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Japan’s Prime Minister Abe in UK to beg for more money for Wylfa nuclear project?

Unearthed 9th Jan 2019 Doug Parr: Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe is in London this week, and it seems likely in his meeting with Theresa May that the Japanese-backed
nuclear power plant in Wales will come up. The Wylfa project, to be built
by Hitachi and its subsidiary Horizon, is one of a clutch of planned
nuclear power stations which the UK government has heavily prioritised for
security of power supply, and meeting the country’s climate obligations.

Late last year another of the 6 major projects, the proposed Moorside plant
in Cumbria, was effectively abandoned after Toshiba pulled out. And another
has come under fire as questions are raised about security issues flowing
from the Chinese builders.

These developments effectively illustrate that
UK nuclear power policy is heavily dependent on overseas developers.

What is less understood is that there are significant shifts underway in Japan
which strongly suggest Hitachi’s projects may too be at risk. The most
advanced of Horizon’s nuclear plans is a large power station to be built
at Wylfa on Anglesey, North Wales. In fact, with the collapse of Moorside,
the Wylfa plant is the only nuclear project that could realistically be
built before 2030, in addition to the plant already under construction at
Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Japan, however, is reconsidering its nuclear
export strategy. Because it keeps going wrong. Until recently it had 3
companies interested in building nuclear power stations abroad: Toshiba,
Mitsubishi and Hitachi. These companies have experience building nuclear
stations at home but since the Fukushima disaster in 2011, they have had to
look elsewhere.

Seeking to help these giants of Japanese industry to
maintain their businesses, Prime Minister Abe reportedly wanted to turn
Japan into a “nuclear export superpower”. Hitachi, however, are
reportedly be thinking of scrapping the project as its costs and risks
become unmanageable. Hitachi could be looking at Toshiba’s
near-bankruptcy and thinking ‘let’s not go there’. According to their
chairman the project was in “an extremely severe situation” as it
struggled to attract investors, even though UK government may have promised
as much as two thirds of the build cost.

Despite this already generouslargesse (on behalf of UK taxpayers, not offered to any other energy projects) Hitachi are intending to come back to UK government and ask for
more. It looks like no assessment of the risks by a private funder come
back looking good, and the only way nuclear plants can be built is with
government stepping into very risky projects that require taxpayers to
shoulder the risk.

The aversion from private investors may not only be
because of the rising costs, but also that the operating performance of the
proposed reactor is pretty poor (albeit partly due to earthquakes).

Notably Hitachi continues to be happy to spend many billions of pounds on power
grid investments, but not its own nuclear reactor, which it wants UK
taxpayers to fund. Major Japanese newspapers have opposed their own
taxpayers lending support to the Wylfa project, even though a home-grown
company would be getting the benefits.

 

And during the Xmas break, Japan’s
third largest newspaper called for the nuclear export strategy to be
abandoned. Another paper attacks the ‘bottomless swamp’ of nuclear
funding in UK and remarks upon how few countries seem to be following the
UK-style nuclear-focused policy. Reportedly Japanese government has asked
its development banks to fund the ‘nuclear export strategy’, and Wylfa
in particular, but they don’t want to. It is quite difficult to see how
Hitachi can manage the risks of this project without some home support, and
support in Japan is ebbing away.
https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/01/09/japan-uk-nuclear-plans-go-awry/

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January 12, 2019 Posted by | Japan, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Funding deadlock looks set to sink Japan’s last overseas nuclear project.

Nikkei Asian Review 11th Jan 2019 , Hitachi to suspend all work on UK nuclear plant. Funding deadlock looks set to sink Japan’s last overseas nuclear project. Hitachi plans to put a U.K.
nuclear power project on hold as negotiations with the British government over funding hit an impasse, all but closing the book on Tokyo’s vision for nuclear infrastructure exports.
The Japanese industrial conglomerate’s
board is expected to officially decide next week to suspend all work on the
plant, including design and preparations for construction. Hitachi will
freeze the roughly 300 billion yen ($2.77 billion) in assets held by its
British nuclear business and write down their value, likely booking a loss
of 200 billion yen to 300 billion yen for the fiscal year ending in March.
The move would bring to a halt Japan’s last active overseas nuclear project
after the news last month that a Japanese-led consortium including
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was scrapping a project in Turkey. With the
aversion to nuclear power that took hold after the March 2011 Fukushima
Daiichi disaster showing little sign of abating, prospects look grim for a
sector that the Japanese government had positioned as a pillar of its
infrastructure export drive. Hitachi had taken on the planned construction
of two reactors on the Welsh island of Anglesey after acquiring U.K.-based
Horizon Nuclear Power in 2012. The company is leaving the door open to a
return. The project is “not being abandoned,” a source close to Hitachi
told Nikkei, suggesting the company would keep an eye on the situation and
resume the project if possible.
While negotiations with London are
apparently set to continue, reworking the project to the extent Hitachi
requires will be no easy task. As things stand now, it appears likely that
the company will ultimately be forced to bow out.
https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Business-Deals/Hitachi-to-suspend-all-work-on-UK-nuclear-plant

January 12, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, UK | Leave a comment

JAPC denies granting local prior consent for Tokai reactor restart

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The Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, which is operated by the Japan Atomic Power Co.
January 8, 2019
Although telling six municipalities they have the right to prior consent before restarting the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant, operator Japan Atomic Power Co. (JAPC) is apparently reneging on that promise.
JAPC reached a draft agreement with the local governments to obtain their consent before restarting the Tokai No. 2 plant reactor in Ibaraki Prefecture, according to documents from Naka in the prefecture.
The documents, obtained by The Asahi Shimbun through an information disclosure request, detail the six years of negotiations between JAPC and the six local governments and a new safety agreement reached in March 2018.
The six are Tokai village, which hosts the plant, and the five surrounding cities of Hitachi, Hitachinaka, Naka, Hitachiota and Mito.
However, when asked by The Asahi Shimbun if the agreement contained a clause that JAPC would obtain prior consent from the six municipal governments on the restart, the company replied “No.” The six municipalities said the right to prior consent had been agreed upon.
JAPC has apparently changed its stance.
The new safety agreement, concluded on March 29, 2018, stipulates that when JAPC seeks to restart the Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant or extend its operation, it will effectively obtain prior approval from Tokai village and five surrounding municipalities.
The apparent break from tradition to give surrounding local municipalities the right of prior consent drew widespread attention as the “Ibaraki method.”
The concept of working out an agreement started in February 2012 when the heads of the six municipalities met to discuss nuclear power and local vitalization.
Tatsuya Murakami, then Tokai village chief, talked about the wide-ranging effects from the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
He said that the issue of whether to allow a restart of the Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant couldn’t be decided by Tokai village alone and that it was necessary for surrounding municipalities to have the same right.
However, JAPC rejected the proposal, saying that it needed to maintain a consistent approach with another nuclear plant it operates.
The negotiations continued, and in March 2017 the circumstances changed. In a meeting held that month, JAPC President Mamoru Muramatsu proposed a new safety agreement to the six municipalities.
As for their prior consent, he said, “We’ve determined that we can’t restart the nuclear plant until we obtain consent from the municipalities.”
The municipalities asked Muramatsu if that effectively meant they had the right to “prior consent.”
The JAPC president replied, “That’s correct.”
On Nov. 22, 2017, JAPC presented a new safety agreement, which included “effective prior consent,” in a meeting of the heads of the municipalities.
The municipalities again asked whether they had the right to prior consent. A JAPC official replied, “Yes.”
On Nov. 24, 2017, JAPC applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) for a 20-year extension of the operation of the nuclear plant. The deadline for the application was Nov. 28, 2017.
On Nov. 7, 2018, immediately after the NRA approved the 20-year extension, however, JAPC Vice President Nobutaka Wachi said, “The word ‘veto power’ can’t be found anywhere in the new agreement.”
The remark caused a backlash from the six municipalities, and Wachi apologized for his remark. However, relations between JAPC and the municipalities have deteriorated.
In the fall of 2018, The Asahi Shimbun conducted a survey of JAPC and the six municipalities. It asked them, “Is there anything in writing that states that JAPC must obtain prior consent from the six municipal governments in the new agreement?”
In response, JAPC said, “No.” A JAPC official explained, “The new agreement is a plan to effectively obtain prior consent from the six municipalities (by continuing to talk thoroughly with them until they grant their consent).”
The Asahi Shimbun told JAPC that official documents have a description that can be interpreted as granting the municipalities the right to prior consent.
The JAPC official said, “We will refrain from making a comment about the content of discussions from closed meetings.”

January 9, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Major financial group in Japan bans lending to those developing, making or possessing nuclear weapons 

Resona bans lending to those developing, making or possessing nuclear weapons https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190107/p2a/00m/0bu/024000c, January 7, 2019 (Mainichi Japan) TOKYO — Resona Holdings Inc., a major financial group in Japan, has announced a policy of not extending loans to borrowers that are involved in the development, production or possession of nuclear weapons.

January 8, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Japanese gov’t plan to export nuclear power technology to Turkey floundering

Japanese gov’t plan to export nuclear power technology floundering
 
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A planned nuclear plant construction site is seen in Sinop, northern Turkey, in this 2012 file photo.
 
TOKYO — The Japanese government’s strategy to export nuclear power technology has run aground amid rising safety costs and deteriorating prospects for project profitability. While the government has aimed to maintain the country’s nuclear technology and expert resources through construction of atomic reactors abroad amid stalled nuclear plant development at home, its projects with Turkey and Britain have both hit snags.
“The Turkish government is in the midst of evaluating the project. I believe it will respond to us in some way or other,” said Shunichi Miyanaga, president of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., in mid-December about a plan to build a nuclear power plant in Sinop, northern Turkey. Miyanaga’s comment suggested that the fate of the project had been left up to the Turkish government.
At the end of July last year, Mitsubishi Heavy told the Turkish government that the cost of the project would total somewhere around 5 trillion yen, more than doubling from the original estimate of roughly 2.1 trillion yen. As the plan envisages recovering the costs through profits from power generation at the nuclear facility, it would not become profitable unless Turkey purchases the generated electricity at a higher price than originally expected. If Turkey does not comply with the increased burden, Japan would withdraw from the plan.
The nuclear plant project was pitched by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2013. At the time, Abe vowed at a press conference in Ankara, “We will share our experiences and lessons from the (2011) disaster at the nuclear plant (run by the Tokyo Electric Power Co. in Fukushima) with the rest of the world, and will strive to contribute to enhancing the safety of nuclear power generation.”
However, the catastrophe prompted the international community to turn a wary eye toward nuclear power, leaving the costs for safety measures at nuclear plants to swell. The steep fall in the Turkish lira over the past year by more than 30 percent also added to the project’s deteriorating profitability.
Under these circumstances, Tokyo plans to propose to Ankara that it would provide comprehensive energy cooperation in such spheres as coal-fired thermal power generation and liquefied natural gas, in place of the atomic plant project. Because the nuclear power project is based on an agreement struck by both leaders, such a proposal by Tokyo could face a backlash from Ankara, but Japan’s focus is already shifting to how to withdraw from the project without undermining bilateral diplomatic ties with Turkey.
Meanwhile, a nuclear plant construction project undertaken by Hitachi Ltd. on the Isle of Anglesey in central Britain has also run into rough waters, after the project’s costs soared to approximately 3 trillion yen, about 1.5 times the initial estimate.
In May last year, Hitachi Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi held talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May, where the latter agreed to expand her government’s support for the project. However, British citizens have been wary of the scheme out of concern that it could lead to rising electricity bills should Japan’s request to raise the sale price of electricity be accepted.
As the May administration is suffering from sagging approval ratings amid turmoil over Britain’s exit from the European Union, it is becoming increasingly difficult for London to comply with an increased burden. At home, Japanese companies are also becoming more reluctant to invest in the project out of fears of poor profitability and accident risks. Given the circumstances, Tokyo is also likely to exit the project.
The Abe administration has made the export of nuclear power technology a pillar of its growth strategy, but to little avail thus far. While the government intends to pursue measures to counter China and Russia’s aggressive drive to export nuclear plants by stepping up financial support for partner countries and through other measures, such a strategy may end up bringing more harm than good.
“The empirical values of China and Russia, where nuclear power plants are still being built, are considerably high (compared with other countries including Japan),” said Tomoko Murakami of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan. In China, where 100 nuclear reactors are planned to be operational by 2030, state-owned companies are securing a spate of orders for nuclear power projects mainly in emerging countries, with the financial backing from the Chinese government. Russia also is said to undertake the whole process from leasing nuclear fuel to other countries to reprocessing their spent fuel, with the possible aim of boosting its diplomatic and security influence as well.
Officials in the Japanese nuclear power industry are finding a ray of hope in the Czech Republic’s plan to build a nuclear power plant, which has also attracted attention from China, Russia, South Korea and a joint venture of Mitsubishi Heavy and France’s Framatome. However, financial issues are again casting a shadow over the plan.
Tadashi Narabayashi, a specially appointed professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, warns that at this rate, “Japan would lose its own atomic power industry, and would have to import Chinese-made nuclear plants 20 years from now. It’s a critical situation.”
Meanwhile, a senior official of an economy-related government body said, “It is difficult for Japanese manufacturers, which can’t even build nuclear plants in their own country, to win confidence (abroad),” suggesting that the government’s strategy to export nuclear power technology in itself is unreasonable.
 
Gov’t to give up plan to export nuclear power reactors to Turkey
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In this Nov. 6, 2018 file photo, Japan’s Prime Minister Abe, right, shakes hands with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo.
 
TOKYO — Japan is expected to effectively withdraw its plans to build a nuclear power plant in Turkey by asking Ankara to inject a significantly larger amount of funds amid ballooning safety costs — a demand Turkey is likely to reject — according to people familiar with the decision.
The Japanese government decided to ask for the increased coverage by Turkey as a final condition for constructing the plant. Under the current proposal, the plant is to be built by ATMEA, a joint venture of Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) and French nuclear plant maker Framatome, near the Black Sea coastal town of Sinop in northern Turkey.
Besides the Turkish project, another plan to export nuclear power reactors to Britain by Hitachi Ltd. also faces difficulties. If both plans fail, a growth drive strategy of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will collapse.
The Turkish project has its roots in a 2013 joint declaration for cooperation over the construction of nuclear power plants signed by Prime Minister Abe and then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Under the original plan, four medium-sized ATMEA1 reactors would be built for the start of operation in 2023.
However, the total cost estimate conducted in July 2018 by MHI for the project more than doubled from the original projection of some 2.1 trillion yen to around 5 trillion yen. The price hike occurred amid rising safety costs following the 2011 triple core meltdowns that hit the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, as well as the finding of an active fault near the Sinop site. In addition, the Turkish lira has gone down since the summer of 2018, eroding the project’s profitability further. Tokyo therefore decided to increase the sale price of electricity to be generated by the new nuclear power station in a bid to recover project costs.
It is expected to be difficult for Ankara to accept the new condition, because it would mean the Turkish people would have to shoulder a greater financial burden. Japan and Turkey will effectively discuss how to arrange Japan’s departure from the project. In a bid to sustain their bilateral relationship, the Japanese government and MHI plan to propose to Turkey provision of high efficiency coal-fired power production technologies and other offers.
Meanwhile, Hitachi, which also manufactures nuclear reactors, has acknowledged that it faces difficulties in completing a project to build two nuclear reactors in Britain. Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi of the company told reporters in December that he informed the British government that the plan was “at a limit” due to a surge in project costs.
Both the Turkish and British projects have been pitched directly by Prime Minister Abe, but those once promising plans now appear to be falling apart.

January 7, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Japan losing hope for having a nuclear export industry

January 5, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Japan abandoning ambition to sell nuclear power reactors to Turkey

January 5, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Costs for scrapping 79 nuclear facilities estimated at 1.9 tril. Yen

Taxpayers will be paying the costs for scrapping nuclear facilities.
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December 27, 2018
TOKYO (Kyodo) — The state-backed Japan Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday it would need to spend about 1.9 trillion yen ($17.1 billion) to close 79 facilities over 70 years, in its first such estimate.
The total costs could increase further, as the agency said the estimated figure, which would be shouldered by taxpayers, excludes expenses for maintenance and replacing aging equipment.
The JAEA plans to close more than half of the 79 facilities over the next 10 years due in part to the increased costs to operate them under stricter safety rules introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis. The agency, which has led nuclear energy research in Japan with its predecessors since the 1950s, owns a total of 89 facilities.
Of the estimated costs, the expense for closing the nation’s first spent-fuel reprocessing plant in the village of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, accounts for the largest chunk of 770 billion yen. It will cost 150 billion yen to decommission the trouble-plagued Monju prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor.
As for nuclear waste, the agency said about 100 kiloliters of high-level radioactive waste and up to 114,000 kl of low-level radioactive waste were estimated to have been produced but it has yet to decide on disposal locations.
The Japanese government aims to restart nuclear power plants after a nationwide halt following the nuclear crisis, despite persistent concern over the safety of atomic power generation.

January 2, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Editorial: Japan must ditch nuclear plant exports for global trends in renewable energy

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December 25, 2018
Projects to export nuclear power plants, a pillar of the “growth strategy” promoted by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, appear to be crumbling.
Factors behind the failures include ballooning construction costs due to strengthened safety standards after the triple core meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in March 2011, and growing anti-nuclear sentiments around the world.
Nothing else can be said but that the export projects have effectively failed. The prime minister’s office and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry must bear the responsibility of continuing to promote these exports despite a massive change in the attitude toward nuclear power plants.
“We are really stretched to our limit,” Hitachi Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi recently said of the company’s nuclear power plant construction plan in Britain. The statement came at a regular press conference of the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, indicating that continuing the project is not feasible.
Hitachi coordinated closely with the Japanese government to advance the U.K. project. The company was to build two nuclear power reactors in midwestern Britain through a local subsidiary, and to start operating the facilities in the first half of the 2020s.
But, the total estimated cost of the project has skyrocketed from the initial figure of 2 trillion yen to 3 trillion yen due to growing safety measure costs. Hitachi, hoping to distribute financial risk, sought investments from major power utilities and other firms, but the negotiations hit a snag due to the lowered profitability of the project.
In a bid to secure profits at an early stage, Hitachi requested that the British government raise the price of the electricity to be generated by the plants, which was guaranteed to be purchased in advance. This arrangement also hit a wall as confusion spread in the British political sphere over the nation’s planned exit from the European Union. Hitachi, which has a stake in the local subsidiary, would lose some 300 billion yen if the project was cancelled.
Similar trouble has arisen in Turkey. A plan to export nuclear power plants, which began from a close relationship between Prime Minister Abe and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has also run aground.
Under the original plan, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and other businesses were to build four midsized reactors in Turkey along the coast of the Black Sea at a total estimated cost of 2.1 trillion yen. The amount has more than doubled to 5 trillion yen, due in part to increased cost estimates for earthquake-proof measures. This development now requires the Japanese and Turkish governments to extend additional financial support for the project, but the two sides have apparently failed to reach an agreement.
The Abe administration has thrown its weight behind the export of nuclear power plants as a major element of its economic “growth strategy,” with the trade ministry choreographing the moves for the projects. The ministry regards nuclear power generation as one of the main sources of power generation, always protecting and promoting the nuclear power industry.
However, after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, building such plants within Japan has become difficult, and the ministry hoped to maintain the size of the nuclear power industry through exports and the transference of relevant technologies and human resources to the next generation. But this has ignored the fact that international trends have shifted since the disaster.
The construction cost for nuclear power plants has grown exponentially with the increased focus on safety measures, while renewable energy sources such as solar power have become cheaper with the rapid expansion of their use. As such, the relative price competitiveness for nuclear power reactors has declined; it can no longer be called an “inexpensive energy source.”
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global investments for new nuclear power plant construction in 2017 dropped to 30 percent of the previous year’s figure. Global policy is moving away from nuclear power plants and instead tipping toward renewable energy sources.
The failure to reflect this trend led to the huge losses incurred by Toshiba Corp., which bought Westinghouse Electric Co. with backing from the trade ministry to pursue its troubled nuclear power projects in the United States.
In 2012, a national referendum in Lithuania voted down a project to build a Hitachi nuclear power plant, and then in 2016, Vietnam scrubbed a similar construction plan. The same year, Japan signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with India, eyeing exports of nuclear power plants despite concerns about the proliferation of nuclear materials to the nuclear weapon state outside of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Still, the export plan has yet to materialize. It is clear that the export of nuclear power plants has been backed into a corner for quite some time already.
It is Japan that caused one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents, and is now working on decommissioning the damaged reactors in a process that will take decades to complete. Many people in Japan hold deeply rooted feelings against the government’s placement of nuclear power plant exports as a pillar of the nation’s growth strategy.
In response, the government has simply justified the projects by saying they will contribute to developing countries with a growing power demand by offering a cheap source of power to support their economic growth. Rising construction costs, however, has rendered this explanation moot.
Japan still has many nuclear power plants to run, and the decommissioning of older plants will soon be in full-swing. The latest technology and skilled experts are vital for these projects to be completed successfully.
Continuing to focus on nuclear power export, however, will lead Japan nowhere. The government should take another look at global trends, and review the basis of its nuclear power policy to rid Japan of nuclear power as soon as possible.

December 27, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

5 Chiba prefecture mayors request radioactive waste storage facility for the 8th time

This is an ongoingly highly toxic and dangerous situation made even more difficult by lies and cover-ups and nuclear industry which owns way too many politicians.
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For the 8th time mayors from five cities in Chiba prefecture requested that the central government deal with high level radioactive waste in their cities: Matsudo, Kashiwa, Nagareyama, Abiko, Inzai.
Since 2011, the waste from the Fukushima disaster has been left in temporary storage locations.
The mayors began formally requesting the central government establish a long term storage facility for this waste in January. At the 8th meeting again requesting this assistance they left empty handed again.
Much of this waste consists of contaminated soil, plant matter and possibly dried sewage sludge or incinerator ash. It was not specified what waste streams would be stored in the requested facility. Much of the contaminated soil has been stored in empty lots, some of these near homes or schools, others in watershed areas.
Parts of Chiba received unexpected levels of contamination. Southerly winds at the time of some of the larger releases from the nuclear meltdowns caused contamination into parts of Chiba and Tokyo. Places hours away from a nuclear power plant can find themselves dealing with high radiation levels and contamination due to bad timing and a change of the wind.

December 27, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Enormous costs of shutting down Japan’s nuclear facilities

December 27, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Top court orders TEPCO to pay compensation for voluntary evacuation from Fukushima

December 18, 2018 (Mainichi Japan) TOKYO — The Supreme Court on Dec. 13 upheld the lower court ruling ordering Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to pay about 16 million yen in compensation to a man in his 40s and his family that voluntarily evacuated Fukushima Prefecture to western Japan after the 2011 nuclear disaster.

December 24, 2018 Posted by | Japan, legal | Leave a comment

Sun setting on Japan’s nuclear export sector

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December 16, 2018
Post-Fukushima cost overruns may kill a giant power project in Turkey, and there are few other deals to replace it
Japan’s nuclear export industry could be dealt a fatal blow if Mitsubishi Heavy Industries pulls out of a massive project to build four large power plants on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, as reports have suggested.
The Sinop plant project in Turkey was seen as Japan’s best chance for an industry – battered and bruised after the 2011 tsunami and triple meltdown at Fukushima – to put together a workable export strategy that did not break the bank of potential international customers.
Aside from Sinop, the Japanese industry has only one viable export project still upcoming: Hitachi’s bid to build two reactors on the island of Anglesey in Britain. And even that deal is looking shaky.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has not pulled the plug yet on its stake in the four-reactor project on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, but a slew of domestic media reports and talk in Tokyo, suggests that, in the face of seemingly ever-rising construction costs to meet new safety standards that have been put in place since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the company will bail.
Fukushima legacy
When the deal was signed with Ankara in 2013, the ownership profile was: 65% awarded to a consortium made up of MHI, Itochu, France’s Areva, and GDF Suez. The other 35% was covered by Turkey’s electric power utility, Elektrik Uretim.
However, in April, Itochu pulled out of the consortium, citing cost overruns. That left the consortium with 51%, and the remaining 49% owned by the Turkish utility.
Without Mitsubishi the viability of the project is in question, sources say, unless Turkey can find a new partner or is willing to take on the project without its largest foreign partner. The Russians, who are building a nuclear complex on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast, might be interested.
According to Kyodo, a thorough cost evaluation was to be completed by the end of this year. Itochu waited for the report to be released before bailing out of the deal. MHI is apparently waiting for the study to be completed before deciding its next move.
When the deal with Mitsubishi was signed in 2013, the estimated cost was $18 billion for four 1,100-megawatt nuclear power plants. But overall costs have soared, passing $42 billion in April – when Itochu withdrew, and is now put at about $44 billion.
Cost increases are nothing new in the nuclear power industry, but have been exacerbated in recent years by expensive adjustments phased in to meet more stringent safety concerns following the earthquake and tsunami that destroyed four units of the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The Sinop cost rises, however, also encompass other problems encountered in construction.
Fukushima, one of the most serious nuclear accidents in history, turned most of Japan against nuclear power. Before March 11, 2011, Japan had 54 nuclear plants. All were shut down after the accident and some are slowly returning to service having passed scrutiny by the regulator. Five are expected to restart within the next five years, and eight will likely be decommissioned. But prospects for the remaining plants are unclear.
Aware that no new nuclear plant may ever be built at home amid the anti-atomic public mood, Japan’s nuclear vendors have turned to overseas exports as the Fukushima accident does not appear to have destroyed the Japanese industry brand in other countries.
Endgame for nuclear exports?
If Mitsubishi does pull out of the huge project in Turkey it will be a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who sees international exports of nuclear technology as an important way to boost the economy. On his many trips abroad, he often acts as a salesman for nuclear exports. For example, it was a topic of discussion with Turkish President Recep Erdogan on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in Argentina.
Details of the conversation were not revealed, but it would be a good bet that they discussed the Sinop project with the threat of Mitsubishi hanging over them, and that Abe sought ways to keep the project viable.
Meanwhile, it is not just MHI that may have doubts about the sector. Japan’s nuclear export industry has suffered plenty of setbacks in the seven years since Fukushima. Questions about the future of the sector hang over all three main players in the sector.
Toshiba, one of Japan’s big-three nuclear constructors, recently pulled out of the nuclear power business overseas after incurring huge losses in the United States.
Toshiba has also suffered something of an administrative meltdown in its quest to win construction contracts in the US. In February it finally unloaded it money-losing American subsidiary, Westinghouse, for $1 billion less than it paid to acquire the company 10 years ago.
If the export program is to remain viable, it may be in Wales, where the British government is seeking to build a two-reactor nuclear power plant on the island of Anglesey. Among those bidding for the project is Japan’s third nuclear constructor, Hitachi, through a subsidiary called Horizon Nuclear.
In the nuclear world, there are constructors – like MHI, Toshiba and Hitachi – and operators, who run the plant after it is completed, and they are not always the same. Japan learned from Korea’s successful bid to build six nuclear plants in the United Arab Emirates that offering to build and also run them – a one-stop service – is key to making sales.
Hitachi is teaming up with the Japan Atomic Power Company, which operates two plants in Japan (although both are currently shut down pending the review by regulators). The plan is to present the British with a package deal.
Now, there are worries that Hitachi might pull out of the British project. Chairman Hiroaka Nakanishi was quoted in the Times of London saying his company was “facing an extreme situation,” and that a final decision on whether to stay with the project or leave it will be made next year.
If Mitsubishi does, as is widely expected, pull out of the huge project in Turkey, the only egg left in Japan’s overseas nuclear export basket will be Wales.

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Move to amend nuclear damage law will push the burden of risk on citizens: CNIC

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December 8, 2018
An important statement by Tokyo-based Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center(CNIC).
 
On November 2, a bill for the partial amendment of the Compensation for Nuclear Damage Act (hereafter, CND) was submitted to the Diet.
In the first place, this CND amendment is based on supplementary regulations demanding “a drastic review including an amendment of CND at the earliest possible date” and “necessary measures from the viewpoint of minimizing the burden on the people of the nation” when the Nuclear Damage Compensation Facilitation Corporation Act was deliberated in the Diet in 2011. Further, both houses of the Diet limited “at the earliest possible date” to “around a year” and determined, by supplementary decisions attached to that act, that “deliberations to clarify the nature of liability in Article 3 of CND and the nature of the government’s liability including the nature of compensatory payments in Article 7 of CND” should also be carried out. In 2015, however, a specialist committee on the nuclear compensation system was set up within the Atomic Energy Commission, and even after serious deliberations had begun progress was extremely slow. It was not until October 30, 2018 that a final draft was approved.
The main points of the draft amendment are: 1) Nuclear power plant (NPP) operators are mandated to prepare and publish a new damage compensation implementation policy, 2) Creation of a system for the government to lend funds to the operator for early compensation (provisional payments) to affected persons before the start of the main compensation payments, 3) In the case that alternative dispute resolution (ADR) by the Nuclear Damage Dispute Reconciliation Committee is terminated, it will be deemed that an appeal has been submitted at the time of the request for settlement mediation if the appeal is brought before the court within one month after the notification of termination of ADR, and 4) The compensatory fund is to be left unchanged at 120 billion yen.
It is surprising that 1) is not already being carried out by NPP operators. At the time of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident the government had already devised measures similar to 2) for provisional compensation in the Act on Emergency Measures for Damage due to Nuclear Accidents. 3) can be said to be rational since there has been a series of cases in which the nuclear business side has rejected settlement proposals. On the other hand, the content of 4) is strikingly problematic since it does nothing to adjust the astoundingly miserly current compensatory fund of 120 billion yen in the face of the estimated 22 trillion yen in damages for the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
Originally, CND began as an exemption of makers from liability due to nuclear accidents in order to encourage the construction of nuclear power plants. The discussions in the latest series of reviews have progressed with no mention of this point, but in fact we believe the specialist committee should have taken one step further and questioned the liability of nuclear reactor makers.
Looking back on the deliberations for the Nuclear Damage Compensation Facilitation Corporation Act, where the argument began, it can be seen that there was a shared understanding that the compensatory fund of 120 billion yen was inadequate. Even in the specialist committee, there was general agreement among the committee members on the point that the amount of the compensatory fund should be raised. At the same time, the executive director of the Japan Atomic Energy Insurance Pool (JAEIP), committee member Tetsuro Kihara, stated at the fifth committee meeting, “A five or ten trillion level is simply impossible…. but the idea of lifting the current 120 billion yen to a level of 150 or 200 billion yen is a different question.” While making this statement, which appears to suggest that there is a margin for raising the level of the compensatory fund, he made an about-face at the 17th meeting by denying that there was any margin for raising the amount of the fund by stating, “The conclusion is that, as far as the insurance industry is concerned, it would be extremely difficult to raise the fund above 120 billion yen.” The nuclear business operators themselves also opposed a raise.
However, it is quite clear, firstly, that it is impossible for JAEIP to hold a mammoth sum of 22 trillion yen in insurance money. If so, while considering raising the amount of the compensatory fund, and to minimize the burden on the people of the nation, rather than maintain the compensation scheme with the premise of allowing the nuclear business operators to continue to exist, based on the Act on the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation, it should have been necessary to devise a new compensation scheme based on the 22 trillion yen in damages arising from the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident that did not necessarily insist on the continued existence of the nuclear business operator. With the specialist committee unable to get a grasp on this problem, we are left with the unavoidable question of what on earth the committee, and the Atomic Energy Commission which led it, had been doing for three years, after which they simply threw the ball back at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).
In the meantime, on October 25, just before the conclusion was reached, MEXT, under whose jurisdiction CND lies, stated at a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology section meeting that it had accepted the CND amendment. This constitutes an extremely grave problem from the viewpoint of procedure. Why should MEXT be going to an LDP section meeting to give explanations without having received the conclusion of the specialist committee? It is impossible for both MEXT and the specialist committee to avoid censure for their disrespect for deliberations.
CND is directly linked with the problem of the interests of citizens regarding how nuclear energy risks are distributed under the unlimited liability of nuclear business operators. If NPPs are to be operated on just a very small burden, the risk of “cheap NPPs” is essentially borne by the citizens. The bill for the amendment utterly fails to resolve this problem and would allow NPPs to be operated with the citizenry, as ever, bearing the huge risk involved. Implementing deregulation of the power industry while accepting that it is fine to push this enormous risk onto the citizens greatly alleviates the burden on nuclear business operators and will lead to a serious deterioration in the competitive environment.
The U.S. Price–Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act concentrates liability for damage due to a nuclear accident on the operator regardless of whether the fault lies with the operator or not, and also established a system whereby a ceiling of 1.5 trillion yen is guaranteed through a mutual assistance system between operators. At the same time, the act also states (42 U.S. Code § 2210 (i) (2) (B)) that in the event of an amount exceeding this, funds from industrial circles and others will be considered. In the case of the U.S., the amount of damages in the Three Mile Island nuclear accident did not exceed the amount of the compensatory fund. In Japan, however, damages arising from the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, even by government estimates, will total roughly 22 trillion yen (including the cost of decommissioning). As provision against further accidents, the mutual assistance among the operators, based on the current Act on the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation, will be totally inadequate.
The current legal amendment began from a demand to consider the law from the viewpoint of minimizing the burden on the people of the nation. If so, while it is natural to maintain the unlimited liability, and based on the premise of the damage arising from the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, a mutual assistance system should be set up to include not only the operators but all those in nuclear power industry circles who have profited from the nuclear energy business thus far in sharing the burden. This is the duty that should be borne by the operators and nuclear power industry circles who have expanded a business that has the potential to cause the horrendous damage we have seen from just one accident. If they cannot do this because they believe the risk is too high, the only option is for the operators to withdraw from the nuclear power business.
 http://www.dianuke.org/japans-move-to-amend-nuclear-damage-law-will-push-the-burden-of-risk-on-citizens-cnic/?fbclid=IwAR3hy-xr5E8-KBPpbZpSA7yW9vx3oCVemiLS-FDlGI9s4mh3bG8E0jJiF1g

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear export industry about to get the fatal blow

Sun setting on Japan’s nuclear export sector http://www.atimes.com/article/sun-setting-on-japans-nuclear-export-sector/

Post-Fukushima cost overruns may kill a giant power project in Turkey, and there are few other deals to replace it

 DECEMBER 16, 2018    Japan’s nuclear export industry could be dealt a fatal blow if Mitsubishi Heavy Industries pulls out of a massive project to build four large power plants on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, as reports have suggested.

The Sinop plant project in Turkey was seen as Japan’s best chance for an industry – battered and bruised after the 2011 tsunami and triple meltdown at Fukushima – to put together a workable export strategy that did not break the bank of potential international customers.

Aside from Sinop, the Japanese industry has only one viable export project still upcoming: Hitachi’s bid to build two reactors on the island of Anglesey in Britain. And even that deal is looking shaky.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has not pulled the plug yet on its stake in the four-reactor project on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, but a slew of domestic media reports and talk in Tokyo, suggests that, in the face of seemingly ever-rising construction costs to meet new safety standards that have been put in place since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the company will bail.

Fukushima legacy

When the deal was signed with Ankara in 2013, the ownership profile was: 65% awarded to a consortium made up of MHI, Itochu, France’s Areva, and GDF Suez. The other 35% was covered by Turkey’s electric power utility, Elektrik Uretim.

However, in April, Itochu pulled out of the consortium, citing cost overruns. That left the consortium with 51%, and the remaining 49% owned by the Turkish utility.

Without Mitsubishi the viability of the project is in question, sources say, unless Turkey can find a new partner or is willing to take on the project without its largest foreign partner. The Russians, who are building a nuclear complex on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast, might be interested.

According to Kyodo, a thorough cost evaluation was to be completed by the end of this year. Itochu waited for the report to be released before bailing out of the deal. MHI is apparently waiting for the study to be completed before deciding its next move.

When the deal with Mitsubishi was signed in 2013, the estimated cost was $18 billion for four 1,100-megawatt nuclear power plants. But overall costs have soared, passing $42 billion in April – when Itochu withdrew, and is now put at about $44 billion.

Cost increases are nothing new in the nuclear power industry, but have been exacerbated in recent years by expensive adjustments phased in to meet more stringent safety concerns following the earthquake and tsunami that destroyed four units of the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The Sinop cost rises, however, also encompass other problems encountered in construction.

Fukushima, one of the most serious nuclear accidents in history, turned most of Japan against nuclear power. Before March 11, 2011, Japan had 54 nuclear plants. All were shut down after the accident and some are slowly returning to service having passed scrutiny by the regulator. Five are expected to restart within the next five years, and eight will likely be decommissioned. But prospects for the remaining plants are unclear.

Aware that no new nuclear plant may ever be built at home amid the anti-atomic public mood, Japan’s nuclear vendors have turned to overseas exports as the Fukushima accident does not appear to have destroyed the Japanese industry brand in other countries.

Endgame for nuclear exports?

If Mitsubishi does pull out of the huge project in Turkey it will be a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who sees international exports of nuclear technology as an important way to boost the economy. On his many trips abroad, he often acts as a salesman for nuclear exports. For example, it was a topic of discussion with Turkish President Recep Erdogan on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in Argentina.

Details of the conversation were not revealed, but it would be a good bet that they discussed the Sinop project with the threat of Mitsubishi hanging over them, and that Abe sought ways to keep the project viable.

Meanwhile, it is not just MHI that may have doubts about the sector. Japan’s nuclear export industry has suffered plenty of setbacks in the seven years since Fukushima. Questions about the future of the sector hang over all three main players in the sector.

Toshiba, one of Japan’s big-three nuclear constructors, recently pulled out of the nuclear power business overseas after incurring huge losses in the United States.

Toshiba has also suffered something of an administrative meltdown in its quest to win construction contracts in the US. In February it finally unloaded it money-losing American subsidiary, Westinghouse, for $1 billion less than it paid to acquire the company 10 years ago.

If the export program is to remain viable, it may be in Wales, where the British government is seeking to build a two-reactor nuclear power plant on the island of Anglesey. Among those bidding for the project is Japan’s third nuclear constructor, Hitachi, through a subsidiary called Horizon Nuclear.

In the nuclear world, there are constructors – like MHI, Toshiba and Hitachi – and operators, who run the plant after it is completed, and they are not always the same. Japan learned from Korea’s successful bid to build six nuclear plants in the United Arab Emirates that offering to build and also run them – a one-stop service – is key to making sales.

Hitachi is teaming up with the Japan Atomic Power Company, which operates two plants in Japan (although both are currently shut down pending the review by regulators). The plan is to present the British with a package deal.

Now, there are worries that Hitachi might pull out of the British project. Chairman Hiroaka Nakanishi was quoted in the Times of London saying his company was “facing an extreme situation,” and that a final decision on whether to stay with the project or leave it will be made next year.

If Mitsubishi does, as is widely expected, pull out of the huge project in Turkey, the only egg left in Japan’s overseas nuclear export basket will be Wales.

December 18, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, politics | Leave a comment