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Fukushima radiation risks – virtually permanent – Greenpeace investigation finds

Greenpeace investigation shows Fukushima radiation risks to last into next century https://www.greenpeace.org/international/press-release/15062/greenpeace-investigation-shows-fukushima-radiation-risks-to-last-into-next-century/, by Greenpeace International Tokyo, Japan –  A comprehensive survey by Greenpeace Japan in the towns of Iitate and Namie in Fukushima prefecture, including the exclusion zone, revealed radiation levels up to 100 times higher than the international limit for public exposure.[1][2] The high radiation levels in these areas pose a significant risk to returning evacuees until at least the 2050’s and well into next century.

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May 7, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Radiation to atmosphere from Fukushima now estimated to be up to 8 times more than from Chernobyl nuclear accident

Counterpunch 27th April 2018 The radiation dispersed into the environment by the three reactor meltdowns at Fukushima-Daiichi in Japan has exceeded that of the April 26, 1986
Chernobyl catastrophe, so we may stop calling it the “second worst”
nuclear power disaster in history. Total atmospheric releases from
Fukushima are estimated to be between 5.6 and 8.1 times that of Chernobyl,
according to the 2013 World Nuclear Industry Status Report. Professor Komei
Hosokawa, who wrote the report’s Fukushima section, told London’s
Channel 4 News then, “Almost every day new things happen, and there is no
sign that they will control the situation in the next few months or
years.”
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/04/27/move-over-chernobyl-fukushima-is-now-officially-the-worst-nuclear-power-disaster-in-history/

April 30, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Fukushima residents fight state plan to build roads with radiation-tainted soil

 https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/04/29/national/fukushima-residents-fight-state-plan-build-roads-radiation-tainted-soil/#.WuY-GdRubGg KYODO The Environment Ministry plans to use radiation-tainted soil to build roads in Fukushima Prefecture, starting with trials in the city of Nihonmatsu next month.

But in the face of fierce protests from safety-minded residents, the ministry is struggling to advance the plan.

“Don’t scatter contaminated soil on roads,” one resident yelled during a Thursday briefing by Environment Ministry officials in Nihonmatsu.

The officials repeatedly tried to soothe them with safety assurances, but to no avail.

“Ensuring safety is different from having the public feeling at ease,” said Bunsaku Takamiya, a 62-year-old farmer who lives near a road targeted for the plan. He claims the project will produce groundless rumors that nearby farm produce is unsafe.

Seven years after the March 2011 core meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Takamiya has finally been able to ship his produce in Fukushima without worry. Then the ministry’s soil plan surfaced.

A woman in the neighborhood agrees.

“The nature and air here are assets for the residents. I don’t want them to take it away from us,” she said.

Under the plan, tainted soil will be buried under a 200-meter stretch of road in the city. The soil, packed in black plastic bags, has been sitting in temporary storage.

The plan is to take about 500 cu. meters of the soil, bury it under the road at a depth of 50 cm or more, cover it with clean soil to block radiation, and pave over it with asphalt. The ministry intends to take measurements for the project in May.

Fukushima is estimated to have collected about 22 million cu. meters of tainted soil at most. The ministry plans to put it in temporary storage before transporting it to a final disposal site outside the prefecture.

The idea is to reduce the amount. The ministry thus intends to use soil with cesium emitting a maximum of 8,000 becquerels per kg in public works projects nationwide.

The average radiation level for soil used for road construction is estimated at about 1,000 becquerels per kg, the ministry says.

The ministry has already conducted experiments to raise ground levels in Minamisoma with the tainted soil, saying “a certain level” of safety was confirmed.

Similar plans are on the horizon regarding landfill to be used for gardening in the village of Iitate. But it is first time it will be used in a place where evacuations weren’t issued after the March 2011 meltdowns.  Given the protests, an official linked to the ministry said, “It’s difficult to proceed as is.”

April 30, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

A million tons of Fukushima’s radioactive water – what to do with it?

 FUKUSHIMA’S OTHER BIG PROBLEM: A MILLION TONS OF RADIOACTIVE WATER , Wired, 04.27.18

THE TSUNAMI-DRIVEN SEAWATER that engulfed Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has long since receded. But plant officials are still struggling to cope with another dangerous flood: the enormous amounts of radioactive water the crippled facility generates each day. More than 1 million tons of radiation-laced water is already being kept on-site in an ever-expanding forest of hundreds of hulking steel tanks—and so far, there’s no plan to deal with them.

The earthquake and tsunami that hammered Fukushima on March 11, 2011 triggered meltdowns in three of its six reactors. That left messes of intensely radioactive fuel somewhere loose in the reactor buildings—though no one knows exactly where. What is known, however, is that every day, as much as much as 150 tons of groundwater percolates into the reactors through cracks in their foundations, becoming contaminated with radioactive isotopes in the process.

To keep that water from leaking into the ground or the Pacific, Tepco, the giant utility that owns the plant, pumps it out and runs it through a massive filtering system housed in a building the size of a small aircraft hangar. Inside are arrays of seven-foot tall stainless steel tubes, filled with sand grain-like particles that perform a process called ion exchange. The particles grab on to ions of cesium, strontium, and other dangerous isotopes in the water, making room for them by spitting out sodium. The highly toxic sludge created as a byproduct is stored elsewhere on the site in thousands of sealed canisters.

This technology has improved since the catastrophe. The first filtering systems, installed just weeks after the disaster by California-based Kurion Inc. (which has since been bought by Veolia, a French resource management company), only caught cesium, a strong gamma radiation emitter that makes it the most dangerous of the isotopes in the water. The tubes in those arrays were filled with highly modified grains of naturally occurring volcanic minerals called zeolites. By 2013, the company developed entirely artificial particles—a form of titano silicate—that also grab strontium.

 The filters, however, don’t catch tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. That’s a much trickier task. Cesium and strontium atoms go into solution with the water, like sugar in tea; but tritium can bond with oxygen just like regular hydrogen, rendering the water molecules themselves radioactive. “It’s one thing to separate cesium from water, but how do you separate water from water?” asks John Raymont, Kurion’s founder and now president of Veolia’s nuclear solutions group. The company claims to have developed a system that can do the job, but Tepco has so far balked at the multi-billion dollar cost.

So for now, the tritiated water is pumped into a steadily growing collection of tanks. There are already hundreds of them, and Tepco has to start building a new one every four days.

Tepco has at least reduced the water’s inflow. As much as 400 tons per day was gushing in just a couple of years ago. In an effort to keep the groundwater from getting in, Tepco has built a network of pumps, and in 2016 installed an underground “ice wall”—a $300 million subterranean fence of 30-yard-long rods through which tons of sub-zero brine is pumped, freezing the surrounding earth. All of which helps, but hasn’t solved the problem……… https://www.wired.com/story/fukushimas-other-big-problem-a-million-tons-of-radioactive-water/

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | 1 Comment

Japan ‘covering up’ Fukushima nuclear danger-zone radiation levels and blackmailing evacuees to return to radiated areas swarming with radioactive pigs and monkeys

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Three reactors went into meltdown after the 2011 Japanese tsunami in the worst accident since Chernobyl, leaving an apocalyptic vision of ghost towns and overgrown wildernesses and scared residents refuse to return

JAPAN is lying to the world about nuclear-ravaged Fukushima’s recovery while forcing terrified evacuees to return to their radioactive homes, it is claimed.

More than seven years after the nuclear catastrophe rocked the world, many of the 154,000 people who fled their homes have not returned and towns remain deserted.

Thousands of irradiated wild boars and monkeys roam around while poorly paid and protected decontamination workers scrub homes, schools and shops down ready for people to come home.

Chilling footage of taken inside the evacuated areas of Fukushima City and Köryama lay bare the disaster that unfolded after an earthquake, measuring 9.01 on the Moment Magnitude scale, struck off the coast of Japan on March 11, 2011.

But it was the following 50ft tsunami that damaged reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

This led to the evacuation of thousands of people from a 12-mile exclusion zone, with roads guarded by roadblocks and officials in protective gear.

Now there is a big campaign is under way to make people return but residents, campaigners and experts believe it not safe. 

They accuse the Japanese authorities of wanting to allay public fears over the nuclear power by downplaying the dire consequences of the leak.

Propaganda videos showing the remarkable recovery of Fukushima have been spread by the government on its social media accounts.

“Since the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, #Fukushima has been working towards a bright future.
Strict safety standards and monitoring means that #food from the prefecture is enjoyed all over #Japan.” See Fukushima’s amazing recover in this video:http://bit.ly/2CqP0HC

But senior nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie, from Greenpeace Japan, said the nuclear nightmare continues.

He said: “They are not telling the whole truth either to the 127 million people of Japan or to the rest of the world – about the radiation risks in the most contaminated areas of Fukushima.

The nuclear crisis is not over – we are only in year seven of an accident that will continue to threaten public health, and the environment, for decades and well into the next century.

Attempts by the government and the nuclear industry communicate that it is safe and it’s over are a deliberate deception.”

Most of Japan’s power plants shut in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

But in 2015 the Prime Minister announced plans to restart reactors because the economy needed cheap energy and using fossil fuels risked huge carbon emission fines.

Now five of them are back on – and it’s aimed to to have at least 12 in use by 2025.   

The nuclear crisis is not over – we are only in year seven of an accident that will continue to threaten public health, and the environment, for decades and well into the next century (Senior nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie)

Mr Burnie said: “If they can create the illusion of the region that that has recovered from the nuclear accident they think it will reduce public opposition.”

But meanwhile the crisis continues at the Fukushima plant.

He said: “The massive Ice Wall built at the nuclear plant to stop contamination of groundwater is a symbol of this failure and deception – this is no Game of Thrones fantasy but the reality of a nuclear disaster that knows no end.”

Today he says “there were areas of Fukushima where radiation levels could give a person’s maximum annual recommended dose within a week.”

He  said: “This is of particular concern with regards to poorly paid decontamination workers, thousands of whom have been involved in attempts to decontaminate radiation around people’s homes, along roads and in narrow strips of forest.”

Mr Burnie said the government claims decontamination has been completed in 100 percent of affected areas after a £8bn clean up operation.

But he added: “What they don’t explain is that 70-80 percent of areas such as Namie and Iitate – two of the most contaminated districts – are forested mountain which it is impossible to decontaminate.

In areas opened in March 2017 for people to return – radiation levels will pose a risk until the middle of the century.

These areas are still to high in radiation for people to return safely – and is one reason so few people are returning.”

Meanwhile heavy-handed tactics are being used with some fearful residents reporting that they have been warned they won’t receive lifeline compensation cash if they don’t comply.

Dr Keith Baverstock, a radiation health expert who was at the World Health Organization at the time disaster, told Sun Online: “For the past two years the Japanese government has encouraged the evacuees to return to their homes, but relatively few people have taken up this offer, even though there is a threat – it may even now be a fact – that their compensation will cease.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6092789/

April 22, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018, Fukushima continuing | , , | Leave a comment

Closing down of Fukushima nuclear power plant has skyrocketed to US$75 billion

Oil Price 30th March 2018, The decommissioning of the Fukushima nuclear power plant will cost an
annual US$2 billion (220 billion yen) until 2021, an unnamed source told
the Japan Times. Half of the money will be used to tackle the radioactive
water buildup at the site of the plant and for removing radioactive fuel
from the fuel pools. A small amount of funds will be used to research ways
of retreating melted fuel from the reactors that got damaged during the
2011 tsunami disaster.

The US$6 billion for the three years is only part of
the total estimated cost for taking Fukushima out of operation. The total
decommissioning tally came in at US$75 billion (8 trillion yen), as
estimated by the specially set up Nuclear Damage Compensation and
Decommissioning Facilitation Corp (NDF).

That’s four times more than the initial estimate of the costs around the NPP’s decommissioning. Now theoperator of Fukushima, Tepco, and the NDF are due to submit their financial plan for the facility to the government for approval by the energy industry
minister. In addition to the US$6 billion allocated for the cleanup, Tepco
will spend another US$1.88 billion (200 billion yen) on preparing to start
extracting the melted fuel from the three damaged reactors. This seems to
be the biggest challenge for the cleanup efforts because of the still high
radiation levels as well as technical difficulties. https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Total-Tally-For-Fukushima-Decommission-Is-75-Billion.html

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

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

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

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

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

However, damage and high radiation levels have limited access to information vital to decontamination and decommissioning efforts. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS-Drones-to-venture-into-Fukushima-containment-vessels-2203184.html

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

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

Vancouver Sun 12th March 2018, A radioactive metal from the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan has
been discovered in the Fraser Valley, causing researchers to raise the
alarm about the long-term impact of radiation on B.C.’s west coast.
Examination of a soil sample from Kilby Provincial Park, near Agassiz, has
for the first time in this province found Cesium 134, further evidence of
Fukushima radioactivity being transported to Canada by air and water.
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Toxic+waters+Nuclear+radiation+found+pose+health+concerns/9606269/story.html

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

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

Hero rescues pets from Fukushima nuclear wasteland

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feeding them, and refusing to sign the “death warrant” requirement from the government, will, he hopes, spare them from slaughter. “So many of their fellow cattle died in pain,” he said, recalling the tragedy of cows left in barnes to starve. “To me, animals and people are equal.” ……https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2018/03/16/the-3-11-kitten-that-wasnt/

 

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

Informational power to the people: Safecast volunteers monitor Fukushima radiation

 

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

Tracking Fukushima’s radiation , https://www.shine.cn/feature/lifestyle/1803181780/  Source: AFP   Editor: Fu Rong     Beneath the elegant curves of the roof on the Seirinji Buddhist temple in Japan’s Fukushima region hangs an unlikely adornment: a Geiger counter collecting real-time radiation readings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Great Train Photo Robbery https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2018/03/13/the-great-train-photo-robbery/ 

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

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

First samples of Fukushima plant nuclear fuel debris to be collected in FY 2019 https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180316/p2a/00m/0na/018000c    (Mainichi Japan)  The government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) are set to extract a small sample of melted nuclear fuel from the bottom of the No. 2 reactor’s containment vessel at the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant as early as fiscal 2019.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Harmful effects of radiation on Fukushima’s macaque monkeys

Stark health findings for Fukushima monkeys https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2018/03/11/stark-health-findings-for-fukushima-monkeys-of-concern-for-humans/ By Cindy Folkers

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

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

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

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

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

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

WATERWORKS

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

FUEL MOP-UP

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

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

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

As for what the site itself might look like decades from now, cleanup officials refuse to say. …….https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/clearing-the-radioactive-rubble-heap-that-was-fukushima-daiichi-7-years-on/

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