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Fukushima: court upholds acquittals of three Tepco executives over disaster

High court in Japan agreed defendants could not have predicted the massive tsunami that crippled the power plant and triggered a nuclear meltdown

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma. Three Tepco executives have had their acquittals on negligence charges upheld by a court in Japan.

January 18, 2023

Three former executives from the company that operates the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have had their not-guilty verdicts upheld by a court in Japan, dealing a blow to campaigners demanding the firm take legal responsibility for the disaster in March 2011.

The Tokyo high court on Wednesday cleared Tsunehisa Katsumata, the former chairman of Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), along with former vice-presidents Ichiro Takekuro and Sakae Muto, of professional negligence resulting in death.

The court said the defendants could not have predicted the massive tsunami that crippled the power plant and triggered the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chornobyl in 1986.

The three men were indicted in 2016 for allegedly failing to take measures to defend the plant against tsunamis, resulting in the deaths of 44 people, including elderly patients at a hospital, who had to be evacuated after the disaster.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant, on Japan’s north-eastern coast, was hit by a massive tsunami caused by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, the strongest in Japan’s recorded history.

More than 18,000 people died in the tsunami, but no one was recorded as having been directly killed by the nuclear meltdowns, which caused massive radiation leaks and forced the evacuation of more than 150,000 people living nearby – some of whom have only recently been given permission to return to their homes.

Wednesday’s ruling affirmed a similar verdict delivered by the Tokyo district court in September 2019.

The trial focused on whether the former executives should have foreseen the massive tsunami and taken extra precautions, such as constructing a bigger seawall, to prevent a catastrophe.

A government evaluation of earthquake risks published in 2002 estimated that tsunami waves of up to 15.7 metres (51ft) in height could strike Fukushima Daiichi. The findings were passed on to Tepco in 2008 – three years before the disaster when a 14-metre wave struck, the Kyodo news agency said.

Tepco has argued it was powerless to take precautions against a tsunami of the size that struck the plant almost 12 years ago, and that it had done everything possible to protect it.

The original district court ruling, however, cast doubt on the credibility of the government’s evaluation, saying the defendants “could not have logically predicted tsunami waves over 10 metres in height”, Kyodo reported.

Although they have twice been acquitted in the only criminal case against Tepco executives arising from the disaster, a separate verdict in July in a civil case against the same three men and Tepco’s former president, Masataka Shimizu, ordered them to pay ¥13.32tn (£80bn at the time) for failing to prevent the disaster.

In contrast to Wednesday’s decision, the court said the government’s assessment had been reliable enough to oblige Tepco to take preventive measures.

While that ruling – the first to find Tepco executives liable for damage resulting from the disaster – carries symbolic significance, lawyers have said the defendants do not have the means to pay the sum, believed to be the largest ever awarded in a civil lawsuit in Japan.

Media reports said they would be expected to pay as much as their assets allowed.

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January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Where the judgement of the Tokyo High Court went wrong

Credits to Yuichi Kaido

January 18, 2023

If you read this, you can understand that yesterday’s decision by the Tokyo High Court considers nuclear power safety measures inadequate and prepare for the next brutal accident.

At the beginning of the attorney general’s statement published yesterday, we said: Regarding the long-term evaluation of the projection, the verdict said, “as a country, it is debated and placed weight that cannot be overlooked,” but in this view, it denied the necessity for tsunami measures based on the research findings to base this, and the reliability based on the “real possibility” of stopping nuclear power plants from running.

Seeking “realistic possibilities” about scientific opinion based on accident measures is clearly a mistake, given the current state of geology. I believe such a judgement exonerates not taking necessary accident measures and dangerous logic to prepare for the next nuclear accident. “

I think the conclusion is clear which of these two decisions will withstand the criticism of history by Judge Hosoda, who refused the local inspection, flipped the empty arguments on the desk and wrote an empty verdict, will stand up to the criticism of history.

*******************

The degree of credibility required by knowledge

Since operators who install (and operate nuclear power plants have a duty above all to prevent brutal accidents, the safety of nuclear power plants is impaired by the expected tsunami (predictable tsunami) based on the latest scientific and technical findings, the safety of the nuclear power plant plants is impaired, and if brutal accidents occur, they are obliged to take necessary measures to prevent this, and the director recognizes the risk, or can take action. As explained in No. 2 (The defendants’ duty of good governance as the director of Tokyo Electric Power).

Conversely, at nuclear power plant, the risk of accidents occurring in case of an event that exceeds the expected is greatly different between earthquakes and tsunami, and if you use only a dry site concept like the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant as a measure against tsunami, it is absolutely safe as long as the tsunami does not exceed the expected height, but if it exceeds the expected height, there will be a cliff edge incident that causes sudden damage to the core and reaches the core, due to a severe accident caused by loss of all power. Therefore, if our predictions are credible for scientifically predicted tsunami, it will be extremely important to avoid the presumed tsunami measures.

Therefore, considering whether a certain degree of credibility is required in order to have scientific opinion on predictions of tsunami, which is required for the director of the company that sets up and runs nuclear power plants to avoid measures

(1) If safety measures are taken as a prerequisite for tsunami in the world, and the company that operates and operates nuclear power plants, and safety is the first priority, while in reality, resources are limited, etc., etc., and if safety measures are a priority, as a prelude to all the predictions of tsunami of all the contents that exist in the world, (there is a risk of lack of resources (without resources and resources) that should be allocated for the truly necessary measures, or there is a surplus.

There is a risk of incalculable risk of bodily safety. It is therefore believed that in nuclear engineering, zero risk is not required, and safety measures should be taken that do not create undue risks ( 生155).

On the other hand, scientific findings, often earthquakes and tsunami. Opinions on natural phenomena are constantly advancing and developing that natural phenomena, such as earthquakes and tsunami, are essentially a matter of the galaxy, and since it is principle impossible to make complete predictions. Since it is impossible to experiment on them, we can only learn from past events, but there is a limit that there is little data from the past. Therefore, with regard to findings widely considered established, i.e. not the latest scientific findings, not necessarily all researchers agree, the latest scientific opinion, where clarification and understanding are currently progressing, there will essentially be researchers who disagree. Therefore, for example, if you ask for excessive reliability of scientific findings in the pretext of tsunami, such as the absence of disagreement among researchers, or the attached data is complete, the tsunami that is waiting to happen will not be sufficient, and the safety of nuclear power plants will not be shaken (severe accidents caused by the loss of all power).

Therefore, when considering these collectively, in order to have scientific findings on tsunami predictions that are required by the directors of companies that establish and operate nuclear power plants to avoid measures, the findings expressed in the papers of certain researchers and so on are not enough, for example, in public institutions and councils that consider tsunami forecasts, serious scrutiny has been made among researchers and experts who have a considerable amount of research practice in that field, You have to understand that there is and enough. And in the case of such findings, it can be said that unless there are specific circumstances such as collected despite being scientifically and strictly unreasonable, the director of the company that installs and operates the nuclear power plant can be obliged to follow the tsunami measures based on that findings.

(2)a In this regard, the defendants and Tokyo Electric Power Corporation are required to quote the opinion of Professor Imamura ( 、156) regarding the scientific findings of the predictions of tsunami, where the CEO of the company that operates and operates nuclear power plants are required to take measures, and to be able to justify the need for measures, using a scientific basis, specifically, the tsunami, or at least the scientific consensus has been obtained that it is always tsunami, in which there is a scientific consensus that it is always a tsunami or at least a scientific basis. Insisting on needing and etc.

の However, if interpreted as the above assertion, many researchers and experts with relevant practice recognize that it is reasonable to assume that there is a chance of large-scale tsunami earthquake occurring in a certain area, when the location of wave sources cannot be calculated on a specific basis and the interval of occurrence over a certain period of time, the director of the company operating nuclear power plant is a measure to prevent severe accidents from tsunami (Opinion of Prof. Imamura According to this thinking, if an unexpected tsunami occurs at a nuclear power plant, the Cliff Edge event is likely to cause extremely severe damage due to loss of total power. If the prediction is credible, it would be necessary to avoid tsunami measures, but not to take measures except certain things, i.e. the severity of total power loss due to a tsunami, if the prediction is reliable. It is clear that it is unreasonable, given the importance of ensuring the high safety of nuclear power plants, which is hidden in standards related to the standard of safety etc.

考 Also, views like the above claim require that, in addition to the credibility of scientific findings, the information for nuclear companies to take easy measures is clear, but since there are some uncertainties in the findings, it is possible to take measures with the appropriate room taken into account on the safety side (this opinion indicates that it is dangerous, but it is unreasonable that measures cannot be mandatory if it is not indicated what extent to take. ), overstating the convenience of measures by nuclear power operators rather than ensuring safety is not acceptable.

According to the construction industry (I have to say that the allegations made by the defendants and Tokyo Electric Power Corporation are difficult to accept.

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo court upholds not guilty verdict for ex-Tepco execs over Fukushima disaster

Support group members of plaintiffs show off banners reading “All innocent. Wrongful judgment” after the The Tokyo High Court upheld a not guilty verdict for former Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) executives of negligence over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power station disaster, in front of the court in Tokyo, Japan, January 18, 2023

TOKYO, Jan 18 (Reuters) – The Tokyo High Court on Wednesday upheld a not guilty criminal verdict by a lower court that cleared former Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) (9501.T) executives of negligence over the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power station disaster.

Former Tepco Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 82, and one-time executives Sakae Muto, 72, and Ichiro Takekuro, 77, were all found not guilty by the Tokyo District Court in 2019, in the only criminal case to arise out of the world’s worst nuclear crisis since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

The ruling on Wednesday to uphold the not guilty verdict sits at odds with a separate civil case brought to the Tokyo court by Tepco shareholders, which found four former executives responsible for the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Judges ordered the former executives to pay 13 trillion yen ($99.14 billion) in damages in the civil lawsuit. The court judged that the executives could have prevented the disaster if they had exercised due care. Criminal lawsuits in Japan are broadly interpreted to have a higher standard of proof than civil cases.

“I’m really surprised. Most other lawsuits have found that Tepco is guilty, so I can’t understand why the criminal court is the odd one out,” said Masako Sawai, who is part of a civil group accusing the former executives of negligence.

The trial, which started in June 2017, was conducted by state-appointed lawyers after prosecutors decided not to bring charges against the Tepco executives.

“We are aware that there is an ongoing lawsuit over the criminal responsibility of three former executives regarding the nuclear disaster, but we will refrain from commenting on the case,” a spokesperson for Tepco said.

The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear station, located about 220 kilometres (130 miles) northeast of Tokyo, was rocked by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011, sparking three reactor meltdowns and prompting Japan to shut down its entire fleet of nuclear reactors.

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/tokyo-court-upholds-not-guilty-verdict-ex-tepco-execs-over-fukushima-disaster-2023-01-18/?fbclid=IwAR2_1kbQYYHVEKrBcK8Fr4uR8pT0dpDiKCTK9MuzAt1BUHNHxmAaHBAO60k

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

High Court’s TEPCO Fukushima Ruling Could Be Bellwether for Other Cases

From left: Tsunehisa Katsumata, Ichiro Takekuro and Sakae Muto

January 16, 2023

Could the meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have been prevented? The Tokyo High Court is looking into a criminal case and will soon rule on whether the unprecedented accident could have been prevented by expecting such a massive tsunami. Civil court rulings on the same issue have been split, so all eyes are on the high court to see how it will rule.

The Tokyo High Court will on Wednesday hand down its ruling on whether three former executives of what was then Tokyo Electric Power Co. are responsible for the accident in 2011. The three had been acquitted by the Tokyo District Court of charges of professional negligence resulting in death.

The lower court’s ruling in September 2019 acquitted former TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former Executive Vice Presidents Ichiro Takekuro and Sakae Muto, who were in charge of the nuclear power plant.

During closing arguments of the appeal at the Tokyo High Court on June 6, 2022, court-appointed lawyers for the prosecution criticized the lower court decision.

“Denying that the defendants had responsibility is unjust,” one said, demanding the district court ruling be overturned.

The three defendants were handed mandatory indictment on charges related to causing the nuclear accident by failing to take measures even though they could expect such a huge tsunami, resulting in the deaths of 44 people who were evacuated from Futaba Hospital in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture.

The two main points of contention in the trial of the three men are whether the massive tsunami could have been expected and whether the accident could have been prevented by taking measures.

In the district court, the judges ruled that “the only way to prevent the accident was to stop the operation of the plant.”

As for expectations of a natural disaster, the government had released in 2002 a long-term assessment that presents the possibility of a massive earthquake and tsunami hitting off places such as Fukushima Prefecture. The district court ruled that such an assessment was unreliable and deemed that the defendants could not be held criminally liable because they “could not expect a massive tsunami in concrete terms and were under no legal obligation to stop the operation of the plant.”

The district court limited the possible measures to prevent the accident to the “shutdown of the plant,” a measure that is not readily practiced.

During the appeal, the appointed lawyers for the prosecution emphasized that a shutdown of a plant is the last resort, and the accident could have been prevented through basic measures such as building higher seawalls and making the plant facilities watertight. The defense reiterated that there were no errors in the judgment of the lower court.

Split decisions

The appeal began in November 2021 and concluded after three hearings at the Tokyo High Court. The appointed lawyers requested the examination of witnesses, including former Japan Meteorological Agency officials who participated in the compilation of the assessment, as well as an on-site inspection by judges. But these requests were turned down.

During a civil trial at the Tokyo High Court in February 2021, however, the ruling adopted the long-term assessment as “reliable” evidence.

At the Supreme Court, an appeal of this civil suit was heard and ruled upon in June 2022. The top court did not clearly express the reliability of the assessment nor the predictability of a massive tsunami, but ruled that the central government, the defendant, was not responsible for the accident.

“The size of the tsunami was larger than expected, and the accident could not have been prevented,” the Supreme Court said.

Shortly after this trial, however, the Tokyo District Court in July recognized the reliability of the assessment in a shareholder derivative lawsuit filed by shareholders of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings. The court, in saying that “the tsunami was predictable and the accident could have been prevented,” ordered the abovenamed former TEPCO executives and former TEPCO President Masataka Shimizu to pay about ¥13 trillion in compensation. This case adopted almost the same evidence as the current criminal trial, but the conclusion was the opposite of the one reached by the same court in the criminal trial.

Chuo University Assistant Prof. Satoshi Tanii, who specializes in the theory of criminal negligence, said that the hurdle for finding liability in a criminal trial where an individual faces punishment can be higher than that for a civil trial.

“In addition to the reliability of the long-term assessment, whether the measures to prevent accidents are limited to a shutdown or include more practical moves such as watertight measures will become one of the points that will determine the guilt or innocence of the defendants,” he said.

Source: https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/society/crime-courts/20230116-84274/

January 20, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima, Our ongoing accident.

Dec 19, 2022
What happens to the damaged reactors? The territories evacuated by 160 000 people? What are the new conditions for their return to the contaminated area since the lifting of the governmental aid procedures? Are lessons still being learned by our national operator for its own nuclear plants? We must not forget that a disaster is still unfolding in Japan and that EDF was supposed to upgrade its fleet on the basis of this feedback, which has still not been finalized.

Almost twelve years after the Fukushima disaster, Japan is still in the process of dismantling and ‘decontaminating’ the nuclear power plant, probably for the next thirty to forty years as well. In the very short term, the challenges are posed by the management of contaminated water.

  • All the contaminated water will be evacuated into the sea, by dilution over decades
  • Each intervention in the accident reactors brings out new elements
  • This has an impact on the schedule and the efficiency of the means used
  • At the same time, the Japanese government’s objective is to rehabilitate the contaminated areas at any cost
  • None of the French reactors is up to date with its safety level according to the post-Fukushima measures promulgated
  • Japan will resume its nuclear policy, time having done its work on memories

The great water cycle

Although Japanese politicians claim that they have finally mastered the monster, the colossal task of cleaning up the site is still far from being completed to allow for the ultimate dismantling, with the length of time competing with the endless financing.

After so many years of effort, from decontamination to the management of radioactive materials and maneuvers within the dismantled plant, the actions on site require more and more exceptional means, exclusive procedures, and unprecedented engineering feats (such as robotic probes), while the nuclear fuel inside continues to be cooled permanently by water (not without generating, to repeat, millions of liters of radioactive water).

But the hardest part is yet to come: containing the corium, an estimated 880 tons of molten radioactive waste created during this meltdown of the reactor cores, and managing the thousands of fuel rods. So much so that the complete cleanup and dismantling of the plant could take a generation or more for a total estimated cost of more than 200 billion dollars (according to an assessment published by the German insurer Munich Re, Japan is 150 billion euros), a low range since other estimates raise the bill between 470 and 660 billion dollars, which is not in contradiction with the costs of an accident projected by the IRSN in France.

The removal of this corium will remain the most essential unresolved issue for a long time. Without it, the contamination of this area will continue. In February 2022, the operator Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.) tried again to approach the molten fuel in the containment of a reactor after a few more or less unsuccessful attempts, the radioactivity of 2 sieverts/hour being the end of everything, including electronic robots. This withdrawal seems quite hypothetical, even the Chernobyl reactor has never been removed and remains contained in a sarcophagus.

(source: Fukushima blog and Japan’s Nuclear Safety Authority NRA)

Until that distant prospect arrives, the 1.37 million tons of water will have filled the maximum storage capacity. This water was used to cool the molten fuel in the reactor and then mixed with rainwater and groundwater. The treatment via an Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) is touted as efficient, but does not remove tritium. Relative performance: Tepco has been repeatedly criticized for concealing and belatedly disclosing problems with filters designed to prevent particles from escaping into the air from the contaminated water treatment system: 24 of the 25 filters attached to the water treatment equipment were found to be damaged in 2021, an already known defect that resulted in no investigation of the cause of the problem and no preventive measures after the filters were replaced.

The management of this type of liquid waste is a problem shared by the Americans. On site, experts say that the tanks would present flooding and radiation hazards and would hamper the plant’s decontamination efforts. So much so that nuclear scientists, including members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Japanese Nuclear Regulatory Authority, have recommended controlled release of the water into the sea as the only scientifically and financially realistic option.

In the end, contaminated water would have to be released into the sea through an underwater tunnel about a kilometer offshore, after diluting it to bring the concentration of tritium well below the percentage allowed by regulation (the concentration would be below the maximum limit of tritium recommended by the World Health Organization for drinking water). Scientists say that the effects of long-term, low-dose exposure to tritium on the environment and humans are still unknown, but that tritium would affect humans more when consumed in fish. The health impact will therefore be monitored, which the government already assures us it is anticipating by analyzing 90,000 samples of treated water each year.

Assessment studies on the potential impact that the release of stored contaminated water into the ocean could have therefore seem insufficient. For tritium, in the form of tritiated water or bound to organic matter, in addition to its diverse behavior according to these configurations, is only part of the problem. Some data show great variability in the concentrations of contaminants between the thousand reservoirs, as well as differences in their relative quantities: some reservoirs that are poor in tritium are rich in strontium 90 and vice versa, suggesting a high variability in the concentrations of other radionuclides and a dilution rate that is not so constant. All the ignorance currently resides on the still unknown interactions of the long-lived radioactive isotopes contained in the contaminated water with the marine biology. It is in order to remove all questions that a complete and independent evaluation of the sixty or so radioisotopes is required by many organizations.

As it stands, with the support of the IAEA so that dilution meets expectations, depending on currents, flows …, the release of contaminated materials would take at least forty years. Opponents of such releases persist in proposing an alternative solution of storage in earthquake-resistant tanks in and around the Fukushima facility. For them, “given the 12.3-year half-life of tritium for radioactive decay, in 40 to 60 years, more than 90% of the tritium will have disappeared and the risks will be considerably reduced,” reducing the direct nuisance that could affect the marine environment and even the food chain.

Modelling of marine movements could lead the waste to Korea, then to China, and finally to the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau. As such, each of the impacted countries could bring an action against Japan before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to demand an injunction or provisional measures under international law.

Faced with these unresolved health issues, China, South Korea, Taiwan, local fishing communities continue to oppose this management plan, but the work is far from being completed and the problem of storage remains. Just like the ice wall built into the floor of the power plant, the release of contaminated water requires huge new works: the underwater pipe starts at about 16 meters underground and is drilled at a rate of five to six meters per day.

Time is of the essence. The tanks should reach their maximum capacity by the fall of 2023 (the volume of radioactive water is growing at a rate of about 130 to 140 tons per day). But above all, it is necessary to act quickly because the area is likely to suffer another earthquake, a fear noted by all stakeholders. With the major concern of managing the uranium fuel rods stored in the reactors, the risks that radioactivity will be less contained increase with the years.In France, releases to the sea are not as much of a problem: the La Hague waste reprocessing site in France releases more than 11,000 terabecquerels per year, whereas here we are talking about 22 terabecquerels that would be released each year, which is much less than most of the power plants in the world. But we will come back to this atypical French case…

Giant Mikado

The operator Tepco has successfully removed more than 1500 fuel bundles from the reactor No. 4 of the plant since late 2014, but the hundreds still in place in the other three units must undergo the same type of sensitive operation. To do this, again and again, undertake in detail the clearing of rubble, the installation of shields, the dismantling of the roofs of buildings and the installation of platforms and special equipment to remove the rods… And ultimately decide where all the fuel and other solid radioactive debris will have to be stored or disposed of in the long term. A challenge.

The fuel is the biggest obstacle to dismantling. The solution could lie, according to some engineers, in the construction of a huge water-filled concrete tank around one of the damaged reactors and to carry out the dismantling work in an underwater manner. Objectives and benefits? To prevent radiation from proliferating in the environment and exposing workers (water is a radiation insulator, we use this technique in our cooling pools in France) and to maximize the space to operate the heavy dismantling equipment being made. An immersion solution made illusory for the moment: the steel structure enveloping the building before being filled with water is not feasible as long as radiation levels are so high in the reactor building, preventing access by human teams. In short, all this requires a multitude of refinements, the complexity of the reactors adding to the situations made difficult by the disaster.

Experience, which is exceptional in this field, is in any case lacking. What would guarantee the resistance of the concrete of the tanks over such long periods of time, under such hydraulic pressures? The stability of the soils supporting such structures? How can the concrete be made the least vulnerable possible to future earthquakes? How to replace them in the future?

All these difficulties begin to explain largely the delays of 30 to 40 to dismantle. The reactors are indeed severely damaged. And lethal radiation levels equivalent to melted nuclear fuel have been detected near one of the reactor covers, beyond simulations and well above previously assumed levels. Each of the reactors consists of three 150-ton covers, 12 meters in diameter and 60 centimeters thick: the radiation of 1.2 sieverts per hour is prohibitive, especially in this highly technical context. There is also no doubt that other hotspots will be revealed as investigations are carried out at the respective sites. The Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation (NDF), created in 2014, has the very objective of trying to formulate strategic and technical plans in order to proceed with the dismantling of said reactors. Given the physical and radiological conditions, the technical and logistical high-wire act.

Also, each plan is revised as information is discovered, as investigations are conducted when they are operable. For example, the reinforcing bars of the pedestal, which are normally covered with concrete, are exposed inside Reactor No. 1. The concrete support foundation of a reactor whose core has melted has deteriorated so badly that rebar is now exposed.

The cylindrical base, whose wall is 1.2 meters thick, is 6 meters in diameter. It supports the 440-ton reactor pressure vessel. The reinforcing rods normally covered with concrete are now bare and the upper parts are covered with sediment that could be nuclear fuel debris. The concrete probably melted under the high temperature of the debris. The strength of the pedestal is a major concern, as any defect could prove critical in terms of earthquake resistance.

Nothing is simple. The management of human material appears less complex.

Bringing back to life, whatever it takes

In the mountains of eastern Fukushima Prefecture, one of the main traditional shiitake mushroom industries is now almost always shut down. The reason? Radioactive caesium exceeding the government’s maximum of 50 becquerels per kilogram, largely absorbed by the trees during their growth. More than ten years after the nuclear disaster, tests have revealed caesium levels between 100 and 540 becquerels per kilogram. While cesium C134 has a radioactive half-life of about two years and has almost disappeared by now, the half-life of cesium C137 is about 30 years and thus retains 30% of its radioactivity 50 years after the disaster, and 10% after a century.

As more than two thirds of Fukushima prefecture is covered by forests, nothing seems favorable in the short term to get rid of all or part of the deposited radioactivity, as forests are not part of the areas eligible for ‘decontamination’, unlike residential areas and their immediate surroundings.

On the side of the contaminated residential and agricultural areas, ‘decontamination’ measures have been undertaken. But soil erosion and the transfer of contaminants into waterways, frequent due to typhoons and other intense rain events, are causing the radioactive elements to return, moving them incessantly. Scientists are trying to track radioactive substances to better anticipate geographical fluctuations in doses, but nothing is simple: the phenomena of redistribution of the initial contamination deposits from the mountains to the inhabited low-lying areas are eternal.

The Ministry of the Environment is considering the reuse of decontaminated soils (official threshold of 8,000 becquerels per kilogram), with tests to be conducted. For now, a law requires the final disposal of contaminated soil outside Fukushima Prefecture by 2045, which represents about 14 million cubic meters (excluding areas where radiation levels remain high). This reuse would reduce the total volume before legal disposal.

More generally, Japan has for some years now opted for the strategy of holding radiological contamination as zero and/or harmless. This is illustrated by the representative example of the financial compensation given to farmers, designed so that the difference between pre- and post-accident sales is paid to them as compensation for “image damage”, verbatim.

Finally, in the midst of these piles of scrap metal and debris, it is necessary to make what can be made invisible. Concerning radioactive waste for example, it must be stored in time. On the west coast of the island of Hokkaidō, the villages of Suttsu and Kamoenai have been selected for a burial project. Stainless steel containers would be stored in a vitrified state. But consultation with the residents has not yet been carried out. This is not insignificant, because no less than 19,000 tons of waste are accumulating in the accidental, saturated power plants, and must find a place to rest for hundreds of years to come.

In this sparsely populated and isolated rural area, as in other designated sites, to help with acceptance, 15 million euros are being paid to each of the two municipalities to start the studies from 2020. 53 million are planned for the second phase, and much more in the final stages. This burial solution seems inevitable for Japan, as the waste cannot remain at the level of the surface power plants and is subject at all times to the earthquakes that are bound to occur over such long periods (strong earthquakes have struck off the prefecture in 2021 and 2022). The degrees of dangerousness thus allow the government to impose a default choice, for lack of anything better.

On December 6, 2022, the Director General of the IRSN met with the President of Fukushima University and with a manager of the Institute of Environmental Radioactivity (IER). What was the objective? To show the willingness of both parties to continue ongoing projects on the effects of radioactive contamination on biodiversity and environmental resilience.

But France will not have waited for the health results of a disaster to learn and commit itself to take into account any improvement likely to improve the nuclear safety of its reactors. No ?

Experience feedback

After a few reactor restarts that marked a major change in its nuclear energy policy (ten nuclear reactors from six plants out of a total of fifty-four were restarted by June 2022), the Japanese government is nonetheless planning to build new generation nuclear power plants to support its carbon emission reduction targets. (A memorandum of understanding was signed by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi FBR Systems with the American start-up TerraPower to share data for the Natrium fast neutron reactor project; the American company NuScale Power presented its modular reactor technology). But above all, the government is considering extending the maximum service life of existing nuclear reactors beyond 60 years. Following the disaster, Japan had introduced stricter safety standards limiting the operation of nuclear reactors to 40 years, but there is now talk of modernizing the reactors with safety features presented as “the strictest in the world”, necessarily, to meet safety expectations. Their program is worthy of a major refurbishment (GK).

But in France, where are we with our supplementary safety assessments?

The steps taken after the Fukushima disaster to reassess the safety of French nuclear facilities were designed to integrate this feedback in ten years. More than ten years after the start of this process of carrying out complementary safety assessments (CSA), this integration remains limited and the program has been largely delayed in its implementation.

Apparently, ten years to learn all the lessons of this unthinkable accident was not enough. Fear of the probable occurrence of the impossible was not the best motivation to protect the French nuclear fleet from this type of catastrophic scenario, based solely on these new standards. Concerning in detail the reality of the 23 measures identified to be implemented (reinforcement of resistance to earthquake and flooding, automatic shutdown in the event of an earthquake, ultimate water top-up for the reactor and cooling pool, detection of corium in the reactor vessel, etc.), the observation is even distressing: not a single reactor in operation is completely up to standard.

According to NegaWatt’s calculations, at the current rate of progress and assuming that funding and skills are never lacking, it would take until 2040 for the post-Fukushima standards to be finally respected in all French reactors. And even then, some of the measures reported as being in place are not the most efficient and functional (we will come back to the Diesels d’ultime secours, the DUS of such a sensitive model).

Even for the ASN, the reception of the public in the context of post-accident management could appear more important than the effectiveness of the implementation of the measures urgently imposed.

Then, let us complete by confirming that France and Japan have a great and long common history which does not stop in nuclear matters. Among this history, let us recall that Japan lacks facilities to treat the waste from its own nuclear reactors and sends most of it abroad, especially to France. The previous transport of highly radioactive Mox (a mixture of highly toxic plutonium oxide and reprocessed uranium oxide) to Japan dates back to September 2021, not without risk even for the British company specialized in this field, a subsidiary of Orano. The final request for approval for the completion of the Rokkasho reprocessing plant, an important partnership and technology transfer project, is expected in December 2022, although the last shipments to Japan suffered from defective products from Orano’s Melox plant, a frequent occurrence because of a lack of good technical homogenization of the products.

No one is immortal

In the meantime, the ex-managers of the nuclear power plant have been sentenced to pay 95 billion euros for having caused the disaster of the entire eastern region of Japan. They were found guilty, above all, of not having sufficiently taken into account the risk of a tsunami at the Fukushima-Daiichi site, despite studies showing that waves of up to 15 meters could hit the reactor cores. Precisely the scenario that took place.

Worse, Tepco will be able to regret for a long time to have made plan the cliff which, naturally high of 35 meters, formed a natural dam against the ocean and the relatively frequent tsunamis in this seismic zone. This action was validated by the Japanese nuclear safety authorities, no less culpable, on the basis of the work of seismologists and according to economic considerations that once again prevailed (among other things, it was a question of minimizing the costs of cooling the reactors, which would have been operated with seawater pumps).

The world’s fourth largest public utility, familiar with scandals in the sector for half a century, Tepco must take charge of all the work of nuclear dismantling and treatment of contaminated water. With confidence. The final total estimates are constantly being revised upwards, from 11,000 billion to 21,500 billion yen, future budgets that are borrowed from financial institutions, among others, with the commitments to be repaid via the future revenues of the electricity companies. A whole financial package that will rely on which final payer?

Because Tepco’s financial situation and technical difficulties are deteriorating to such an extent that such forty-year timetable projections remain very hypothetical, and the intervention of the State as a last resort is becoming more and more obvious. For example, the Japanese government has stated that the repayment of more than $68 billion in government funding (interest-free loans, currently financed by government bonds) for cleanup and compensation for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, owed by Tepco, has been delayed. Tepco’s mandatory repayments have been reduced to $270 million per year from the previous $470 million per year. It is as much to say that the envisaged repayment periods are as spread out as the Japanese debt is abysmal.

Despite this chaotic long-term management, the Japanese government has stated that it is considering the construction of the next generation of nuclear power plants, given the international energy supply environment and Japan’s dependence on imported natural resources. Once the shock is over, business and realpolitik resume.

On a human scale, only radioactivity is immortal.

January 3, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023, Fukushima continuing, Reference, wastes | , | 2 Comments

Scientific or Unscientific: Divided Views on the Effects of Radiation Exposure from the Nuclear Power Plant Accident

Gillian Haas, former chairperson of the UN Scientific Committee, speaks to the press after meeting with Governor Masao Uchibori at Fukushima Prefectural Government on July 20, 2022.
Former UN Scientific Committee Chair Gillian Haas (right) and Governor Masao Uchibori hold the report in their hands at Fukushima Prefectural Government on July 20, 2022.
Former UN Scientific Committee Chair Gillian Haas (left) and lead author Mikhail Baronov speak to the press after meeting with Governor Masao Uchibori at Fukushima Prefectural Government on July 20, 2022.
Gillian Haas (back left), former chair of the UN Scientific Committee, and others answered questions at a July meeting with citizens in Iwaki, Fukushima, Japan.

October 6, 2022
Last March, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, a group of scientists from Europe, the United States, Japan, and other countries, released a report stating that the high incidence of thyroid cancer among young people in Fukushima Prefecture was not caused by exposure to radiation from the nuclear accident, but by highly sensitive testing. Researchers in Japan disagree with this report. They say that the report, which is supposed to be scientific, is based on “unscientific” analysis. What are the contents of the report?

 In July, the Scientific Committee held a dialogue meeting in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture, regarding the “2020/21 Report,” which was released last March. Gillian Haas, former chairperson of the committee, proudly stated, “This report is a reliable, independent, and up-to-date assessment.

 The report aims to “provide a more realistic assessment of radiation doses” than the 13th edition, which was released in 2002. The report took into account Japan’s unique dietary habits and other factors, and revised the estimates of radiation doses from eating contaminated food and other factors.

 For example, the coefficient for estimating radiation doses has been reduced to half that used in the 2001 edition, based on the assumption that kelp, which is traditionally consumed by Japanese people, contains high levels of stable iodine and is therefore unlikely to contain radioactive iodine, which can cause thyroid cancer. The radiation dose from food during the evacuation was revised to be “negligible,” and the effect of the evacuation of people indoors on reducing radiation exposure was estimated to be higher than in the 13th edition.

 As a result, the average radiation doses to the thyroid gland during the first year after the accident ranged from 1.2 to 30 millisieverts for one-year-olds in the prefecture and from 1 to 22 millisieverts for ten-year-olds, with the lowest values being about one-tenth of those in the 13th edition. Mr. Haas said at the dialogue meeting, “Overall, the radiation doses are extremely low. The possibility of an increase in cancer incidence in susceptible infants and children is not discernible,” he stressed.

 Since the nuclear accident, more than 300 people in the prefecture have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer or suspected cancer. This is a high incidence compared to the usual rate of 1 to 2 per million people. The report concluded that it is highly likely that the thyroid cancer was detected by highly sensitive ultrasound screening.

     ◇ ◇A group of researchers in Japan

 A group of researchers in Japan has voiced doubts about the contents of the report.

 At an online press conference held at the end of August, Tadashi Motoyuki, professor emeritus of radiobiology at Osaka University, criticized the report, saying that it “drastically underestimates [radiation doses] by using the minimum or lower values that can be estimated for various factors related to radiation exposure.

 Motoyuki first pointed out the problem of the “kelp effect,” which led to the lowering of radiation doses in the 2008/21 edition.

 The report cited as supporting data a study of only 15 people 55 years ago, which “is not helpful at all,” Motoyuki said. Due to changes in dietary habits, the most recent iodine intake of Japanese people cannot be said to be higher than the world standard, and the assessment is not based on facts, he said.

 As for exposure to radiation from food during the evacuation, it is clear that contaminated vegetables and other products were on the market immediately after the accident, and Motoyuki points out that this goes against the precautionary principle of adopting maximum values for uncertain items.

 The overdiagnosis theory, which was cited in the report as the cause of the high incidence of cancer, is also viewed with suspicion, as it “has not been scientifically verified at all” (Professor Toshihide Tsuda of Okayama University).

 At a press conference in early August, Dr. Yasuyuki Taneichi, a physician, explained that in Fukushima Prefecture, the size of thyroid cancer tumors is inspected based on strict standards to prevent overdiagnosis. In particular, he said that nodules smaller than 5 mm are not scrutinized closely, and that this does not constitute overdiagnosis, which he said detects small, non-life-threatening cancers.

 He also introduced a report that the use of highly sensitive equipment has reduced the number of cases that lead to surgery, as the detailed morphology of the cancer can now be determined. The report criticized the use of highly sensitive instruments, saying that they prevent overdiagnosis and that the report says the opposite.

 The Scientific Committee refrained from giving a detailed response to these points. Former Chairman Haas said during the interactive meeting that the report is a robust document and that its findings will not change in the future. (Tetsuya Kasai, Keitaro Fukuchi)

     ◇ ◇ ◇

 The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) was established in 1955, and as of June of this year, 31 countries, including Europe, the United States, and Japan, are members. UNSCEAR’s role is to review papers and other information and compile scientific evidence on the effects of radiation exposure on human health. After the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the Japanese government supported the preparation of the report to “dispel excessive anxiety about the effects of radiation,” contributing 71 million yen in FY13 and 70 million yen in FY17. The government has also used the report and other documents to deny any health damage caused by exposure to radiation in Fukushima.
https://www.asahi.com/articles/ASQB57VYKQ9GUGTB005.html?fbclid=IwAR3BN6Y8JaPJNlyIUPGeOub7OwQvaW9kPy6evxYvVV2ZX58fweZpoabGVZ4

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

The TEPCO Shareholders’ Lawsuit: Why TEPCO Executives Have Been Ordered to Pay 13 Trillion Yen in Compensation

by Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center · September 30, 2022

By Kaido Yuichi (Attorney representing TEPCO Shareholders)

Attorneys and supporters celebrate their victory outside the Tokyo District Court (Kaido Yuichi, the author, is pictured in the blue jacket)

A Nuclear Accident that Could Have Led to Collapse of the Nation Itself

We succeeded in winning a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs on July 13 in the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) shareholders’ derivative lawsuit* that I began working on immediately after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (NPS) accident. During the 10 years since we filed this lawsuit in March 2012, 62 sessions were held in Tokyo District Court. Judge Asakura Yoshihide of Tokyo District Court Commercial Division, who presided over the trial, took about 40 minutes to read the summary, with joyful applause filling the courtroom.

The ruling recognized damages in excess of the amounts paid for decommissioning, compensation for damages to the victims, and the costs of interim storage measures for decontamination resulting from the Fukushima Daiichi NPS accident, which had occurred due to breach of duties by the four TEPCO executives (Katsumata Tsunehisa (former Chairman), Shimizu Masataka (former President), Takekuro Ichiro and Muto Sakae (both former Vice-Presidents)).

The ruling thus ordered the four defendants to pay damages of 13.321 trillion yen ($97 billion) to TEPCO.

The ruling says first, that a nuclear power plant (NPP) operator has the obligation to prevent any chance of a serious accident, and that it was the executives’ responsibility to order the company to take measures to prevent a serious accident from occurring as a result of a tsunami. It also says that serious accidents at NPPs, such as reactor core damage, result not only in broken communities, but “could lead the nation itself to collapse.” The ruling determined that there was a duty to society in the public interest to prevent even the remote chance of such serious accidents from occurring. Here, the Supreme Court’s 1992 decision on Ikata NPP was cited.**

I think this ruling, in mentioning “collapse of the nation itself,” strongly reflects the judge’s experience in visiting a “difficult-to-return zone” and entering one of the reactors involved in the accident for on-site consultation.

Long-term Assessment by Suihon Reliable as Basis for Tsunami Countermeasures

In addition, this ruling recognized the reliability of the long-term assessment published in July 2002 by the Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion (a government agency abbreviated as Suihon) as a basis for implementing tsunami countermeasures. The assessment in question had indicated that tsunami-generating earthquakes had occurred offshore along Japan’s Pacific coast along the Sanriku (northernmost Honshu) area down to the Boso (Chiba) area three times in the past 400 years, and that there was a 6 percent chance of such a tsunami-generating earthquake occurring during the subsequent 30 years off the coast of Fukushima.

In particular, the long-term assessment was judged as having high reliability that was recognized as follows:

“In light of the facts that Suihon is an institution established as a state organ for the purpose of centralized earthquake evaluation; that the nature of long-term assessment is the objective evaluation of seismic activity, mainly through scientific knowledge, for the purpose of promoting earthquake disaster countermeasures; that the long-term assessment was compiled over the course of three stages of discussions by the Subduction Zone Subcommittee, the Long-term Assessment Committee, and the Earthquake Investigation Committee; and that many of our nation’s top-level earthquake and tsunami researchers were brought together to produce it, it is clear that the views in this long-term assessment cannot be regarded as if they were merely a prediction presented in one researcher’s paper or such. These points by themselves provide the scientific reliability that corresponds to definitive authority.”

Various views had been expressed, including that there were differences between localities from north to south, such as the presence of accretionary complexes (wedges) along the Japan Trench, but none of them had amounted to anything more than hypothetical conjecture and could not form a basis for tsunami countermeasures. Regarding the tsunami evaluation technology employed by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers in 2002, on which TEPCO’s executives based their assertion that there were no wave-generating sources located off the coast of Fukushima, it was judged as having been put together without actual consideration of such wave-generating sources.

The initial decision by Tokyo District Court on September 19, 2019 in the TEPCO criminal trial held that the Suihon’s long-term assessment lacked reliability as a basis for halting nuclear reactors. It found the defendants innocent while making no judgement regarding measures aside from halting reactors for avoiding that outcome. Thus the current ruling is the exact opposite.

Whether the national government bears any responsibility with regard to the Fukushima nuclear accident is disputed. The majority opinion expressed in the Supreme Court’s ruling last June 16 mysteriously evaded a decision on this burning issue. Furthermore, in the elaborate Miura minority opinion included in that ruling for appearances’ sake, the reliability of basing tsunami countermeasures on the long-term assessment was recognized, just as it has been in the current ruling.

The clear judgement indicated in the current ruling is likely the result of influence from testimonies during the criminal trial from Long-term Assessment Committee Chairman Shimazaki Kunihiko, Maeda Kenji of the Suihon Secretariat and Tsuji Yoshinobu, a leading expert in earthquake research, who were adopted as witnesses along with Hamada Nobuo, director of Japan Meteorological Agency’s seismology and volcano division, who was also a subcommittee member. Not one of these experts challenged the conclusion of the long-term assessment; rather, they testified that the opinions summarized in the consensus should have been respected by both the national government and the electric power industry.

Moreover, this ruling held that reliability as a basis for tsunami countermeasures was recognized even for the knowledge revealed in Satake Kenji’s thesis, in which he modeled the wave source that produced the tsunami in the 869 Jogan earthquake based on a survey of tsunami sediments. This ruling did not limit its judgement to the reliability of public institutions’ views only.

Defendants’ Liability Owing to Unsatisfactory Professional Conduct

In addition, regarding the fact that defendant Muto Sakae rejected proposals from TEPCO’s civil engineering group, who suggested taking tsunami countermeasures in June and July 2008, and took no countermeasures whatsoever over a period of several years until their assessment was compiled (inaction in this case), Muto was suspected of delaying countermeasures. However, even if the rationality of his actions could be acknowledged somehow, the inaction by the civil engineering group resulted in continuation of conditions under which the nuclear reactors would have been unable to handle a natural disaster, and he was found guilty because there was no latitude for allowing that.

Regarding the plaintiff’s claim that postponement of the measures could be seen as unreasonable, the ruling recognized that, “Given facts such as that in his consultations with other NPS operators, Sakai Toshiaki of TEPCO’s civil engineering group said that, regarding the policies behind Muto’s decisions, it was a matter of how TEPCO would manage if the Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini reactors were shut down while those at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa were idled; the fact that after giving his opinion on the long-term assessment in an e-mail to Takao Makoto and Kaneto Toshimichi of the same engineering group, Sakai also pointed out regarding the Jogan tsunami that the Electric Technology Research Association was asking if it would be too much trouble to ask for more time, and he took it to mean that with regard to Muto’s decision he should play for time and not implement tsunami countermeasures; and that there were critical reactions to Muto’s decision policies among councils within Japan’s nuclear power industry, such as ‘Are such delays okay? and ‘Why has such a decision been made?’ Suspicions that Muto’s decision may have been a deliberate ploy to put off measures for the sake of TEPCO’s management cannot be dispelled. However, even based on these points, a certain rationality to Muto’s decision has been deemed as undeniable, but I think this is because the ruling has been written in such a way that it will not be overturned by the high court.

First, with this kind of judgement assumed, this ruling acknowledges facts such as that TEPCO’s civil engineering group had established a policy of taking tsunami countermeasures, explained this to others in the company including the president at a “Gozen Kaigi” (literally “Imperial Council”) in February 2008, and also explained its policy for taking tsunami countermeasures in response to Suihon’s long-term assessment in a Q&A it compiled for handling inquiries at the time of the interim quake-resistance back-check in March. In the Q&A, it states that Muto’s decision in itself was “Not based on the engineering group’s explanations and opinions, but his own judgement in opposition to those.”

The first ruling by the criminal court mentioned above held that the information revealed at the ‘Imperial Council’ with the president was unacceptable, misinterpreting the evidence, but it did recognize the reliability of the prosecutor’s statement from Yamashita Kazuhiko, director of the Countermeasure Center for the Niigata Chuetsu Offshore Earthquake, who testified on this point.

Also, given that consideration by the civil engineering group would take at least several years and construction of seawalls would take at least several years more, in the event of a tsunami, there was a high likelihood of it resulting directly in a serious accident with enormous damage, and thus the current ruling holds that these countermeasures had a high priority, that it was an urgently important issue and that it indicates problems regarding the very basis of TEPCO’s management. Moreover, if this way of thinking is “hindsight” after the accident, it notes, “In the final analysis, there was a common perception at TEPCO that such a tsunami would not be brought up until measures such as a seawall could be completed” and “It shows a lack of ability to envisage severe accidents, a lack of awareness regarding safety, and laxity in perceptions, which should have been considered fundamental for TEPCO as an NPS operator to have had prior to the accident. This is unacceptable.” Thus the defendants were found guilty.

Defendant Takekuro, who was the executive in charge of nuclear power, also heard defendant Muto’s explanation in a similar way in August of that year, so his responsibility was recognized in the same way as Muto’s.

Also, even regarding then President Shimizu and then Chairman Katsumata, at the February 2009 Imperial Council, views were recognized from persons with reasonable credibility that took a large-scale tsunami into account, so indeed it was affirmed that they had the duty of due care because they could have made an appropriate decision by investigating and discussing tsunami countermeasures. The defendants claimed that the Imperial Council served simply as a venue for sharing information, but the ruling did not recognize the defendants’ excuse, because “An Imperial Council should be considered an important meeting regarding the conduct of affairs at TEPCO, and that the president, chairman and other executives attend it and express their opinions means that these are not just private words and deeds, but actions in the execution of business by the directors.”

A Fundamental Lack of Safety Awareness and Sense of Responsibility Required from NPS Operators

In the section of the ruling summing up judgments that recognized unsatisfactory professional conduct by the defendants, the ruling pointed out the responsibility of TEPCO’s executives in the following harsh terms.

“Looking at the circumstances of this case, TEPCO did not take action based on safety awareness, which is a matter of course and very rigorously demanded from a nuclear power plant operator, with consideration of all possible countermeasures before accidents happen, and in accordance with the degree of risk, how such countermeasures may be implemented quickly based on the latest scientific knowledge so that even unlikely severe accidents do not have a chance to occur. Instead, almost consistently, they failed to reveal information they had obtained themselves in their relations with NISA (Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency) and other regulating authorities…and what stands out is that they took great pains to figure how they could use the most convenient parts of experts’ opinions while ignoring inconvenient parts and keeping them from coming to light so that they could maintain the status quo to the utmost.

“Even when the division in charge of tsunami countermeasures, which was negotiating with NISA and others, found the situation no longer sustainable and declared that they would take genuine measures against tsunamis, the defendants did not accept the opinions of that division. To the contrary, they decided to continue examining matters such as wave sources using external organizations (citation note: this refers to the Japan Society of Civil Engineers) through which they could effectively involve themselves in discussions. Moreover, during that time, they implemented no tsunami countermeasures whatsoever.

“Within TEPCO at that time, the judgement and responses of the defendants may have been actions that could have been viewed as reasonable and a matter of course, so to speak, but it must be said that the safety awareness and sense of responsibility required from nuclear power plant operators and their executives whether before or after the accident in this case were fundamentally lacking.”

The above words can be viewed in the context of comprehensive recognition of facts on such matters as results of tsunami height calculations and behind-the-scenes negotiations with experts, which TEPCO could not bring itself to submit even to NISA, or if it did, it presented them in a misleading way.

Then, what the defendants chose as their tsunami countermeasures were items like large-scale seawalls, which were expected to take a certain amount of time to implement—measured in multiple years—while continuing to operate the reactors as these countermeasures were being completed, but it would have been possible for them to have thought of and implemented emergency measures against tsunamis such as waterproofing the main buildings and rooms with important equipment. Those countermeasures could have been completed before the accident, and in fact, examples of those are acknowledged to have been implemented at the Hamaoka NPS, Tokai Daini NPS and JAEA (Japan Atomic Energy Agency) prior to the time the accident occurred. Judge Asakura Yoshihide and his team conducted an on-site investigation of the Fukushima Daiichi NPS in October 2021 and confirmed conditions at the site and specific places where waterproofing work should have been implemented.

The majority opinion of the Supreme Court mentioned above, which denied the government’s liability, overlooked this point, but the Miura minority opinion in the Supreme Court’s ruling indicated a similar judgement as in the current ruling.

Against the Denial of Responsibility and Disavowal of Damage by TEPCO and the Government

The only trials looking into the individual responsibility of former management figures in the nuclear accident and TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi NPS have been the TEPCO criminal trial and the current shareholder derivative lawsuit.

The excellent ruling we achieved this time made it clear to the entire nation that the Fukushima nuclear accident occurred due to a fundamental lack of safety awareness and sense of responsibility among TEPCO’s executives. We can say that we have gained an extremely valuable bridgehead against the denial of responsibility and disavowal of damage by TEPCO and the Japanese government. Requests were made at the hearing of immediate appeal of the TEPCO criminal trial by the designated lawyers and plaintiffs’ representatives to look into the evidence for the ruling and to reopen the case. If we are able to reopen that case and have the documented facts associated with this ruling examined as evidence, there is a tremendously strong possibility of having the verdict of innocent reconsidered.

The four defendants have appealed the ruling. The plaintiffs are appealing former Managing Executive Officer Komori Akio’s exclusion from the demand for compensation on the grounds that his term as an executive at TEPCO had been too short. The stage for the case will move on to Tokyo High Court, and I invite you to keep an interested eye on it in the future.

*A shareholders’ derivative lawsuit can be launched by shareholders against company executives whose actions have caused the company damages. If the plaintiffs win the lawsuit, damages are paid by the executives to the company, not to the shareholders.

**The Supreme Court’s judgement on the annulment of the Ikata NPP Unit 1 operating license, even though it rejected the annulment, stated that it was the duty of NPP operators to ensure that the safety of their NPPs was based on the most recent information available.  

Source: https://cnic.jp/english/?p=6288

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

Number of evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture due to the nuclear power plant accident

Mr. Seiichi Nakate (right) handed a written request to the Reconstruction Agency at the House of Representatives building in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on March 23.

August 23, 2022
On August 23, three groups of evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture requested the Reconstruction Agency not to exclude approximately 6,600 people from the number of evacuees from outside of Fukushima Prefecture due to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, because their whereabouts cannot be confirmed. The reduction in the number of evacuees in the statistics may lead to a trivialization of the damage caused by the nuclear power plant accident.
 The Reconstruction Agency compiles the number of evacuees based on the information that evacuees have reported to the municipalities where they have taken refuge. In some cases, such as when evacuees move away without notifying the local government, their whereabouts are lost. As a result of the survey conducted since last September, approximately 2,900 people’s whereabouts are unknown, and approximately 2,480 people have moved without notifying the municipality. In addition, a total of 6,604 people will be excluded from the evacuee statistics, including approximately 1,110 people who answered “will not return” in the survey.
 As of April, the number of out-of-prefecture evacuees was approximately 23,000, a decrease of more than 3,300 from January, as reports continue to follow this policy. The number is expected to continue to decrease as each municipality works to correct the situation.
 The request was made on this day by the National Association of Evacuees for the “Right to Evacuation” and others. Seiichi Nakate, 61, co-chairman of the association and an evacuee from Fukushima City to Sapporo City, said, “Even though I no longer have the intention to return, I am aware that I am an ‘evacuee. I cannot allow myself to be excluded by the government.” He handed the written request to a Reconstruction Agency official. The official explained that the exclusion would be made in order to match the actual situation of the evacuees, but that it would not affect the support measures.
 At the press conference, Nakate said, “Eleven years have passed since the accident, and the number of official support measures at the evacuation sites is decreasing every year. The evacuee statistics are the basis for all support measures, and I am concerned that they may lead to further reductions in support in the future. (Kenta Onozawa)
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/197673?fbclid=IwAR1Om2iDjG_pTgRouOTIf-Ji0p18kJC6R9bkXkJxDBKx66RYKjZkt14L3_Q

August 28, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

The shadows grow longer in Fukushima

The Fukushima No 2 nuclear power plant, as seen in March, is part of a complex that has come to define the region in northeastern Japan since disaster struck in March 2011

August 15, 2022

As Tokyo tries to woo residents back, plans to dump toxic water pose more perils

For Setsuko Matsumoto, 71, there will be no return to her hometown in Fukushima prefecture-that is despite the determined efforts of the Japanese government to win her over to the idea that it is safe to do so. And that goes for the many like Matsumoto who cannot countenance how they can once again live in neighborhoods that were devastated by the earthquake and tsunami more than a decade ago.

Having run a hair salon for almost 30 years in Futaba, a town 4 kilometers from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Matsumoto believes the place has no future. The government would have her believe otherwise. On Aug 30, it will lift the last of the restrictions imposed that have prevented former residents from living in the region permanently. It claims radiation levels arising from the nuclear accident in March 2011 are now low enough to be deemed safe.

“I don’t think that the town will be able to go on, even with the return of some elderly residents,” says Matsumoto.

Although 11 years have passed since the Fukushima plant’s cooling systems were severely damaged in the disaster, triggering the meltdown of three reactors and the release of large amounts of radiation, Matsumoto has her reasons for not moving back.

“Residing in Futaba is not an option for me,” she says. “The lack of shopping and medical care opportunities can’t be solved anytime soon and I don’t have a reason to relocate to a place with a worse living environment.”

Over the years, there have been sustained efforts-both from the top down and the bottom up-aimed at driving Fukushima’s reconstruction and revitalization. Seemingly limitless funds have been spent on that process, from the national government all the way down to township levels. These efforts are all bound up in the Japanese government’s economic and political ambitions to show the world that it has succeeded in managing the nuclear crisis.

Yet that strong desire to change Fukushima into something resembling its old form, or even something better, has encountered resistance from the likes of Matsumoto, who have lived with the effects of trauma for more than a decade.

Work proceeds in March on the construction of a shaft at the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant near the town of Futaba in Japan’s northeast.

As a result of the disaster, some 160,000 people like Matsumoto were evacuated from the Fukushima region. What the authorities had to contend with was a level-7 nuclear accident, the highest on the international scale of nuclear and radiological events. By the end of 2021, some 40,000 of them were still unable to return to their homes. But, with Futaba, the last of dozens of places ending their status as no-go zones, the government still faces a challenge in regaining the people’s trust.

In a survey conducted by Japan’s Reconstruction Agency and others, only 11.3 percent of respondents said they wanted to return to Futaba while more than 60 percent said they already decided not to return.

The town aims to attract 2,000 people back in the next five years but in a trial for overnight stays, beginning in January, has seen only 15 former residents have applied.

In a report in 2020, Miranda Schreurs, a professor and chair of environmental and climate policy at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, argues that the situation in Fukushima remains precarious because problems like the removal of radioactively contaminated waste, and issues such as incineration, still need to be addressed.

“It will still take many years to win back confidence and trust in the government’s messages that the region is safe,” Schreurs says in the report, adding that intergenerational equity is also an issue. The next generations will be left with the burden of completing the highly dangerous and complex decommissioning work at the Fukushima plant, she said.

The plans for Fukushima’s future also bump up against the government’s divisive decision to proceed with a plan to discharge the radioactive water from the plant into the Pacific Ocean. The water has been used to cool the highly radioactive, damaged reactor cores and would be sufficient to fill about 500 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Under Tokyo’s schedule, the ocean disposal will begin next spring.

Those plans present another blow to those former Fukushima residents who may be wanting to return to their old communities.

“Dumping the water went contrary to a government pledge of reconstructing my hometown Fukushima because it threatens a double blow to our community,” says Hisae Unuma, an evacuee who has been among those pushing for the government to scrap the decision.

However, despite the mounting opposition from people in and outside Japan, the Japanese government has not troubled itself to give the plan a second thought.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority of Japan officially endorsed the discharge plan on July 22.

On Aug 4, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, the Fukushima plant’s operator, announced the start of construction on the pipelines that will take the contaminated water out to sea. But Japanese media have already reported that these works were all but completed.

Japanese take to the streets in Tokyo in April 2021 to protest against the government’s plan for ocean discharge

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Japan must not discharge the contaminated water before a consensus is reached with all stakeholders, as well as with international agencies, after a thorough consultation. “This is a litmus test of Japan’s commitment to international obligations,” Zhao said.

On Aug 1, South Korean Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Cho Seunghwan said the government is considering whether to take the issue to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Cho said the government’s primary goal is to prevent Japan from releasing the contaminated water. “We do not accept the release plan”, he said.

Last month, a meeting of foreign ministers of the Pacific Islands Forum released a document criticizing Japan. The ministers said the ocean discharge could lead to “transgenerational impacts of great concern to the peoples of the Pacific”.

In Japan, the condemnations of official policy, along with petitions calling for the reversal of the decision, have been constant since the ocean discharge plan was confirmed by the government in April last year.

Among the environmental groups denouncing the plan is FoE Japan. In a statement, it says the Japanese government and TEPCO had much earlier made written commitments on the matter, that “without the understanding of relevant personnel, no actions will be taken”. However, the government still decided to go ahead with the ocean discharge without seeking advice from the parties involved, the statement says.

Civil society groups in the most-affected prefectures submitted a petition to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and TEPCO in March. Reaffirming their opposition to the release of the contaminated water, they demanded that the government pursue other alternatives. Consumer groups and fisheries associations are at the forefront of this action.

The petition has collected some 180,000 signatures from residents in prefectures such as Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi.

Masanobu Sakamoto, president of the National Fisheries Cooperative Federation of Japan, says the plan has not gained the support of the public and the fisheries industry and that the federation’s firm opposition remains.

Katsuhito Fuyuki, the board chair of the Miyagi Consumers Cooperative Association, likewise says the government’s disposal plan has failed to win public support.

“The impact of the 2011 nuclear accident remains and imports of Miyagi fishery products are still banned by nearby countries,” says Fuyuki, adding that the decision would deal a further blow to the local economy.

Tests are conducted in March on contaminated water from the Fukushima plant. Many are skeptical that the water can be treated safely.

Under the government’s plan, the authorities will gradually discharge the still-contaminated water from next spring. Japan insists there are no alternatives to the ocean discharge. It says that by the end of 2022 there will be no space left at the site for storage. Moreover, after a treatment process known as the Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS, the radioactive tritium-a radioactive isotope of hydrogen-will be the only radionuclide in the water and that it is harmless.

However, many environmental scientists and environmentalists are scathing in their condemnation of Japan’s narrative, saying it is misinformation aimed at creating a false impression that the consequences of the 2011 nuclear disaster are short-lived.

A report in 2020 by the environmental group Greenpeace says the narrative has been constructed to serve financial and political reasons.

“Long after the Yoshihide Suga (and Shinzo Abe) administrations are historical footnotes, the negative consequences of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown will remain a present and constant threat most immediately to the people and environment of Fukushima, but also to the rest of Japan and internationally,” says the report, referring to Suga as the then prime minister whose government approved the disposal plan a year ago.

According to the Greenpeace report, there is no technical, engineering or legal barrier to securing storage space for ALPS-treated contaminated water. It is only a matter of political will and the decision is based on expediency-the cheapest option is ocean discharge.

“The discharge of wastewater from Fukushima is an act of contaminating the Pacific Ocean as well as the sea area of South Korea,” says Ahn Jae-hun, energy and climate change director at the Korea Federation for Environment Movement, an advocacy group in Seoul.

“Many people in South Korea believe that Japan’s discharge of the Fukushima wastewater is a wrong policy that threatens the safety of both the sea and humans.”

Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, says the Fukushima contaminated water issue comes under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as it is a form of pollution to international waters.

There are strong grounds for individual countries to file a legal challenge against Japan’s plan, Burnie says.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202208/15/WS62f99f00a310fd2b29e7224e_1.html

August 21, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Dumps and Museums, the Legacy of a Nuclear Disaster

by Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center · August 4, 2022

Sayonara Nukes Fukushima Study Tour Report

By Takano Satoshi (CNIC)

On June 17–18, 2022, I participated in the overnight fieldwork tour to Fukushima organized by the Sayonara Nukes 10 Million People’s Action. Twenty-one participants visited facilities associated with the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) disaster by bus and listened to the voices of people affected by the disaster. I would like to report on the tour in this article.

Landfill site of government-specified wastes and TEPCO Decommissioning Archive Center in Tomioka Town

Departing Tokyo on the morning of June 17, the bus carried us to our first destination, the landfill site of government-specified wastes, located in the suburbs of Tomioka Town, Futaba District, Fukushima Prefecture. This site, which used to be a waste dump site named Fukushima Eco Tech Clean Center, was nationalized by the Ministry of the Environment Japan in 2016 and began to accept government-specified wastes in 2017. Delivered to the site among the specified wastes are the ashes generated by the incineration of sewage sludge, pasture grass and rice straw, as well as daily wastes from the eight municipalities in Futaba District. The radioactive contamination of the ashes is required to be between 8 and 100 kilobequerels per kilogram (kBq/kg). Contaminated soil gathered by decontamination work is not delivered here. This landfill site is scheduled to be used for six years for the specified wastes and ten years for the daily wastes from the municipalities. Radioactive air dose monitoring is planned to be continued after the landfilling at this site is completed. As of May 2022, the site has accepted 230,000 flexible container bags of wastes.

This landfill site was equipped with measures against water leakage, such as impermeable sheets laid on the ground before the landfilling, and a leachate control tank and treatment facility. Radioactive air dose monitoring was also installed. This type of landfill site is called a controlled disposal site. Another type of landfill site, a shielded site, has a concrete pit to prevent contact between water and wastes and is thus superior in radioactive substance shielding performance. The specified waste landfill sites outside Fukushima Prefecture are planned to be shielded sites. I wondered why these controlled disposal sites are only built in Fukushima Prefecture.

Tour participants visiting the TEPCO Decommissioning Archive Center

Our next destination was the TEPCO Decommissioning Archive Center, located in downtown Tomioka. The Archive Center exhibited not only information about the decommissioning of FDNPS; the cause of the disaster, damage compensation issues, and the operator’s responsibilities for the restoration of the local area were also explained. The exhibits were superficially apologetic, skipping all the information that could be disadvantageous to TEPCO. The cause of the disaster was explained as the failure of the company to predict such huge tsunamis and to provide preventive measures. The exhibits did not tell the truth — the governmental Long-term Assessment in 2002 estimated such tsunamis and earthquakes, and litigations against the company are ongoing over the assessment. To emphasize how TEPCO acted immediately after the occurrence of the disaster, a video was being screened, in which Ishikawa Masumi, director and assistant to Yoshida Masao, who was then the Fukushima Daiichi plant manager, was being interviewed. Mr. Ishikawa stressed that plant staff, having a strong sense of responsibility, made their best efforts to deal with the disaster, referring to the film Fukushima 50. However, if they had followed TEPCO in-house manuals, they could have announced the occurrence of meltdowns three days after the disaster, but they did not. The meltdowns were hidden for five years. The “worst-case scenario” by the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, which suggested that 30 million people living within a 250 km radius around the plant would need to evacuate if the disaster went out of control, was not mentioned. Exhibits about decommissioning did no more than justify the existing roadmap, in which the completion of decommissioning is scheduled for thirty to forty years in the future. For fuel debris retrieval, the submersion method turned out to be unpractical and the dry method has been employed, but it was not explained in detail just how technically difficult it might be to retrieve the debris. For the problem of contaminated water, exhibits took it for granted that the water would be discharged into the sea. It was not mentioned that the company is breaking the agreement with local fishermen in Fukushima; the operator simply declared that they would be ready to pay compensation if losses occur due to possible rumors about the contamination of seafood. There was no sign of remorse on TEPCO’s part found in these expedient exhibits.

A meal at the hotel

After the visit to the TEPCO Decommissioning Archive Center, we moved to the Japanese-style hotel in Soma City, where we lodged. The hotel owned rice paddies, and we were served rice that had been harvested there. It was delicious.

A rice paddy reflecting the morning sunlight

On the next morning, I woke up early and had a walk around the hotel. The morning sunlight was beautifully reflected in the paddies, and I found pretty frogs and dragonflies living there. The dose rate was 0.048 μSv/h, which was no higher than the dose rate before the disaster.

Frog and dragonfly near the rice paddy

The Great East Japan Earthquake and the Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum in Futaba Town; the Shunzan kiln, Obori Soma pottery area, Namie Town

After leaving the hotel in the morning, we joined Watanabe Hiroyuki, a guide from the Obori Soma pottery, a traditional craft industry in Namie Town. Firstly, the group visited the Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum in Futaba Town.

The Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum

This museum is run by Fukushima Prefecture. The museum placed stress on local efforts to restore the area, rather than the tragedy of the disaster or the seriousness of the damage. As an example, a video showed a schoolteacher, who said: “After the disaster our children became strong and kind.” A research paper says more than 30% of the evacuees suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. We were not able to hear any of the voices of such sufferers who might enable visitors to imagine the severe experiences they had. Concerning the increase in the number of thyroid cancer cases, only the researchers who deny the relationship between cancer development and radioactive exposure were introduced. The exhibit describing the Fukushima Innovation Coast project emphasized only positive-sounding aspects, and the voices of locals who remain unconvinced of the advantages of the planned facilities were not introduced. The exhibit indicated that the number of temporary dwellings for evacuees is rapidly decreasing, while voices criticizing the cessation of housing subsidies for evacuees outside officially-specified areas was not mentioned. People’s voices asserting evacuation as a human right, the voices pursuing TEPCO’s responsibilities, the sorrow of losing their hometowns, and the voices demanding compensation for the loss of their hometowns were almost totally ignored. Only the voices that suited the narrative of the restoration planned by the national and prefectural governments were presented. Not only we but also Mr. Watanabe, the guide, lamented the exhibits. Shouldn’t the museum present “memories” in such a manner that the tragedies of the nuclear disaster can be understood, that the memories can be handed on to the future, and that visitors will be encouraged to create a society independent of nuclear power generation?

The evacuation order was only lifted from the area that hosts the museum in 2020, but the dose rate on the premises was 0.03 microSieverts per hour (μSv/h), which suggested that decontamination work had been thoroughly carried out.

The dose rate in Obori was 1.84 μSv/h, highest in the tour

fter the museum, we visited the Obori Soma pottery area in Namie Town. All the residents in this area evacuated after the disaster. We visited a building where the Shunzan Kiln brand potter of the Obori Soma ware used to live and work. It was miserable. The place remained as it was when hit by the earthquake. The clock had stopped, indicating the time of the earthquake, pottery ware had fallen down and broken, and cracks ran along the floor. I spontaneously felt anger about the nuclear disaster welling up inside me, as I realized that the lifestyle that had been passed down for hundreds of years had been completely shattered. Air dose rates at the site were between 1.5 and 1.8 μSv/h, higher than at any other sites we visited during the tour.

According to Mr. Watanabe, there had been 21 kilns here before the disaster, but all of them were ruined. Fourteen potters rebuilt their kilns in the areas to which they migrated. Although the soil in the Obori area can no longer be used, they carry on the Obori Soma pottery craft, procuring soil from other areas. While the damage remains unrestored, the people who evacuated continue to make efforts to maintain their traditions.

Shunzan kiln workshop remains as it was when hit by the earthquake

Pilot soil recycling project in Iitate Village

Our final destination was Nagadoro in Iitate Village, where the soil collected by decontamination work is being used in a pilot recycling project. The evacuation order used to be applied to the entire Iitate Village, but it was lifted at the end of March 2017, with the exception of the Nagadoro district, which remains a difficult-to-return zone due to high air dose rates. In April 2018, the governmental “reconstruction and restoration plan” was approved for “specified reconstruction and restoration bases,” which included Nagadoro. In November of the same year, the Ministry of the Environment launched a pilot soil recycling project in Nagadoro, which consists mainly of two projects: a soil recycling yard and farmland development, and pilot agricultural produce farming. The upper radioactive concentration limit established by the government is 8 kBq/kg for the soil used for recycling, but when the soil is used for a mound to build farmland, the upper limit is 5 kBq/kg. Accordingly, the radioactive concentration of the soil in flexible container bags sent to the recycling yard development here was under 5 kBg/kg. The soil in the bags was firstly tested for radioactive concentration by means of an instrument called a Truckscan®. Soil that passed the test was unbagged by water jetting. It was then cleared of large objects and metal strips, mixed with property changing material as appropriate, sifted, and used as recycled material to produce a mound on which to build farmland.

Pilot flower cultivation project

In the pilot agricultural produce farming project, the radioactive soil that has been gathered from decontamination work and has been through the recycling yard is used to build a mound. The mound is covered with a layer of soil no thinner than 50 cm to further reduce radioactive exposure. When we visited the project site, only flowers, such as eustoma, hydrangeas and roses, were cultivated and no produce was seen. According to data, the radioactive cesium concentration of the produce harvested in the fiscal 2020 and 2021 years was between 0.1 and 2.5 Bq/kg. The area for flower cultivation was small, but mound construction was underway in a remaining large area of ground, and I expected that flowers would be cultivated on a greater scale in the future. It is unknown whether people in Fukushima or Japan want such soil recycling. The project is proceeding without any kind of social discussion. I find such a situation highly problematic.

Dumps and Museums, the Legacy of a Nuclear Disaster

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

Fukushima Daiichi NPS Accident Compensation: Citizens are paying more while NPP operators have had their share reduced!

by Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center · August 4, 2022

By Matsukubo Hajime (CNIC)

Research by CNIC has discovered that the FY2021 share of the general contribution paid each year by the major power companies, including TEPCO, along with the Japan Atomic Power Company and the Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited (a total of 11 companies) to the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation (hereafter “Corporation”) in order to defray compensation and other costs related to the 2011 Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) accident, has been reduced by 29.3 billion yen by the Corporation and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), with no explanation to Japanese citizens.

Japan’s nuclear power damage compensation system imposes a no-fault, unlimited liability on nuclear operators for accident compensations. As funds for this, the Japanese government mandates that the nuclear power operators take out insurance and so on against incidents in which they may be liable for compensation (Fig.1). However, the amount covered by this system is 120 billion yen, a figure far too small to pay out the compensations arising from the 2011 TEPCO FDNPS nuclear accident.

The government therefore established the new Corporation as a mechanism for the government to lend the costs necessary for the decommissioning of the crippled reactors and compensations (Fig.2).

The accident cleanup and compensation costs originally estimated at 11 trillion yen rose to 21.5 trillion yen in FY2016 (Fig.3).

The government bonds issued and allotted to the Corporation by the government to cover the costs of compensations, decontamination and interim storage of radioactive materials amounted to 13.5 trillion yen, the breakdown of which is as follows:

 – 7.9 trillion yen (originally 5.5 trillion yen) in compensation costs to be assigned to reinforcing repayments to the government from the general contribution and TEPCO’s special contribution

– Decontamination costs of 4 trillion yen (thought to be the profits gained from the sale of TEPCO stocks transferred from TEPCO to the government in exchange for one trillion yen)

– 1.6 trillion yen in interim storage costs (paid by the government).

The amount of the general contribution and the contribution ratio are determined each year by the Corporation’s operating committee and approved by the METI Minister. Each year up to FY2019, however, the 163 billion yen total contribution, determined on the basis of the profit levels of the major power companies prior to the nuclear accident, was allocated according to the capacity of the facilities held by each of the companies (Fig.4).

Compensation costs, as noted above, have risen by 2.4 trillion yen from 5.4 trillion yen to 7.9 trillion yen. To accommodate this increase, the general contribution up to the time of the nuclear accident was added onto the consignment fee (a power line user fee included in the power rates for each household, etc.) as a mechanism to recoup the costs (contribution for compensation) over 40 years (approximately 60 billion yen per year) for the purpose of having customers of power companies other than the major power companies also bear the costs, the logic for this being that the general contribution originally “had to be levied from the time commercial NPPs began operating in FY1966.” Recouping costs that were not, for some reason, included in the cost price in the past, regardless of whether or not there was any consumption, is totally unthinkable as a normal commercial act. While the retailing of electrical power has been liberalized, it has only been possible to introduce this system due to the recognition of a monopoly on power transmission and distribution.

The addition to the consignment fee began from the second half of FY2020. The sum recouped in FY2020 was 30.5 billion yen, half of the annual 61 billion yen, and the total general contribution was 193.5 billion yen (163 + 30.5 billion yen). As the annual 61 billion yen was recouped as consignment fees in FY2021, the total should have been 224 billion yen in a normal year. However, the approved total general contribution was 194.7 billion yen – a reduction of the contribution from major power companies of 29.3 billion yen.

A written question was submitted by Lower House Representative Yamazaki Makoto (Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan) to confirm this fact. The reply from the government stated that the contribution received from the major power companies was “163 billion yen in 2020 and 133.7 billion yen in 2021, the difference in the sums being 29.3 billion yen.” Moreover, a summary of the minutes of the Corporation’s operating committee contains a comment from the major power companies to the effect that the business situation is difficult due to an intensification of competition, etc.

This reduction in the amount of the contribution has broadly the following four issues. 1. While imposing on the citizens of the country a “past contribution” that would be unthinkable in normal commercial acts, the ones who should be footing the bills, the major power companies, are having their share of the contribution reduced behind the scenes. 2. Estimating the degree of the reduction for each of the 11 companies, it seems that, overall, each of them is now paying about 80% of what they did prior to the reduction. Nevertheless, the Chubu Power Company’s contribution has risen to 102.8% of what it was before. As Chubu Power Company decommissioned Units 1 and 2 of their Hamaoka NPP before the nuclear accident, their contribution was lightened at the time of the determination of the contributions in 2011. If this reduction has been cancelled, one could say that a penalty has been imposed on them for decommissioning their reactors. 3. With the exception of Hokuriku Power Company and Chugoku Power Company, the other seven major power companies have included the general contribution prior to the reduction in the cost price of their power. That is, the customers of these power companies have had the general contribution added onto their power rates. The total reduction for the remaining six companies who have had their contributions reduced this time amounts to 25.8 billion yen. These six companies are treating the reduced amounts as company profits while billing their customers for the general contribution. 4. The issued government bonds are non-interest bonds, but when they are redeemed, the government will borrow the funds from banks and others to hand over to the Corporation. The interest and other costs payable at that time will come from the national treasury, which means from taxes. The auditor’s report for 2017 estimated the burden on the government of the interest payments to be somewhere in the order of 131.8 to 218.2 billion yen. If the general contributions are reduced, the repayment period will be longer, causing the burden of interest payments and other costs to rise.

When the legal amendment adding past contributions to the consignment fee was carried out, the House of Representatives Committee on Economy, Trade and Industry attached an ancillary resolution stating, “Steps shall be taken to enable third-party checks, such as full information disclosure, etc.” It is unacceptable that the Corporation and METI are making these kinds of deceptive reductions in contributions.

source: https://cnic.jp/english/?p=6193

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

More Cases of Stomach Cancer in Fukushima Prefecture.

Stomach cancer, which has been confirmed in Fukushima Prefecture for eight consecutive years, was also found to be more common among A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki

August 10, 2022

Stomach Cancer Incidence Rate Rises among Women in Fukushima Prefecture

Radiation levels measured at Nagadoro, Iitate Village, which we visited for the first time on May 15, 2011, two months after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, after carefully contaminating and protecting ourselves. This meter could only measure up to 10 microsieverts/hour, and the radiation level was “9.99 microsieverts/hour. ゙lt/h” was shown and swept away.

On May 27, 2019 national cancer registry data was released on the government statistics website e-Stat.

(https://www.e-stat.go.jp/stat-search/files?page=1&layout=datalist&toukei=00450173&tstat=000001133323&cycle=7&year=20190&month=0&tclass1=000001133363&tclass2=000001133368&tclass3=000001133370&result_back=1&tclass4val=0)

Following up on my article that appeared on this website on August 26, 2011 (“Stomach Cancer in Fukushima Prefecture”: Confirmation of the 7th consecutive year of “high incidence of stomach cancer” — Should the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident no longer be regarded as a “major pollution incident”? (–) (https://level7online.jp/?p=4608), we compared the “National Incidence Rate of Stomach Cancer by Age Group” with the same rate in Fukushima Prefecture, based on the published data for 19 years.

Table 1 shows the results. Various age groups for both men and women exceeded the national average. In particular, in 2007, there were many age groups among women that exceeded the national average. Some of the age groups are double the national average (40-44 years).

Table 1.

On the other hand, only three age groups (0-4, 20-24, and 25-29) were below the national average. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to the “increase in the incidence rate of stomach cancer among women in Fukushima Prefecture” over the past few years.

Next, we conducted a comparison with the actual number of cases of gastric cancer in Fukushima Prefecture, assuming that the same rate of gastric cancer is occurring in Fukushima Prefecture as in the rest of Japan. This is a method to calculate the “standardized incidence ratio” (SIR) using epidemiological methods. The national average is set at 100, and if it is higher than the national average, it means above the national average, and if it is lower than the national average, it means below the national average.

The following is the result of the calculation of SIR for the period from 2008 to 2007 for stomach cancer in Fukushima Prefecture.

Stomach cancer] Number of cases in Fukushima Prefecture SIR

Male: 1279 88.3 in 2008

Male in 2009: 1366 94.1

10-year male: 1500 101.1

11-year male: 1391 92.2

12-year male: 1672 110.6

13-year male, 1659 110.9

14-year male, 1711 119.3

15-year male, 1654 116.6

16-year male, 1758 116.3

17-year man 1737 120.0

18years male, 1685 120.0

19-year man 1743 126.9

2008 female 602 86.6

2009 female 640 94.2

10-year female 700 100.9

11year female 736 100.9

12-year woman 774 109.2

13-year girl 767 109.9

14-year girl 729 109.0

15-year girl 769 120.3

16-year girl 957 139.4

17-year girl 778 119.6

18-year girl 744 118.4

19-year female: 817 131.8

The National Cancer Center considers a prefecture to have a “high cancer incidence rate” when the SIR exceeds 110. The SIR for stomach cancer in Fukushima Prefecture has been higher than the national average for both men and women since 2000, and the latest data for 2007 shows that the SIR for men was 12.6.9 and for women 131.8. The latest data from 2007 shows an abnormally high SIR of 12.6.9 for men and 131.8 for women.

We then tried to find the “95% confidence interval” for this SIR. This is one of the validation tasks in epidemiology, where the upper limit (or more precisely, the “upper limit of the estimate”) and the lower limit (or the “lower limit of the estimate”) of each SIR are calculated, and if the lower limit is 10 If the lower limit exceeds 0, it means that the increase is not merely increasing, but is a “statistically significant multiple occurrence” that cannot be considered as a coincidence in terms of probability.

The results are shown in [Table 2]. In Fukushima Prefecture, the incidence of stomach cancer in both men and women has been “significantly high” for eight consecutive years since 2000, and SIR has also been on the rise, showing no sign that the incidence of stomach cancer is slowing down. As is clear from the number of cases in Table 2, while the number of stomach cancer cases nationwide has continued to decline in recent years, the number of cases in Fukushima Prefecture, on the contrary, has increased.

Table 2

Incidentally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. published a report on the minimum incubation period for cancer, Minimum The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has published a report on the minimum latency of cancer, Minimum Latency & Types or Categories of Cancer (hereinafter referred to as the “CDC Report”). The CDC report on the “Minimum Latency & Types or Categories of Cancer” (hereinafter referred to as “CDC Report”) lists, in order from shortest to longest, the following

Leukemia, malignant lymphoma: 0.4 years (146 days)

Childhood cancer (including pediatric thyroid cancer): 1 year

Adult thyroid cancer: 2.5 years

All solid cancers including lung cancer: 4 years

Mesothelioma] 11 years

and so on [Table 3]. According to this CDC report, the shortest latency period for stomach cancer is “4 years.

Table 3

In other words, 12,642 Fukushima Prefecture residents who have contracted stomach cancer since 2015, four years after the occurrence of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, include 12,642 people from the same nuclear power plant. It is possible that some of the 12,642 Fukushima residents who have developed stomach cancer since 2015, four years after the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, developed the disease as a result of exposure to toxic substances released by the accident.

Prior to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, until 2010, stomach cancer SIRs among Fukushima residents were equal to or lower than the national average. The “excess” of the SIRs was the “excess” of the national average. It is eagerly awaited that the correlation and causal relationship between the accident and carcinogenesis will be verified from the viewpoint that the “excess” number of stomach cancer patients may include victims of the nuclear power plant accident.

Both the number of thyroid cancer cases and the incidence rate of thyroid cancer in males have increased.

Next, we will examine thyroid cancer, which is a concern because of its high incidence among young people, and the CDC report indicates that the minimum incubation period is 2.5 years for adults and 1 year for children. 1 year for children.

The incidence rates of thyroid cancer by age group and the number of cases by age group calculated from these rates are shown in Tables 4 and 5. In 2019, eight years after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, thyroid cancer was still confirmed in young people.

Table 4
Table 5

Among females, 2 were confirmed in the 10-14 age group, 8 in the 15-19 age group, 5 in the 20-24 age group, and 6 in the 25-29 age group. The total for all age groups was 199, meaning that patients who were under the age of 20 at the time of the accident in 2011 accounted for about 8% of the total at the lowest estimate and about 11% at the highest estimate [Table 5].

On the other hand, 4 males were identified in the 10-14 age group, 6 in the 15-19 age group, 1 in the 20-24 age group, and 2 in the 25-29 age group. The total number of patients in all age groups is 76, which means that patients who were under the age of 20 at the time of the accident in 2011 accounted for about 14% of the total at the lowest estimate and about 17% at the highest estimate [Table 5].

The SIR and its “95% confidence interval” for thyroid cancer are shown in Table 6. In both cases, the minimum incubation period for thyroid cancer, 2.5 years, had elapsed since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011.

Table 6.

In the latest 19-year period, the number of cases and incidence rate of thyroid cancer in Fukushima Prefecture increased for males. Both the number of cases and incidence rate decreased for females.

Significant “high incidence” continues for gall bladder and bile duct cancer.

No trend of increased incidence was observed for malignant lymphoma and leukemia ([Table 7] and Table 8]).

Table 7
Table 8

The most recent 2019 data also showed a continued abnormality in gall bladder and bile duct cancer, which is classified as a “solid cancer” according to the CDC report, with a minimum latency period of “4 years” (Table 8). The minimum latency period is 4 years.

Significant incidence” of gall bladder and bile duct cancer was observed in men in 2010 and in women in 2009, before the nuclear accident. After 2016, when the minimum incubation period of “4 years” has passed, “significantly high incidence” was confirmed in both men and women. The incidence was “high” for four consecutive years for males and six consecutive years for females ([Table 9]).

Table 9

Prostate cancer, which was found to be “significantly more frequent” for three consecutive years from 2004 to 2006, had its “more frequent” status eliminated in the latest 2019 data. Nevertheless, the SIR remains above the national average, so continued attention should be paid to this issue ([Table 10]).

Table 10

Finally, regarding ovarian cancer. The minimum incubation period is “4 years” (Table 11). Although “significantly more cases” were observed in 2013 and 2014 before the minimum incubation period, the SIR has been below the national average since then. However, the latest data for 2019 shows that SIR exceeded the national average for the first time in five years, and the number of cases in the prefecture continues to increase slightly, so it is important to pay attention to the data.

Table 11

Stomach cancer was also on the rise among A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Toshihide Tsuda, a professor at the Graduate School of Okayama University who specializes in epidemiology and causal inference, took a look at these data. Professor Tsuda said.

The situation is more severe than we had expected, and it has exceeded our projections by quite a bit. Not only thyroid cancer, which has already shown a clear increase, but also other cancers that are now on the rise are cancers that are also noticeably on the rise in the data on A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I feel that it is necessary to make appropriate preparations, quickly formulate countermeasures and enhanced risk communication, and discuss how to respond to the situation. I suspect that the actual radiation exposure was considerably higher than what has been publicized.”

The Ministry of the Environment’s “Uniform Basic Data on Radiation Health Effects, etc.” (FY 2008 edition) states

The Ministry of the Environment’s “Uniform Basic Data on Radiation Health Effects” (FY 2008 edition) states, “In adults, the organs most likely to develop cancer due to radiation exposure are the bone marrow, colon, breast, lung, and stomach.

(Figure below). In other words, an increase in stomach cancer has been observed among A-bomb survivors.

Ministry of the Environment, “Unified Basic Data on Radiation Health Effects, etc.” (FY 2008 edition)

To be sure, we also examined breast cancer and lung cancer, which are considered to be more common among A-bomb survivors, and found no “significant increase” in the Fukushima Prefecture data through 2007. However, a slight upward trend was observed for breast cancer in males, a rare cancer, since 2004 (5 cases in 2002, 7 cases in 2003, 10 cases in 2004, 11 cases in 2005, 10 cases in 2006, and 7 cases in 2007). The number of cases of breast cancer in the United States is also reported.

The number of people who have been living in the area since the last year (October 2021) is still very high.

Kenichi Hasegawa (68 years old), a former dairy farmer in Iitate Village, who passed away from thyroid cancer last October (2021), revealed in February 2008 that “a number of people in the village have contracted stomach cancer and died one after another,” and said the following.

People in their late fifties and sixties, younger than me, are dying. Most of them have cancer. This was not the case in Iitate Village before the nuclear accident.

They died at the same age as us, so it is even more memorable. And it is not long after the cancer is found that it gets worse and worse and they pass away.

If you get cancer when you are 80 or 90 years old, you may think that it can’t be helped and that you have fulfilled your destiny, but that is not the case if you are in your 60s,” he said.

Mr. Hasegawa himself had less than a year from the time he found out he had cancer to the time of his death.

In November 2002, Mr. Hasegawa and about 2,800 other Iitate villagers filed a claim for compensation from TEPCO for health concerns caused by high initial radiation exposure due to the delay in evacuation. In November 2002, they filed an application for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) with the Center for the Resolution of Nuclear Damage Disputes. The “fears” of that time are now beginning to become a reality.

Some scientists and journalists, by the way, have been reporting on the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) without any check of the data from the National Cancer Registry. (UNSCEAR).

“It is unlikely that there are any future health effects directly attributable to radiation exposure.

There are those who stubbornly try to deny the occurrence of cancer due to the nuclear accident, waving the UNSCEAR report as if it were a “banner”. However, the UNSCEAR report is not based on actual measurements due to the fact that Fukushima and other prefectures prevented the survey of radiation doses immediately after the accident. The UNSCEAR report, however, is not a fact in itself.

If you call yourself a scientist or a journalist and really want to deny the occurrence of cancer due to the nuclear accident, you should verify it with your own hands using the National Cancer Registry data, which is the “facts themselves,” instead of relying only on the estimated reports made by others. The national cancer registry data is also data for this purpose.

Source in Japanese: Level 7 News

August 14, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Legal Battles Continue over TEPCO and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Cause.

PRESS CONFERENCE: Yuichi Kaido and Hiroyuki Kawai, Co-chairs of the National Association of Lawyers for a Nuclear Power Free Japan Yui Kimura, Secretary-General, TEPCO Shareholder Derivative Suit (The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English interpretation.) 11:0012:00 Monday, August 8, 2022

August 14, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

No direct health effects seen from Fukushima nuclear crisis, ex-U.N. panel chair says

The U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation is everything but independent, and its report written mostly by Mikhail Balonov is full of baloney!

A boy is screened for thyroid cancer in Hirata, Fukushima Prefecture, in November 2020

July 20, 2022

The former chair of a U.N. panel on the effects of atomic radiation has reiterated the committee’s view that radiation exposure from the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture had no direct adverse health effects on local people.

“The accident led to no adverse documented public health effects that were directly attributable to radiation exposure from the accident,” Gillian Hirth told a news conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Noting that the investigation by the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation is independent and based on up-to-date data, Hirth said the conclusion is “unlikely to change significantly in the foreseeable future.”

Hirth observed that “future cancer rates that could be inferred from radiation exposure (from the Fukushima accident) are unlikely to be discernible.”

The nuclear accident, triggered by the powerful earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, happened at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings’ Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Regarding an increase in new thyroid cancer cases among local children, Hirth said that the rise “was judged to be the result of extensive ultrasensitive screening.”

The news conference was also attended by Mikhail Balonov, the main author of a report released by the panel in March last year.

Regarding the view that the report does not include enough data taken just after the accident, Balonov said that the impact of radiation on health is not something that occurs immediately.

While no adverse health effects have been observed until now, monitoring should continue, Balonov said.

Visits by officials related to the U.N. committee, including Hirth and Balonov, had been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They are set to attend a public meeting in the city of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on Thursday.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/07/20/national/un-fukushima-health-effects/

July 22, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

VOX POPULI: Power company execs should think of liability if accident occurs

Plaintiffs and their lawyers hold a news conference on July 13 after the Tokyo District Court ordered four former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pay 13 trillion yen in compensation.

July 19, 2022

I see something akin to chaos in the notably varied conclusions different courts reached in their verdicts of the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which Tokyo Electric Power Co. operates. 

Some courts ruled the government’s long-range assessment, which pointed out at an early date the possibility of a major tsunami, was scientifically reliable, while others raised their doubts.

Some verdicts severely questioned the responsibility of plant operators for failing to implement tsunami countermeasures, while other courts ruled that the government could not be held responsible as a regulatory authority because the disaster would have occurred no matter what countermeasures were in place.

Judges are human. As long as their decisions are made independently, I believe it is only natural that their opinions vary.

But as in a kaleidoscope where ordered patterns are created out of disorder, it may be possible to see a broad pattern emerge from the chaotic jumble of diverse court decisions.

When an accident occurs at a nuclear power plant, the government’s responsibility is not questioned too severely, but the utility and its executives are made to pay a huge price.

The Tokyo District Court on July 13 ordered former TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and three other former top executives to pay 13 trillion yen (about $94 billion) in damages.

If this ruling holds, the defendants will probably have to sell off their entire personal assets and, if necessary, eventually file for personal bankruptcy. That is the sheer size of the compensation they will have to pay.

The industrial-bureaucratic-academic complex dealing with nuclear power is dubbed Genshiryoku Mura (Nuclear power village) in Japanese. The “villagers” share common interests, but they do not share a common destiny.

I wonder how TEPCO’s current executives feel about the reality that has emerged from the court rulings to date.

And the government, whose destiny remains independent of the village’s, has started calling louder for nuclear power plants to be brought back online.

I respectfully suggest to utility executives that they think very carefully, as many times as needed, about how much 13 trillion yen actually is.

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14673447

July 22, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment