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JNFL’s application for examination of a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant was criticized by the Regulatory Commission for “lacking a sense of urgency”

JNFL Senior Managing Executive Officer Rei Sudo (left) and others explain at the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s review meeting in Minato-ku, Tokyo.

November 22, 2022
JNFL found multiple errors in the seismic calculation results of the application it submitted to the Nuclear Regulation Authority during the examination required for the operation of its reprocessing plant for spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants in Rokkasho Village, Aomori Prefecture. The errors were discovered when the Nuclear Regulation Commission pointed them out to JNFL. Even two years after the application was submitted, NNFL continues to reveal its inadequacies, and there is no prospect that the review will be completed.
 The errors were in the results of seismic calculations for the cooling tower fire detectors, which NNFL submitted on November 8 in the form of an amendment to its application. According to NNFL, when the results of the seismic calculations were transcribed into the application, incorrect values were entered in several places. Although the documents were checked before submission, the mistake was not noticed. The cause of the error has not been disclosed, saying that it is under investigation. The correction will be corrected and resubmitted in the future.
 According to the secretariat of the regulatory commission, the error in the calculation results was so simple that a person with expert knowledge would be able to recognize it at a glance.
At the review meeting held on March 15, the person in charge at the secretariat of the regulatory commission commented, “In the review of facility design, making a mistake in numerical values is a definite and serious problem,” and “It is the most rudimentary of rudiments. Why don’t they notice it? Why don’t they realize this? They have no sense of crisis at all. Rei Sudo, executive vice president of Nenryo, who is in charge of handling the review, simply stated, “This is something that really shouldn’t happen. We take this very seriously.
 The reprocessing plant, a core facility under the government’s nuclear fuel cycle policy, met the new regulatory standards for basic accident countermeasures in July 2020, and in December of the same year, JNFL applied for a review of detailed facility designs and construction plans. However, there has been no significant progress since the application stage due to inadequate explanations from NNFL.
 In September of this year, NNFL announced for the 26th time that it was postponing the completion of the plant due to the difficulties encountered in the review process. The company plans to announce the next target date for completion by the end of this year, but the examination process will inevitably become even more difficult due to the discovery of numerical errors. (Kenta Onozawa)
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/215291?fbclid=IwAR3axQXraZ9FR1wgBWFW97VsXYaz7LEtnmRwhAa8f6fSsxczwS8WNBpIdY4

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November 27, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Japan looks to finalize nuclear reactor service extension by year-end

This Feb. 13, 2021 photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter shows the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefectur

November 8, 2022

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan’s industry ministry is considering extending the lifespan of nuclear reactors to beyond the current 60 years with ambitions to finalize the plan by the end of the year, in a bid to cut carbon emissions and ensure stable energy supplies threatened by Russia’s war in Ukraine, sources familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is looking to extend the number of years nuclear power stations can remain open by considering screening periods, necessary for stricter plant safety operations, as separate from the total service life, which could allow nuclear reactors to operate for longer. During safety checks, the nuclear plants are not operational.

A ministry panel is set to discuss extending the service life of the nuclear power stations in such a way as a main scenario among other options, with plans to finalize their decision by the end of the year, the sources said.

Under the current safety rules, the Nuclear Regulation Authority limits nuclear reactors’ service period to 40 years in principle. If approved by the regulatory body however, the period can be extended by up to 20 years.

The panel will also look at scrapping the 60-year lifespan, as well as maintaining the current rules as two alternative options, in case the proposal is found not to be viable.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in August that Japan will push ahead with the use of nuclear power, citing the plan as an option to achieve net-zero emissions and secure a stable electricity supply.

Japan relies heavily on fossil fuel imports for power generation, with its energy self-sufficiency rate standing at 12.1 percent as of fiscal 2019, lower than many other developed countries.

Nuclear power plant operators must pass the tougher regulations to restart their reactors after a nationwide halt which occurred after the Fukushima nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011, which was caused by a massive earthquake and tsunami. Only a handful of reactors in Japan have since resumed operations, while the public remains concerned over their safety.

Some utilities face prolonged screening processes by the NRA. More than nine years have passed since the safety examinations of Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s Tomari nuclear power plant began, for example.

The electric power industry has urged more than 60 years of service will be safe provided appropriate maintenance operations are guaranteed.

The safety watchdog proposed earlier this month that the safety of nuclear plants aged 30 years or older, regardless of whether a reactor lifespan is extended, be checked at least once a decade to obtain approval for their continued operation.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20221108/p2g/00m/0bu/042000c

November 11, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

NRA risks losing its reputation as neutral nuclear watchdog body

Members of the Nuclear Regulation Authority hold a meeting Nov. 2 in Tokyo’s Minato Ward.

November 5, 2022

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has started working on legal revisions to effectively eliminate the limit on the operational life span of nuclear reactors.

The NRA appears to be responding to growing calls for the “revival” of nuclear power generation within the government and the business community. The NRA was set up as a highly independent nuclear safety watchdog in line with lessons gleaned from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. It should not forget its original mission.

The legal life span of a nuclear reactor is 40 years in principle but can be extended to 60 years at a maximum.

But the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), acting at Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s behest, has proposed increasing the life span of reactors. Acting in tandem with the government’s move, the NRA instructed its Secretariat, a government agency, to review the current rules.

In a recent meeting on this issue, the NRA Secretariat presented a proposal which would require reactors that have been in service for 30 years to undergo inspections for signs of degradation at intervals of 10 years or less to win permission for continued operation. As long as they keep passing these periodical inspections, they can run beyond the 60-year limit.

The NRA is expected to work out, possibly by the end of the year, an outline of a draft revision of the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law for the extended operations of nuclear plants.

The 40-year cap was a rule established under a bipartisan agreement reached through Diet debate that focused on the bitter lessons from the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011. This rule, along with the suspension of new construction and expansion of nuclear power plants, played an important role in reducing the nation’s dependence on atomic energy, a policy goal adopted by the government. The rule must not be changed without national debate after only 10 years.

The NRA argues that whether to extend the legal life of reactors is a policy decision concerning the use of nuclear power that is outside its mandate. That means the NRA’s mandate is to ensure proper regulations of nuclear power generation according to the government’s policy.

At a glance, this position appears to be based on the principle of the separation of nuclear safety regulation from the government’s policy to promote nuclear power generation. But it is, in effect, regulation in line with promotion.

Nuclear power plants inevitably wear down over time. There are many plant parts that were not designed to be replaced. As the initial design philosophy for reactors has become outdated, the risk of unexpected problems and malfunctions increases. The 40-year rule was partly aimed at avoiding such unclear and unpredictable risks.

Extended life spans will inevitably increase the burden of inspections and raise the cost of electricity generated by aging reactors due to costs incurred by taking the necessary measures to pass inspections. This also raises questions about whether extended operations of reactors will make economic sense.

The NRA claims the regulations for reactors that have run for 30 years or longer would become “far more rigorous than now” under the proposed change. Some NRA experts have said the new system should make it harder for older reactors to pass inspections. Others have pointed out the importance of responding to the risks posed by natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunami and volcanic eruptions.

But the specifics of the new regulations and operational rules remain unclear. The ongoing policy debate on the issue, clearly driven by arguments for promoting nuclear power, raises doubts about whether the government could develop a new regulatory system that can win the support of the residents and administrations of host communities and the public as a whole.

To prevent another nuclear tragedy, it is vital for the NRA to remain solidly committed to maintaining its independence. Serious doubt about its independence would deliver a huge blow to its credibility with society.

If its independence is undermined, the NRA might be unable to resist future political pressure for relaxing the safety regulations or safety inspections of aged and risky reactors.

The NRA must realize that the situation poses a critical test of its commitment to its core mission as the nuclear safety watchdog.

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14760452

November 7, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan set to extend maximum lifespan of nuclear plants beyond 60 yrs

Nuclear I love you forever. Despite of the still ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Japanese government is still in love with nuclear….

Shinsuke Yamanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, speaks at a press conference in Tokyo on Oct. 5, 2022.

Oct 5, 2022

The head of Japan’s nuclear regulator said Wednesday a rule that limits the operating life of nuclear power plants to a maximum of 60 years is expected to be removed from the country’s regulations.

The possible change is in line with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s goal of extending the lifespan to reduce carbon emissions and provide a stable electricity supply. Still, public concern over the safety of nuclear facilities is deep-seated in Japan following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

“We can assure you that strict regulations will never be compromised,” Shinsuke Yamanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, said at a press conference.

Following the nuclear crisis triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami, Japan introduced stringent safety standards limiting nuclear reactors’ service period to 40 years in principle.

However, that period can be extended once by 20 years if safety upgrades are made and a reactor passes the regulation authority’s screening.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Wednesday it would determine the plants’ operational service per a regulation under its jurisdiction, and its plan was approved by the regulatory body.

The NRA plans to create a system to ensure each aging nuclear power plant’s safety.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/10/d97f0035af8f-japan-set-to-extend-maximum-lifespan-of-nuclear-plants-beyond-60-yrs.html

October 8, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

New head of nuclear regulator vows to maintain ‘transparency’.

Shinsuke Yamanaka, new chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, addresses the media during his inaugural news conference in Tokyo on Sept. 26.

September 27, 2022

The new chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority vowed to maintain “independence and transparency” as the government agency performs its watchdog role over Japan’s nuclear industry. 

Shinsuke Yamanaka, 66, an expert on nuclear material science, took the helm of the NRA on Sept. 26.

“I will never forget the Fukushima nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant,” he said at a news conference. “With this resolve, I remain committed to the NRA’s policy to regulate the nuclear industry while steadfastly maintaining independence and transparency.”

The appointment of Yamanaka, who has been an NRA commissioner since 2017, comes as the administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida seeks a return to more reliance on nuclear energy. It is the first such move since the 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant.

The administration is considering building nuclear plants and new reactors to replace aged ones, something the industry ministry and nuclear industry have pushed for years.

Yamanaka pledged that the NRA will continue to remain neutral.

“The NRA should sincerely carry out its duties while keeping in mind that the safety of nuclear energy is never a guarantee,” he said. 

On the NRA’s prolonged examinations of reactors to assess if they meet the new reactor safety regulations, Yamanaka said his agency will be open to measures to help speed the process.

“Our basic stance is to conduct strict inspections, but we are willing to take measures to expedite the regulation procedures and improve communications between us and nuclear plant operators,” he said. 

Japan hosted 54 commercial reactors before the Fukushima nuclear accident. Of these, 27 reactor operators had applied for restarts under the more stringent reactor regulations that went into force in 2013. Only 10 have gone back online so far, however, as the NRA examinations continue.

Yamanaka also cited three things he wants to focus on in the coming years: strengthening the NRA’s ability to disseminate information, having a field-oriented approach and developing human resources.

Before joining the NRA, he did fuel safety research related to severe nuclear reactor accident at Osaka University.

Yamanaka’s term will run until September 2027. He replaced Toyoshi Fuketa, who finished his term as the second chairman of the NRA, which was established in 2012.

The same day, Tomoyuki Sugiyama, who specializes in reactor safety, joined the NRA as one of four commissioners.

Sugiyama had researched reactor safety at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Nuclear Safety Research Center.

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14728584

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Examination of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant for discharge of treated water to be finished; Regulatory Commission to solicit public opinion in May.

April 15, 2022
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) held a meeting on April 15 to review TEPCO’s application for an implementation plan to discharge contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean after purification and treatment, and accepted TEPCO’s explanation. The discussion at the review meeting is over, and the NRA will prepare a draft review document summarizing the details of the review by the end of May, and begin the procedures for approval.
One Year After the Decision to Discharge Treated Water into the Sea, the Gulf Between the Government and Fishermen Remains Unbridgeable, and the Sense of Distrust in TEPCO Has Not Changed
 In December of last year, TEPCO applied to the Regulatory Commission for a review of its implementation plan, which outlines the design of the facilities, the method of discharge, and the impact on the environment and people after the discharge. So far, 15 review meetings have been held, and discussions have ended without any major changes to the plan.
 After compiling a draft of the review report, the Regulatory Commission will solicit opinions (public comments) from the public for 30 days before deciding whether to approve the plan. Normally, the review of an implementation plan is closed to the public and no public comments are solicited, but the committee took an unusual step.
 The approval of Fukushima Prefecture, Okuma Town, and Futaba Town, the three municipalities where the plant is located, is required before TEPCO can begin construction of a new undersea tunnel and other facilities to be built in conjunction with the offshore discharge. TEPCO had indicated that it planned to start construction in June, but there is now a possibility of a delay.
 According to TEPCO’s plan, the treated water, which mainly contains radioactive tritium, will be diluted with a large amount of seawater to reduce the tritium concentration to less than 1/40th of the national discharge standard, and then discharged through an undersea tunnel to an area about 1 km offshore. The project is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2023. (Kenta Onozawa)
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/171995?fbclid=IwAR3Dg8jz8qJM3v9ZmAmupioeZ6Bi3c9emoP4mmp_FApNnuYKfl8h3fDGrgQ

April 23, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning: “It is Impossible to Foresee the End Date” says the Nuclear Regulation Commission

March 2, 2022

 Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Toyoshi Sarada said he believes it is impossible to predict when the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant will be completed.

 Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Toyoshi Sarada: “I think it is technically impossible to determine a realistic number of years that we can promise to various parties, for example.

 At the press conference, Chairman Saroda stated that he believes it is virtually impossible to set a time limit on when the fuel debris in Fukushima Daiichi reactors Nos. 1 through 3 can be cleaned up.

 He also recognized that it is technically impossible to give the people of Fukushima and other prefectures a fixed number of years until the plant is decommissioned.

 The government and TEPCO are still aiming for a maximum of 29 years to decommission the reactors amidst difficulties in removing debris and other issues.

March 3, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant “debris” storage method to be reconsidered – Chairman of the Regulatory Commission, Mr. Sarada

February 2, 2022

The chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), Mr. Toyoshi Sarada, has asked Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to reconsider the storage method of concrete debris with a very small amount of radioactive materials from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, with a view to temporarily burying it underground.

It has been 11 years since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant occurred in March 2011. The decommissioning of the nuclear power plant involves the removal of nuclear fuel that has cooled down after melting down. The biggest challenge is to remove the fuel debris. On the other hand, the disposal of low-level radioactive waste, which is generated in large quantities every day at the decommissioning site, is also a major issue.

As a result of the hydrogen explosions in the three reactor buildings, concrete fragments were scattered.

At a meeting of the Nuclear Regulation Authority held on the 2nd, Mr. Sarada said, “Even if we assume that the waste will be transferred in the future, there are some areas where it would be much more advantageous to bury and store the waste,” and expressed his desire to ask TEPCO to reconsider the storage method with a view to temporarily burying it underground.

The amount of waste from the decommissioning of the nuclear power plant is increasing, but the management at the site is not up to the task, so a realistic storage method must be considered with an eye to the future, he said.

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/736533766c271a53fa53d9dd9844d40714925a98?fbclid=IwAR1p-quGZDNM4dPTOfZ5yOBDuKFEPdza8KDr-LmjzQ6pkgaJ0gaH3FTEqic

February 3, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, Fuk 2022 | , , , , | 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

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

NRA safety license for Sendai reactors legal, Fukuoka court finds, dismissing volcano risk lawsuit

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“The plaintiffs argued the Nuclear Regulation Authority gave the green light without sufficiently assessing the potential risk of eruptions at nearby Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture and four other volcanoes.”
June 17, 2019
FUKUOKA – A district court said on Monday it found nothing illegal with a safety clearance granted to two reactors in Kyushu that were restarted after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, dismissing a demand for a retraction filed by plaintiffs who said it ignored the risk of volcanic eruptions.
The lawsuit was filed by 33 plaintiffs against a license authorizing design changes at reactors 1 and 2 at the Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture under tougher post-Fukushima safety regulations.
They were the first commercial reactors in the nation to be restarted after the crisis.
The plaintiffs argued the Nuclear Regulation Authority gave the green light without sufficiently assessing the potential risk of eruptions at nearby Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture and four other volcanoes.
In the first ruling of its kind, the Fukuoka District Court concluded the license issued was not illegal.
“Japanese laws on nuclear power do not go so far as to require that regulators consider the impact of a catastrophic volcanic eruption that is impossible to predict and highly unlikely to occur,” Judge Moriharu Kurasawa said.
But Kurasawa acknowledged there were “doubts” over the NRA’s standard for volcanic risk assessment, given no methodology exists for accurately assessing volcanic activity.
Kyushu Electric Power Co. described the ruling as “appropriate,” but the plaintiffs, who came from 10 prefectures, said they might appeal.
During the trial, authorities said that the rules were rational based on the latest analysis and that there was nothing wrong with the approval process.
The plaintiffs argued it is difficult to predict exactly when an eruption could occur and how big it could be, and said current safety standards underestimate their impact.
“It is regrettable,” plaintiff Ryoko Torihara, 70, of Kagoshima Prefecture said after the ruling. “The lessons of the nuclear accident have not been learned.”
Another plaintiff said, “The frequency of a catastrophic eruption may be low, but it could happen tomorrow. I’m very disappointed that the ruling appears to be just following (what) the state (wants to do).”
While the government is aiming to bring dozens of reactors back online after the triple reactor core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 complex led to a nationwide suspension of nuclear power, a number of lawsuits have been filed to stop the drive.
The two reactors at the Sendai plant were rebooted in August and October 2015, respectively, after the license was issued in September 2014.
A suit demanding an injunction to halt them was rejected by the Kagoshima District Court in April 2015, a decision that was upheld by the Miyazaki branch of the Fukuoka High Court in April 2016.
Volcanic hazards have been a major concern in regard to nuclear plant operations, with similar injunction requests filed elsewhere.
The Hiroshima High Court in December 2017 halted the restart of the No. 3 unit at Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture with a provisional injunction, citing the potential hazard from Mount Aso, around 130 km away.
But the court later accepted an appeal by the utility to reactivate it, saying worries over a volcanic eruption damaging the unit were “groundless.”
In March 2018, the Saga District Court rejected a demand by residents to suspend the restart of two reactors at Kyushu Electric’s Genkai plant in Saga Prefecture due to the risk of a volcanic eruption in the region.

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

Japan’s nuclear watchdog weighs giving children priority in distribution of iodine tablets

As a reminder, Iodine tablets only protect you from Iodine 131, not from all the other radionuclides.
Plus it has to be taken at least 4 hours before an exposure to radiation, and as usually you will be informed always late of the nuclear accident by the government authorities it will be too late for you to take those tablets….
Just another prop from the nuclear industry and of government, a make believe that you will be safe because they generously distribute you iodine tablets.

n-iodine-a-20181122-870x625The Nuclear Regulation Authority decided Wednesday to review the nation’s distribution system for iodine tablets against radiation exposure.

 

November 21, 2018

The Nuclear Regulation Authority decided Wednesday to review the nation’s distribution system for iodine tablets against radiation exposure.

Japan’s nuclear regulation body decided Wednesday to review the nation’s distribution system for iodine tablets against radiation exposure, with an eye on giving priority to children.

Current rules say iodine tablets should be in principle distributed in advance to all residents living within a 5-kilometer radius of 16 nuclear plants in 13 prefectures, where doing so is deemed difficult in emergency situations.

But some municipal governments have yet to hand out the tablets to all residents, including children who are more vulnerable to radiation exposure.

An expert panel set up by the Nuclear Regulation Authority will hold its first meeting next month to review the distribution system with the aim of compiling a report by April. The NRA will decide on a new policy based on the report.

Radioactive iodine released in nuclear accidents could be accumulated in the thyroid gland, increasing the risk of thyroid cancer, particularly among children.

If the tablets are taken beforehand, potassium iodine can saturate the thyroid gland and block radioactive iodine from being stored there.

When Japan was hit by a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, iodine tablets stored at municipal governments were not effectively used.

According to the NRA, the plan to review the pre-distribution of iodine tablets is based on a guideline compiled by the World Health Organization in 2017. WHO says the protection of children and adolescents must be considered a priority as their risk of developing thyroid cancer is higher than adults. Individuals older than 40 are less likely to benefit from iodine tablets.

WHO says the timely administration of the tablets is the key for blocking radioactive exposure, and the most effective protection is offered if they are taken before or immediately at the time of radioactive exposure.

Experts are expected to discuss whether it is reasonable to reflect the WHO recommendations in the NRA’s manual on the pre-distribution of iodine tablets.

Among other topics, the panel will study how doctors will be involved in tablet distributions. It will also hear the views of municipal governments on the matter.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/11/21/national/japans-nuclear-watchdog-weighs-giving-children-priority-distribution-iodine-tablets/?fbclid=IwAR0VwtP0bCjc1nx_xVx9maK3aR7mM9d6F87dQ4uGor2jCqPaUhtdDUmpZro#.W_rLkOhKjIX

November 25, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Watchdog says TEPCO nuclear disaster drill ‘unacceptable’

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An emergency drill at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture
August 22, 2018
The government’s nuclear watchdog slammed Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s efforts as “unacceptable” in communicating with nuclear authorities during an emergency drill held at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant.
TEPCO, operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, was among three utilities to receive the lowest of the three-level scores in terms of ability to share information expediently and accurately, the Nuclear Regulation Authority said July 25.
It was the first time for the company to be given the lowest score on communication skills in a yearly drill.
“It is unacceptable that TEPCO received a low rating, given that it was responsible for the Fukushima disaster,” an NRA official said. “TEPCO appears to be too compartmentalized for its relevant sections to work together and share information.”
The NRA is set to instruct the company to hold additional drills at the plant, which is located in Niigata Prefecture, if it receives another low rating.
The utility was slow in relaying information to the watchdog, and its briefing on its handling of the mock accident was inadequate, according to the NRA’s report.
“We could not respond sufficiently because the envisioned accident was harsh,” said Kiyoto Ishikawa, the chief of the plant’s publicity department, at a news conference.
The drill in question was carried out in March under the scenario of coping with a serious accident.
It involved difficult procedures to cope with a failure in the communication system to send such critical information as the pressure level in the reactors’ containment vessels to the NRA. Operators also simulated a string of maneuvers of the venting system to lower pressure inside the No. 6 reactor that suffered core damage.
“We had to deal with a tough situation because it proceeded with less time allotted for us than in a real accident,” Ishikawa said. “We are determined to make more efforts and improve our standing.”
The NRA’s assessment comes at a time when TEPCO seeks to bring the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant back on line in the near future to save expensive fuel costs incurred by the operation of its thermal power plants.
With seven reactors, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant is the largest in Japan. It is the only nuclear complex for TEPCO to turn to as it proceeds with decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear plants.
The two reactors have cleared the screenings by the NRA under the stricter reactor regulations put in place following the 2011 Fukushima triple meltdown.
The other plants that were rated on par with the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in the evaluation of emergency drills were Hokuriku Electric Power Co.’s Shika plant in Ishikawa Prefecture and Chubu Electric Power Co.’s Hamaoka plant in Shizuoka Prefecture.
In the case of the Shika plant, Hokuriku Electric’s in-house information sharing system got bogged down, making it impossible for the NRA to remain in the communication loop.
In total, 10 operators of nuclear power plants carried out emergency drills.
The NRA considers it vital for the operator of a nuclear plant to share accurate information on the accident since the prime minister declares a “nuclear emergency” based on the NRA’s report.
In the Fukushima disaster, TEPCO had trouble passing on information on the unfolding nuclear crisis with the government swiftly and accurately, resulting in confusion.

August 27, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Regulator urges release of treated Fukushima radioactive water into sea

11 jan 2018 tritium water release pacific NRA.jpg
 
The chief of Japan’s nuclear regulator said Thursday water at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that contains radioactive tritium even after being treated should be released into the sea after dilution.
“We will face a new challenge if a decision (about the release) is not made within this year,” Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa told a local mayor, referring to the more than 1 million tons of coolant water and groundwater that has accumulated at the facility crippled by the 2011 disaster triggered by a devastating quake and tsunami.
As local fishermen are worried about the negative impact from the water discharge, the Japanese government and Fukushima plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. have not made a final decision on the treated water, which is currently stored in tanks.
In his meeting with Yukiei Matsumoto, mayor of Naraha town near the Fukushima plant, Fuketa said, “It is scientifically clear that there will be no influence to marine products or to the environment” following the water release.
The nuclear regulator chief underlined the need for the government and Tepco to quickly make a decision, saying, “It will take two or three years to prepare for the water release into the sea.”
At the Fukushima plant, toxic water is building up partly because groundwater is seeping into the reactor buildings to mix with water made radioactive in the process of cooling the damaged reactors.
Such contaminated water is treated to remove radioactive materials but tritium, a radioactive substance considered relatively harmless to humans, remains in the filtered water as it is difficult to separate even after passing through a treatment process.
At other nuclear power plants, tritium-containing water is routinely dumped into the sea after it is diluted. The regulator has been calling for the release of the water after diluting it to a density lower than standards set by law.
With limited storage space for water tanks, observers warn tritium could start leaking from the Fukushima plant.
On March 11, 2011, tsunami inundated the six-reactor plant, located on ground 10 meters above sea level, and flooded the power supply facilities.
Reactor cooling systems were crippled and the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors suffered fuel meltdowns in the world’s worst nuclear catastrophe since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

January 11, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | Leave a comment