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UN Members Urge Japan to Resolve Wartime Disputes, Fukushima Water Release

February 2, 2023

Member states of the United Nations have urged Japan to resolve issues surrounding the wartime sexual slavery and forced labor issues as well as its planned release of radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean.

Such calls were made during the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of Japan in Geneva on Tuesday, with countries from Europe and other regions urging the Japanese delegation to immediately suspend and abolish the death penalty and ban discrimination against sexual minorities.

Recommending that improvements be made in universal human rights issues, the member nations cast light on Japan’s wartime atrocities, with Beijing urging Tokyo to responsibly reflect on its wrongdoings against the sexual slavery victims and to offer compensation.

Yoon Seong-mee, the deputy chief of the South Korean mission in Geneva, advised Tokyo to closely cooperate with Seoul to restore the victims’ honor and dignity and pay attention to helping heal their psychological wounds.

The member states also raised concerns over Tokyo’s planned Fukushima water release starting this year, with Pacific Island Countries calling for a comprehensive investigation into its impact and the disclosure of the findings.

Japan, in response, maintained its position that the sexual slavery issue was resolved in a 2015 agreement between Seoul and Tokyo. As for the water release, it said the radioactive level is far below the upper threshold of international safety standards and that the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) is monitoring the purification process.


February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Discharge of treated Fukushima plant water into ocean draws attention

Mind you this article is from Japan News Yomiuri the mouthing the official lines of the Japanese government, which is of course for dumping the Fukukushima accumulated radioactive water in the Pacific ocean and which would want us to believe that it is filtered “absolutely pure”….

TEPCO plans to gradually reduce the treated water over the next several decades during the decommissioning period.

K4 tank group for discharging treated water

February 2, 2023

TOKYO – The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant will soon mark the 12th anniversary of the unprecedented meltdown that resulted from the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. The most pressing issue at present is the discharge of treated water into the ocean, as the on-site storage capacity is approaching its limit.

The government, during a ministerial meeting held on Jan. 13, projected that the discharge would begin in the spring or summer this year. However, local fishermen concerned about reputational damage and Pacific island nations are opposed to the ocean discharge.

Treated water, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings, is that which has been purified “until the concentration of radioactive materials, with the exception of tritium, falls well below regulatory standards for safety.”

To find out more, I visited TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, where decommissioning work is expected to take 30 to 40 years.

My visit on Jan. 26 was my first to the site in about 10 years. Compared to the last time, when it was stuffy being in protective clothing with a full face shield, I was surprised to find that I could move around most of the area with a helmet and disposable mask.

Subcontracted workers were busy here and there, and in the parking lot, vehicles that had been used to move within the premises after the accident were still parked there. The vehicles are no longer in use more than a decade after the accident, but because they are radioactive and cannot be disposed of normally, they remain on the site, having served their purpose.

The four tips of a structure jut out of the sea. The water outlet is right beneath this point.

“It’s right over there,” said a TEPCO Holdings official, pointing offshore from the quay in front of reactors No. 5 and No. 6, which were spared from the accident.

Under a clear sky, I could see the four tips of a tower that jutted out of the sea. The tower is located 1 km offshore. The treated water will be discharged into the ocean through a water discharge outlet located on the seafloor approximately 12 meters undersea where the four tips are seen.

The installation of the water discharge outlet caisson has already been completed. Currently, work is underway to backfill the excavated seafloor around the outlet with concrete and mortar, and it is expected to be completed by the end of June.

“The days when the work can be done are limited due to severe sea conditions, such as waves and wind,” explained the official in charge at the site.

The shielded tunnel boring machine stopped excavating about 830 meters along the 1-km-long undersea tunnel to the water discharge outlet and is waiting for the connection from it.

The water intake tank almost in its final stage

Work is also progressing on the shore near the quay wall. Water tanks connecting to the tunnel were under construction. There are two tanks: the upstream tank, which is wide, and the adjacent downstream tank, which is about 16 meters deep. The upstream tank, divided by concrete walls that create channels, appeared to be almost complete, revealing its full extent. The system has been created so that treated water, diluted with seawater, enters the upstream tank, flows through the channels, then overflows into the downstream tank.

Once the discharge begins, TEPCO will directly confirm that the tritium concentration in the treated water has been diluted to below the target level through the mixing with seawater at this location, which can be considered the final point before the water is discharged.

Safety Considerations

K4 tanks are used for receiving, measuring/confirming, and discharging treated water on a rotating basis.

The Pacific Islands Forum, an organization of nearly 20 countries and regions including Australia and New Zealand, has called for a postponement of the ocean discharge. The PIF is of the opinion that the discharge into the ocean would have a significant negative impact on the fishing industry, given the lingering effects of past atomic bomb tests and other factors. China and South Korea have also expressed concern.

Local fishing cooperatives and other groups in Japan are also opposed. The government plans to seek their understanding by using funds totaling ¥80 billion set up to support the local fishing industry and to counter reputational damage.

Contaminated water is being generated at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant because water is used to cool nuclear fuel that melted and solidified in reactor cores that were involved in the meltdown. This water is purified of 62 nuclides, including cesium and strontium, using an advanced liquid processing system (ALPS) and other equipment. However, since tritium cannot be removed by ALPS, it must be diluted with a large amount of seawater to a concentration of 1,500 becquerels per liter or less before being discharged into the ocean. Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen with three particles rather than the usual one.

Tritium produced from reactor operations is being released by nuclear power plants around the world. It does not arise only from plants that have experienced accidents.

Japan’s regulatory concentration limit for tritium in water is 60,000 becquerels per liter, and the World Health Organization’s drinking water standard guideline is 10,000 becquerels per liter. TEPCO’s aim for 1,500 becquerels per liter is 40 times more stringent than the national standard.

Treated water processed by ALPS is clear and colorles

Moving to higher ground, 33.5 meters above sea level, I found a group of huge white tanks called K4. There are 35 such tanks with a capacity of 1,000 metric tons each. Thirty of these tanks, or 30,000 metric tons, are used to release treated water. From here, the treated water flows through transfer pipes toward the sea, being diluted with seawater along the way. The transfer pipes have two shutoff valves that stop the flow in the event of an earthquake, tsunami, or other emergency.

“Thirty tanks are divided into three groups of 10 tanks,” explained the TEPCO official. “Each group has a role of receiving, measuring/confirming, and discharging, and these roles are rotated.

“The treated water is stirred in the tanks to make it homogeneous, then the concentration of radioactive substances is measured,” the official added. “If it meets the government’s regulatory standards, it is discharged.”

From there, through further dilution with seawater, the treated water will have tritium concentrations at TEPCO’s stricter standard.

Measurements of the treated water are conducted by TEPCO and an outside inspection agency. TEPCO will disclose all such figures to the public and seek their understanding of the safety of the water.

Race Against Time

Storage tanks for treated water fill the southern part of the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant site.

Looking around the site from a window on the seventh floor of a large rest area, I saw a row of tanks lining the south side of the premises. These tanks store treated water. There are approximately 1,000 tanks, currently storing approximately 1.32 million cubic meters. The total capacity of the tank complex is 1.37 million cubic meters, which means that 96% of the tanks are already filled. Based on the calculation that 140 cubic meters of treated water is generated per day, the tanks will be full around this summer or autumn.

Why does this treated water continue to be generated in the first place? Inside the meltdown-affected reactors, fuel that melted and solidified is called fuel debris, which needs to be cooled by circulating water. Water that comes in contact with fuel debris becomes contaminated with radioactive substances. If this cooling water continues to be circulated without any increase in volume, there is no problem with using it in the reactor. The problem is that rainwater and groundwater continue to enter the damaged reactor buildings, causing a surplus of contaminated water. This excess contaminated water is processed by ALPS, generating treated water.

In the ALPS facility, the HIC, a special container that stores the slurry waste removed from the pre-processing step, is being exchanged for a new one.

Initially, about 540 cubic meters of treated water was generated per day, meaning one tank was filled in two days. Later, the amount was reduced to 130 cubic meters per day in fiscal 2021 through the use of facings to prevent rainwater from seeping into the ground and by building an ice wall underground to surround the building to reduce the amount of groundwater flowing in. Last year, when only June and October had much rain, the amount was below 100 cubic meters per day.

The discharge of treated water into the ocean, however, would have to be greater than the amount generated in a single day to decrease the overall amount. So how much is planned to be released per day? According to calculations based on the performance of the seawater pumps, 500 cubic meters per day could be released.

The TEPCO official denied this, saying, “That will never happen.”

He explained: “It will take time to measure radioactive substances before the discharge. We have received comments from various parties that it would be better to take our time and release the water in a way that would have as little impact or cause as little change as possible.”

TEPCO plans to gradually reduce the treated water over the next several decades during the decommissioning period.

Ensuring safety, making public disclosures, and gaining domestic and international understanding of the oceanic release: The decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is approaching one of its climaxes this year, with a great many difficult challenges ahead.


February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO: Fuel debris samples taken from damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor

February 1, 2023

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it has retrieved samples from inside the No. 1 reactor containment vessel. It says the samples are likely to contain fuel debris.

The plant suffered a triple meltdown in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Its operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, said on Wednesday that underwater robots successfully sucked water out from two locations inside the vessel.

The company has been examining the inside of the No.1 reactor containment vessel. It says the accumulated matter at the bottom is thought to contain fuel debris.

The project to collect samples initially began early last month, but was suspended due to technical errors. It was resumed on Tuesday.

Experts hope that a close analysis of the samples will help lead to successful removal of fuel debris — one of the greatest challenges in the plant’s decommissioning process.

TEPCO said it will try taking samples from two other locations inside the vessel. It also said it will spend about a year identifying the types and amounts of chemical elements contained in the samples.

The company also plans to send robotic cameras inside the pedestal, a structure that props up the reactor.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , | Leave a comment

Amid fears of contamination, Japan will soon dump treated water from Fukushima Nuclear Plant into the Pacific

31 January 2023

Pacific island nations, neighboring countries in Asia, scientists, and others criticized an international organization’s endorsement of plans to dump tens of thousands of tons of contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean. The plan to schedule the discharge of approximately 1.3 million tons of water on an ongoing basis for the next three decades has alarmed the Pacific community because of possible adverse impacts on nearby marine ecosystems and their way of life.

Following a January 2023 visit to the Fukushima nuclear facility to receive updates on plans to dispose of the contaminated water, Gustavo Caruso, a Director within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Department of Nuclear Safety and Security and Chair of the Task Force, voiced support for the plans. As an international association, the IAEA says it promotes the “safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear energy,” which includes the disposal of nuclear waste.

“[Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority] prepared thorough evidence of how they are aligning the regulatory plans related to […] treated water discharge with the IAEA safety standards,” said Caruso in a statement following the visit. According to the IAEA statement, “Before any water discharge begins – scheduled for this year – the IAEA will issue a comprehensive report containing the collected findings and conclusions of the Task Force across all aspects of the review conducted as of that time.”

In March 2011, an earthquake and tsunami resulted in a nuclear disaster in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. After power was disrupted and emergency generators failed, three nuclear reactors onsite lost cooling capabilities and experienced a core meltdown.

Water used to cool the reactors, along with groundwater below the complex, became contaminated with radioactive materials. This water has been collected, treated, and stored onsite since 2011 in dozens of massive storage tanks that now crowd the nuclear complex.

Since 2021, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has been preparing the infrastructure for the “safe” release of Fukushima’s treated water through a process called the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS). In August 2022, TEPCO announced the installation of facilities that will allow for water discharge after consulting with Japanese authorities and local residents. It vowed to cooperate with various stakeholders in explaining the systematic release of water and its scientific basis:

We will continue to do our utmost to increase the understanding of people of Fukushima and society at large regarding the handling of ALPS treated water as part of the decommissioning work, by focusing on our efforts to disseminate information based on scientific evidence to parties within and outside Japan in an easy-to-understand manner and taking every opportunity to listen to the concerns and opinions of the public and explain our approach and response.

But Henry Puna, the secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), reiterated the regional opposition to Japan’s plan of releasing Fukushima’s treated water into the Pacific Ocean:

Based on our experience with nuclear contamination, continuing with ocean discharge plans at this time is simply inconceivable and we do not have the luxury of time to sit around for four decades in order to ‘figure it out.’

The decision for any ocean release is not and should not only be a domestic matter for Japan, but a global and transnational issue that should give rise to the need to examine the issue in the context of obligations under international law.

I am asking today, what our Pacific people did not have the opportunity to ask decades ago when our region and our ocean was identified as a nuclear test field.

PIF enumerated alternative options such as “safe storage and radioactive decay, bioremediation, and use of treated water to make concrete for special applications.”

During a conference held at New Zealand’s University of Otago in November 2022, participants described Japan’s plan as a manifestation of “nuclear colonial violence”:

TEPCO and the Japanese government’s plan to discharge radioactive wastewater into the Pacific shows direct disregard for the sovereignty and self-determination of Pacific peoples and the ocean their livelihoods depend upon.

We condemn attempts by the Japanese government and TEPCO to trivialise the nature and extent of the damages the radioactive wastewater discharge will cause to the people, ocean life, and places of the Pacific.

Speaking on behalf of Pacific civil society groups, Noelene Nabulivou of DIVA for Equality urged Japanese authorities to consider the perspectives of Pacific communities:

Japan’s internal process of approval for this construction needs to consult the Pacific, as it threatens the livelihood of Pacific peoples and the environment we depend heavily on. This is all happening in the context of massive loss and damage from the climate emergency, that is also not of our making.

The Chinese foreign ministry called Japan’s decision to go ahead with its controversial plan “irresponsible” and “self-serving. Meanwhile, the US National Association of Marine Laboratories cited the “lack of adequate and accurate scientific data supporting Japan’s assertion of safety.” Robert Richmond, a marine biologist at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, noted that “there is a strong consensus internationally that continued use of the ocean for dumping waste is simply not sustainable.”

Local opposition to the contaminated water discharge has been supported by Sato Kazuyoshi, a municipal councilor in Iwaki, a city neighboring the Fukushima nuclear complex. In a Facebook post, Sato said:

On January 13, near the entrance to Onahama Port, Iwaki City, we held a rally, ‘Iwaki Citizens Against the Release of Contaminated Water from Nuclear Power Plants into the Ocean.’ The beginning of this year’s standing. On earlier that day, there were reports that government ministers had confirmed the release (of contaminated water) ‘from spring to summer.’

Since June 2021, we have been holding a this rally on the 13th of every month: ‘Don’t pollute the sea any more!’

At noon, I stood with an illustration banner by Eisaku Ando, a sculptor who moved from Iwaki to Nara, and a placard saying ‘Don’t pour contaminated water into the sea!’ Nearly 20 participants from their respective standpoints said that they would not allow contaminated water to be released into the ocean! and impassioned speeches. A Japanese citizen who had returned from Canada for a visit also joined us, showing the international spread of opposition to the ocean release of contaminated water.

TEPCO is working closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has been releasing regular reports about the safety procedures being done at Fukushima. IAEA assured the public that it will release its comprehensive report before the actual discharge of treated water in about three months’ time.


February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Residents of Namie-cho voiced their concerns at a briefing session

Residents (foreground, left) speak out against Namie Town and the national government’s decision to lift the restrictions on the lifting of the restrictions, questioning the resumption of their farming operations.

January 31, 2023

On March 30, Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture, held explanatory meetings for local residents in Fukushima and Sendai cities in preparation for the lifting of the evacuation order for the specific reconstruction and revitalization center (reconstruction base) located in the difficult-to-return zone. In response to the government’s claim that the requirements for lifting the evacuation order have been met, participants raised questions about the continued high radiation levels and the resumption of farming operations.

 According to Namie Town’s plan for reconstruction centers, decontamination and infrastructure development will be completed in March of this year. Therefore, the evacuation order for the base is expected to be lifted by the end of March.

 The lifting of the evacuation order requires three conditions: (1) a decrease in radiation levels, (2) decontamination and infrastructure improvement, and (3) sufficient consultation with local residents. Briefing sessions for residents were held at seven locations until February 5, and consultations have only just begun, but on February 30, the government decided that “the requirements for lifting the evacuation have been met as a result of a comprehensive assessment of the efforts made to restore the area.

 Mayor Eiki Yoshida said, “There are 80% of the town’s land outside of the base, which is called ‘white land. We will strive for the lifting of the restrictions on the outside areas while keeping a close eye on the lifting of the restrictions at the end of March.

 There are 302 households and 818 residents who can live in the recovery centers. As of March 25, there are 9 households and 18 people who have applied for accommodation in preparation for the lifting of the restrictions. The number of demolitions of houses and other structures has reached 310, and many people are worried that they do not have a home to return to, even if they want to stay in preparation or return home.

 Akio Kanno, 71, who evacuated to Hyogo Prefecture and attended the Sendai meeting, said, “It is not reconstruction if there are almost no residents returning and no buildings. What are we going to do with the original community?

 At a briefing in Fukushima City, many participants expressed concern about radiation exposure.

 The government and the town explained that the radiation dose was below the evacuation standard of 20 millisieverts per year and that the results of demonstration cultivation showed that six crops, including spinach, komatsuna, and cabbage, were below safe standards.

 However, Motoharu Shiga, 75, the head of a ward in the Suemori area, one of the reconstruction sites, and an evacuee to Fukushima City, said, “Root vegetables that were not subject to the demonstration cultivation are still highly radioactive. After returning home, we will not be able to eat only foods that are below the standard,” he pointed out. (Editorial board member Noriyoshi Otsuki)

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Inside Fukushima Daiichi Unit 5 Nuclear Reactor – “It’s so small, can you fit a robot inside?” 50μSv exposure in 3 hours of coverage

January 29, 2023
On March 11, 2023, it will soon be 12 years since the world’s worst accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Okuma and Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture), which caused the meltdown of Units 1 through 3. There is still no word on when the nuclear fuel (debris) that has melted down inside the containment vessels will be removed. On March 27, a team of reporters from this newspaper went inside Unit 5, which is almost the same type as Units 1-3 where the accident occurred, but was spared from the accident. The team was confronted with the difficulty of working inside the reactor to bring the accident under control. (Kenta Onozawa, photo by Takeshi Yamakawa)
Unit 5 was not in operation at the time of the accident at the nuclear power plant in 2011, as it was undergoing routine inspection.
 Wearing protective clothing that covered his entire body, he tried to enter the work space for equipment maintenance, located directly under the “pressure vessel” that contained the nuclear fuel, and hit his head. Above his head hung a device for moving the control rods that are inserted into the nuclear fuel, and he had to crouch down to enter the space. The circular work space is about four meters in diameter. It was so narrow that it was difficult to move.

The workspace is located directly below the pressure vessel of Unit 5, which is almost the same type as Units 1-3. The control rod drive unit and other equipment looms overhead in this narrow space of about 4 meters in diameter at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Once down at the bottom of the containment vessel, one cannot walk straight due to the complex arrangement of various piping and equipment above one’s head and under one’s feet.
 In Unit 1, this thick wall of concrete had been removed, leaving the reinforcing steel inside exposed.

TEPCO plans to put a robot inside the opening after March to examine the overall damage to the wall. However, we wondered whether the robot could really enter the narrow space, which is believed to contain much debris and collapsed equipment. A TEPCO spokesperson minced no words, saying, “Without actually checking the damage to the wall with the robot, we cannot determine whether the earthquake resistance has been maintained.
 Meanwhile, on the seaward side of the Unit 5 reactor, work was steadily progressing on a water tank to temporarily store water diluted with a large amount of seawater in preparation for the discharge of contaminated water into the ocean after purification. The government expects to begin discharging the water “in spring or summer,” but it is unclear how to gain the “understanding” of fishermen, which is a prerequisite for such a release.

Workers constructing a water tank to temporarily store treated water before it is discharged into the ocean. A lifeline is attached to the workers at the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on March 27.

The reporter was exposed to about 50 microsieverts (μSv) in about three hours of reporting. This is one twentieth of the annual exposure limit for the general public, and this is calculated to have occurred in only a short period of time. The debris removal, which is the main task of restoring order after the accident, is still in the preparation stage, and the situation inside the reactor is still not fully understood. We were reminded once again of the magnitude of the remaining problems.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , | Leave a comment

Plaintiffs’ Opinion Statement: “Recurrence is always in the back of my mind,” Defense Objects to Estimation of Radiation Exposure

Defense lawyers make an appeal in front of the Tokyo District Court before the opening of the trial.

January 26, 2023
On January 25, the fourth oral argument was held at the Tokyo District Court in a lawsuit filed by seven men and women aged 18-28 who lived in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the accident, claiming that they developed thyroid cancer as a result of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Two of the plaintiffs, a man and a woman, made statements, claiming that the recurrence of the accident was always on their minds.

 The plaintiffs, a man in his 20s who was a junior high school student and a woman in her 20s who was an elementary school student at the time of the accident, made statements on the day. The man has repeatedly suffered recurrences of cancer and has undergone a total of four surgeries and isotope therapy, in which radioactive iodine is administered internally to destroy cancerous tissue when the cancer spreads.

 After the second surgery, in which her thyroid gland was completely removed, she lost her voice and became anxious, even thinking that it might be easier to just die. He confessed that he had made up his mind to “value my own will from now on. I am prepared for a recurrence of cancer, but I want to look only forward. I want to see if my illness is recognized as an effect of radiation exposure.

 Two years ago, a health survey conducted by the Fukushima prefectural government found that she had thyroid cancer, and she underwent surgery. After the surgery, she became emotionally unstable, and she was “on the edge mentally” as she raised her voice to her family. If this continues, I will end up in a state of ambiguity for a long time. Why were we forced to stand (in court)? I hope you will understand at least that much.

 TEPCO claims that the plaintiffs were exposed to an estimated 10 millisieverts or less of radiation to the thyroid gland based on a report issued by a United Nations scientific panel, and that since the risk of developing thyroid cancer does not increase below 100 millisieverts, their cancer was not caused by the nuclear accident.

 In response, the defense submitted a written opinion by Professor Emeritus Shinichi Kurokawa of the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK), who analyzed data from monitoring posts in Fukushima City from March 15 to 16, 2011, and found that the thyroid exposure of a one-year-old child was approximately 60 millisieverts from breathing alone. He claimed that the Science Commission’s radiation exposure estimate was “a drastic underestimate and irrational.

 The next argument date is set for March 15. Two more plaintiffs are scheduled to present their opinions. (Tetsuya Kasai)

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s decision to dump Fukushima water is based on biased data, argue scientists

A panel of global experts is urging Japan to halt its plans to dump the radioactive water

Numerous tanks currently store contaminated water at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.


A panel of scientists is arguing that the Japanese government’s decision to discharge radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean is based on incomplete and biased data.

The experts contend that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the nuclear plant, concluded that the contaminated water was safe without properly measuring a significant number of radioactive materials (nuclides). The discharge of the wastewater from the Fukushima plant could begin as soon as this coming spring.

This latest analysis comes from a panel of scientists organized by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), an intergovernmental organization made up of 18 Pacific Island countries including New Zealand and Fiji.

These scientists are recommending the Japanese government cease its plans to release the wastewater from the nuclear plant into the ocean and instead seek alternative options.

At a debate held at Korea’s National Assembly on Thursday, the scientists stressed that TEPCO’s contaminated water measurement data cannot function as the basis for deciding on the release of the wastewater into the ocean.

The panel of scientists, including five experts in nuclear energy and oceanography, was formed last March by the PIF. As parties with a direct stake in the consequences of the potential discharge of Fukushima wastewater, the PIF requested relevant information and data from Japan regarding this issue.

On Jan. 13, the Japanese government decided to dilute 1.3 million tons of contaminated water stored in over 1,000 tanks at the Fukushima plant with water and then to release it into the ocean either this coming spring or summer.

“The data provided by Japan to the forum is incomplete, inadequate, inconsistent, and biased, making it unsuitable for making any decisions,” said Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress, an adjunct professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and head of the panel of scientists.

“Since wastewater is not being released into nature in a planned or controlled way from a normally functioning power plant, in this case the word ‘dumping’ should be used instead of the ‘release’ of wastewater,” Dalnoki-Veress said.

The reason the panel believes the data provided by TEPCO is biased is that TEPCO is focusing only on nine materials, including strontium and cesium, among a total of 64 radioactive materials. The remaining 55, which were not measured, are presumed to be always present with the same effect.

The panel of scientists also pointed out that it is not enough to gauge the actual composition and concentration levels of the wastewater as the measurement of materials was performed on a 30-liter sample just before the water in the storage tanks to be treated with the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) were full.

In a report published by the panel on this issue, the scientists raised fundamental questions about the reliability of the Japanese data, saying there are “many abnormal and suspicious measurement values in TEPCO’s measurement data.

” For example, the panel pointed out that measurements for tellurium (Te)-127, a radionuclide with a half-life of only 9.4 hours, ranged from hundreds of thousands to nearly tens of billions of becquerels (Bq) per liter. This is because, if it had been released during the Fukushima accident, it would have broken down a long time ago in terms of its half-life.

“Unless the core is intermittently in a dangerous state of meltdown, these measurements indicate problems with TEPCO’s measurement and data quality control procedures,” the report stated.

The panel also pointed out the major problem that issues such as how tritium present in the wastewater is changed into organic-bonded tritium in the sea, which will affect the marine ecosystem, or the effects of strontium-90’s bioconcentration, are not being properly examined.

“The assumption that dilution is the solution to pollution is scientifically outdated and ecologically inadequate,” the panel said. “The [wastewater] dumping measures are an issue that transcends generations and borders and require much greater contemplation,” they added.

As an alternative to releasing the polluted water into the ocean, the scientists recommended the wastewater be stored for a long time to reduce its radioactivity levels until the polluting elements can be removed using biological methods such as employing animals, plants and fungi. After this, the treated water could be used in the process of making concrete in places with as little human contact as possible.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Case blaming TEPCO ex-execs for 2011 nuclear accident goes to Supreme Court

Jan. 24, 2023

An appeal was filed with Japan’s Supreme Court on Tuesday over a high court ruling that acquitted three former power utility executives over the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Former Tokyo Electric Power Company Chairman Katsumata Tsunehisa and former vice presidents Takekuro Ichiro and Muto Sakae were indicted in 2016 on charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury. The indictment was based on a decision by a prosecution inquest panel composed of randomly chosen citizens.

Patients at a hospital in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima and others died during evacuations prompted by nuclear meltdowns at the plant after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The former executives, who are in their 70s and 80s, are accused of being responsible for 44 of those deaths.

The Tokyo High Court found the three men not guilty last Wednesday, following a similar ruling by the Tokyo District Court in 2019.

In handing down its ruling, the high court deemed that the defendants were not required to suspend the plant’s operation to avoid accidents as there was no way to predict the giant tsunami.

Court-appointed lawyers acting as prosecutors in the case said after the ruling that the decision is tantamount to denying the need to take measures against earthquakes and tsunami that remain scientifically unpredictable.

TEPCO declined to make comments on the appeal, but said it apologizes for causing worries and troubles to many people.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , | Leave a comment

Lawyers condemn acquittal of Fukushima ex-execs

January 18, 2023

Lawyers supporting the victims of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster criticised a Japanese court’s ruling on Wednesday that absolved Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) of responsibility for the disaster.

Three former executives of TEPCO were found not guilty of negligence over the nuclear meltdowns and the subsequent deaths of more than 40 elderly residents during their forced evacuation.

Prosecution lawyer Shozaburo Ishida described the verdicts as “absolutely unacceptable.”

The Tokyo High Court ruling upheld a 2019 lower court decision that also acquitted the three former top TEPCO officials, noting that a tsunami of that magnitude was unforeseeable.

The court said ex-TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 82, and two other former executives were also not guilty of causing the deaths of 44 elderly patients whose already waning health deteriorated during or after forced evacuations from a local hospital and a nursing home.

The executives were accused of failing to anticipate the massive tsunami that struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on March 11, 2011, following a magnitude 9 earthquake, and of failing to take measures that might have saved the plant.

February 4, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , | Leave a comment

Appeal Filed against 3 Ex-TEPCO Execs over Nuclear Crisis

Tokyo, Jan. 24 (Jiji Press)–Lawyers acting as prosecutors Tuesday appealed to the Supreme Court against a not guilty verdict for three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. over the 2011 nuclear crisis.
The lawyers took the action after Tokyo High Court dismissed their appeal against a Tokyo District Court ruling that acquitted the three–former Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 82, and former Executive Vice Presidents Ichiro Takekuro, 76, and Sakae Muto, 72–of charges of business negligence resulting in death and injury.
Last week, the high court said it was “reasonable” for the district court to conclude that the three were not able to foresee a tsunami big enough to require a suspension of TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 plant at the center of the crisis.
The plant in northeastern Japan had an unprecedented triple meltdown after being struck by the March 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami.
The high court said the former executives could not have predicted the huge tsunami because a long-term evaluation by a government body was not reliable, upholding the lower court’s ruling.

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , | Leave a comment

Don’t dump on us

  Posted on by beyondnuclearinternationa

Pacific Islanders, marine scientists, urge Japan not to dump Fukushima radioactive water into ocean

By Linda Pentz Gunter

The nuclear power industry has a long history of disproportionately impacting people of color, Indigenous communities and those living in the Global South. As Japan prepares to dump more than 1 million tonnes of radioactive water from its stricken Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant site into the Pacific Ocean some time this year, history is about to repeat itself.

To remind us of that — and to warn against this reckless and entirely unnecessary action (Japan could and should expand the cask storage pad on site and keep storing the radioactive water there) — the leader of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) has spoken out.

In a recent column in the UK daily newspaper, The Guardian, Henry Puna wrote that “continuing with ocean discharge plans at this time is simply inconceivable”, given how directly it once again discriminates against — and will likely seriously harm the health of — the peoples of the Pacific. Puna took care to remind readers “that the majority of our Pacific peoples are coastal peoples, and that the ocean continues to be an integral part of their subsistence living.”

Japan is once again declaring its intention to dump the radioactive water stored in tanks at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear site into the Pacific Ocean, against widespread opposition.

Going forward with the dump without further study and serious consideration of viable alternatives, would, Puna said, mean that “the region will once again be headed towards a major nuclear contamination disaster at the hands of others.” Victims of years of atomic testing, Pacific Islanders are rightly not ready to be dumped on yet again.

Tepco and the lapdog Japanese government announced last May that they would release around 1.3 million tonnes of radioactive waste water from the Fukushima site next spring. Recently, authorities suggested the dump could be delayed until the summer but seem undeterred by the loud chorus of opposition from multiple quarters.

The plant produces 100 cubic metres of contaminated water daily, a combination of groundwater, seawater and water used to keep the reactors cool. The water is theoretically filtered to remove most harmful isotopes, other than tritium, which is radioactive hydrogen and cannot be separated from water. It is then stored in casks on site where authorities claim they are running out of space. However, independent watchdogs are not convinced that the filter system has successfully removed other dangerous radioactive isotopes from the waste water.

Most recently, the 100-member American group, the National Association of Marine Laboratories (NAML), expressed its fervent opposition in a strongly worded position paper released last month. Their opposition, they wrote, “is based on the fact that there is a lack of adequate and accurate scientific data supporting Japan’s assertion of safety. Furthermore, there is an abundance of data demonstrating serious concerns about releasing radioactively contaminated water.”

The report went on: “The proposed release of this contaminated water is a transboundary and transgenerational issue of concern for the health of marine ecosystems and those whose lives and livelihoods depend on them. We are concerned about the absence of critical data on the radionuclide content of each tank, the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), which is used to remove radionuclides, and the assumption that upon the release of the contaminated wastewater, ‘dilution is the solution to pollution.’”

The scientists accused Japan of ignoring the inevitable processes of bioaccumulation and bioconcentration, which contradict the dilution contention. The Association also called out what it saw as shoddy or incorrect science conducted by Tepco and the Japanese government, including “flaws in sampling protocols, statistical design, sample analyses, and assumptions, which in turn lead to flaws in the conclusion of safety and prevent a more thorough evaluation of better alternative approaches to disposal.”

Japan has consistently rejected on-going onsite storage — presumably due to the expense, given the land space is there and more casks could be provided. In the view of some, the eagerness to dump the water— largely contaminated with tritium (a form of radioactive hydrogen that cannot be separated from water) and likely other undeclared radionuclides — is a public relations exercise to make the problem “go away” and restore normal optics to the site. The site cannot also be fully decommissioned so long as the tanks are there.

Castle Bravo was just the largest of the 67 atomic tests conducted by the US in the Marshall Islands, contaminating the landscape and sickening its population for generations .

Japan has also benefited from the (inevitable) support of the (nuclear power-promoting) International Atomic Energy Agency, an organization that never met a nuclear danger it couldn’t downplay. The agency has described the proposed discharges as “far below the Japanese regulatory limits,” in a statement last April.

After sending in a task force and several earlier reports, the IAEA released a new report in December in which it said “the IAEA will conduct its own independent checks of the radiological contents of the water stored in the tanks and how it will analyse environmental samples (for example seawater and fish) from the surrounding environment.” However, the IAEA has not expressed opposition to the dumping of the radioactive water even now and instead indicates that its safety reviews will continue “before, during, and after the discharges of ALPS treated water.”

Japan has faced down opposition from fishermen and environmentalists, particularly from those in the Marshall Islands who have suffered decades of horrific health issues, especially birth defects, after enduring 67 US atomic tests there. A Pacific region collective advocacy group, Youngsolwara Pacific, expressed dismay that the Japanese, of all people, would not empathize with them and condemn the Fukushima water dump.

“How can the Japanese government, who has experienced the same brutal experiences of nuclear weapons in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, wish to further pollute our Pacific with nuclear waste?” they asked in a statement quoted in a New York Times article in December. “To us, this irresponsible act of trans-boundary harm is just the same as waging nuclear war on us as Pacific peoples and our islands.”

Pacific Islanders are naturally suspicious, having been lied to before. It took two days before the by then radiologically contaminated people of Rongelap were evacuated subsequent to the massive Castle Bravo atomic test, America’s biggest bomb that devastated Bikini Atoll. Marshall Islanders were treated as guinea pigs in the aftermath of the tests there, as the US government examined the impact on people living in a radiologically contaminated environment — even as the true dangers were hidden from them. Consequently, claims by the Japanese government that their Advanced Liquid Processing System had removed the worst of the radionuclides from the waste water to be dumped, have been met with skepticism at best.

Now, their concerns are supported by marine scientists.

“The effectiveness of the Advanced Liquid Processing System in almost completely removing the over 60 different radionuclides present in the affected wastewater—some of which have an affinity to target specific tissues, glands, organs, and metabolic pathways in living organisms, including people—remains a serious concern due to the absence of critical data,” said the statement from NAML.

Those are precisely some of the agonizing health effects already endured by the bombed peoples of the Marshall Islands and elsewhere in the Pacific. They are not ready to be dosed again. 

“You feel this deep sorrow,” Bedi Racule, President of the Marshall Islands Students Association, told the New York Times. “Why were we not good enough to be treated like human beings?”

In an August 2022 statement on the Youngsolwara Pacific homepage, Racule added: “The impact of the nuclear testing legacy in the Pacific continues to affect our islands and people, and we cannot afford another scenario such as Fukushima’s dumping plan. Scientists are already warning that the impact of long-term, low-dose exposure to not only tritium but also other isotopes on the environment and humans is still unknown and that release of the wastewater is premature.”

Now NAML, the PIF and a vociferous alliance of Japanese fishermen and anti-nuclear activists, are raising their voices a little louder in what might be a last ditch attempt to prevent the Pacific Ocean from becoming, once again, a nuclear dustbin.

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for and curates Beyond Nuclear International.


February 3, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Trial for compulsory prosecution of TEPCO’s former management team: Appeal by designated attorney acting as prosecutor

January 24, 2023
On January 24, a designated attorney acting as a prosecutor appealed to the Supreme Court against the decision of the second trial court, which handed down an acquittal following the first trial, in the trial of three former TEPCO executives who were forcibly indicted on charges of manslaughter over the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident.

Tsunehisa Katsumata, 82, then chairman of TEPCO, and Ichiro Takekuro, 76, and Sakae Mutoh, 72, then vice presidents of TEPCO, were forcibly indicted on charges of manslaughter by the prosecutors’ panel for causing the deaths of 44 people, including hospital patients in Fukushima Prefecture, during evacuation from the nuclear accident.

The first trial court acquitted the three, and the Tokyo High Court, the court of second instance, in a ruling on the 18th of this month, followed the first trial court in acquitting all three, ruling that “it was impossible to predict the arrival of a huge tsunami and that there was not enough duty to stop the operation of the plant to avoid the accident.

Dissatisfied with this decision, the designated lawyer acting as the prosecutor appealed to the Supreme Court on March 24.

At a press conference held after the High Court ruling, the designated attorneys criticized the ruling, saying, “The ruling is tantamount to saying that there is no need to take measures against unknown earthquakes and tsunamis that have not been scientifically elucidated.

Nearly 12 years after the nuclear accident, the trial will now move to the Supreme Court.

TEPCO apologizes once again for the inconvenience and concern it has caused to so many people. We will refrain from commenting on the appeal. 8

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

De retour à Fukushima, un voyage à travers la zone d’exclusion nucléaire

February 3, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s Toxic Dumping Flashpoint

January 20, 2023

by Robert Hunziker

“We must remind Japan that if the radioactive nuclear wastewater is safe, just dump it in Tokyo, test it in Paris and store it in Washington, but keep our Pacific nuclear-free.” (Vanuatu’s celebrated former ‘Turaga Chief’ Motarilavoa Hilda Lini)

In the face of considerable worldwide criticism, TEPCO is moving ahead with its well-advertised plans to dump contaminated water from storage tanks at the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster zone into the Pacific Ocean. They are running out of storage space and the Pacific Ocean is conveniently right next door.

The Japanese government is courting trouble, as a contracting party to: (1) the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (2) the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, and (3) the Convention on Nuclear Safety, Japan has knowingly violated all three conventions by making the decision to dump contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean.

TEPCO’s toxic dumping scheme is opposed by some scientists as well as some of the world’s most highly regarded marine laboratories, e.g., the U.S. National Association of Marine Laboratories, with over 100 member laboratories, has issued a position paper strongly opposing the toxic dumping because of a lack of adequate and accurate scientific data in support of Japan’s assertions of safety.

The position paper: “We urge the government of Japan to stop pursing their planned and precedent-setting release of the radioactively contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean and to work with the broader scientific community to pursue other approaches that protect ocean life; human health; and those communities who depend on ecologically, economically, and culturally valuable marine resources.” (Source: U.S. Marine Labs Call for Stop to Fukushima Dumping Plans for Pacific, Pacific Island Times, Dec. 20, 2022)

Furthermore, Marine Laboratories agrees with the Pacific Island Forum’s suggestion that TEPCO look at options other than discharge. The toxic dumping plan has already put Japan at risk of losing its status as a Pacific Islands Forum Dialogue Partner. There are 21 partners, including the US, China, the UK, France, and the EU. According to Secretary General Henry Puna, the Forum has persistently requested Japan to share pivotal data, which has not been forthcoming: “In fact, we are very serious, and we will take all options to get Japan to at least cooperate with us by releasing the information that our technical experts are asking of them.” (Source: Pacific Island Forum Could Sideline Japan Over Nuclear Waste Plan, RNZ Pacific, January 12, 2023)

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has endorsed the dumping plan. No surprise there. Also unsurprisingly, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the marketing arm for nuclear power, claims the dumping proposal is safe. Effective December 29, 2022, IAEA released an extensive report that details how the process will be monitored by independent entities, not to worry, uh-uh.

TEPCO generates 100 cubic metres of contaminated water per day, a mixture of groundwater, seawater, and water that cools the reactors. It is filtered for “the most radioactive isotopes” and stored in above-ground water tanks, but authorities admit that the level of tritium is above standards. It is almost impossible to remove tritium from water. TEPCO claims it is “only harmful to humans in large doses.” But who’s measuring?

According to TEPCO: “After treatment the levels of most radioactive particles meet the national standard.” However, the statement that most radioactive particles meet the national standard is not reassuring. And furthermore, why should anybody anywhere in the world be permitted to discharge large quantities of contaminated water that’s been filtered for ‘most radioactive particles’ directly from a broken-down nuclear power plant into the ocean under any circumstances?

But storage space is running out and the ocean is readily available as a very convenient garbage dump. Well, yes, but maybe find more storage space… on land… in Japan!

According to a Japanese anti-nuclear campaign group, the contaminated water dumping scheme violates the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution as well as the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas. Their opposition is endorsed by the National Fisheries Cooperative Federation of Japan. In September 2022, 42,000 people signed a joint petition delivered to TEPCO and Japan’s Ministry of Economy demanding other solutions to the toxic water dumping plans. According to national broadcasting firm NHK, 51% of Japanese respondents oppose the dumping plan. And a survey by Asahi Shimbun claims 55% of the public opposes the dumping.

A Greenpeace East Asia press release d/d April 28, 2021, says; “According to the latest report by the Japanese government, there are 62 radioactive isotopes found in the existing nuclear water tanks in Fukushima, among which concentration of a radionuclide called tritium reached about 860 TBq (terabecquerel) – an alarming level that far exceeds the acceptable norm.”

China’s Xinhua News Agency claims: “TEPCO believes that tritium normally remains in the wastewater at ordinary nuclear power stations, therefore it is safe to discharge tritium-contaminated water. Experts say TEPCO is trying to confuse the concept of the wastewater that meets international standards during normal operation of nuclear power plants with that of the complex nuclear-contaminated water produced after the core meltdowns at the wrecked Fukushima power plant. The actual results of ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) are not as ideal as TEPCO claims. Japanese media have found that in addition to tritium, there are a variety of radioactive substances in the Fukushima nuclear wastewater that exceed the standard. TEPCO has also admitted that about 70 percent of the water treated by ALPS contains radionuclides other than tritium at the concentration which exceeds legally required standards and requires filtration again.” (Source: World Insights: Japan Extremely Selfish to insist on Discharging Nuclear Wastewater into Sea, Xinhua, August 10, 2022)

According to Hiroyuki Uchida, mayor of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, despite strengthened information about the toxic dumping by TEPCO and the government of Japan, the discharge plan has not gained “full understanding of citizens and fishery stakeholders.” (Source: Japanese Public Opposes Plan to Dump Radioactive Water into Sea, Asia & Pacific by Xinhau, January 15, 2023)

Rhea Moss-Christian, executive director of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, aka: the Pacific Tuna Commission said: “It’s a real concern and I just wish they would take a bit of time to think more carefully about this… this is a massive release and a big, big potential disaster if it’s not handled properly… There are a number of outstanding questions that have yet to be fully answered. They have focused a lot on one radionuclide and not very much on others that are also present in the wastewater.” (Source: Hiroshima Survivor Pleads for Halt of Radioactive Waste Dump in Pacific Ocean, INA Pacific News Service, December 20, 2022)

Greenpeace/Japan on TEPCO dumping: “The Japanese government has once again failed the people of Fukushima. The government has taken the wholly unjustified decision to deliberately contaminate the Pacific Ocean with radioactive wastes. It has discounted the radiation risks and turned its back on the clear evidence that sufficient storage capacity is available on the nuclear site as well as in surrounding districts.[2] Rather than using the best available technology to minimize radiation hazards by storing and processing the water over the long term, they have opted for the cheapest option [3], dumping the water into the Pacific Ocean… Since 2012, Greenpeace has proactively campaigned against plans to discharge Fukushima contaminated water – submitting technical analysis to UN agencies, holding seminars with local residents of Fukushima with other NGOs, and petitioning against the discharges and submitted to relevant Japanese government bodies.” (Source: Greenpeace Press Release, April 13, 2021)

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly on September 22nd, 2022, President David Panuelo of Micronesia stated: “We cannot close our eyes to the unimaginable threats of nuclear contamination, marine pollution, and eventual destruction of the Blue Pacific Continent. The impacts of this decision are both transboundary and intergenerational in nature.”

In April 2021 Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister (serving from 2012-to-2021) Tarō Asō publicly stated that the treated and diluted water “will be safe to drink.” In response to Deputy PM Asō, Chinese Foreign Minister Lijian Zhao replied: “The ocean is not Japan’s trashcan” and furthermore, since Japan claims it’s safe to drink, “then drink it!” (Source: China to Japan: If Treated Radioactive Water from Fukushima is Safe, ‘Please Drink It’ Washington Post, April 15, 2021)

Mr. Zhao may have stumbled upon the best solution to international concerns about TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) dumping contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. Instead, TEPCO should remove it from the storage tanks at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and deliver it to Japan’s water reservoirs. After all, they publicly claimed it’s “safe to drink.” Japan has approximately 100,000 dams of which roughly 3,000 are reservoirs over 15 meters (50’) height. For example, one of the largest drinking water reservoirs in Japan is Ogouchi Reservoir, which holds 189 million tons of drinking water for Tokyo.


February 3, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment