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Japan’s METI says it’s ‘safe’ to dump radioactive water from Fukushima nuclear disaster into ocean

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Tanks storing radioactive water at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, in February
Nov 18, 2019
Japan’s industry ministry said Monday it would be safe to release water contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster into the ocean, stressing that the amount of radiation measured would be very small compared to what humans are naturally exposed to annually.
Discharging the water into the Pacific Ocean over the course of a year would amount to between just one-1,600th and one-40,000th of the radiation that humans are naturally exposed to, the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry told a government subcommittee on the issue.
Water used to cool the melted-down cores and groundwater near the disabled plant contains some radioactive materials, and is currently being collected and stored in tanks on the plant grounds.
But space is running out fast, and the government is exploring ways to deal with the water — already more than 100 tons and increasing every day.
According to the ministry, annual radiation levels near the release point is estimated at between 0.052 and 0.62 microsievert at sea and 1.3 microsieverts in the atmosphere, compared with the 2,100 microsieverts that humans are naturally exposed to annually.
While government officials stress the safety of releasing the water, opposition lawmakers as well as neighboring South Korea have expressed concern. Local fishermen are also opposed to the release of the water into the sea, fearing the potential impact on fish stocks.
The water is being treated using an advanced liquid processing system, or ALPS, though the system does not remove the relatively nontoxic tritium and has been found to leave small amounts of other radioactive materials.
The tanks storing the water are expected to become full by the summer of 2022, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The plant was disabled by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami on March 11, 2011.
A nuclear expert from the International Atomic Energy Agency said in 2018 that a controlled discharge of such contaminated water “is something which is applied in many nuclear facilities, so it is not something that is new.”

November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Inspectors find 41 cracks in the grounds of Fukushima nuclear plant: local media

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November 10, 2019
Dozens of cracks have been found in facilities built to contain radiation at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant. Tokyo-based Yomiuri Shimbun reported Sunday that 41 cracks were found in the plant’s concrete floor. It says Tokyo Electric Power Company appears to have neglected the facilities,… with inspectors having discovered weeds growing through the concrete. They believe there’s a danger that radioactive substances may have seeped through the cracks… and into the groundwater. Inspectors have raised the issue with the power company,… requesting maintenance work.

November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Nuclear regulator says cost-cutting culture creating mistakes, delays at Fukushima plant

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The No. 3 reactor, right, and No. 2 reactor, left, are seen in this photo of work at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in November 2018, provided by Tokyo Electric Power Co.
November 8, 2019
TOKYO — Decommissioning efforts following the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station have been hit by delays and a series of mistakes contravening safety rules relating to the operation of nuclear facilities.
In response to the issues, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) is carrying out a survey into whether operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has sufficient staffing numbers working on the project, and is seeking to have TEPCO’s board improve its preparations.
According to the secretariat of the NRA, this summer there were errors in the wiring of electrical cables to the No. 5 and 6 reactors, which caused problems when smoke started to emerge from equipment attached to the reactors.
Furthermore, drinking facilities are being continually installed in controlled zones with high levels of radioactivity where they are forbidden from being built, and it has emerged that workers have drunk water from those areas. In October, the NRA identified both incidents as contravening safety regulations.
Elsewhere, the continuation of work to remove spent nuclear fuel from storage pools at the No. 3 reactor has been delayed. NRA Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa said, “It appears the absolute number of such workers (who manage the work at the power station) is insufficient. If small mistakes continue, it creates the danger of leading to big mistakes.”
Ryusuke Kobayashi, head of the Fukushima Daiichi NRA Regional Office, attended a regular meeting of the NRA on Nov. 6. Regarding the situation at the power station, he said, “There’s a strong focus on cost-cutting at the site. It has an atmosphere which makes it difficult to speak out and say there are too few people working there.” At a press conference after the meeting, chairman Fuketa stressed that it was essential for more staff to be secured.
In response to the NRA, a representative at TEPCO said, “It’s believed an easing of vigilance at the site has been one reason (for the mistakes). The number of human errors has stayed at between 100 and 200 each year for the last five years. We want to proceed with a plan to resolve this considering the specific characteristics of the working environment at the site.”
(Japanese original by Yuka Saito and Suzuko Araki, Science & Environment News Department)

November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Labor shortage cited for Fukushima N-plant errors

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November 07, 2019
TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A series of human errors found at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s tsunami-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant may have been caused by a labor shortage, the Nuclear Regulation Authority has suggested.
At a regular meeting on Wednesday, the NRA received a local report on the current situation of decommissioning work at the plant, the site of the triple meltdown accident in March 2011.
Mistakes have been found frequently as a result of TEPCO’s insufficient understanding of the situation and the overburdening of plant workers, according to the report from the NRA office at the plant site.
“I guess manpower is lacking,” NRA Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa said at a news conference after the meeting, indicating his willingness to interview TEPCO executives.
In July, an operational error caused smoke to rise from an electricity transmission cable at the Fukushima plant.
Some such mistakes can be attributed to TEPCO’s poor supervision and insufficient information on the plant site. Some drawings of the site were not accurate, according to the office.
TEPCO “is not supervising the site properly,” Ryusuke Kobayashi, head of the regional office said.
According to Kobayashi, one TEPCO plant worker said there is no time to pause and think backward.
Another worker finds it difficult to point out the lack of human resources at a time when the company is working to reduce costs, Kobayashi said.
“I believe that the quality of the decommissioning work has deteriorated,” he said.

November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan accused of trying to justify nuclear dump

Fukushia 2019
Nov 07, 2019
COVER?Tokyo Electric Power Co has said new storage tanks could be built to hold radioactive water at its stricken plant, a Greenpeace Germany member said
The Japanese government’s claim that it will run out of room to store radiation-contaminated water at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in two years is not true, and is simply an attempt to justify discharging polluted water into the Pacific Ocean, a Greenpeace International member said yesterday.
Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist at Greenpeace Germany who has conducted long-term surveys in Japan, was invited by Greenpeace Taiwan to talk about the issue at a news conference in Taipei.
An earthquake and a tsunami in March 2011 caused the plant’s reactor fuel rods to melt and large amounts of radioactive-contaminated water was released into the Pacific.
As of Oct. 22, more than 1 million cubic meters of processed polluted water was stored at the treated water storage tank, while the current storage capacity is nearly 1.1 million cubic meters, Burnie said.
Tokyo Electric Power Co in August said the tank would reach full capacity by the summer of 2022 and that there is no room for expansion at the site, he said.
However, the company in a meeting in September said that land is available to build additional tanks, Burnie added.
The claim of insufficient capacity is just an excuse to cover the Japanese government’s political agenda, Burnie said, adding that Tokyo has the option of storing contaminated water for a longer period.
If Japan approves the discharge, radioactive tritium and other radionuclides in the water will likely enter the East China Sea, and eventually the waters surrounding Taiwan through the subtropical gyre, he said.
However, even if the Japanese government decides to discharge polluted water into the ocean, it would not be able to carry out the plan immediately, as it might take years to build outflow pipelines, he said.
In addition to protests from local fishers, especially those living along Japan’s Tohoku coast, the Japanese government would face strong pressure from the international community for discharging polluted water, he said, adding that it is a long-term problem that should be approached more cautiously.
The Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster has led to catastrophic results, and the Taiwanese government should be lauded for making the “brave and correct” decision to phase out nuclear power plants, Burnie said.
Taiwan should call on the Japanese government, via diplomatic or non-governmental channels, to shoulder its responsibility as a Pacific nation and not discharge radiation-contaminated water into the sea, National Nuclear Phase-out Action Platform spokesperson Tsuei Su-hsin (崔愫欣) said.
As Taiwan generates less than 10 percent of its electricity from nuclear power — much lower than the ratio in Japan before the 2011 disaster, it should persist in its goal of phasing out all nuclear power plants by 2025, Tsuei said.

November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Regulators to review Fukushima Daiichi plant work

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Octobre 30, 2019
Japan’s nuclear regulators plan to look into work management at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which is being decommissioned following the 2011 accident.
The move follows a series of mistakes and violations. In June this year, smoke came out when workers misconnected power lines at the No.5 and No.6 reactors.
It has also come to light that water servers were placed for the past four years in restricted areas where radioactive materials are stored.
The commissioners at the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday certified both incidents as safety violations.
In addition, work to remove nuclear fuel from the No.3 reactor’s storage pool has been delayed due to repeated mechanical problems.
The commissioners also decided to request a report from their inspectors stationed in Fukushima Prefecture on whether the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, is conducting its work properly. The regulators also plan to directly question TEPCO officials.
Authority chairman Toyoshi Fuketa told reporters that simple procedural errors raise concern as to whether TEPCO has enough electricians and quality managers at the site.
He said the regulating body will make sure that small mistakes don’t lead to big ones.

November 4, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Dissolution of radioactive, cesium-rich microparticles released from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in simulated lung fluid, pure-water, and seawater

We report chemical durability of Cs-rich microparticle from Fukushima Daiichi.
The dissolution rate was estimated for various solution composition.
Cs-rich microparticles can remain in lung and environments for several decades.

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October, 2019

Abstract

To understand the chemical durability of highly radioactive cesium-rich microparticles (CsMPs) released from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011, we have, for the first time, performed systematic dissolution experiments with CsMPs isolated from Fukushima soils (one sample with 108 Bq and one sample with 57.8 Bq of 137Cs) using three types of solutions: simulated lung fluid, ultrapure water, and artificial sea water, at 25 and 37 °C for 1–63 days.

The 137Cs was released rapidly within three days and then steady-state dissolution was achieved for each solution type. The steady-state 137Cs release rate at 25 °C was determined to be 4.7 × 103, 1.3 × 103, and 1. 3 × 103 Bq·m−2 s−1 for simulated lung fluid, ultrapure water, and artificial sea water, respectively.

This indicates that the simulated lung fluid promotes the dissolution of CsMPs. The dissolution of CsMPs is similar to that of Si-based glass and is affected by the surface moisture conditions.

In addition, the Cs release from the CsMPs is constrained by the rate-limiting dissolution of silicate matrix.

Based on our results, CsMPs with ∼2 Bq, which can be potentially inhaled and deposited in the alveolar region, are completely dissolved after >35 years. Further, CsMPs could remain in the environment for several decades; as such, CsMPs are important factors contributing to the long-term impacts of radioactive Cs in the environment.

 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0045653519311701?via%3Dihub&sfns=mo&fbclid=IwAR0tbULuzIFwPg-RLoasHtJGKV10yokXY4Nt0YPhuff6PE3lD-_XCCqgRn0

November 4, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy proposes long-term storage for treated water from damaged Fukushima Daichi plant

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5th October 2019

On October 3, the Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy, whose members include academics, technical experts, and NGOs, made a new proposal to deal with contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant after the water has been treated. The proposal, submitted to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), and the Nuclear Regulation Authority, is to convert the treated water to solid form by mixing with mortar, and storing it on land. Citizens’Comittee on Nuclear Energy (CCNE)

01Figure 1 (Prepared by Yasuro Kawai, Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy, for October 3, 2019 press conference)

 

However, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) rejected the concept of large-tank storage, claiming that it takes three years to install each tank, that the efficiency of site utilization is not significantly different from that of tanks currently being used, that a floating roof design may result in rainwater mixing with the contents, and that there would be major volume of leakage in the event of damage to the tanks.

Those claims were rebuffed in a presentation by Yasuro Kawai of the Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy (regulations subcommittee) at a press conference on October 3. He said that the installation of large tanks takes 1.5 to 2 years, that they actually improve the efficiency of site utilization, that a dome-shaped design could be used to prevent mixing with rainwater, that large tanks are robust and have a proven track record in oil storage, and that perimeter walls would be needed as a measure to prevent leakage.

Advantages and disadvantages of mortar solidification proposal

The proposal by the Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy is to mix contaminated water with cement and sand to solidify it, then pour the mixture into concrete tanks and store it partially underground. Mr. Kawai described achievements using this approach at the Savannah River nuclear reservation in South Carolina, the United States.

Discussion about land-based storage has finally begun

The Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy has long taken the position that treated water from the so-called Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) should not be released into the ocean. It has been proposing land-based storage using large tanks, an approach that has a proven track record for the storage of oil reserves.

In August 2018, at a hearing held by METI’s ALPS subcommittee, fisheries-related stakeholders and many other participants expressed the view that long-term land-based storage should be used for the treated water. In response, Chairman Kazuyoshi Yamamoto promised to consider the land based storage plan as an option, and the topic finally came up at the 13th sub-committee meeting, held on August 9, 2019.

02Figure 2 (Prepared by Yasuro Kawai, Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy, for October 3, 2019 press conference)

 

The advantages are that no radioactive substances need to be released into the environment, and the approach works with existing technologies. Disadvantages include low volumetric efficiency and evaporation of moisture due to heat generation.

Local community consent would also be required, because the site would become a permanent disposal site.

Is there really a lack of space for onsite storage?
Media have repeatedly reported claims that onsite storage space will run out by the summer of 2022, but is that really true? According to documents from on September 27, TEPCO explained to the ALPS Subcommittee that the site has about 81,000 square meters reserved for temporary storage facilities for spent fuel and fuel debris.

03Figure 3 (Document 3, 14th subcommittee meeting on handling of ALPS treated water)

TEPCO also claims that in the first half of the 2020s, the site is required for facilities for analysis, mock-up facilities for fuel debris retrieval, equipment and material storage, and research facilities, etc.

04Figure 4 (Document 3, 14th subcommittee meeting on handling of ALPS treated water)


But is it realistic and necessary to attempt to remove fuel debris?

The location and condition of the fuel debris is not precisely known due to high radioactivity. An unreasonable effort to remove it will expose workers to a large amount of radioactivity.

The Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy has proposed a “debris non-removal” option of keeping the debris isolated for 100 years, after which it would be dealt with, as one option that should be seriously considered, in order to avoid technical risks, enormous costs, and radiation exposure of workers.

Is it necessary to construct research facilities on the site?

Furthermore, at METI’s ALPS subcommittee, committee members have asked many questions, for example, about giving consideration to using sites where soil is currently being dumped, and expansion of the current site. In all cases, METI responded that such options were “difficult.” However, there was no evidence of any serious consideration having been made of whether or not the ideas raise were really possible.

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METI should immediately consider the land based storage proposal from the Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy by setting up an ALPS subcommittee or a new committee.

By Kanna Mitsuta

Note: The above proposal was covered by Kyodo News, and Kahoko Shimpo news.
Kahoko Shimpo: “Experts Propose Mortar Solidification for Treated Water from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant” (4-Oct-2019, in Japanese)
Kyodo News: “Treated water should go into long-term storage and solidification treatment, says citizens’ group opposed to ocean discharge” (3-Oct-2019, in Japanese)

Related posts by FoE Japan (in Japanese unless noted)
・“FoE Japan objects to statement by Japan’s former Environment Minister: He undermined discussions on long-term storage of contaminated water at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant”
Japanese: http://www.foejapan.org/energy/library/190911.html
English: http://www.foejapan.org/en/energy/doc/190911.html

Big problems at the public hearing on contaminated water: Many speakers oppose ocean discharge”

・“Traces of nuclides other than tritium found in ALPS treated water: Basic premises of public briefing/hearing are undermined”

http://www.foejapan.org/en/energy/doc/191005.html

 

November 4, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Korea brings up Fukushima’s radioactive water disposal issue at WHO

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October 15, 2019
The Ministry of Health and Welfare said that it conveyed the Korean government’s concerns over radioactive water disposal at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, during the 70th World Health Organization’s West Pacific Regional Conference.
Kang Dae-tae, assistant minister for the Planning and Coordination Office at the ministry and chief representative of the regional meeting, expressed concern about the handling of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant and urged the Japanese government and international agencies to respond with care.
“Disposing of radioactive water into the sea is not just a problem for Japan but an international issue that can have a significant impact on the marine environment of the Western Pacific region and the health of its people,” Kang said. “The WHO Western Pacific Regional Office, along with relevant international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has to minimize the impact on the health of the residents of the region.”
Kang urged the international bodies to disclose relevant information transparently so that there is no unnecessary anxiety when Japan decides on how to dispose of the contaminated water.
In response to Korea’s concerns, the Japanese health ministry officials said that they have made efforts to share information and clean up contaminated water, but have not currently decided on how to deal with Fukushima’s contaminated water.
The Japanese officials also noted that the decision to discharge the radioactive waters would be made under international standards such as the International Radiation Protection Committee.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is now sitting on a million-ton of water contaminated with radioactive elements while the amount grows around 150 tons a day.
While the Japanese government has claimed that it has removed most of the radioactive isotopes using an elaborate filtration process, it could not eliminate one isotope, tritium, so it has been storing the water in large tanks, which will fill up by 2022.
Some scientists have claimed that tritium causes harm to humans except in very high concentrations, and the IAEA also argues that properly filtered Fukushima water could be diluted with seawater and then safely released into the ocean without causing environmental problems.
However, other experts have claimed that even the diluted version of tritium can affect cell structures in plants, animals, or humans. The consensus of dumping the water into the Pacific Ocean also faces fierce backlash from both the Japanese fisherman groups and the Korean government, they said.

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea Brings Fukushima Radioactive Water Sea Dumping Issue at International London Convention and Protocol of Marine Pollution

S. Korea raises issue of Fukushima’s contaminated water dump to international convention

Japan says it will keep international community updated on progress

157077756772_20191012Song Myeong-dal, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries ocean environment policy officer, represents South Korea during a consultative meeting of contracted parties to the London Convention and London Protocol on Oct. 7.

Oct.11,2019

The South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) raised the danger of Japan’s ocean dump of contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant as an international issue at a meeting in London concerning an international convention. Japan responded by saying it would keep the international community informed of the progress on an ongoing basis. The developments suggest South Korea was successful in raising international interest in and concern about Japan’s irresponsible approach to the disposal of contaminated water from Fukushima.

On Oct. 10, the MOF reported that the day before, representatives had attended a consultative meeting of contracted parties to the London Convention and Protocol on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter – which opened in London on Oct. 7 – to express concerns to Japan concerning the handling of the contaminated water from Fukushima and request ongoing interest in the issue at the consultative meeting level. The meeting was attended by representatives of 47 contracted parties, as well as international organizations such as the OECD and NGOs including Greenpeace.

The Japanese government has recently talked several times about the ‘unavoidability’ of an ocean dump as a way of dealing with contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant,” Song Myeong-dal, MOF ocean environment policy officer and senior South Korean representative at the meeting, said on Oct. 9.

If [Japan] does release contaminated water from the plant into the ocean, this could have an impact on the global oceanic environment and be in violation of the aims of the London Protocol,” Song warned. Article 2 of the London Convention and Protocol states that contracting parties “shall individually and collectively protect and preserve the marine environment from all sources of pollution and take effective measures [. . . ] to prevent, reduce and where practicable eliminate pollution caused by dumping or incineration at sea of wastes or other matter.”

Song stressed that the Japanese government “needs to be transparent about its means of handling contaminated nuclear power plant water, adequately communicating and discussing important matters such as its handling methods and schedule with neighboring countries and the international community in the future and deciding on a safe and rational approach.”

In order to find a method of contaminated nuclear power plant water handling that the international community can be confident is safe, I think this matter should be discussed on an ongoing basis by the consultative meeting of contracted parties to the London Convention and Protocol ,” he suggested.

157077756799_20191012A consultative meeting of contracted parties to the London Convention and London Protocol on Oct. 7.

 

In response, a representative of the Japanese government reiterated the position that the matter was “not something to be discussed by the consultative meeting,” adding that there had been “no decision within the Japanese government on how to handle the contaminated nuclear power plant water” and that the international community would be “kept informed about the process.” The representative also presented information on the water’s handling that was previously shared in September with locally stationed diplomats in Japan.

Greenpeace expresses similar concern about ocean dump

The issue of contaminated water had not previously been discussed within the context of the London Protocol at past consultative meetings since the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster. In addition to South Korea, representatives from China and Chile also expressed concerns at the latest meeting over the possibility of Japan dumping the contaminated water into the sea and suggested that the issue would be the focus of ongoing discussions at the meeting.

The NGO Greenpeace similarly shared concerns about the possibility of an ocean dump in a document at the meeting containing “concerns and questions about the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant contaminated water release plan.” Contending that the Japanese system for handling contaminated nuclear power plant water is “inefficient,” it proposed that the international community work together on finding a solution.

During a Compliance Group meeting held ahead of the consultative meeting on Oct. 3–4, the South Korean representative strongly emphasized the need to review the ocean release of radioactive waste matter within the context of the London Protocol, insisting that Japan should not be allowed to make a unilateral decision on whether to proceed with the dumping of contaminated nuclear power plant water into the ocean. The Compliance Group meeting was established to discuss whether contracted parties to the protocol are complying with their obligations.

In bilateral meetings with major countries and through issues raised in the Compliance Group setting, the South Korean government rallied support for the position that this matter should be addressed at the consultative meeting,” said Song Myeong-dal.

We will continue to make such requests at this meeting and other international meetings going forward so that the Japanese government can find an approach that we can be confident is safe,” he pledged.

http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/912889.html

 

South Korea Brings Fukushima Wastewater Issue to London Convention Meeting

October 11, 2019

The South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) raised the danger of Japan’s contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant as an international issue at a meeting to the London Convention. 

 

South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) deemed the danger of Japan’s contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant as an international issue at a meeting to the London Convention. 

The London Convention controls pollution of the seas and oceans by dumping and covers the deliberate disposal of wastes and other matter into the world’s waters, according to the U.S. EPA. The discharged water will have a direct influence on the marine life and ecosystem in its territorial waters and eventually the people in Korea, according to the Korea Times.

As of Aug. 22, approximately 1.1 million tons of contaminated water is being stored in 977 tanks at the decommissioned power plant in Fukushima, which was destroyed by the 2011 earthquake and ensuing tsunami

The Japanese government said recently it will only build more facilities through 2020, which will bring the total stored volume to 1.37 million tons, according to Science Page News. The storage facilities are projected to be filled by August 2020, which suggests that there will be no more tanks to hold the 170 tons of radiation-contaminated water created daily.

If [Japan] does release contaminated water from the plant into the ocean, this could have an impact on the global oceanic environment and be in violation of the aims of the London Protocol,” said Song Myeong-dal, MOF ocean environment policy officer and senior South Korean representative. “In order to find a method of contaminated nuclear power plant water handling that the international community can be confident is safe, I think this matter should be discussed on an ongoing basis by the consultative meeting of contracted parties to the London Convention and Protocol.”

In response, a representative of the Japanese government said that the matter was not something to be discussed by the consultative meeting and that the international community would be kept informed about the process, reported the Hankyoreh.

“There is another option to deal with radioactive water. Japan can keep it in the tanks until the radiation level becomes low enough. But this takes time and money. It will take about 300 years until it is okay to discharge the water,” said Kim Ik-jung, a former medical professor and member of the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission to the Korea Times.

South Korea plans to continue to raise the wastewater issue to the international community until Japan comes up with a safe and acceptable solution, according to the Hankyoreh.

https://www.wwdmag.com/waste-treatment-disposal-services/south-korea-brings-fukushima-wastewater-issue-london-convention

 

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

S. Korea raises worries over Fukushima waste water at global maritime conference

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October 10, 2019
South Korea raised the issue of Japan’s reported plan to release radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean …at a global conference of the International Maritime Organization in London this week.
During a meeting to discuss the London Convention and Protocol… Seoul’s fishery ministry demanded that Tokyo transparently disclose information over its handling of the contaminated water and called for continuous discussion of the issue.
The London Protocol is aimed at preventing marine pollution and bans the export of waste or other matter to other countries for dumping or incineration at sea.
However, the direct dumping of wastewater from land to sea has been absent from the discussion.
 
With the management of radioactive waste on the agenda for this year’s meeting, …representatives from China and Chile also expressed their concern and called for more discussions over the matter.
Ghana’s representative to the IMO, who is the chair of the meeting, also noted that the issue can be brought up for discussion and that Japan should provide information.
For the first time, Japan’s representative said it will continue to provide transparent information concerning the contaminated water at Fukushima.
 
This is the latest effort by the Korean government to deter Tokyo from discharging an estimated one.one million tons of contaminated water stored at its Fukushima plant.
Last month, Seoul raised the issue at the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
At the gathering, Japan dismissed criticisms, claiming they were not based on scientific evidence.
Park Se-young, Arirang News.

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

At Fukushima plant, a million-tonne headache: Radioactive water

nz_daiichi_051055.jpgA Tokyo Electric Power Company researcher shows processed water where tritium remains, at a lab in Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, on Oct 2, 2019.

Oct 5, 2019,

FUKUSHIMA (AFP) – In the grounds of the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant sits a million-tonne headache for the plant’s operators and Japan’s government: tank after tank of water contaminated with radioactive elements.

What to do with the enormous amount of water, which grows by around 150 tonnes a day, is a thorny question, with controversy surrounding a longstanding proposal to discharge it into the sea, after extensive decontamination.

The water comes from several different sources: some is used for cooling at the plant, which suffered a meltdown after it was hit by a tsunami triggered by a massive earthquake in March 2011.

Groundwater that seeps into the plant daily, along with rainwater, add to the problem.

A thousand, towering tanks have now replaced many of the cherry trees that once dotted the plant’s ground.

Each can hold 1,200 tonnes, and most of them are already full.

“We will build more on the site until the end of 2020, and we think all the tanks will be full by around the summer of 2022,” said Mr Junichi Matsumoto, an official with the unit of plant operator Tepco in charge of dismantling the site.

Tepco has been struggling with the problem for years, taking various measures to limit the amount of groundwater entering the site.

There is also an extensive pumping and filtration system, that each day brings up tonnes of newly contaminated water and filters out as many of the radioactive elements as possib

HIGHLY RADIOACTIVE

The hangar where the decontamination system runs is designated “Zone Y” – a danger zone requiring special protections.

All those entering must wear elaborate protection: a full body suit, three layers of socks, three layers of gloves, a double cap topped by a helmet, a vest with a pocket carrying a dosimeter, a full-face respirator mask and special shoes.

Most of the outfit has to be burnt after use.

“The machinery filters contain radionuclides, so you have to be very protected here, just like with the buildings where the reactors are,” explained Tepco risk communicator Katsutoshi Oyama.

Tepco has been filtering newly contaminated water for years, but much of it needs to go through the process again because early versions of the filtration process did not fully remove some dangerous radioactive elements, including strontium 90.

The current process is more effective, removing or reducing around 60 radionuclides to levels accepted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for water being discharged.

But there is one that remains, which cannot be removed with the current technology: tritium.

Tritium is naturally present in the environment, and has also been discharged in its artificial form into the environment by the nuclear industry around the world.

There is little evidence that it causes harm to humans except in very high concentrations and the IAEA argues that properly filtered Fukushima water could be diluted with seawater and then safely released into the ocean without causing environmental problems.

‘ABSOLUTELY AGAINST IT’

But those assurances are of little comfort to many in the region, particularly Fukushima’s fishing industry which, like local farmers, has suffered from the outside perception that food from the region is unsafe.

Mr Kyoichi Kamiyama, director of the radioactivity research department at the regional government’s Fisheries and Marine Science Research Centre, points out that local fishermen are still struggling eight years after the disaster.

“Discharging into the ocean? I’m absolutely against it,” he told AFP.

At the national government level, the view is more sanguine.

“We want to study how to minimise the damage (from a potential discharge) to the region’s reputation and Fukushima products,” an Industry Ministry official said.

The government is sensitive to fears that people inside Japan and farther afield will view any discharge as sending radioactive waste into the sea.

No decisions are likely in the near term, with the country sensitive to the international spotlight that will fall on Japan as it hosts the Olympic Games next year.

Environmentalists are also resolutely opposed to any discharge into the sea, and Greenpeace argues that Tepco cannot trusted to properly decontaminate the water.

The solution, said Greenpeace senior nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie, “ultimately can only be long-term storage and processing”.

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/at-fukushima-plant-a-million-tonne-headache-radioactive-water

October 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Japanese Report Confirms Hazardous Radioactive Materials Contained in Contaminated Fukushima Water

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South Korean environmental activists hold a rally in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Oct. 8, 2018, to protest against Japan’s decision to release the Fukushima nuclear plant’s radioactive, contaminated water into the sea.
October 4, 2019
SEOUL, Oct. 4 (Korea Bizwire) — As Japan seeks to release contaminated water from its disabled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean, South Korean media revealed that the tainted water contains hazardous radioactive materials.
KBS News reported on Thursday that a report submitted by the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry early this week confirmed the presence of the hazardous radioactive materials, such as cesium and strontium, in the contaminated water.
The report said that cesium, strontium, and iodine 129 exceeded standard levels in 82 percent of all contaminated water kept in Fukushima as of October of last year.
It was also revealed that 17 percent of the tainted water emitted radiation that was ten times stronger than the annual limit on radiation exposure (1 mSv/Y), while 7 percent of the water contained radioactive materials that were 100 times stronger.
In an interview with KBS News, a TEPCO official said that “problems with the filters and several systems in the water treatment facility prevented it from being run at full capacity for a certain period.”
TEPCO said it can no longer accommodate the contaminated water that is being produced every day since the East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and has proposed a plan to release it to the atmosphere or the sea.
Roughly 170 tons of contaminated water is being produced at the Fukushima Power Plant every day. As of last July, the total amount of tainted water had reached 1.15 million tons.
The Japanese government, in contrast, has been claiming that the water now only contains tritium, a radioactive hydrogen isotope known to exist in the natural environment.
Neighboring states, including South Korea, are strongly opposing the idea of releasing the water, since it may cause secondary damage.
“The International Atomic Energy Agency understands the issues and concerns that we face. They are also keeping a close watch on the matter,” said Uhm Jae-sik, head of the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission.

October 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Seoul-Tokyo feud deepens over radioactive water

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Rep. Choi Jae-sung of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), third from left, speaks during a meeting for the party’s special committee to counter Japan’s “retaliatory” trade restrictions on South Korea in this July 11 file photo, at the party’s meeting room at the National Assembly in Seoul.
October 3, 2019
The Japanese government’s continued reluctance to openly support dumping radioactive wastewater for fear of creating a fresh controversy over the destroyed Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima is adding concern to the already deteriorated Seoul-Tokyo relations.
 
Currently, more than 1 million tons of contaminated water is held in almost 1,000 tanks at the plant, according to government data. However, the site administrators have warned that they will run out of space by the summer of 2022.
 
A proposed plan to release the contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean is angering South Korea. The government, which has yet to officially lift an import ban on fishery and agricultural products from Fukushima introduced in 2013, has recently claimed that discharging the water will pose a “grave threat” to the marine environment. But Japan has rejected this charge.
 
The Japanese Embassy in Seoul has been posting atmospheric radiation levels monitored in Seoul and Fukushima Prefecture since Sept. 24, updating them on a daily basis. The embassy said the levels in Fukushima were similar to other major cities worldwide including Seoul.
 
In response, a committee launched by the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) published a map centered on the devastated nuclear plant that shows radiation-contaminated areas. The map marks stadiums for the 2020 Olympics ― including Miyagi, Fukushima Azuma, Ibaraki Kashima, Tokyo, and the Saitama Super Arena ― as contaminated by radiation from the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
 
The DPK said the map was based on public data released by the Minnano Data Site, a Japanese civic organization, that lists radioactive measurements of food and soil.
 
“We made the map to show measures we can take to protect our people’s lives and safety,” said Rep. Choi Jae-sung, chairman of the committee. “Japan’s plan to release contaminated water is controversial, as marine products from many regions in Japan could be contaminated, and this could influence decisions by visitors for the Tokyo Olympics as well as participating athletes.”
 
Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono tweeted that he ordered the posting of radiation levels on the website of the embassy in Seoul in response to growing concerns over the issue here.
 
But critics are urging Japan to “do something more” as they say releasing the contaminated water will further raise concerns among South Korean and Japanese people.
 
They say Tokyo’s plan to use an advanced liquid-processing system to remove highly radioactive substances such as cesium from the water doesn’t completely filter out tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen commonly found in cooling water released into the ocean by coastal nuclear power plants.
Nuclear specialists said tritium has the potential to in concentrated doses to damage cell structures in plants, animals and people, claiming “dilution” wasn’t the best option to avoid this. They said Tokyo should continue to store the water in areas outside the plant site despite opposition from local residents who were evacuated.
 
Meanwhile, the foreign ministry summoned Tomofumi Nishinaga, a minister for economic affairs at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to complain about the plan to release the contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean.
 

October 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea inspects ships traveling from Fukushima for radiation

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A South Korean politician said Wednesday seawater near Fukushima Prefecture (pictured) was being brought in and being discharged into Korean waters.
Oct. 2 (UPI) — South Korea is stepping up surveys of ships originating from areas near Fukushima, Japan.
Seoul’s ministry of maritime affairs and fisheries said Wednesday it will work with South Korea’s nuclear safety committee to assess radiation levels in ballast water originating from ships traveling from Fukushima, Yonhap reported.
Japan said in September the country has “no choice” but to discharge radioactive water into the ocean, a statement that drew concern from neighbors like South Korea.
South Korea is surveying 32 coastal areas and another 32 offshore zones near the peninsula on a quarterly basis to assess radiation, according to the report.
The South Korean decision comes after local lawmaker Kim Jong-hoe, a member of the National Assembly’s Agriculture, Forestry, Livestock and Fisheries Committee, said that it was “confirmed” seawater near Fukushima Prefecture was being brought in and being discharged into Korean waters.
South Korea upholds a ban on Japanese seafood originating from the Fukushima nuclear disaster zone.
According to Kim on Wednesday, ships originating from areas near Fukushima, including Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures discharged about 128 million tons of ballast water from September 2017 to July of this year. The water was discharged at South Korean ports, Kim said.
The 2011 nuclear crisis that occurred following the Tohoku earthquake was a tragedy that forced farmers in the area to leave behind livestock.
The Asahi Shimbun reported this week the area is also home to feral ostriches following the quake.
The ostriches are descendants of birds kept at a ostrich park that opened in the area in 2001, according to the report.
Fukushima remains off-limits to people due to high radiation.
 

October 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment