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The government is planning to “promote” nuclear power plants…but there are so many difficulties to overcome before this can be realized, and there are doubts about the assurance of safety and security

August 25, 2022
 The government aims to make a major change in its nuclear energy policy, which has denied the construction of new nuclear power plants since the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on August 24. The government also plans to consider extending the operating periods of existing nuclear power plants again and to further promote their restart. The government is moving forward with the use of nuclear power plants because of the tight power supply and demand caused by the crisis in Ukraine. However, there are serious doubts about the safety and security of nuclear power plants, and it is not clear whether the public will understand this. (The government is now considering the use of nuclear power plants.)
The government is clearly stating that it is “considering” the construction of new and additional nuclear power plants…The government is promoting the extension of the operation period and the restart of a total of 17 reactors.


◆Next generation nuclear reactors” – Technology not yet established
 We will discuss all options for a stable energy supply. We will discuss all options for a stable energy supply and will not rule out the construction of new reactors. Yuji Iida, director general of the Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), emphasized this before the Green Transformation (GX) Executive Conference, which was held on March 24 to discuss decarbonization policies.
The “Basic Energy Plan” approved by the Cabinet last October did not mention the construction of new nuclear power plants, and successive prime ministers have repeatedly stated that it was not envisioned at this time. Conscious of public sentiment in the aftermath of the nuclear accident, the government has avoided going into the issue.
 The new plants to be considered this time are not existing nuclear power plants, but next-generation models, such as nuclear power plants with improved accident countermeasures and small reactors. Although the government emphasizes safety, many of these next-generation reactors are still in the process of being tested overseas, and it is difficult to say that they have been established as commercial power generation facilities.
 One official at an electric power company commented, “We don’t have the capacity to build new reactors when we can’t even restart existing nuclear power plants. The first step is to operate the current nuclear power plants and restore their technological capabilities.


◆ Extension of operating period: Regulatory Commission not optimistic
 In 2013, after the Fukushima accident, the law was amended to set the operating period of nuclear power plants at 40 years in principle, and to allow for a one-time extension of 20 years. The law was amended in 2013 after the Fukushima accident to allow for a one-time 20-year extension of the 40-year operating period. Four reactors were approved by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), of which Kansai Electric Power’s Mihama Unit 3 (Fukui Prefecture) has restarted.
 If the units are operated for more than 60 years, which would mean a re-extension, the law may need to be revised again. At a press conference on March 24, Chairman Toyoshi Sarada of the Regulatory Commission said, “Detailed technical discussions are needed. In the U.S., operation for 80 years is permitted, but Mr. Sarada pointed out that “Japan has many earthquakes, and we should not be dragged down by foreign countries.


◆ Seven new reactors restarted → Inadequate anti-terrorism and evacuation plans hindering operations
The government has also set a target of restarting seven reactors at five nuclear power plants that have yet to be restarted, although they meet the new regulatory standards, sometime after next summer or winter.
 In April of last year, the regulatory commission ordered a de facto ban on the operation of TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Station in Niigata Prefecture because of a problem with a faulty intrusion detector that had been left unattended. The order was not lifted until the plant was found to be in an improved condition, and its inspections have continued.
 Furthermore, Niigata Prefecture has made its own verification work a condition for whether or not it will agree to restart the plant, and the completion of the work is “not foreseeable” (Prefectural Nuclear Safety Division). In light of the inadequacies of the anti-terrorism measures, even a member of the Liberal Democratic Party’s prefectural assembly, which is pro-nuclear power generation, has voiced his desire not to have TEPCO operate the plant, and the sense of distrust is deep-rooted.
 The Japan Atomic Power Company’s Tokai No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant in Ibaraki Prefecture has more than 900,000 people living within a 30-kilometer evacuation zone, the largest in the nation, and the plan has been extremely difficult to formulate. In addition to the prefectural government, only five of the 14 municipalities in the prefecture have been able to formulate a plan. In addition, the Mito District Court ordered an injunction against the operation of the plant last March, citing problems with the effectiveness of the evacuation plan.
 There is almost no chance that both reactors will be able to operate within the government’s target of a little over a year.
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/197879

August 28, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Construction begins at Fukushima plant for water release

Workers walk around a construction site for a planned shaft at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, run by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO), in the town of Futaba, northeastern Japan, on March 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File)

August 4, 2022

TOKYO (AP) — The construction of facilities needed for a planned release of treated radioactive wastewater into the sea next year from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant began Thursday despite opposition from the local fishing community.

Plant workers started construction of a pipeline to transport the wastewater from hillside storage tanks to a coastal facility before its planned release next year, according to the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings.

The digging of an undersea tunnel was also to begin later Thursday.

Construction at the Fukushima Daiichi plant follows the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s formal approval last month of a detailed wastewater discharge plan that TEPCO submitted in December.

The government announced last year a decision to release the wastewater as a necessary step for the plant’s ongoing decommissioning.

A massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s cooling systems, causing triple meltdowns and the release of large amounts of radiation. Water that was used to cool the three damaged and highly radioactive reactor cores has since leaked into basements of the reactor buildings but was collected and stored in tanks.

TEPCO and government officials say the water will be further treated to levels far below releasable standards and that the environmental and health impacts will be negligible. Of more than 60 isotopes selected for treatment, all but one — tritium — will be reduced to meet safety standards, they say.

Local fishing communities and neighboring countries have raised concerns about potential health hazards from the radioactive wastewater and the reputation damage to local produce, and oppose the release.

Scientists say the impact of long-term, low-dose exposure to not only tritium but also other isotopes on the environment and humans are still unknown and that a release is premature.

The contaminated water is being stored in about 1,000 tanks that require much space in the plant complex. Officials say they must be removed so that facilities can be built for its decommissioning. The tanks are expected to reach their capacity of 1.37 million tons in autumn of 2023.

TEPCO said it plans to transport treated and releasable water through a pipeline from the tanks to a coastal pool, where it will be diluted with seawater and then sent through an undersea tunnel with an outlet about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) away to minimize the impact on local fishing and the environment.

TEPCO and the government have obtained approval from the heads of the plant’s host towns, Futaba and Okuma, for the construction, but local residents and the fishing community remain opposed and could still delay the process. The current plan calls for a gradual release of treated water to begin next spring in a process that will take decades.

TEPCO said Wednesday that weather and sea conditions could delay a completion of the facility until summer 2023.

Japan has sought help from the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure the water release meets international safety standards and reassure local fishing and other communities and neighboring countries, including China and South Korea, that have opposed the plan.

IAEA experts who visited the plant earlier this year said Japan was taking appropriate steps for the planned discharge.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220804/p2g/00m/0na/016000c

August 14, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant “Treated Water” Discharged TEPCO Announces Undersea Tunnel Construction to Begin in 4 Days “Already Started? Citizens were in a state of exasperation

August 3, 2022
TEPCO announced on August 3 that it will begin construction of an undersea tunnel and other facilities on August 4 to discharge contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Okuma and Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture) after purification and treatment. The company aims to begin discharging the water next spring, but if the offshore construction is delayed by weather conditions or other factors, the completion of the facilities may be delayed until next summer. However, there is strong opposition to the project, especially from those involved in the fishing industry, and it is unclear whether the facilities will actually be able to discharge the radioactive waste. (Nozomi Masui)

On the 2nd, the prefectural government and both towns in the area agreed to the construction work, and on the 4th, they will begin digging undersea tunnels and laying pipes to transfer treated water from the storage tanks. TEPCO is proceeding with some of the work outside the scope of the consent, and has finished digging the hole that will house the water storage tank that will lead to the undersea tunnel.
 At the press conference, Junichi Matsumoto of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning Promotion Company made it clear that “there is no doubt that we will comply with the document with fishermen,” regarding the written promise with the Fukushima Prefectural Fisheries Federation that no ocean discharge would take place unless understanding is obtained. However, he simply reiterated that he would “do his best to explain” how to gain their understanding.
 When asked if TEPCO executives would brief fishermen before construction began, he replied, “We have no plans to do so. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with Masanobu Sakamoto, chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Cooperative Associations, on the same day. Regarding a large fund for the continuation of the fishing industry, he said, “We would like to obtain the fishermen’s understanding on how to use the fund after hearing their opinions.
 According to TEPCO’s plan, the treated water, which is mainly tritium, will be diluted with a large amount of seawater to less than 1/40th of the national discharge standard, and then discharged through an undersea tunnel about 1 km offshore.


◆”Voices not being heard by the government,” citizens’ group protests.
 On March 3, when TEPCO announced the start of construction of facilities to discharge treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean, citizens’ groups in Fukushima Prefecture staged a protest in front of the prefectural government office, and the leaders of local governments where the plant is located asked the government to take thorough measures against harmful rumors.

On the afternoon of the 3rd, the co-chairman of the “Citizens’ Council” Oda, who heard about the plan to start construction on the following day, said, “What, it has already started? Chiyo Oda, 67, co-chairperson of the “Citizens’ Council” in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, was absolutely stunned. Construction began just two days after Fukushima Prefecture and the towns of Okuma and Futaba agreed to the work. She was concerned that the situation would become so dire that there would be no turning back.

Protesters in front of Fukushima Prefectural Office in Fukushima City on March 3.


 In the morning of that day, the association held a banner in front of the prefectural office to protest. At a press conference held afterward, Mr. Oda said, “The plan is proceeding with the release of the waste. There are so many voices of opposition and concern, but the government is not receiving our voices? Kaoru Watanabe, 66, a resident of Date City in Fukushima Prefecture, expressed his concern, “I’m worried that they will push ahead with the construction work, create a fait accompli, and then push through with the discharge into the ocean.


 Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori, Okuma Mayor Jun Yoshida, and Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa visited the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and submitted a written request to METI Minister Koichi Hagiuda. Governor Uchibori told the press, “I hope that the government will work together to take the necessary measures (against harmful rumors, etc.) so that the efforts of the people of Fukushima Prefecture will not be undone by the release of the radioactive materials. (Natsuko Katayama, Nozomi Masui)
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/193622?fbclid=IwAR0TJASuRCsIfHc-zmKUqE7ERgUF3pJNe_vGHn8bYmkFdMTiS5Hn9RYhN5M

August 5, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO Starts Construction of Fukushima Water Release Facilities

Get ready for a new wave… of radioactive wastewater!

ineptco’s tunnel will carry the enriched water a whole kilometer from the coast

August 4, 2022

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. on Thursday started the construction of facilities to release treated radioactive water into the ocean from its disaster-crippled nuclear plant in the northeastern Japan prefecture of Fukushima.
TEPCO aims to complete the construction work around next spring, although the company said the completion might be pushed back to around summer next year if the work at sea is delayed due to bad weather or other factors.
There are lingering concerns about negative rumors related to the planned release of the water, which contains tritium, a radioactive substance, into the ocean. Understanding from related local people would be essential for TEPCO to start the water release after the completion of the facilities.
TEPCO will construct an undersea tunnel necessary for releasing the treated water at a point 1 kilometer off the coast. Tanks and pipes will also be set up for stirring the treated water and checking whether radioactive substances other than tritium are below safety standards.


Also, the company will build a facility to dilute the treated water, after its levels of radioactive substances are measured, with seawater to lower the tritium concentration to less than one-40th of the level permitted under Japanese safety standards.

https://sp.m.jiji.com/english/show/21240?fbclid=IwAR0n4HbeqiqQ0jJRPF01hZiotsGY7D8GlYmYPeItLYdoAyY4xNyiMgcRDvk

August 5, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima OKs facility construction for treated water release plan

August 2, 2022

Local authorities have approved the construction of an underwater tunnel and other facilities to release treated water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean.

Officials from Fukushima Prefecture and the towns of Okuma and Futaba, which host the plant, conveyed their decision to the president of Tokyo Electric Power Company on Tuesday.

TEPCO, the operator of the plant, had sought the approval of those authorities based on a safety agreement.

Reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant suffered meltdowns in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Water used to cool molten fuel mixes with rain and groundwater. The accumulated water is treated to remove most of the radioactive materials and stored in tanks on the plant’s premises.

The filtered water still contains tritium. The government plans to dilute the water, so that the percentage of tritium is well below the percentage permitted by national regulations. The amount of tritium in the diluted water is also expected to be below the guidance levels for drinking water quality established by the World Health Organization.

The utility is now set to start full-fledged construction of the underwater tunnel and other facilities. It hopes to complete the work around spring of next year.

In July, the Nuclear Regulation Authority gave its final approval for the plan that TEPCO drew up.

One focal point had been whether the local authorities would approve the plan.

Locals, including fishers, are concerned about potential reputational damage to the region.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220802_38/

August 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Construction of Fukushima water release facilities to begin Thurs.

Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori, center left, hands a petition to Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Koichi Hagiuda, center right, in Tokyo on Aug. 3, 2022. (Kyodo)

August 3, 2022

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Construction of facilities to discharge treated water from the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture into the sea will commence Thursday, according to the plant operator, even as opposition at home and abroad remains.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. said at a press conference Wednesday it still aims to begin releasing the treated water containing tritium about 1 kilometer off the Pacific coast around next spring after diluting it with seawater to one-40th of the maximum concentration permitted under Japanese regulations.

But the plan could be delayed until next summer due to the tight schedule.

Initially, TEPCO had planned to start constructing the facilities in June but it was only approved in July by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The tanks storing treated water on the premises of the Fukushima Daiichi plant are expected to reach full capacity around next fall, according to TEPCO’s calculation.

Construction will start after approval was given earlier in the week by the Fukushima prefectural government and two municipalities hosting the seaside power plant, severely damaged after a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 caused core meltdowns at multiple nuclear reactors.

Water that has become contaminated after being pumped in to keep the melted fuel cool has been accumulating at the complex, also mixing with rainwater and groundwater at the site.

TEPCO and the government still face a tall task to persuade fishing communities in Japan and neighboring China, who continue to oppose the release of the treated water on safety grounds.

“It is important for us to make the best effort to clear various concerns and anxiety over the discharge plan,” a TEPCO official said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying reiterated her country’s opposition to Japan’s plan, calling it “irresponsible” and saying it takes no heed of concerned countries.

The South Korean government has also been expressing concern following the approval by the NRA, it said it will seek responsible handling of the situation by Japan under the principle that people’s health and safety are of the highest priority.

Taiwan’s nuclear energy council said it respects Japan’s decision as it believes the nuclear regulator made the decision on a legal basis and using its expertise.

Local government chiefs from the prefecture on Wednesday also called on the central government to take measures to prevent reputational damage to marine products, a key issue that severely impacted local businesses in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The mayors of Okuma and Futaba, the two towns hosting the Fukushima plant, and Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori made the request during a meeting with Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda in Tokyo.

“The plan has not earned enough understanding from Japanese people and residents of the prefecture, as there are still various opinions including concerns over renewed reputational damage,” Uchibori said at the meeting, which was partially open to the media.

Okuma Mayor Jun Yoshida also urged the government to lead from the front, saying, “We hope people in the disaster-stricken area will no longer suffer from reputational damage.”

Hagiuda responded that the plan will be carried out on the premise of ensuring safety and taking thorough measures to prevent reputational damage, adding, “We will deliver information based on scientific evidence throughout the country and abroad.”

For the fisheries industry that faces the risk of damage caused by harmful rumors, it is important to create an environment where their products are traded at fair prices so young people can continue to operate businesses without worries, the local leaders’ request said.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220803/p2g/00m/0na/033000c

August 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Storage of treated water “postpones the problem” Construction approval, a nail in the coffin of the municipality where the site is located

Tanks storing treated water at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture, February 26, 2022 (photo by Nishi Natsuo)

Aug. 2, 2022
The Fukushima prefectural government, the town of Okuma, and the town of Futaba have expressed their consent to the construction of an undersea tunnel and other facilities that will be a prerequisite for the offshore discharge of treated water from the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. On April 2, Governor Masao Uchibori and others gave their approval to the start of the construction work necessary for the discharge and informed TEPCO of their approval. Why did the local government give its consent?


The Promise to the Fishermen: Ongoing Debate

 We take this matter very seriously. Tomoaki Kobayakawa, president of TEPCO Holdings, visited the Fukushima prefectural government office at 5:00 p.m. that day and bowed his head with a mysterious expression on his face after receiving prior approval from the prefectural government and the top officials of Futaba and Okuma towns for the discharge of treated water into the ocean.

 According to the prefectural government officials, the three parties agreed that the opinions expressed by the prefecture, Futaba-machi, and Okuma-machi should be implemented at the earliest possible time, without delay. The prefectural government contacted TEPCO after the executive meeting that afternoon. Shiro Izawa, the mayor of Futaba Town, and Atsushi Yoshida, the mayor of Okuma Town, joined the meeting afterwards.

 In July, a report was compiled by the Technical Study Group for Ensuring Nuclear Power Plant Safety, formed by the prefectural government and others, on TEPCO’s implementation plan, which was the basis for the decision to give prior consent, stating that “technical safety was confirmed. Governor Masao Uchibori, based on the report, listed conditions such as ensuring the implementation of eight requirements, including the confirmation of radioactive materials, and reporting on the status of the efforts. At the same time, he did not forget to nudge TEPCO to “take all possible reputational measures.

https://mainichi.jp/articles/20220802/k00/00m/040/307000c?fbclid=IwAR3O0sGtlSCKu86KjzA3kSHztCPHqSFrpXPzJeb509yHN8tvkGbC-1uoooM

August 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear Industry Association of Japan (NIAJ) proposes that “new and additional nuclear power plants and rebuilding of nuclear power plants should be clearly stated in national plans

Shiro Arai, president of the Japan Atomic Energy Industries Association (JAEA), presented a proposal calling for the construction and replacement of new nuclear power plants.

July 22, 2022
On July 22, the Japan Atomic Energy Industries Association (JAEA), an association of companies involved in nuclear power generation, released a proposal calling for the construction of new nuclear power plants and their replacement (rebuilding). The association said this is the first time it has issued such a proposal. The association calls for new nuclear power plants to be built or rebuilt to maintain the nuclear power supply chain.

 Public distrust of nuclear power plants has been deep-rooted in the wake of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The government has stated that it “does not envision” new or rebuilt reactors at this time, and a freeze on nuclear power plants continues in Japan.

 However, the crisis in Ukraine has led to…
https://www.asahi.com/articles/ASQ7Q6FMPQ7QULFA00G.html?fbclid=IwAR15C-Y5Sa1q9Ix65ZQ3PZpe3Oo7o3ZEnoTISCxBrTj-NzMO5nQ6xPsAhQQ

July 31, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Undersea survey for new nuke plant deferred due to protests in western Japan

When will the Japanese government and big utilities ever learn? Aren’t three meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi enough to teach them that there is NO future in building new nukes!

fghgjkkm.jpgA planned construction site for the Kaminoseki nuclear power station is seen in the foreground, while Iwaishima Island lies in the background, in the town of Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on May 29, 2019.

November 15, 2019

SHUNAN, Yamaguchi — An undersea boring survey for the construction of a nuclear power plant on a planned land reclamation site off Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, has been deferred due to protests by local residents opposing the project.

Chugoku Electric Power Co. had originally planned to start the survey on Nov. 14 in waters off Kaminoseki in western Japan, and complete it by Jan. 30 next year. However, daily protests by anti-nuclear power residents aboard fishing boats and inclement weather had delayed measurements and other preparation work, prompting the power company to postpone the survey.

The Hiroshima-based utility intends to study whether there are active faults in the area by drilling the seabed to a depth of about 60 meters. The survey falls under preparations for safety screening accompanying construction of the Kaminoseki nuclear plant under new regulatory standards for nuclear complexes introduced in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The Yamaguchi Prefectural Government had granted permission for the boring survey on Oct. 31.

The power company plans to start boring after ensuring safety in the area. Residents, meanwhile, say they will continue their protests.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20191115/p2a/00m/0na/010000c

November 25, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Extended screening pushes back MOX fuel plant construction for 3rd time

Oma Npp, Aomori.jpg
Sep 4, 2018
AOMORI – Construction in Aomori Prefecture of the world’s first commercial reactor to operate solely on plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel will be pushed back for the third time due to prolonged safety checks, the utility building the reactor said Tuesday.
Electric Power Development Co. had been planning to begin construction of major facilities at the Oma nuclear power plant in the prefecture during the latter half of this year, but told the Oma Municipal Assembly on Tuesday it has decided to delay the work by about two years. The delay means the new target for the reactor to begin operations is fiscal now 2026.
The move clouds the course of Japan’s policy for the nuclear fuel cycle, in which the reactor was supposed to play a key role. Mixed oxide (MOX) fuel is produced by extracting plutonium from spent nuclear fuel and mixing it with uranium. Tokyo is also under international pressure to slash its stockpile of plutonium, which has the potential to be used to produce nuclear weapons.
“We would like Electric Power Development to put top priority on safety and respond appropriately to the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s screening,” industry minister Hiroshige Seko said at a news conference.
The company, also known as J-Power, initially sought to start operations at the nuclear plant, to be located in the Aomori town of Oma with an output of 1.38 million kilowatts, in fiscal 2021, but put it back by one year in 2015 and then postponed it to fiscal 2024 in 2016.
Oma Npp, Aomori2.jpg
Construction of the reactor began in 2008 after gaining state approval, but was stalled following the nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant triggered by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
About 40 percent of the construction has been completed, but work so far has centered on setting up office buildings and conducting road repairs.
J-Power applied for safety checks in December 2014, but NRA examinations have focused on assumptions about tsunami and earthquake risk at the overall complex and not at its nuclear facilities. An official at the company told the Oma Municipal Assembly that it may take two more years for the reactor to pass the screening.
J-Power said it hopes to start construction of the reactor and other facilities in the latter half of 2020 and complete it by the second half of 2025.
“It’s very regrettable that the project will be postponed once again. I hope (J-Power) will strive to swiftly pass the screening and help revitalize the regional economy,” Oma Mayor Mitsuharu Kanazawa said at the assembly meeting after hearing from the company official.
The Oma plant has also faced lawsuits seeking suspension of the project.
Residents in Hakodate, Hokkaido, which is some 23 kilometers northwest of Oma across the Tsugaru Strait, filed a lawsuit against the company and the central government with the Hakodate District Court in July 2010, claiming they are concerned about the large amount of highly toxic plutonium that will be used as reactor fuel.
The city of Hakodate also filed suit against the two parties with the Tokyo District Court in April 2014, saying it fears the impact of an accident at a so-called full-MOX reactor will be far more devastating than that of the Fukushima disaster, which led to the long-term evacuation of many local residents.

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

TEPCO aims to build more Fukushima-type nuclear reactors, vows to ‘excel in safety’ this time

5b383073fc7e937b328b459d.jpg
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant
1 Jul, 2018
TEPCO is conducting an independent geological survey to confirm the absence of active faults in Aomori Prefecture, where it wants to resume the construction of a Fukushima-type nuclear plant, frozen following the 2011 disaster.
“It’s necessary to form a consortium for building a nuclear plant that is excellent in safety, technology and economy,” TEPCO President Tomoaki Kobayakawa said in Tokyo, announcing the decision to conduct a survey of the Aomori Prefecture nuclear site.
The Higashidori Nuclear Power Plant hosts two adjoining sites administered by Tohoku Electric Power Company and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). While Tohoku Unit 1 began commercial operations in December 2005, TEPCO never got a chance to finish their unit, the construction of which began only in January 2011. All activity at the site has ceased since the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown.
TEPCO’s survey, scheduled for completion by 2020, will check the fault structure under the site using a two-kilometer-long tunnel, Kobayakawa said on Friday. Previous studies of terrain beneath the area by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) found the likely presence of multiple active, seismogenic faults. However, both TEPCO and the Tohoku Electric Power Company decided to conduct further ‘independent’ investigations to review the validity of the NRA findings.
The energy company wants to build two reactors at the site and is exploring ways to meet the stricter government regulations introduced following the Fukushima disaster. Higashidori units, however, would still use the same type of boiling-water, light-water reactors that suffered meltdown at the Fukushima plant, Japan Times noted.
“As we restart the (Higashidori) project, I want to make sure that a new plant would excel in safety,” Kobayakawa told a press conference. “The geological survey is a very significant step to move forward on the joint development of Higashidori,” he noted, adding that TEPCO has asked major utility companies in the country to contribute to the construction and operation of the Higashidori plant.
Three of the Fukushima plant’s six reactors were hit by meltdowns in 2011, after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck the facility, resulting in the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

July 1, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Hakodate court rejects plea for injunction to halt construction of Oma MOX plant in Aomori

Oma nuclear plant.jpg
The Oma nuclear plant (right) is shown under construction Monday in the town of Oma, Aomori Prefecture
 
HAKODATE, HOKKAIDO – A court has dismissed a request from residents of Hakodate, Hokkaido, for an injunction to halt the construction of Electric Power Development Co.’s nuclear power plant in the town of Oma, across the Tsugaru Strait in nearby Aomori Prefecture.
 
Handing down the ruling Monday at the Hakodate District Court, the presiding judge, Chikako Asaoka, said it is “difficult to assess the particular risk of a severe accident right now” because it is uncertain when the Oma plant will enter operation.
 
The ruling also noted that the plant being built by Electric Power Development, also known as J-Power, is undergoing Nuclear Regulation Authority screenings under new standards set after the March 2011 triple core meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant.
 
“It’s not reasonable for a court of law to conduct safety examinations without waiting for the NRA screenings,” the judge said.
 
The plaintiffs plan to appeal the ruling, which was the first on a nuclear plant under construction since the Fukushima disaster.
“It’s a terrible ruling that makes light of us,” said Toshiko Takeda, 69, the leader of the plaintiff group. “How did the court reflect on the Fukushima accident? It’s really mortifying.”
 
Construction on the Oma plant started in May 2008. It is about 23 km south of Hakodate, on the other side of the Tsugaru Strait.
In July 2010, a group of citizens including Hakodate residents sued the state and J-Power over the issue. The number of plaintiffs has since risen to 1,164.
 
The main issue in the lawsuit was the safety of the Oma plant, which will only burn mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel — a blend of uranium and weapons-grade plutonium extracted from spent fuel. The Oma plant will be the world’s first fully MOX-powered plant.
 
The plaintiffs demanded that the project be canceled, arguing that a MOX plant will pose a higher accident risk. They also claimed that the new regulatory standards are inadequate and that there are geographic faults around the plant site.
J-Power insisted that the use of MOX fuel will not necessarily make it difficult to control the reactors.
 
The Hakodate court admitted that an injunction against the Oma project could be issued if the regulatory standards contained irrational points. But it concluded that the standards could not be deemed to have such points.
 
Speaking to reporters in Mutsu, Aomori Prefecture, Oma Mayor Mitsuharu Kanazawa welcomed the ruling.
“We’ve awaited this result, as we hope to proceed steadily” with the nuclear plant project, Kanazawa said.
 
Separately from the citizens’ lawsuit, the Hakodate Municipal Government took similar action at the Tokyo District Court in 2014, unconvinced by the central government’s explanations about the Oma project.
 
A municipal official working on the Tokyo lawsuit said that an accident at the Oma plant could devastate the local fishing and tourism industries.
 
Hakodate Mayor Toshiki Kudo issued a statement saying that the ruling by the Hakodate court is very regrettable. “We will check details of the ruling to draw lessons for the city’s case.”
 

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Northern Japan court rejects lawsuit against construction of Ohma nuclear plant

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Japan court rejects lawsuit against construction of nuclear plant
A court in northern Japan on Monday rejected a lawsuit to halt construction of a nuclear plant, said the company building the facility, Electric Power Development Co (J-Power).
 
The ruling by the Hakodate District Court in Hokkaido prefecture on the Ohma plant will be welcomed by many utilities as they push for a return to nuclear power following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, despite strong opposition from chunks of the public.
More than 1,100 residents in Hokkaido, among others, had filed the lawsuit in 2010 to prevent Ohma from starting. The construction of the 1,383-megawatt plant, which will use mixed oxide fuel, a blend of uranium and plutonium recycled from spent nuclear fuel, started in 2008, but work was suspended after Fukushima in 2011.
 
Building resumed in 2012, but has been delayed as the company has to meet new safety requirements imposed after the 2011 disaster, a company spokesman said. The station is about 38-percent complete, he said.
 
J-Power in 2016 pushed back the planned start of operation by two years to 2024/25.
“We are doing all we can for the start of operations in the 2024/25 business year,” the spokesman added.
 
The ruling marks the latest judgement on atomic power in the country, with critics of nuclear energy having more success in some other cases.
 
A high court in western Japan sided with residents last December to prevent the restart of a nuclear plant idled for scheduled maintenance, although lower court decisions have usually been turned down on appeal.
 
 
Court rules against bid to halt Ohma construction
A Japanese court today rejected a lawsuit seeking to stop construction and subsequent operation of Japan Electric Power Development Corp’s (J-Power’s) Ohma nuclear power plant, being built in Aomori prefecture.
 
More than 1100 residents of Hakodate city filed a suit and claims for damages with the Hakodate District Court against J-Power and the government in July 2010. A further eight complaints have since been filed with the court.
 
The lawsuit focused on whether there is an active seismic fault in the seabed near the Ohma plant site and the risk of volcanic eruptions in the area. The plaintiffs also expressed concerns about the plant using purely mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel. Ohma 1 would be the first Japanese reactor built to run solely on MOX fuel incorporating recycled plutonium.
 
“Until now, we have asked the court to dismiss the claims, and we have carefully insisted on and verified that the safety of the Ohma nuclear power plant is secure,” J-Power said.
 
The company announced today that the Hakodate District Court had “recognised” its argument and ruled in its favour. The ruling dismisses both the injunction on the plant’s construction and the claims for damages, it noted.
 
Presiding Judge Chikako Asaoka was quoted by the Asahi Shimbun as saying: “At the moment, it is difficult to readily recognise the tangible danger of a grave accident likely to occur at the plant.”
 
“We will continue to respond appropriately to the conformity assessment by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to the new regulatory standards and we will work throughout the entire company to create a safe power plant,” J-Power said. “In addition, we will strive to provide information about the plan of the Ohma nuclear power plant to the people concerned.”
The start of construction of the Ohma plant was originally due in August 2007, with commercial operation planned for March 2012. However, the imposition of more stringent seismic regulations put back the start of construction to May 2008 and commercial operation to November 2014.
 
Work to build the first unit at Ohma – a 1383 MWe Advanced Boiling Water Reactor – was about 40% complete in March 2011 when a tsunami caused the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Construction of Ohma 1 was suspended following the accident, but was resumed in October 2012. At that time, J-Power said it would strive to establish a safe power plant by, among other things, ensuring reinforced safety measures are implemented that take into account the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident.
 
In December 2014, J-Power submitted an application to the NRA to make changes to Ohma 1’s reactor installation to strengthen the unit’s protection. These measures – including tsunami countermeasures, ensuring power supplies, ensuring heat removal functions, and severe accident responses – were originally expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
 
However, in September 2015, the company announced a one-year delay in the start of safety equipment construction, pushing back the start of operation to around 2021. This delay was attributed to the prolonged screening process by the NRA after the company was requested to submit additional information about its plans.
 
A year later, J-Power said it expects a further delay of around two years in the completion of the NRA’s review and approval process for Ohma 1. It now expects construction of the safety upgrades to begin this year and to be completed in the second half of fiscal year 2023.
“We are doing all we can for the start of operations in the 2024/25 business year,” a J-Power spokesman told Reuters.
 

March 20, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Tests to start on radioactive soil for use in reconstruction

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Bags of radioactive soil in a temporary storage site in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, will eventually be transported to an interim storage facility.

MINAMI-SOMA, Fukushima Prefecture–The Environment Ministry is exploring the idea of reusing tons of radioactive soil as gravel to rebuild infrastructure in this disaster-stricken prefecture and beyond.

To gauge the feasibility of the project, it will conduct tests on whether contaminated soil can be securely contained without spillage while controlling the level of radioactivity.

The experiment is being conducted in a corner of a temporary storage site in the Odaka district here, just north of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power plant.

If the tests go off without a hitch, the government is looking at reusing the soil as a construction material in recovery efforts.

Bags of soil gathered through decontamination efforts are kept at temporary storage sites around the Fukushima plant, which went into triple meltdown in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The first phase of the experiment involves 1,000 or so bags of contaminated soil that have to be sorted according to levels of concentration of radioactive cesium.

Radioactive soil with readings of about 2,000 becquerels per kilogram will be used for mock-up construction of seawalls and other structures. The soil will then be covered by fresh soil that is not contaminated.

The test will also explore practical safety management issues, including ways to prevent scattering of contaminated soil and keeping track of measurements of radioactivity of structures once they are completed.

Project workers began opening bags and sorting soil on April 24.

The volume of contaminated soil collected within Fukushima Prefecture amounted to a whopping 16 million cubic meters as of the end of January.

It will be kept at an interim storage facility that has been constructed within the jurisdiction of the towns of Futaba and Okuma in Fukushima Prefecture. Within the next 30 years, the soil is supposed to be transported outside the prefecture for final disposal.

The Environment Ministry said it hopes the tests will show that the plan to reuse radioactive soil in construction is safe. Projects under consideration include building foundations for seawalls and roads. The overall aim is to reduce the amount of soil that will need to be processed for final disposal.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201704250038.html

April 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | 3 Comments

Nuclear plant construction at center of town’s first mayoral race in 16 years

 Atsuko Kumagai, owner of Asako House is one of the candidates!

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AOMORI – Official campaigning began Tuesday for the first mayoral election in 16 years in the town of Oma, Aomori Prefecture, with four candidates battling it out over whether an under-construction nuclear plant is good for the community.

Voters will cast ballots Sunday for the first time since January 2001. The current mayor, Mitsuharu Kanazawa, 66, faced no challengers in the three previous elections.

Kanazawa, who is seeking re-election once again, supports the early completion of the nuclear plant that Electric Power Development Co., more commonly known as J-Power, started building in 2008 on the coast of the Tsugaru Strait between Aomori and Hokkaido.

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Two of the three other candidates oppose the construction, which was suspended in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis. The plant’s targeted start for commercial operation is currently set for fiscal 2024.

One of the candidates is Hideki Sasaki, 67, a former member of the municipal assembly in Hakodate, Hokkaido, located about 30 km across the Tsugaru Strait from the construction site. Sakaki, who moved to Oma, opposes the construction.

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Another is Atsuko Kumagai, 62, the head of a citizens’ group who owns land near the construction site. She also objects to the plant’s construction and proposes reinvigorating the town through fishing and tourism.

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The final candidate is Naofumi Nozaki, a 61-year-old former Oma town official. He has criticized the current town administration for excessive dependence on government nuclear power plant subsidies and has pledged to restore the town’s fiscal health and revitalize the local community.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/01/10/national/politics-diplomacy/nuclear-plant-construction-center-towns-first-mayoral-race-16-years/#.WHT8e1zia-d

January 10, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment