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Olympics-Radiation hot spots found at Tokyo 2020 torch relay start – Greenpeace

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December 4, 2019

TOKYO, Dec 4 (Reuters) – Radiation hot spots have been found at the J-Village sports facility in Fukushima where the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay will begin, Greenpeace Japan said on Wednesday.

Greenpeace found that radiation levels around the recently refurbished venue, which also hosted the Argentina team during the Rugby World Cup earlier this year, were significantly higher than before the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor meltdown following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Greenpeace’s survey found radioactivity readings taken at J-Village on Oct. 26 as high as 71 microsieverts per hour at surface level.

People are exposed to natural radiation of 2,000-3,000 microsieverts a year, so anyone staying in the vicinity of J-Village for two or more days could be exposed to more than that.

These readings, although not deemed life-threatening if exposed for a short length of time, are 1,775 times higher than prior to the March 2011 disaster, according to the NGO.

The Olympic flame is due to arrive from Greece in Japan on March 20, with the torch relay officially starting from J-Village on March 26.

Greenpeace said in a statement that it had sent its findings to Japan’s Ministry of Environment, but had received no response.

“There is a risk that heavy rain will spread these higher levels of contamination on public roads, and thus re-contaminate already decontaminated surfaces,” warned Greenpeace nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie, team leader of the J-Village survey, in a statement.

An ministry official acknowledged to Reuters on Wednesday that the ministry had been alerted to higher radiation level readings in an area surrounding J-Village and that decontamination measures had been taken.

“The ministry cooperated with related groups to decrease radiation levels in that area,” said the official.

“On Dec. 3, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) took measures to decrease radiation levels in said area.”

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station, located about 220 km (130 miles) northeast of Tokyo, was rocked by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011, sparking three reactor meltdowns.

More than 160,000 residents fled nearby towns in the aftermath as radiation from the reactors contaminated water, food and air. Greenpeace called on the Japanese government to conduct more extensive radiation surveys in the area and the NGO planned to return to J-Village soon to “determine if subsequent decontamination attempts have been adequately conducted.”

Tokyo 2020 organisers could not be immediately reached for comment.

Worries that local food could be contaminated by the nuclear disaster has prompted plans by South Korea’s Olympic committee to buy radiation detectors and ship homegrown ingredients to Japan for its athletes at the Tokyo Games. (Additional reporting by Mari Saito; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

https://af.reuters.com/article/africaTech/idAFL8N28E0L7?fbclid=IwAR01no7I0LUG2acAbapUgk9ERcWBHsndxvGdEeC1mYvj_fEYJZ-SEHlEr6g

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

Radiation hotspots ‘found near Fukushima Olympic site’

Greenpeace calls for fresh monitoring of region where nuclear disaster occurred

 

1002.jpegThe Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which was the site of a nuclear disaster in 2011. Officials are keen to showcase the area’s recovery.

Wed 4 Dec 2019

Greenpeace has said it detected radiation hotspots near the starting point of the upcoming Olympic torch relay in Fukushima.

Japan’s environment ministry said the area was generally safe but it was in talks with local communities to survey the region before the 2020 Games, which open on 24 July.

The government is keen to use the Olympics to showcase Fukushima’s recovery from the 2011 tsunami. It intends to use J-Village, a sports complex located about 12 miles from the nuclear plant that was damaged in the disaster, as the starting point for the Japan leg of the torch relay taking place in March.

Originally designed as a training centre for athletes, J-Village functioned for years as a logistics hub for crews working to control and decommission the defunct reactors.

After a cleanup process, the sports centre became fully operational again in April this year, shortly after the torch relay decision.

Greenpeace urged fresh radiation monitoring and continued cleanup efforts, saying it had detected some spots with radiation levels as high as 1.7 microsieverts per hour when measured one metre above the surface.

This compared with the national safety standard of 0.23 microsieverts per hour, and a normal reading in Tokyo of about 0.04 microsieverts per hour. The hotspots showed a reading of 71 microsieverts per hour at the surface level, Greenpeace said.

However, J-Village’s website said the radiation reading at its main entrance was 0.111 microsieverts per hour on Wednesday, while one of its fields showed a reading of 0.085 microsieverts per hour.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the Fukushima plant, said it cleaned the spots on Tuesday after the environment ministry told the firm about them.

Greenpeace said it relayed its findings to the Japanese government as well as local and international Olympic organisers. The group will publish a report of its findings in the region next year.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/04/radiation-hotspots-found-near-fukushima-olympic-site-greenpeace

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

Fukushima Journey, Pt. 2: Olympics Propaganda, Thyroid Cancers, Japanese Govt. Lies – 4 days in Fukushima Prefecture w/Beverly Findlay-Kaneko

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November 28, 2019

This Week’s Featured Interview:

  • Fukushima Journey: The “Disappearing” Nuclear Disaster – 4 days on-the-ground in Fukushima Prefecture with Beverly Findlay-Kaneko continues. She lived in Yokohama, Japan for 20 years until March 2011 after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake. She worked at Yokohama National University and The Japan Times. Beverly has a Master’s degree in East Asian Studies from Stanford University, and speaks Japanese fluently.

    Since returning from Japan, Beverly and her husband, Yuji Kaneko, have been active in raising awareness about nuclear issues, including the nuclear accident at Fukushima. Their main activities have included organizing speaking tours, giving presentations, networking in activist and nuclear-impacted communities in the U.S. and Japan, and co-producing the annual Nuclear Hotseat podcast “Voices from Japan” special on Fukushima.

    This is the second half of the “Fukushima Journey” Nuclear Hotseat interview, based on more than three hours of source material. Pt. 1 appeared in episode #439 from November 19, 2019.

December 2, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Transparency, the olympics, and that damned water, Part 2

Happy-fukushima-peach-01.jpgOfficial messaging about Fukushima focuses on happiness.

Tuesday November 26th, 2019

Part 2: What about the Olympics?

The concerns we hear about the 2020 Olympics are more generalized and less focussed than those about the water in the tanks at Fukushima Daiichi. Some people ask us if it’s safe to come to Japan at all. Others narrow it down to Fukushima Prefecture. A few journalists and others have specifically asked us to weigh in on the potential risks to people who attend the events which will be held in Azuma Stadium in Fukushima City.  Our response to Tokyo businessman Roy Tomizawa was to suggest he build a bGeigie and survey the stadium himself. He did, and wrote about it. Helping people find out for themselves is how we prefer to interact with and inform the public. We often point out that the entire framing of “safety” when it comes to radiation risk is problematic. The guidelines for acceptable radiation limits in food, the environment, and elsewhere are not really “safety” limits, and exceeding them does not mean “unsafe.” They are warning levels that trigger protective actions intended to prevent actually “unsafe” exposures. In each case, the important questions are: Do you understand this risk, and is it acceptable to you? This is where people need help, and where government has so far largely failed in its mission to inform. Once again we think it comes down to transparency.

A quick Google search of “Fukushima Olympics”  will illustrate the widespread belief that athletes and visitors who go to Fukushima next year will be putting their lives at risk. The Korean government has announced that their teams will bring their own food so as not to incur potential health risks from eating local products. Many people suspect that the Japanese Government is holding Olympic events in Fukushima in order to cover up the effects of the disaster and paint the prefecture with a tint of normality. It seems clear that the government lost control of this narrative long ago and may well be unable to recover before the 2020 Olympics begin, and that the negative effects could persist for years afterwards. We do not see any adequate messaging or information about the kinds of risks people around the world are concerned about, presented understandably and accessibly. What messaging we have seen so far is clumsy and tends heavily towards images of smiley happy people intended to suggest that everything is fine. No-one really trusts these blithe reassurances, because they distrust government itself.

Japanese government agencies seem to be operating under the assumption that their authority in matters like this is still intact in the eyes of the public. Their messages appear to be shaped under the assumption that they can simply say, “We’ve had a committee look into it and we’ve determined that it’s safe,” without demonstrating the necessary transparency and breaking the explanation down in appropriate ways. We have no desire to make government’s job easier about any of this, but we care about the people in Fukushima, and so we want government to present clear and accurate information about their situation. Things in Fukushima are not as bad as alarming Google hits often suggest, but it’s definitely not hunky-dory either. Honest messaging would reflect this. We too wonder why the government has rushed to hold Olympic events in Fukushima, ignoring the global public’s existing fear and skepticism. Many Fukushima residents are supportive of the games and hope they will shed a positive light on the progress the prefecture has made since the disasters in 2011. It could be good for local economies as well. On the other hand, it could be another avoidable PR disaster.

We think people can visit Fukushima today without undue fear. The preponderance of data, both independent data like ours as well as official data, shows that typical visitors are extremely unlikely to travel anywhere in the prefecture where external radiation exposure is higher than natural background radiation levels in most of the world, unless they go out of their way to enter very contaminated areas to which access is normally prohibited. If people are willing to consider normal background radiation levels “safe,” then most of Fukushima fits this description. There are a lot caveats, however. There may be cesium contamination in the ground even in places where the external dose rate is in the normal range (Minnanods has published a very good map of their independent measurements of soil contamination). While food produced in Fukushima is closely monitored by both official bodies and independent labs, both of which indicate that it is overwhelmingly “safe,” people should avoid wild mushrooms, wild vegetables, wild game, and other items which are not produced under controlled agricultural conditions and distributed by supermarkets. With few exceptions the forests are not being decontaminated, and radiation levels can be considerably higher there, so it’s probably best to avoid entering unknown forests.

We get a lot of pushback for saying this, but years of Safecast radiation measurements in Fukushima and elsewhere show that short-term visitors to Fukushima will almost certainly get a higher radiation dose on their flights to Japan than they will by spending several days in Fukushima. (You can see Safecast measurements taken during air travel here.) These exposures are not entirely comparable, though, and the equation is different for people who live in parts of Fukushima where they are likely to receive decades of elevated radiation doses. But we stand by our overall conclusions, while pointing out that the only way to be sure is to have good data available for the places you’re going, which Safecast tries hard to provide. We’re very critical of the Korean government’s politically motivated manipulation of fear about Fukushima food despite not presenting any measurement data in support of its claims. On the other hand, Korea has demanded that radiation risks for next year’s Olympics be verified by independent third-parties, which we highly endorse. The Japanese government and the Olympic committee have announced that the torch relay will run though over 20 Fukushima towns, but they have not provided the public with survey data showing the current radiation levels along those routes. Safecast volunteers are ready to measure these routes, and indeed most have probably already been measured at some point, and while our data might indicate no particular risks for participants and viewers in most locations, it might reveal areas of concern. What maddens us is that we have been unable to obtain information about the actual street routes for the Fukushima portions of the relay and do not know how long before the event’s route information will actually become available.

Ultimately, we expect that official messaging about the Fukushima 2020 Olympic events will continue to avoid frank discussions of radiation risks and will continue to focus on “happiness.” The current information void and amateurish messaging are likely to be shattered at some point early next year by a massive and expensive PR blitz which will also focus on “happiness” but with higher production values and market reach. If radiation is dealt with at all, it is likely to be in a superficial and somewhat misleading manner. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Azby Brown

Azby Brown is Safecast’s lead researcher and primary author of the Safecast Report. A widely published authority in the fields of design, architecture, and the environment, he has lived in Japan for over 30 years, and founded the KIT Future Design Institute in 2003. He joined Safecast in mid-2011, and frequently represents the group at international expert conferences.

https://blog.safecast.org/2019/11/transparency-the-olympics-and-that-damned-water-part-2/

December 2, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Disappearing? An on-the-ground report by Beverly Findlay-Kaneko

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November 20, 2019

Fukushima Disappearing? An on-the-ground report by Beverly Findlay-Kaneko. She lived in Yokohama, Japan for 20 years until March 2011 after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.  She worked at Yokohama National University and The Japan Times.  Beverly has a Master’s degree in East Asian Studies from Stanford University, and speaks Japanese fluently.

Since returning from Japan, Beverly and her husband, Yuji Kaneko, have been active in raising awareness about nuclear issues, including the nuclear accident at Fukushima. Their main activities have included organizing speaking tours, giving presentations, networking in activist and nuclear-impacted communities in the U.S. and Japan, and co-producing the annual Nuclear Hotseat podcast “Voices from Japan” special on Fukushima

http://nuclearhotseat.com/2019/11/20/fukushima-disappearing-journey-thru-japans-radioactive-olympics-prefecture/?fbclid=IwAR04e80yp83NYpje_5JsVvPIP_3xdc3OcRspEwR0kGoa-4BF0vNRcki8JWM

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

TEPCO estimates tritium volume for disposal from Fukushima plant

Tritium, radioactive hydrogen, is clinically recognized as causing cancer, birth defects and genetic mutation. That should be plastered on the side of nuclear power plants.
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Storage tanks containing processed but still contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant
November 18, 2019
Tokyo Electric Power Holdings Co. on Nov. 18 released for the first time an estimate of the annual disposal amount of radioactive tritium from its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The volume will vary from 27 trillion to 106 trillion becquerel, depending on the commencement date and ending time of the disposal process, according to a report the utility presented to a subcommittee of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
In comparison, a domestic nuclear power plant in operation usually dumps liquid radioactive waste that contains tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, from several hundred billion up to 100 trillion becquerel annually into the ocean, according to the ministry.
In line with the comparison, there will be no health-related problem by being exposed to radiation of the tritium disposed of from the Fukushima plant, the ministry said.
TEPCO made its preliminary calculation in substantiating the impact of the long-term storage of contaminated water.
The estimate set the total amount of tritium contained in the radioactive water stored in the tanks to be 860 trillion becquerel as of January 2020. Four starting dates of the disposal process were set as the beginning of 2020, 2025, 2030 and 2035.
The estimate assumed two ending times for the disposal at the end of 2041 and 2051, based on the progress schedule set by the government and the utility, which predicted the reactor decommissioning to be completed in 30 to 40 years.
The amount of tritium is expected to decay naturally over time. Still, the estimate revealed that the later the starting date is, the more the annual disposal amount will be.
Since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant in Fukushima Prefecture, TEPCO has processed and stored a large amount of radiation-contaminated water in tanks on the grounds of the plant.
Even after being treated with a filtering system, the polluted water still contains tritium, which will be released when the water is dumped into the ocean or is disposed of in another manner.
The volume of contaminated water has continued to accumulate from the cooling of melted nuclear fuel debris and underground water pouring in.
TEPCO said that it cannot keep installing more storage tanks for the contaminated water due to space limitations of the site and that all the tanks will be full by around the summer of 2022.
If the disposal process hasn’t begun by then, TEPCO will have to build more storage tanks, exceeding the limit, which will lead to a delay in the construction of other facilities that are necessary for the decommissioning work of the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

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

Experts warn against fires from disaster waste after Typhoon Hagibis

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Firefighters try to extinguish a fire that broke out in disaster waste piled up at a temporary garbage collection site in Sukagawa, Fukushima Prefecture, on Oct. 20, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Sukagawa Municipal
November 18, 2019
TOKYO — Two fires broke out in Fukushima Prefecture at temporary collection sites for disaster waste generated by flooding of houses due to Typhoon Hagibis, which lashed eastern Japan in mid-October, prompting experts to urge caution against similar possible incidents.
In both fires in the northeastern Japan prefecture, it is believed that hazardous material among the disaster waste caught fire. As blazes of a different kind also took place several months after disaster waste was generated in the past, one expert warned, “It is necessary to be on the alert against possible fires even several months after a disaster hit.”
One of the two Fukushima Prefecture fires occurred at a temporary collection site for disaster refuse in the prefectural city of Motomiya on the morning of Oct. 17, five days after Typhoon Hagibis made landfall in parts of eastern Japan. After the fire broke out at a site for collecting household appliances, it consumed a total of approximately 4 square meters.
The Ministry of the Environment issued a warning against similar potential blazes the following day. In spite of this, another fire started in a pile of flammable trash at a temporary waste collection site in the prefectural city of Sukagawa on the evening of Oct. 20.
“There is a possibility that hazardous material left among flammable garbage ignited,” said Toshiaki Yanai, head of the city government’s environment division.
Apart from these common flames, there are fires caused by heat accumulation several months after a disaster. Kazuto Endo, a senior official at the Fukushima branch of the National Institute for Environmental Studies, said, “In areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunamis (in 2011), there were at least 30 fires caused by a buildup of heat.”
In the wake of the 2011 disaster, a total of some 31 million metric tons of disaster waste was generated. As there were not enough land lots for temporarily storing the litter, piles of waste soared high in affected regions. In the hardest-hit prefectures of Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi, a total of 38 fires occurred due to heat accumulation between May 2011 and June 2013.
According to guidelines compiled by a group of experts including Endo immediately after the 2011 quake disaster and other sources, heat accumulation fires are triggered by the following mechanisms:
— Combustible trash put out in the early period of waste collection generates heat as microbes using oxygen actively move around it.
— When the waste is further piled up, it gets compressed by the weight of the trash and heavy machinery such as shovel loaders operated on mountains of rubbish, preventing the heat from being released outside.
— When the piles of garbage soar more than 5 meters high, the speed of heat generation inside the trash overtakes that of the heat released from the surface of the piles, accelerating heat accumulation.
— When a pile of waste stores heat with temperatures of over 80-90 degrees Celsius, oils contained in plants and trees get oxidized and produce heat.
— The higher the temperatures rise, the faster those oils get oxidized and generate heat, eventually catching fire spontaneously.
The guidelines call for keeping a pile of burnable trash no more than 5 meters high and each mountain of waste no more than 200 square meters as part of measures to prevent heat accumulation blazes. The guidelines also urge authorities to maintain the height of perishable trash such as tatami mats at a maximum of 2 meters and allow it to reach no more than 100 square meters in size.
Endo has patrolled areas affected by Typhoon Hagibis and noted, “Some local bodies that had not previously experienced major flooding damage are leaving disaster waste piling up high.” He has thus given guidance to those municipalities to keep their mountains of rubbish lower.
(Japanese original by Takashi Yamashita, Integrated Digital News Center)

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

Fukushima to Become Solar, Wind Hub Using Farmland Tainted by Radiation

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11 novembre 2019
Japan govt to offer 30b yen in subisidies for 300b yen project
Renewable energy to be supplied to Tokyo and surrounding areas
Japan is pursuing a 300 billion ($2.75 billion) yen project to transform disaster-struck Fukushima prefecture into a clean-energy hub, with the development’s first solar farm scheduled to start in January.
Building wind and solar farms on agricultural land tainted by radiation from the 2011 Dai-Ichi plant meltdown will help rejuvenate the area, which also suffered earthquake and tsunami damage, Masashi Takeuchi, the head of the energy division at the Fukushima prefectural government, said Monday.
The venture includes plans for 11 solar farms and 10 wind farms with total capacity of 600 megawatts and is scheduled for completion by March 2024. The government plans to contribute 30 billion yen of subsidies and the Nikkei reported earlier the Development Bank of Japan and Mizuho Bank are among the institutions planning to provide financing.
The first solar farm will probably be a 20 megawatt project in Minamisoma city in the northern part of Fukushima prefecture, according to Takeuchi. Fukushima, which provided nuclear power to Tokyo prior to the disaster, is transforming its energy policy as Tepco scraps reactors amid public concern about their safety.

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

21 new plants to help transform Fukushima into a renewable energy hub

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Solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and biomass combined to provide Japan’s Fukushima prefecture with almost 1.5 GW of power in 2018
November 10, 2019
The wheels are in motion to breathe new life into the energy production of Fukushima, the Japanese prefecture that was devastated by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear meltdown. As reported by Tokyo-based newspaper Nikkei Asian Review, plans are afoot to transform the area into a renewable energy hub, with the power it generates to be fed into national grid for use in the country’s capital.
The government of Fukushima has actually been ramping up the region’s renewable energy production since the 2011 accident, which was triggered by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake that resulted in the plant being swamped by seawater and caused the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
Working towards an objective of powering the entire region with 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass combined to provide the Fukushima with almost 1.5 GW of electricity in 2018. This was up from around 1 GW in 2016 and around 400 MW in 2012.
The new construction project will add 11 new solar plants and 10 wind power plants to the mix, which will be constructed on unused farmlands and hilly terrain, according to Nikkei Asian Review. With a total cost of around US$2.75 billion over the coming five years, the new plants are expected to add a further 600 MW to Fukushima’s energy output.
A new 80-km (50-mi) grid is also in the works, which will feed this power into the metropolitan area of Tokyo. The Fukishima government expects renewables to provide 13 to 14 percent of Japan’s national energy mix by 2030.
Sources: Government of Fukushima, Nikkei Asian Review

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

10 More Years for Japan’s Reconstruction Agency to Aid Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Recovery

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Fans cheer during a Rugby World Cup match at Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, on Sept. 25. The government is looking to extend the term of the Reconstruction Agency for 10 more years.
Japan’s Reconstruction Agency to get 10 more years to aid Fukushima nuclear disaster recovery
 
Nov 7, 2019
The government on Thursday proposed extending the term of the Reconstruction Agency, due to expire at the end of fiscal 2020, by 10 years to facilitate recovery in areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the resulting nuclear crisis in Fukushima.
Under the plan, the agency will continue to provide aid for the next five years to areas affected by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
The special budget for rebuilding, which is separate from the regular account, and special tax grants for the financial support of affected municipalities will also be maintained.
The plan was proposed to a panel on reconstruction comprising experts and the governors of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. The region suffered extensive damage from the earthquake and tsunami, in addition to the core meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The plan is expected to be approved at a Cabinet meeting within this year and be submitted to the Diet next year.
“We have shown our basic view on finances and the legal framework,” Kazunori Tanaka, reconstruction minister, said at the panel meeting. “Based on various opinions from the panel members, we will continue to work toward realizing the plan.”
Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori expressed satisfaction with the plan, saying it “reflects the reality of our prefecture” as the government is continuing to lead efforts to address problems in connection with the nuclear crisis.
But Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai said the ending of aid for areas damaged by the quake and tsunami in five years is “too harsh.”
Iwate Gov. Takuya Tasso shared the concern, saying, “I hope it will not be a strict deadline after which everything will be stopped.”
The Reconstruction Agency was established in February 2012 as the central control point for efforts to rebuild from the disaster.
During the proposed extended period, the agency will continue working on a variety of tasks including the decommissioning of the Fukushima plant, combating radiation-tainted water and helping residents return.
It will also provide psychological support to people affected by the earthquake and tsunami, and review the progress in reconstruction efforts in fiscal 2025.
The plan is mostly in line with a recommendation the ruling coalition submitted to the government in August. The coalition said the Reconstruction Agency should remain under the direct control of the prime minister and the oversight of a full-time Cabinet minister.
The ruling bloc also called for preserving the agency’s function as a one-stop source to coordinate planning for reconstruction policies and to respond to the needs of affected communities.
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A Japanese Reconstruction Agency official, left, explains Japan’s efforts to rebuild areas hit by the March 2011 disaster to a foreign journalist at Intex Osaka, the venue for the Group of 20 summit, on June 28, 2019.
Japan gov’t may keep Reconstruction Agency for 10 more years
 
November 7, 2019
TOKYO (Kyodo) — The government on Thursday proposed postponing the planned disbandment of the Reconstruction Agency for 10 years until March 2031 to facilitate recovery in areas affected by the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
Under the plan, the agency will also continue to provide aid for five more years to areas affected by the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami on March 11, 2011, which triggered core meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The plan was proposed to a panel on reconstruction comprised of experts and the governors of the three hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. It is expected to be approved by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe within the year and be submitted to the Diet next year.
“We have shown our basic view on finances and the legal framework,” said reconstruction minister Kazunori Tanaka. “Based on various opinions from the panel members, we will continue to work toward realizing the plan.”
Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori expressed satisfaction with the plan, saying it “reflects the reality of our prefecture” as the government is continuing to lead efforts to address problems in connection with the nuclear crisis.
But Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai said the ending of aid for areas damaged by the quake and tsunami in five years is “too harsh.”
Iwate Gov. Takuya Tasso shared the concern, saying, “I hope it will not be a strict deadline after which everything will be stopped.”
The Reconstruction Agency was established in February 2012 as the central control point for efforts to rebuild from the triple disasters and had been scheduled to disband at the end of fiscal 2020.
During the proposed extended period, the agency will continue working on a variety of tasks including decommissioning of the Fukushima plant, combating radiation-tainted water and helping residents return.
It will also provide psychological support to people affected by the earthquake and tsunami and review the progress in reconstruction efforts after five years.
The special budget for rebuilding, which is separate from the regular account, and subsidies for helping affected municipalities will be maintained.
The central government spent 25.5 trillion yen ($234 billion) for reconstruction in the first five-year period through fiscal 2015, while securing 6.5 trillion yen for another five years with part of the costs shouldered by relevant municipalities.
As of early October, there were still about 49,000 people who remain displaced from their hometowns as a result of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis, compared with 470,000 estimated shortly after the triple disaster occurred.

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

Dozens of bags of radioactive waste still missing in Fukushima three weeks after intense typhoon

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Bags containing radioactive waste are seen in Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture, in this photo taken Oct. 14 after Typhoon Hagibis struck the region earlier in the month.
Nov 4, 2019
TAMURA, FUKUSHIMA PREF. – Dozens of bags containing waste polluted with radioactive substances are still missing in Fukushima Prefecture, three weeks after they were swept away from storage areas in floods triggered by Typhoon Hagibis.
Of the 90 bags originally lost, 36 remain missing. The Environment Ministry, prefectural officials and others are conducting extensive searches but so far they have not had much luck.
In many municipalities in the prefecture, a lot of radioactive waste, including soil, was generated through decontamination work after the 2011 nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant. Numerous bags containing the waste are kept outdoors in temporary storage areas around the prefecture.
Heavy rains from the 19th typhoon of the year flooded storage space in many locations, sweeping away 44 bags in Kawauchi, 30 in Tamura, 15 in Nihonmatsu and one in Iitate.
By the end of October, 50 bags had been recovered. The contents had leaked from half of them. “We had far heavier rains than we expected. We did not cover bags of radioactive waste,” said an official of the Tamura Municipal Government.
The ministry and other organizations have mobilized 20 to 30 workers to look for the missing bags, wading into rivers when necessary and using drones to search areas that cannot physically be entered.
An aerial survey was conducted by helicopter on Oct. 23. On Friday, 29 workers searched the Furumichi River and areas along it in Tamura. Four bags were collected, but their contents had been lost.
“There has been no confirmation of any environmental impact due to the loss of the bags,” a ministry official said.
“We’ll continue searching in cooperation with local municipalities.”

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

‘Only’ 91 bags of radioactive waste swept into rivers

To try making us believe that only 91 bags were swept into rivers during the typhoon Hagibis floodings, out of  Fukushima prefecture’s 17 million tons,  is just ludicrous, totally unbelievable.
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Nov. 2, 2019
Japan’s Environment Ministry says dozens of bags containing radioactive soil were swept into rivers following a powerful typhoon last month. The dangerous waste was produced as a result of the 2011 nuclear disaster.
The waste has been stockpiled at temporary storage sites in Fukushima and neighboring prefectures.
Officials say they have confirmed that 90 bags in Fukushima and one in Tochigi Prefecture were swept away by Typhoon Hagibis after inspecting all the storage sites.
They say at least 25 of the bags were found empty, meaning that the tainted soil was carried away in floodwaters.
But the officials add that radiation levels around the sites remain unchanged.
They plan to install barriers around the storage sites to prevent further such incidents in addition to looking into what caused the problem.

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

9 Japan water purification plants flooded by Typhoon Hagibis lacked watertight doors

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A worker at a hotel in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Iwaki releases water from a tap on Oct. 24, 2019, after water supplies were resumed on that day following cutoffs caused by Typhoon Hagibis.
 
October 30, 2019
TOKYO — No watertight doors were installed at nine water purification plants for tap water that were submerged by floods triggered by Typhoon Hagibis in mid-October, although they are situated in areas that local governments assumed could be inundated, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.
There are at least 578 water purification plants across the country where no flood countermeasures have been taken even though they are situated in areas prone to immersion when flooding occurs. About two weeks after Typhoon Hagibis, a water purification plant in the Chiba Prefecture city of Kamogawa, eastern Japan, was submerged at the time of torrential rain on Oct. 25. It is therefore an urgent task to take countermeasures.
The typhoon, this year’s 19th, cut off water supplies to 163,243 households in 14 prefectures including Tokyo. Of those, some 40% — 63,698 in six cities and towns in the northeastern Japan prefecture of Fukushima and the eastern Japan prefectures of Ibaraki and Tochigi — were left without tap water because a total of 10 local water purification plants were submerged. The 10 facilities include one each in the Fukushima Prefecture cities of Iwaki and Tamura, one in the Ibaraki Prefecture city of Hitachiota, two in the Ibaraki Prefecture town of Daigo, three in the Tochigi Prefecture city of Nasukarasuyama and two in the city of Tochigi.
Nine of the 10 plants, excluding the one in Tamura, are located in areas that prefectural governments have designated as zones that could be inundated under the Flood Control Act, but no watertight doors were installed at any of the facilities.
In Iwaki, where a levee of the Natsui River burst during the typhoon, water supplies were cut off to some 45,000 households at one point. An official of the municipal government’s waterworks bureau admitted that it had not assumed that the city’s water purification plant would be flooded as a result of the river dike bursting.
“We had believed we should prioritize the renovation of our aging water purification equipment and make the facility quake-resistant, and didn’t take any particular measures against typhoons,” said the official. “We thought if muddy water flowed into the facility, we would need to adjust the amount of disinfectant, but never assumed that it would end up under water as a result of the dike bursting.”
When torrential rains hit western Japan in July 2018, some 264,000 households in 80 municipalities in 18 prefectures were left without water because local waterworks facilities including purification plants sustained damage.
This prompted the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry to examine 3,521 major water purification plants across the country. The ministry then found that 758 of such facilities, or 22% of the total, are situated in areas designated as zones prone to floods, and that no anti-flooding measures, such as the installation of watertight doors and floodgates, had been taken at 578, or over 70%, of the 758 facilities. The huge cost of installing watertight doors poses a challenge.
In fiscal 2018, the ministry deemed 147 of these facilities, which could trigger particularly large-scale water supply cuts, in need of emergency countermeasures and began to subsidize one-third the cost of anti-flooding measures to waterworks bodies that lack financial resources.
However, the 10 water purification plants that were inundated in mid-October are not covered by the project.
Masakatsu Miyajima, professor of construction engineering at Kanazawa University, says, “Water purification plants are prone to flooding because they are situated near rivers, and need countermeasures. However, as the finances of waterworks operators are worsening due to the aging of society and depopulation, the national government needs to expand budgets for such programs. Residents should also stockpile water and local bodies should make arrangements for cooperation between themselves over water supplies in emergency cases,” he said.
(Japanese original by Haruna Okuyama and Mei Nanmo, City News Department)
Caption:
A worker at a hotel in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Iwaki releases water from a tap on Oct. 24, 2019, after water supplies were resumed on that day following cutoffs caused by Typhoon Hagibis. (Mainichi/Mei Nanmo)

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

Area of Fukushima Nuclear Power Station Disaster Badly Impacted By Flooding, High Waves, Landslides

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The area of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station is being impacted by high waves, flooding and landslides. Who knows how many more bags of nuclear waste, and more tons of radioactive water will now be at sea, i.e. in the Pacific Ocean.
“Death toll climbs to 10 as heavy rains hit typhoon-ravaged eastern Japan Posted:Sat, 26 Oct 2019 00:34:31 -0400 The death toll from torrential rains that caused flooding and mudslides in eastern Japan reached 10 on Saturday, with three others missing, public broadcaster NHK reported, just two weeks after the region was hit hard by a powerful typhoon“. http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/Reuters/worldNews/~3/l8pJnvWptAc/death-toll-climbs-to-10-as-heavy-rains-hit-typhoon-ravaged-eastern-japan-idUSKBN1X5017
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November 4, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Heavy rains leave at least 10 dead in Chiba and Fukushima prefectures as rescue efforts continue

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Oct 26, 2019
Search and rescue operations continued in eastern Japan on Saturday after torrential rains spurred landslides and flooding in areas still reeling from damage caused by typhoons, authorities said.
At least 10 people were confirmed dead and several others were missing in Chiba and Fukushima prefectures, police and other sources said.
In the city of Chiba, mudslides crushed three houses, killing three people who were buried underneath them. Another mudslide hit a house in the nearby city of Ichihara, killing a woman. Some other bodies were found in submerged cars.
In Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, the body of a woman was found near a beach.
Rescue workers using helicopters continued to search for survivors and winched people to safety after rivers overflowed and submerged vast swaths of land, including roads and railway tracks.
Ichihara saw more than 280 millimeters of rain over a 12-hour period Friday — more than the average monthly total for October — according to the Meteorological Agency.
While rains passed and floodwater subsided, parts of Chiba were still inundated. About 4,700 homes were out of running water and some train services were delayed or suspended. Power was restored Saturday at most of the 6,000 Chiba households that had lost electricity.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held an emergency task force meeting Saturday morning and called for “the utmost effort in rescue and relief operations.” He also urged quick repairs of electricity, water and other essential services to help restore the lives of the disaster-hit residents.
Some flights to Narita Airport were canceled Friday due to the rain, affecting travelers using one of the country’s largest international airports. Around 3,000 people spent the night at the airport as the downpours also disrupted train and bus connections to nearby cities.
A total of 15 rivers have flooded in Chiba Prefecture due to the rains, forcing more than 1,800 people to evacuate, the prefectural government said.
About 1,200 children were stranded at schools and other facilities and stayed overnight there. No children were injured or fell ill, and parents were able to pick them up Saturday, the prefecture said.
The downpour came as a result of a low-pressure system above the main island of Honshu that moved northward later Friday.
Two weeks ago, Typhoon Hagibis caused widespread flooding and left more than 80 people dead across Japan.
Yoshiki Takeuchi, an office worker who lives in a riverside house in the city of Sodegaura, Chiba Prefecture, said he had just finished temporary repairs to his roof after tiles were blown off by Typhoon Faxai in September when Friday’s rain hit.
“I wasn’t ready for another disaster like this. I’ve had enough of this, and I need a break,” he said.

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