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Transfer sites for 610 tons of spent nuclear fuel undecided; decommissioning plans may be affected

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Spent nuclear fuel is stored in a pool at the La Hague reprocessing facility in northwestern France in October. It is one of the most dangerous sites in the world, with its 10,000 tons of spent fuel. We were afraid of the Fukushima Daiichi fuel pool 4  but it was nothing: The whole fuel of the Hague corresponds to radiotoxicity 360 times greater than Chernobyl.

 

About 610 tons of spent nuclear fuel stored at seven of the 17 reactors in Japan that are set to be decommissioned have no fixed transfer destination, it was learned Sunday, threatening to hold up the decommissioning process.

If it remains undecided where to transfer the spent nuclear fuel, work to dismantle reactor buildings and other structures may not be carried out as planned.

The tally excludes the six reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant, which was heavily damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The seven reactors are the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Fugen advanced converter reactor, the agency’s Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor, Japan Atomic Power Co.’s reactor 1 at its Tsuruga plant, reactors 1 and 2 of Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama plant, reactor 1 of Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane plant and reactor 1 of Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai plant, according to the companies and the agency.

The Fugen reactor has 70 tons of spent mixed-oxide, or MOX, fuel, a blend of uranium and plutonium recycled from spent nuclear fuel.

The agency has abandoned its plans to move the MOX fuel out of the reactor site in the current fiscal year to March 2018. It has considered consigning the reprocessing of the fuel overseas but a contract has not been signed yet.

The agency’s schedule to finish the decommissioning work by fiscal 2033 has remained unchanged, but an official admitted that the timetable will be affected if a decision on where to transfer the spent fuel is not made.

As for the trouble-prone Monju reactor, the agency has yet to submit a decommissioning program to authorities. How to deal with 22 tons of spent MOX fuel at the reactor is a major issue.

The Mihama No. 1 reactor has 75.7 tons of spent conventional nuclear fuel and 1.3 tons of spent MOX fuel, while the No. 2 reactor has 202 tons of spent nuclear fuel. Kansai Electric plans to take them out of Fukui Prefecture, which hosts the power plant, by fiscal 2035, but the transfer location has not yet been selected.

At the Tsuruga plant’s reactor 1, Japan Atomic Power plans to transfer 31.1 tons of the reactor’s 50-ton spent nuclear fuel to the fuel pool of reactor 2, with the rest to be transported by fiscal 2026 to a Japan Nuclear Fuel reprocessing plant under construction in the village of Rokkasho in Aomori Prefecture.

After being postponed more than 20 times, the completion of the reprocessing plant is currently slated for the first half of fiscal 2018 and the blueprint is undergoing screenings by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, a nuclear watchdog.

As nuclear fuel cannot be brought into the reprocessing plant until it starts operations after receiving all necessary regulatory approval, it is uncertain whether the Tsuruga reactor fuel can be transferred as planned.

Chugoku Electric aims to transfer 122.7 tons of spent nuclear fuel at its Shimane plant’s reactor 1 to the Rokkasho reprocessing plant by fiscal 2029.

Kyushu Electric hopes to take 97.2 tons of spent nuclear fuel at the Genkai reactor 1 out of its fuel pool by fiscal 2029, but the destination has not been fixed.

At three other nuclear plants with reactors set to be decommissioned, spent nuclear fuel is mostly planned to be moved out of the current pools to other pools within the same plant.

In the case of Tepco’s disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 plant, the site of the 2011 triple meltdown accident, where the 2,130 tons of spent nuclear fuel will be transferred to has yet to be decided.

Still, the decommissioning work for the six reactors there will not be affected in any significant way for the time being, as more urgent tasks, such as a survey of melted fuel, have been given higher priority, officials said.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/04/30/national/transfer-sites-610-tons-spent-nuclear-fuel-undecided-decommissioning-plans-may-affected/#.WQa0fZxJfbI.facebook

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May 1, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

The Fukushima Decontamination, Waste Storage, Processing and Recycling Utopia

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In Fukushima Prefecture, large quantities of contaminated soil and waste have been generated from decontamination activities. Currently, it is difficult to clarify methods of final disposal of such soil and waste. Until final disposal becomes available, it is necessary to establish an Interim Storage Facility (ISF) in order to manage and store soil and waste safely.

The only solution proposed is a storage facility of 16 km2 around the Fukushima plant for a period of 30 years. After that, time will tell, because the problems are endless.

The following materials generated in Fukushima Prefecture will be stored in the ISF.

1. Soil and waste (such as fallen leaves and branches) generated from decontamination activities, which have been stored at the Temporary Storage Sites.

2. Incineration ash with radioactive concentration more than 100,000 Bq/kg.

It is estimated that generated soil from decontamination will be approx. 16 ~22 mil. m3 after the volume reduction incineration, estimated value based on the decontamination implementation plan of July 2013. (Ref: approximately 13~18 times as much as the volume of Tokyo Dome (1.24 mil. m3) .

 

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Transportation to Stock Yards

In order to confirm safe and secure delivery towards the transportation of a large amount of decontamination soil, MOE implemented the transportation approx. 1,000m3 each from 43 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture from 2015-2016.

Actual achievement in 2016 as of July 30, 2016

Stored volume: 13,384m3 (58,766m3 in total)

Stock yards in Okuma: 4,883m3; stock yards in Futaba: 8,501m3

* Calculated on the assumption that the volume of a large bag is 1m3

Total number of trucks used: 2,279 (9,808 in total)

Stock yards in Okuma: 815 trucks; stock yards in Futaba:1,464 trucks

 

To construct facilities, it will need comprehensive area and 2/3 will be assumed to be used for facilitation. The possible volume for installation is to be 10,000m3/ha and 140,000m3/5ha for a storage facility, and will be installed from TSS to ISF sequentially.

Approximate period from contract with operators to ISF operation: 3months for TSS, 6months for delivery & classification, 12months for storage, 18months for incineration.

On the premise that infrastructure construction on roads for Okuma and Futaba IC would proceed as planned, the maximum volume of possible transportation is estimated: 2millions m3 /y before the operation of both IC, 4millions m3/y after Okuma IC & before Futaba IC, 6 millions m3/y after the both ICs operation.

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Landowners are still reluctant to sell their land to put the waste. In late September 2016, according to the official data of the Ministry of Environment, only 379 owners out of 2360 had signed a contract. This represents an area of 144 ha, or about 9% of the total project.

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The town of Okuma, is almost entirely classified as “difficult to return”zone, therefore it intends to offer all its municipal land to put the waste. This represents 95 hectares, or about 10% of land considered in the town. This includes schools, the Fureai Park with some sports grounds … The town has not yet decided whether it would sell or would lease its land.

Meanwhile, it is an abandoned village:

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The Joban railway line was partially destroyed by the tsunami, as here in Tomioka:

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Destroyed Tomioka train station and sorting facility for radioactive waste

Some parts have reopened, but not in the most contaminated areas; between Tatsuta and Namie. Japan Railway wants to fully reopen the railway before 2020, avoiding the coast. Decontamination should produce 300,000 m3 of radioactive waste. The radioactive waste bags are along the railway, but they will need to be take them away. The Environment Ministry is negotiating with landowners owning the land beside the railway, but this is not enough because few responded favorably. So it’s a game of musical chairs that is planned: use the lands where some waste is right now after they’ll freed by the transfer of the waste to the storage center located around the Fukushima Dai-ichi.

Meanwhile, the waste is piling up everywhere:

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Radioactive waste in Iitate

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Valley of radioactive waste in Iitate mura

This storage was not expected to last as long, which is not without causing problems because the bags do not hold. Here in Tomioka, weeds grow back:

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The equivalent of the Court of Accounts of Japan went to inspect some of these sites and found other problems, according to the Asahi. Those who receive contaminated soil, are elevated in the center so that the water flows over the edges where it can be harvested and controlled because the bags are not waterproof. There are up to 5 levels. With time and the weight of waste, a hollow that may appear in the center, and contaminated water accumulates there. Monitoring is difficult or impossible. See diagram of Asahi:

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It is not normal that the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, the NRA does not control these storage sites for radioactive waste.

Regarding the waste from the decommissioning of nuclear power plants, the NRA wants to bury the most contaminated within 70 meters for 100 000 years. This is essentially reactor control rods. Utilities would bear responsibility for 300 to 400 years. They have not yet found where to have the sites … Read Asahi for more. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609020034.html

The government relies on the radioactive decay for these wastes to pass below the 8000 Bq / kg to be downgraded and utilized …

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http://josen.env.go.jp/en/pdf/progressseet_progress_on_cleanup_efforts.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , , | Leave a comment