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Vietnamese trainees sue Fukushima firm over nuclear decontamination work

Vietnamese trainees sue Fukushima firm over decontamination work, September 5, 2019 (Mainichi Japan, TOKYO (Kyodo) — Three Vietnamese men on a foreign trainee program in Japan have sued a construction company for making them conduct radioactive decontamination work related to the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture without prior explanation, supporters of the plaintiffs said Wednesday.

The lawsuit, dated Tuesday and filed with a branch of the Fukushima District Court, demanded that Hiwada Co., based in Koriyama in the northeastern Japan prefecture, pay a total of about 12.3 million yen in damages, according to the supporters.

The case is the latest in a string of inappropriate practices under the Japanese government’s Technical Intern Training Program which has been often criticized as a cover for cheap labor.

According to Zentouitsu Workers Union, a Tokyo-based labor union that supports foreign trainees, Hiwada made the plaintiffs conduct decontamination work in the cities of Koriyama and Motomiya in Fukushima Prefecture between 2016 and 2018……. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190905/p2g/00m/0na/014000c
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September 7, 2019 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Japan nowhere near solving the problem of Fukushima nuclear waste water

Japan briefs diplomats on Fukushima nuclear water concerns,   https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/japan-briefs-diplomats-fukushima-nuclear-water-concerns-65376017  Japan tried to reassure foreign diplomats Wednesday about safety at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant amid concerns about massive amounts of treated but radioactive water stored in tanks.

Diplomats from 22 countries and regions attended a briefing at the Foreign Ministry, where Japanese officials stressed the importance of combating rumors about safety at the plant, which was decimated by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami, while pledging transparency.

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, said last month that it would run out of storage space for the water in 2022, prompting South Korea to raise safety questions amid tensions with Japan that have intensified over trade and history. South Korea was among those represented at Wednesday’s briefing.

Water must be continuously pumped into the four melted reactors at the plant so the fuel inside can be kept cool, and radioactive water has leaked from the reactors and mixed with groundwater and rainwater since the disaster.

The plant has accumulated more than 1 million tons of water in nearly 1,000 tanks. The water has been treated but still contains some radioactive elements. One, tritium — a relative of radiation-emitting hydrogen — cannot be separated.

Tritium is not unique to Fukushima’s melted reactors and is not harmful in low doses, and water containing it is routinely released from nuclear power plants around the world, including in South Korea, officials say.

The water has been a source of concern, sparking rumors about safety, especially as Japan tries to get countries to lift restrictions on food imports from the Fukushima area ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Import restrictions are still in place in 22 countries and regions, including South Korea and China.

“In order to prevent harmful rumors about the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant from being circulated, we believe it is extremely important to provide scientific and accurate information,” Yumiko Hata, a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry official in charge of the Fukushima accident response, said at the briefing. “We appreciate your understanding of the situation and continuing support for the decommissioning work at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.”

Officials said there were no complaints from the diplomats Wednesday about Japan’s handling of the water.

More than eight years after the accident, Japan has yet to decide what to do with the radioactive water. A government-commissioned panel has picked five options, including the controlled release of the water into the Pacific Ocean.

As disputes between Japan and neighboring South Korea escalated over export controls and colonial-era labor used by Japanese companies, Seoul last month announced plans to step up radiation tests of Japanese food products, and asked about the contaminated water and the possibility of its release into the sea.

Experts say the tanks pose flooding and radiation risks and hamper decontamination efforts at the plant. Nuclear scientists, including members the International Atomic Energy Agency and Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority, have recommended the water’s controlled release into the sea as the only realistic option scientifically and financially. Local residents oppose this, saying the release would trigger rumors of contamination, which would spell doom for Fukushima’s fishing and agriculture industries.

The panel recently added a sixth option of long-term storage.

September 5, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, water | Leave a comment

New tactics from TEPCO to get Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP reopening approval

Japan’s Tepco weighs retiring some reactors at massive plant
Dismantling one or more units geared to easing local opposition to resuming operations
https _s3-ap-northeast-1.amazonaws.com_psh-ex-ftnikkei-3937bb4_images_2_2_6_7_22267622-1-eng-GB_nukes
When fully operational, Tepco’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa facility is the largest nuclear power plant in the world.
August 24, 2019
TOKYO — Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings is considering decommissioning one or more of the seven reactors at a key nuclear power plant in northern Japan, Nikkei has learned, as it attempts to ease community pushback against restarting it.
Tepco will not aim to reactivate all of the No. 1 through No. 5 reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa in Niigata Prefecture — meltdown-hit Fukushima Prefecture’s western neighbor. It will instead pick at least one of them to dismantle after restarting the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors, as approved by the central government. Tepco President Tomoaki Kobayakawa is expected to convey that intent to Masahiro Sakurai, mayor of the city of Kashiwazaki, in meetings on Monday.
The plant — the world’s largest when fully operational — is undergoing separate checks led by the prefectural government, leaving the time frame for a restart unclear.
The utility hopes that offering a plan for decommissioning down the road, as Sakurai has demanded, will help win over locals for its efforts to restart the two greenlit reactors, an important step in improving its financial health.
Tepco decided in late July to retire all its remaining reactors in Fukushima Prefecture on top of the ongoing decommissioning of disaster-stricken Fukushima Daiichi, the site of the 2011 meltdown resulting from a massive earthquake and tsunami. Coming on the heels of July’s move, the utility judged that issues of manpower and finance would preclude immediately moving to dismantle parts of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa.
In June 2017, Sakurai asked that Tepco present a plan for dismantling at least one of reactors No. 1 through No. 5 within two years as a condition for restarting No. 6 and No. 7. Tepco has missed that deadline. Restarting the two reactors, which passed central-government safety inspections in December 2017, would likely create an easier environment for tackling the problem.
Tepco aims to shoulder the costs of decommissioning Fukushima Daiichi and paying out compensation. An outflow of customers on its capital-area home turf has left it in worsening financial straits. It hopes for relief from Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, where each reactor it restarts is expected to provide a roughly 100 billion yen ($939 million) shot in the arm per year.

September 1, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

The village of Iitate – nuclear tragedy, and Fukushima’s black snow

August 31, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference | Leave a comment

Japan to decommission reactors at world’s biggest nuclear plant?

Japan may decommission reactors at world’s biggest nuclear plant,  https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/japan-decommission-reactors-world-biggest-nuclear-plant-190826074851152.html  

Plant operator Tepco says it may start decommissioning at least one reactor five years after restarting two others.  Japan‘s Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) said  on Monday it may start to decommission at least one nuclear reactor at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power plant, the world’s biggest nuclear plant by capacity, within five years of restarting two of the reactors at the site.Tepco President Tomoaki Kobayakawa made the comments in a statement outlining its response to a request for plans on the station’s future by the government of the city of Kashiwazaki in Niigata prefecture, where the plant is located.

In 2017, Tepco received initial regulatory approval from the Japanese government to restart reactors 6 and 7 at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, each with a capacity of 1,356 megawatts (MW). The plant site has seven reactors with a total capacity of 8,212MW, equal to 20 percent of Japan’s nuclear capacity.

The facility is Tepco’s last remaining nuclear plant after it announced plans to shut its Fukushima Daini station, near the Fukushima Daichi plant where a massive earthquake and tsunami caused the meltdown of three of the site’s reactors in 2011.

Kashiwazaki’s Mayor Masahiro Sakurai demanded in 2017 that Tepco submit plans to shut at least one of reactors 1 to 5 in return for approval of the restart of reactors 6 and 7, a city official told the Reuters news agency by phone on Monday. The Kashiwazaki mayor will take about a month to evaluate Tepco’s plan, the official said.

Tepco said on Friday that Kobayakawa would brief local officials on Monday about its answers to the city’s request.

Tepco may take steps to decommission more than one of reactors 1 to 5 within five years after the restart of reactors 6 and 7 if it is confident it can secure enough non-fossil fuel energy sources, according to the statement.

A Tepco official said on Monday the company is aiming to have renewable and nuclear power produce 44 percent of total output by 2030.

Tepco has been trying to convince local authorities near Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, who have sign-off rights on nuclear restarts, that it has overcome operational failings revealed at Fukushima.

Eight years ago, nearly 20,000 people died in an earthquake and tsunami that precipitated what became Japan’s worst nuclear disaster. At least 160,000 people were forced to leave their contaminated homes.

In April, Japan partially lifted an evacuation order in one of the two towns, Okuma, for the first time since the disaster, but many former residents are still reluctant to return.

The other town, Futaba, remains off-limits, as are several other towns nearby.

August 26, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

International concern growing over Fukushima’s radioactive contamination of surface-level soil

The danger of sourcing food and material from the Fukushima region   Ground-level nuclear disasters leave much more radioactive fallout than Tokyo is willing to admit   Hankyoreh  By Seok Kwang-hoon, energy policy consultant of Green Korea   Aug.25,2019 International concerns are growing over the Japanese government’s plans to provide meals from the Fukushima area to squads participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The starting point for the Olympic torch relay, and even the baseball stadium, were placed near the site of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. It seems to be following the model of the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, where Japan’s rise from the ashes of the atomic bombs was underscored by having a young man born the day of the Hiroshima bombing act serve as the relay’s last runner. Here we can see the Shinzo Abe administration’s fixation on staging a strained Olympic reenactment of the stirring Hiroshima comeback – only this time from Fukushima.

But in terms of radiation damages, there is a world of difference between Hiroshima and Fukushima. Beyond the initial mass casualties and the aftereffects suffered by the survivors, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima resulted in little additional radiation exposure. Nuclear technology being as crude as it was back then, only around one kilogram of the Hiroshima bomb’s 64kg of highly enriched uranium actually underwent any reaction, resulting in a relatively small generation of nuclear fission material.
Whereas ground-based nuclear testing results in large quantities of radioactive fallout through combining with surface-level soil, the Hiroshima bomb exploded at an altitude of 580m, and the superheated nuclear fission material rose up toward the stratosphere to spread out around the planet, so that the amount of fallout over Japan was minimal. Even there, most of the nuclides had a short half-life (the amount of time it takes for half the total atoms in radioactive material to decay); manganese-56, which has a half-life of three hours, was the main cause of the additional radiation damages, which were concentrated during the day or so just after the bomb was dropped. The experience of Nagasaki was similar. As a result, both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were able to fully resume as functioning cities by the mid-1950s without additional decontamination efforts.
Ground-level nuclear disasters leave much more radioactive fallout than Tokyo is willing to admit
nternational concerns are growing over the Japanese government’s plans to provide meals from the Fukushima area to squads participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The starting point for the Olympic torch relay, and even the baseball stadium, were placed near the site of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. It seems to be following the model of the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, where Japan’s rise from the ashes of the atomic bombs was underscored by having a young man born the day of the Hiroshima bombing act serve as the relay’s last runner. Here we can see the Shinzo Abe administration’s fixation on staging a strained Olympic reenactment of the stirring Hiroshima comeback – only this time from Fukushima.But in terms of radiation damages, there is a world of difference between Hiroshima and Fukushima.
Beyond the initial mass casualties and the aftereffects suffered by the survivors, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima resulted in little additional radiation exposure. Nuclear technology being as crude as it was back then, only around one kilogram of the Hiroshima bomb’s 64kg of highly enriched uranium actually underwent any reaction, resulting in a relatively small generation of nuclear fission material. Whereas ground-based nuclear testing results in large quantities of radioactive fallout through combining with surface-level soil, the Hiroshima bomb exploded at an altitude of 580m, and the superheated nuclear fission material rose up toward the stratosphere to spread out around the planet, so that the amount of fallout over Japan was minimal. Even there, most of the nuclides had a short half-life (the amount of time it takes for half the total atoms in radioactive material to decay); manganese-56, which has a half-life of three hours, was the main cause of the additional radiation damages, which were concentrated during the day or so just after the bomb was dropped. The experience of Nagasaki was similar. As a result, both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were able to fully resume as functioning cities by the mid-1950s without additional decontamination efforts…… http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_editorial/907055.html

August 26, 2019 Posted by | environment, Japan, Reference | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s radiation increases over time

August 26, 2019 Posted by | environment, Japan, Reference | Leave a comment

South Korea might make own food arrangements for Fukushima Olympic events

South Korea concerned over food safety at Olympics with events slated for Fukushima
Talks to take place over food provision at Tokyo Games
Fukushima to host baseball and softball games next year,
Guardian   Justin McCurry in Tokyo, Thu 22 Aug 2019 South Korea is considering making its own arrangements to feed its athletes at next year’s Tokyo Olympics, citing concerns over the safety of food from Fukushima, media reports said.

In addition, South Korean sports authorities have requested that international groups be permitted to monitor radiation levels during the 2020 Games.

Food safety concerns in South Korea have grown since Fukushima city was chosen to host six softball games and one baseball game next summer. Fukushima prefecture will also be the location for the start of the domestic leg of the Olympic torch relay, beginning next March.

Tokyo Olympics organisers said South Korea’s National Olympic Committee had sent a letter expressing concern at the possibility of produce grown in Fukushima prefecture being served to athletes in the Olympic village. ……

Bloomberg reported that the Korea Sport and Olympic Committee is to request international organisations such as Greenpeace be allowed to monitor radiation levels at Olympic venues. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/aug/22/south-korea-concerned-over-food-safety-at-olympics-with-events-slated-for-fukushima

August 24, 2019 Posted by | Japan, South Korea | 1 Comment

Warning on radiation risks at some parts of Fukushima, for Olympic Games 2020

[Herald Interview] Sports bodies need to make own assessments of Fukushima: Greenpeace nuclear specialist,    http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20190821000749 By Kim Bo-gyung  (lisakim425@heraldcorp.com)    Nuclear specialist warns of unknown long-term health, environmental risks from Japan’s radioactive water disposal plan  Aug 21, 2019  With less than a year to go until the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, concerns are growing over the safety of the baseball and softball venues in disaster-hit Fukushima.

Seeking to break away from Japan’s association with high levels of radioactivity, the Abe government has branded the 2020 Olympics the “Recovery Games.”

But health and environmental risks from high levels of radiation persist in parts of Fukushima after the 2011 nuclear meltdown.

According to Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, those visiting Fukushima for the Summer Games next year should take a proactive approach to educating themselves on which areas of Fukushima are affected by radiation and on the impact of exposure to radiation.

  • “In terms of safety, there are certain areas of Fukushima where we would certainly not advise athletes or spectators to spend any time. Those are areas particularly close to the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, including where the torch processions will be taking place,” Burnie said in an interview with The Korea Herald at Greenpeace Korea’s office in central Seoul last week.

    “They are areas that are not safe for people to live. If you visit, you need to follow a radiation protocol. It is a bizarre situation that you are having Olympic events where people are concerned about radiation,” he added.

    While noting that not all parts of Fukushima should be off limits, Burnie said athletes and sports bodies need to seek independent assessments on Fukushima, rather than relying on information provided by the Japanese government.
    “It’s dangerous to just dismiss the whole of Fukushima as a radioactive disaster zone. It’s much more complex than that. The first thing is … don’t trust the Japanese government, educate yourself. If you’re an organizing body, get independent verification and independent information about what the relative radiation levels are, what the risks are,” Burnie said.

    As the senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, Burnie has followed the Japanese government’s handling of the tsunami and earthquake in March 2011 that resulted in the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.

    In a report published in January, Burnie alleged that Tokyo plans to dispose of some 1 million metric tons of contaminated water by discharging it into the Pacific Ocean after the Summer Olympics.

    If Japan follows through with the move, radioactive water is expected to be present in Korea’s East Sea a year later.

    “For the past five years we’ve been accessing the process, the discussions, the documents submitted by Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company) … we were reviewing some of Tepco’s data (last year) and we looked at it and went ‘there is something wrong here with Tepco’s processing,’” Burnie said.

    “It became very clear there has been bad decisions made, not really surprising, by Tepco, by the (Japanese) government over the last five or six years and how to manage the water crisis.”

    Last year Tepco acknowledged its Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS, had failed to purify contaminated water stored in tanks at the Dai-ichi power plant.

    A committee under Japan’s Ministry of Economy in 2016 put together five scenarios for the Japanese government to deal with the massive volume of pollutants stored at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

    The amount of water stored at the plant is to reach its full capacity of 1.3 million tons by the end of 2020, with about 170 tons accumulating daily.

    According to Burnie, Tokyo has chosen to discharge the radioactive water instead of acting on any of the other four suggestions because “it is the most cheap and fast.”

    Besides increased levels of radioactive cesium found in Fukushima and in the East Sea, Burnie warned of “cesium-rich micro particles” extremely small in size and inhaled through breathing.

    Cesium is one of the largest sources of radioactivity from the 2011 disaster and has a half-life of 30 years.

    “There is evidence from samples … some scientific literature has published the results and they found concentrations of these particles in areas 20-30 kilometers from the plant. … The problem is these particles can be inhaled. Then some of them lodge inside your lung at which point you are getting an internal dose, a very focused, very localized, relatively high-exposure dose to individual cells,” Burnie said.

    “That’s a real problem because there is very little known about how cesium in that form will affect your long-term health. … Again, the people most at risk are those returning to live in areas of Fukushima affected by these particles. But the Japanese government has not taken into account in any of its assessments what those risks are,” he added.

    Stressing that the risks of exposure to radiation should not be exaggerated, Burnie noted there is no safe level of radiation exposure and the long-term effects are unknown.

    “The effects you will only see over decades. It won’t be instant, it’s not an acute radiation exposure, it’s low-level radiation,” Burnie said.

    “The country that will be next impacted will be Korea, because it’s the geographically closest. … There is no safe threshold for radiation exposure. … Why should you be exposed when there is a clear alternative, which is you store?”

August 22, 2019 Posted by | environment, Japan | Leave a comment

Japan to report that North Korea can now miniaturise nuclear warheads

North Korea now able to miniaturise nuclear warheads – Japan defence report

Upcoming review out of Tokyo will reportedly say missile programme poses ‘serious and imminent threat’ Guardian  Justin McCurry in Tokyo  21 Aug 19, Japan’s government will reportedly state that North Korea is capable of miniaturising nuclear warheads in a forthcoming defence report, it has emerged.

Tokyo will upgrade its estimate of the regime’s nuclear capability, having said last year only that the technical feat was a possibility, the conservative Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said on Wednesday, without citing sources.

The defence report will maintain Japan’s contention that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes pose a “serious and imminent threat” to its security after recent meetings between Donald Trump and the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, failed to make progress on denuclearisation. The report is expected to receive cabinet approval in mid-September, the Yomiuri said…….

In 2017, a leaked US intelligence assessment concluded that North Korea had developed the technology to produce nuclear warheads small enough to fit inside missiles, theoretically giving it the ability to send nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles [ICBMs] to distant targets, including the US mainland.

North Korea’s short- and medium-range missiles can strike South Korea and Japan, including US military assets in those countries……. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/21/north-korea-now-able-to-miniaturise-nuclear-warheads-japan-defence-report

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Japan, North Korea, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Anxiety over risks of radiation and heat at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

 

Controversy over radiation and heat surrounding Tokyo Olympics, HANKYOREH  By Kim Chang-geum, staff reporter : Aug.14,2019


  “…… Safety from radiation and heat at the Tokyo Olympics

Most of the issues related to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, which are now only a year away, boil down to safety concerns over radiation and extreme heat. Some baseball and softball matches are scheduled to be held in a stadium located close to the Fukushima nuclear reactor that took direct damage during the 2011 earthquake. Korean civic groups have also pointed out that the Japanese government has failed to properly control water contaminated by radiation from the reactor. Plans to source some of the rice and ingredients for the Tokyo Olympics Athletes Village from Fukushima are adding to these concerns. Although the level of radiation measured in such rice is within the acceptable standards in Japan, it is believed to exceed Korean standards.


Extreme heat is another potential issue. After an open water test competition in Odaiba Seaside Park, Tokyo, on Aug. 11, Sports Nippon reported, “Many athletes complained about a foul odor and the high water temperature, and one male athlete made the shocking claim that it ‘smelled like a toilet.’” Although the Olympic Committee did not reveal the water temperature on that day, it has been reported that the temperature was 29.9 degrees Celsius at 5am. The International Swimming Federation (FINA) cancels events if the water temperature reaches 31 degrees Celsius. There have also been warnings about road races. On August 8, Yusuke Suzuki, Japan’s star race-walker and world record holder in the men’s 20km, stated, “I tried training on the Tokyo Olympics race-walking course. There was no shade, so it could cause dehydration.”
Tokyo Olympics delegation heads meeting from Aug. 20-22It appears that the issue of safety from radiation and concerns about food ingredients will be conveyed during the upcoming three-day meeting with the leaders of each country’s delegation in Tokyo on Aug. 20-22, and a request will be made to the Japanese Olympic Committee to change the name of Dokdo used on maps. If the representatives from each country do raise the radiation issue, the IOC will have no choice but to intervene. The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee is also considering providing separate Korean food to Korean athletes through specially prepared meals or lunchboxes.  …. http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/905758.html

August 17, 2019 Posted by | climate change, Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Japan’s Government Ultimate Hypocrisy and Arrogance

“Remote-controlled robots that can withstand high radiation exposure are ‘expected in the near future’ to help remove melted nuclear fuel debris out of the reactors”

Uncapable at home to really handle a triple meldown  while sacrificing its own population with an intensive denial and cover-up campaign, Japan is now proposing to the U.S. to help denuclearizing North Korea. Isn’t that the ultimate height of hypocrisy and arrogance?

 

hghkjlmmù.jpg(File photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter on April 23, 2019, shows the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, where decommissioning work is under way.)

 

Japan tells U.S. of plan to offer robots for denuclearizing N. Korea

August 16, 2019

Japan has told the United States that it is ready to provide its robot technology for use in dismantling nuclear and uranium enrichment facilities in North Korea as Washington and Pyongyang pursue further denuclearization talks, Japanese government sources said Friday.

As Japan turns to remote-controlled robots it has developed to decommission reactors that suffered meltdowns in 2011 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, it believes the same technology can be used in North Korea, according to the sources.

The offer is part of Japan’s efforts to make its own contribution to the denuclearization talks amid concern that Tokyo could be left out of the loop as the United States and North Korea are stepping up diplomacy.

Tokyo has already told Washington it would shoulder part of the costs of any International Atomic Energy Agency inspections of North Korean facilities and dispatch Japanese nuclear experts.

The scrapping of nuclear facilities such as the Yongbyon complex that has a graphite-moderated reactor will come into focus in forthcoming working-level talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un offered to close the complex — seen as the center of the country’s nuclear material production activities — during his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi in February.

But the Trump-Kim talks broke down after the two leaders failed to reconcile Washington’s demand for denuclearization and Pyongyang’s call for sanctions relief.

Earlier this year, Japan and the United States held a working-level meeting before the Hanoi summit, in which Washington pointed to the possibility of radioactive contamination near North Korea’s facilities due to its lax management of nuclear materials, the sources said.

Japan then offered “any support,” including technological assistance, according to the sources.

Remote-controlled robots that can withstand high radiation exposure are ‘expected in the near future’ to help remove melted nuclear fuel debris out of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, crippled since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.

For such technology to be used in the decommissioning of a nuclear facility, experts need to inspect its internal structure and check radiation levels. Therefore, Pyongyang’s acceptance of such on-site inspections would be essential.

Trump has said on Twitter that he received a letter from Kim stating that the North Korean leader is willing to meet again after joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises end next Tuesday.

North Korea, which sees the joint drills as rehearsals for invasion, has fired a series of short-range missiles in apparent protest, most recently on Friday, but Trump has played down the significance of such launches.

While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who places priority on resolving the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by Pyongyang in the 1970s and 1980s, has expressed his hope to meet Kim “without preconditions,” such a summit appears unlikely.

Abe is the only leader yet to meet face-to-face with Kim among the countries involved in the long-stalled six-party talks on Pyongyang’s nuclear program — the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

Trump has delivered on his promise to Abe to raise the abduction issue during his meetings with Kim. The U.S. president takes the view that neighboring countries such as Japan need to pay for North Korea’s denuclearization and extend economic assistance in return for Pyongyang scrapping its nuclear facilities.

“Japan’s security will be left out if we fail to be part of the U.S.-North Korea negotiations,” a Japanese Foreign Ministry source said.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/08/4537c0c21988-update1-japan-tells-us-of-plan-to-offer-robots-for-denuclearizing-n-korea.html

 

August 17, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Ballooning costs give lie to notion nuclear power is cheapest energy

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From left: The No. 5, No. 6 and No. 7 reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture
August 12, 2019
Soaring costs borne by operators of nuclear power plants to safeguard their facilities against natural disasters and terrorist attacks suggest the government is wrong in its longstanding contention that nuclear power is the nation’s cheapest energy source.
A study by The Asahi Shimbun found that the overall estimate for the cost of safety measures by 11 operators stood at 5.074 trillion yen ($48.32 billion) as of July. The operators include those whose nuclear facilities are still under construction.
The combined figure for the 11 companies represents an increase of about 660 billion yen from a year earlier.
The Asahi Shimbun has tallied total estimated safety costs by nuclear plant operators since 2013.
As of January 2013, the combined total was 998.2 billion yen.
New safety regulations implemented after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster obliged power companies to equip their facilities with additional safeguard measures to prevent a severe accident triggered by a powerful earthquake, tsunami, fire, terrorist attack and other emergencies.
The Fukushima disaster was triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake, which generated towering tsunami that knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., setting off a triple meltdown.
The new regulations went into effect in 2013.
TEPCO’s estimated cost to implement safeguard measures doubled to 969 billion yen in the latest study due to steps to counter liquefaction and terrorist strikes at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant’s No. 6 and No. 7 reactors in Niigata Prefecture.
Kansai Electric Power Co. reported an additional 130.8 billion yen as the cost of building an emergency facility to respond to a terrorist attack on its Oi nuclear plant’s No. 3 and No. 4 reactors in Fukui Prefecture.
In the survey, The Asahi Shimbun for the first time asked power companies about their most recent estimates for countermeasures against terrorism and the previous estimate when they applied for certification of their anti-terror facilities by the government’s Nuclear Regulation Authority.
The responses showed that anti-terror measures are proving to be two times to five times more expensive than the companies initially envisaged.
Kyushu Electric Power Co. replied that such steps for the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at its Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture grew five-fold from 43 billion yen to 220 billion yen.
Kansai Electric Power Co. said it plans to spend 125.7 billion yen on anti-terror measures for the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at its Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture, up from 69.1 billion yen.
In the case of Shikoku Electric Power Co., the utility said measures to safeguard the No. 3 reactor at its Ikata nuclear plant in Ehime Prefecture from a terror attack surged from 32 billion yen to 55 billion yen.
Shikoku Electric said the increase is due to a change in the design and construction method following the NRA’s safety examination.
Of the 11 companies surveyed, six did not include costs for terrorism countermeasures in their estimates for safeguard mechanisms, which means that overall costs for safety measures, including those against terrorism, can only grow.
gjklmùù.jpg
Nine reactors at five nuclear facilities are now back online after clearing the more stringent standards set by the NRA.
The safety cost for each of those reactors ranged from 130 billion yen to 230 billion yen.
It appears likely that plans by Chugoku Electric Power Co., Tohoku Electric Power Co. and Japan Atomic Power Co. to restart reactors will cost each of the operators more than 300 billion yen per reactor in safety measures, if the cost of implementing terrorism countermeasures is added.
With the ballooning safety costs, the government’s argument that nuclear energy is cheaper than hydro power and coal is increasingly in doubt.
In 2015, a government study put the cost to generate 1 kilowatt-hour of energy for hydro power at 11 yen, coal-fired thermal power at 12.9 yen and nuclear power at 10.3 yen or more.
The government study estimated the cost for safety measures per nuclear reactor at about 100 billion yen.
The power generation cost for a reactor will rise 0.6 yen for an increase of every 100 billion yen that will be set aside for safeguard measures.

August 16, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

No long term solution to the accumulating radioactive water at Fukushima

Fukushima: Nuclear-contaminated water raises 2020 Games site fears,The Weather Network, Caroline Floyd , Meteorologist  14 Aug 19, Beginning late next July, Tokyo and several other sites around Japan will welcome elite athletes from around the world for the 2020 Summer Games. One of the sites carries with it a stigma that organizers are hoping to help heal — Fukushima.

Tremendous amounts of water flooded the reactors in the wake of the disaster, both from the tsunami itself and from water added to cover the melted reactors and allow them to cool as part of the efforts to clean up the site and decommission the plant. Since then, groundwater has also infiltrated the site. All of this water has been contaminated by radioactive substances, like cesium and tritium. While the cesium can be removed via processing, tritium generally remains, meaning the still-contaminated water must be stored.

TEPCO, the utility which operated the reactor, has installed about 1,000 large storage tanks at the site to hold the contaminated water; currently, more than 1.05 million tons of radioactive water are being stored in the tanks, and roughly 150 tons are added every day.

TEPCO continues to install new tanks, but according to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, “space limitations mean that by the end of 2020, a maximum storage capacity of about 1.34 million tons will be reached.” Officials have added that if the groundwater infiltration was decreased, it will be possible to stretch that date until summer 2022.

Some scheduled baseball and softball events will take place at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium, located about 70 km northwest of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

There may be another hitch in the road to recovery, however, and it’s looming on the horizon for next year.

Tremendous amounts of water flooded the reactors in the wake of the disaster, both from the tsunami itself and from water added to cover the melted reactors and allow them to cool as part of the efforts to clean up the site and decommission the plant. Since then, groundwater has also infiltrated the site. All of this water has been contaminated by radioactive substances, like cesium and tritium. While the cesium can be removed via processing, tritium generally remains, meaning the still-contaminated water must be stored.

TEPCO, the utility which operated the reactor, has installed about 1,000 large storage tanks at the site to hold the contaminated water; currently, more than 1.05 million tons of radioactive water are being stored in the tanks, and roughly 150 tons are added every day.

TEPCO continues to install new tanks, but according to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, “space limitations mean that by the end of 2020, a maximum storage capacity of about 1.34 million tons will be reached.” Officials have added that if the groundwater infiltration was decreased, it will be possible to stretch that date until summer 2022.

While more tanks can be installed, a long-term solution is still being sought and, so far, most of them aren’t going over well with the locals.

One suggestion before the central government is to dilute the water after processing and gradually release it into the Pacific. Another is to build a long-term storage facility near the plant site. Fukushima residents, and fishermen in particular, have expressed strong opposition to both ideas, not over fears of the wastewater itself but because of the negative publicity and continuing stigma that would damage their livelihoods……

Setting a deadline on the current storage situation puts additional pressure on Japanese authorities and the public to reach a consensus.

“When we talk about Fukushima’s reconstruction, the question is if we should prioritize the decommissioning at the expense of Fukushima people’s lives,” Naoya Sekiya, a University of Tokyo professor of disaster social science, told the Associated Press. “The issue is not just about science.” https://www.theweathernetwork.com/ca/news/article/fukushima-set-to-host-2020-summer-games-events-as-storage-space-for-radioactive-water-dwindles

August 15, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Will the propaganda ploy – the Tokyo 2020 Olympics really revitalise the nuclear industry and Fukushima

Can 2020 Summer Olympics help Fukushima rebound from nuclear disaster?, LA TIMES, DAVID WHARTONAUG. 12, 2019

Under the moniker of the “Reconstruction Olympics,” they have plotted a torch relay course that begins near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant and continues through adjacent prefectures — Miyagi and Iwate — impacted by the disaster. The region will host games in baseball, softball and soccer next summer.

“We are hoping that, through sports, we can give the residents new dreams,” said Takahiro Sato, director of Fukushima’s office of Olympic and Paralympic promotions. “We also want to show how far we’ve come.”

The effort has drawn mixed reactions, if only because the so-called “affected areas” are a sensitive topic in Japan.

Some people worry about exposure to lingering radiation; they accuse officials of whitewashing health risks. Critics question spending millions on sports while communities are still rebuilding.

“The people from that area have dealt with these issues for so long and so deeply, the Olympics are kind of a transient event,” said Kyle Cleveland, an associate professor of sociology at Temple University’s campus in Japan. “They’re going to see this as a public relations ploy.”……

The populace began to question announcements from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) about the scope of the contamination, said Cleveland, who is writing a book on the catastrophe and its aftermath.

“In the first 10 weeks, Tepco was downplaying the risk,” he said. “Eventually, they were dissembling and lying.”……..

Reliable data on radiation risks is difficult to obtain, said Jonathan Links, a public health professor at Johns Hopkins University. …….

In terms of athletes and coaches visiting the impacted prefectures for a week or two during the Olympics, Links said the cancer risk is proportional, growing incrementally each day.

The Japanese government has raised what it considers to be the acceptable exposure from 1 millisievert to 20 millisieverts per year. Along with this adjustment, officials have declared much of the region suitable for habitation, lifting evacuation orders in numerous municipalities. Housing subsidies that allowed evacuees to live elsewhere have been discontinued.

But some towns remain nearly empty.

“People are refusing to go back,” said Katsuya Hirano, a UCLA associate professor of history who has who has spent years collecting interviews for an oral history. “Especially families with children.”……..

With infrastructure repairs continuing throughout the region, evacuee Akiko Morimatsu has a skeptical view of the Tokyo 2020 campaign.

“They have called these the ‘Reconstruction Games,’ but just because you call it that doesn’t mean the region will be recovered,” Morimatsu said.

Concerns about radiation prompted her to leave the Fukushima town of Koriyama, outside the mandatory evacuation zone, moving with her two young children to Osaka. Her husband, a doctor, remained; he visits the family once a month.

“The reality is that the region hasn’t recovered,” said Morimatsu, who is part of a group suing the national government and Tepco. “I feel the Olympics are being used as part of a campaign to spread the message that Fukushima is recovered and safe.”….. https://www.latimes.com/sports/olympics/story/2019-08-12/tokyo-olympics-2020-fukushima-nuclear-disaster

August 15, 2019 Posted by | Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment