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Container containing radioactive waste collapses, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, storage method issues come to light

March 20, 2022
 A series of radioactive waste containers stored outdoors at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant were toppled and tilted by an earthquake late at night on March 16. Similar damage occurred during the Fukushima earthquake in February of last year, highlighting once again the challenges of storage methods. TEPCO is continuing to take stopgap measures until the waste is transferred to an indoor storage facility, but the Nuclear Regulation Authority is ready to request that more aggressive measures be taken.

Container containing used protective clothing that was toppled by the earthquake. Radiation levels were very low and had no impact on the surrounding environment (courtesy of TEPCO).

Four units damaged, contents outside

 As of January 19, there were a total of eight 1 meter square containers known to have toppled over. Four of them were damaged and their contents were exposed. All of them contained low-dose used protective clothing. Several other containers in two other groups of containers covered with sheets also toppled over.

 Seventy-seven containers were tilted by the earthquake last February, and a total of 12 units toppled over at two locations. Some of the containers were four-tiered, and the shaking of the earthquake broke the connecting fittings, etc. Although the containers were re-stacked two or three-tiered and the bottom foundations were reinforced, the damage could not be prevented this time either.

 In March of last year, one corroded waste container leaked a high dose of radioactive material onto the ground, which flowed into the port through a drainage channel. In July of the same year, rainwater that had entered a container for contaminated soil overflowed from inside the container.

 A total of 85,500 outdoor waste containers are now in use. TEPCO inspected a total of 5,338 containers with a certain amount of surface radiation, and found that a total of 646 containers had corrosion or damage. Damage was found and emergency repairs were made. The risks associated with emergency evacuation-like waste management after the accident have become apparent.

A three-tiered container that was displaced by the earthquake. At this point, there is no danger of the container toppling over (courtesy of the Nuclear Regulation Authority).

Reduce risk outside the building.

 The Regulatory Commission is becoming increasingly aware of the problem. At a regular meeting on February 2, Chairman Toyoshi Sarada mentioned the option of temporarily storing outdoor waste underground by covering it with soil. He stated that it would be difficult to gain the understanding of the local community, but considering the risk of leakage, it would be undesirable to leave the waste above ground.

 TEPCO has announced a policy to remove all the contents of the containers to the storage facility by FY2028 to eliminate the outdoor storage, but there is no guarantee that an earthquake, typhoon, or other large-scale natural disaster will occur before the work is completed. There is no guarantee that this will not happen. If trouble occurs, it will lead to reputational damage to the local community.

 Shinsuke Yamanaka, a member of the Regulatory Commission who inspected a group of containers at the No. 1 nuclear power plant on March 17, touched on the issue of outdoor waste in an interview after the visit and stressed, “It is important to talk about the inside of the reactor buildings, but right now I want you to prioritize risk reduction outside the buildings. He also expressed his desire to ask TEPCO to come up with concrete measures.

Commissioner Yamanaka checking containers that were dislodged by the earthquake during his visit to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on March 17 (courtesy of the Nuclear Regulation Authority).
A group of containers with radioactive waste on the side of Units 5 and 6 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Nov. 2021.

https://kahoku.news/articles/20220319khn000039.html?fbclid=IwAR3ovSE_BA-A7NsNWPht-8P6oAarr27osCSjHno7WDJRp-B6gsHZAQsdxQE

March 20, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, risk of earthquakes revealed… Failure of seismometers, building deterioration, tanks shifting….

March 20, 2021
 The earthquake that struck the Tohoku and Kanto regions on the evening of February 13, 2011, which had a maximum intensity of 6 on the Japanese seismic scale, revealed that seismometers at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi plant had been removed more than four months earlier, highlighting the dangers posed by the plant, which was damaged in an accident 10 years ago, and the sloppy system in place at TEPCO. The earthquake was strong. With high radiation levels in the buildings making normal maintenance and inspections impossible, how can we ensure the safety of the ongoing work toward the “decommissioning” of the reactors, which has no end in sight?

◆Still removed after failure
 Akira Ono, chief executive officer of the Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning Promotion Company, was forced to apologize at a press conference on February 25 because a seismograph that was supposed to have been installed in the Unit 3 reactor building had failed and had been removed.
 One of the two seismometers installed in the reactor building failed in July of last year when it got stuck in a pool of water, and three months later the other seismometer was out of commission. The top management was unaware of this fact for seven and a half months.
 The seismometers originally installed in Units 1 through 4 to determine the emergency shutdown of the reactors were rendered unusable by the tsunami and accident 10 years ago. In April of last year, TEPCO installed two of the earlier seismometers to monitor the shaking of the Unit 3 reactor building, which had been damaged by a hydrogen explosion, but in the end, none of the “valuable data” that Ono emphasizes was obtained.
 After the February earthquake, the water level in the containment vessels of Units 1 and 3, where melted-down nuclear fuel (debris) remains, dropped. It is believed that the damaged areas created during the accident have spread. The positions of 53 tanks that store contaminated water and other materials in the process of being cleaned up have also shifted by up to 19 centimeters. If the pipes connecting the tanks were to come loose, a large amount of contaminated water could leak out.
The extent of the damage is unknown.
 Making earthquake preparedness difficult is the high level of radiation in the building. One worker said, “I can’t see inside, so I don’t know how the damage is spreading.
 Katsumi Takiguchi, a professor emeritus at Tokyo Institute of Technology who specializes in reinforced concrete buildings, compiled a performance assessment of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant buildings at a subcommittee of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan in 2019. He said, “Reactor buildings have walls that are 1.5 or 2 meters thick,” and pointed out that there is little fear of collapse.
 What concerns Takiguchi is the localized deterioration of the buildings. If the reinforcing steel in the walls rusts and swells, exposing the concrete, the rusting will accelerate, so cracks and other abnormalities must be noticed quickly. Although seismograph observations are valuable in detecting deterioration trends, he asserts, “They are not a substitute for visual inspections.

TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, where work to restore the plant after the accident continues, in the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, as seen from the company’s “Oozuru” helicopter.

◆ “TEPCO is losing its nerve.
 According to TEPCO, the exterior of the Unit 1-3 buildings has been visually inspected about once a year since FY19. Little is known about the inside of the buildings beyond a robotic survey conducted immediately after the accident. The company aims to conduct inspections with people inside the buildings after April of this year, which, if realized, will help strengthen countermeasures.
 However, it is essential to minimize the radiation exposure of the workers, and the method and frequency of inspections are still under consideration. Inspections of the reactor equipment in Units 1 through 3, where debris remains and the tops of the containment vessels are contaminated with extremely high concentrations of radioactive materials, will be extremely difficult.
 The safety of the site is also a top priority for the removal of spent nuclear fuel and debris from the pools. The number of veteran employees with knowledge of the accident has been reduced, and some workers are heard to say, “TEPCO is losing its sense of urgency. Mr. Ono, who is in charge of decommissioning the plant, said, “I think the plant was highly sensitive to the tsunami. We also have to think about earthquakes,” he stresses, “but will we be prepared in time? The next earthquake could come at any time.
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/92694?fbclid=IwAR3Y8kYYXRoDAh8DPDAodsD6p5itoAJufNvcRDJoK_jiSux5HrPv5f-rd98

March 20, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo High Court slashes damages to Fukushima nuclear disaster evacuees

n-fukushimaruling-a-20200319-870x637Isao Enei (left), head of a group of plaintiffs seeking damages for evacuating after the 2011 Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident, speaks at a news conference Tuesday in Tokyo alongside their attorney Junichiro Hironaka.

 

March18, 2020

The Tokyo High Court on Tuesday ordered ¥1 million in additional damages be paid each to some 300 evacuees from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, down by two-thirds from the amount awarded by a lower court ruling.

The total amount of additional compensation Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. must pay was reduced to about ¥360 million from the ¥1.1 billion awarded by the Tokyo District Court in 2018.

The nuclear accident occurred at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant operated by Tepco, after it was affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

In their petition, the plaintiffs, including former residents of the Odaka district in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, sought additional damages of ¥10.9 billion in total.

The ruling was the second by a high court on a collective damages lawsuit filed by those displaced by the nuclear accident, following one issued by Sendai High Court last week.

On Tuesday, presiding Judge Wataru Murata said Tepco must pay additional damages on top of the ¥8.5 million it paid per person based on estimates calculated under government-set interim standards.

The additional damages have to be paid to compensate for the loss of hometowns, as “the foundations of residents’ lives have changed greatly and have yet to be restored,” Murata said.

But the amount of the additional damages should be reduced because individual circumstances of the evacuees should not be taken into account, Murata said, denying the need for such consideration as had been recognized by the lower court.

The reduction is unavoidable, also considering that returning to hometowns is possible,” the judge concluded.

Plaintiff Isao Enei criticized the latest ruling at a news conference, saying that actual circumstances in areas hit by the nuclear disaster were completely ignored.

There is no point in filing a collective suit if individual damages are ignored. The ruling is inconceivable,” said Junichiro Hironaka, an attorney for the plaintiffs.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/03/18/national/crime-legal/tokyo-high-court-slashes-damages-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-evacuees/#.XnNDrXJCeUl

March 20, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Third Court, Kyoto District Court, Rules Tepco and Government Liable to Pay Damages to Evacuees

15 march kyoto court.jpg
TEPCO, state told to pay 3/11 evacuees who left on their own
March 15, 2018
The legal team for evacuees of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster hold signs stating partial victory at the Kyoto District Court on March 15.
KYOTO–The district court here ordered the government and the operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant on March 15 to pay a combined 110 million yen ($1 million) to 110 evacuees who fled voluntarily after the 2011 nuclear disaster.
Presiding Judge Nobuyoshi Asami at the Kyoto District Court ruled that the government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. were liable on grounds that they failed to take adequate measures to protect the plant from the tsunami that inundated the facility after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
The court noted the government’s “long-term assessment” for possible earthquakes unleashing tsunami compiled in 2002. The report pointed to the possibility of a powerful earthquake and tsunami striking the plant.
All of the 174 plaintiffs from 57 families had evacuated to Kyoto Prefecture without an evacuation order except for one individual from Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture.
Tomioka was within the 20-kilometer radius from the plant ordered to evacuate after the crisis unfolded on March 11, 2011, triggered by the magnitude-9.0 quake and tsunami.
Apart from Fukushima, the plaintiffs were from Miyagi, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures.
The plaintiffs plan to appeal the court decision, as 64 were not awarded compensation.
The plaintiffs sought 846.6 million yen collectively in damages from the government and the utility.
The district court ruling marked the fifth in a series of similar lawsuits brought across the nation.
In all five cases, the respective courts acknowledged TEPCO’s responsibility to pay damages to the plaintiffs.
The Kyoto District Court’s decision was the third to acknowledge the government’s responsibility.
The key issues in the Kyoto case were if the towering tsunami that swamped the plant was foreseen, if the government had authority to force TEPCO to take countermeasures against such an event, and if the amount of compensation paid by TEPCO to voluntary evacuees based on the government’s guidelines was appropriate.
Most of the plaintiffs sought 5.5 million yen each in damages.
In the ruling, the district court determined that TEPCO should pay additional compensation on top of the amount set in the government guidelines to 109 plaintiffs who fled voluntarily despite not being subject to evacuation orders.
The criteria for extra payment are distance from the plant, radiation levels around homes, and family members who require medical attention due to the exposure to radiation.
Among the plaintiffs who were awarded additional compensation were those from Chiba Prefecture, just east of Tokyo and roughly 240 km from Fukushima Prefecture.
The court stated that the extra payment should be based on damage they suffered over two years after they began evacuating.
In the lawsuits filed at three other districts, some of the plaintiffs who evacuated voluntarily were awarded additional compensation, ranging from 10,000 yen to 730,000 yen per person.
 
Third court rules Tepco, govt liable over Fukushima disaster-media
TOKYO, March 15 (Reuters) –
* Kyoto district court on Thursday ruled that Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) and the Japanese government were liable for damages arising from the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, the Asahi newspaper said
* The ruling is the third court decision assigning liability to both Tepco and the government for the disaster that led to the evacuation of around 160,000 people
* A group of 174 claimants sought 850 million yen ($8 million)in damages arising from the disaster
* The court in western Japan did not accept that all plaintiffs should be awarded damages ($1 = 105.9900 yen) (Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
 
Court orders Japan government to pay new Fukushima damages
TOKYO (AFP)-A Japanese court on Thursday ordered the government to pay one million dollars in new damages over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, ruling it should have predicted and avoided the meltdown.
The Kyoto district court ordered the government and power plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) to pay 110 million yen in damages to 110 local residents who had to leave the Fukushima region, a court official and local media said.
Thursday’s verdict was the third time the government has been ruled liable for the meltdown in eastern Japan, the world’s most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.
In October, a court in Fukushima city ruled that both the government and TEPCO were responsible, following a similar ruling in March in the eastern city of Maebashi.
However, another court, in Chiba near Tokyo, ruled in September that only the operator was liable.
On Thursday, presiding judge Nobuyoshi Asami ordered that 110 plaintiffs who saw their lives ruined and their property destroyed by the disaster be awarded compensation, Jiji Press and other media reported.
Contacted by AFP, a court spokesman confirmed the reports, adding that the ruling denied damages to several dozen additional plaintiffs.
“That damages for 64 people were not recognised was unexpected and regrettable,” a lawyer for the plaintiffs said, adding that they would appeal, according to public broadcaster NHK.
Around 12,000 people who fled after the disaster due to radiation fears have filed various lawsuits against the government and TEPCO.
Cases have revolved around whether the government and TEPCO, both of whom are responsible for disaster prevention measures, could have foreseen the scale of the tsunami and subsequent meltdown.
Dozens of class-action lawsuits have been filed seeking compensation from the government.
In June, former TEPCO executives went on trial in the only criminal case in connection with the disaster.
The hearing is continuing.
Triggered by a 9.1-magnitude earthquake, the tsunami overwhelmed reactor cooling systems, sending three into meltdown and sending radiation over a large area.

March 16, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Court orders TEPCO to pay 31 million yen over deaths of Fukushima patients

The Tokyo District Court on April 27 ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to pay a total of around 31 million yen to the families of two former patients at a local hospital who died following the 2011 crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

The families of the two elderly men had demanded the operator of the crippled nuclear plant pay a total of about 66 million yen, claiming that they died after being forced to evacuate from Futaba Hospital located approximately 4.6 kilometers from the power plant in the Fukushima Prefecture town of Okuma.

Of some 50 patients at Futaba Hospital who died following the nuclear disaster, the families of a then 98-year-old dementia patient and a then 73-year-old schizophrenia patient filed the lawsuit. While there have been two cases of settlement between the families of former Futaba Hospital patients and TEPCO at Chiba and Fukushima district courts, this is the first court ruling to have been delivered over deaths of patients at the hospital.

TEPCO had acknowledged the causal relationship between evacuation and the deaths of the two patients. The trial, therefore, had focused on the amount of damages.

According to the ruling, the conditions of the two patients had been severe and they required assistance with eating and other daily tasks. An evacuation order was issued on March 12, 2011, the following day of the disaster, and the patients left the hospital on March 14 and 16, respectively. However, unable to receive appropriate medical care, the pair died of dehydration and hypothermia.

The court determined the amount of damages at 20 million yen for each patient and judged that their existing conditions had affected the development of additional illnesses. It then reduced the amount demanded by the families by 40 percent for the dementia patient and by 20 percent for the schizophrenia patient.

An attorney representing the plaintiffs said it was unfortunate that circumstances particular to a nuclear plant disaster was not taken into consideration in the ruling.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. released a comment stating that the utility will go through the ruling and sincerely handle the situation.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160428/p2a/00m/0na/010000c

April 30, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment