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S. Korea holds emergency meeting over Japan’s Fukushima water release plans

21 déc. 2021

Earlier this year… Japan announced plans to discharge treated radioactive water from Fukushima nuclear power plant. Neighboring countries expressed concerns. As Tokyo submit a request for an approval… Seoul reiterated its opposition to the idea.

Kim Do-yeon has the details. South Korea has expressed deep concern to Japan after its electrical company Tepco on Tuesday requested regulatory approval to release treated radioactive water from Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea.

South Korea held an emergency Vice Ministerial meeting… and the country’s nuclear safety chiefl affirmed their stance on the matter.

“To share the main points of the letter, we’ve requested that during the process of collecting opinions, in addition to Japan, other countries’ opinions should be taken into account as well as…. while cooperating with the international community. In addition, we requested that relevant information should be transparent, and Japan be cooperative and prompt to South Korea’s request to confirm the release is safe.”

This was the second time South Korea used its nuclear safety commission as a means to send a message to Japan.

The first time was earlier this year when Japan said it had decided to push for the discharge of more than 1 million tons of the water into the ocean.

Tepco’s appeal for regulatory approval this time around… was around 500 pages long… detailing how the water will be released as well as the extent of the dilution process. The firm said… pumps would move the treated water from the tanks to the seashore and through a seabed tunnel before releasing it at a depth of 12 meters, and about 1 kilometer out at sea.

South Korean authorities plan on examining the appeal thoroughly and will request additional information. They will also strengthen its watch over the level of radioactivity in the sea. Currently… it has 32 spots in coastal waters to check for levels of tritium and cesium, and it is planning to add 2 more spots with more frequent checks being carried out.

Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News.

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

Release of treated water from Fukushima Daiichi: TEPCO applies for implementation plan to the Regulatory Commission

December 21, 2021

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has announced its plan for the release of treated water containing tritium and other radioactive substances that continues to accumulate at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the sea.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) held a press conference on April 21 and announced that it has applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for an implementation plan in line with the government’s policy that the treated water that continues to accumulate at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant will be discharged into the sea in the spring of the next year after being diluted to a concentration below the standard.

The plan describes the procedure for diluting the treated water with seawater and the design of an undersea tunnel to be constructed to release the diluted water from 1 km offshore.

After receiving approval from the regulatory board and gaining the understanding of the local community and other related parties, the company plans to start construction of the equipment to dilute the treated water with seawater and the undersea tunnel around June next year, aiming to complete the work around the middle of April next year in accordance with the national policy.

Junichi Matsumoto, the executive officer of TEPCO who is in charge of the plan, said, “Based on the government’s policy, we would like to explain the plan to the local community and many related parties in parallel with the regulatory committee’s examination, and study specific designs and operations to ensure safety.

With regard to the release of treated water being promoted by the government and TEPCO, there are deep-rooted concerns about harmful rumors, especially among local residents, and the issues that remain to be addressed are how to gain the understanding of those concerned and how to take effective measures to deal with the rumors.

What is “treated water”?
At the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, so-called “contaminated water” is being generated at a rate of 140 tons per day, including water used to cool the nuclear fuel in Units 1-3 that melted down in the accident 10 years ago, as well as groundwater that flows into the buildings.

The contaminated water is treated in a special purification system to remove most of the radioactive materials, but the water containing tritium, a radioactive material that is difficult to remove, or “treated water,” remains and is stored on the plant grounds.

According to the current plan, 1.37 million tons of water can be stored in a large tank on the site, but more than 90% of the tank is already filled with treated water, and it is expected to be full after next fall.

Therefore, the government has decided to dilute the treated water to less than 1/40th of the standard by adding seawater and discharge it into the sea around the spring of 2023, as it is unlikely to affect human health if the concentration is reduced below the standard.

What is the outlook for the future?
The implementation plan applied for by TEPCO will be reviewed by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will examine the plan, which includes the following: (1) measures against natural disasters, such as equipment to dilute the treated water with seawater and an undersea tunnel, and (2) a function to stop the release of water in case of abnormalities.

Toyoshi Sarada, chairman of the regulatory board, said, “There are no major technical difficulties in diluting and checking the concentration of the treated water, and it will not take a long time.

On the other hand, there are deep-rooted concerns about the release of treated water, especially in the local community, and Mr. Sarada pointed out that “the understanding of the local community and other related parties is extremely important, and even if the plan is approved, the period until the start of construction is unpredictable.

On April 20, TEPCO submitted a “Request for Prior Approval,” which is required for the construction of new facilities and expansion of facilities, to Fukushima Prefecture and the municipalities of Futaba and Okuma.

In addition, the construction work is expected to take about a year, so the government’s goal of releasing treated water in the spring of 2023 is still uncertain.

After TEPCO reported to fishermen in Iwaki that it had applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for a plan to release treated water, Tetsu Nozaki, chairman of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, said, “It’s unfortunate and frustrating that we have been opposed to the release of treated water into the ocean, but we are moving forward without hesitation. We want them to think of other ways. We have no choice but to send out the message that fishermen are against it.
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/lnews/fukushima/20211221/6050016725.html?fbclid=IwAR3VlVNSI0PxYOuA9Kxpr1i7Eg836xnjIAzsC57-aWsok-fK0ep5RkYzSLU

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

TEPCO starts offshore drilling to release Fukushima water

14-Dec-2021

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) began offshore drilling operations on Monday for the undersea tunnel that will implement its plan to release radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, local media has reported.

TEPCO is scheduled to initiate the release in the spring of 2023.

The Japanese operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has decided to release treated wastewater from the ruined facility in an area roughly 1 kilometer offshore from the site, reported Nikkei.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings plans to discharge the wastewater through a pipeline, which will be contained in a tunnel to be drilled within the seafloor, said the report.

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-12-14/TEPCO-starts-offshore-drilling-to-release-Fukushima-water-15YY7KhjzoI/index.html?fbclid=IwAR2a1-kZZLpficE4sO7iCfbf1LJLWPDufuyu-OlFbPmf8VkHGYpOb0KS_hQ

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

Greenpeace: TEPCO assessment of Fukushima water dumping lacks analysis of impact on S. Korea

The international environmental organization called TEPCO’s radiological impact assessment “highly selective” in its use of IAEA guidelines

Contaminated water is currently being stored in roughly 1,000 tanks located at the Fukushima Daiichi site.

Dec.18,2021

The international environmental group Greenpeace sent an opinion to the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) on Thursday stating that the company’s radiological impact assessment of contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant made convenient use of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) guidelines without considering the potential damages to residents of neighboring countries such as South Korea.

The opinion from Greenpeace was based on its review of the draft version of a contaminated water radiological impact assessment report released by TEPCO last month.

In that draft report, TEPCO claimed that the release of contaminated water into the ocean would have a “very limited” impact on the marine environment. The company has announced that it plans to issue a final report Saturday after gathering outside opinions on the draft.

Commenting on the report, Greenpeace East Asia senior nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie called it a piecemeal radiological assessment that was intended to legitimize the discharge of radioactive water into the ocean.

He also said that TEPCO failed to give an adequate scientific basis for its conclusion that the discharge would not cause damage to the waters or marine ecosystem beyond a range of 10 square kilometers.

In its release of the report, TEPCO said it had been drafted in compliance with IAEA guidelines.

But Greenpeace said that an examination showed that TEPCO not only set a “far too narrow” scope of radiological impact assessment targets, but also that it is “highly selective” in its use of IAEA guidelines.

“Ultimately, the potential damages to residents in South Korea and other neighboring countries were not considered in the scope of the current radiological impact assessment,” it explained.

The IAEA General Safety Guide No. GSG-9 document states that radiological impact assessments should take into account the effects of natural radioactivity, nuclear weapons testing, and nuclear power plant accidents, with measurements of radioactivity concentrations in various environmental areas such as water, soil, plants, and grains around the nuclear power plant site.

Greenpeace explained that TEPCO did not perform the kind of comprehensive environmental impact assessment stipulated in the guidelines, nor did it explain about the long-term radiation damage to the maritime ecosystem as the contaminated water is released over a period of at least 30 years.

“It is deliberately vague,” Greenpeace wrote of Japan’s draft. “It does not conclude there will not be adverse effects on species, on the marine environment, on biodiversity or on fish or fisheries or tourism.”

The organization also criticized the report’s omission of the radioactivity contamination pathways identified to date, including study results published by Japan’s Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI) last March.

This indicates that TEPCO did not follow the IAEA’s recommendation to reflect the discovery of new contamination pathways for radioactive substances in its assessment, the organization said. Cesium-bearing particles were detected in all seven samples taken by CRIEPI from sediment along the Fukushima coast.

Greenpeace further said that the report did not offer an explanation on why the ocean discharge of contaminated water was unavoidable, nor did it deal at all with the effect that decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi site would have on the contaminated water.

“The TEPCO radiological impact assessment presumes only that the secondary purification of contaminated water will undoubtedly be successful, which is far from the reality,” said Chang Ma-ri, an anti-nuclear power campaigner with Greenpeace.

“For years now, the ALPS multi-nuclide removal equipment has been failing to fully process highly toxic radioactive substances. Korea and the rest of the international community need to demand that TEPCO examine whether the release of the contaminated water into the ocean is actually unavoidable in scientific and technical terms,” she said.

https://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/1023823.html?fbclid=IwAR0iNXt4twCSMA2y5m3C6Pi2wuehO4UEXf6mU0Yz_HVYtBDKP3lgBpj7LV4

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

Japan urged to revoke decision to dump nuclear wastewater after study finds Fukushima radioactive material reaches Arctic Ocean

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

Dec 15, 2021

Research shows that radioactive substances that flowed into the ocean due to the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011 have reached the Arctic Ocean and a Chinese expert warned against the danger of the spread of the radioactive substances in the ocean and called on Chinese authorities to collect data on radioactive substances as evidence to defend its maritime interests while the Chinese Foreign Ministry urged Japan to revoke its decision to release contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

According to the latest study of Yuichiro Kumamoto, a senior researcher from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, radioactive Cesium-134 has reached the Arctic Ocean eight years after it leaked into the ocean due to the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, Kyodo News reported on Tuesday. Cesium-137 also arrived in the Arctic Ocean, according to the researcher.

A small amount of the radiocesium was detected and Yuichiro speculated that it had spread to the center of the Arctic Ocean.

The tritium in the contaminated water that Tokyo Electric Power Company plans to discharge will likely follow the same path, Kyodo News said.

Zhang Yancang, director of the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea Research Institute of Dalian Maritime University told the Global Times that the possibility exists that the radioactive material was brought through the ballast water in ships, which would be horrible.

Zhang explained that the ballast water in ships needs to be replaced regularly. If the ship takes in new ballast water in a port near Japan, it might carry water with radioactive material and release it somewhere around the world, which is unpredictable.

Zhang who didn’t expect the radioactive material to reach the Arctic Ocean so quickly said that it remains to be seen if the ocean current could speed up the spread of the radioactive material.

China should start collecting data of the amount of radioactive substances before and after Japan dumps the radioactive water in 2033 as evidence to help defend its maritime interests, he said.

“This is not the first report that confirmed that radioactive substance from the Fukushima nuclear accident had been detected in the Arctic Ocean. The research results of researchers at Tsukuba University released in November also found that Cesium-137, a radioactive substance that flowed into the sea in the Fukushima nuclear accident, was detected in the Arctic Ocean,” Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at Wednesday’s media briefing.

These findings of Japanese scholars clearly illustrate the fact that the radioactive substances leaked from the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant have spread to the Pacific Ocean and the Arctic Ocean and may affect waters around the globe, he said.

“If the more than 1.2 million tonnes of nuclear contaminated water is discharged into the Pacific Ocean as planned by Japan, it will have an impact on the marine environment in the whole region and even the world. Is this the kind of consequence that can be born by Japan alone?” Zhao said, urging Japan to take a responsible attitude toward the marine environment and humanity’s health, revoke its wrong decision of ocean release and stop the preparatory work for the discharge. 

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202112/1241599.shtml?fbclid=IwAR3eYjIgR-ZRQYc5WPcrQcjO8vw8AuvCCTIsy0UD9SI4D7N1f8NZk2uDiCk

December 20, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | 1 Comment

Japan’s Fukushima water set to be dumped as critics attack ‘flawed’ Tepco report

. Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant’s operator says its move to dispose some 1.23 million tons of treated radioactive water will have ‘minimal’ impact on public health

. But Greenpeace says Tepco’s scientific analysis is lacking in multiple areas, including an assessment of how the water will affect the wider Asia-Pacific region

Visitors watch as decommissioning work at the Fukushima power plant takes place on November 15, 2021.

16 Dec, 2021

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant has this week commenced test drilling for pipes to release more than 1.23 million tons of treated radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, the work coinciding with a study by an environmental group accusing Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) of using “flawed” scientific analysis to justify the release.

Tepco on Tuesday started a boring survey at the nuclear plant, which was destroyed in the March 2011 earthquake and the massive tsunami it triggered, causing the meltdown of three of the six reactors at the site and the second-worst nuclear disaster in history.

With the backing of the government, Tepco intends to lay a pipeline to a location about 700 metres offshore and start to release treated water into the ocean from the spring of 2023.

Storage tanks at Tepco’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant

The company claims that virtually all trace of the 64 radionuclides will be eliminated before the release of the water, which is used to keep the damaged reactors cool, but critics point out that no independent organisations had been permitted to test radiation levels in the water in the more than 10 years since the disaster.

Tepco on November 17 released a study that concluded the effects of the release of the water “on the public and the environment is minimal as calculated doses were significantly less than the dose limits, dose targets and the values specified by international organisations”.

On Thursday, Greenpeace released a study that took issue with the findings in Tepco’s report, saying its own radiological impact assessment “found many flaws in the approach and with their conclusions”.

The firm “does not apply the basic principles of radiation protection, which requires even low-level increases in radiation risks to be justified and demonstrate net benefits to society”, Greenpeace’s report said, while Tepco had also failed to take into account the existing radiation exposure of the local population as a result of the original disaster in its conclusions.

Tepco also ignored cumulative effects of exposure to elevated levels of radiation, as well as the long-term effects on marine ecology, species and food chains, the Greenpeace study found.

The Tepco report also failed to take into account future hazards at the plant due to “its fundamentally flawed decommissioning plan”, while the assessment of the impact of the radiation was “extremely limited” and failed to include the impact on the wider east coast of Japan or further afield in the Pacific.

The plan to discharge the water violates the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Greenpeace said, adding that Tepco continued to ignore alternative solutions to the problem of contaminated water at the site, including long-term storage.

“The Tepco document is flawed in its scientific analysis and disregard for basic international norms of radiation protection,” said Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace East Asia.

“It is wholly inadequate, legally takes no account of wider impacts, including to the Asia-Pacific region, and in no way provides justification to deliberately discharge radioactivity into the Pacific Ocean over at least 30 years,” he said. “Opposition, including by small Pacific island nations, continues. Tepco’s discharge plans can be stopped.”

In a statement, a Tepco official declined to comment directly on the Greenpeace report, but said the company would continue to seek the approval of the Nuclear Regulation Authority for the planned release of the water.

Tepco says an additional 210 tons of water builds up at the site every day and argues it is running out of space close to the reactors, and that another natural disaster could rupture the hundreds of tanks containing the contaminated water, causing a new environmental crisis.

The plant operator is pushing ahead with the plan in spite of criticism from home and abroad.

Fishermen and farmers in eastern Japan have expressed their anger, claiming it will further damage the reputation of their industries and ruin their livelihoods, while people living in coastal areas are similarly concerned at the possible impact on their health.

The work is taking place at the same time the Japanese government is calling on countries around the world to lift restrictions on imports of foodstuffs from northeast Japan as there is no evidence they pose any danger to the health of consumers.

A number of governments in the region, including Hong Kong, South Korea and China, have also expressed deep reservations about the proposal to dump the contaminated water into the Pacific. South Korea has already indicated it is planning to take legal action against the move and the case may be joined by other nations.

https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/health-environment/article/3159949/japans-fukushima-water-set-be-dumped-critics-attack

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

Cesium reaches interior of Arctic Ocean 8 years after Fukushima nuclear accident

The movement of radioactive cesium originating from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident to reach the Arctic Ocean

Dec. 14, 2021
Cesium-134, a radioactive material that leaked into the sea as a result of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co. 4, which was spilled into the sea after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in 2011, reached the interior of the Arctic Ocean about eight years later, Yuichiro Kumamoto, a senior researcher at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, summarized the results of a study by April 14. This is the first time that cesium-134 has been detected in the interior of the Arctic Ocean beyond its marginal seas.
 Mr. Kumamoto estimated that cesium-137 washed ashore in the same way. Although the amount of cesium detected is small, he speculates that it is spreading toward the center of the Arctic Ocean.
 After the accident, Kumamoto and his team analyzed seawater from the North Pacific Ocean and other regions. The seawater collected in the Arctic Ocean near latitude 73 degrees north of the Alaskan Peninsula in October 2007 had a concentration of cesium 134 (half-life of about two years) of 0.0 becquerel per cubic meter. 7 becquerels per cubic meter.
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/148778?fbclid=IwAR2S-MKeN7VgNoSdK7kUmjGXSQsoPrkUptG5sr1gcaHO0CdEgUGRYWCog8k

December 15, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Radioactive Materials from Wild Mushrooms: 5 Municipalities to Restrict Shipments

December 13, 2011 

Gunma prefecture – Some wild mushrooms from five cities, towns and villages in Gunma Prefecture, including Midori City and Nakanojo Town, have been found to contain radioactive materials exceeding the standard values.

According to Gunma Prefecture, when wild mushrooms collected in Midori City, Nakanojo Town, Kusatsu Town, Katahina Village, and Kawaba Village were tested in September this year, 510 becquerels of radioactive cesium was detected in the red fir mushroom in Kawaba Village. In all cases, the amount of radioactive materials detected exceeded the national standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram.
In response, the national nuclear emergency response headquarters instructed the prefectural government to restrict the shipment of wild mushrooms from five cities, towns, and villages in the area as of March 13.
According to the prefectural government, the five cities, towns and villages have already been asked to refrain from shipping the mushrooms, and since the season for gathering wild vegetables has already ended, the impact is expected to be minimal.
In the prefecture, seven municipalities, including Numata City, have been instructed to restrict shipments of wild mushrooms since September 2012, bringing the number of municipalities restricting shipments of wild mushrooms to one or two. This brings the number of cities, towns, and villages where wild mushroom shipments are restricted to one or two.
The prefectural government says that it will continue to conduct monitoring inspections systematically.
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/lnews/maebashi/20211213/1060010905.html?fbclid=IwAR1vseUrk0rx1N56TZAkGVfZpKj2sJoJ3ugTTURPX0vPOS8rJNGnARL5dkU

December 14, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Upcoming Nuclear Waste Dump

Wikimedia Commons. Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station, ABWR. (Japan) Photo Credit: Tokyo Electric Power Co., TEPCO. Currently the world’s largest nuclear power plant, with a net capacity of 7,965MW. Source: https://www.power-technology.com/

07.12.21 – Los Angeles, USA – Robert Hunziker

Nuclear waste is an interminable curse that eternally haunts the future of civilization for hundreds/thousands of years.

“The challenge of making nuclear power safer doesn’t end after the power has been generated. Nuclear fuel remains dangerously radioactive for thousands of years after it is no longer useful in a commercial reactor.” (Source: Nuclear Waste, Union of Concerned Scientists, April 22, 2016)

There are 440 nuclear power plants in the world, all of which use nuclear fission, prompting one simple question: Is the process of generating heat via nuclear fission with a byproduct of extremely toxic radioactive waste lasting hundreds, or more, years for purposes of simply “boiling water” the epitome of human stupidity?

In April 2021, the Japanese government announced its decision to discharge nuclear waste from Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean via a sub-seabed pipeline. At least 1.2 million tons of tritium-laced toxic water will be discharged.

As it happens, nuclear powers of the world regularly dump nuclear waste into the ocean in violation of the London Convention (1972) and the London Protocol (1996), which are the two principal international agreements against dumping nuclear waste into the oceans. But, they get around the rules by dumping under the cover of “detailed environmental impact assessments.”

The last known “deliberate nuclear waste dumping into the ocean,” outside of the “good graces” of what the industry refers to as “detailed environmental impact assessments” that somehow (questionably, mysteriously, are you kidding me!) seem to justify dumping toxic nuclear waste was October 1993 when the Russian navy illegally dumped 900 tons of nuclear waste into international waters off the coast of Vladivostok near Japan and Korea. Moscow claimed they were running out of storage space and that “radioactive waste is not hazardous and the dumping would be according to international norms.” Sound familiar?

In 1993 Japan called the Russian dumping “extremely regrettable.” Yet, at the time, Tokyo Electric Power Company was itself discharging radioactivity into the ocean. At the time, Japanese power stations were allowed to dump nuclear waste into the ocean-based upon “detailed environmental impact assessments.” (OMG is this real?) (Source: Nuclear Dumping at Sea Goads Japan Into Action, NewScientist, November 6, 1993)

“Jinzaburo Takagi, a physicist working with the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Centre in Tokyo, says: ‘If the Russians had done an impact assessment for their dumping, it would have proved safer than the Japanese power plants.’ He says local authorities in Japan have measured elevated levels of radionuclides in shellfish and seaweed near the nuclear plants. If the Japanese criticize Russian dumping, says Takagi, ‘then they will have to abandon the option of dumping nuclear waste,” Ibid.

The abovementioned series of conflicting events surrounding the disposal of nuclear waste brings to mind the complexity and hypocrisy that runs throughout the nuclear industry. It stems from the hideous fact that the industry does not know what to do with radioactive waste, which is the most toxic material on the face of the planet; they do make up weird excuses and protocols to actually dump the toxic material into international waters. Not only that but, as mentioned in the quoted article above, “local authorities in Japan have measured elevated levels of radionuclides in shellfish and seaweed near the nuclear plants.” That’s a prime example of human insanity at work. And, that was 30 years ago, but it’s a safe bet that it’s the same today.

The bitter truth is that the citizens of the world are stuck with nuclear power and its offbeat craziness and its horrific potential destructiveness because the major powers have it and want to keep it.

Greenpeace has experts with “boots-on-the-ground” at Fukushima since the beginning. Here’s Greenpeace’s take on the situation, as of recent: “There are many technical and radiological reasons to be opposed to discharging Fukushima wastewater into the Pacific Ocean. And Greenpeace East Asia has 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 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.” (Shaun Burnie, The Japanese Government and the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster – History Repeating Itself? Greenpeace, November 17, 2021)

Further to the point of the future impact of dumping toxic radioactive water from TEPCO’s storage water tanks into the Pacific Ocean: Tsinghua University analyzed the diffusion process of the treated Fukushima contaminated water to be discharged into the ocean from 2023 onward. The results show that the tritium, which is the main pollutant, will spread to the whole of the North Pacific in 1200 days. (Source: Tracking Contaminated Water From The Fukushima Nuclear Accident, Phys.org, December 2, 2021)

The Tsinghua University analysis went on to discuss the risks, stating: “Large amounts of radionuclides can affect marine biological chains and adversely influence marine fisheries and human health. The global effects of Fukushima discharge, which will last 30 to 40 years, remain unknown.”

As stated by Tsinghua, the pollutants will reach as far as the coast of North America to the east and as far as Australia to the south. Eventually, the South Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean (2400 days) will be affected. On day 3600 the pollutants will cover almost the entire Pacific Ocean.

According to a UN news release d/d April 2021: “Three independent UN human rights experts expressed deep regret on Thursday over Japan’s decision to discharge potentially still radioactive Fukushima nuclear plant water into the ocean, warning that it could impact millions across the Pacific region.”

The experts call the decision by Japan “very concerning,”

Moreover, according to the UN: “While Japan said that the tritium levels are very low and do not pose a threat to human health, scientists warn that in the water, the isotope organically binds to other molecules, moving up the food chain affecting plants and fish and humans.”

“Moreover, they say the radioactive hazards of tritium have been underestimated and could pose risks to humans and the environment for over 100 years.”

Japan’s Upcoming Nuclear Waste Dump

December 13, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

A lonely evening at home for Fukushima man retracing past

Unsurprisingly, concerns about radiation levels are still on the minds of many former residents. His wife, Mikiko, 64, refused to accompany him for that reason. Ikeda was the only individual in his neighborhood who took up the offer to return home.

Mitsuhide Ikeda pours sake while seated in front of photos of his deceased parents at his home in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture.

December 11, 2021

OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–Settling in for the night, Mitsuhide Ikeda poured sake into a glass and raised a toast to framed photos of his deceased parents: “I finally made it back home. Let’s drink together.”

The last time the 60-year-old cattle farmer spent a night at home was 10 years and nine months ago.

Large parts of this town that co-hosts the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant were declared “difficult-to-return” zones after the triple meltdown triggered by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Ikeda’s parents died after the nuclear accident.

The Shimonogami district where the Ikeda’s home is located lies about five kilometers southwest of the Fukushima nuclear facility.

As part of efforts to rebuild the areas around the plant, the government recently began letting residents return home for an overnight stay as a means of preparing for the day when they can do so permanently.

Unsurprisingly, concerns about radiation levels are still on the minds of many former residents. His wife, Mikiko, 64, refused to accompany him for that reason. Ikeda was the only individual in his neighborhood who took up the offer to return home.

Dangerously high radiation levels registered immediately after the disaster that made it impossible for anybody to live in the area have gradually fallen. The government spent vast sums on the time-consuming process of decontaminating topsoil as a way of reducing radiation levels.

It intends to lift the evacuation order for some parts of Okuma in spring. That would be the first step for setting the stage for residents to return home.

The temporary overnight stay program began in Katsurao on Nov. 30 and is gradually being expanded to five other municipalities, including Okuma.

A check for radiation in November on the Ikeda plot found one spot with a reading of 3.8 microsieverts per hour, above the level deemed safe enough for the government to lift the evacuation order.

Even though the Environment Ministry is planning additional decontamination work, Mikiko was unsettled by the reading and concluded it would be impossible to pick up the threads of their past life in Okuma.

Other changes in the close to 11 years since the nuclear disaster make a return to Okuma unrealistic.

While a large supermarket, hospital and bank branch remain standing in the town, there is no indication when those facilities might resume operations.

In the interim, the Ikedas plan to commute to Okuma from the community they moved to as evacuees.

The overnight stay program is restricted to an area close to what was once the bustling center of the town. About 7,600 residents lived there before the nuclear disaster.

The town government envisions that as many as 2,600 people will reside in the town within five years of the evacuation order being finally lifted if plans proceed to rebuild social infrastructure.

But the writing is on the wall for many people.

According to the Environment Ministry, about 1,150 homes in the district had been torn down as of the end of September.

And as of Dec. 8, only 31 residents in 15 households applied for the overnight stays.

Even Ikeda admits that Okuma will likely never return to the community he knew before 2011.

“Too much time has passed,” he said.

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14500400

December 12, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021, Japan, PERSONAL STORIES | , , | Leave a comment

Britain lifting post-Fukushima restrictions on Japan food imports

Fish are seen at Onahama port in Iwaki, Fukushima, on Thursday. The British government has started the process to lift import restrictions on farm products from Japan, a measure imposed in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Dec 11, 2021

The British government has started the process to lift import restrictions on farm products from Japan, a measure imposed in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, potentially clearing the hurdles for such imports as early as next spring, the farm ministry has said.

In its assessment of the possible health risks from Japanese food imports, Britain has concluded that removing the import restrictions would not affect consumers in the country.

As part of the domestic procedure, Britain will solicit public comments on the policy change by February before making a formal decision, the Japanese ministry of agriculture, forestry and fisheries said Friday.

A total of 23 farm products such as mushrooms, bamboo shoots and bonito from Fukushima and eight other prefectures are currently subject to the import restrictions, requiring proof of having passed a check for radioactive materials when these products are shipped into Britain.

The eight prefectures are Miyagi, Yamagata, Ibaraki, Gunma, Niigata, Yamanashi, Nagano and Shizuoka.

If the restrictions are lifted, the certificates of origin now required for these farm products harvested or processed in Japanese prefectures other than the nine will also become unnecessary for exporting to Britain.

According to the farm ministry, the export value of Japanese farm products to Britain amounted to ¥4.5 billion ($39.7 million) in 2010. But it fell to ¥3.7 billion in 2012 following the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in March the previous year.

Japanese farm exports to Britain recovered to ¥5.6 billion in 2020.

Japan plans to continue urging the removal of import restrictions by the 13 countries and regions such as China and South Korea that maintain them due to safety concerns.

The United States lifted its import restrictions on Japanese farm products in September, while the European Union eased part of its restrictions in October.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/12/11/national/uk-japan-fukushima-food-restrictions/

December 12, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Upcoming Inspection of Fukushima Unit 1

November 25, 2021

TEPCO announced that the next phase of containment inspections inside unit 1 will finally take place in early 2022. This next phase of inspections had been delayed due to technical challenges, concerns of radioactive dust releases, then due to the pandemic.


Some of the explanatory materials provide new insight into the true situation inside unit 1. It has been speculated since 2011 that melted fuel (aka corium) flowed out of the pedestal of unit 1, across the containment floor, and burned through the thin connection edge of the containment structure. Diagrams included in this most recent report show that the entities tasked with decommissioning the damaged reactors think so too. Diagrams originally from NDF, the decommissioning authority, and IRID, the main agency tasked with research, show the same.


The graphic below shows a significant pile of melted fuel in the pedestal and along the outer edge of the containment structure. The right side graphic shows melted fuel a significant way up to the lower edge of the downcomer tubes that route into the torus tube. Evidence of fuel debris inside the torus tube was found in earlier inspections along with our early findings that appeared to show fuel debris under the water in the torus room outside of containment.

This side view of the same area shows what IRID and TEPCO assume to be the situation inside unit 1’s containment as they prepare for the upcoming inspections.The red color is solidified previously melted fuel, The brown layer is the sediment layer and the blue layer is standing water inside containment. The sediment layer on the right side where inspections have already taken place is significantly lower than the sediment bed directly adjacent to the assumed location of the fuel debris. The depth difference appears to be 3 times as much adjacent to the melted fuel locations.

The debris bed on the shallow right side was roughly 4-10 inches deep based on TEPCO estimates in 2017. If the left side adjacent to the solidified fuel is 3 times the depth, it would be 12-30 inches in depth. What exactly this debris bed is and how it developed had caused head-scratching for years. A TEPCO report in 2017 showed it contained stainless steel, materials related to shielding, cabling, and some low levels of reactor-based radioactive isotopes. If this material contained additional substances or not was a bit ambiguous. There had been some initial assumptions this was pulverized concrete. There may have been some involvement of the concrete structures into this debris pile through mechanical destruction or molten corium concrete interaction, but TEPCO provides insufficient data to confirm or rule this out.


Another 2017 report gave some rough estimates of the depth of the known parts of the debris bed. The known parts from an earlier set of inspections would be the general area marked by the A in the above graphic. This area is roughly 4 – 10 inches in depth. The left side adjacent to the solidified fuel would then be about 12 – 30 inches in depth. The deposits closer to the pedestal opening were close to 1 meter deep on a 2017 inspection. TEPCO could not determine if there was any solidified fuel beneath. They assumed the debris bed was providing extensive shielding that would prevent the detection of any layer of solidified fuel. This debris bed appears to reside 1/3 of the way up the downcomer cover. It is likely some amount of it has entered the torus tube and potentially the torus room.


Upcoming Inspections:
The upcoming inspections include a total of 6 ROV units. The remote operational vehicles are not true robots as each one has a control tether. The biggest concern with these units is having one become stranded, preventing the introduction of future ROV units to continue inspections. Each ROV unit has an assigned task. Due to internal equipment inside containment, a series of rings will be placed by the first ROV to help guide the ROV units and prevent entanglement.

ROV-A

ROV-A will attempt to traverse the south direction to the pedestal doorway.

ROV-A2 will attempt to enter the pedestal to capture imagery of the conditions and potential fuel location.

ROV units B to E each have similar tasks tied to characterizing the fuel debris and sediments.
Each ROV has about an 80-hour high radiation tolerance. They will be introduced by the level of risk with ROV-A2 going into the pedestal last due to the high risk. Preparation work begins in January. The entire series of inspections are currently scheduled to take 10 months to complete.

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

Japan’s Upcoming Nuclear Waste Dump

The last known “deliberate nuclear waste dumping into the ocean,” outside of the “good graces” of what the industry refers to as “detailed environmental impact assessments” that somehow (questionably, mysteriously, are you kidding me!) seem to justify dumping toxic nuclear waste was October 1993 when the Russian navy illegally dumped 900 tons of nuclear waste into international waters off the coast of Vladivostok near Japan and Korea. Moscow claimed they were running out of storage space and that “radioactive waste is not hazardous and the dumping would be according to international norms.” Sound familiar?

In 1993 Japan called the Russian dumping “extremely regrettable.”

December 7, 2021 by Robert Hunziker

Nuclear waste is an interminable curse that eternally haunts the future of civilization for hundreds/thousands of years.

“The challenge of making nuclear power safer doesn’t end after the power has been generated. Nuclear fuel remains dangerously radioactive for thousands of years after it is no longer useful in a commercial reactor.” (Source: Nuclear Waste, Union of Concerned Scientists, April 22, 2016)

There are 440 nuclear power plants in the world, all of which use nuclear fission, prompting one simple question: Is the process of generating heat via nuclear fission with a byproduct of extremely toxic radioactive waste lasting hundreds, or more, years for purposes of simply “boiling water” the epitome of human stupidity?

In April 2021, the Japanese government announced its decision to discharge nuclear waste from Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean via a sub-seabed pipeline. At least 1.2 million tons of tritium-laced toxic water will be discharged.

As it happens, nuclear powers of the world regularly dump nuclear waste into the ocean in violation of the London Convention (1972) and the London Protocol (1996), which are the two principal international agreements against dumping nuclear waste into the oceans. But, they get around the rules by dumping under the cover of “detailed environmental impact assessments.”

The last known “deliberate nuclear waste dumping into the ocean,” outside of the “good graces” of what the industry refers to as “detailed environmental impact assessments” that somehow (questionably, mysteriously, are you kidding me!) seem to justify dumping toxic nuclear waste was October 1993 when the Russian navy illegally dumped 900 tons of nuclear waste into international waters off the coast of Vladivostok near Japan and Korea. Moscow claimed they were running out of storage space and that “radioactive waste is not hazardous and the dumping would be according to international norms.” Sound familiar?

In 1993 Japan called the Russian dumping “extremely regrettable.” Yet, at the time, Tokyo Electric Power Company was itself discharging radioactivity into the ocean. At the time, Japanese power stations were allowed to dump nuclear waste into the ocean based upon “detailed environmental impact assessments.” (OMG is this real?) (Source: Nuclear Dumping at Sea Goads Japan Into Action, NewScientist, November 6, 1993)

“Jinzaburo Takagi, a physicist working with the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Centre in Tokyo, says: ‘If the Russians had done an impact assessment for their dumping, it would have proved safer than the Japanese power plants.’ He says local authorities in Japan have measured elevated levels of radionuclides in shellfish and seaweed near the nuclear plants. If the Japanese criticize Russian dumping, says Takagi, ‘then they will have to abandon the option of dumping nuclear waste,” Ibid.

The abovementioned series of conflicting events surrounding disposal of nuclear waste brings to mind the complexity and hypocrisy that runs throughout the nuclear industry. It stems from the hideous fact that the industry does not know what to do with radioactive waste, which is the most toxic material on the face of the planet; they do make up weird excuses and protocols to actually dump the toxic material into international waters. Not only that, but, as mentioned in the quoted article above, “local authorities in Japan have measured elevated levels of radionuclides in shellfish and seaweed near the nuclear plants.” That’s a prime example of human insanity at work. And, that was 30 years ago, but it’s a safe bet that it’s the same today.

The bitter truth is that the citizens of the world are stuck with nuclear power and its offbeat craziness and its horrific potential destructiveness because the major powers have it and want to keep it.

Greenpeace has experts with “boots-on-the-ground” at Fukushima since the beginning. Here’s Greenpeace’s take on the situation, as of recent: “There are many technical and radiological reasons to be opposed to discharging Fukushima waste water into the Pacific Ocean. And Greenpeace East Asia has 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.” (Shaun Burnie, The Japanese Government and the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster – History Repeating Itself? Greenpeace, November 17, 2021)

Further to the point of the future impact of dumping toxic radioactive water from TEPCO’s storage water tanks into the Pacific Ocean: Tsinghua University analyzed the diffusion process of the treated Fukushima contaminated water to be discharged into the ocean from 2023 onward. The results show that the tritium, which is the main pollutant, will spread to the whole of the North Pacific in 1200 days. (Source: Tracking Contaminated Water From The Fukushima Nuclear Accident, Phys.org, December 2, 2021)

The Tsinghua University analysis went on to discuss the risks, stating: “Large amounts of radionuclides can affect marine biological chains and adversely influence marine fisheries and human health. The global effects of Fukushima discharge, which will last 30 to 40 years, remain unknown.”

As stated by Tsinghua, the pollutants will reach as far as the coast of North America to the east and as far as Australia to the south. Eventually, the South Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean (2400 days) will be affected. On day 3600 the pollutants will cover almost the entire Pacific Ocean.

According to a UN news release d/d April 2021: “Three independent UN human rights experts expressed deep regret on Thursday over Japan’s decision to discharge potentially still radioactive Fukushima nuclear plant water into the ocean, warning that it could impact millions across the Pacific region.”

The experts call the decision by Japan “very concerning,”

Moreover, according to the UN: “While Japan said that the tritium levels are very low and do not pose a threat to human health, scientists warn that in the water, the isotope organically binds to other molecules, moving up the food chain affecting plants and fish and humans.”

“Moreover, they say the radioactive hazards of tritium have been underestimated and could pose risks to humans and the environment for over 100 years.”

Source: Counterpunch

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

S. Korean experts call Japan’s impact assessment of Fukushima water dumping shortsighted

A working-level briefing took place between Japan and Korea on Friday

An aerial view of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station undergoing decommissioning work shows tanks for storing contaminated water.

Dec.8,2021

A Japanese simulation of the impact of radioactive water that it plans to release into the ocean is focused on the short term, and Japan doesn’t have any contingency plans in place for accidents during the release phase, say South Korean experts who attended a working-level briefing organized by Japan and Korea on Friday, the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported.

The Japanese government is planning to release contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, where the Fukushima nuclear accident occurred in 2011.

That was part of a summary of a Korea-Japan briefing about a draft report assessing the impact of radiation during the release of contaminated water from the Fukushima plant into the ocean that a Foreign Ministry official provided reporters Tuesday. The draft report was published on Nov. 17 by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

In the Nov. 17 report, TEPCO said the contaminated water stored in tanks at the Fukushima site — which the Japanese government refers to as “processed water” — would have a negligible impact on the marine environment if released into the ocean. TEPCO plans to finalize the report by Dec. 18, after consulting the opinions of stakeholders.

A Foreign Ministry official added that the Japanese had said they’d organized a special working-level briefing for Korea, but not any other countries, “because Korea is Japan’s closest neighbor and the most important stakeholder.”

The Korean experts said they’d used the briefing to ask why Japan has set a yearly radioactivity target of 22 terabecquerels for the tritium that’s not removed by the advanced liquid processing system that Japan is using to process the radioactive water. They also asked why Japan has chosen a region measuring 10 square kilometers for assessing the density of radioactive contamination in seawater.

The Foreign Ministry reported that the Korean experts had also taken issue with the fact that the Japanese simulation didn’t account for long-term factors, including environmental changes in the weather and the ocean, and with the lack of contingency plans for the potential release of water that hasn’t been adequately processed.

Experts did not have enough time to address all related issues during this working-level session, which lasted for two and a half hours, so they plan to send additional questions in writing. Korea and Japan apparently have yet to reach an agreement about setting up a bilateral deliberative body, as Korea has requested, to discuss the issue of releasing the contaminated water.

“The two sides recognize the need for creating a bilateral deliberative body to exchange information more systematically, but we continue to trade opinions about setting the agenda and choosing the participants for that deliberative body,” the Foreign Ministry official said.

https://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/1022513.html

December 9, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO sprays rainwater before confirming its safety, calls for prevention of recurrence METI Minister Hagiuda

December 7, 2021

Over the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced on December 29th that it sprayed rainwater that had accumulated in tanks at the plant before confirming the safety of the water. Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hagiuda said at a press conference after the cabinet meeting on November 7, “This kind of mistake must not happen,” and demanded that the company take measures to prevent a recurrence.

On November 29, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced that it had confirmed that workers had sprayed rainwater from tanks on the premises of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant without analyzing the water for radioactive materials, which should have been done to ensure safety.

The All Japan Federation of Fishermen’s Cooperative Associations (Zenryoren) has protested the incident, calling it “extremely regrettable.

However, TEPCO needs to gain the understanding and trust of fishermen and other concerned parties in order to decommission the plant, and this kind of mistake should not happen.

In addition, he urged TEPCO to conduct a thorough investigation of the cause of the accident and take drastic measures to prevent recurrence.

On the other hand, regarding the IAEA’s decision to postpone until next month or later the dispatch of a survey team to verify the safety of discharging the increasing amount of treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the sea, he said, “I don’t think this will have an immediate impact on the schedule for future releases, but we will steadily work on what we can do.
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20211207/k10013378081000.html?fbclid=IwAR2yjKbI35BHqOXsYB4oPRT7MDtOWJbqJqQX-kt3BgMYfAQxXx8AQ4VfETI

December 7, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment