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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga soon to decide on disposal of Fukushima’s nuclear waste water

Reuters 21st Oct 2020, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday that he is aiming
to make a speedy decision on the disposal of contaminated water at the
tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/japan-fukushima/japan-pm-suga-says-aims-for-quick-decision-on-disposing-contaminated-water-at-fukushima-idUKT9N2GT006

October 22, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Japan’s government is appealing the landmark ruling about its responsibility for Fukushima nuclear accident

Landmark Court Ruling In Japan Holds Government Accountable For 2011 Nuclear Meltdown  https://www.npr.org/2020/10/15/924150284/landmark-court-ruling-in-japan-holds-government-accountable-for-2011-nuclear-mel

October 17, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, legal | Leave a comment

Japan’s government planning to dump into the sea, the radioactive water from Fukushima No. 1 nuclear reactor

Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant wastewater looks headed for ocean, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, October 16, 2020   The government is moving toward the controversial disposal method for contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant of dumping it into the ocean.

Fishermen have fiercely opposed this disposal method at the plant, which experienced a triple meltdown in March 2011 following a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami, over fears of resulting negative publicity hurting their industry.

The central government is likely to hold a meeting of relevant Cabinet ministers before the end of October to make a formal decision on the dumping, sources said.

Before being dumped into the ocean, the stored water would be processed a second time and diluted with seawater to lower levels of radioactive materials below legally established standards.

It is expected to take about two years to prepare for the dumping process.

Water contaminated with radioactive materials continues to be produced at the Fukushima No. 1 plant at a daily rate of about 140 tons. Water used to cool melted spent nuclear fuel mixes in with groundwater that leaks into the reactor building.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, treats the contaminated water using equipment called advanced liquid processing systems, or ALPS, before storing the water in tanks on the plant grounds.

But about 1.2 million tons of processed water is being stored in tanks and TEPCO has estimated that tank capacity will be reached by the summer of 2022 even under the current plan to build more tanks.

Because about two years is needed to construct the necessary equipment to dispose of the contaminated water and to pass screening by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, a decision on disposal of the water was expected by this summer.

A subcommittee of experts set up by the economy ministry compiled a proposal in February that said the two realistic alternatives were to dump the water into the ocean or release it into the atmosphere. The panel added that dumping the water into the ocean was the method that could be implemented with certainty.

Since April, the government has conducted seven hearings involving local government officials, farming and fisheries organizations and business groups on the issue………   http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13831640

October 17, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s citizen radiation testers still on the job.

Fukushima Has Turned These Grandparents Into Avid Radiation Testers, NPR,     Kat Lonsdorf (@lilkat_bigworldSeptember 11, 2020  Takenori Kobayashi lugs a garbage bag full of soil across a parking lot to an unmarked office. His wife, Tomoko, holds the door to a tiny work space with lab equipment and computers set up. On the edge of Fukushima’s former nuclear exclusion zone, this is the place the couple likes to call their “grandma and grandpa lab.”

It started as a makeshift operation in the city of Minamisoma the year after the 2011 nuclear disaster, when people — mostly elderly — returned to the area and were worried about high radiation levels in their food and soil.”We’ve given up hope that our children and grandchildren will come back to live here,” Tomoko, 67, says. Most young people decided to start lives elsewhere rather than return, not wanting to take the risks with radiation. “But in order for them to come back and visit us,” she continues, “we need to know everything is safe. So we test it all.”

Citizen science like this flourished in Fukushima after the nuclear disaster in 2011, when a tsunami triggered explosions at the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The wind carried radioactive material for miles, covering whole towns and neighborhoods with dangerous, yet invisible, particles. For weeks after the disaster, information was scarce and trust in the Japanese government plummeted. And now, almost a decade later, wide arrays of residents have taken it upon themselves to collect radiation data — from mothers worried about their kids to surfers monitoring beaches to individuals with Geiger counters in their homes — to help regain a sense of control.
Inside the lab, the Kobayashis pair get to work. One measures out soil into small containers, the other starts labeling — so coordinated and practiced, it’s almost like a dance. They put the samples through a donated gamma counter, a big cylindrical machine that measures radioactive particles. Today, they’re testing soil from a nearby farm.

A handful of other residents help run the lab, and throughout the years, experts from nearby universities have come to teach them all about the different equipment and radiation science.

“All the grandparents here are radiation professionals now,” Takenori, 71, says with a smile……..

The maps show that Fukushima’s radiation levels are decreasing, because of both natural decay of particles and large-scale Japanese government decontamination efforts. But there are still a lot of hot spots — places where radiation is worryingly high. The authorities have tried to ease concerns, testing food in supermarkets and setting up radiation monitors in public parks, outside train stations or flashing along highways, but trust in the government is still extremely low. Many residents say they still feel best collecting information themselves. ……… https://www.npr.org/2020/09/11/907881531/fukushima-has-turned-these-grandparents-into-avid-radiation-testers

September 12, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, radiation | Leave a comment

Evacuation orders for Fukushima radioactive areas to be lifted without decontamination

Evacuation orders for Fukushima radioactive areas to be lifted without decontamination, August 27, 2020 (Mainichi Japan)  TOKYO — The Japanese government is set to allow the lifting of evacuation orders for highly radioactive areas near the disaster-stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station without decontamination work on condition that residents will not resettle there.

The government on Aug. 26 disclosed the policy to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) for the so-called “difficult-to-return” zones where residents have remained evacuated since the onset of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 due to high radiation doses in those areas in northeastern Japan. The NRA gave its consent to the government policy, paving the way for residents to enter areas outside the specified disaster reconstruction and revitalization base zones.

The government has heretofore made it a condition for lifting the evacuation orders that: the radiation exposure doses will not exceed 20 millisieverts per year; infrastructure necessary for daily lives is developed and sufficient decontamination work is performed; and consultations are held with local bodies and residents. The government previously designated parts of the difficult-to-return zones as disaster recovery bases, which mainly lie in areas where local residents lived, and planned to lift the evacuation orders by 2023 after decontamination work and infrastructure development.

Meanwhile, upon receiving a request from the village of Iitate in Fukushima Prefecture, the government has also been examining under which situations the evacuation directives can be lifted in areas outside the disaster recovery base areas……….. (Japanese original by Hisashi Tsukamoto and Yuka Saito, Science & Environment News Department) https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200827/p2a/00m/0na/005000c

August 29, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s contaminated waste water – more serious than previously thought

Fukushima’s Contaminated Wastewater Could Be Too Risky to Dump in the Ocean,   https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2020/08/fukushimas-contaminated-wastewater-could-be-too-risky-to-dump-in-the-ocean/     Dharna Noor  :August 7, 2020 Almost a decade ago, the Tohoku-oki earthquake and tsunami triggered an explosion at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing the most severe nuclear accident since Chernobyl and releasing an unprecedented amount of radioactive contamination in the ocean. In the years since, there’s been a drawn out cleanup process, and water radiation levels around the plant have fallen to safe levels everywhere except for in the areas closest to the now-closed plant. But as a study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution published in Science on Thursday shows, there’s another growing hazard: contaminated wastewater.

Radioactive cooling water is leaking out of the the melted-down nuclear reactors and mixing with the groundwater there. In order to prevent the groundwater from leaking into the ocean, the water is pumped into more than 1,000 tanks. Using sophisticated cleaning processes, workers have been able to remove some of this contamination and divert groundwater flows, reducing the amount of water that must be collected each day. But those tanks are filling up, and some Japanese officials have suggested that the water should dumped into the ocean to free up space.

The water in the tanks goes through an advanced treatment system to remove many radioactive isotopes. The Japanese utility company TEPCO, which is handling the cleanup processes, claims that these processes remove all radioactive particles from the water except tritium, an isotope of hydrogen which is nearly impossible remove but is considered to be relatively harmless. It decays in about 12 years, which is faster than other isotopes, is not easily absorbed by marine life, and is not as damaging to living tissue as other forms of radiation.

But according to the new study, that’s not the only radioactive contaminant left in the tanks. By examining TEPCO’s own 2018 data, WHOI researcher Ken Buesseler found that other isotopes remain in the treated wastewater, including carbon-14, cobalt-60, and strontium-90. He found these particles all take much longer to decay than tritium, and that fish and marine organisms absorb them comparatively easily.  

“[This] means they could be potentially hazardous to humans and the environment for much longer and in more complex ways than tritium,” the study says.

Though TEPCO’s data shows there is far less of these contaminants in the wastewater tanks than tritium, Buesseler notes that their levels vary widely from tank to tank, and that “more than 70% of the tanks would need secondary treatment to reduce concentrations below that required by law for their release.”

The study says we don’t currently have a good idea of how those more dangerous isotopes would behave in the water. We can’t assume they will behave the same way tritium does in the ocean because they have such different properties. And since there are different levels of each isotope in each different tank, each tank will need its own assessment.

“To assess the consequences of the tank releases, a full accounting after any secondary treatments of what isotopes are left in each tank is needed,” the study said.

Buesseler also calls for an analysis of what other contaminants could be in the tanks, such as plutonium. Even though it wasn’t reported in high amounts in the atmosphere in 2011, recent research shows it may have been dispersed when the explosion occurred. Buesseler fears it may also be present in the cooling waters being used at the plant. That points to the need to take a fuller account of the wastewater tanks before anything is done to dump them in the ocean.

“The first step is to clean up those additional radioactive contaminants that remain in the tanks, and then make plans based on what remains,” he said in a statement. “Any option that involves ocean releases would need independent groups keeping track of all of the potential contaminants in seawater, the seafloor, and marine life.”

Many Japanese municipalities have been pushing the government to reconsider its ocean dumping plans and opt to find a long-term storage solution instead, which makes sense, considering exposure to radioactive isotopes can cause myriad health problems to people. It could also hurt marine life, which could have a devastating impact on fishing economies and on ecosystems.

“The health of the ocean — and the livelihoods of countless people — rely on this being done right,” said Buesseler.

August 10, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, Reference | Leave a comment

Opening the floodgates at Fukushima

Opening the floodgates at Fukushima   https://science.sciencemag.org/content/369/6504/621.summary

  1. Ken O. Buesseler

See all authors and affiliations

Science  07 Aug 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6504, pp. 621-622
DOI: 10.1126/science.abc1507

Summary

Summary

In the time since Japan’s triple earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in 2011, much has improved in the ocean offshore from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP). Concentrations of cesium isotopes, some of the most abundant and long-lived contaminants released, are hundreds of thousands of times lower than at their peak in April 2011. Since mid-2015, none of the fish caught nearby exceed Japan’s strict limit for cesium of 100 Bq/kg (12). Yet, enormous challenges remain in decommissioning the reactors and clean-up on land. Small, and sometimes unexpected, sources of contaminants still continue to enter the ocean to this day (3). Two of the biggest unresolved issues are what to do with the more than 1000 tanks at the site that contain contaminated water and the impact of releasing more than 1 million tons of this water into the ocean.

August 8, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Robot to use brush to retrieve melted fuel at Fukushima plant

Robot to use brush to retrieve melted fuel at Fukushima plant, Asahi Shimbun, By KEITARO FUKUCHI/ Staff Writer, July 27, 2020     FUKUSHIMA--A robotic arm under development in Britain will use a brush and vacuum vessel on its end to collect melted fuel in a step toward retrieving debris at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Details of the device, which will start collecting debris inside the No. 2 reactor on a trial basis next year, were announced on July 2.

The government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. plan to retrieve melted fuel at the No. 2 reactor ahead of two other reactors because radiation levels are relatively low……..

Training is expected to reduce the time required for workers to put debris into the transfer vessel near the fuel.

Other measures to lessen workers’ doses will be taken, such as introducing panels to block radiation.  http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13529394

July 27, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Plutonium particles from Fukushima a bigger problem than previously thought

Plutonium Particles Scattered 200km From Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Site, Scientists Say   https://theswaddle.com/plutonium-particles-scattered-200km-from-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-site-scientists-say/, By Aditi Murti, Jul 22, 2020  Plutonium fragments may have spread more than 200km via caesium microparticle compounds released during the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan. These findings are according to research done on the region’s soil samples, published in Science of The Total Environment, by an international group of scientists.
The Fukushima Nuclear disaster occurred when a massive tsunami crashed over the plant’s walls, causing three operating nuclear reactors to overheat and melt down. Simultaneously, reactions within the plant generated hydrogen gas that exploded as soon as it escaped from containment. During the disaster, caesium — a volatile fission product created in nuclear fuel — combined with other reactor materials to create caesium-rich microparticles (CsMPs) that were ejected from the plant.
CsMPs are incredibly radioactive, and scientists study them in an attempt to both measure their environmental impact and to gain insight into the nature and extent of the Fukushima disaster. In one such research process, scientists discovered tiny uranium and plutonium fragments within these micro-particles. The range of plutonium particle spread was previously estimated at 50km, and this research changes that number to 230km. This discovery is vital as it provides a reason to extend testing for plutonium poisoning in human-inhabited regions further than before, and helps scientists understand how to decommission the nuclear reactors in the plant.   Decommissioning nuclear plants is extremely important after they cease to function, in order to reduce residual radioactivity in the region to safe levels.
With respect to immediate implications for health, scientists note that radioactivity levels of the plutonium are similar to global counts from nuclear weapons tests. While this means that radioactivity levels may not pose an urgent, critical danger, scientists also note that plutonium poisoning in food items remains a threat. If plutonium were ingested — a possibility in this region — it could create isotopes that significantly increase radioactivity doses, and poison the body
Due to high radioactivity levels, humans are still unable to enter the Fukushima plant nine years after the disaster. Yet, scientists continue to work towards safely decommissioning the reactors within the plant from the outskirts.

July 23, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, radiation | Leave a comment

The Fukushima Diiachi Accident Chain, Part 6

The Fukushima Diiachi Accident Chain, Part 6, Nuclear Exhaust, 22 July 20

A Discussion of Official Reports Describing the Fukushma Diiachi  Nuclear Disaster

 The references used for this discussion are:

The Official report of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission Executive Summary”, The National Diet of Japan, 2012.

“FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI: ANS Committee Report”, A Report by The American Nuclear Society Special Committee on Fukushima, March 2012.

“The Fukushima Daiichi Accident, Technical Volume 1/5 Description and Context of the Accident, IAEA, Vienna, 2015.

 FACT AND CAUSE OF FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS ACCIDENT”, Hideki NARIAI, Proceedings of the International Symposium on Engineering Lessons Learned from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, March 1-4, 2012, Tokyo, Japan.

Other sources, such as press reports, industry and authority regulations and technical bulletins will also be used.

The very great complexity of the disaster and of the human and systems responses to the challenges which confronted, and confront, the Fukushima Diiachi nuclear plant and the people operating and tending to the plant is obvious. The aim of this discussion is to attempt to produce, in review, a coherent picture of the events as reported by the authorities given above.

While the nuclear industry and permanent nuclear authorities – the IAEA – tend to agree closely in their reports of the events, the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, appointed by the Japanese national Parliament (Diet) reports various aspects of the disaster with pointedly local questioning of events based upon witness accounts and the Committee’s own findings. And these perceptions, based on local knowledge of both the plant and witness statements actually challenge, in aspects, the findings of the other authorities.

As a preamble to the discussion of the disaster, a central consideration to all nuclear power plants in use today has to be included.   The long term, intermediate term and short term safety of nuclear power plants depends upon the availability of electrical grid connection and power to the reactors and the entire plant. This is not an opinion, it is a technical fact which nuclear authorities have repeatedly reported upon.

The surprising fact is, that although nuclear reactors can supply electrical power to the world’s largest cities and nations, when the grid goes down, there is no ability for any nuclear reactor to power itself and its systems on any long term basis. There is nothing integral to the reactors which allows the energy resident in the reactors’ cores and pressure vessels to be controlled and managed so as to manage the cooling of the reactors.

While the nuclear industry and nuclear authorities have touted the virtues of nuclear power plant emergency cooling systems for over 50 years.   However:

 “The emergency cooling systems started. However, they did not work for so long time, and the fuels became to heat up and melt down, resulting the severe accident. “ Source: English translation of “FACT AND CAUSE OF FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS ACCIDENT , Hideki NARIAI, Proceedings of the International Symposium on Engineering Lessons Learned from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, March 1-4, 2012, Tokyo, Japan.

As we shall see later, the workers at the Fukushima Diiachi site during the early stages kept the emergency cooling systems going for many hours longer than the systems were designed to last. And these systems are designed to work for 8 hours only. (See the ANS report)..………. 

It is beyond me why the nuclear industry, for more then 50 years, has been so wilfully dumb, ignorant and arrogant in the design of its emergency systems. And everything else.  It seems to me the main aim of the industry is to sell reactors by any means.  Whereas the industry should have the main aim of assuring safety in the context of the modern world and the modern world energy market.   The problem is, though solar panels mounted on the Fukushima Shima Diiachi reactor building roofs could have save the day by keeping cooling pumps going, the obvious thought is this: why not just replace the Fukushima Diiachi with a solar and wind farm?  

No danger of meltdown at all.  As soon the 2009 scientific assessment came in demonstrating that an earthquake and tsunami was due “within the next 30 years”. that is precisely what should have been down.  Perhaps Barry Brook and Pam Sykes, two academic non nuclear experts in Australia, were right. No human skill could have saved Fukushima Diiachi. So why leave it there? Pity the authorities in the nuclear industry hid and suppressed the scientific warnings of 2009, including TEPCOs own confirmation of the growing threat.  This is standard procedure for the nuclear industry. It is not a particularly Japanese culture.  It is nuclear norm.

The IAEA requirements for electricity grids which supply Nuclear Power Plants.

The following text is a straight quote from : ” “ELECTRIC GRID RELIABILITY AND INTERFACE WITH NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS” IAEA NUCLEAR ENERGY SERIES No. NG-T-3.8, IAEA, ….

Quote: ““The safe and economic operation of a nuclear power plant (NPP) requires the plant to be connected to an electrical grid system that has adequate capacity for exporting the power from the NPP, and for providing a reliable electrical supply to the NPP for safe startup, operation and normal or emergency shutdown of the plant.

“Connection of any large new power plant to the electrical grid system in a country may require significant modification and strengthening of the grid system, but for NPPs there may be added requirements to the structure of the grid system and the way it is controlled and maintained to ensure adequate reliability.

“The organization responsible for the NPP and the organization responsible for the grid system will need to establish and agree the necessary characteristics of the grid and of the NPP, well before the NPP is built, so that they are compatible with each other. They will also need to agree the necessary modifications to the grid system, and how they are to be financed.

“For a Member State that does not yet use nuclear power, the introduction and development of nuclear power is a major undertaking. It requires the country to build physical infrastructure and develop human resources so it can
construct and operate a nuclear power plant (NPP) in a safe, secure and technically sound manner. ” end quote. Source: “ELECTRIC GRID RELIABILITY AND INTERFACE WITH NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS” IAEA NUCLEAR ENERGY SERIES No. NG-T-3.8, IAEA,

Hmm. very interesting. NPPs require a specifically designed and modified baseload capable grid network before they can be expected to safely start up, operation and shut down. Further the grid is needed, according to the world nuclear authority, for SAFE EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN.

The Earthquake and the Grid in Japan on the day of the disaster

One would have thought the following information would have been clearly discussed by the nuclear authorities from the day of the disaster. It’s nearly 10 years and still no word from them:

““Vibrations from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggered an immediate shut down of 15 of Japan’s nuclear power stations. Seismic sensors picked up the earthquake and control rods were automatically inserted into the reactors, halting the fission reaction that is used to produce electricity. This sudden loss of power across Japan’s national power grid caused widespread power failures, cutting vital electricity supplies to Fukushima Daiichi. There were three reactors, one, two and three, operating at the time when the earthquake hit while reactors four, five and six had already been shutdown as part of routine maintenance work.” “Japan earthquake: how the nuclear crisis unfolded”. Richard Gray, Science Correspondent, The Telegraph, 20 March 2011. end quote.

The first thing the earthquake did was to cause the shutdown of nuclear power feed into the grid. 15 Nuclear Power Plants threw in the towel because they cannot safely operate during an earthquake. Apparently. Nuclear power guarantees black out in an earthquake.

July 23, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, Reference, safety | Leave a comment

Fukushima may have scattered plutonium widely

Fukushima may have scattered plutonium widely, Physics World 20 Jul 2020   Tiny fragments of plutonium may have been carried more than 200 km by caesium particles released following the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan in 2011. So says an international group of scientists that has made detailed studies of soil samples at sites close to the damaged reactors. The researchers say the findings shed new light on conditions inside the sealed-off reactors and should aid the plant’s decommissioning……..

Mapping plutonium spread

To date, plutonium from the accident has been detected as far as 50 km from the damaged reactors. Researchers had previously thought that this plutonium, like the caesium, was released after evaporating from the fuel. But the new analysis instead points to some of it having escaped from the stricken plant in particulate form within fragments of fuel “captured” by the CsMPs…….

Implications for decommissioning

The researchers note that previous studies have shown that plutonium and caesium are distributed differently in the extended area around Fukushima, which suggests that not all CsMPs contain plutonium. However, they say that the fact plutonium is found in some of these particles implies that it could have been transported as far afield as the caesium – up to 230 km from the Fukushima plant.

As regards any threat to health, they note that radioactivity levels of the emitted plutonium are comparable with global counts from nuclear weapons tests. Such low concentrations, they say, “may not have significant health effects”, but they add that if the plutonium were ingested, the isotopes that make it up could yield quite high effective doses.

With radiation levels still too high for humans to enter the damaged reactors, the researchers argue that the fuel fragments they have uncovered provide precious direct information on what happened during the meltdown and the current state of the fuel debris. In particular, Utsunomiya points out that the composition of the debris, just like that of normal nuclear fuel, varies on the very smallest scales. This information, he says, will be vital when it comes to decommissioning the reactors safely, given the potential risk of inhaling dust particles containing uranium or plutonium.

The research is reported in Science of the Total Environment.   https://physicsworld.com/a/fukushima-may-have-scattered-plutonium-widely/

July 21, 2020 Posted by | - plutonium, Fukushima continuing, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Japanese municipal assemblies oppose dumping radioactive water in sea

Storage tanks for radioactive water are seen at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan February 18, 2019. Picture taken February 18, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Fukushima localities speak out against dumping radioactive water in sea,  Japan Times,  17 Jul 20, Seventeen out of 59 municipal assemblies in Fukushima Prefecture have either passed a resolution or issued a statement opposing the discharge into the Pacific Ocean of treated radioactive water currently stored at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, a Fukushima Minpo survey has shown.The resolutions and statements also described measures taken by the central government as inadequate to combat reputational damage to food and fishery goods produced in Fukushima Prefecture, and the hope that local voices will be reflected in Tokyo’s decision on whether to release the tritium-tainted water into the sea.

Fukushima Minpo conducted a survey of assemblies in the prefecture’s 59 cities, towns and villages from June 18 to June 24. The assembly for the town of Namie, close to where the nuclear power plant is located, adopted a resolution that opposed the release of the radioactive water into the sea, while assemblies from the town of Miharu and village of Nishigo both issued statements opposing both sea discharge and evaporation as methods for disposing of the water.

Many municipal assemblies have urged the central government to instead come up with measures involving long-term storage of the contaminated water in tanks ……….https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/07/17/national/fukushima-assemblies-radioactive-water/

July 18, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Rally opposes proposal for Fukushima wastewater 

 

July 13, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Testing for radiation in Fukushima – the continued anxiety

Nine years on, Fukushima’s mental health fallout lingers

As radiation from the Fukushima nuclear accident subsides, a damaging social and psychological legacy continues, Wired


By SOPHIE KNIGHT 24 June 20,  If it were not illegal, Ayumi Iida would love to test a dead body. Recently, she tested a wild boar’s heart. She’s also tested the contents of her vacuum cleaner and the filter of her car’s air conditioner. Her children are so used to her scanning the material contents of their life that when she cuts the grass, her son asks, “Are you going to test that too?”

Iida, who is 35, forbids her children from entering the sea or into forests. She agonises over which foods to buy. But no matter what she does, she can’t completely protect her children from radiation. It even lurks in their urine.

“Maybe he’s being exposed through the school lunch,” she says, puzzling over why her nine-year-old son’s urine showed two-and-a-half times the concentration of caesium that hers did, when she takes such care shopping. “Or maybe it’s from the soil outside where he plays. Or is it because children have a faster metabolism, so he flushes more out? We don’t know.”

Iida is a public relations officer at Tarachine, a citizens’ lab in Fukushima, Japan, that tests for radioactive contamination released from the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Agricultural produce grown in the area is subject to government and supermarket testing, but Tarachine wants to provide people with an option to test anything, from foraged mushrooms to dust from their home. Iida tests anything unknown before feeding it to her four children. Recently, she threw out some rice she received as a present after finding its level of contamination – although 80 times lower than the government limit – unacceptably high. “My husband considered eating it ourselves, but it’s too much to cook two batches of rice for every meal. In the end we fed it to some seagulls.”

Tarachine is one of several citizen labs founded in the wake of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, which obliterated a swathe of the country’s northwest coast and killed more than 18,000 people. The wave knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, triggering a meltdown in three of the reactor cores and hydrogen explosions that sprayed radionuclides across the Fukushima prefecture. More than 160,000 people were forced to evacuate. A government decontamination programme has allowed evacuation orders to be lifted in many municipalities, but one zone is still off limits, with only short visits permitted.

Driven by a desire to find out precisely how much radiation there was in the environment and where, a group of volunteers launched Tarachine in Iwaki, a coastal city that escaped the worst of the radioactive plume and was not evacuated, through a crowdfunding campaign in November 2011. It is now registered as a non-profit organisation, and runs on donations.

In a windowless room controlled for temperature and humidity and dotted with screens showing graphs, two women sort and label samples, either collected by staff or sent in by the public: soil from back gardens, candied grasshoppers, seawater. In the beginning, mothers sent in litres of breastmilk. Tarachine initially charged a tenth of what a university lab would charge to make the testing accessible to as many people as possible; last year, they made it free.

To test for caesium-137, the main long-term contaminant released from the plant, staff finely chop samples and put them inside a gamma counter, a cylindrical grey machine that looks like a centrifuge. Tarachine’s machines are more accurate than the more commonly accessible measuring tools: at some public monitoring posts, shoppers can simply place their produce on top of a device to get a reading, but this can be heavily skewed by background radiation (waving a Geiger counter over food won’t give an accurate reading for the same reason). Tarachine tries to get as precise readings as possible; the lab’s machines give results to one decimal place, and they try to block out excess background radiation by placing bottles of water around the machines.

Measuring for strontium, a type of less penetrative beta radiation, is even more complicated: the food has to first be roasted to ash before being mixed with an acid and sifted. The whole process takes two to three days. Tarachine received training and advice from university radiation labs around the country, but the volunteers had to experiment with everyday food items that scientists had never tested. “There was no recipe like ‘Roast the leaf for two hours at so-and-so Celsius’, you know?” says Iida. “If it’s too burnt it’s no good. We also had to experiment with types of acid and how much of the acid to add.”

Japanese government standards for radiation are some of the most stringent in the world: the upper limit of radioactive caesium in food such as meat and vegetables is 100 becquerels per kilogram, compared with 1,250 in the European Union and 1,200 in the US (the becquerel unit measures how much ionizing radiation is released due to radioactive decay). Many supermarkets adhere to a tighter limit, proudly advertising that their produce contains less than 40 becquerels, or as few as 10. Tarachine aims for just 1 becquerel.

“How I think about it is, how much radiation was there in local rice before the accident? It was about 0.01 becquerel. So that’s what I want the standard to be,” says Iida. Continue reading

June 25, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, radiation, social effects | Leave a comment

Half of highly radioactive exhaust stack dismantled at Fukushima Nuclear Reactor 1

Asahi Shimbun 30th April 2020, Work to dismantle the upper half of an exhaust stack at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant finished on April 29, the first time a
structure highly contaminated by radiation was dismantled at the plant. The
chimney, which is 120 meters tall and about 3 meters in diameter, was used
for the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors of the plant, operated by Tokyo Electric
Power Co. On the morning of April 29, workers spent an hour to lower sliced
parts of the stack to the ground from a height of about 60 meters. With its
upper half removed, the chimney now stands 59 meters high.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13339580

May 3, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment