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Burying Radioactive Rubble in the Schoolyard of Primary Schools in Yokohama

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Question: “Why on earth would anyone do this?”

Answer:”I guess it’s better than sitting unprotected in barrels on the school grounds for years until the national govt got around to classifying the sludge as radioactive waste. And burying it on school grounds has a precedent in Fukushima that everyone seems to think is OK. Why would Yokohama be treated any differently? (Please read in sarcastic tone of voice.)

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Special credits to Jack Hiro and Beverly Findley-Kaneko for this information and comments.

 

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Where to put all the radioactive waste is now the burning issue

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The call might have been made to decommission five over-the-hill nuclear reactors, but the problem remains of where to dispose of their total 26,820 tons of radioactive waste.

The plant operators have yet to find disposal sites, and few local governments are expected to volunteer to store the waste on their properties.

The decommissioning plans for the five reactors that first went into service more than 40 years ago was green-lighted by the Nuclear Regulation Authority on April 19.

It is the first NRA approval for decommissioning since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster triggered by the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami.

That disaster led to a new regulation putting a 40-year cap, in principle, on the operating life span of reactors.

The reactors to be decommissioned are the No. 1 reactor at Japan Atomic Power Co.’s Tsuruga plant in Fukui Prefecture; the No. 1 reactor at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai plant in Saga Prefecture; the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama plant in Fukui Prefecture; and the No. 1 reactor at Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane plant in Shimane Prefecture.

The decommissioning will be completed between fiscal 2039 and fiscal 2045 at a total cost of 178.9 billion yen ($1.64 billion), according to the utilities.

In the process, the projects are expected to produce 26,820 tons of radioactive waste–reactors and pipes included.

An additional 40,300 tons of waste, such as scrap construction material, will be handled as nonradioactive waste due to radiation doses deemed lower than the government safety limit.

Securing disposal sites for radioactive waste has proved a big headache for utilities.

About 110 tons of relatively high-level in potency radioactive waste, including control rods, are projected to pile up from the decommissioning of the No. 1 reactor at the Mihama plant.

Such waste needs to be buried underground deeper than 70 meters from the surface and managed for 100,000 years, according to the NRA’s guidelines.

In addition, the decommissioning of the same reactor will generate 2,230 tons of less toxic waste as well, including pipes and steam generators.

Under the current setup, utilities must secure disposal sites on their own.

Kansai Electric, the operator of the Mihama plant, has pledged to find a disposal site “by the time the decommissioning is completed.”

But Fukui Prefecture, which hosts that plant and others, is demanding the waste from the Mihama facility be disposed of outside its borders.

The project to dismantle the reactor and other facilities has been postponed at Japan Atomic Power’s Tokai plant in Ibaraki Prefecture because the company could not find a disposal site for the relatively high-level waste.

The decommissioning of the reactor had been under way there since before the Fukushima disaster.

The expected difficulty of securing disposal sites could jeopardize the decommissioning timetable, experts say.

Even finding a disposal site for waste that will be handled as nonradioactive has made little headway.

What is more daunting is the hunt for a place to store high-level radioactive waste that will be generated during the reprocessing of spent fuel, they said.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201704200039.html

April 20, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Designation of radioactive waste lifted

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Japan’s environment ministry has lifted the radioactive designation it applied to a batch of waste after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.

About 200 kilograms of waste stored at a private facility in Yamagata Prefecture can now be disposed of as general waste.

People familiar with the matter say the radioactivity level of the waste was confirmed to be lower than the government-set level of 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.

The ministry said it sent a letter, dated January 13th, to notify the facility of its decision to lift the designation.

It is the first time the ministry has lifted the designation for waste kept by a private company in connection with the nuclear accident.
Last July, the ministry lifted the designation of radioactive waste stored in the city of Chiba, just outside Tokyo. It was the first case among municipalities storing radioactive waste from the Fukushima accident’s fallout.

Ministry officials say as of September 30th last year, there was about 179,000 tons of waste designated as radioactive across the country.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170117_13/

 

January 18, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2016, Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Environment Ministry to consolidate management of radioactive waste from Fukushima disaster

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The government plans to set up a new bureau in the Environment Ministry to unify the handling of radioactive waste generated by the 2011 Fukushima disaster, informed sources said.

The bureau, which will also take on recycling management, will have around 200 staff and be created through a ministry reorganization in fiscal 2017 starting in April that will change the size of its workforce.

The reorganization will also abolish the Environmental Policy Bureau.

The government hopes the move will improve cooperation with municipalities damaged by the triple meltdown triggered at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture during the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Thus far, measures to deal with radioactive waste, including decontamination, have been handled by three sections — the Waste Management and Recycling Department, the Environmental Management Bureau and the Director-General for Decontamination Technology of Radioactive Materials.

The ruling parties’ task forces on accelerating reconstruction from March 2011 are requesting the integration move in response to complaints from the affected municipalities.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/12/18/national/environment-ministry-consolidate-management-radioactive-waste-fukushima-disastere/#.WFZ3llzia-d

December 19, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Government OKs multiple-site storage of radioactive waste

MITO, IBARAKI PREF. – The Environment Ministry has allowed Ibaraki Prefecture to continue storing waste contaminated with radioactive substances from the March 2011 nuclear disaster in multiple locations for the time being.
The ministry on Thursday supported ongoing use of the multiple-site storage option at a meeting with officials from Ibaraki Prefecture and 14 municipalities in the prefecture that are currently storing such designated waste on a temporary basis.
This is the first time the ministry, which has upheld a policy to construct one designated waste disposal facility in each of the prefectures of Miyagi, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba, to give the green light to multiple-site storage within a prefecture.
On Friday, Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa said at a news conference the ministry will continue coordinating with local municipalities to deal with the issue.
As part of the process, she said, it would consult with the community to move forward with lifting the designation on waste where radiation levels have lowered and consolidate remaining waste.
Designated waste, including incineration ash, sewage sludge and paddy straw, is contaminated with radioactive substances exceeding 8,000 becquerels per kilogram as a result of the triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant caused by a major earthquake and tsunami.
Although the ministry has been pursuing the policy of concentrating such waste in one location in each of the five prefectures for disposal, the construction of disposal facilities has yet to transpire five years after the nuclear accident amid strong opposition from local residents.
The ministry’s decision to tolerate multiple-site storage is apparently intended to overcome the situation.
The ministry plans to have the municipalities in Ibaraki Prefecture continue safely storing designated waste for now, and have them dispose of the waste as general waste after radiation levels fall below 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.
As a result, the ministry forecasts that the amount of designated waste in the prefecture will drop to about 0.6 ton in about 10 years from 3,643 tons at present.
It will examine whether multiple-site storage can be continued in Gunma and Chiba prefectures, where municipalities are storing designated waste indoors just like those in Ibaraki Prefecture.
At Thursday’s meeting, the ministry proposed rules that would require the central and local governments to hold talks in advance if the radioactive waste designation is to be lifted.
The ministry also indicated a plan to consider providing financial support to municipalities that dispose of the waste after removal of the designation as radioactive waste at their existing facilities.
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/02/05/national/government-oks-multiple-site-storage-radioactive-waste/#.VrTSbFLzN_l

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