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Preparations for discharging treated water into the ocean in earnest at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

November 26, 2021

 The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced on April 26 that it will begin a survey on April 27 to construct an undersea tunnel that will connect to the outlet of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Okuma and Futaba towns, Fukushima Prefecture), 1 km offshore, in order to proceed with a plan to release contaminated water into the sea after purification and treatment. In December, preparations began for the construction of a shaft to temporarily store the treated water, with the aim of releasing the water in the spring of 2023. In December, preparations began for the construction of a shaft to temporarily store the treated water, and the move to release the water in the spring of 2003 will be in full swing.

According to TEPCO, magnetic sensors will be used to check the seafloor at the drilling site for any obstructions in order to conduct a ground survey by boring.
 Then, over a period of about a month starting in early December, the geology will be examined by drilling 10 to 30 meters into the seabed at three points along the construction route of the undersea tunnel, about 400 meters offshore from the plant, about 700 meters, and about 1 kilometer from the discharge port.
 From early December to March next year, a 10-plus meter square hole will be dug at the site along the coast east of Unit 5, where a shaft will be installed. The timing of the construction of an undersea tunnel connecting the shaft to the discharge port has not yet been decided.
Explanations to the local community have been difficult, and there is deep-rooted opposition, especially from the fishing industry.

 The release of treated water into the ocean is strongly opposed by people in the fishing industry, and explanations to the local community by TEPCO and the government have been difficult.
 Even now, seven months after the government’s decision, TEPCO has not been able to apply for the facility plan to the Nuclear Regulation Authority. TEPCO is continuing to explain the plan to the people concerned by carrying out the seabed survey and preparatory work ahead of the plan. (Kenta Onozawa)
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/144947

November 27, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi Under Volcanic Pumice Risk

November 21, 2021

Volcanic floating pumice stones have been causing problems for coastal communities in Japan since August. The floating pumice began showing up in Okinawa near Japan’s southernmost territory first. Japan’s Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology predicts the pumice raft may show up around Chiba prefecture by the end of November. Chiba is directly east of Tokyo. The agency provided a video of their pumice raft plume path prediction on their website.

Pumice raft plume prediction via JAMSTEC.

The plume prediction model shows it to be offshore of Fukushima prefecture by November 30th. This does have some potential to create problems at the Fukushima Daiichi disaster site. TEPCO acknowledges this here. The primary concern is units 5 and 6. Units 1 to 3 suffered meltdowns and no longer depend on any ocean cooling. The cooling system for the reactor vessels of those units is a closed-loop system that reuses treated contaminated water. This system has no dependency on the ocean to complete the cooling process. The spent fuel pools for units 1 to 3 have closed-loop cooling systems that are also not dependent on the ocean for heat exchanging. Unit 4 had no fuel in the reactor vessel during the 2011 disaster and has had all of the spent fuel removed from the spent fuel pool.

Units 5 and 6 had all of the fuel removed from the reactor vessels and was placed in the respective spent fuel pools. Unit 5 holds 1542 units of spent fuel while unit 6 holds 1884, which includes some offloaded fuel from unit 4. Additionally, 168 pieces of unused fuel in unit 5’s spent fuel pool and 428 pieces of unused fuel at unit 6 are among the total amounts. The newest fuel in these two spent fuel pools is roughly 10 years old. We explain the decay heat process of spent fuel in this report.

Both reactor units use the RHR cooling system to cool the spent fuel pools. This consists of a pump system in the reactor building basement and a seafront pump facing the port. Both units 5 and 6 had replacement pumps installed at the seafront after the 2011 disaster. In 2019 the reactor building RHR pump in unit 6 failed and needed to be replaced. In 2014 the RHR pump for unit 5 failed. TEPCO was able to “share” the RHR system from unit 6 to cool unit 5’s spent fuel pool. This kept the pool within regulated temperature ranges.

The main concern with units 5 and 6 would be the potential heat up of the spent fuel pools if the pumice raft were to hit Fukushima Daiichi. Both units have significant amounts of spent fuel in their pools with both being over 1000 fuel assemblies each in inventory. By contrast, unit 1 has 392 assemblies in the spent fuel pool, and unit 2 has 615. Over ten year old spent fuel has less ability to generate heat. Typically by the 5-year mark spent fuel can be stored in dry casks due to the decay in heat generation potential.

If the pools were to lose cooling access, water could be replaced by portable piping or hose. In a longer-term situation, a portable heat exchanger similar to those used on the spent fuel pools of units 1 to 3 could be brought in. The time frame for TEPCO to implement such a plan is unknown as that level of emergency planning has not been released to the public.

The common pool is the other cause for concern. The building that houses the common pool has an extensive series of cooling units on the roof. It is assumed that this system isn’t dependent on any seafront cooling exchange but we do not have enough detailed information about the systems to state this with 100% certainty.

The port area for units 5 and 6 does have a silt fence in place that would help reduce pumice infiltration into the areas of the cooling pumps. It could greatly reduce the possibility of pumice reaching the pump intakes but it isn’t 100% effective.

Photo of silt fence in the port 2021

If pumice infiltration appears likely TEPCO has a plan to install additional fencing and oil collection type booms to block the port areas. TEPCO’s report also cites that the metal fence on the pump intakes for units 5 and 6 have a 9mm hole spacing that may be sufficient to stop larger pieces of pumice from reaching the pumps. As of 11.23.21 TEPCO has not released any updates to the situation at the plant related to the pumice issue. The plume is expected to pass by the plant over the next week leaving this an open issue to monitor.

Hat tip to Fukushima Diary who initially discovered the issue.

November 27, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Robots to probe Fukushima No.1 reactor from Jan.

Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021

NHK has learned that the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant plans to start a delayed robot survey of a damaged reactor from mid-January.

Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Company say preparations are well under way to send submersible robots inside the containment vessel of the No.1 reactor.

The probe is part of efforts to remove molten fuel debris from the reactor that suffered a meltdown accident due to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The utility originally planned to start the robot survey of the reactor in 2019.

It has been postponed because preparations, such as making a hole in the door of the vessel for the robots to go through, have taken time.

The officials say they are now installing equipment to remotely control the robots, and expect to carry out a survey for more than six months from mid-January.

They plan to use a total of six robots with different functions to find and examine nuclear debris, or deposits of a mixture of molten fuel and reactor parts, inside the containment vessel.

The robots will use ultrasonic devices to locate and measure how much debris there is, and how thick the deposit is. They are also expected to collect a small amount of samples.

Previous surveys at the plant confirmed the presence of deposits believed to be fuel debris in the No.2 and No.3 reactors, which also suffered meltdowns, but not in the No.1 reactor.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20211125_22/

November 26, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO to start ocean investigation by the end of the month.

November 26, 2021

On April 25, it was learned that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has decided to start an oceanographic survey by the end of the month to lay an undersea tunnel for the release of treated water from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. After completing the survey, the company will start laying the tunnel, aiming to start releasing the water in spring 2023. According to the officials, TEPCO had initially expected to start the survey in September, but was forced to postpone it due to difficulties in forming a consensus with neighboring municipalities.

In August, TEPCO announced a process plan to construct an undersea tunnel, run pipes through it, and drain the water into the sea about one kilometer offshore from the plant. In this submarine survey, in addition to magnetic surveys to ascertain the condition of the seabed, including confirmation of unexploded ordnance and other hazardous materials, diving surveys will be conducted as necessary. A submarine boring survey using a workboat will also be conducted.

The submarine tunnel is expected to be about 2.5 meters in diameter, and pipes will be cut through the bedrock of the seabed from the vicinity of the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors at the plant. We had considered the idea of draining the water into the sea near the east side of the plant, but we chose to go offshore where the tritium contained in the treated water would be more diffused. It is believed that the decision was based on the fact that there are no fishing rights in the waters about one kilometer offshore and that there would be little opposition from fishermen concerned about harmful rumors.

On the 17th of this month, the government announced the results of its assessment that the radiation dose in the surrounding waters due to the release of treated water was far below the safety standards set by the government and international organizations, and that the impact of radiation on the surrounding residents and the environment was “extremely minor.

The decision to release the treated water was made in April this year by the then government of Yoshihide Suga, and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who inspected the plant in October, said that it was a very important issue that could not be postponed.
https://www.sankei.com/article/20211126-MVPMX33MAFNVHAA5MPOA4ULOV4/

November 26, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Part of the frozen soil barrier may have thawed at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Steel pipes are being driven into the ground to stop groundwater flow.

Nov. 25, 2021
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced on November 25 that it may have thawed part of the frozen soil barrier wall built around the No. 1 to No. 4 reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Okuma and Futaba towns, Fukushima Prefecture) to prevent the inflow of groundwater. The company has announced that it will try to stop the flow of water by driving several steel pipes into the wall. The project will start as early as early December, and if the temperature in the ground continues to rise, additional steel plates will be driven in.
 According to TEPCO, a thermometer installed in the ground at the intersection of the southwest side of Unit 4 and the underground tunnel for drainage confirmed that the temperature exceeded zero degrees Celsius in late August. Since late September, the temperature has sometimes been above 10 degrees Celsius. A spokesperson explained at a press conference that the groundwater level outside the wall was high, and water pressure may have created a water path.
 The steel pipe is 35 centimeters in diameter and up to six meters long. Nine of them will be driven into the ground outside the frozen soil wall, which may have thawed, to create a wall three to four meters wide.
 The freezing wall, which has been in operation since 2017, was built to prevent groundwater from flowing into the reactor building, where melted nuclear fuel (debris) remains from the accident, and to reduce the amount of contaminated water generated. The wall is about 1.5 kilometers long. About 1,600 freezing pipes (30 meters long) were driven into the ground. The freezing pipes are about 1,600 tubes (30 meters long) driven into the ground and circulated with a cooling liquid of 30 degrees Celsius to freeze the surrounding soil. (Kenta Onozawa)
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/144800

November 26, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima village preparing for lifting of evacuation order

Radiation decontamination workers cut grass in a special reconstruction promotion area at Katsurao, Fukushima Prefecture, in November 2018.

Nov 22, 2021

Katsurao, Fukushima Pref. – The village of Katsurao in Fukushima Prefecture is set to bolster preparations for the lifting of government evacuation orders related to the 2011 nuclear accident.

Starting Nov. 30, the village will allow residents to come back and stay in a special reconstruction promotion area set up in the village in preparation for their permanent return, the office of the village announced Sunday.

The village plans to lift the evacuation order for the 95-hectare special area around spring 2022.

Katsurao and five other municipalities in the prefecture have set up special reconstruction promotion areas. Katsurao will be the first among them to carry out preparatory stays by residents in these specialized zones.

Fukushima is home to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station, which was heavily damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami of 2011.

The village held a meeting Sunday on the planned preparatory stays. After village officials asked 18 residents who joined the meeting about the plan, the municipal and central governments decided the date to begin the preparatory stays.

Eighty-three people from 30 households had lived in the area designated for reconstruction before the nuclear accident.

The preparatory stays come as decontamination work and the construction of necessary infrastructure in the area were conducted as scheduled.

At the meeting, participants voiced concerns over radioactive contamination in the area.

In response, Katsurao Mayor Hiroshi Shinoki told reporters: “Safety and security are major issues. We aim to work for the lifting of the evacuation order while trying to obtain understanding from residents.”

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/11/22/national/fukushima-evacuation-lifting/

November 23, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

The Japanese government and the Fukushima nuclear disaster – History repeating itself?

17 November 2021

Did you know that there are global agreements against the dumping of nuclear waste into the world’s oceans? They are called the London Convention and London Protocol (LC/LP) and the latest meeting of the government signatories and observers, including Greenpeace International, has just finished under the auspices of the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO). It was an uncomfortable experience for Japanese diplomats trying to defend the decision to dispose of nuclear waste from Fukushima Daiichi into the Pacific Ocean. But it also triggered memories of a different time and a different policy nearly three decades ago when Japan at the IMO took on the role of protecting the marine environment from radioactivity.

The LC/LP international conventions, which were established between the 1970’s and the 1990’s, only exist because of sustained public pressure against governments and the global nuclear industry which from 1946 had been dumping nuclear waste from ships into the world’s oceans. For countries such as the United Kingdom, United States, France, and Russia, military and commercial nuclear programs were producing enormous volumes of nuclear waste of many different types.

Faced with the rapidly growing stockpiles of wastes, from the 1950’s governments choose one of the least costly options for dealing with some of those wastes – dumping solid and liquid wastes directly into the ocean. The thinking was that the waste would be out of sight in the deep ocean and that radioactivity would dilute. Other countries also developing their commercial nuclear power programs, such as Germany and Japan, also supported nuclear waste dumping at sea. Seventy years of the commercial nuclear industry and the nuclear waste crisis has only got worse and still with no viable safe solution.

Greenpeace activists attempt to prevent dumping barrels of nuclear waste from the ship Scheldeborg. North Atlantic

Fortunately, the last known deliberate nuclear waste dumping from a ship into the ocean was in October 1993 when the Russian navy dumped 900 tons of liquid and solid nuclear waste into the international waters off the coast of Vladivostok in the sea near Japan and Korea. The justifications offered by the government in Moscow were that the issue was urgent as storage space was running out, that the radioactive waste was not hazardous, and that the dumping was carried out according to international norms. 

Sound familiar?

History on repeat

The Japanese government in April 2021 announced its decision to proceed with plans for the deliberate discharge of nuclear waste water from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Even beyond the 900 tons of nuclear waste the Russian’s dumped in 1993, Japan plans for more than at least 1.2 million tons to be mixed with sea water and discharged via a sub-seabed pipeline into the Pacific Ocean. The discharges are scheduled to take 30 years, but are almost certainly going to last much longer.

In 1993, the Japanese government called the Russian dumping extremely regrettable. Now, the Japanese government justifies its plans to discharge over 1 million tons of radioactive waste water as “necessary” because storage space is not available, and that the water is not contaminated but “treated”. Nearly 30 years apart, the dezinformatsiya, perfected by the Soviet Union and Russia and used to justify waste dumping, is mirrored by the disinformation from Tokyo. 

In early 1993, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), already knew of Russia’s plans to dump nuclear waste, but did not intervene and chose not to inform Tokyo. Today, the IAEA has formed a partnership with the Japanese government to provide cover for its plans and to  ensure, as it states, that the discharges will be done safely and in line with international practice. It continues to play the same historical role as set down in its 1957 statute of supporting and promoting the interests of the nuclear industry, not protecting the environment or public health.

Greenpeace documenting Russian ship TNT27 dumping nuclear waste in the sea near Japan and Korea. 18 October 1993

Since the 1970’s Greenpeace had been challenging nuclear sea dumping. After years of investigations and campaigning, the Russian navy’s secret operations to pump nuclear waste into the sea were challenged and filmed by the Nuclear Free Seas campaign team on board the Motor Vessel Greenpeace ship on 18 October 1993. While the MV Greenpeace sat off the Russian coast after the Russian military ship TNT27 and other navy vessels returned to port to pick up another cargo of nuclear waste, their nuclear dumping exposed to world attention, the Russian’ government announced on 22 October that it would halt further disposal plans. The TNT27 remained in port. 

By the time the Greenpeace ship had docked in Japan, the government of Morihiro Hosokawa had announced a policy change. It would no longer advocate nuclear waste disposal at sea. Instead, it would support an amendment to the London Convention at the November 1993 meeting at the IMO that would prohibit all nuclear waste disposal at sea. Both then and now, Greenpeace International representatives were at the IMO meeting pushing for an end to radioactive pollution of the marine environment.

I played a very minor role at that time, chasing the then IAEA Director Hans Blix, from Seoul to Tokyo with a copy of a telex (it was three decades ago!) from the Russian government informing Blix of their plans for nuclear dumping. The IAEA for some reason had chosen not to inform the Japanese government. Travelling from South Korea to Japan, I still remember as if it was only yesterday how moved I was watching my Greenpeace colleagues John Sprange, Twilly Cannon, Dima Litvinov, Thomas Schultz, captain Pete Wilcox and the rest of the crew of the MV Greenpeace confronting the Russian navy on NHK TV .

One further result of Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Germany, and Greenpeace Japan’s exposé of Russian dumping was that the Japanese government took the decision to financially support the building of additional storage and processing facilities for nuclear waste in the Russian Far East. This was a point that Greenpeace International has emphasised over the years at IMO meetings and drew the parallels for the Fukushima water crisis. 

Failed discussions and agreements

A principal objective of the London Convention and London Protocol is to protect the marine environment from pollution, including man-made radioactivity. However, the Japanese government contends that their plans for Fukushima contaminated water have nothing to do with the conventions. In fact, at the latest meeting on 26 October 2021, Japan tried to stop further discussion of the Fukushima water issue, arguing that the IAEA was the correct place to discuss such matters and it was not appropriate for governments to consider the issues at the LC/LP United Nations hosted meeting. This is an absurd and scientifically bankrupt position when radioactivity discharged from a pipeline poses potentially a greater coastal threat to the marine environment than deep sea dumping from a ship. 

Jacob Namminga from the Netherlands, head of radiation protection for the Greenpeace survey team doing marine sediment sampling onboard Asakaze, a Japanese research vessel chartered by Greenpeace Japan. The organisation is doing radiation survey work off shore of Fukushima Daiichi, doing sea bed survey and sampling of marine sediment with the Rainbow Warrior acting as a campaign support ship. A gamma ray spectrometer is used to measure the distribution of radioactivity discharged from the plant, and sampling and the under water videos /stills documentation are conducted by a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). All samples will be sealed upon before transport to independent laboratories in Japan and France.

Japan failed to end discussion of the Fukushima contaminated water issue at the LC/LP. In Greenpeace International’s written submission, Greenpeace International proposed that a scientific working group be established under the LC/LP that would consider the alternatives to discharging the Fukushima waste into the Pacific. Greenpeace International argued, as in 1993, that there were alternatives to the Russian dumping, namely additional storage and applying best available processing technology, and that these should also be applied at Fukushima Daiichi.

In 1993, Russia accepted international assistance and the dumping stopped. However, Dr. David Santillo, Greenpeace International’s science representative reported that Japan refused to consider this option at the October 2021 IMO meeting, and its position was supported by the United States, France and the UK. The governments of South Korea, Chile, China, and the Pacific Island nations of Vanuatu and Palau all spoke in favour of reviewing alternatives to discharge in a technical working group. The meetings operate on consensus and with Japan’s objections, agreement to assess alternatives was impossible. Dr. David Santillo, challenged the IAEA over its role, and asked if it could be tasked with reporting on its discussions with Japan on the alternatives to discharges. The IAEA has agreed to report back in 2022. 

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident marks the 10-year anniversary on March 11, 2021. Greenpeace Japan has been conducting continuous radiation surveys in Fukushima Prefecture right after the accident, and in November 2020, we conducted our 32nd survey in Iitate and Namie.

There is a historical resonance and also a tragic irony with Japan’s attempts to remove discussion of its Fukushima nuclear waste crisis from international review at the LC/LP IMO meetings. The Russian dumping in 1993 caused public and political outrage in Japan. The Japanese government of Hosokawa subsequently played an important and critical role at the LC/LP meeting when it supported the prohibition of all nuclear waste ocean dumping. Nearly thirty years ago its position was no doubt informed by self-interest – protecting its coastal waters from radioactive pollution and the rights of its own citizens, especially the fishing communities that were at risk. 

Back then, the position of the Japanese government was the right and just thing to do. Today, protecting the marine environment from deliberate radioactive pollution still remains the right and legal thing to do – except that’s not what’s happening.  
Instead, the government of Prime Minister Kishida, like his predecessors Abe and Suga, are disregarding and disrespecting the views and rights of their own citizens and fishing communities along the Tohoku coast.

The decision to discharge violates an agreement to abide by the views of the Fukushima fishing federations. They are not acting to protect the marine environment from radioactive pollution but instead will be the source of pollution. The Japanese government is also seeking to avoid scrutiny of their plans and to dismiss the concerns and opposition of neighbours in the Asia Pacific region, near and far. And they clearly don’t want to explore any viable alternative options of storage and processing.

Continuing the fight

There are many technical and radiological reasons to be opposed to discharging Fukushima waste water into the Pacific Ocean. And Greenpeace East Asiahas reported on these and continues to investigate. But the decision also affects you on a fundamental level. It should rightly trigger an outrage. In the 21st century, when the world’s oceans are already under the most severe threats including the climate and biodiversity emergencies, a decision by any government to deliberately contaminate the Pacific with radioactivity because it’s the least cost/cheapest option when there are clear alternatives seems so perverse. That it is Japan, given its historical role in securing the prohibition on nuclear dumping in the London Convention and London Protocol, makes it all the more tragic.

On occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Greenpeace Japan activists hold up a banner saying “Stand with Fukushima” in front of the national Diet (Parliament) building, calling for the Japanese government to shift to a renewable energy future.

There are numerous legal problems facing Japan’s plans – they have dismally failed to consult with affected coastal countries, including South Korea, China and northern Pacific Island States; they have failed to conduct an environmental impact assessment, and they have obligations not to allow pollution from their own waters to pollute international waters or the waters of other countries. This disregard for the human rights of both their own Japanese citizens, as well as those in the wider Asia Pacific region, including indigenous people’s has justifiably been challenged, not least by UN human rights Special Rapporteurs

Japan is under international legal obligation to take all measures possible to avoid transboundary pollution from radioactivity, and its failure to develop the alternatives to dumping in the Pacific by continued storage (which it can certainly extend; it is a question of money) and treating the water to remove radioactive, including carbon-14 and tritium, (another question of money).  But these are just reflections of the blazingly obvious: Japan is exporting its radioactive pollution by dumping it in the Pacific ocean. 

However, there is time to stop the discharges which are due to begin in 2023, at the earliest. The governments attending the LC/LP, under the auspices of the United Nations IMO, together with Greenpeace International, will continue to question and challenge the Japanese government on the Fukushima nuclear waste water crisis. It’s only one of several international instruments that allow scrutiny of the Fukushima Daiichi plant and to directly challenge the plans to discharge. The articles of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) have even greater relevance and application to Tokyo’s misguided plans. The new government of Kishida may yet find out, as the government of Boris Yeltsin did nearly three decades ago, that you may have plans for dumping radioactive waste into the sea, but it does not mean you will be able to.

Shaun Burnie is a Senior Nuclear Specialist at Greenpeace East Asia.

November 23, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Nearest fishing port to Fukushima nuclear plant reopens

Political decisions made irrespective of the danger to people health, mainly for financial reasons in total denial of the hard facts.

Nov. 20, 2021

FUKUSHIMA – A ceremony was held Saturday to mark the resumption of operations at the fishing port nearest to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant stricken by the 2011 quake and tsunami disaster in northeastern Japan.

With the completion of reconstruction of Ukedo Port situated around 7 kilometers north of the nuclear plant, all 10 ports in Fukushima Prefecture that suffered damage in the quake disaster have been restored.

“It is a big step forward for the town” of Namie where the port is located, Mayor Kazuhiro Yoshida said at the ceremony, which was postponed from earlier in the year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The seawalls and quays of the port were severely damaged in the disaster, but as the area was in the no-entry zone where radiation levels remained high following the nuclear plant meltdowns no reconstruction work took place until October 2013.

Reconstruction was completed in March and the port is already in operation.

After the disaster, fishermen in Fukushima conducted trial operations off the prefecture’s coast before starting preparations earlier this year for full-fledged fishing.

Among the disaster-hit prefectures in the northeast, reconstruction of all 31 fishing ports run by Iwate Prefecture was finished in August 2019, while 18 out of 27 ports operated by Miyagi Prefecture were rebuilt by March.

https://japantoday.com/category/national/ceremony-held-to-mark-restart-of-nearest-port-to-fukushima-reactor

November 21, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Chinese FM asks Japan why it won’t release Fukushima water into own lakes if it’s really harmless

Tanks at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant store nuclear-contaminated wastewater.

Nov 19, 2021

After the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission of South Korea expressed regrets over Japan’s radiological impact assessment of the release of Fukushima wastewater into the ocean, the Chinese Foreign Ministry asked Japan why it would not release the nuclear-contaminated wastewater into its own lakes if it believes the water is harmless.

“Is the discharge of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant really inevitable, or is Japan just going its own way for its selfish interests? If the nuclear-contaminated water is harmless, why wouldn’t Japan release it into its own lakes? Japan, please answer the question,” Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at Friday’s media briefing.

Zhao’s remarks came after the operator of the Fukushima nuclear power plant said Wednesday that treated radioactive water would have an extremely small impact on the environment, marine life and humans when it is released to the sea, AP reported.

Since the Japanese government unilaterally decided to release contaminated wastewater into the sea in April, public questions and opposition from Asia-Pacific countries and within Japan has not stopped, but Japan has not given a convincing explanation on the decision’s rationality, necessity, and safety, Zhao said.

He said seven months after making the decision, Japan came up with an assessment report, which further showed that the decision made back in April was not scientific or rigorous, Zhao said.

Zhao said that Japan has turned a deaf ear to the legitimate concerns and appeals of the international community over the past seven months, and what the international community has seen is that the Japanese company in charge of the disposal of contaminated water in Fukushima has repeatedly tampered with data and concealed the truth.

Zhao reiterated that the disposal of contaminated wastewater in Fukushima is by no means a private matter for Japan. We must exercise extreme caution and carry out strict supervision. Japan should earnestly respond to the voices of neighboring countries and its own people, reverse its wrong decision and fulfill its due international obligations.

Japan should not let its “black swan” of nuclear leaks turn into an overwhelming “gray rhino” of nuclear contamination, Zhao said.

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202111/1239421.shtml

November 20, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO ‘claims’ Fukushima water release impact to be minimal

November 19, 2021

Tokyo, Nov 19 (EFE).- TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, said on Friday that the release of treated radioactive water from the plant would be carried out under international security standard and its environmental impact would be minimal.

The power company released the results of an assessment that estimated the possible impact on humans, animals and plants, along with various simulations, of the discharge spreading in the sea close the plant, where the water will be released in 2023.

“According to the assessment’s results, we believe that the impact on humans and the environment would be minimal,” a TEPCO official told EFE in an off-the-record briefing.

In April the Japanese government had approved the release of the contaminated water from the accident-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant, once it is treated through the advance liquid processing system.

TEPCO said that after being treated by ALPS, the concentration of radioactive substances in the released water would be within the security standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

“The annual amount of tritium discharged (to the sea) will be less than 22 TBq (terabecquerel), the discharge management target for the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) before the Accident,” TEPCO said in its assessment report.

According to the study, the water diluted through the ALPS system would be discharged deep inside the sea around 1 kilometer away from the coast and it estimated that the area with “higher tritium concentrations than the current surrounding area (…) will be limited to the area 2 to 3 kms from the station.”

As per the simulations, the biggest concentration of the radioactive element would be in some areas directly above the tunnel exit, but TEPCO insisted that the even here the tritium levels would be “significantly below the national regulatory standard and the WHO Guidelines for drinking-water quality.”

At present the contaminated water remains stored in over 1,000 tanks around the power station, having been used to cool the nucleus of the damaged reactors.

The water is treated through a process that removes most of the dangerous radioactive elements except tritium, an isotope which is dangerous in high concentrations.

November 20, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Temperature of Fukushima Daiichi’s “frozen earth wall” rises again – TEPCO: “Function is being maintained.

Nov. 16
As a measure to reduce the amount of contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the temperature in the ground has been rising in a part of the “frozen soil wall” that freezes the ground around the buildings to prevent the inflow of underground water.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has stated that the freezing wall is still functioning, but the cause of the problem is not known at this time.

The “frozen earth wall” is one of the measures to reduce the amount of contaminated water. Pipes are embedded around the buildings of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, and liquid at 30 degrees below zero is poured into the pipes and frozen, forming an “ice wall” that prevents underground water from flowing into the buildings.

TEPCO has installed thermometers in the “frozen earth wall” to measure the underground temperature, and it has been above 0 degrees Celsius in some areas on the mountain side of the Unit 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant since mid-September, rising to 11.29 degrees Celsius on the 12th of last month.

After that, the temperature hovered around 5 degrees and dropped to 1.13 degrees on the 11th of this month, but it rose again to 8.88 degrees on the 14th, 9.65 degrees on the 15th, and 11.03 degrees on the 16th, exceeding 10 degrees for the first time in about a month.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) investigated the inside of the frozen soil wall from the 10th to the 12th of this month, digging at a depth of about 2.8 meters where the temperature was rising, but could not find the cause.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has stated that “there has been no change in the level of groundwater and the function to control the inflow of water has been maintained.


https://www3.nhk.or.jp/lnews/fukushima/20211116/6050016369.html?fbclid=IwAR3Z6CT3b8ER4XjkTPda9E0gZ4SoyJimxDTR3WgZJ2sp69YzKlYgB3j0 Oig

November 18, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , | Leave a comment

Agency to phase out health care aid for evacuees in Fukushima

A house is torn down after it was left vacant by its occupants in Futaba, a town co-hosting the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, in July 2021.

November 10, 2021

The agency spearheading rebuilding efforts stemming from the Fukushima nuclear disaster is now in talks with local authorities about phasing out assistance programs to help evacuees meet their medical and nursing care costs.

Kosaburo Nishime, the minister in charge of rebuilding, acknowledged Nov. 9 that the Reconstruction Agency is engaged in discussions to assess what local governments want in the planned overhaul of the program.

Under the current program, residents of 13 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture who were ordered or advised to evacuate in the aftermath of the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in 2011 have had full or partial reductions of their health or nursing care costs. The number of evacuees from those municipalities totaled 150,000 as of August 2011.

The agency plans to begin scaling back the size of the aid as early as in fiscal 2023, according to a senior agency official.

The target that will come under the review concerns residents of 11 municipalities where the evacuation orders had been lifted by April 2017.

The agency plans to phase out the assistance over several years after notifying the appropriate authorities a year in advance of the end of the aid program.

But about 22,000 evacuees, including those from Okuma and Futaba, the towns co-hosting the crippled nuclear plant, as well as those who are not allowed to return due to continuing high levels of radiation, will not come under the planned review, according to agency officials.

The agency will consider that situation at a later date.

The move toward a full-scale review was prompted by concerns raised within the agency about the fairness of extending the assistance program when many residents in the same municipality had no access to such benefits.

For instance, Tamura and Minami-Soma have two types of evacuees, depending on where affected communities are located in their cities: residents ordered to evacuate and those who evacuated voluntarily. The latter are not eligible to receive any reduction in their health and nursing care costs.

This has given rise to a growing sense of resentment among those without access to the assistance in light of the fact the aid program has now been in place for many years.

On the other hand, plans to review the program have already met with fierce opposition from local officials.

“It is totally unacceptable,” said Ikuo Yamamoto, the mayor of Tomioka.

Evacuation orders were lifted in April 2017 for most parts of the town. But some areas are still off-limits.

“We are still in the middle of rebuilding,” Yamamoto complained. “I strongly request that the central government keeps the current program going as it is.”

Yuichi Harada, who is 72 years old and lives as an evacuee in Nihonmatsu after he fled Namie, both in the prefecture, said a blanket review of the program was the wrong approach.

“Some evacuees have to pay a lot more in medical fees than before as their health started to deteriorate” due to the evacuation, he said. “The government should fine-tune the program to reach out to people who badly need assistance.”

The central government sets aside about 25 billion yen ($221 million) annually for health and nursing care assistance to evacuees.

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14478893

November 10, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Pacific concerns over plans to release contaminated water from Fukushima

9 nov. 2021

Pacific leaders are concerned over a plan to release contaminated water from the earthquake-damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, into the ocean.

November 10, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Lake Close to Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Could Stay Radioactive For Another 20 Years

The cleanup from the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011 would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, but the environmental cost might be far greater, according to a research, with neighboring lakes polluted for another 20 years.

Nov 06, 2021

Lake Onuma’s Radioactivity Concentration

Lake Onuma on Mount Akagi might be polluted with radioactive cesium-137 (137CS) for up to 30 years after the unfortunate incident, according to a group of researchers led by those from the University of Tsukuba.

The fractional diffusional approach was utilized by the researchers to establish that radioactive concentration would occur for up to 10,000 days after the event.

The radiation concentration dropped very fast after the nuclear disaster, but the decline slowed dramatically in the months and years that followed.

Since Lake Onuma is a closed lake, it receives just a little quantity of inflow and runoff water. Professor Yuko Hatano, one of the study’s co-authors, said in a statement that previous research had utilized the two-component decay function model, which is the sum of two exponential functions, to match the detected 137Cs radioactive concentration.

Health Issues Caused by Exposure to Radioactive Isotope 

Cesium-137 has a half-life of roughly 30 years, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Exposure to the radioactive isotope may result in burns, radiation illness, and death, as well as boosting cancer risk.

The specialists utilized a fractional diffusion model to forecast the 137Cs content in both the lake water and the pond smelt, a common species of fish that dwells in the lake, over the long term.

The quantity of 137Cs in lake water and pond smelt was tested for 5.4 years after the event, according to the researchers. Experts anticipate that radioactive concentration will occur for up to 10,000 days after the catastrophe, based on the formula.

Researchers will be able to better comprehend the radioactive contamination of surrounding lakes that have been closed, as well as provide citizens a clearer sense of living conditions around the lakes, thanks to the formula.

Effects of Radioactive Contamination on the Ecosystem

A different set of researchers discovered last month that species in the region, particularly wild boar and rat snakes, are flourishing and have seen no substantial health consequences.

This is most likely due to the fact that cesium-134, one of the principal radioactive elements released during the accident, saw its levels in the region drop by about 90%, owing to its short half-life of just over two years.

Another study published in January 2020 revealed that more than 20 species, involving wild boar, macaques, and a raccoon dog, were flourishing in the ‘exclusion zone’ surrounding the Fukushima Daichii nuclear plant, which had been shut down.

Researchers found in July that the accident had resulted in a boar-pig hybrid, since both species in the vicinity had mated. The Fukushima tragedy ravaged Japan, irreversibly shifting huge portions of Honshu, the country’s main island, many feet to the east.

It triggered 130-foot-high tsunami waves that destroyed 450,000 people’s houses and melted six nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Thousands of people were forced to abandon their houses as a constant stream of deadly, radioactive pollutants were released into the atmosphere.

https://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/48121/20211106/scientists-lake-close-to-the-2011-fukushima-nuclear-accident-could-possibly-stay-radioactive-for-another-20-years.htm

November 6, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , | Leave a comment

A Decade On, Fukushima Farmers Fear Nuclear-Tainted Water’s Impact on Business

A laboratory technician prepare tests for cesium levels in beef from cattle bred in Fukushima, at Fukushima Agricultural Technology Centre in Koriyama, Fukushima prefecture, Japan November 2, 2021. Picture taken November 2, 2021.

Nov. 5, 2021

IWAKI, Japan (Reuters) – Fukushima farmers fear the Japanese government’s planned release of water from the crippled power plant could revive concerns about contamination and again hit the price of their produce, undoing a decade of slow recovery from nuclear disaster.

Japan plans to release https://www.reuters.com/article/us-disaster-fukushima-water-release-expl-idAFKBN2C003P more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water from the plant in the country’s northeast into the sea after treating it, as the site reaches storage limits for the water. Although international authorities support the plan, it has sparked concern from neighbours China and South Korea and worried local fisherman and farmers.

“We’re just about seeing our prices go back to normal after a big drop following the disaster, but now we will have to deal with the potential reputational damage all over again because of the release of the water,” said Hiroaki Kusano, a pear farmer and vice-leader of the local agricultural co-operative.

The water is to be processed to remove radioactive contamination other than from tritium, which cannot be removed. Water with the radioactive isotope diluted to one-seventh of the World Health Organization’s guidelines for drinking water will be released into the Pacific a kilometre out from the plant around spring 2023, under a government plan.

Nuclear plants worldwide routinely release water containing tritium, considered the least-toxic byproduct of atomic power.

Last year, for the first time since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastated the northeast coast and triggered the nuclear disaster, the average price of Fukushima pears sold in Tokyo overtook those from some other prefectures, fetching 506 yen per kg ($2.00 per pound), data from the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market showed.

A year after the crisis, prices were at 184 yen per kg, 20% below the average of more than 230 yen for other prefectures.

Fukushima’s produce goes through multiple checks for radioactivity, with farmers screening before shipment, while the prefecture also tests regularly.

Over the last decade, local produce has gone through a “thorough testing process, consistently” said Kazuhiro Okazaki of Fukushima’s Agricultural Technology Centre, which has screened produce for radioactive cesium since June 2011.

Fukushima produced 13,000 tonnes of pears in 2020, making it Japan’s fourth-largest source of the popular fruit, official data showed.

DECOMMISSIONING

The Daiichi plant is being decomissioned as part of a clean-up by operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (Tepco) expected to take decades https://jp.reuters.com/article/japan-fukushima-anniversary-decommission-idINKBN2B40XF.

Some 1,000 tanks, each 12 metres (40 feet) tall, crowd the site and hold enough radioactive water to fill around 500 Olympic-sized swimming polls. The release of water that once passed through contaminated areas of the plant marks a milestone in decommissioning and will free up space for the clean-up.

Tepco will compensate for damages related to the water release, said Junichi Matsumoto, a company official overseeing decommissioning work. Tepco says it has so far paid out some 10.1 trillion yen ($89 billion) in damages from the crisis.

“The first step is to listen to the voices of those impacted adversely by the water release,” Matsumoto said.

There are additional concerns because the Fukushima water has been sitting around for years, said Toru Watanabe, a radioactivity researcher at the Fukushima Fisheries and Marine Science Research Center.

“The water has been in those tanks for a long time. The quality of that water needs to be thoroughly understood before it’s released,” he said.

Farmers say there isn’t much they can do once the water is released. They worry about their tough customers – Japanese shoppers are famously picky about produce and pay close attention to freshness and place of origin.

“All we can do is keep explaining all of the measures we have to ensure the safety of our produce,” said pear farmer Tomoichi Yoshioka. “The final decision lies with the consumer.”

($1 = 113.6700 yen)

https://money.usnews.com/investing/news/articles/2021-11-05/fukushima-farmers-fear-contaminated-water-could-hurt-business-10-years-after-nuclear-disaster

November 6, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment