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Japan’s government weighs dumping radioactive Fukushima water into the Pacific

As the cleanup of a triple meltdown following an earthquake and tsunami at the Fukushima nuclear power plant drags into its seventh year, one of the biggest continuing threats is less from airborne radioactivity than it is simple water.

 

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A waterlogged radiation and tsunami warning sign found on Fukushima beaches in 2013.
May 22, 2018
As the cleanup of a triple meltdown following an earthquake and tsunami at the Fukushima nuclear power plant drags into its seventh year, one of the biggest continuing threats is less from airborne radioactivity than it is simple water.
On March 11, 2011, the Fukushima plant was devastated by a tsunami, which over the ensuing days sent three of its six reactors into meltdown, while hydrogen explosions cast radioactive iodine, cesium and other fission by-products into the air. More than 160,000 people were forced to evacuated in the wake of the disaster, which has now become synonymous with Chernobyl.
At the time, officials began pumping millions of liters of water into the destroyed reactors to keep them cool, often dumping it from helicopters and spraying it through water cannons. In the years since, the water inundation has become less dramatic, but in the absence of any other way to keep the molten fuel cool, the flow of water continues to flow through the remains of the reactors at the rate of some 160 tons of water a day.
While much of that water undergoes purification to remove significant amounts of radiation, filters can’t cleanse the water of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen — a process likened by some scientists to separating water from water.
As a result, water contaminated with tritium is building up and space to store it at the disaster site is running out. Of the 1.13 million-ton water storage capacity that the plant has, some 1.7 million tons have been used up.
Cleanup workers have to build a new steel water tank at the rate of one every four days to contain it all, and space to build more is becoming scarce. According to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the tanks already sprawl over an area that could accommodate 32 football fields. All of the storage, says the government, will run out by 2021.
This looming crisis has left the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company, which owns Fukushima,  pondering how to get rid of this water – a decision that is generating anxiety and scare headlines as an expert committee weighs whether or not to release the water into the Pacific Ocean.
Despite the national and worldwide case of nerves such a decision might provoke the Japanese government says it can do it without a threat to the country’s fishing industry. Tritium, after all, is a substance that naturally occurs in rivers and seabeds – even tap water. What’s problematic with the tritium at Fukushima, though, is that its levels in the Fukushima water are 10 times higher than Japanese national standards for dumping it.
Because of that, the government’s expert panel is considering several methods for the water’s disposal, including evaporating it, releasing it into the sea after electrolysis, burying it underground or injecting it deep into the geology.
But as cleanup costs continue to spiral, with some Japanese think tanks speculating the final bill could be as much as $470 billion to $660 billion,  releasing the water into the sea – after diluting it – may turn out to be the cheapest option.
It’s not the first battle against water that the cleanup effort has fought. As recently as two years ago, some 400 tons of ground water flowed into the facility daily. Tokyo Electric Power somewhat stemmed that by building an underground wall of frozen soil to staunch the seepage of radioactive water.
has managed to decrease the inflow by installing a 30-yard-long “ice wall” fence that freezing cold brine is pumped through to freeze the soil around it, reports Wired. The chilled soil is meant to create a barrier to keep additional groundwater from spilling into the radioactive area.
But this year, on the seventh anniversary of the disaster, an expert group commissioned by the Japanese government concluded that the subterranean wall is not entirely effective against the deluge, and that other methods of battling leakage have to be devised.
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May 23, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

Japan still at a loss in how to deal with Fukushima’s radioactive water

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20 May, 2018
The number of storage tanks for contaminated water and other materials has continuously increased at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Japan, and space for still more tanks is approaching the limit.
It is seven years since an eathquake and tsunami overwhelmed Fukushima and a way to get rid of treated water, or tritium water, has not been decided yet.
The Government and Tokyo Electric Power Company will have to make a tough decision on disposal of tritium water down the road.
At the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, groundwater and other water enters the reactor buildings that suffered meltdowns, where the water becomes contaminated.
This produces about 160 tons of contaminated water per day. Purification devices remove many of the radioactive materials, but tritium – a radioactive isotope of hydrogen – cannot be removed for technical reasons. Thus, treated water that includes only tritium continues to increase.
Currently, the storage tanks have a capacity of about 1.13 million tons. About 1.07 million tons of that capacity is now in use, of which about 80 per cent is for such treated water.
Space for tanks, which has been made by razing forests and other means, amounts to about 230,000 sq m – equivalent to almost 32 football fields. There is almost no more available vacant space.
Efforts have been made to increase storage capacity by constructing bigger tanks when the time comes for replacing the current ones. But a senior official of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry said, “Operation of tanks is close to its capacity.”
TEPCO plans to secure 1.37 million tons of storage capacity by the end of 2020, but it has not yet decided on a plan for after 2021. Akira Ono, chief decommissioning officer of TEPCO, said, “It is impossible to continue to store [treated water] forever.”
Tritium exists in nature, such as in seas and rivers, and is also included in tap water. The ordinary operations of nuclear plants produce tritium as well.
Nuclear plants, both in Japan and overseas, have so far diluted it and released it into the sea or elsewhere. An average of 380 trillion becquerels had been annually released into the sea across Japan during the five years before the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Bottles that contain the treated water continue to be brought one after another to a building for chemical analysis on the grounds of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. The tritium concentration of the treated water is up to more than 1 million becquerels per liter, which is more than 10 times higher than the national standard for release into the sea – 60,000 becquerels per liter. But if diluted, it can be released into the sea.
The industry ministry’s working group compiled a report in June 2016 that said that the method of release into the sea is the cheapest and quickest among five ideas it examined. The ideas were:
– release into the sea;
– release by evaporation;
– release after electrolysis;
– burial underground;
– injection into geological layers.
The committee plans to hold a public hearing in Fukushima Prefecture and other places to hear citizens’ opinions on methods of disposal.

May 23, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

Storage capacity for radioactive water at Fukushima power plant nears limit

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May 19, 2018
The number of storage tanks for contaminated water and other materials has continuously increased at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, and space for still more tanks is approaching the limit.
 
Behind this is the fact that a way to get rid of treated water, or tritium water, has not been decided yet. The government and TEPCO will have to make a tough decision on disposal of tritium water down the road.
Water volume increasing
At the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, groundwater and other water enters the reactor buildings that suffered meltdowns, where the water becomes contaminated. This produces about 160 tons of contaminated water per day. Purification devices remove many of the radioactive materials, but tritium — a radioactive isotope of hydrogen — cannot be removed for technical reasons. Thus, treated water that includes only tritium continues to increase.
 
Currently, the storage tanks have a capacity of about 1.13 million tons. About 1.07 million tons of that capacity is now in use, of which about 80 percent is for such treated water.
Space for tanks, which has been made by razing forests and other means, amounts to about 230,000 square meters — equivalent to almost 32 soccer fields. There is almost no more available vacant space.
Efforts have been made to increase storage capacity by constructing bigger tanks when the time comes for replacing the current ones. But a senior official of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry said, “Operation of tanks is close to its capacity.”
TEPCO plans to secure 1.37 million tons of storage capacity by the end of 2020, but it has not yet decided on a plan for after 2021. Akira Ono, chief decommissioning officer of TEPCO, said, “It is impossible to continue to store [treated water] forever.”
Sea release rated highly
Tritium exists in nature, such as in seas and rivers, and is also included in tap water. The ordinary operations of nuclear plants produce tritium as well. Nuclear plants, both in Japan and overseas, have so far diluted it and released it into the sea or elsewhere. An average of 380 trillion becquerels had been annually released into the sea across Japan during the five years before the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Bottles that contain the treated water continue to be brought one after another to a building for chemical analysis on the grounds of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. The tritium concentration of the treated water is up to more than 1 million becquerels per liter, which is more than 10 times higher than the national standard for release into the sea — 60,000 becquerels per liter. But if diluted, it can be released into the sea.
Regarding disposal methods for the treated water, the industry ministry’s working group compiled a report in June 2016 that said that the method of release into the sea is the cheapest and quickest among five ideas it examined. The ideas were (1) release into the sea, (2) release by evaporation, (3) release after electrolysis, (4) burial underground and (5) injection into geological layers.
After that, the industry ministry also established an expert committee to look into measures against harmful misinformation. Although a year and a half has passed since the first meeting of the committee, it has not yet reached a conclusion.
At the eighth meeting of the committee held on Friday, various opinions were expressed. One expert said, “While the fishery industry [in Fukushima and other prefectures] is in the process of revival, should we dispose of [the treated water] now?” The other said, “In order to advance the decommissioning, the number of tanks should be decreased at an early date.”
The committee plans to hold a public hearing in Fukushima Prefecture and other places to hear citizens’ opinions on methods of disposal.

May 21, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Contaminated water leak found at Ehime Pref. nuke plant

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In this file photo, the No. 3 reactor, center left, of Shikoku Electric Power Co. Ikata Nuclear Power Station is seen from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter on March 28, 2017.
IKATA, Ehime — Water containing radioactive materials has leaked from a purification system inside of a stalled nuclear reactor here, Shikoku Electric Power Co. and the Ehime Prefectural Government announced on May 9.
The leak occurred in the auxiliary building of the No. 3 reactor at the Ikata Nuclear Power Station in the town of Ikata, Ehime Prefecture. According to the prefectural government and Shikoku Electric, the coolant water was found to be leaking from the pressure gauge stop valve for the purification system at around 2:10 a.m. on May 9.
The radiation level of the materials in the roughly 130 milliliters of escaped water measured 20 becquerels, far below the standard for filing a report to the central government. The utility and Ehime Prefecture said there is no reported leakage outside of the facility, nor was there any danger posed to employees or the surrounding environment. Regardless, the reason for the leak will be investigated thoroughly.
The No. 3 Reactor at the facility was restarted in August 2016. However, while the rector was undergoing a scheduled inspection in December 2017, a temporary injunction was handed down by the Hiroshima High Court that halted operation at the site.
(Japanese original by Aoi Hanazawa, Matsuyama Bureau)

 

May 10, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Seven years on, radioactive water at Fukushima plant still flowing into ocean, study finds

Fukushima Daiichi still leaking radioactivity into Pacific Ocean. That expensive Ice wall turned out to be a slushy. Keep trying. Better yet, shut down before meltdown.

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Fukushima Daiichi still leaking radioactivity into Pacific Ocean. That expensive Ice wall turned out to be a slushy. Keep trying. Better yet, shut down before meltdown.
More than seven years after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, radioactive water is continuing to flow into the Pacific Ocean from the crippled No. 1 plant at a rate of around 2 billion becquerels a day, a study has found.
The amount of leaking cesium 137 has decreased from some 30 billion becquerels in 2013, Michio Aoyama, a professor at the Institute of Environmental Radioactivity at Fukushima University, said in his study, which was presented Wednesday at an academic conference in Osaka.
The study said the concentration of radiation — 0.02 becquerel per liter of seawater found in samples collected near a coastal town 8 km south of the No. 1 plant — is at a level that does not affect the local fishing industry.
The radioactive water is generated in a process to cool melted nuclear fuel at three damaged reactors at the complex. The reactors experienced core meltdowns after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
“It can be assumed that there is a path from the complex to the ocean” through which contaminated water flows, Aoyama said.
The water accumulates in the basements of the buildings at the site after being used to cool the melted fuel.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the operator of the Fukushima complex, has been trying to prevent contaminated water from increasing within the facilities by building an underground ice wall in an effort to block ground water. It has also built a seawall aimed at preventing contaminated water from entering the ocean.

April 7, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | 2 Comments

Decommissioning Fukushima reactors will take time but progress continues

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In this July 27, 2017 file photo, contaminated water storage tanks are seen on the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant grounds, in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture
 
March 11, 2018
Over the past year, clumps appearing to be melted fuel debris have been found inside three reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)’s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant — which will soon mark seven years since being struck by disaster, on March 11.
 
However, the specific properties of the fuel debris remain unclear, and the decision on how to go about extracting the material has been delayed. The mammoth task of decommissioning the nuclear power plant, which is expected to take 40 years, is moving at a sluggish pace.
 
Removing the debris is the most difficult part of the decommissioning process. During an internal probe of nuclear containment vessels at the site, which involved robots, debris-like clumps were discovered in the No. 2 and No. 3 reactors, and sand-like sediment was found spread across the bottom of the No. 1 reactor. However, the specific properties and distribution of the debris has not yet been ascertained.
 
In September 2017, the government and TEPCO re-examined its decommissioning operation schedule. Initially, it was planned that the reactor which would undergo decommissioning first, as well as the method, would be decided by the end of the first half of fiscal 2018. However, the decision was delayed until the end of fiscal 2019 due to a lack of information concerning the situation inside the reactors, as well as the debris.
 
Meanwhile, as part of countermeasures against contaminated water, an ice wall designed to block the flow of underground water has almost been completed. In addition, a sub-drain well that pumps away subterranean water has been reinforced. As a result, the volume of underground water flowing into the buildings housing the reactors has been reduced from roughly 400 metric tons per day, which was the figure immediately after the outbreak of the disaster, to about 80 tons per day — indicating that there has been some progress regarding the “entrance” policy designed to reduce the volume of contaminated water generated at the site.
 
However, the “exit” policy, designed to dispose of treated water after most of the radioactive materials have been removed from the contaminated water, is still up in the air. The major issue concerning this policy is that the radioactive material tritium (tritiated hydrogen) cannot be removed, in principle, from treated water.
 
Tritium is something that appears in the natural world. Based on the fact that it has been flowing out into the sea from nuclear facilities across the globe, the Nuclear Regulation Authority stresses that Fukushima’s treated water containing tritium should be diluted and flushed out into the sea. However, due to fears that this could damage the reputation of the local fishing industry, the government and TEPCO continue to keep the treated water stored in tanks.
 
As a result, the amount of radioactive water stored at the site, including the treated water, has risen to about 1.05 million tons, and the number of tanks has increased to roughly 850. The government has set up a committee looking into how to dispose of the treated water, but consensus has not yet been reached.
 
Meanwhile, with regard to the extraction of fuel from pools of spent nuclear fuel, removal is planned from the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors in fiscal 2023, three years later than initially scheduled, and from the No. 3 reactor sometime around mid-FY2018. Special cranes are being installed to prepare for the job.
 

March 15, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s giant ice wall fails to stop water leaking into radioactive area

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March 8, 2018
A giant ice wall constructed underneath the ill-fated Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan is failing to prevent groundwater from seeping into it, according to a new report from Reuters.
 
The failure to contain the water is preventing clean-up teams from removing the last of the dangerous radioactive fuel, seven years after a tsunami hit the plant and triggered a catastrophic meltdown.
 
The refrigeration structure, which resembles giant ice lollies, was completed in 2016 and was an attempt to limit the amount of radioactive water created by the incident.
 
The aim is to freeze the soil into a solid mass that blocks groundwater flowing from the hills west of the plant to the coast.
 
At the time of the ice wall construction, nearly 800,000 tonnes of contaminated water was being stored in 1,000 huge industrial tanks at the site.
 
Data released from operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) showed that water leakage has actually got worse since the structure was turned on.
 
An average of 141 metric tonnes of water per day seeped into the reactor and turbine areas, compared to an average of 132 metric tonnes a day during the prior nine months.
 
The structures cost around 34.5 billion yen (£233m) in public funds and consist of approximately 1,500 tubes filled with brine, cooled to minus 30°C, and buried 30 metres underground.
 
“I believe the ice wall was ‘oversold’ in that it would solve all the release and storage concerns,” said Dale Klein, the former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the head of an external committee advising Tepco on safety issues.
 
“The hydrology of the Fukushima site is very complicated and thus the exact water flow is hard to predict,” he said, “especially during heavy rains.”
 
Overall, Tepco says a combination of drains, pumps and the ice wall has cut water flows by three-quarters, from 490 tons a day during the December 2015 to February 2016 period to an average of 110 tons a day for December 2017 to February 2018.
 
It is hard to measure exactly how much the ice wall is contributing, Tepco officials say, but based on computer analysis the utility estimates the barrier is reducing water flows by about 95 tonnes a day compared to two years ago, before the barrier was operating.
 
However, it expects to run out of space to store the water by 2021, so the decommissioning process needs to be completed as quickly as possible.
 
In 2016, the estimate for the total cost of the clean-up operation increased to 22.6tr yen (£151bn), more than double the previous estimate.
 
According to a Greenpeace report on Fukushima, published last week, the people, towns and villages in the surrounding area are still being exposed to excessive levels of radiation. A ground-level study conducted by an international research team also found that uranium and other radioactive materials, such as caesium and technetium, were present in tiny particles released from the damaged nuclear reactors.

 

March 14, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi’s Ongoing Assault Against the Ocean

Friday, March 2, 2018
Fukushima Daiichi’s Ongoing Assault Against the Ocean
The Asahi Shimbun has a very interesting article today about Fukushima Daiichi’s very expensive ice wall that was designed as a barrier preventing contaminated ground water from flowing into the sea:
Masanobu Higashiyama and Yusuke Ogawa (2018, March 2). TEPCO defends Fukushima ‘ice wall,’ but it is still too porous. THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201803020042.html
This is a very interesting article worth reading carefully.
What it says is that the ice wall reduced the amount of contaminated water reaching the ocean by approximately 95 tons a day.
That is a significant amount but raises the question of how many tons of contaminated water continue to penetrate the ice wall. This is what the article reports:
“Contaminated groundwater was cut in half due to the wall,” a TEPCO official said.
TEPCO estimated that the volume of polluted groundwater would have amounted to about 189 tons if the ice wall had not been in place during that period.
The utility also said the amount of polluted groundwater was reduced by about 400 tons a day now due to combined measures, such as the wall and wells pumping up water, compared with before such measures were taken.http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201803020042.html
This is getting confusing. TEPCO reduced the ground water by 400 tons a day, using wells and pumping, and is able to filter out 95 tons of what would be 189 tons a day of radioactive water.
But it gets more confusing because the 189 tons of radioactive water produced daily aren’t actually representative of the tons of radioactive water produced when it rains hard, as reported in the article:
The water volume rose to 1,000 tons or so a day in late October when two typhoons struck the area.
So, when it rains hard, which it often does in Fukushima I’ve noted in my nearly daily webcam checks for 7 years, up to a thousand tons of radioactive water can be produced, with the ice wall filtering out approximately 95 tons a day.
That is a lot of very contaminated water that is flowing into the ocean.
The problems with the ice wall were well anticipated, as this article in the Mainichi reported in August 2017 when the wall neared completion:
High-priced Fukushima ice wall nears completion, but effectiveness doubtful August 16, 2017, https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170816/p2a/00m/0na/016000c
But while 34.5 billion yen from government coffers has already been invested in the wall, doubts remain about its effectiveness.  Meanwhile, the issue of water contamination looms over decommissioning work….. during screening by the NRA, which had approved the project, experts raised doubts about how effective the ice wall would be in blocking groundwater. The ironic reason for approving its full-scale operation, in the words of NRA acting head Toyoshi Fuketa, was that, “It has not been effective in blocking water, so we can go ahead with freezing with peace of mind” — without worrying that the level of groundwater surrounding the reactor buildings will decrease, causing the contaminated water inside to flow out.
At that time, TEPCO reports success in reducing the volume of contaminated water produced everyday from 400 tons to approximately 130 tons.
All these numbers don’t seem to add up cleanly. The one thing clearly concluded is that quite a lot of contaminated water is flowing from the plant directly into the ocean.
This is water contaminated from direct contract with melted nuclear reactor fuel.
What impact will this have on the Pacific Ocean?
I’ve posted on this subject but the truth is that no one really knows what this unprecedented radiological assault will do to an eco-system already imperiled by human degradation.
Recently a friend – Douglas – sent me a link describing decimation of California’s kelp forests.
If you Google these disappearing forests off California’s northern coast, you will see articles that blame the sea lions for the disappearing kelp (e.g., https://www.newsdeeply.com/oceans/articles/2017/10/10/sea-urchins-are-laying-waste-to-kelp-forests-and-an-entire-ecosystem), while other articles place the blame on warmer water produced by climate change (e.g., https://e360.yale.edu/features/as-oceans-warm-the-worlds-giant-kelp-forests-begin-to-disappear).
I’m sure that both these factors may play a role but what is completely marginalized from conversation is the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.
There were plenty of research studies that projected and detected empirically radiological contamination off of North America’s coast as marine currents bring Fukushima Daiichi’s contaminated water across the Pacific and back again, forever adding new contaminants.
We must find a way to prevent the death of life in our oceans or we will soon follow.

March 7, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan undecided on what to do with 1 million tonnes of radioactive water at Fukushima plant

February 2, 2018
Key points:
The rate of contaminated water reaching the facility has slowed, but is still increasing
There are now more than 1,000 tanks of contaminated water at the site
One controversial option for dealing with the water includes decontaminating it as much as possible and then gradually releasing it into the ocean
 
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Storage tanks for contaminated water at Fukushima nuclear plant
The water is being stored in hundreds of large and densely packed tanks at the plant.
 
Japanese Government officials have not figured out what to do with more than 1 million tonnes of radioactive water sitting at the site of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.
Just days shy of the seventh anniversary of the nuclear disaster, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) revealed it successfully slowed the rate of contaminated water reaching the reactor facilities, but the amount was still increasing.
“A few years a go [the radioactive water was increasing by] 400 tonnes per day, but the increase per day has now gone down to around 100 tonnes per day,” said Naohiro Masuda, TEPCO’s chief decommissioning officer.
“A few years ago we had to create one new tank every two or three days but now we need to increase one new tank every seven to 10 days, so in that sense we think it is progress, to a certain degree, in the sense it is a more stabilised situation,” he said.
There are more than 1,000 tanks of contaminated water now at the site — and Government authorities have still not decided what to do with the water.
 
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Aerial view of tanks of contaminated water at the Fukushima nuclear plant
Experts want a gradual release, but if the tanks break the water would slosh out.
 
Ice wall of limited effect
TEPCO revealed earlier this week that its underground frozen soil wall — what was expected to be the main defence against groundwater contamination — had only had a limited effect.
The 1.5-kilometre-long barrier is designed to keep groundwater from flowing into reactor buildings that were damaged by the disaster.
The wall cost more than $US300 million to build and costs $US10 million to operate.
Mr Masuda said it was important to note that the combination of the company’s measures to prevent contamination meant that the situation was less volatile overall.
So while the level of contaminated water is still increasing — albeit at a slower rate — the Japanese Government is yet to agree on what to do with it.
One controversial option includes decontaminating the water as much as possible and then gradually release it into the ocean.
Experts advising the Government have urged a gradual release of the water to the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Treatment can remove all the radioactive elements except tritium, which they say is safe in small amounts.
But local fishermen have balked at the idea, fearing a devastating impact to the reputation of their produce.
Satoru Toyomoto from the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said a Government sub-committee was still considering its options.
“You may think after as many as seven years [this should be decided], but we have done our utmost and we have done all possible things and we have finally come to a stage where we can consider this,” he said.
“After the accident occurred [in 2011] it was like a field hospital on a battlefield — but finally we have reached a situation where we can calmly think about the long-term future.
“A taskforce two years ago considered various options including geological disposal, vaporisation, burial underground, hydrogen release or release into the sea.
“Of those five options, we are trying to make a comprehensive assessment looking at options, but also reputational measures.”

March 2, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO: Frozen soil wall effect limited

 

2018/03/01
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says an underground frozen soil wall around its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has had a limited effect in reducing groundwater contamination.
 
The 1.5-kilometer-long barrier is designed to keep groundwater from flowing into reactor buildings that were damaged by the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdowns.
 
The wall was expected to be the main defense against groundwater contamination, as about 500 tons of water was being tainted daily by radioactive substances.
 
TEPCO officials on Thursday estimated the amount of new contaminated water to have decreased by about 95 tons a day from before the wall was built.
They said the estimate is based on 3 months of data including that from before and after the wall was almost completed last November.
 
TEPCO had introduced a so-called sub-drain system for pumping up water from wells dug around the buildings.
 
The officials estimated that the 2 measures resulted in a decrease of 380 tons of tainted groundwater a day, suggesting the wall’s effectiveness is limited and lower than that of the drain method.
 
The government plans to ask experts to look into whether the utility’s estimate is accurate.
 
Public funds worth over 300 million dollars have been used to build the wall. Its annual operating cost exceeds ten million dollars.
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March 1, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi groundwater inflow increased 4 times as much as normal

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2018/2/26
Tokyo Electric Power Company announced on 26th that the amount of groundwater flowing into the basement of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors buildings 1 and 2 began to increase in February and temporarily nearly quadrupled. There is a possibility that the influx may have increased due to the repair work of the drainage passage passing through the vicinity.
According to TEPCO, the inflow from January 1 to February 8 this year is about 48 tons per day on average. However, despite the fact that it did not rain from February 8 to 15, it increased to an average of about 131 tons. It peaked at about 179 tons on the 19th and started to decline from 20th.
In the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, groundwater flows into the basements of the buildings and mixes with contaminated water, leading to an increase in new contaminated water.

February 27, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

Moscow urges Tokyo to prevent discharge of Fukushima radioactive water

Moscow does not rule out that the move may affect Russian territorial waters.

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http://tass.com/politics/981971

 

December 21, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan is poised to release into the Pacific one million tons of radioactive water contaminated by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant

Fukushima’s radioactive water grows by 150 tons a day and Japan doesn’t know what to do with it. Scientists vs fishermen and locals conflict.
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Japan is poised to flood the Pacific with one million tons of nuclear water contaminated by the Fukushima power plant

Japan urged by experts to gradually release radioactive water into Pacific Ocean
Comes more than six years after tsunami overwhelmed Fukushima nuclear plant
The water is stored on site in around 900 large and densely packed tanks 
But if the tank breaks, the contents may not be able to be controlled 
The Japanese government is being urged by experts to gradually release radioactive water in to the Pacific Ocean more than six years after a tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The water is stored on site in around 900 large and densely packed tanks and could spill should another major disaster strike. 
The government has been urged to release the water into the ocean as all the radioactive elements of the water except tritium – which has been said to be safe in small amounts – have been removed through treatment. 
But if the tank breaks, the contents may not be able to be controlled. 
Local fishermen are extremely hesitant to this solution because many consumers are still uncertain to eat fish caught off Fukushima, despite tests that say the fish is safe to eat. 
Today only about half of the region’s 1,000 fishermen go out and just twice a week because of reduced demand.  
Fumio Haga, a drag-net fisherman, said: ‘People would shun Fukushima fish again as soon as the water is released.’ 
Lab technicians mince fish samples at Onahama port in Iwaki, pack them in a cup for inspection and record details such as who caught the fish and where. 
Packaged fish then sold at supermarkets carry official ‘safe’ stickers.
Only three kinds of fish passed the test when the experiment began in mid-2012, 15 months after the tsunami. 
Over time, that number has increased to about 100.
The fish meet what is believed to be the world’s most stringent requirement: less than half the radioactive cesium level allowed under Japan’s national standard and one-twelfth of the US or EU limit, said Yoshiharu Nemoto, a senior researcher at the Onahama testing station.
The amount of radioactive water at Fukushima is still growing, by 150 tons a day.
The reactors are damaged beyond repair, but cooling water must be constantly pumped in to keep them from overheating. 
That water picks up radioactivity before leaking out of the damaged containment chambers and collecting in the basements.
There, the volume of contaminated water grows, because it mixes with groundwater that has seeped in through cracks in the reactor buildings. 
After treatment, 210 tons is reused as cooling water, and the remaining 150 tons is sent to tank storage. 
During heavy rains, the groundwater inflow increases significantly, adding to the volume.
The water is a costly headache for Tokyo Electric Power Co, the utility that owns the plant. 
To reduce the flow, it has dug dozens of wells to pump out groundwater before it reaches the reactor buildings and built an underground ‘ice wall’ of questionable effectiveness by partially freezing the ground around the reactors.
Another government panel recommended last year that the utility, known as TEPCO, dilute the water up to about 50 times and release about 400 tons daily to the sea – a process that would take almost a decade to complete. 
Experts note that the release of radioactive tritium water is allowed at other nuclear plants. 

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Japan still at a stalemate as Fukushima’s radioactive water grows by 150 tons a day

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A Tepco official wearing radioactive protective gear stands in front of Advanced Liquid Processing Systems during a media tour at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in November 2014.
ONAHAMA, FUKUSHIMA PREF. – More than six years after a tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Japan has yet to reach consensus on what to do with a million tons of radioactive water, stored on site in around 900 large and densely packed tanks that could spill should another major earthquake or tsunami strike.
The stalemate is rooted in a fundamental conflict between science and human nature.
Experts advising the government have urged a gradual release to the Pacific Ocean. Treatment has removed all the radioactive elements except tritium, which they say is safe in small amounts. Conversely, if the tanks break, their contents could slosh out in an uncontrolled way.
Local fishermen are balking. The water, no matter how clean, has a dirty image for consumers, they say. Despite repeated tests showing most types of fish caught off Fukushima are safe to eat, diners remain hesitant. The fishermen fear any release would sound the death knell for their nascent and still fragile recovery.
“People would shun Fukushima fish again as soon as the water is released,” said Fumio Haga, a drag-net fisherman from Iwaki, a city about 50 kilometers (30 miles) down the coast from the nuclear plant.
And so the tanks remain.
Fall is high season for saury and flounder, among Fukushima’s signature fish. It was once a busy time of year when coastal fishermen were out every morning.
Then came March 11, 2011. A magnitude 9 offshore earthquake triggered a tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people along the coast. The quake and massive flooding knocked out power for the cooling systems at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Three of the six reactors had partial meltdowns. Radiation spewed into the air, and highly contaminated water ran into the Pacific.
Today, only about half of the region’s 1,000 fishermen go out, and just twice a week because of reduced demand. They participate in a fish testing program.
Lab technicians mince fish samples at Onahama port in Iwaki, pack them in a cup for inspection and record details such as who caught the fish and where. Packaged fish sold at supermarkets carry official “safe” stickers.
Only three kinds of fish passed the test when the experiment began in mid-2012, 15 months after the tsunami. Over time, that number has increased to about 100.
The fish meet what is believed to be the world’s most stringent requirement: less than half the radioactive cesium level allowed under Japan’s national standard and one-twelfth of the U.S. or EU limit, said Yoshiharu Nemoto, a senior researcher at the Onahama testing station.
That message isn’t reaching consumers. A survey by the Consumer Affairs Agency in October found that nearly half of Japanese weren’t aware of the tests, and that consumers are more likely to focus on alarming information about possible health impacts in extreme cases, rather than facts about radiation and safety standards.
Fewer Japanese consumers shun fish and other foods from Fukushima than before, but 1 in 5 still do, according to the survey. The coastal catch of 2,000 tons last year was 8 percent of pre-disaster levels. The deep-sea catch was half of what it used to be, though scientists say there is no contamination risk that far out.
Naoya Sekiya, a University of Tokyo expert on disaster information and social psychology, said that the water from the nuclear plant shouldn’t be released until people are well-informed about the basic facts and psychologically ready.
“A release only based on scientific safety, without addressing the public’s concerns, cannot be tolerated in a democratic society,” he said. “A release when people are unprepared would only make things worse.”
He and consumer advocacy group representative Kikuko Tatsumi sit on a government expert panel that has been wrestling with the social impact of a release and what to do with the water for more than a year, with no sign of resolution.
Tatsumi said the stalemate may be further fueling public misconception: Many people believe the water is stored because it’s not safe to release, and they think Fukushima fish is not available because it’s not safe to eat.
The amount of radioactive water at Fukushima is still growing, by 150 tons a day.
The reactors are damaged beyond repair, but cooling water must be constantly pumped in to keep them from overheating. That water picks up radioactivity before leaking out of the damaged containment chambers and collecting in the basements.
There, the volume of contaminated water grows, because it mixes with groundwater that has seeped in through cracks in the reactor buildings. After treatment, 210 tons is reused as cooling water, and the remaining 150 tons is sent to tank storage. During heavy rains, the groundwater inflow increases significantly, adding to the volume.
The water is a costly headache for Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the utility that owns the plant. To reduce the flow, it has dug dozens of wells to pump out groundwater before it reaches the reactor buildings and built an underground “ice wall” of questionable effectiveness by partially freezing the ground around the reactors.
Another government panel recommended last year that the utility, known as Tepco, dilute the water up to about 50 times and release about 400 tons daily to the sea — a process that would take almost a decade to complete. Experts note that the release of tritiated water is allowed at other nuclear plants.
Tritiated water from the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the United States was evaporated, but the amount was much smaller, and still required 10 years of preparation and three more years to complete.
A new chairman at Tepco, Takashi Kawamura, caused an uproar in the fishing community in April when he expressed support for moving ahead with the release of the water.
The company quickly backpedaled, and now says it has no plans for an immediate release and can keep storing water through 2020. Tepco says the decision should be made by the government, because the public doesn’t trust the utility.
“Our recovery effort up until now would immediately collapse to zero if the water is released,” Iwaki abalone farmer Yuichi Manome said.
Some experts have proposed moving the tanks to an intermediate storage area, or delaying the release until at least 2023, when half the tritium that was present at the time of the disaster will have disappeared naturally.

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima: A million tonnes of radioactive water still in storage after nuclear disaster

To dump into the ocean a million tonnes of radioactive water should be considered by the international community a crime against humanity and an ecocide against the environment. Whatever they say, whatever they lied, it will never be totally decontaminated and it will never be safe, no matter how many shills on the mainstream media are paid by the nuclear lobby to spin fairy tales in order to brainwash the public about ‘safety’.
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The water is being stored in hundreds of large and densely packed tanks at the plant.
Japan cannot agree on what to do with a million tonnes of radioactive water being stored at the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant — and there is a chance it could spill if another major earthquake or tsunami were to strike.
The water is being stored in about 900 large and densely packed tanks at the plant, which was overwhelmed by a devastating tsunami more than six years ago.
Making matters worse, the amount of contaminated water held at Fukushima is still growing by 150 tons a day.
The stalemate is rooted in a fundamental conflict between science and human nature.
Experts advising the government have urged a gradual release of the water to the nearby Pacific Ocean. Treatment has removed all the radioactive elements except tritium, which they say is safe in small amounts
Conversely, if the tanks break, their contents could slosh out in an uncontrolled way.
Local fishermen are balking — they say the water, no matter how clean, has a dirty image for consumers.
Fumio Haga, a drag-net fisherman from Iwaki, a city about 50 kilometres down the coast from the nuclear plant, said releasing the water would end the local industry’s fragile recovery.
“People would shun Fukushima fish again as soon as the water is released,” he said.
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Experts want a gradual release, but if the tanks break the water would slosh out
A new chairman at TEPCO, the embattled utility that owns the plant, caused an uproar in the fishing community in April when he expressed support for moving ahead with the release of the water.
The company quickly backpedalled, and now says it has no plans for an immediate release and can keep storing water through 2020.
Despite tests, many shoppers avoid Fukushima fish
Today, only about half of the Fukushima region’s 1,000 fishermen go out, and just twice a week because of reduced demand.
They participate in a fish testing program that sees lab technicians mince fish samples, pack them in a cup for inspection and record details such as who caught the fish and where.
9193572-16x9-large
The fish that make it to market meet what is believed to be the world’s most stringent requirements.
Only three kinds of fish passed the test when the experiment began in mid-2012, 15 months after the tsunami. Over time, that number has increased to about 100.
The fish that make it to market meet what is believed to be the world’s most stringent requirements, but that message is not reaching consumers.
Fewer Japanese shoppers shun fish and other foods from Fukushima than before, but one in five still do, according to a survey by Japan’s Consumer Agency.
Naoya Sekiya, a University of Tokyo expert on disaster information and social psychology, said the water from the nuclear plant should not be released until people were well-informed about the basic facts, and are psychologically ready.
“A release only based on scientific safety, without addressing the public’s concerns, cannot be tolerated in a democratic society,” he said.
“A release when people are unprepared would only make things worse.”

November 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | 1 Comment