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Contaminated Waste in Tomioka, Fukushima

Welcome to Tomioka, Fukushima.

Enjoy the beautiful scenery and have a pleasant sight-seeing!

March 17, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear disaster left 10.7 million 1-ton container bags with radioactive debris



Five years after a powerful earthquake and tsunami sent the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan into multiple meltdowns, cleaning up the mess both onsite and in surrounding towns remains a work in progress. Here’s a look, by the numbers, at the widespread effects of radiation from the March 11, 2011, disaster:

164,865: Fukushima residents who fled their homes after the disaster.

97,320: Number who still haven’t returned.

49: Municipalities in Fukushima that have completed decontamination work.

45: Number that have not.

30: Percent of electricity generated by nuclear power before the disaster.

1.7: Percent of electricity generated by nuclear power after the disaster.

3: Reactors currently online, out of 43 now workable.

54: Reactors with safety permits before the disaster.

53: Percent of the 1,017 Japanese in a March 5-6 Mainichi Shimbun newspaper survey who opposed restarting nuclear power plants.

30: Percent who supported restarts. The remaining 17 percent were undecided.

760,000: Metric tons of contaminated water currently stored at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

1,000: Tanks at the plant storing radioactive water after treatment.

10.7 million: Number of 1-ton container bags containing radioactive debris and other waste collected in decontamination outside the plant.

7,000: Workers decommissioning the Fukushima plant.

26,000: Laborers on decontamination work offsite.

200: Becquerels of radioactive cesium per cubic meter (264 gallons) in seawater immediately off the plant in 2015.

50 million: Becquerels of cesium per cubic meter in the same water in 2011.

7,400: Maximum number of becquerels of cesium per cubic meter allowed in drinking water by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Sources: Fukushima prefectural government, Japan Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Tokyo Electric Power Co., the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the Federation of Electric Power Companies and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.—AP

March 12, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Little progress made in securing land for interim storage facilities for radioactive soil

hlkllmm.jpgWith thousands of bags of radioactive soil piling up, less than 1 percent of the land needed for interim storage facilities in Fukushima Prefecture has been acquired even a year after the project started.
The mountain of paperwork in finalizing the real estate transactions and insufficient manpower are the main factors behind the slow progress.
That, in turn, could affect plans to have Fukushima residents return to their homes after evacuation orders are lifted.
Because the interim storage facilities have not yet been completed, thousands of bags of contaminated soil are stacked up in the open in parts of Fukushima. Until those bags are moved to the interim storage facilities, local residents may not be willing to return because of the high radiation levels being emitted from the contaminated soil.
The Environment Ministry and local governments in Fukushima Prefecture are continuing with work to remove soil contaminated with radioactive materials. As of the end of September 2015, a total of about 9 million cubic meters of such contaminated waste were being temporarily stored in about 115,000 locations around Fukushima. Government officials estimate that a total of 22 million cubic meters of contaminated soil will eventually be collected.
That soil will all be moved to the interim storage facilities to be constructed in the Fukushima towns of Okuma and Futaba where the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is located. Total land of about 16 square kilometers will be acquired for the interim storage facilities.
Plans call for leaving the contaminated soil at the interim facilities for a maximum of 30 years before processing it somewhere outside of Fukushima Prefecture.
Land registration records contain the names of 2,365 individuals as owners of the land and buildings where the interim storage facilities will be constructed. However, as of the end of January, Environment Ministry officials have signed contracts with 44 landowners, or just 2 percent of the total. In terms of land, those contracts only covered about 0.15 square kilometer, which does not even total 1 percent of the total land that needs to be acquired.
Environment Ministry officials are trying to push ahead with appraising the land, but they face a mountain of problems as well as other issues unique to the Fukushima situation. In terms of land, about 10 percent is owned by individuals whom ministry officials have been unable to contact.
But in terms of the names on the land records, ministry officials have been unable to contact about 990 individuals, or about 40 percent of the total. Some of the people on the land records may be deceased, meaning that those with inheritance claims could run into the thousands.
Moreover, the lack of land appraisers with background about the Fukushima situation has meant that negotiations often have taken longer than expected. Some landowners also are hesitant about selling off land that has been in the family for generations, even if there are no prospects of returning to the family plot anytime soon because of the high radiation levels in the community.
In March 2015, the Environment Ministry began a trial project by leasing some of the projected land for the interim storage facilities and transporting in contaminated soil. Over 11 months, about 36,000 cubic meters of soil were hauled there, but that only represents about 0.2 percent of the expected total.
Environment Ministry officials are unable to put together a specific plan for full-scale transporting of the contaminated soil to the interim storage facilities because in fiscal 2016 only about 1 percent of the total land needed for the interim storage facilities will likely be acquired.

February 14, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | | Leave a comment

Temporary waste sites to be returned to owners

minami-somaAs of the end of June, there were 1,134 temporary storage sites in Fukushima Prefecture, storing a total of 6.4 million cubic meters of contaminated waste — equal to filling Tokyo Dome five times over. However, due to a chronic shortage of temporary storage sites, about 1.8 million cubic meters of contaminated waste and soil have been kept at decontamination sites as it is impossible to transport them anywhere else. 

 The Minami-Soma municipal government in Fukushima Prefecture plans to return to landowners part of the private land used for the temporary storage of radioactive contaminated waste, marking the first time a municipal government has decided not to renew a land lease for a temporary storage site.

The construction of an interim storage facility (see below) has been delayed and three-year land leases for temporary storage sites in the prefecture have been expiring one after another since early this year. As the municipal government feels there are no prospects for gaining the understanding of landowners, it has decided to make the move with six months left on the existing lease.

Temporary storage sites were set up to store radioactive contaminated waste and soil collected during decontamination work following the nuclear crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. At other locations, there have been many cases in which landowners and nearby residents have shown reluctance to have their lands continue to be used as temporary storage sites, due to concerns over radioactive materials.

Under such circumstances, it is more likely that a plan for the disposal of radioactive contaminated waste, which has been promoted by the Environment Ministry, could be stalled.

Temporary storage sites were set up to store contaminated waste and soil until it becomes possible to bring the contaminated materials to an interim storage facility. To secure land for such sites, the central government signed leases with landowners in designated evacuation zones. In other areas, relevant municipal governments signed such leases.

As of the end of June, there were 1,134 temporary storage sites in Fukushima Prefecture, storing a total of 6.4 million cubic meters of contaminated waste — equal to filling Tokyo Dome five times over. However, due to a chronic shortage of temporary storage sites, about 1.8 million cubic meters of contaminated waste and soil have been kept at decontamination sites as it is impossible to transport them anywhere else.

minami-soma2Minami-Soma has decided to return to landowners a temporary storage site in the Baba area of the city. It is the second largest such site in the city, set up in March 2013 by the Minami-Soma municipal government, which leased about 12 hectares of paddy fields from 41 landowners.

In October 2011, while announcing the construction plan for the interim storage facility, the Environment Ministry stated that contaminated waste and soil should be stored for three years at temporary storage sites. With this in mind, the Minami-Soma municipal government signed a three-year land lease with individual landowners, thinking that it would be possible to move contaminated waste out of the temporary storage sites in March 2016. Currently, bags filled with contaminated waste are piled up at these temporary storage sites. The amount of waste stored in the bags totals about 65,000 cubic meters, equal to filling 120 25-meter swimming pools.

However, there has been little progress in the construction of the interim storage facility due to difficulties in acquiring the necessary land. The landowners of the temporary storage site in the Baba area plan to readjust their paddy fields from around 2018, and the municipal government has considered it difficult to extend the land lease with no prospect of when contaminated waste can be removed. The municipal government has not yet found another site to store the contaminated waste after the current temporary storage site is returned to landowners.

■ Interim storage facility

An interim storage facility is planned to be built in an area covering 16 square kilometers in a difficult-to-return zone straddling the Fukushima Prefecture towns of Okuma and Futaba, site of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The envisaged facility is intended to be able to store up to 22 million cubic meters of contaminated waste and soil generated by decontamination work. In March this year, a small amount of contaminated waste was transported to the facility site on a trial basis. The law stipulates that contaminated waste should be transported outside the prefecture within 30 years after it is first stored at the interim storage facility.

Source: Yomiuri

September 23, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

395 bags of tainted material washed away in floods

Japan’s Environment Ministry says nearly 400 bags of weeds and other waste contaminated with radioactive materials were washed into a river during a torrential rain in Fukushima.

The plastic bags contained weeds, branches and soil from cleanup work in Iitate Village in the prefecture. The area was contaminated by fallout from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.

The bags were being stored on farmland near a river temporarily.

The ministry says that of the 395 bags that were washed away, 314 were recovered. But about half of them were torn, and their contents were empty.

Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki noted on Tuesday that the grass and branches in the bags had been collected recently and had relatively low radiation levels. He suggested that the possibility they will affect the environment is low.

He added that his ministry will work to recover the remaining bags and implement measures to prevent a recurrence. 

Source: NHK

September 16, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Bags of tainted waste swept into Fukushima river during torrential rain

hklmFUKUSHIMA–Seven sites for radioactive waste generated from the Fukushima nuclear crisis were submerged during torrential rain in eastern Japan on Sept. 11, raising fears over a possible radiation spill into the environment.

The temporary storage sites, located in Kawamata, Naraha and other municipalities near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, store soil, grass and other radiation-tainted waste generated by decontamination work due to the 2011 triple meltdown.

In Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, where all residents remain evacuated, at least 82 black polyethylene bags containing tainted grass and other waste were swept from a site of decontamination work into a river.

Each bag can hold 1 cubic meter of waste.

An Iitate town official alerted the Environment Ministry’s Fukushima Office for Environmental Restoration around 6 a.m. on Sept. 11 that bags of waste were being swept away.

By 6 p.m., officials had retrieved 37 of the 82 bags. The remaining 45 bags got stuck under bridges and other obstacles along the river.

Ministry officials said none of the bags located thus far had spilled their contents and the impact on the environment was minimal.

At the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, heavy rain caused radiation-tainted rainwater to spill into the ocean outside the plant’s harbor from the drainage system that encircles the reactor buildings on Sept. 9 and Sept. 11, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

Floodgates normally block tainted water from reaching the ocean from drainage ditches, but the torrential rains overwhelmed the gates twice in the pre-dawn hours of Sept. 9 and Sept. 11, the plant operator said.

Utility officials said rainfall increases the radioactive level of the water in the drainage system as rainwater accumulates radioactive materials in surrounding soil when it flows in the ditches.

While the drainage water usually contains less than 100 becquerels of beta-ray-emitting radioactive substances per liter, the water measured 750 becquerels per liter on Sept. 11, TEPCO officials said.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

September 13, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Flooding swept away radiation cleanup bags in Fukushima

11996924_497018070475332_90973300_nBlack plastic bags containing irradiated soil, leaves and debris from the decontamination operation are dumped at a seaside in Tomioka, Fukushima, near Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s crippled Fukushima No. 1

nuclear power plant in February

Bags filled with grass and soil from work to remove radioactive substances spewed by the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant were swept away in the flooding of rivers in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, the Environment Ministry said.

A total of 82 of the bags were discovered, with 37 of them recovered Friday, though it remained unclear how many had been washed away, the ministry said.

Scores of 1,000-liter bags were used during the cleanup work, mainly to store surface soil that had been contaminated from the release at the plant, which was heavily damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Source: Japan Times

September 13, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Bags of Radioactive waste spilled after torrential rain.


First thing that came to mind was “how would those radioactive waste filled bags hold during yesterday’s torrential rain in Ibaraki, Tochigi and Fukushima which forced thousands and thousands to evacuate?” . Predictable answer is “they did not”!

Exhibit A; The village of Iitate Mura, Fukushima

Under the influence of heavy rain the river bed overflown and spilled and shredded bags of temporarily stored radioactive waste (tainted grass, soil and other radioactive substances removed during decontamination).

There were several places in Fukushima where radioactive waste was spilled, but so far, the most hit place is Sekizawa. It is reported there are unidentified number of similar black bags are scattered around at multiple locations like this one. And each bag contains radioactivity of 0.5 to 1 μSv/hour.

For years these bags have been piling up, in open air, often abandoned on the side of roads or hidden in a forest nearby. There are hundreds of sites hosting this dangerous material in those three prefectures. Most of the bags are starting to deteriorate as they are meant to last up 2 to 3 years only. But yet again, the government keeps on ignoring even the simplest of predictable outcomes – such as heavy rains from a Japanese trademark; Typhoons. We know that, most of the population knows that – but the government keeps on turning a blind eye and mixing up priorities. Securing these radioactive bags should have come before the Olympics. So much shame and laziness of the mind

Entire homes and cars were carried away on the torrent as the Kinugawa River burst its banks after two days of heavy rainfall.

In Tochigi, more than 500mm (19 inches) of rain fell in 24 hours in places, according to local public broadcaster NHK, which said that was about double what normally falls there throughout the whole of September.

Parts of central Tochigi have seen almost 60cm of rain since Monday evening, breaking records.

Many other areas of eastern and north-eastern Japan have also been issued weather warnings, including Fukushima prefecture, home to the still-damaged nuclear plant hit in 2011’s earthquake and tsunami.

The downpour overwhelmed the site’s drainage pumps, a spokesman for operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said. Huge volumes of water, used to cool the plant’s crippled reactors, are being stored at the site.

Source:Evacuate Fukushima

82 Contaminated Waste Bags From Fukushima Washed Away By Typhoon Flood
At least 82 bags filled with contaminated material from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have been swept away by flood water as typhoon Etau hit Japan, officials said. TEPCO said rainwater from the nuclear plant has been leaking into the Pacific.
Flooding caused by Tropical Typhoon Etau has swept at least 82 bags suspected to contain radioactive grass and other contaminated materials that had been collected at the site of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP).

They had been stored in a nearby town in the same prefecture, the Environment Ministry said on Friday, according to local media. Though the Ministry went on to say that most of the bags had been recovered undamaged, local media reported that only 30 of the bags had been found.
Officials said the flooding had not reached the nuclear reactors damaged in the 2011 disaster, when the NPP was hit by a tsunami that had been caused by an earthquake. The nuclear disaster at Fukushima, which took place over four years ago, was dubbed the worst since the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.
Earlier on Friday, Tokyo Electric Power CO. (TEPCO), the company in charge of the damaged NPP, said that one of the holding tanks on the premises of the plant has been leaking drainage rainwater into the ocean. Later in the day, TEPCO said the leakage had been stopped. According to the company’s website, there have been several similar cases in recent days.
“On September 9th and 11th, due to typhoon no.18 (Etau), heavy rain caused Fukushima Daiichi K drainage rainwater to overflow to the sea,” TEPCO said, adding that the samples taken on Wednesday “show safe, low levels” of radiation.
“From the sampling result of the 9th, TEPCO concluded that slightly tainted rainwater had overflowed to the sea; however, the new sampling measurement results show no impact to the ocean,” it continued.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga warned that the rainwater drenching the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant could flow into the Pacific Ocean, the Japan Times reported on Friday. However, he told reporters that the radiation level of such rainwater would be “sufficiently below” the legally permitted level.
TEPCO said on Friday it will continue to monitor the ocean to “ensure the water quality” and has taken “multiple precautionary measures” to protect the ocean water nearby.
Tens of thousands of Japanese people were ordered to leave their homes across the country as typhoon Etau hit Japan this week. The flooding resulting from the torrential rains has been dubbed the worst in 50 years. As a result, three people have been killed, 27 injured and 26 are still missing across Japan.
Meanwhile, Japan officially restarted the No. 1 reactor of the Sendai nuclear power plant for the first time in two years on Thursday. The reactor resumed commercial operations after receiving the approval of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA). Kyushu Electric Power Co., the operator of the Sendai plant, plans to launch the plant’s No. 1 reactor in mid-October.
After the disaster at Fukushima on March 11, all nuclear reactors in Japan were shut down. Due to electricity shortages, two reactors at Kansai Electric Power’s Oi plant in the Fukui Prefecture were temporarily restarted. However, they were taken offline again in September 2013.

Source: RT

September 11, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tochigi town residents rally against selection as candidate site for final disposal of radiation-tainted waste


UTSUNOMIYA – About 2,700 residents of Shioya, Tochigi Prefecture, gathered Saturday to oppose the central government’s choice of the town as a candidate site for the final disposal of some of the radiation-tainted waste resulting from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The residents adopted a resolution urging the plan be scrapped. Among those taking part was Mayor Hirobumi Inomata from Kami, another candidate site in Miyagi Prefecture.

In Tochigi Prefecture, designated waste that contains more than 8,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram is currently stored at about 170 different locations on a temporary basis.

For final disposal, the Environment Ministry selected state-owned land in Shioya at the end of July, but the plan has since met strong local opposition.

In 2012, another city in Tochigi Prefecture, Yaita, which borders Shioya, was selected as a candidate site for final waste disposal. However, the government was later forced to reconsider the decision due to fierce local opposition.

The state is planing to build landfill facilities for final disposal in five prefectures — Tochigi, Miyagi, Chiba, Gunma and Ibaraki prefectures — which lack the capacity to dispose of such waste at existing facilities.

In a related move Friday, three nuclear plant makers denied responsibility for the March 2011 Fukushima meltdown at the first hearing on a lawsuit seeking damages from the companies.

Representatives from Toshiba Corp., Hitachi Ltd. and General Electric Co. sought to dismiss the damage claims in Tokyo District Court.

The claims were lodged by about 1,400 people in Japan, including Fukushima residents, and 2,400 people from other places with nuclear plants, such as South Korea and Taiwan.

According to the plaintiffs, the plant makers insisted they have no obligation to compensate for damage from the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, referring to the law on nuclear damage compensation, which stipulates that only power suppliers have responsibilities for nuclear accidents.

The plaintiffs claim that the law, which gives nuclear plant makers immunity from compensation claims, violates the Constitution and therefore is invalid. Under the product liability law and other laws, they are demanding payment of ¥100 each.

Meeting with the press after speaking in court, Kazue Morizono, a 53-year-old resident of Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, said she hopes the lawsuit will clarify responsibility for the nuclear accident.

Source: Japan Times

August 31, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment