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Foreign trainees used to clean up radioactive contamination from Fukushima nuclear plant

At least four firms used foreign trainees to clean up radioactive contamination from Fukushima nuclear plant: ministry, Japan Times, BY SHUSUKE MURAI, STAFF WRITER , 14 July 18  

The Justice Ministry revealed Friday that at least four construction companies have used foreign trainees in radioactive cleanup work related to the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which occurred in 2011.

The interim report of the ministry’s probe, covering 182 companies with foreign trainee programs as of June 29, said one of the four companies, based in Iwate Prefecture, has been banned from accepting foreign trainees for five years.

The other three firms — two in Fukushima Prefecture and one in Chiba Prefecture — are still under investigation. The names of the companies were not revealed.

The ministry plans to compile a full report covering 1,002 companies in eight prefectures, including Miyagi, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Saitama, this fall.

The research started in the wake of a government announcement in March banning the use of foreign trainees in work to remove radioactive contamination. The government says such work is not consistent with the true purpose of the foreign trainee program.

The Technical Intern Training Program was introduced in 1993 with the aim of transferring skills to developing countries. But the scheme has drawn criticism both at home and abroad as a cover for importing cheap labor for the manufacturing, construction and other industrial sectors, where blue-collar workers are in short supply…….

In May, six people under a foreign trainee program were found to have participated in construction work at the Fukushima No. 1 plant despite a ban on trainees working at the crippled facility. Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the operator of the Fukushima plant, said they were hired by one of its subcontractors and sent to take part in groundwork without receiving any training on how to protect themselves from radiation.https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/07/13/national/least-four-firms-used-foreign-trainees-clean-radioactive-contamination-fukushima-nuclear-plant-ministry/#.W0xBe9IzbIU

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July 16, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Half of Fukushima Prefecture residents want radiation monitoring posts to be maintained

Fukushima Minpo News 2nd July 2018, Nearly 50% of residents in Fukushima Prefecture are against a central
government policy to remove some 2,400 posts in the prefecture for
monitoring nuclear radiation from fallout left by the 2011 accident at
Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, according to an
opinion poll jointly conducted by Fukushima-Minpo Co., publisher of the
namesake local daily, and Fukushima Television Broadcasting Co.
http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=901

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Delay in removing spent nuclear fuel from Fukushima’s crippled nuclear reactor

Fuel removal from Fukushima reactor may be delayed,  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180629_14/The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says work to remove spent nuclear fuel from a cooling pool at one of its reactors may be delayed.

A total of 566 fuel units remain in the cooling pool at the No.3 reactor, which suffered a meltdown in 2011. Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, planned to start removing the fuel as early as this autumn, as part of the decommissioning of the nuclear complex.

But on Thursday, TEPCO revealed the control board of a crane used in the removal malfunctioned during a test run last month. It blamed a voltage error and said the board will be replaced.

The company said the test run may be delayed by one or 2 months, pushing back the start date for fuel removal.

TEPCO’s chief decommissioning officer, Akira Ono, says he takes the glitch seriously as it shows key equipment was not handled properly.

He says that although safety must come first, his team still aims to stick to the original timetable and start the removal of nuclear fuel by around the middle of the current fiscal year, which ends in March next year.

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

About that tritiated water: Who will decide and when?

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Storage tanks of contaminated water stand at Tepco’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Tepco estimates that at the current rate it will run out of tank space in 2020, and a decision must be made on what to do with the water well before then.
 
June 5, 2018
Virtually every news story about the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant acknowledges the tremendous ongoing problem of contaminated water that is accumulating in approximately 850 large tanks on-site. There are about 850,000 tons of water in the tanks at present, from which all radionuclides of concern except tritium — radioactive hydrogen — have been effectively removed. More water accumulates each day, in quantities roughly equal to the amount of groundwater that seeps into the damaged reactor buildings. Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings estimates that at the current rate it will run out of tank space in 2020. Something needs to be done well before then, and the decision should address the concerns of all stakeholders, public and private.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry recently announced that meetings will be held where the public can hear explanations of proposed solutions and comment on them. Unless they think seriously about how to prevent this from becoming yet another clumsy exercise in DAD — “decide, announce, defend” — these meetings will be a mere fig leaf that will allow the government to claim it has adequately consulted the public.
As it is, the government’s decision-making process itself appears to be dysfunctional, and we have reason to be skeptical that it will be possible to avert very bad domestic and international public reactions if and when this water is disposed of.
The Subcommittee on Handling Water Treated by the Polynuclide Removal Facility is one of several Japanese government committees organized by METI tasked with formulating a response to the problem of the radioactive water. The planned public sessions were announced at its eighth meeting, on May 18.
This is a step in the right direction, and is long overdue. Nevertheless it may well be a case of “too little, too late.” The decision, delayed for years, will almost certainly be to dilute the water and release it to the ocean, and meanwhile, public opposition to this idea has hardened. The issue hinges on both scientific understanding and public perception.
What is tritium?
Tritium, scientifically indicated as “H3,” occurs both naturally and through man-made processes. Tritiated water (HTO), like that accumulating at the No. 1 nuclear power plant, behaves almost identically to normal water, and can be taken up easily by living organisms. The scientific consensus is that the health risks from exposure to tritium are several orders of magnitude lower than those from radionuclides like cesium, radioactive iodine or strontium. This is reflected in allowable limits in drinking water, which are generally tens or hundreds of times higher for tritium than for these others, ranging from 100 Bq/L in the European Union to 76,103 Bq/L in Australia. Nevertheless, the scientific community acknowledges some uncertainty about these risks.
Leaving the tritiated water in the tanks at No. 1 is the riskiest thing to do, due to the possibility of ruptures or uncontrolled leaks. As far back as 2014, the International Atomic Energy Agency recommended a controlled release to the ocean as the safest course of action, and Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Agency concurred.
A Tritiated Water Task Force convened by METI in 2013 examined five options in detail, and in 2016 concluded that for reasons of cost, available technology, time required, and safety, diluting and discharging it to the ocean was the least objectionable approach. The task force presented relevant monitoring data from decades of similar releases of tritium to the ocean from nuclear facilities in Japan and abroad, noting that the quantities from the No. 1 plant would be many times smaller and the tritium levels in ocean life too low to be of real concern.
Tepco has made it clear that ocean release is its preference as well. The company says that it strives to meet government recommendations, and does not intend to act without government support, but is ultimately responsible for any actual decision.
In July 2017 Takashi Kawamura, chairman of Tepco, said publicly that the decision to release the tritiated water had already been made, and the public outcry was immediate, particularly from Fukushima fishermen who expected to be consulted. The company quickly backpedaled.
Constructing the dilution facilities and pipelines that an ocean release would require is expected to require almost a year after any decision is made. At the current rate, that means the “go” signal must be given by early 2019 at the latest. That no decision has been officially announced to date can be ascribed to the very reasonable expectation of a strong public backlash, and, I believe, the reluctance of any responsible government officials to be associated with such an unpopular decision.
Fishermen’s opposition
The strongest and most meaningful opposition comes from Fukushima’s fisheries cooperatives, which have suffered tremendously due to the 2011 disaster. Representatives of Tepco, METI and other government bodies that share the mandate for dealing with the contaminated water invariably stress how important it is to them to reach understanding and agreement with all stakeholders, the fisheries cooperatives in particular.
Takahiro Kimoto, a general manager in Tepco’s nuclear power division, explained, “The policies can’t and shouldn’t be determined by Tepco alone, but we continue discussing the available options with government and other stakeholders. These discussions are taking a long time, but we consider them essential.” Put bluntly, Tepco knows they will be pilloried no matter what, and seeks broad support.
Shuji Okuda, METI’s director for decommissioning and contaminated water management, stressed that no decision has yet been made regarding which of the five options for dealing with the tritiated water will be chosen. “It will be a decision of the Japanese government as a whole,” Okuda explains, “not one made by any single agency. And it will be based on ample discussions with all stakeholders.”
Although Tepco and METI indicate that they are prepared to accommodate the fishermen’s conditions regarding the release, the cooperatives are adamant. “We are totally opposed to the planned release,” explained Takaaki Sawada of the Iwaki Office of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations, known as FS Gyoren. “It’s not a question of money or compensation,” he continued, “nor of any level of concentration we might accept as safe. We do not think it should be our responsibility to decide whether or not to release it. We think it will be impossible for the public in general to understand why tritium is considered low risk,” he continued, “and expect there will be a large new backlash against Fukushima marine products no matter how scientifically it is explained.”
Much hinges on public understanding of the risks, and therefore on transparency. Robust and effective two-way communication is essential, not to persuade the public that official plans are acceptable, but to better equip them to participate in the debate in an informed way, and to push back where they feel it is necessary. It is the public’s right to demand this kind of inclusion.
Communication should be aimed not only at fishermen and Japanese consumers, but internationally to all who are concerned about what the effect on the Pacific will be. The government has been sitting on the Task Force recommendations for almost two years without taking action. That it has taken this long to even begin planning to engage the public on this issue is, again, because no one in a governmental decision-making position wants to be politically associated with the consequences of a tritium release.
According to METI, the content, location and timing of the public sessions will be discussed at the next subcommitee meeting in July. People unable to attend in person will be able to submit comments and questions via email. Though hastily planned events could possibly be held before the end of this year, it seems likely they will need to happen in 2019, bumping up against the decision deadline.
While some fishermen are likely to attend, the cooperatives themselves will likely refuse. This situation requires the actual involvement of citizens in the decision making process, but it is difficult to find instances of that actually happening in Fukushima since the accident in 2011. At the central government level in particular, it has almost always been DAD.
Regardless of whether one trusts scientific opinion or Tepco, the tritiated water cannot be left in the tanks at No. 1 indefinitely, and releasing it to the ocean, though not without risk, is the least objectionable of the available options. As it stands now, given the depth of public mistrust and the nature of misinformation in our current era, the situation is ripe for the maximum misunderstanding and negative social impact to occur if and when this tritiated water is finally released.
Unfortunately, I think we should be prepared for things to be done the “Kasumigaseki way”: for the decision to be avoided until the last possible moment, and for government officials to claim then that an unavoidable emergency had arisen and it couldn’t be helped.
There will be negative social impact no matter what, but unless responsible government officials step up soon, own the decision and ensure that public engagement is genuine, broad, and effective, these negative impacts will be unnecessarily magnified.
Azby Brown is the lead researcher for Safecast, a volunteer-based NPO that conducts open, independent, citizen-run monitoring of radiation and other environmental hazards worldwide. http://www.safecast.org

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

Is Fukushima doomed to become a dumping ground for toxic waste? 

FUKUSHIMA 2018: FUKUSHIMA CONTAMINATION, OLYMPICS 2020

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/16/is-fukushima-doomed-to-become-a-dumping-ground-for-toxic-waste       Despite promises of revitalisation from Japan’s government, seven years on from the nuclear disaster the area is still struggling   This month, seven years after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi reactor meltdowns and explosions that blanketed hundreds of square kilometres of northeastern Japan with radioactive debris, government officials and politicians spoke in hopeful terms about Fukushima’s prosperous future. Nevertheless, perhaps the single most important element of Fukushima’s future remains unspoken: the exclusion zone seems destined to host a repository for Japan’s most hazardous nuclear waste.

No Japanese government official will admit this, at least not publicly. A secure repository for nuclear waste has remained a long-elusive goal on the archipelago. But, given that Japan possesses approximately 17,000 tonnes of spent fuel from nuclear power operations, such a development is vital. Most spent fuel rods are still stored precariously above ground, in pools, in a highly earthquake-prone nation.

The Fukushima prefecture government is currently promoting a plan, dubbed The Innovation Coast, that would transform the unwelcoming region into a thriving sweep of high-tech innovation. Much of the development would be directed towards a “robot-related industrial cluster” and experimental zones like a robot test field.

The test field would develop robots tailored for disaster response and for other purposes on a course simulating a wide range of hurdles and challenges already well represented in Fukushima itself. Large water tanks would contain an array of underwater hazards to navigate, mirroring the wreckage-strewn waters beneath the Fukushima Daiichi plant, where a number of meltdown-remediating underwater robots have met a premature demise in recent years.

Elsewhere on the robot test field, dilapidated buildings and other ruins would serve as a proving ground for land-based disaster-response robots, which must navigate twisted steel rods, broken concrete and other rubble. Engineered runways and surrounding radiation-hit areas would serve as prime territory for testing parlous aerial drones for a range of purposes in various weather conditions – which would be difficult or impossible to achieve elsewhere in relatively densely populated Japan.

The planned site for the test field would link with a secluded test area about 13km south along the coast to coordinate test flights over the exclusion zone’s more or less posthuman terrain.

Naturally, unlike Fukushima’s human residents, robots would be oblivious to the elevated radiation levels found outside the Fukushima Daiichi facility. In addition, prefectural officials have suggested that the exclusion zone environs could play host to a range of other services that don’t require much human intervention, such as long-term archive facilities.

Proud long-time residents of Fukushima, for their part, see all this development as a continued “colonisation” of the home prefecture by Tokyo – a well-worn pattern of outsiders using the zone for their own purposes, as were the utility representatives and officials who built the ill-fated plant in the first place.

Years of colossal decontamination measures have scraped irradiated material from seemingly every forest, park, farm, roadside, and school ground. This 16 million cubic metres of radioactive soil is now stored in provisional sites in and around the exclusion zone, waiting to be moved to an interim storage facility that has hardly been started and for which nearly half of the land has not yet even been leased.

The state has promised to remove all the contaminated soil from Fukushima after 30 years, and government officials have been scrupulous in insisting that this will be the case – for soil. Yet in a nation with about 17,000 tonnes of highly radioactive spent fuel rods and no willing candidates for secure repositories, it is only a matter of time before it becomes possible for politicians to publicly back the idea of transforming the area around Fukushima Daiichi into a secure repository.

Government officials, including those tasked with nuclear waste storage, describe the quintessentially Japanese strategy of saki-okuri, or calculated postponement, in the context of nuclear waste storage. Such perception management is a subtle business, but by quietly and unrelentingly pushing back the day of reckoning – slowly changing the terms of debate – the broadly distasteful prospect of storing Japan’s most dangerous material in its most tragically maltreated region would become gradually less intolerable to Japanese sensibilities.

The expanse of Fukushima in and around the exclusion zone represents an already contaminated area with, since 2011, far fewer residents to protest against such plans. Such a rare opportunity for relatively unopposed intervention in a struggling area will surely prove irresistible to the nuclear lobby.

Fukushima has been marginalised, disenfranchised, and outmanoeuvred for decades. After all, the electricity from Fukushima Daiichi went straight to the capital, not to Fukushima itself, which bore the risks. Since 2011, Fukushima has been saddled with the staggering burden of the meltdown’s aftermath that, despite government PR, will encumber and stigmatise its citizens for at least several decades.

 Peter Wynn Kirby is a nuclear and environmental specialist at the University of Oxford

June 4, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | 1 Comment

The Fukushima clean-up – a tremendous long-term task, at tremendous cost

FUKUSHIMA 2018: FUKUSHIMA CONTAMINATION, OLYMPICS 2020

Without doubt, the road ahead of TEPCO is a long one, beset with challenges greater than those faced to date. The Mid- and Long-Term Roadmap—the Japanese state-curated document outlining the decommissioning of Fukushima—envisions operations stretching a full 30-40 years into the future. Some have suggested it’s an optimistic target, others say that the plan lacks details on key, long-term issues such as permanent solid-waste storage beyond the onsite repository currently being employed. Certainly it is the case that key decisions remain. ……..

By all accounts, it is hard to gauge the costs for the Fukushima clean-up. Kohta told Ars that works completed to date have cost about 500.2 billion yen, or $4.7 billion—a tremendous sum, to be sure, but fractional compared to the estimate of 8 trillion yen ($74.6 billion) approved by the Japanese state last May for the complete decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi.

THE REMEDIATION OF FUKUSHIMA —Remediating Fukushima—“When everything goes to hell, you go back to basics”ars Technica  It may take 40 years for the site to appear like “a normal reactor at the end of its life.”WILLIAM STEEL – 

 

June 4, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | 1 Comment

New research reveals significant Fukushima radioactive particle release

Fukushima radioactive particle release was significant says new research https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/uom-frp052418.php  UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER

Scientists say there was a significant release of radioactive particles during the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident.

The researchers identified the contamination using a new method and say if the particles are inhaled they could pose long-term health risks to humans.

The new method allows scientists to quickly count the number of caesium-rich micro-particles in Fukushima soils and quantify the amount of radioactivity associated with these particles.

The research, which was carried out by scientists from Kyushu University, Japan, and The University of Manchester, UK, was published in Environmental Science and Technology.

In the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, it was thought that only volatile, gaseous radionuclides, such as caesium and iodine, were released from the damaged reactors. However, in recent years it has become apparent that small radioactive particles, termed caesium-rich micro-particles, were also released.

Scientists have shown that these particles are mainly made of glass, and that they contain significant amounts of radioactive caesium, as well as smaller amounts of other radioisotopes, such as uranium and technetium.

The abundance of these micro-particles in Japanese soils and sediments, and their environmental impact is poorly understood. But the particles are very small and do not dissolve easily, meaning they could pose long-term health risks to humans if inhaled.

Therefore, scientists need to understand how many of the micro-particles are present in Fukushima soils and how much of the soil radioactivity can be attributed to the particles. Until recently, these measurements have proven challenging.

The new method makes use of a technique that is readily available in most Radiochemistry Laboratories called Autoradiography. In the method, an imaging plate is placed over contaminated soil samples covered with a plastic wrap, and the radioactive decay from the soil is recorded as an image on the plate. The image from plate is then read onto a computer.

The scientists say radioactive decay from the caesium-rich micro particles can be differentiated from other forms of caesium contamination in the soil.

The scientists tested the new method on rice paddy soil samples retrieved from different locations within the Fukushima prefecture. The samples were taken close to (4 km) and far away (40 km) from the damaged nuclear reactors. The new method found caesium-rich micro-particles in all of the samples and showed that the amount of caesium associated with the micro-particles in the soil was much larger than expected.

Dr Satoshi Utsunomiya, Associate Professor at Kyushu University, Japan, and the lead author of the study says “when we first started to find caesium-rich micro-particles in Fukushima soil samples, we thought they would turn out to be relatively rare. Now, using this method, we find there are lots of caesium-rich microparticles in exclusion zone soils and also in the soils collected from outside of the exclusion zone”.

Dr Gareth Law, Senior Lecturer in Analytical Radiochemistry at the University of Manchester and an author on the paper, adds: “Our research indicates that significant amounts of caesium were released from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in particle form.

“This particle form of caesium behaves differently to the other, more soluble forms of caesium in the environment. We now need to push forward and better understand if caesium micro-particles are abundant throughout not only the exclusion zone, but also elsewhere in the Fukushima prefecture; then we can start to gauge their impact”.

The new method can be easily used by other research teams investigating the environmental impact of the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

Dr Utsunomiya adds: “we hope that our method will allow scientists to quickly measure the abundance of caesium-rich micro-particles at other locations and estimate the amount of caesium radioactivity associated with the particles. This information can then inform cost effective, safe management and clean-up of soils contaminated by the nuclear accident”.

May 25, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

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.

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