find and remove melted fuel from inside the reactors. Yet after nearly eight years, much of this fuel has not yet been located and none of it has been removed, while the radiation continues to leak into the Pacific Ocean every day.

And once again, the UC’s priorities are clear, as this “solution” was showcased in the same LANL press release overwhelmingly concerned with “rebuild[ing] public acceptance of nuclear power” and protecting the Japanese nuclear industry, rather than with the impact on public health or the environment. https://sfbayview.com/2019/03/the-future-of-all-life-indigenous-sovereignty-and-the-fukushima-nuclear-disaster/

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

“Ice wall” – the effort to contain Fukushima’s radiation

How Fukushima’s underground ice wall keeps nuclear radiation at bay

Think Game of Thrones, but this one is underground and defends against a far more realistic threat.  CNet,

BY ROGER CHENG MARCH 8, 2019 

The intricate network of small metal pipes, capped off by six-foot-high metal scaffolding, shouldn’t stand out amid the numerous pieces of industrial equipment littered throughout the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. After all, it’s a power plant.

I take a closer look, and notice spheres of ice perched upon the smaller pipes, which line the center of the structure. The facility sits at the water’s edge, and there’s a brisk breeze blowing through.

e intricate network of small metal pipes, capped off by six-foot-high metal scaffolding, shouldn’t stand out amid the numerous pieces of industrial equipment littered throughout the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. After all, it’s a power plant.

I take a closer look, and notice spheres of ice perched upon the smaller pipes, which line the center of the structure. The facility sits at the water’s edge, and there’s a brisk breeze blowing through

………. The structure, which cost roughly $300 million, paid for by public funds, serves as critical protection, defending the Fukushima area from one of the most radioactive hotspots in the world. While Tokyo Electric Power Co., also known as Tepco, struggles to find a way to remove radioactive material from the facility – a process the government estimates could take more than four decades — the more immediate concern is what to do with the contaminated water leaking out from the facility……….

Ice cold

While the term “ice wall” has a colorful ring to it, engineers use the more academic-sounding term Artificial Ground Freezing.

…… calcium chloride solution is pumped down through a smaller inner pipe, and circulated back up a large outer pipe.

The coolant brings down the temperature of each pipe to -30 degrees Celsius, or -22 degrees Fahrenheit, and the pipes are spaced about three feet apart. The cold emanating from each one hardens the soil around it.

The point of the ice wall is to keep the groundwater that runs down from the mountains to the west from entering Fukushima Daiichi and mixing with the toxic water leaking out of the Unit 1, 2 and 3 reactors. That is,  keep the clean water on the outside of the wall, while the contaminated water stays inside.

Tepco and manufacturing partners, such as Toshiba and Mitsubishi, are working on robots to identify and determine how to clear out the radioactive materials in each of the reactors’ primary containment vessels, essentially the heart of each facility.

Until then, they need a way to slow or stop the flow of water into the facility.

……. With the wall in place, Tepco says it has been able to reduce the level of contaminated water generated from Daiichi. But a Reuters report in March 2018 found that the wall still let a fair amount of clean water in, adding to the volume of toxic water the company needs to deal with. Tepco, however, says it’s been effective in reducing the volume.

“We know this is not the end of our effort,” says a company spokesman. “We will be continuously working hard to reduce the amount of  generation of contaminated water.”

The leaky bucket

Imagine a leaky bucket that constantly needs to be filled with water. At the same time, the water from the leak needs to be collected and stored. And there’s no end in sight to this cycle.

That essentially is the problem that Tepco faces at Daiichi. The fuel rods stored in the three radioactive units constantly have to be cooled with fresh water, but leaks mean the company needs to be vigilant about keeping the tainted liquid from getting out of the facility’s grounds.

Since the accident nearly eight years ago, Tepco has collected 1.1 million tons of contaminated water in 900 tanks stored on the grounds at Daiichi. The company estimates it has enough space in the 37.7-million-square-foot facility to house an additional 270,000 tons of water, which means it would run out sometime in 2020.

“We’re conscious of the fact that we can’t keep storing more and more water,” Kenji Abe, a spokesman for Tepco’s decommissioning and decontamination unit, says through an interpreter.

……. So far, treatment technology from partner companies like Kurion and Sarry have enabled Tepco to remove 62 of the 63 radioactive elements from the water, but one, tritium, remains.

It’s this one element, which is bonded to the water at an atomic level, that means Tepco needs to keep collecting and storing the water.

……..  organizations such as Greenpeace have called for Tepco to keep storing the water, noting that much of the early batches of treated water far exceed safety limits for radioactive elements.

Given the sensitivities around Fukushima, Tepco must continue to store the water. A spokesman said the company isn’t planning to disperse the water. But it is one option being considered by the Japanese government, which ultimately makes the decision.

“Resolving the issue of the contaminated water is something we haven’t yet reached a final solution on,” Yagi says.

…….. The scientist explains that Japan has set a legal radioactivity limit of 60,000 becquerel per liter of tritium. But the treated water is still at 1.7 million Bq per liter, or roughly 30 times what’s deemed safe.

So, for now, Tepco must continue collecting the water. And the ice wall continues to stand, invisible to onlookers, as one of the most important lines of defense. https://www.cnet.com/news/how-fukushimas-underground-ice-wall-keeps-nuclear-radiation-at-bay/

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

8 Years On: Tainted Soil Use Plan Draws Backlash from Fukushima Residents

https://www.nippon.com/en/news/yjj2019030601012/8-years-on-tainted-soil-use-plan-draws-backlash-from-fukushima-residents.html Mar 8, 2019  Minamisoma, Fukushima Pref., March 8 (Jiji Press)–A plan to use soil from decontamination work in areas tainted with radioactive substances from the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture is facing a strong backlash from local residents.

Under an envisaged feasibility study program, the Environment Ministry aims to use the soil for public works projects and examine its safety.

The ministry apparently hopes to reduce the amount of tainted soil to be transferred to a planned final disposal facility.

But Fukushima residents continue to have strong safety concerns about radiation eight years after the triple meltdown accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment