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Tepco has drafted a plan for disposing of Fukushima’s accumulation of waste water

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Release of Fukushima No 1 reactor’s radioactive water may take 30 years

Tepco may take 30 years to release Fukushima No. 1 radioactive water,     Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. said Tuesday it may spend up to 20 to 30 years releasing contaminated water into the surrounding environment from its disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The possible time span was mentioned in draft plans Tepco drew up in line with a government panel’s report in February, calling the release of the water into the ocean or the air in the form of vapor a “realistic option.”

The company currently stores roughly 119 tons of water that still contains tritium and other radioactive substances after passing through a treatment process at the nuclear plant, which suffered a triple meltdown in March 2011 caused by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami. The amount of contaminated water stored at the facility is still increasing.

According to the draft plans, Tepco will first conduct secondary treatment work to reduce the amount of radioactive substances in the water other than tritium — which cannot be removed by existing systems — to levels below national standards.

Following the treatment, the water will be released into the ocean, after being diluted with seawater to lower the radiation level to 1,500 becquerels per liter, or emitted into the air from a tall exhaust stack after being vaporized.

Tepco also plans to use social media to counter rumors that exposure to radiation from the released water is harmful.

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

The clean-up of the Fukushima nuclear mess is not going to schedule – continual decommissioning delays

March 17, 2020 Posted by | decommission reactor, Fukushima continuing, Reference | 1 Comment

Fukushima’s huge accumulation of radioactive water – a pressing problem as Olympics approach

Contaminated water at nuclear plant still an issue ahead of Tokyo Olympics,  Work to deal with contaminated water at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant continues as the Olympic Games approach.

Inside a giant decontamination facility at the destroyed plant, workers in hazmat suits monitor radioactive water pumped from three damaged reactors.

The decontamination process is a key element of a contentious debate over what should be done with the nearly 1.2 million tons of still-radioactive water being closely watched by governments and organisations around the world ahead of this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, says it needs to free up space as work to decommission the damaged reactors approaches a critical phase.  It is widely expected that Tepco will gradually release the water into the nearby ocean following a government decision allowing it to do so.

The company is still vague on the timing.

But local residents, especially fishermen, are opposed to the plan because they think the water release would hurt the reputation of already battered fisheries, where annual sales remain about half of the level before the nuclear accident, even though the catch has cleared strict radioactivity tests.

Tepco chief decommissioning officer Akira Ono says the water must be disposed as the plant’s decommissioning moves forward because the area used by the tanks is needed to build facilities for the retrieval of melted reactor debris.

Workers are planning to remove a first batch of melted debris by December 2021.

Remote control cranes are dismantling a highly contaminated exhaust tower near Unit 2, the first reactor to get its melted fuel removed.

At Unit 3, spent fuel units are being removed from a cooling pool ahead of the removal of melted fuel.

The dilemma over the ever-growing radioactive water is part of the complex aftermath of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that hit on March 11 2011, destroying key cooling functions at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

Three reactors melted, releasing massive amounts of radiation and forcing 160,000 residents to evacuate.

About 40,000 still have not returned.

Except for the highly radioactive buildings that house the melted reactors, most above-ground areas of the plant can now be visited while wearing just a surgical mask, cotton gloves, a helmet and a personal dosimeter.

The area right outside the plant is largely untouched and radiation levels are often higher.

The underground areas remain a hazardous mess.

Radioactive cooling water is leaking from the melted reactors and mixes with groundwater, which must be pumped up to keep it from flowing into the sea and elsewhere.

Separately, even more dangerously contaminated water sits in underground areas and leaks continuously into groundwater outside the plant, experts say.  The contaminated water pumped from underground first goes through caesium and strontium removal equipment, after which most is recycled as cooling water for the damaged reactors.

The contaminated water pumped from underground first goes through caesium and strontium removal equipment, after which most is recycled as cooling water for the damaged reactors.

Katsumi Shozugawa, a radiology expert at the University of Tokyo who has been analysing groundwater around the plant, said the long-term consequences of low-dose exposure in the food chain has not been fully investigated.

“At this point, it is difficult to predict a risk,” he said.

“Once the water is released into the environment, it will be very difficult to follow up and monitor its movement.

“So the accuracy of the data before any release is crucial and must be verified.”

After years of discussions about what to do with the contaminated water without destroying the local economy and its reputation, a government panel issued a report earlier this year that narrowed the water disposal options to two: diluting the treated water to levels below the allowable safety limits and then releasing it into the sea in a controlled way, or allowing the water to evaporate in a years-long process.

The report also urged the government to do more to fight the “reputational damage” to Fukushima fishing and farm produce, for instance by promoting food fairs, developing new sales routes and making use of third-party quality accreditation systems.

Tepco and government officials promise the plant will treat the water for a second time to meet legal requirements before any release.

At the end of a tour of the treatment facility, a plant official showed journalists a glass bottle containing clear water taken from the processing equipment.

Workers are required to routinely collect water samples for analysis at laboratories at the plant.

Radiology technicians were analysing the water at one lab.

Officials say the treated water will be diluted with fresh water before it is released into the environment.

Doubts about the plant’s water treatment escalated two years ago when Tepco acknowledged that most of the water stored in the tanks still contains cancer-causing caesium, strontium and other radioactive materials at levels exceeding safety limits.

March 12, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

International Atomic Energy Agency, run by 5 nuclear weapons nations, backs Fukushima water emptying to the Pacific

Paul Richards 2 Mar 20 ,Of course, the United Nations Security Council P5 nuclear nations:

China , France , Russia , UK , and the USA, oversee the IAEA – International Atomic Energy Agency, this was expected.

UN SC P5 nuclear nations is a fully integrated system inclusive of the Military-Industrial Complex.

An ecosystem that includes weapons of mass destruction, for peace, a leadership group in a state of cultural cognitive dissonance.

Who as a group know gene sheering radionuclides, have an effect on DNA X10 times half-life of any alpha particles out of nuclear reactors.

IAEA backs release of Fukushima water into sea, AsiaTimes, 27 Feb 20, 

Most of the radioactive isotopes have been filtered out, but one – tritium, which has long half-life – remains, The world’s nuclear watchdog gave its backing Thursday to Japanese plans to release contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean.

Japan has around a million tonnes of contaminated water stored in tanks at the site of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, whose reactors went into meltdown after a huge tsunami in 2011.

A government panel last month recommended the water be released into the ocean or vaporized, but no final decision has been taken, with all solutions deeply unpopular with sections of the Japanese public.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director Rafael Grossi told journalists in Tokyo the panel’s recommendations both appeared suitable…….

“Releasing into the ocean is done elsewhere, it’s not something new, there is no scandal here,” Grossi added.

“But what is important is to do it in a way that is not harmful and you need somebody to monitor before, during and after release, to check that everything is okay.”

The radioactive water comes from several different sources – including water used for cooling at the plant, and groundwater and rain that seeps into the plant daily – and is put through an extensive filtration process.

Most of the radioactive isotopes have been removed by the filtration system, but one – tritium, which has a long half-life – remains……..

March 2, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Japanese expert panel recommends releasing Fukushima radioactive water into the ocean


Fukushima radioactive water should be released into ocean, say Japan experts,  

Build-up of contaminated water from wrecked nuclear plant has been sticking point in clean-up likely to take decades,  A panel of experts advising Japan’s government on a disposal method for radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant has recommended releasing it into the ocean, a move likely to alarm neighbouring countries.

The panel, under the industry ministry, came to the conclusion after narrowing the choice to either releasing the contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean or letting it evaporate – and opted for the former. Based on past practice, it is likely the government will accept the recommendation.

The build-up of contaminated water at Fukushima has been a sticking point in the clean-up, which is likely to last decades, especially as the Olympics are due to be held in Tokyo this year with some events less than 60km (35 miles) from the wrecked plant.

Neighbouring South Korea has retained a ban on imports of seafood from Japan’s Fukushima region imposed after the nuclear disaster and summoned a senior Japanese embassy official last year to explain how the Fukushima water would be dealt with. Its athletes are planning to bring their own radiation detectors and food to the Games.

In 2018, Tokyo Electric apologised after admitting its filtration systems had not removed all dangerous material from the water, and the site is running out of room for storage tanks.

But it plans to remove all radioactive particles from the water except tritium, an isotope of hydrogen that is hard to separate and is considered to be relatively harmless.

“Compared to evaporation, ocean release can be done more securely,” the committee said, pointing to common practice around the world where normally operating nuclear stations release water that contains tritium into the sea.

The recommendation needs to be confirmed by the head of the panel, Nagoya University professor emeritus Ichiro Yamamoto, and submitted to the government at a later date that has not been set.

Tokyo Electric, or Tepco, has collected nearly 1.2m tonnes of contaminated water from the cooling pipes used to keep fuel cores from melting since the plant was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. The water is stored in huge tanks that crowd the site.

The utility says it will run out of room to store the water by 2022.

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

Backstory: Inside the destroyed Fukushima plant – radiation, risk and reporting

Backstory: Inside the destroyed Fukushima plant – radiation, risk and reporting, 29 Jan 2020,

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

Japan to release over a million tonnes of radioactive water into sea from Fukushima power plant

February 1, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Fukushima Reactor Cleanup Delayed by Five Years as Japanese Public Demands End to Nuclear Energy

Fukushima Reactor Cleanup Delayed by Five Years as Japanese Public Demands End to Nuclear Energy  The delay comes days after Japan’s government proposed releasing contaminated water from the plant into the ocean.

The Japanese government said Friday it would delay for a fourth time the removal of spent fuel from two of the reactors at the Fukushima Daichii nuclear power plant, causing concern that the cleanup of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history is happening at a dangerously slow pace.

The removal of the spent fuel was planned to begin in 2023, but the process was bumped back to 2024 at the earliest for the plant’s No. 1 reactor and 2027 or later for the No. 2 reactor.

According to the Japan Timesthe government claims this aspect of the clean-up is being delayed due to safety concerns and that it plans to construct barriers around the reactors to prevent the spread of radioactive dust.

Reporting on the delay comes days after the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry proposed releasing contaminated water from the plant into the ocean or allowing it to evaporate, and weeks after the ministry said the water contained higher levels of radioactive material than previously thought.

The most recent news about the cleanup process—which is under a 30-40 year plan following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami which forced more than 100,000 residents to evacuate the rural Fukushima region to avoid nuclear contamination from the plant—raised alarm among critics of nuclear power.

The Japanese public has reportedly grown increasingly anti-nuclear power since the Fukushima disaster, according to an Al Jazeera report earlier this month.

“Japanese people’s sentiment changed after Fukushima Daiichi and it is continuing until now,” Hajime Matsukubo, secretary-general of the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, told Al Jazeera. “They say no.”

In a 2015 poll by the Japan Atomic Energy Relations Organization, only 10 percent of Japanese respondents said the country should maintain its use of nuclear energy.

January 2, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Further delay in removal of spent nuclear fuel at Fukushima No. 1

December 28, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Tepco (once again) saying they will put a giant cover over Fukushima No.1 reactor

December 21, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | 1 Comment

Fukushima Unit 3 Spent Fuel Damage Identified

Fukushima Unit 3 Spent Fuel Damage Identified, Simply Info  [excellent photos],  December 16, 2019  

TEPCO has identified twelve fuel assemblies with damaged lifting handles. Further damage can not be identified at this point as the assemblies are still in the fuel racks in the spent fuel pool. The location of the newer 6 damaged assemblies are from the location where the fuel handling crane and a concrete hatch fell into the pool….

December 19, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Analysis of decontamination of irradiated soil of Fukushima area

Fukushima: Lessons learned from an extraordinary case of soil decontamination

European Geosciences Union
Following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March 2011, the Japanese authorities decided to carry out major decontamination works in the affected area, which covers more than 9,000 km2. On Dec. 12, 2019, with most of this work having been completed, researchers provided an overview of the decontamination strategies used and their effectiveness.
On December 12, 2019, with most of this work having been completed, the scientific journal SOIL of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) is publishing a synthesis of approximately sixty scientific publications that together provide an overview of the decontamination strategies used and their effectiveness, with a focus on radiocesium. This work is the result of an international collaboration led by Olivier Evrard, researcher at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement [Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences] (LSCE — CEA/CNRS/UVSQ, Université Paris Saclay).

Soil decontamination, which began in 2013 following the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, has now been nearly completed in the priority areas identified1. Indeed, areas that are difficult to access have not yet been decontaminated, such as the municipalities located in the immediate vicinity of the nuclear power plant. Olivier Evrard, a researcher at the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences and coordinator of the study (CEA/CNRS/UVSQ), in collaboration with Patrick Laceby of Alberta Environment and Parks (Canada) and Atsushi Nakao of Kyoto Prefecture University (Japan), compiled the results of approximately sixty scientific studies published on the topic.

This synthesis focuses mainly on the fate of radioactive cesium in the environment because this radioisotope was emitted in large quantities during the accident, contaminating an area of more than 9,000 km2. In addition, since one of the cesium isotopes (137Cs) has a half-life of 30 years, it constitutes the highest risk to the local population in the medium and long term, as it can be estimated that in the absence of decontamination it will remain in the environment for around three centuries.

“The feedback on decontamination processes following the Fukushima nuclear accident is unprecedented,” according to Olivier Evrard, “because it is the first time that such a major clean-up effort has been made following a nuclear accident. The Fukushima accident gives us valuable insights into the effectiveness of decontamination techniques, particularly for removing cesium from the environment.”

This analysis provides new scientific lessons on decontamination strategies and techniques implemented in the municipalities affected by the radioactive fallout from the Fukushima accident. This synthesis indicates that removing the surface layer of the soil to a thickness of 5 cm, the main method used by the Japanese authorities to clean up cultivated land, has reduced cesium concentrations by about 80% in treated areas. Nevertheless, the removal of the uppermost part of the topsoil, which has proved effective in treating cultivated land, has cost the Japanese state about €24 billion. This technique generates a significant amount of waste, which is difficult to treat, to transport and to store for several decades in the vicinity of the power plant, a step that is necessary before it is shipped to final disposal sites located outside Fukushima prefecture by 2050. By early 2019, Fukushima’s decontamination efforts had generated about 20 million cubic metres of waste.

Decontamination activities have mainly targeted agricultural landscapes and residential areas. The review points out that the forests have not been cleaned up — because of the difficulty and very high costs that these operations2 would represent — as they cover 75% of the surface area located within the radioactive fallout zone. These forests constitute a potential long-term reservoir of radiocesium, which can be redistributed across landscapes as a result of soil erosion, landslides and floods, particularly during typhoons that can affect the region between July and October. Atsushi Nakao, co-author of the publication, stresses the importance of continuing to monitor the transfer of radioactive contamination at the scale of coastal watersheds that drain the most contaminated part of the radioactive fallout zone. This monitoring will help scientists understand the fate of residual radiocesium in the environment in order to detect possible recontamination of the remediated areas due to flooding or intense erosion events in the forests.

The analysis recommends further research on:

  • the issues associated with the recultivation of decontaminated agricultural land3,
  • the monitoring of the contribution of radioactive contamination from forests to the rivers that flow across the region,
  • and the return of inhabitants and their reappropriation of the territory after evacuation and decontamination.

This research will be the subject of a Franco-Japanese and multidisciplinary international research project, MITATE (Irradiation Measurement Human Tolerance viA Environmental Tolerance), led by the CNRS in collaboration with various French (including the CEA) and Japanese organizations, which will start on January 1, 2020 for an initial period of 5 years.

Complementary approaches

This research is complementary to the project to develop bio- and eco-technological methods for the rational remediation of effluents and soils, in support of a post-accident agricultural rehabilitation strategy (DEMETERRES), led by the CEA, and conducted in partnership with INRA and CIRAD Montpellier.

Decontamination techniques

  • In cultivated areas within the special decontamination zone, the surface layer of the soil was removed to a depth of 5 cm and replaced with a new “soil” made of crushed granite available locally. In areas further from the plant, substances known to fix or substitute for radiocesium (potassium fertilizers, zeolite powders) have been applied to the soil.
  • As far as woodland areas are concerned, only those that were within 20 metres of the houses were treated (cutting branches and collecting litter).
  • Residential areas were also cleaned (ditch cleaning, roof and gutter cleaning, etc.), and (vegetable) gardens were treated as cultivated areas.

1 In Fukushima prefecture and the surrounding prefectures, the decision to decontaminate the landscapes affected by the radioactive fallout was made in November 2011 for 11 districts that were evacuated after the accident (special decontamination zone — SDZ — 1,117 km2) and for 40 districts affected by lower, but still significant levels of radioactivity and that had not been evacuated in 2011 (areas of intensive monitoring of the contamination — ICA, 7836 km2). 2 128 billion euros according to one of the studies appearing in the review to be published on 12 December 2019 in SOIL. 3 Relating to soil fertility and the transfer of radiocesium from the soil to plants, for example.

The study was conducted by Olivier Evrard (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE/IPSL), Unité Mixte de Recherche 8212 (CEA/CNRS/UVSQ), Université Paris-Saclay), J. Patrick Laceby (Environmental Monitoring and Science Division (EMSD), Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP)), and Atsushi Nakao (Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Kyoto Prefectural University).

December 16, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, Reference | Leave a comment

Fukushima Prefecture has over 9 million bags of nuclear waste

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

Environmentalists say Fukushima water too radioactive to release

Japan: Environmentalists say Fukushima water too radioactive to release in Japan have claimed that water exposed to radiation in the Fukushima nuclear disaster is now safe to dump into the Pacific. Environmentalists say the water is too contaminated. Julian Ryall reports. 20 Nov  19 Environmental groups are skeptical of a Japanese government declaration claiming that contaminated water stored at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is safe to release into the ocean.

Officials from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry addressed a government committee Monday, and said that the health risk associated with releasing water that absorbed radionuclides in the aftermath of the March 2011 nuclear accident would be “small.”

During the hearing, the officials said that releasing the water over the course of one year would cause exposure amounting to a miniscule fraction of the radiation that humans are naturally exposed to annually.

The officials said that storage facilities are already close to capacity, with over 1 million tons of contaminated water being stored in steel tanks on the site in northeast Japan.    Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima plant, estimates that with around 120 tons of ground water leaking into the basement levels of the three reactors that suffered meltdowns as a result of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the storage tanks will reach capacity in the summer of 2022.

Contamination questions

TEPCO and the government have long believed that the best way to dispose of the water is to simply release it into the ocean. They claimed until this year that contaminated water had been cleansed by a so-called advanced liquid processing system to the point that virtually all the radionuclides had been reduced to “non-detect” levels.

Leaked TEPCO documents, however, show that varying amounts of 62 radionuclides — including strontium, iodine, cesium and cobalt — have not been removed from the water.

The company has also been criticized for refusing to permit independent organizations to test the water that is being stored at the site.

Nevertheless, environmentalists fear that preparations are under way to release the water into the environment.

“Even a year ago, when the first report on options for disposing the treated water was presented to the committee, it seemed clear to me even then that the preferred option was to release it into the ocean,” said Azby Brown, the lead researcher for Tokyo-based nuclear monitoring organization Safecast Japan. Other options included evaporation and burying the water.

“My take on this is that they have already reached a decision and that all these discussions now on the options are purely theater.”

Calls for added storage capacity

Safecast, Greenpeace and other environmental organizations have called for the company to build more tanks on the site. Additionally, when the area within the plant perimeter is full, they advocate building more storage on adjacent farmland that can no longer be used because it is too highly contaminated.

Brown said TEPCO officials ruled that option out on the grounds that they want to limit the tanks to the existing site.

“Honestly, I don’t see much evidence of genuine consideration of the other options,” he said.

Others are more optimistic that the government and TEPCO will eventually conclude that it would be too damaging to their reputations to dump the water into the Pacific.

“They do seem to be coming back to this option regularly, but once you start to look at the logistics of it, very quickly it’s clear that it’s virtually impossible,” said Hideyuki Ban, co-director of the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center.

We do not know the levels of radionuclides in the water they say has been treated, but the best guess we have is that levels of tritium are at about 1 million becquerels per liter,” he said.

“The government has set a level of 60,000 becquerels per liter as the target before the water is released, but TEPCO says they want to get it down to 1,500 becquerels.”

“To do that is going to take a long time, and then every tank of water that was going to be released would have to be tested to make sure that it meets those standards,” Ban said. “We think that they would be better off just deciding to keep storing the water for the next 30 years.”

The best of bad options?

TEPCO said that a final decision on how to dispose of the water will be made by the government after all the available options have been taken into consideration.

But a company official told DW that time is running out for a decision to be made.

“In three years, the capacity that we are adding at the site at the moment will be used up and there is nowhere else to build tanks,” he said. “We have a three-year window for the government to decide on a policy and a course of action.”

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