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Typhoon Lan Targets Never-Ending Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Site Area With High Waves, Wind, Rains

1.jpgTyphoon Lan and Japan Nuclear Power Stations.

 
 
“Powerful typhoon drenches Japan, soaks voters as they trudge to polls
Posted:Sun, 22 Oct 2017 03:39:46 -0400
TOKYO (Reuters) – Tens of thousands across Japan were advised to evacuate, hundreds of flights were canceled and rail services disrupted as heavy rain and wind lashed a wide swathe of Japan on Sunday, a national election day, as a powerful typhoon neared“. http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/environment/~3/si-9SOj0Ex4/powerful-typhoon-drenches-japan-soaks-voters-as-they-trudge-to-polls-idUSKBN1CR02N
 
Apparently the Fukushima area may get 10 meters (32 ft) waves.
 
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Typhoon Lan offshore: “MAXIMUM SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT AT 220000Z IS 41 FEET” http://www.usno.navy.mil/NOOC/nmfc-ph/RSS/jtwc/warnings/wp2517web.txt
 
Sendai Nuclear Power Station and Ikata are apparently back in operation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_Japan. Hamaoka and others not operating almost certainly have spent fuel still onsite, which still requires energy for cooling.
 
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Source: Japan Meteorological Agency website
 

 

October 22, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan nuclear reactor operations: Shikoku shuts Ikata No.3

 TOKYO, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Shikoku Electric Power Co
said it shut its Ikata No. 3 reactor on Tuesday for planned
maintenance.
    The company expects the 890-megawatt No.3 reactor to resume
power generation from around Jan. 22, with commercial operations
likely to resume around Feb. 20, it said.
    Many of Japan's reactors are still going through a
relicensing process following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the
world's worst since Chernobyl in 1986, which highlighted
regulatory and operational failings at nuclear utilities. 
    The restart process has been protracted as all of the
country's reactors were eventually idled. Between September 2013
and August 2015 Japan had no nuclear plants in operation.
    Japan's nine regional power utilities and a wholesaler,
Japan Atomic Power Co, have 42 nuclear reactors for commercial
use, with a total generating capacity of 41.482 gigawatts. 
    The shutdown of the Ikata No.3 reactor will bring the number
of the nation's reactors that are online down to four, with a
combined capacity of 3.52 gigawatts, or 8.5 percent of the
country's total nuclear capacity, according to Reuters
calculations.
    The following table shows the status of Japan's nuclear
power plants. 

Screenshot from 2017-10-03 19-48-25
    
http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL4N1MA1OT

October 5, 2017 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

No joke: Despite the evidence, nuclear power declared safe!

ikata 30 sept 2017.pngA touch-panel screen at a facility in Ikata explains that the nuclear power plant in the town was built to withstand strong earthquakes.

 

IKATA, Ehime Prefecture–It’s as if the 2011 nuclear disaster in Japan never happened.

A public relations facility here that was set up to publicize the safety of the Ikata nuclear power plant operated by Shikoku Electric Power Co. still insists that nuclear plants can withstand a tsunami of any height.

Like the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that went into triple meltdown, the Ikata facility faces the coast. A magnitude-9.0 earthquake on March 11, 2011, triggered tsunami that put the Fukushima facility out of action.

More than six years after that catastrophic event, the Ehime prefectural government is finally moving to revise the information designed to ease fears about a nuclear accident.

The contents on display will be updated before the end of the fiscal year because, as one prefectural government official put it, “Some of the information does not square with the current situation.”

The facility is located in the Minatoura district of Ikata about four kilometers east of the Ikata nuclear plant. It was established in 1982 by Ehime prefectural authorities to remove concerns the public may have about nuclear power generation.

It is operated by an organization that survives on funding from Shikoku Electric, the Ehime prefectural government and the Ikata town government.

In the last fiscal year, the facility had 1,761 visitors, including elementary school students who live nearby.

Near the entrance to the facility is a touch-panel screen where visitors can learn about nuclear power plants in a quiz format.

One question asks, “What would happen to a nuclear power plant if a large earthquake should strike?”

The three alternatives to choose from are: 1) Continue to generate power; 2) The reactor automatically stops to prevent any form of accident; and 3) It would be destroyed if a large earthquake struck.

The second choice is considered the correct answer.

The monitor also offers this reassurance: “(The nuclear plant) is a sturdy building that would not budge an inch in an earthquake, typhoon or tsunami.”

Another entry states that “it was designed with the largest possible quake in mind.”

Another question asks, “Would a nuclear power plant explode like a nuclear bomb?”

Again, there are three choices: 1) It would explode if used in a wrong way; 2) It would never explode; and 3) Nuclear reactors might explode once it ages.

The correct answer is again the second choice.

In fact, after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant were severely damaged by hydrogen explosions caused by core meltdowns after cooling functions were lost when power to the plant was lost.

About a year ago, facility operators have attached a sign to the touch-panel screen that says, “We are in the process of preparing a revision because some of the wording differs from the current situation.”

However, no explanation is offered to show what sections differ from reality.

A prefectural government official in charge of nuclear power safety measures said, “There is some accurate information so we decided it was preferable that some of it was viewed.”

But, the official added that the display would be revised along with improvements in other equipment. The cost of about 500,000 yen ($4,400) would be paid for from tax subsidies obtained through laws covering power generation.

After the Fukushima nuclear accident, a new display was added to show the safety measures being taken at the Ikata plant. There is also a video shown at the facility which explains there has been no noticeable spike in cancer rates or hereditary illness caused by radiation levels under 100 millisieverts.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201709300035.html

October 3, 2017 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

6.6 Magnitude Earthquake in Western Japan

 

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Since the strong earthquake today at 2:07 p.m. in Tottori, of 6.6 magnitude and 6 intensity that shook half of Japan, the earth continues to shake with an impressive number of aftershocks. Officials at the Meteorological Agency say seismic activity continues in Tottori and are asking people to be prepared and take precautions against another possible earthquake.

On this coast of West Japan lies the largest concentration of nuclear power plants in the world. Though stopped, they are full of potentially very dangerous spent nuclear fuel. The epicenter of this earthquake was at 76km from the Shimane nuclear power plant. Of course, no damages say the Authorities, as usual…

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Strong quake in western Japan

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 struck Tottori Prefecture in western Japan on Friday afternoon. The Japan Meteorological Agency says there is no tsunami theat.
The jolt registered 6 minus on the Japanese seismic scale of 0 to 7 in central Tottori. The focus was 10 kilometers deep in the prefecture.
There are some reports of injuries and houses collapsing.
About 30,000 households in the prefecture are without power.
The tremors have disrupted transportation.
Local airports have cancelled flights.
Some bullet train services in central Japan are suspended. Parts of highways have been closed to check for damage.
Officials at the nearby Shimane nuclear power plant say there are no irregularities. The plant was off-line at the time of the quake.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161021_27/

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M6.6 quake strikes western Japan, no tsunami warning issued

A powerful earthquake struck Tottori Prefecture and surrounding areas shortly after 2 p.m. on Oct. 21, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. No tsunami warning was issued.

The 2:07 p.m. quake, which had an estimated magnitude of 6.6, measured a lower 6 on the 7-point Japanese seismic intensity scale in some parts of the Tottori Prefecture city of Kurayoshi, the town of Yurihama and the town of Hokuei, the agency said. It measured an upper 5 in parts of the city of Tottori, as well as in parts of neighboring Okayama Prefecture.

Reports said that several homes in Yurihama had collapsed. The Tottori Prefectural Government is in the process of confirming the information. The quake caused a blackout affecting nearly 32,000 households in Tottori Prefecture, Chugoku Electric Power Co. reported.

Firefighters in Tottori said that a female employee at a supermarket restaurant was taken to hospital with burns to her legs after an accident with hot oil when the quake struck. Elevators also stopped in the quake and there were reports that at least one person had been trapped.

Broken windows were reported over a wide area of Kurayoshi. A 53-year-old architect in the city, Katsunori Choda, said he was about to get in a vehicle when the ground started shaking, and pedestrians crouched on the ground to balance themselves. Soon afterward there was a blackout. Ambulance sirens could be heard and tiles fell from the roofs of old homes.

“I’d never felt an earthquake this big before,” the architect said. “There is a lot of old town scenery in the area and I’m worried about damage.”

Earthquake sounds could still be heard 30 minutes after the quake and aftershocks were reportedly continuing. The earthquake struck at an estimated depth of 10 kilometers, the meteorological agency said.

Services on the Sanyo Shinkansen bullet train were suspended between Shin-Osaka and Hakata stations following the quake, but resumed at 2:27 p.m., West Japan Railway Co. announced.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161021/p2g/00m/0dm/062000c

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This aerial photo shows broken grave markers and collapsed walls at a cemetery in Kurayoshi, Tottori Prefecture, following a strong earthquake that shook the area Friday.

Homes damaged, power cut after strong quake rattles parts of western Honshu

A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 shook parts of western Honshu early Friday afternoon, damaging homes and roads and cutting power to almost 40,000 households.

The Meteorological Agency said the earthquake occurred at 2:07 p.m. in central Tottori Prefecture, about 700 km west of Tokyo, at a depth of 10 km. It was followed by a weaker aftershock about 30 minutes later.

The agency said there was no danger of a tsunami from the inland temblor.

Two houses collapsed in the town of Hokuei, Tottori Prefecture, according to the local fire department. Roads were cracked and roof tiles laid strewn in the town.

In Kurayoshi in the prefecture, ATMs at some local banks temporarily went offline due to a power outage.

All up, the blackout affected nearly 40,000 households in Tottori Prefecture, according to Chugoku Electric Power Co.

Okayama City Fire Department said a woman in her 70s was taken to hospital after she fell and broke her right leg. Five people are reported to have been injured in Tottori Prefecture.

West Japan Railway Co. temporarily suspended all services on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line between Shin-Osaka and Hakata stations.

The quake registered lower 6 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7 in parts of Tottori Prefecture, and upper 5 in a wide area in Tottori and Okayama prefectures, according to the agency.

No abnormalities were detected at the Shimane nuclear plant, which is currently off-line, in nearby Shimane Prefecture, according to the utility.

Okayama airport closed its runway to check its safety, airport officials said.

According to local officials a house in the town of Yurihama, in central Tottori Prefecture, was destroyed, and a number of dwellings in other parts of the prefecture suffered damage

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/21/national/strong-earthquake-rattles-western-honshu-shinkansen-train-services-disrupted/#.WAn2siTKO-d

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UPDATE: Quake rattles buildings in Tottori; 6 injured

Tottori Prefecture in western Japan was struck by a series of major earthquakes on Oct. 21, causing structural damage to some buildings and homes and at least six injuries.

A quake measuring lower 6 on the Japanese intensity scale of 7 was recorded at 2:07 p.m.

The focus was about 10 kilometers underground, and the temblor had an estimated magnitude of 6.6.

Shaking was felt in a wide area of western Japan and as far as the Kanto and Kyushu regions.

Japan Meteorological Agency officials urged caution because there was a possibility of another quake measuring lower 6 in intensity striking over the next week in areas where the shaking was particularly strong.

Among the buildings damaged was the Kurayoshi city government building. Government workers evacuated as the building has been declared off-limits.

Homes in Yurihama were also heavily damaged, according to Tottori prefectural officials.

One individual suffered burns at a shopping center in Tottori city while a woman in her 70s in Okayama city, south of Tottori, fell and broke her leg.

Meanwhile, officials of Chugoku Electric Power Co. said about 31,900 households in the prefecture suffered a blackout after the quake struck, centered mainly on Kurayoshi.

However, the quake did not affect the two reactors at the Shimane nuclear power plant in the neighboring prefecture. Both reactors were not operating when the temblor struck.

Various stretches of expressways were closed to traffic.

Bullet train services between Shin-Osaka and Hakata stations operated by West Japan Railway Co. were stopped for about 20 minutes immediately after the quake. Service on the Tokaido Shinkansen line was also temporarily suspended between Shin-Osaka and Toyohashi in Aichi Prefecture.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201610210040.html

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October 21, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Industry minister Seko inspects Ikata nuclear plant

Ikata Nuclear Power Plant is located in Ehime Prefecture in Shikoku, across from the Bungo Channel that separates Kyushu and Shikoku.

ikata

Ikata Nuclear Power Plant with pressurized water reactors by Mitsubishi Heavy Electric sits extremely close to Japan’s Median Tectonic Line, the largest fault in Japan, part of which is active.

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MATSUYAMA (Kyodo) — Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko on Saturday inspected a recently restarted reactor at the Ikata nuclear power plant in western Japan to assess the safety measures there.

Seko visited an observation deck that overlooks the entire complex of Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s plant in Ehime Prefecture, as well as a facility to store spent nuclear fuel in the radiation-controlled area and other locations.

Seko was briefed on a system to provide electricity in the event of earthquakes and other emergencies by Seizo Masuda, the chief of the plant, and expressed satisfaction at the multiple backups available.

The No. 3 reactor at the Ikata plant was reactivated on Aug. 12, having cleared a set of safety requirements imposed in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in 2011.

The 890-megawatt reactor shifted to commercial operation on Sept. 7 following final checks by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. The unit had not operated since it was taken off-line in April 2011 for regular checks.

Some snags occurred around the time of its reactivation, including a problem with a pump for the reactor’s primary cooling water and a leakage in a drainage pipe in related equipment.

The reactor is currently the sole unit in operation in Japan running on plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel, which contains plutonium extracted from reprocessing spent fuel.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161015/p2g/00m/0dm/070000c

October 15, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Active Volcanoes Endanger Japan’s Operating Nuclear Power Stations: Mount Aso Awakened Explosively; Sakurajima Already Awake

Japan’s Mount Aso volcano erupted explosively on Saturday, 8 Oct., 2016, and volcanic “ash was falling as far as 320 km (200 miles) away, … Kyushu Electric Power Co said the eruption had no impact on its Sendai nuclear plant, which is about 160 km (100 miles) south of Mount Aso“(Reuters, 8 Oct. 2016). Sendai nuclear power station has two reactors online. The other nuclear power station online is Ikata, with one reactor operating. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_Japan

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Volcano locations exported from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_volcanoes_in_Japan

With a change in wind direction ashfall from Mount Aso and/or Sakurajima could endanger Japan’s operating reactors. As can be seen on the map, Ikata Nuclear Power Station is closer to Mount Aso, and Sakurajima to Sendai Nuclear Power Station. Ash plume forecasts for both appear at the bottom of this post.

Disruptions due to a major volcanic eruption, as well as ashfall could lead to nuclear meltdown: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/08/15/official-volcano-evacuation-warning-near-re-opened-nuclear-reactors-in-japan-volcanic-ashfall-could-lead-to-meltdown-spent-fuel-pool-collapse/

https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/japan-governor-asks-for-halt-of-sendai-nuclear-reactors/

Japan’s Mount Aso volcano erupts, no injuries reported
Posted:Sat, 08 Oct 2016 07:41:33 -0400
TOKYO (Reuters) – Mount Aso, a volcano on Japan’s main southern island of Kyushu, erupted early on Saturday, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said, spewing volcanic ash 11,000 meters (7 miles) into the sky. http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/environment/~3/DLFdmJfALl4/us-japan-volcano-idUSKCN12804E

“Mount Aso, a volcano on Japan’s Kyushu island, has been erupting sporadically for decades. Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program lists 38 separate eruptions since 1950, with the most recent beginning on December 8, 2014. All of these eruptions have occurred at Naka-dake, a cinder cone located within Aso’s massive caldera.”

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ERUPTION AT MOUNT ASO Credit: NASA Earth Observatory by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data from USGS. Caption by Adam Voiland. Date: January 13, 2015 Visualization Date: January 15, 2015
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=85090

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http://www.jma.go.jp/en/volcano/

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Asosan
Volcanic Ash Fall Forecast (Scheduled)
Issued at 05:00 JST, 09 October 2016 Japan Meteorological Agency: http://www.jma.go.jp/en/ashfall/scheduled_503.html

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Sakurajima Aug 19 2010 NASA

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Sakurajima
Volcanic Ash Fall Forecast (Scheduled)
Issued at 05:00 JST, 09 October 2016 Japan Meteorological Agency
http://www.jma.go.jp/en/ashfall/scheduled_506.html

Source :

https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/10/09/active-volcanos-endanger-japans-operating-nuclear-power-stations-mount-aso-awakened-explosively-sakurajima-already-awake/

October 11, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Another nuclear plant restarted amid lingering safety concerns

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Ikata nuclear power plant, foreground, is located at the root of the Sadamisaki Peninsula.

The No. 3 reactor at Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata nuclear plant in Ehime Prefecture was restarted Aug. 12, becoming the fifth reactor to be brought online under the stricter safety standards introduced in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The move followed the restart of the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture and the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture. However, the two reactors at the Takahama plant have remained offline since March after the Otsu District Court ordered the operator to shut them down.

The No. 3 unit at the Ikata plant is now the only operating reactor in Japan that burns mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel, composed of plutonium blended with uranium.

But this reactor shares many of the serious safety problems that have been pointed out for the reactors at the Sendai and Takahama plants. It is impossible for us to support the decision to resume operations of the Ikata plant reactor without resolving these problems.

What is particularly worrisome about the Ikata plant is the anticipated difficulty in securing the smooth evacuation of local residents in the event of a serious accident.

The facility is located at the root of the Sadamisaki Peninsula, a 40-kilometer-long spear of land that juts westward into the sea with a maximum width of 6 km or so.

This narrow strip of land west of the plant is home to about 5,000 people.

The only land route for the emergency evacuation of local residents is a national highway that passes near the nuclear plant into inland areas.

Under the evacuation plan crafted jointly by the local governments in the region and the central government, local residents are supposed to be evacuated mainly by ship from ports in the peninsula if the highway becomes impassable because of an accident at the plant.

But many of the communities in the peninsula are located on slopes in coastal areas. They could be cut off from the rest of the peninsula if a landslide occurs.

There are seven radiation protection facilities within the town of Ikata, but four of them are located in designated landslide-prone areas.

People aged 65 or older account for more than 40 percent of the town’s population.

The municipal government has plans in place to support the evacuation of residents of each district. But residents say there is no way to secure evacuation of the entire town if multiple disasters occur.

People living in areas located between 5 and 30 kilometers from a nuclear power plant are supposed to take shelter in their own homes or public facilities, in principle, when a serious nuclear accident takes place.

But the series of earthquakes that rocked central Kyushu around Kumamoto Prefecture in April underscored anew the devastating effects of multiple disasters. The swarm of quakes included two registering a maximum intensity of 7 on the Japanese seismic scale, which caused severe damage to buildings across wide areas of Kumamoto Prefecture.

Ehime Prefecture is likely to be shaken violently if it is struck by the predicted massive Nankai Trough earthquake.

But the prefecture is ill-prepared for such a gigantic quake, with the ratio of public facilities that are quake-proof in the prefecture being the third lowest in Japan. These public facilities are supposed to play a key role in disaster response scenarios.

Evacuation plans are designed mainly to cope with situations in the wake of a single nuclear accident.

At the very least, however, the central and local governments should give serious consideration to the possibility of a nuclear accident being triggered or accompanied by other disasters like an earthquake and a landslide, and evaluate whether the lives of local residents will be protected in such situations.

Satoshi Mitazono, the new governor of Kagoshima Prefecture who took office last month, has indicated his intention to ask Kyushu Electric Power to halt the two reactors at its Sendai plant in response to local anxiety that has been aroused by the Kumamoto earthquakes.

Shikoku Electric Power’s decision to bring the Ikata reactor back on stream despite the fresh safety concerns is deplorable.

Another sticky issue is how to dispose of spent nuclear fuel.

If the No. 2 reactor at the Ikata plant is also restarted following the No. 3 unit, the spent fuel pool will become full in six to seven years. But there is no prospect of building a new storage facility for spent fuel.

There is no practical way, either, to reprocess spent MOX fuel.

The utility, which covers the Shikoku Island, has apparently enough capacity to meet power demand during this summer too.

The company has estimated that restarting the reactor will boost its annual earnings by 25 billion yen ($247 million). But this offers no compelling case for bringing the reactor back online at this moment.

Electric utilities, the central government and local governments in areas where nuclear power plants are located should all stop seeking to restart reactors until they have first dealt with the raft of safety issues.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201608130031.html

August 14, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Shikoku Electric restarts reactor under post-Fukushima regulations

Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture, is restarted.

After the Tepco Fukushima Daiichi earthquake/tsunami disaster and the Kumamoto recent earthquake, it is to be wondered what Japan has learned?

The Ikata nuclear power plant is located on the Hinagu fault zone and Futagawa fault zone, themselves extension of Japan’s largest active fault “Median Tectonic Line”.

In case of any accident, for the residents living on Sadamisaki Peninsula evacuation would be only possible by boat to Kyushu Island, such evacuation would be therefore difficult, even impossible.

Unless there would be a Japanese Moses to open the sea, such evacuation plan should be referred to as an escape from reality.

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The Ikata Nuclear Power Plant in Ikata, Ehime Prefecture

MATSUYAMA, Japan (Kyodo) — Shikoku Electric Power Co. restarted a reactor at its Ikata power plant in western Japan on Friday, making it the fifth unit reactivated under tougher regulations set following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The No. 3 reactor at the plant in Ehime Prefecture is the only restarted unit in Japan that runs on uranium-plutonium mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel, as a court ordered Kansai Electric Power Co. in March to suspend two reactors at its Takahama plant after they resumed operations earlier this year, citing safety concerns.

MOX fuel, created from plutonium and uranium extracted from spent fuel, is a key component of the nuclear fuel recycle program pursued by the nuclear power industry and the government.

The government aims to bring reactors back online after the Fukushima crisis led to a nationwide halt of nuclear plants, as it plans to have nuclear power account for 20 to 22 percent of the country’s total electricity supply in 2030 to cut greenhouse emissions and lower imported fuel costs.

The Ikata unit is expected to reach criticality, or a state of sustained nuclear chain reaction, on Saturday and begin generating and transmitting electricity on Monday before resuming commercial operation in early September for the first time since it was halted in April 2011 for regular inspection.

“We will take steps toward criticality and resumption of power generation with priority on ensuring safety,” Shikoku Electric President Hayato Saeki said in a statement on Friday.

Meanwhile, around 70 residents and others opposing the reactor restart gathered around the seaside plant early Friday morning, chanting slogans such as “Don’t contaminate the Seto Inland Sea,” and “Stop the nuclear plant.”

Junko Saima, a 72-year-old woman from Yawatahama, adjacent to the town hosting the plant, which is located on one side of a narrow peninsula, said, “I am nervous that some kind of accident may occur.”

Opponents are concerned about the effectiveness of government-prepared evacuation plans in case of an accident and about potential major earthquakes that are not taken into account in the plans, while proponents are hailing the resumption as it could bring economic benefits.

The restart follows the reactivation of two reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture last year and the brief run of the Nos. 3 and 4 units at Kansai Electric’s Takahama complex in Fukui Prefecture.

The mayor of Ikata town and the governor of Ehime Prefecture have already given their consent to restart the No.3 reactor after regulators approved its restart in July last year.

In June, Shikoku Electric loaded nuclear fuel at the power plant eyeing to reboot it on July 26. However, reactivation was postponed due to problems with the reactor’s cooling system.

A group of local residents filed a suit in May seeking an injunction to halt the restart arguing that a series of earthquakes that have hit nearby Kyushu Island in April could trigger quakes along the median tectonic line running close to the Ikata reactor.

The plant is about 170 kilometers east of Kumamoto Prefecture, the epicenter of the quakes.

Meanwhile, in Kagoshima, new Gov. Satoshi Mitazono is planning to ask Kyushu Electric to suspend the two reactivated reactors at the Sendai plant to double-check any safety impact on the units from the powerful earthquakes that hit neighboring Kumamoto in April.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160812/p2g/00m/0dm/035000c

August 12, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Shikoku Electric fires up Ehime plant MOX reactor amid protests

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MATSUYAMA, EHIME PREF. – Japan restarted another nuclear reactor Friday, as Shikoku Electric Power Co. reactivated reactor 3 at its Ikata nuclear plant in Ehime Prefecture.

It will be the first time in some five years and three months for the reactor to be switched on, since it was suspended for a routine safety inspection in April 2011.

The Ikata reactor 3, which is powered by MOX fuel, is the fifth to go back online under the county’s new safety regulations, introduced in July 2013 after the March 2011 reactor meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The Ikata plant is now the second nuclear plant in operation in Japan, joining Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.

On Thursday, local residents staged a protest over the restart.

Once you put a nuclear reactor back into operation, it’s hard to stop it,” said Shinichi Naide, a 51-year-old company employee.

Aki Hashimoto, 60, who joined the rally from Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, questioned what the country has learned from the Fukushima meltdowns. Nuclear authorities “must hear the voices of people who suffered from the Fukushima accident,” she said.

The reactivated reactor is slated to reach criticality, or a self-sustained nuclear fission chain reaction, early Saturday morning. On Monday, it will begin the generation and transmission of electricity, reaching full capacity on Aug. 22.

Shikoku Electric aims to start the plant’s commercial operations in early September.

The Ehime reactor 3 is the only restarted unit in Japan that runs on uranium-plutonium mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel, as a court ordered Kansai Electric Power Co. in March to suspend two reactors at its Takahama plant after they resumed operations earlier this year, citing safety concerns.

MOX fuel, created from plutonium and uranium extracted from spent fuel, is a key component of the nuclear fuel recycle program pursued by the nuclear power industry and the government.

The government aims to bring reactors back online after the Fukushima crisis led to a nationwide halt of nuclear plants, as it plans to have nuclear power account for 20 to 22 percent of the country’s total electricity supply in 2030 to cut greenhouse emissions and lower imported fuel costs.

The Ikata unit is expected to begin generating and transmitting electricity on Monday and resume commercial operation in early September in its first operation since it was halted in April 2011 for regular inspection.

The restart follows the reactivation of two reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture last year and the brief run of reactors 3 and 4 at the Takahama complex in Fukui Prefecture.

The mayor of Ikata and the governor of Ehime Prefecture have already given their consent to restart reactor 3 after regulators approved its restart in July last year.

In June, Shikoku Electric loaded nuclear fuel at the power plant, looking to reboot it on July 26. However, reactivation was postponed due to problems with the reactor’s cooling system.

A group of local residents filed a suit in May seeking an injunction to halt the restart arguing that a series of earthquakes that have hit nearby Kyushu in April could trigger quakes along the median tectonic line running close to the Ikata reactor.

The plant is about 170 km east of Kumamoto Prefecture, the epicenter of the quakes.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/12/national/shikoku-electric-poised-fire-ehime-plant-mox-reactor-amid-protests/#.V62BlzXKO-e

August 12, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Ikata Reactor to Restart Friday August 12

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Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata nuclear power plant is shown in this photo taken in July.

Ikata nuclear reactor to be restarted this week

Workers at the Ikata nuclear power plant in western Japan are engaged in the final inspection of control rods ahead of a planned restart of a reactor there on Friday.
The Ikata plant will be the 3rd to come back online under new regulations adopted after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
Inspectors from the Nuclear Regulation Authority are also participating in the final checkups on Wednesday at the plant’s number 3 reactor, operated by Shikoku Electric Power Company.
The checks include confirming whether 16 control rods work properly in the reactor. They are designed to operate automatically during an earthquake and other emergencies.
If the inspection finds no problems, workers will restart the reactor on Friday by pulling out the control rods. The operator plans to start generating electricity and feeding it to the grid 3 days later.
The company initially planned the restart for late July. But trouble with a water cooling pump caused a delay.
Two reactors at the Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, southern Japan, have already resumed power generation.
The regulator also approved the restart of 2 reactors at the Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan. But a court injunction suspended their operation.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160810_23/

Ikata nuclear reactor to restart on Friday morning

MATSUYAMA, EHIME PREF. – Shikoku Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it will reactivate the No. 3 reactor at its Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture around 9 a.m. on Friday.

It will be the first time in some five years and three months for the reactor to be switched on, since it was suspended for a routine safety inspection in April 2011.

The Ikata No. 3 reactor will be the fifth to go back online under the county’s new safety regulations, introduced in July 2013 after the March 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The Ikata plant will be the second nuclear plant in operation in Japan, joining Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.

The reactivated reactor is slated to reach criticality, or a self-sustained nuclear fission chain reaction, early on Saturday morning. On Monday, it will begin the generation and transmission of electricity, reaching full capacity on Aug. 22.

Shikoku Electric aims to start the plant’s commercial operations in early September.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/10/national/ikata-nuclear-reactor-to-restart-on-friday-morning/#.V6zFfzXKO-c

August 11, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Far-reaching quakes put Ehime’s atomic evacuation plans in doubt

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Protesters rally against the restart of the Ikata nuclear power plant in the town of Ikata, Ehime Prefecture, on July 24

MATSUYAMA, EHIME PREF. – When two earthquakes of magnitude 6.5 and 7.3 struck Kumamoto Prefecture in April, the shock was felt not only in Kumamoto but also about 170 km away, in the small town of Ikata, Ehime Prefecture, home to a nuclear power plant.

For years, residents had been told that the Median Tectonic Line, which runs from Kyushu to Honshu and passes just 5 km away from the Ikata plant, was not active and that there was nothing to worry about. After the April quakes, no abnormal atomic activity was reported, but residents are now worried a large quake in the area, followed by tsunami, could not only damage the plant but also make evacuation from the peninsula Ikata lies on impossible.

The restart of Ikata reactor 3, slated for Aug. 12, has put those concerns in sharp focus and raised questions about just how realistic evacuation will be in the event of a natural disaster — especially an earthquake that sends a tsunami churning toward the nearly 124,000 residents living within 30 km of the plant.

The official evacuation plans assume emergency vehicles will have a certain degree of access to the low-lying roads on the peninsula, which are often only a few meters above sea level. But what happens if the roads are flooded by tsunami or damaged beyond use due to landslides? There are about 5,000 people on the peninsula living on the western side of the Ikata plant who might be cut off from escaping by land to the designated evacuation areas lying east of the plant,” said Tsukasa Wada, an Matsuyama-based antinuclear activist who is fighting to keep the Ikata plant closed.

In granting permission last year to restart Ikata’s No. 3 unit, Ehime Gov. Tokihiro Nakamura dismissed such concerns, saying the rock formations around the plant are strong. But the prefecture has designated 194 areas in the town of Ikata as highly susceptible to landslides.

To get to the Ikata plant from Matsuyama by car or bus also involves passing through a series of tunnels. Tunnel construction experts have testified in past lawsuits involving the plant that many of the tunnels are weak, suggesting that an earthquake could cause cave-ins, rendering them unusable.

The central government and the prefecture are aware that land evacuations alone could prove impossible. So the official plans also include evacuations by air and, most controversially, by sea. The plans assume there is time to evacuate by sea before radiation from the plant spreads, and that ships can dock at nearby ports even if the peninsula’s main access road has been destroyed by a quake, tsunami, or both.

The April quakes in Kumamoto led to fears in neighboring Kagoshima Prefecture about running the two reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant. That helped fuel the election last month of Gov. Satoshi Mitazono, who is against nuclear power and has said he’ll try to shut down the two Sendai reactors.

But in late July, Ehime Gov. Nakamura insisted that, despite the results in Kagoshima and growing concerns in Ehime, where an opinion poll by the daily Ehime Shimbun in July found 54 percent of respondents opposed to the restart, he had no intention of canceling or postponing it to revisit the issues of the plant’s safety or the evacuation plans.

The conditions are different in each of the different areas where nuclear power plants are located, as is the age of the reactors in each area and their structure. You can’t compare them. In particular, for the process leading up to restarts, the approach and system is different for each area, with different plans for evacuation,” Nakamura told reporters at a regular press briefing.

But even a Shikoku Electric Power Co. survey in late May and early June of nearly 28,000 households lying within 20 km of the Ikata plant showed that, compared with a similar survey last year, more people were skeptical of safety assurances and fewer were convinced of the need for nuclear power. Shikoku Electric admits that the Kumamoto earthquakes probably influenced this year’s results.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/05/national/far-reaching-quakes-put-ehimes-atomic-evac-plans-doubt/#.V6ZakzUnDIU

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August 6, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Shikoku Electric looks to fire up MOX-fueled Ehime reactor around Aug. 25

As if Fukushima ‘s catastrophe was not enough, Japan seems to have a death wish when it is now restarting the Shikoku Electric’s Ehime reactor, loaded with Mox-fuel.

This Ehime reactor standing right on the main fault line which caused the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes in the nearby island of Kyushu, with plenty destruction.

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MATSUYAMA, EHIME PREF. – Shikoku Electric Power Co. is considering launching commercial operations of its No. 3 reactor at the Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture around Aug. 25, sources said. The date would be later than the initially planned time frame of mid-August.

The company reviewed the schedule to provide more time for a mandatory pre-use inspection from regulators, the sources said.

Shikoku Electric on Monday finished loading 157 fuel assemblies into reactor No. 3, including 16 units of mixed oxide, or MOX fuel — a blend of uranium and plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel.

The company plans to resume operations of the reactor as early as July 26 if the safety checks show no major issues.

Reactor No. 3 was shut down in April 2011 for a routine safety inspection.

Shikoku Electric expects the reactor to improve its earnings by some ¥25 billion annually after it begins commercial operations.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/06/30/national/ikata-looks-fire-mox-fueled-ehime-reactor-around-aug-25/

June 30, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Japanese utility begins loading fuel at reactor for late July restart

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MATSUYAMA, EHIME PREF. – Shikoku Electric Power Co. started loading nuclear fuel Friday into a reactor at its Ikata power plant, paving the way for a scheduled restart next month.

The utility plans to reactivate the No. 3 unit at the plant in Ehime Prefecture on July 26. The company envisions beginning electricity generation three days later and resuming commercial operation in mid-August.

The pressurized-water reactor using uranium-plutonium mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel, will be the fifth unit to be reactivated under tougher regulations introduced in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Ehime Gov. Tokihiro Nakamura said he hopes the reactor operator will make safety a high priority. Safety concerns remain, however, as the plant on the island of Shikoku is situated near a fault zone.

A group of local residents filed a suit in May seeking an injunction to halt the restart, arguing that strong earthquakes that have hit central parts of Kyushu may affect the fault and trigger further temblors. The plant is about 170 km (105 miles) east of Kumamoto Prefecture, the epicenter of the recent quakes.

The reactor, whose operation began in 1994, was suspended in April 2011 for a regular inspection after the March 2011 earthquake-tsunami and nuclear disasters.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority last July approved Shikoku Electric’s enhanced safety measures against possible earthquake and tsunami hazards as well as other major accidents prior to the restart.

The company started on-site preoperational checks of the unit in April, the last procedure toward reactivation.

On Friday, about 20 local residents shouted, “No to restart” near the power plant, saying the reactors should be decommissioned.

“I can’t believe the reactor is restarted even though the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant of Tepco has not been contained,” said Takashi Hasebe, 62, who is a member of a citizens’ group opposed to Ikata’s restart. “We can’t stop natural disasters but we can stop nuclear power plants.”

But local businesses want them to be restarted in hopes of boosting the local economy.

“If the reactors won’t be restarted, our town would be depopulated even more,” said Tomokatsu Shinozawa, 55, who runs a Japanese inn in the town of Ikata. “I want it to be restarted as soon as possible.”

Another male farmer, 64, pointed out that spent nuclear fuel would be stored whether or not they are restarted.

“It’s dangerous one way or the other,” he said. “If that’s the case, it’s better to restart it making sure that it’s safe.”

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/06/24/national/japanese-utility-begins-loading-fuel-reactor-late-july-restart/#.V25W_KInDIV

June 25, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment