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Tepco to build finally extra sea wall to reinforce Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant

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Fukushima Daiichi to be reinforced against tsunami

September 14, 2018
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant plans to build additional seawalls along its damaged reactors.
Its aim is to keep another possible mega-tsunami from causing the leakage of highly radioactive water accumulated in the basement of buildings housing 3 reactors that suffered a meltdown following the 2011 quake and tsunami.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, announced the plan at a meeting of the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Friday.
Last December, a government earthquake research panel warned of a possible imminent mega-quake in the Chishima Trench off the northern prefecture of Hokkaido.
TEPCO says its research shows such a quake could send tsunami of more than 10 meters into the Fukushima Daiichi plant and cause highly radioactive water to gush out of its damaged reactors.
The Fukushima Daiichi plant is in the process of decommissioning after the triple meltdown.
TEPCO has been pumping water into the 3 reactors to cool down fuel that melted. About 46,000 tons of contaminated cooling water and groundwater flowing into the reactor buildings have accumulated, mainly in their basement floors.
TEPCO now plans to move up work to seal the buildings’ entrances and other openings to prevent any more tsunami-related damage.
The company will also extend the coastal seawalls further north along reactor units 1 to 4, and plans to finish the work as soon as possible.
At Friday’s meeting, an official of the Secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority asked TEPCO to study whether the planned extension of seawalls will affect the decommissioning work.
TEPCO’s Chief Decommissioning Officer, Akira Ono, said another tsunami could knock out equipment and delay the decommissioning process. He said the company will quickly study how and where the seawalls should be built.
 

In shift in stance, TEPCO to build extra sea wall at Fukushima plant

September 15, 2018
Heeding a government warning, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it will build a 600-meter-long sea wall to strengthen protection against tsunami at the already battered Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
TEPCO announced its change in stance on Sept. 14 at a meeting of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the country’s nuclear watchdog.
The wall will be constructed on the east side of four reactor buildings at the plant, TEPCO said. Details, such as height, construction schedule and costs, have yet to be decided.
The utility built a temporary sea wall after the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami caused the triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant.
The company had said the temporary wall would provide sufficient protection of the plant from tsunami.
But TEPCO officials had second thoughts after the government’s Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion in December 2017 warned that the probability of an extremely powerful earthquake of magnitude 8.8 or higher striking in the Pacific Ocean off Hokkaido within 30 years was 40 percent.
The headquarters called for additional safety measures at nuclear plants, saying the strength of such a quake would be similar to the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake that spawned the devastating tsunami in 2011.
If another huge tsunami hits the plant, it could cause tons of radioactive water to flow out and obstruct work to decommission the nuclear reactors there.
“If another tsunami comes, the measures we have taken for the past seven years will be meaningless,” a TEPCO official said.
Work continues at the Fukushima No. 1 plant to cool the melted nuclear fuel within the heavily damaged reactor buildings. This water, coupled with the tons of daily groundwater that becomes contaminated after entering the reactor buildings, has forced the utility to store tons of radioactive water in tanks on the premises of the plant.
Those tanks and radioactive water accumulating in the reactor buildings could be swept away in a tsunami that hits the plant.
In addition, 1,573 nuclear fuel assemblies are stored in pools in the damaged reactor buildings.
If a tsunami knocks out functions to cool the fuel assemblies, the fuel could melt and release radioactive substances into the atmosphere.
TEPCO constructed the temporary 400-meter-long sea wall on the south side of the No. 4 reactor building in June 2011.
For possible tsunami coming from the east or north sides, TEPCO said waterproof doors on reactor buildings could overcome the problem.
The utility decided that an additional sea wall would be needed after the headquarters’ warning about an earthquake off Hokkaido, which is located north of the Fukushima plant.
TEPCO had considered constructing a sea wall at the site even before the 2011 nuclear disaster. However, it failed to reach a decision on its construction.
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September 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima prof., residents seek to establish an archive of nuke disaster lessons

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In this July 17, 2018 file photo, tanks containing water contaminated with radioactive materials are seen on the grounds of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture.
 
September 12, 2018
KATSURAO, Fukushima — A Fukushima University professor and his team are gathering materials for an archive project to pass on the lessons learned from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear disaster in this prefecture in northeastern Japan.
In a March 2017 plan finalized by the Fukushima Prefectural Government, the archives will be inaugurated in the summer of 2020 at a cost of approximately 5.5 billion yen in the town of Futaba, which has been rendered “difficult to live” due to radioactive fallout from the triple core meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)’s Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011. The facility will have a total floor space of 5,200 square meters with areas for exhibitions, management and research, storage, training sessions and holding meetings. The design was modeled after a similar center in the western Japan city of Kobe that was built to store records of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, but with more focus on the nuclear disaster than the quake itself.
Professor Kenji Yaginuma of Fukushima University’s Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization and his team are visiting places affected by the nuclear accident and collecting testimonies of residents, documents, pictures and images for the project.
Yaginuma recently interviewed Tetsuyama Matsumoto, 61, who used to be a cattle breeder in the village of Katsurao, to hear his story about how his cows had to be slaughtered after the nuclear accident.
“I can’t believe they killed the cows without running any tests first,” Matsumoto fumed about the action taken after the central government decided that all cattle inside the no-go zone, within a 20-kilometer radius of the crippled plant, had to be culled. All eight cattle Matsumoto was keeping had to be killed because his farm was inside the zone. “The cattle were supporting me and my family,” Mastsumoto said as he looked over pictures of what happened after the disaster.
Yaginuma listened to Matsumoto’s tale intently, using a video camera to record the interview. “The value of relevant documents goes up with testimonies,” explained the professor.
On the same day, he also visited the village’s board of education as well as the former municipal Katsurao Junior High School to confirm the existence of whiteboards with plans for March 2011 written on it as well as what was written on the blackboards at the school. The school held a graduation ceremony on March 11 that year, the day of the quake disaster. According to the professor, sometimes it takes months for some residents to build up enough confidence to give him some important papers they have.
Yaginuma’s team is collecting just about anything that shows the daily lives of residents before the quake, or items that show what happened in the disaster and the ensuing nuclear accident, as well as materials indicative of post-disaster situations.
In November 2017, Yaginuma and his team visited the prefectural Ono Hospital in the town of Okuma, which is just 4 kilometers away from the nuclear plant and is still included in the “difficult-to-return” evacuation area designated by the government.
On the day of the earthquake seven and a half years ago, the hospital accepted many people injured by the jolt and the subsequent tsunami. But all patients and medical staff needed to evacuate at 7 a.m. the next morning using buses and ambulances after an evacuation order due to the nuclear accident was issued. Near the clinic’s entrance, papers with patients’ names and conditions are posted on a whiteboard. Stands to hang intravenous drip bags are also scattered around, reminiscent of the tense atmosphere of the time.
“We want to make it possible for people to look back on and study the earthquake and nuclear accident from every angle based on these documents,” said Yaginuma.
(Japanese original by Takuya Yoshida, Mito Bureau)

September 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan tries to dilute tritium danger

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September 11, 2018
TEPCO could dump radioactive water into ocean any day. Help stop it!
From various correspondents
More than one million tonnes of radioactively contaminated water has already accumulated at the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant site, stored in steel tanks and increasing in volume daily — by some accounts one new tank is added every four days. Space to store it is rapidly running out. So far, the only “plan” TEPCO has come up with to deal with the problem is to dump the water into the Pacific Ocean.
The water is accumulating in part because about 150 tonnes of groundwater seeps daily through cracks in the stricken reactors’ foundations, thereby becoming contaminated with radioactive isotopes. In addition, water flows down the surrounding hillsides onto the site, picks up radiation, and must be captured and stored on site.
TEPCO has so far been pumping the contaminated water through a filtering system that can only remove cesium and strontium. But the process creates a highly toxic sludge as a byproduct, which also has to be stored in sealed canisters on site.
Tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, cannot of course be removed from water. Hence the plan to dump the radioactive (tritiated) water into the ocean. This move has long been strongly opposed by people from many spectra in Japan. A “Resolution Against the Ocean Dumping of Radioactive Tritium-contaminated Waste Water From the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant,” initiated by physics Professor Emeritus at Kyoto University, Kosaku Yamada, has already garnered signatures from 280 individuals and 35 organizations. The Resolution is reproduced below.
The goal of the resolution is to raise public awareness about the prolonged serious health effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster that the Japanese government is taking every step to conceal.
Now, the organizers are calling on the international community to sign on as well. You can do so by sending your contact details directly to Professor Yamada at:
kosakuyamada@yahoo.co.jp
A Resolution Against the Ocean Dumping of Radioactive Tritium-contaminated Waste Water From the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant
It was announced in March, 2014, that in the defunct Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant there was a total of approximately 3,400 trillion becquerels of tritium, with 830 trillion becquerels stored in tanks. This enormous amount of radioactive waste water has still continued to increase since then. In these circumstances, the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company Ltd. (TEPCO), in their efforts to find an easy way to dispose of the tritium-contaminated waste water created by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, have been trying to dilute and dump it into the ocean. They have been watching for an unguarded moment among the opposition movements including the fishery cooperatives who are strongly against the dumping. Now they are about to finally decide to implement the ocean dumping plan. Far from regulating such activities, Toyoshi Fuketa, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, has been championing this plan.
We are determined that the Japanese government and TEPCO shall never dump the radioactive waste water into the ocean for the following reasons:
1. Generally misunderstood as posing little risk to life and health, tritium is an extremely hazardous radioactive material. This is because organisms are not able to chemically distinguish tritium water from the normal water which composes most of the human body. This means that tritium can invade any part of the human body, irradiating it from inside; therefore, tritium can damage cell membranes and mitochondria in cells, indirectly through reactive oxygen species (ROS) and other radicals generated in irradiation. Tritium decay can directly cut chemical bonds of genomes or DNA strands. The risk peculiar to tritium is that if some hydrogen atoms which make up the genomes are replaced with tritium, the beta decay of the tritium into helium will cut off the chemical bonds of the genome.
Plants produce starch from water and carbon dioxide gas by using photosynthesis. Some of the hydrogen atoms in this starch can be replaced with tritium, forming organic tritium, which animals, plants and human beings absorb into their bodies over the long term, causing internal radiation.
2. With reference to the tritium released by various nuclear facilities, reports indicate a number of findings including: an increased incidence of leukemia among those living around the Genkai Nuclear Power Plant; an increased incidence of infant leukemia around nuclear reprocessing plants all over the world; and an increased incidence of child cancers around nuclear power plants. Real damage has already occurred.
3. Tritium, even if diluted and dumped into the ocean, will become concentrated again through aspects of the ecosystem such as food chains. Furthermore, tritium will vaporize into tritium-containing moisture or hydrogen gas, only to return to the land and eventually circulate within the environment. The idea that dilution ensures safety has caused fatal blunders to be repeated in many environmental pollution cases in the past, the vital factor being the total quantity released into the environment.  Therefore, as far as environmental pollution problems are concerned, the only righteous and principled policy is to thoroughly confine and isolate radioactive materials or toxic substances from the ecosystem.
As tritium has a long half-life of 12 years, it destroys the environment over the long term.  Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen which constitutes not only most of the living body but also its genes, so tritium disposal via dilution cannot be safe. Thus, we strongly urge the Japanese government and the Nuclear Regulatory Authority never to dump tritium into the ocean.

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September 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Nearly 60,000 evacuees, 5,623 in temporary housing 7.5 yrs after Tohoku disaster

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A tsunami triggered by the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake is seen surging inland in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, in the country’s northeast
 
September 11, 2018
Seven and a half years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake hit Japan on March 11, 2011, but nearly 60,000 people still remain in evacuation and more than 5,600 people are living in temporary housing because of the quake, devastating tsunami and the triple core meltdowns at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)’s Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant.
According to the government’s Reconstruction Agency, about 58,000 people still remained in evacuation as of August, although their number declined by about 15,000 during the past six months. As many as 5,623 people were living in prefabricated houses in the northeastern Japan prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, as of the end of August.
The construction of public housing for victims of the disaster is 96.5 percent complete, with 29,124 units built out of a planned 30,178 in those three prefectures as of late July. The achievement rate is 91.1 percent for Iwate and 98.4 percent for Miyagi. In Fukushima, the figure is 96.3 percent for evacuees from the nuclear accident.
Around the TEPCO nuclear power plant that spewed out a large amount of highly radioactive materials from the melted cores, 11 municipalities received evacuation orders from the central government. Although the orders were lifted in 70 percent of those areas by the spring of 2017, a total of seven cities, towns and villages still have so-called “difficult-to-return” zones with high radioactivity. Even in areas where evacuation orders have been lifted, the ratio of actual to registered residents is about 20 percent.
The central government intends to phase out temporary housing in Iwate and Miyagi by fiscal 2020 when its designated reconstruction and revitalization period will end, but the timing will be delayed to fiscal 2021 or later in Fukushima. The preparation of land plots where people affected by the disaster can build their own houses is 90.6 percent complete in the three prefectures.
 
Okawa Elementary School, which was flooded by the tsunami caused by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, is seen in this Oct. 15, 2016 file photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter.
 
As of Sept. 10, the number of those killed by the 2011 disaster stood at 15,896, and 2,536 people remained missing. The Reconstruction Agency says 3,676 people in 10 prefectures, including Tokyo, had died of causes related to the disaster, as of the end of March this year.
(Japanese original by Nobuyuki Hyakutake, Ishinomaki Local Bureau, and Toshiki Miyazaki, Fukushima Bureau)

September 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

‘Nuclear food referendum’: Taiwan’s softening of Fukushima ban under threat amid ballot calls

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10-Sep-2018 By Pearly Neo
Japan’s hopes that the Taiwan government will lift the current ban on foods from Fukushima and surrounding areas has hit another hurdle after Kuomintang, the largest opposition party in Taiwan, submitted a referendum request on what has been dubbed ‘anti-nuclear food’.
Read more at:

September 10, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan recognizes first death related to Fukushima cleanup

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September 7, 2018
The Japanese government has recognized the first death associated with cleanup work at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after the tsunami disaster in March 2011, according to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
The government designated the death of an unnamed man in his 50s as an “industrial accident.” The man, who had worked at the plant from 1980 to 2015, was diagnosed with lung cancer in February 2016.
After the 2011 tsunami that was triggered by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, the man was assigned to “radiation control” work in which he was responsible for monitoring radiation levels and work time of cleanup crews.
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare recognized his cancer and death as related to his work at the plant. A committee of experts determined his accumulated radiation level exceeded government standards.
Kunihiko Konagamitsu of the ministry said 17 workers had applied to be considered cases with an “industrial accident” designation, including three with leukemia and one with thyroid cancer. Two workers withdrew their requests, five were dismissed, and five are still under review.
The March 11, 2011, quake was the worst to hit Japan and lasted nearly six minutes. More than 20,000 people died or went missing in the earthquake and tsunami that followed.
Three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. or TEPCO, melted down in the nation’s worst nuclear disaster. The damaged reactors released radioactive materials into the air and more than 100,000 people were evacuated from the area. Forty-five thousand workers were involved in the ensuing cleanup.
In 2015 Japan health officials confirmed the first case of cancer linked to cleanup work at the plant.
In 2016, TEPCO said that decommissioning the reactor was like climbing a mountain and that it could take as long as 40 years.

September 10, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima unrecognized threat of radioactive microparticles

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Fukushima Microparticles, An Unrecognized Threat

In the years since the initial disaster there have been disparities between the official radiation exposure estimates and the subsequent health problems in Japan. In some cases the estimates were based on faulty or limited early data. Where a better understanding of the exposure levels is known there still remained an anomaly in some of the health problems vs. the exposure dose. Rapid onset cancers also caused concern. The missing piece of the puzzle may be insoluble microparticles from the damaged reactors.
 
What are microparticles ?
These microscopic bits of fuel and other materials from the reactor meltdowns have been found around Japan since soon after the disaster. Citizens with hand held radiation meters first discovered them as highly radioactive fine black sands on roadsides and gutters. These substances eventually caught the attention of researchers who determined they are tiny fused particles of vaporized reactor fuel, meltdown byproducts, structural components of the reactors and sometimes concrete from the reactor containments. The Fukushima microparticles are similar to “fuel fleas” or “hot particles“. Hot particles or fuel fleas have been found at operating nuclear reactors that had damaged fuel assemblies. These fused particles found around Japan are different in that they are a byproduct of the reactor meltdowns.
The small size of these microparticles, smaller than 114 μm makes them an inhalation risk. Other studies have also confirmed the size is small enough to inhale. These microparticles have been found near Fukushima Daiichi, in the evacuation zone, outside of the evacuation zone and as far away as Tokyo.
 
How microparticles were created at Fukushima Daiichi
The heat of the meltdown processes reached temperatures high enough to cause the nuclear fuel and other materials to break down into small particles. The uranium in the fuel further oxidized and then volatilized once temperatures reached 1900K. As these materials broke down into nanoparticle sized components of the fuel melt process, this set up the conditions for them to condense.  As these materials cooled the fused microparticles were created. Newer studies call these microparticles “CsMPs” (Cesium bearing micro particles).  A 2018 study of how these microparticles were created gives a plain language explanation of the process. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acs.est.7b06309
“From these data, part of the process that the FDNPP fuels experienced during the meltdown can be summarized as the follows: Cooling waters vaporized, and the steam reacted with Zr and Fe forming their oxides after the loss of power to the cooling system. UO2, which is the main composition of fuels, partially oxidized and volatilized at greater than ∼1900 K. (9,10) The fuel assemblies melted unevenly with relatively less irradiated fuels being heated to a higher temperature as compared with the high burnup fuels and volatilized as evidenced by the 235U/238U isotopic ratio.(9) The fuel assembly collapsed and moved to the bottom of RPV. The temperature increased locally to at least greater than 2400 K based on the liquidus temperature of U−Zr oxides. Locally formed oxides melted to a heterogeneous composition, including a small amount of Fe oxides,(27) which then became a source of Fe−U single crystals and U−Zr-oxide eutectic phases. Specifically, euhedral magnetite nanocrystals encapsulated euhedral uraninite nanocrystals, which would have crystallized slowly at this stage. Liquid U−Zr-oxide nanodroplets were rapidly cooled and solidified to a cubic structure. When the molten fuels hit the concrete pedestal of the PCV, SiO gas was generated at the interfaces between the melted core and concrete and instantly condensed to form CsMPs.(5) The U−Zr-oxide nanoparticles or the magnetite nanocrystals subsequently formed aggregates with CsMPs. Finally, the reactor debris fragments were released to the environment along with CsMPs.”
The microparticles may have left the reactors through multiple processes including containment leaks,  containment venting operations, hydrogen explosions and the later reduction and addition of water in an attempt to control the molten fuel.
 
New study looks at how to quantify these substances
A new study found a useful way to quantify how much of the contamination in an area is due to microparticles (hot particles). By using autoradiography they were able to confirm the number of microparticles in a sample. Soil samples near Fukushima Daiichi ranged from 48–318 microparticles per gram.  The microparticles had high concentrations of radioactive cesiums, in the range of ∼1011 Bq/g. The study stresses the health concern that these microparticles pose due to cellular damage from the highly concentrated radiation level. The authors also mention the risk re-suspension of microparticles in the air poses to the public.
Not just cesiums
A separate study found strontium-90 in the Fukushima microparticles at a ratio similar to what has been found in contaminated soil samples. This study included the amount of hot particles (aka: microparticles) found in soil samples taken in the fallout zone in Fukushima north-west of the plant. They ranged from 0-18 microparticles per square meter of soil. This information confirms that strontium-90 is part of some of these fused microparticles. https://academic.oup.com/jrr/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jrr/rry063/5074550
An ongoing research project and paper by Marco Kaltofen documents these hot particles further. In the 2017 paper they found more than 300 such hot particles from Fukushima Daiichi in Japanese samples.  A hot particle was found in a vacuum cleaner bag from Nagoya, over 300 km from the disaster site. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969717317953?via%3Dihub
“300 individual radioactively-hot particles were identified in samples from Japan; composed of 1% or more of the elements cesium, americium, radium, polonium, thorium, tellurium, or strontium. Some particles reached specific activities in the MBq μg− 1 level and higher.”
The study found americium 241 in two house dust samples from Tokyo and in one from Sendai, 100 km north of the disaster site.  The sample set collected in 2016 showed a similar instance of highly radioactive hot particles compared to the 2011 samples. This appears to show that the threat from these reactor ejected hot particles has not gone away. A majority of the collected samples were from locations declared decontaminated by the national government.
The above graph is from the 2017 Kaltofen paper. These represent the highest readings for cesium found in their microparticle samples. The highest in the graph is Namie black sand. These black sand substances found around Fukushima prefecture and as far south as Tokyo were discovered to be largely made up of ejected reactor materials based on multiple studies.
The 2018 study we cited earlier in this report to explain the microparticle creation process also confirms some of these microparticles also contain radioactive isotopes of uranium. This further confirms the creation of some of these microparticles from the fuel itself. Uranium poses a particular concern due to the extremely long half lives involved.
 
How these act differently in the environment
In the case of the microparticles that contained Strontium 90, the isotope would normally move with water in the environment. Due to the insolubility of the microparticles, the strontium 90 stays in the top soils. Studies on microparticles predominantly carrying radioactive cesiums showed that the radioactive substances did not migrate through the environment as expected.
Microparticles were found in road gutters, sediment that collected in parking lots, below downspouts and similar places where sediments could concentrate. These initial discoveries hint at how the microparticles could migrate through the environment. The findings of the 2017 Kaltofen study indicate that microparticles can persist years later, even in places that were decontaminated. This may be due to the natural processes that have caused many areas to recontaminate after being cleaned up. There has been no effort to clean up forest areas in Japan. Doing so was found to be extremely difficult. The forest runoff may be one method of recontamination.
 
The risk to humans and animals
The subject of hot particles and the risk that they might pose to human or animal health has been controversial in recent years. Some studies found increased risks, others claimed a lesser risk from these substances. One study we reviewed may have discovered the nuances of when these substances are more damaging.
Most studies on hot particles aimed to determine if they were more damaging than that of a uniform radiation exposure to the same body part. A 1988 study by Hoffman et. al. found that hot particle damage varied by the radiation level of the particle, distance to nearby cells and the movement of the particle within the tissue. A high radiation particle might kill all the nearby cells but cause transformation in cells further away. Those dead cells near the hot particle would stimulate the transformed cells to reproduce faster to replace the dead cells. https://academic.oup.com/rpd/article-abstract/22/3/149/161256
A hot particle of moderate radiation would cause more transformations than cell death of nearby cells. High radiation hot particles that moved around in the organ, in this case the lung, would cause the most transformations. These acted like multiple moderate radiation hot particles transforming cells as they moved around. Those transformations are what can turn into cancers. This study’s findings appear to explain the results found in other studies where fewer cancers were found than they expected in certain groups.
A veteran who was exposed during US atomic testing had experience over 300 basal cell carcinomas. The study concluded that the skin cancers in atomic veterans could be induced by their radiation exposure. Continued exposure to ultraviolet radiation then promoted those cancers.
Other studies found damage in animal models. A study of hot particles on pig skin showed roughly half of the exposures caused small skin lesions. Two in the higher exposure group caused infections, one of these resulted in a systemic infection. https://inis.iaea.org/collection/NCLCollectionStore/_Public/28/061/28061202.pdf
A mouse study where hot particles were implanted into the skin found increased cancers of the skin. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09553009314550501
Workers at Fukushima Daiichi in the group with some of the highest radiation exposures were discovered to have these insoluble microparticles lodged in their lungs. When the workers radiation levels didn’t decrease as expected, further tests were done. Scans found the bulk of the worker’s body contamination was in their lungs. The lung contamination persisted on subsequent scans. The looming concern is that these microparticles in the lungs can not be ejected by the body.
 
Risks have been known for decades 
The US NRC issued an information notice related to a series of hot particle exposures at nuclear plants where workers were exposed beyond legal limits. https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/gen-comm/info-notices/1987/in87039.html
Damaged fuel was the source in all cases. Even improperly laundered protective clothing was found to be a risk factor. Contaminated clothing from one facility could make it through the laundry process with a hot particle undetected on bulk scans of finished laundry. This would then result in an exposure to a different worker at a different plant who donned the contaminated gear. The hot particles when in contact with skin can give a high dose rate. Plants with even small fuel assembly leaks saw significant increases in worker exposure levels.
“In addition to any increased risk of cancer, large doses to the skin from hot particles also may produce observable effects such as reddening, hardening, peeling, or ulceration of the skin immediately around the particle. “
These problems are thought to only occur in high dose exposures from hot particles. One worker in the review had an estimated 512 rem radiation exposure from a hot particle.  Workers at US nuclear power plants are subjected to strict screening programs when they exit or return to work. This increases the chance of detecting and removing a hot particle before it can do more damage. This also lessens the potential for one to leave the plant site. The general public exposed to a nuclear plant disaster does not receive this level of scrutiny.
 
How this risk may have played out in Fukushima
Soon after the reactor explosions ripped through Fukushima Daiichi, people in the region began complaining of nosebleeds and flu like symptoms. These eventually began being reported as far south as Chiba and Tokyo.  https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/08/201181665921711896.html
The government responded that these complaints were “hysteria” or people trying to scare others. These problems were so widespread and coming from diverse people it had seemed to be a significant sign in the events that unfolded.
On March 21, 2011 there was rain in Tokyo that may have washed out contamination still being ejected at the plant. Events at Daiichi between March 17-21 caused increased radiation releases.
In 2013 there was an unusual uptick in complaints about severe nosebleeds. This happened at the time typhoon Man-yi made landfall in Tokyo. The bulk of the people who responded to a survey by a foreign policy expert working in the office of a member of Japan’s Diet were from the Kanto region (Tokyo) where the typhoon made landfall.
Children in the Fukushima region that were found to have thyroid problems also complained of frequent nosebleeds and skin rashes.  People have described unusual ongoing health problems such as this woman in Minami Soma near Fukushima Daiichi who had odd rashes, a rapid loss of teeth etc.  Cattle housed 14 km from the disaster site have shown with white spots all over their hides, something previously seen after US nuclear tests. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/evaggelos-vallianatos/the-nuclear-meltdown-at-f_b_4209766.html
The USS Reagan was offshore of Fukushima Daiichi March 11 to 14th. Plume maps for iodine 131 (a gaseous release from the meltdowns) blew in the wind north and at times east out to sea during those dates. These same winds could have carried microparticles out to sea. A number of sailors on the Reagan and those working with the rescue helicopters have fallen ill. Eight have died since the disaster. This newer account of the events on the Reagan raise even more concerns about what happened to those trying to save people after the tsunami.
Namie Mayor, Tamotsu Baba resigned his office in June 2018 after a year of off and on hospitalization. He had been undergoing treatment for gastric cancer. He died a few weeks after resigning. His cancer may have predated the disaster, but in the last year his health drastically declined. Namie is in the area of some of the highest fallout from the disaster.
Fukushima plant manager Masao Yoshida died of esophageal cancer in 2013. TEPCO insisted his cancer was not related to the disaster due to the rapid onset. This is a common claim around cancers that could be tied to Fukushima, yet the number of cancers soon after the disaster has been hard to ignore.
As we neared completion of this report the labor ministry announced that the lung cancer death of a Fukushima Daiichi worker was tied to his work during the disaster. The worker was at the plant during the early months of the disaster and worked there until 2015. TEPCO didn’t give specifics of his work role, only mentioning he took radiation levels. TEPCO mentioned that the worker wore a “full face mask respirator” during his work. All of the workers at Daiichi wore the same after ordered to do so after meltdowns were underway. The worker was not among the highest exposure bracket so he may not have been receiving detailed health monitoring. Radiation exposure monitoring during the early months of the disaster was inconsistent and sometimes missed exposures. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180905/p2a/00m/0na/004000c
 
What microparticles change about the disaster
Highly radioactive microparticles were released to the environment during the meltdowns, explosions and subsequent processes in units 1-3 at Fukushima Daiichi.
Microparticles have been found near the disaster site, in the evacuation zone, far outside of the evacuation zone and south into the Tokyo region. These substances persist in the environment and have been found in areas previously decontaminated.
These microparticles significantly change the exposure estimates for the general public. Individual exposures can not be accurately estimated by the use of generic environmental radiation levels as this does not account for the individual’s exposure to microparticles.
Microparticle exposure has multiple variables that create a unique level of risk to the exposed human or animal. They can in the right circumstances cause significant damage to nearby tissues, persist in the body, cause damage, initiate or promote a cancer.
Microparticle exposures may be the missing puzzle piece that explains a number of odd problems tied to the Fukushima disaster. Health problems that showed up soon after the disaster. Exposed populations with aggressive or sudden cancers and other serious health problems that can be created or exacerbated by radiation exposure.
Microparticles continue to pose a public health risk in some parts of Japan that experienced fallout and increased radiation levels due to the disaster.

September 10, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

What is tritium and why is its disposal difficult?

Another propaganda piece to justify Tepco and Japanese goverment’s decision to dump the 7 years plus accumulated radioactive water into the sea. Mind you in that water it is not only tritium but other types of harmful radionuclides are present.
Look how they phrased their B.S. :
1. “water containing tritium” used when talking about the treatment of contaminated water at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant operated by the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO).” Of course not mentioning the other contained radionuclides, lying by omission!!!
2. “Tritium emits beta radiation that has weak energy, and will mostly pass through the body if drank. Its effects on the human body are said to be minimal compared to radioactive cesium.” Said to be, does not mean it to be true!!!
 
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In this July 17, 2018 file photo, tanks containing water contaminated with radioactive materials are seen on the grounds of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture
 
September 6, 2018
The Mainichi Shimbun answers some common questions readers may have about the characteristics of tritium, and why it is hard to dispose of water containing the radioactive element.
Question: I heard the term “water containing tritium” used when talking about the treatment of contaminated water at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant operated by the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO).
Answer: It refers to treated water including tritium. The element cannot be removed using the current purification method used at the crippled nuclear power plant. The government and TEPCO are considering ways to dispose of the liquid, which is continuing to fill waste water tanks at the plant.
Q: What kind of substance is tritium?
A: Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen containing one proton and two neutrons while the ordinary hydrogen nucleus contains just one proton. It has a half-life of about 12.3 years, which is the time required to reduce half of its radioactivity.
Q: Is tritium found only in the treated water from the damaged nuclear plant?
A: Tritium can also develop when oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere react to cosmic neutrons. Around 70 quadrillion becquerels appear naturally per year, and around a total of 223 trillion becquerels are contained in Japan’s annual rainfall, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Coolant in normal operating nuclear reactors also carries tritium. At the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, tritium is generated in groundwater pouring into the buildings that house reactors, and in water used to cool melted fuel debris.
Q: Why is it difficult to dispose of tritium?
A: Other radioactive substances can be removed using specific disposal equipment for filtration and absorption to levels below the allowed ceiling. However, separation is very hard for water containing tritium because its characteristics, including the boiling temperature, are similar to those of normal water.
Q: What about the impact it will have on human health, as it is radioactive?
A: Tritium emits beta radiation that has weak energy, and will mostly pass through the body if drank. Its effects on the human body are said to be minimal compared to radioactive cesium. Nuclear power plants around the world are disposing water containing tritium according to regulations, in oceans and other places, once it has been diluted to a radiation level that falls below standard limits. According to METI, Japan released into oceans around 380 trillion becquerels of tritium per year on average for five years before the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
(Answers by Riki Iwama, Science & Environment News Department)

September 10, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , , | 2 Comments

80% of local heads in nuke disaster areas say they can’t meet population goals: poll

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Weeds grow through the pavement at a derelict gas station in Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, in this Aug. 22, 2018
 
September 6, 2018
TOKYO — About 80 percent of 45 administrative district heads inside six municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture with areas rendered difficult to live because of the March 2011 nuclear accident said it is impossible for enough evacuated residents to return to meet population goals at “reconstruction hub areas” set by those local governments, a Mainichi Shimbun survey has found.
The heads said meeting those goals as part of recovery efforts is not possible because many of the evacuees now have new jobs and homes, and aging is advancing among them. The survey results placed a question mark on the feasibility of the local governments’ recovery plans.
The population goals for the northern Japan municipalities are set for around 2027 or 2028, five years after evacuation orders for difficult to return areas would presumably be lifted in 2022 or 2023. The numbers are calculated based on evacuees’ positive or undecided responses to opinion polls conducted by the municipalities.
The reconstruction hub areas receive national funding for decontamination and will have concentrated residential areas and infrastructure. They were incorporated in a special law for the reconstruction of Fukushima areas affected by the nuclear disaster, and the six municipalities received the central government’s approval for their reconstruction hub plans and their population goals by the spring of this year.
The population goals were 2,000 for the town of Futaba, 2,600 for the town of Okuma, 1,500 for the town of Namie, 1,600 for the town of Tomioka, 180 for the village of Iitate and 80 for the village of Katsurao.
The Mainichi survey of the administrative district heads was conducted by mail and other means from July through August of this year. Questionnaires were sent to 59 heads, and 45 of them responded. Of the total respondents, 37 said it is impossible to meet the goals, while six said it is conceivable, and the remaining two gave other answers.
When asked why they think that the population goals are not feasible, 16 said it is because evacuees established their base of living in new places, while 10 cited fear of radiation. Five said it is because the evacuees are aging.
A local head in Futaba said seven years of life in refuge was “too long,” while an official from Okuma pointed out that young people are especially worried about radiation. Another local leader from Okuma said aged people will not return unless medical and other facilities are available.
Local heads with positive responses said meeting the population goals depends on the influx of new residents who would move to their districts to carry out work decommissioning the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant operated by the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). The plant’s three reactors leaked massive amounts of radioactive materials after fuel rods in their cores melted because of cooling system shutdowns triggered by the massive earthquake and tsunami. The six municipalities around the plant became contaminated by the fallout.
After the nuclear accident, 11 cities, towns and villages came under government evacuation orders. Currently, entry is restricted at all of Futaba and Okuma, where the plant is located, as well as parts of Namie, Tomioka, Iitate and Katsurao. Even in areas where evacuation orders are lifted, populations are around 20 percent of the registered numbers of residents.
Associate professor Fuminori Tanba of Ritsumeikan University, a specialist on social welfare, explained that the population goals reflect the hopeful expectations of those municipalities counting on the inflow of decommission workers and researchers, and they are different from the perception of evacuees. “Town planning should be done by seeking the participation of returning evacuees, those going back and forth between their old and new homes, and new residents including plant workers,” said Tanba. “They should have plans suitable for returnees, and it is important to have plans going beyond municipal boundaries and assigning different roles to towns and villages involved.
(Japanese original by Toshiki Miyazaki and Keita Kishi, Fukushima Bureau)

September 10, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

All options need to be weighed for Fukushima plant tainted water

“A task force of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has considered five options, including release into the Pacific Ocean after dilution, injection into deep underground strata and release into the air after vaporization. The group has concluded that dumping the water into the ocean would be the quickest and least costly way to get rid of it.
This is seen as the best option within the government.”
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Contaminated water is stored in large tanks at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
 
September 6, 2018
The government has held public hearings on plans to deal with growing amounts of radioactive water from the ruined Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The hearings, held in Tomioka and Koriyama in Fukushima Prefecture as well as in Tokyo, underscored the enormous difficulty government policymakers are having in grappling with the complicated policy challenge.
The crippled reactors at the plant are still generating huge amounts of water contaminated with radiation every day. Tons of groundwater percolating into the damaged reactor buildings as well as water being injected into the reactors to cool the melted fuel are constantly becoming contaminated.
Almost all the radioactive elements are removed from the water with a filtering system. But the system cannot catch tritium, a mildly radioactive isotope of hydrogen.
The tritium-contaminated water is stored on-site in hundreds of large tanks. As the number of tanks has reached 900, the remaining space for them is shrinking and expected to run out by around 2020, according to the government.
Clearly, time is growing short on deciding what to do about the problem.
A task force of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has considered five options, including release into the Pacific Ocean after dilution, injection into deep underground strata and release into the air after vaporization. The group has concluded that dumping the water into the ocean would be the quickest and least costly way to get rid of it.
This is seen as the best option within the government.
Tritium is a common radioactive element in the environment that is formed naturally by atmospheric processes. Nuclear power plants across the nation release tritium produced in their operations into the sea according to legal safety standards.
But these facts do not automatically mean that releasing the tritium-laced water into the sea off Fukushima is a good approach to the problem.
Local communities in areas affected by the 2011 nuclear disaster are making strenuous efforts to rebuild the local fishing and agricultural industries that have been battered by the radiation scare. There are still countries that ban imports of foodstuffs produced in Fukushima Prefecture.
Local fishermen and other community members have every reason to oppose the idea of releasing tritium into the ocean. They are naturally concerned that the discharge would produce new bad rumors that deliver an additional blow to the reputation and sales of Fukushima food products.
Unsurprisingly, most of the citizens who spoke at the hearings voiced their opposition to the idea.
Moreover, it was reported last month that high levels of radioactive strontium and iodine surpassing safety standards had been detected in the treated water.
The revelation has made local communities even more distrustful of what they have been told about operations to deal with the radioactive water.
It is obvious that the hearings at only three locations are not enough to sell any plan to cope with the sticky problem to skeptical local residents. The government needs to create more opportunities for communication with them.
In doing so, the government should show a flexible stance without adamantly making the case for the idea of releasing the water into the sea. Otherwise, there can be no constructive debate on the issue.
It can only hope to win the trust of the local communities if it gives serious consideration to other options as well.
During the hearings, many speakers suggested that the water should be kept in large tanks until the radioactivity level falls to a very low level.
The pros and cons of all possible options, including this proposal, should be weighed carefully through cool-headed debate before the decision is made.
Repeated discussions with fruitful exchanges of views among experts and citizens including local residents are crucial for ensuring that the final decision on the plan will win broad public support.
The government and Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the Fukushima plant, should disclose sufficient information for such discussions and give thoughtful and scrupulous explanations about relevant issues and details.
The government, which has been promoting nuclear power generation as a national policy priority, has the responsibility of building a broad and solid consensus on this problem.

September 10, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Court accepts statement in TEPCO trial to show negligence

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A collapsed crane and other debris at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant after tsunami devastated the area on March 11, 2011
 
September 6, 2018
The Tokyo District Court on Sept. 5 accepted the written statement of a former Tokyo Electric Power Co. executive who claimed that his boss abruptly postponed tsunami prevention measures at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2008.
The postponement reportedly occurred almost three years before the plant was engulfed by a tsunami on March 11, 2011, resulting in the most serious nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
The statement was made by Kazuhiko Yamashita, former head of TEPCO’s center tasked with compiling steps against tsunami at the earthquake countermeasures, to prosecutors from 2012 to 2014. It was read out during the 24th hearing at the court on Sept. 5.
Tsunehisa Katsumata, 78, former TEPCO chairman, former TEPCO Vice President Sakae Muto, 68, and Ichiro Takekuro, 72, former TEPCO vice president, are on trial on charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury from the 2011 nuclear disaster.
Yamashita’s statement, recorded by investigators, supported arguments by lawyers serving as prosecutors that “defendants postponed measures to protect the plant despite having recognized the necessity for such measures.”
To prove negligence, prosecutors are trying to show that the top executives could have predicted the height of the tsunami that swamped the plant.
Defense lawyers have argued that “the nation’s earthquake forecast was not reliable and measures against tsunami had not been decided yet.”
According to Yamashita’s statement, the three executives approved the implementation of anti-tsunami prevention measures based on earthquake forecast issued by the government professional body but later put off the enforcement of the measures at the plant.
Yamashita was originally scheduled to provide sworn testimony. Instead, Presiding Judge Kenichi Nagabuchi accepted Yamashita’s statement, saying, “(Yamashita) is not in a condition able to testify at the court.”
The statement said TEPCO initially considered options based on a long-term assessment of the probability of major earthquakes released by the science ministry’s Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion in 2002.
The utility estimated that a tsunami more than 7.7 meters high could hit its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant based on its trial calculation.
In February 2008, when Yamashita proposed the tsunami measures in light of a long-term tsunami risk assessment during a meeting in which Katsumata and two other executives attended, the policy was accepted without opposition and was also adopted at a managing directors’ meeting the following month.
Based on Muto’s instructions, the team had mulled procedures on obtaining a permit to build a seawall to protect the Fukushima No. 1 plant, according to a TEPCO employee who testified at an April hearing.
However, when a TEPCO subsidiary conducted a detailed study on the maximum height of a tsunami on the basis of the assessment, it found in March the same year that a tsunami of “a maximum 15.7 meters” could engulf the Fukushima plant, surpassing the 10-meter height of the site of the plant where major facilities were located.
The findings were reported to TEPCO executives in June 2008 and then to Muto.
Muto in July 2008 decided to put off measures based on the 15.7-meter estimate, according to the statement.
TEPCO’s policy shift was the result of its “executives’ recognition that such measures require massive construction and would make it difficult for TEPCO to explain to the central government and locals that the plant was still safe, which could lead their demands for halting operations of the plant,” the statement said.
“I was surprised that a TEPCO executive had already revealed the inside details of the entity to such an extent,” said lawyer Yuichi Kaido, who is acting on behalf of the independent judicial panel of citizens who recommended the indictment of the three former TEPCO executives. “(TEPCO’s) extraordinariness that it did nothing because it couldn’t take measures was clearly exposed.”

September 10, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear plant worker died from radiation exposure on the job: ministry

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The Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant is seen in this Feb. 15, 2018
 
September 5, 2018
TOKYO — The death from lung cancer of a male worker at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima has been confirmed as work-related, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced on Sept. 4.
The announcement marks the government’s first recognition of a fatality linked to radiation exposure at the facility since a triple core meltdown occurred there in March 2011.
The ministry ruled in favor of granting workman’s compensation on Aug. 31. According to the ministry, the man had worked mainly at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and other atomic power stations nationwide over a period of about 28 years and three months between June 1980 and September 2015. He was exposed to a total radiation dose of approximately 195 millisieverts.
After the March 2011 disaster triggered by the massive Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the worker, who was in his 50s, was exposed to roughly 34 millisieverts of radiation by December 2011. In September 2015, his exposure reached around 74 millisieverts. He was in charge of measuring radiation on the premises of the Fukushima No. 1 plant, and he is said to have worn a full-face mask and protective suit while working, according to the ministry.
The man was diagnosed with lung cancer in February 2016. The timing of his death was withheld in accordance with his bereaved family’s wishes, ministry officials explained.
For the death by lung cancer of a worker at a nuclear power plant to be recognized as work-related under current guidelines, the individual must be exposed to 100 millisieverts or more of radiation and the development of the disease must happen five years or more after the exposure.
The ministry made the latest recognition based on opinions of a panel of experts specializing in radiology and other disciplines.
A public relations official of TEPCO Holdings Inc. commented, “We would like to continue to secure the safety of power plants and improve the work environment.”
(Japanese original by Shunsuke Kamiashi, City News Department)

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima episode of Netflix’s Dark Tourist sparks offence in Japan

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05 September, 2018,
Government unhappy after programme hints food in region is still contaminated with radiation and host enters clearly marked no-go zone
The recent Netflix series Dark Tourist is a grimy window into areas scarred by tragedy, providing a perspective as rare as it is compelling – but a controversial Japan-set entry in the series may have gone too far.
The country’s Reconstruction Agency is set to hold talks with the Fukushima prefectural government about a unified response to the second episode in the series, which looked at a tour for foreign visitors to some of the areas worst affected by the 2011 tsunami, earthquake and nuclear-plant disaster.
The episode raised hackles in Tokyo and Fukushima after David Farrier, the New Zealand journalist who hosts the series, was filmed eating at a restaurant in the town of Namie – a former nuclear ghost town which reopened its doors to visitors in April 2017 – and stating that he expected the food to be contaminated with radiation.
Farrier was also filmed aboard a tour bus nervously watching as the numbers on a Geiger counter continued to rise beyond levels members of the party had been told were considered safe.
At one point in the programme, which was released on July 20, a woman holding a Geiger counter says radiation levels “are higher than around Chernobyl”.
Farrier also slips away from the group without permission, and enters an abandoned game arcade within the no-go zone around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.
The prefectural government and the Reconstruction Agency, which was set up after the disaster to oversee the nuclear clean-up and rebuilding efforts in the region, are reported to be unhappy that Farrier entered a clearly marked no-go zone and the programme’s suggestion that food in northeast Japan was not safe to eat.
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Authorities are also unhappy the programme failed to specify that the high levels of radiation initially reported in the area have fallen significantly, and only a relatively small area is still officially listed as “difficult to return to” for local residents.
“We are examining the content of the video,” a prefecture official told the Jiji news agency.
The Fukushima government declined to provide further comment on Dark Tourist or the action that it might take.
A spokesman for the Reconstruction Agency in Tokyo told the South China Morning Post a response would be prepared after consultations with the prefectural authorities.
“We would like to provide accurate knowledge and correct information about the situation surrounding radiation in Fukushima Prefecture to the domestic and international media,” the official said. “We cannot comment specifically on the Netflix case at this point.”
An estimated 100,000 foreign tourists have visited Fukushima last year, many attracted by the offer of trips described as “dark tourism”.
Authorities, however, have been working hard to get across the message that the vast majority of the Tohoku region of northeast Japan is perfectly safe to visit and that local food and produce is safe to consume.
Campaigns are also under way to rebuild export markets for local foodstuffs.
The condemnation from authorities comes as Japan acknowledges for the first time that a worker at the Fukushima plant died in 2016 from radiation exposure.
The country’s Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry ruled that compensation should be paid to the family of the man in his 50s who died from lung cancer, an official said.
The worker had spent his career working at nuclear plants around Japan and worked at the Fukushima plant at least twice after the March 2011 meltdowns. He was diagnosed with cancer in February 2016, the official said.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima government considers action over Dark Tourist episode

September 4, 2018
DARK Tourist has been a global hit, but officials in Japan are not happy with scenes in this episode.
ITS willingness to boldly take audiences to some of the most offbeat, off-putting and downright disturbing places on the planet has made the Netflix series Dark Tourist a global sensation.
The first season of the groundbreaking documentary series, which was released in July, follows host David Farrier’s excursions to grim locations, from a forbidden ghost city on Cyprus to the Milwaukee sites where serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer murdered his victims.
But the series has landed in hot water due to its second episode that was filmed in Japan.
There, government officials are considering taking action against Netflix over footage from inside Fukushima, which was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
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The second episode of Dark Tourist sees host David Farrier on a nuclear bus tour in Fukushima.
 
In the episode, Farrier, a New Zealand journalist, takes a bus tour with other foreign sightseers into areas affected by the catastrophic nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
 
The bus passes radioactive exclusion zones and Farrier and the other tourists become increasingly nervous by the skyrocketing readings on their Geiger counters, which measure radiation.
At one point in the episode, the reading is 50 times higher than levels deemed to be safe.
In another scene, the group visits a local restaurant where Farrier is concerned about eating locally sourced food that may be contaminated.
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Farrier was unsure about eating local food.
 
In another, he comes close to being arrested after sneaking into an abandoned arcade that was deemed a no-go zone by the government.
Now, officials from the Fukushima Prefectural Government said they are investigating the Dark Tourist episode, concerned it would “fuel unreasonable fears related to the March 2011 disaster at Tokyo’s Electric’s tsunami-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant”.
A senior government official told The Japan Times they are working with the Reconstruction Agency in considering how to respond to the footage.
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The camera followed Farrier as he broke away from the tour group and entered an off-limits arcade.
 
“We’re examining the video content,” the official said.
The three issues of apparent concern to officials were Farrier being worried about eating the restaurant’s food, his visit to the off-limits arcade, and the exact location of the bus not being specified when the high radiation readings alarmed the tourists.
Farrier previously said it was “super disconcerting” to visit the areas affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
“Essentially, you’re in the middle of a microwave,” he told the New Zealand Herald.
“You can’t feel anything but this device is telling you that the radiation is way higher than is safe.”
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In the episode, Farrier and the other tourists are concerned about the readings on their Geiger counters.
 
Hundreds of thousands of people fled for their lives when a tsunami swept through Fukushima and set off three nuclear meltdowns at the Daiichi power plant, exposing the region to radioactive material.
The Japanese government has deemed some of the affected areas to be safe to return to, but many remain abandoned. Other areas are still designated as off limits.
But Fukushima’s perceived nuclear danger and its eerie setting have made it one of the world’s most popular drawcards for “dark tourists” — travellers who seek out locations with disturbing histories and associations with death and tragedy.
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Although dark tourism is booming, many area of Fukushima remain no-go zones.
 
So-called nuclear tourism attracted about 94,000 overseas visitors to Fukushima in 2017.
Similar nuclear tours operate in the Ukrainian ghost town of Pripyat, which has been a radioactive wasteland since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade urges Australian travellers to exercise a high degree of caution in Areas 1 and 2 near the Fukushima Daiichi power plant and advises against all travel to Area 3 due to “very high” health and safety risks.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

B.S. Propaganda Explaining that Radioactive Water Sea Dumping in Fukushima is Essential

As always the propaganda organs of the nuclear village and of the Japanese government are lying by omission, twisting the real facts, in order to justify their intention to dump the Fukushima daiichi’s 7 years accumulated radioactive water at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the sea, to dump it into the Pacif Ocean would be criminal, plain ecocide.
As this 920 000 tons of radioactive water is not only tritium-laced water as the media would like the public to believe. It contains also other types of harmful radionuclides as Tepco has recently admitted:
TEPCO Admitted Almost 200 Billion Bq of Priorly Undeclared Radionuclides Water Contamination
Radioactive tritium and other types of radionuclides in Fukushima nuclear plant water, despite water treatment
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‘Carefully explaining treated water discharge in Fukushima essential’

Sept. 4, 2018
How should “treated water,” which continues to accumulate at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, be disposed of? A plan must be quickly decided so this water does not cause delays in reactor decommissioning work.
Water is used to cool the reactor cores that melted down at the nuclear plant. Groundwater also flows into the plant, where it becomes contaminated by radioactive substances. Water collected at the site and passed through a purification facility is called “treated water.”
More than 900,000 tons of such water is being stored in tanks. This volume is said to be expected to increase by 50,000 tons to 80,000 tons each year.
About 900 tanks of various types already have been built on the plant’s premises. Finding space for additional tanks is becoming increasingly difficult, and plans to build more tanks run only until the end of 2020. If these tanks fill up the plant’s premises, there likely will not be enough room to perform the work needed to decommission the reactors.
The problem is that about 900 trillion becquerels of the radioactive substance tritium (an isotope known as hydrogen-3) remain in the treated water. In principle, removing tritium from water is difficult. The most promising option is releasing this water into the ocean. This would be done after dilution to bring the concentration of tritium to acceptable standards.
Tritium is generated daily at nuclear plants in Japan and overseas and then discharged into the sea in accordance with set standards. The volume released from Japanese nuclear power plants during the five years before the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake averaged about 380 trillion becquerels per year.
Relieve locals’ concerns
Each year, cosmic rays create about 70 quadrillion becquerels of tritium. Japan’s annual rainfall naturally contains about 223 trillion becquerels. The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry and the Nuclear Regulation Authority have explained that levels of tritium below a certain concentration have no negative impact on the environment, among other things.
Releasing tritiated water into the ocean, after the safety of this process has been thoroughly confirmed, is unavoidable.
At public hearings held by the ministry in a bid to turn this plan into reality, many attendees offered the opinion that assurances of the safety of discharging this water “couldn’t be trusted.”
Although this is a technically complex problem, the materials and explanations given at these hearings were very simple. As the explanations were made on the assumption that attendees had basic knowledge about topics such as radiation, attendees demanded the ministry “reexamine the plan from scratch.”
Criticism also focused on the fact that radioactive substances other than tritium remain in the treated water. This was triggered by some media reports on the issue just before the hearings.
Since four years ago, TEPCO has explained it attached great importance to efficiency in the purification process. This was to reduce the impact of radiation on workers at the plant and other people. TEPCO plans to remove the remaining radioactive substances when the water is discharged, but this process was not mentioned in the materials distributed at the hearings.
It appears the lack of explanation about possible risks has fueled the backlash to the discharge plan.
Locals, including people involved in the fishing industry, oppose releasing the water into the ocean because of possible damage and losses arising from negative public misperceptions. They are concerned that discharging treated water could once again have a negative impact on confidence in products from the area, which has been slowly recovering.
Of course, efforts must be made to call on local residents to get behind the plan. The government and TEPCO also should take stronger measures over wide areas to counter harmful misperceptions.

September 6, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | Leave a comment