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Fukushima’s contaminated water is an issue affecting all of humanity

An ocean dump could lead to a global ecological disaster

601575177786An image of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, including storage tanks for contaminated water, taken by Greenpeace campaigner and Swedish photographer Christian Aslund on Oct. 16, 2018.

December 1, 2019

As the possibility of Japan dumping contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant into the ocean has been raised, concerns are being voiced on the Korean Peninsula and through various international organizations. Obviously, it is South Korea that is leading the efforts at international coordination in organizations like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Maritime Organization (IMO), and World Health Organization (WHO).

The biggest issue that stands to arise if the contaminated water is dumped into the ocean is the major impact on the marine environment in the Western Pacific and the health of residents in the region, and South Korea is the closest neighbor to Japan.

In a recent piece published in the UK’s The Economist, Shaun Burnie of Greenpeace Germany warned that if Japan dumped the water into the pacific, radioactive material will begin flowing into the East Sea within a year. As Japan’s closest neighbor, South Korea has maintained that it has a right to sufficiently discuss the potential environmental threat and demand related information. During a South Korean parliamentary audit, expressions of concern about the Fukushima water release were coupled with demands for response measures to be put in place.

Unfortunately, these messages and warnings are not being expressed as part of a system of guidance and cooperation to permit a fundamental resolution. Rather, they amount more to a form of pressure within international discourse, which runs the risk of being shrugged off with pro forma logic. The predictions that radioactive material will begin washing into the East Sea within a year could change with the actual amounts and concentrations of water dumped; in the absence of real announced concentrations of inflowing contaminants, it does nothing more than to raise a threat.

More than the fact of the inflows over the year after release, we need to be aware that there are migrating species that could enter the waters near South Korea at any time. Also, what is to be done about the destruction to the marine ecosystem or the marine life that is being fished in the Pacific by the different countries? The result would be a disaster for humankind. We need a more in-depth and scientific examination to identify a disposal plan that allays the concerns of Japan’s neighbors as well as those of Japanese civil society and fishers, who are the ones suffering the ill effects first hand.

Plans for handling marine contaminants fall into five main categories. The first involves controlling the source. The most basic means of resolution is to replace materials and production processes and ban production and consumption to ensure that contaminants are not released in the first place. The second involves recirculation and reuse. This means either re-circulating contaminants through nature or reusing them for other purposes. The third involves storing the contaminants. In cases where no disposal method has yet been developed and reuse is not an option, the approach has been to contain and process them at a safe distance from areas of human activity.

The fourth involves controlling contamination through a regional quota system. This means applying different standards for management depending on the uses of particular waters; in South Korea’s case, marine protected areas and special management areas fall into this category. The last approach is contamination control through taxation. Under such a system, penalties are imposed in cases where contamination is unavoidable; as a rule, the party responsible bears the costs for compensation and restoration.
301575177857Lee Suk-mo, professor of ecological engineering at Pukyong National University

An ocean dump from a nuclear power plant at the current level, without any international regulations in place, would be utterly unacceptable and an affront to environmental justice for humanity today and future generations. Radioactive material decays naturally; if set apart and stored, it goes away naturally over time. But because of issues concerning time and space, this is not an economical approach, and new and effective disposal technology could be developed while it is being stored.

This is why the nuclear power plant water issue is something that should be approached as an issue affecting all of humanity, rather than one restricted to Fukushima and Japan. In particular, neighbors and countries possessing nuclear power plants of their own should make it a priority to cooperate fully in technological and economic terms.

Human disasters may start in one country, but it is through international cooperation that a country’s disaster can be resolved.

By Lee Suk-mo, professor of ecological engineering at Pukyong National University

http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/919137.html

December 2, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Transparency, the olympics, and that damned water, Part 1

DroneDaiichiJan2018-v01-1.pngJoe’s drone image of the water tanks at Fukushima Daiichi, December ,2018

 

Tuesday November 26th, 2019

Questions, questions…

It’s hard to say what we get more questions about lately, the 2020 Olympics or the plan to release water from Fukushima Daiichi to the Pacific Ocean. Both issues involve public safety. How safe from radiation will people be who will attend Olympic games in Japan next year, specifically those who attend events to be held in Fukushima? How safe is it for TEPCO to release the water containing tritium and other radionuclides that is currently being stored in hundreds of tanks onsite at Fukushima Daiichi? These are separate issues of course, but in both cases the answers hinge on transparency. We think the fact that we get so many questions about these issues from both journalists and the general public indicates a continuing lack of trust in what the Japanese government and TEPCO say about anything related to Fukushima. That there can be no trust without transparency has become one of our mantras, and we repeat it at every opportunity. Whether the questions are about the Olympics, the water, food safety, the environment, or health, available scientific data only fills in part of the picture. Time and again we’ve found that even when the science generally supports official policy, the public is not given enough transparent information to evaluate the accuracy of the statements they’re hearing. And all too often we ourselves are forced to conclude that we haven’t seen enough reliable information to either confidently validate or refute official claims.

Part 1: What about the water?

In the case of the water in the tanks, last year I wrote a detailed two-part blog post as well as a newspaper op-ed about the issue. I pointed out the problems we saw then with communication and transparency on the part of both the gov’t and TEPCO, and relayed expert opinions about the risks of releasing the water. At the time, all of the information about the water in the tanks provided by TEPCO and the government referred only to its tritium content, with no reference to other radionuclides. While researching for my articles I consulted TEPCO experts several times, and asked them directly if there was data available showing the actual radionuclide content of the tanks. I asked directly if there was truly only tritium to be concerned about. Each time I was given summary data that indicated only tritium. A few months later, in September, 2018, TEPCO suddenly announced that in addition to the tritium the tanks also contain noticeable levels of strontium, americium, and other radionuclides. The public was as outraged by this dishonesty as we were.

What should we make, then, of the November 21, 2019, announcement from METI, widely (and vaguely) reported in the international press, that the advisory committee had determined that the water release plan was “safe”? In terms of politics and process, we’d like to point out that there has not yet been any announcement of an order from METI, NRA, or other government body to TEPCO to release the water. Similarly there has not been any announcement of an actual request from TEPCO to be allowed to do so. The public position is that no decision has been made yet. But we think it’s a done deal and has been for several years already. What we’re seeing is an ongoing effort to get enough of the public on board to minimize the political fallout when it happens. Someone will have to put their name on the order, and it will surely be politically costly.

To be sure, this entire “crisis” is predicated on the claim that TEPCO will run out of onsite tank space in a year or two, but there is no evidence that the company or METI has seriously evaluated obtaining use of land adjoining the Fukushima Daiichi site, which is currently under the jurisdiction of the Environment Ministry for storage of decontamination waste, in order to build more tanks for long-term storage. This recommendation has been put forward by several groups and individuals at public meetings and elsewhere, but seems to have been dismissed without detailed study. We acknowledge the potential risks of this approach in the event a tank ruptures, but considering that the half-life of tritium is about 12.3 years, it seems plausible that secure storage for several decades could be constructed, during which time the water’s radioactivity would decline substantially. The idea should at least be seriously considered and good evidence presented for why it should not be done, if that is the conclusion.

The November 21st METI document acknowledges the need for monitoring if and when the water is released, stating: “Effective monitoring to confirm both 1) safety at the time of discharge and 2) safety of surrounding environment should be conducted” and “Monitoring results should be shared in a transparent manner, to wipe out concerns.” While these acknowledgements are welcome, we consider them obvious to the point of absurdity. Painful experience has shown that the need for actual transparency in cases like Fukushima can only be met by robust and independent third-party monitoring, which is not mentioned anywhere. The public has a right to this, and as Safecast has proven, we can do it ourselves. We have strongly recommended to TEPCO and the government officials we have spoken to over the years that they allow water samples to be measured by genuinely independent researchers and citizen-run radiation monitoring labs. We had never gotten an explanation of why this could not be facilitated. But in a recent news article, TEPCO spokesperson Hideki Yagi is quoted as saying that necessary safety protocols make independent testing impossible. We see no evidence that TEPCO has seriously investigated how true third-party monitoring could be implemented for the water in the tanks. Adequate protocols seem to be in place for third-party testing of other water onsite. TEPCO should come clean and give adequate access to technically qualified organizations and let them convey their findings before any release decision is made.

Page eight of the recent METI briefing document includes dose estimates for humans after the water is released, which it states have been derived from an UNSCEAR document from 2016, “Sources, effects and risks of ionizing radiation, Annex A.”  METI concludes that “…the impact of the radiation from the discharge is sufficiently small…” This is, of course, the most crucial data, but it is presented in an extremely confusing and sketchy manner. The public should also be given dose rate and radionuclide concentration estimates for the ocean water itself at different points, and for affected marine life. We asked for this information over a year ago, but METI was unable to provide it. Further, the UNSCEAR document cited as the basis for the calculations is really a summary overview document, and we question whether or not by itself it provides a sufficient basis for detailed dose estimates. The METI committee should show its calculations, especially the assumptions made, and we caution that no-one should assume that the estimates are correct until they do so. To ensure true transparency, the public should also demand to be included in developing detailed monitoring plans for the released water, to track the spread of the radionuclides and their concentrations, and to monitor subsequent concentrations in the food chain and in the wider environment. There are many individuals and organizations, including Safecast, who are well-qualified to participate in this oversight and have the motivation to do so. The public should refuse to accept any release plan until this kind of participatory planning and oversight is clearly in place. We are far beyond the point where “Trust Us” is an option.

Azby Brown

Azby Brown is Safecast’s lead researcher and primary author of the Safecast Report. A widely published authority in the fields of design, architecture, and the environment, he has lived in Japan for over 30 years, and founded the KIT Future Design Institute in 2003. He joined Safecast in mid-2011, and frequently represents the group at international expert conferences.

https://blog.safecast.org/2019/11/transparency-the-olympics-and-that-damned-water-part-1/

December 2, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Japan gov’t tells embassies risk of contaminated Fukushima water ‘small’

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In this Aug. 1, 2019 photo taken from a Mainichi helicopter, storage tanks for radioactively contaminated water are seen on the grounds of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture.
November 21, 2019
TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Japanese government on Thursday told embassy officials from nearly 20 countries that the health risk to humans of water contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster would be “significantly small” even if it is entirely released into the ocean and atmosphere.
The briefing session was held to explain how the contaminated water is being dealt with after it is treated via an advanced liquid processing system that does not remove tritium and that causes small amounts of other radioactive materials to remain.
Government officials explained the health risk to humans would be “significantly small,” as discharging the treated water into the Pacific Ocean and atmosphere over the course of a year would lead to between just one-1,600th and one-40,000th of the radiation that humans are naturally exposed to, Foreign Ministry officials said.
The briefing session, attended by 19 embassy officials from 17 countries and a region, was held as the Japanese government has yet to decide what to do with the treated water that continues to build up following the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Water used to cool the melted-down cores and ground water near the crippled plant contains some radioactive materials, and is currently being collected and stored in tanks on the plant grounds.
The tanks storing the water are expected to become full by the summer of 2022, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the operator of the nuclear power plant disabled by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami on March 11, 2011.
At the meeting, one embassy official asked whether other radioactive materials besides the relatively non-toxic tritium could be removed from the water before being discharged into the water.
A Japanese government official responded that it is possible if purification equipment is used, the officials said.
A similar explanation was offered Monday by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry at a government subcommittee on the issue.
The government plans to finalize its decision on how to deal with the water after the subcommittee draws a conclusion.
Among attendees at Thursday’s briefing session, South Korea had referred to the treated water as contaminated water at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in September and expressed concern over ocean discharge.
But the country did not raise any objections at the briefing session, the officials said.

November 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan: Environmentalists say Fukushima water too radioactive to release

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November 20, 2019
Officials in Japan have claimed that water exposed to radiation in the Fukushima nuclear disaster is now safe to dump into the Pacific. Environmentalists say the water is too contaminated. Julian Ryall reports.
Environmental groups are skeptical of a Japanese government declaration claiming that contaminated water stored at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is safe to release into the ocean.
Officials from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry addressed a government committee Monday, and said that the health risk associated with releasing water that absorbed radionuclides in the aftermath of the March 2011 nuclear accident would be “small.”
During the hearing, the officials said that releasing the water over the course of one year would cause exposure amounting to a miniscule fraction of the radiation that humans are naturally exposed to annually. 
The officials said that storage facilities are already close to capacity, with over 1 million tons of contaminated water being stored in steel tanks on the site in northeast Japan.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima plant, estimates that with around 120 tons of ground water leaking into the basement levels of the three reactors that suffered meltdowns as a result of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the storage tanks will reach capacity in the summer of 2022. 
Contamination questions
TEPCO and the government have long believed that the best way to dispose of the water is to simply release it into the ocean. They claimed until this year that contaminated water had been cleansed by a so-called advanced liquid processing system to the point that virtually all the radionuclides had been reduced to “non-detect” levels. 
Leaked TEPCO documents, however, show that varying amounts of 62 radionuclides — including strontium, iodine, cesium and cobalt — have not been removed from the water. 
The company has also been criticized for refusing to permit independent organizations to test the water that is being stored at the site.
Nevertheless, environmentalists fear that preparations are under way to release the water into the environment. 
“Even a year ago, when the first report on options for disposing the treated water was presented to the committee, it seemed clear to me even then that the preferred option was to release it into the ocean,” said Azby Brown, the lead researcher for Tokyo-based nuclear monitoring organization Safecast Japan. Other options included evaporation and burying the water.
“My take on this is that they have already reached a decision and that all these discussions now on the options are purely theater.”
Calls for added storage capacity
Safecast, Greenpeace and other environmental organizations have called for the company to build more tanks on the site. Additionally, when the area within the plant perimeter is full, they advocate building more storage on adjacent farmland that can no longer be used because it is too highly contaminated.
Brown said TEPCO officials ruled that option out on the grounds that they want to limit the tanks to the existing site. 
“Honestly, I don’t see much evidence of genuine consideration of the other options,” he said.
Others are more optimistic that the government and TEPCO will eventually conclude that it would be too damaging to their reputations to dump the water into the Pacific. 
“They do seem to be coming back to this option regularly, but once you start to look at the logistics of it, very quickly it’s clear that it’s virtually impossible,” said Hideyuki Ban, co-director of the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center. 
“We do not know the levels of radionuclides in the water they say has been treated, but the best guess we have is that levels of tritium are at about 1 million becquerels per liter,” he said.
“The government has set a level of 60,000 becquerels per liter as the target before the water is released, but TEPCO says they want to get it down to 1,500 becquerels.”
“To do that is going to take a long time, and then every tank of water that was going to be released would have to be tested to make sure that it meets those standards,” Ban said. “We think that they would be better off just deciding to keep storing the water for the next 30 years.”
The best of bad options?
TEPCO said that a final decision on how to dispose of the water will be made by the government after all the available options have been taken into consideration.
But a company official told DW that time is running out for a decision to be made.
“In three years, the capacity that we are adding at the site at the moment will be used up and there is nowhere else to build tanks,” he said. “We have a three-year window for the government to decide on a policy and a course of action.”

November 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

South Korea nuclear regulator wants information on radioactive Fukushima water release

hjjmmlù.jpgA geiger counter measures a radiation level of 54.0 microsievert per hour near the No.2 and No.3 reactor buildings at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan February 18, 2019

November 20, 2019

SEOUL (Reuters) – Japan’s reluctance to disclose information about the release of radioactive water from its damaged Fukushima nuclear plant is hampering neighboring countries’ efforts to minimize the impact, the head of South Korea’s nuclear safety agency said on Wednesday.

Since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at some of the reactors the Fukushima plant, owner Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) has been storing radioactive water in tanks at the site from the cooling pipes used to keep the fuel cores from melting. The utility will run out of space for the water in 2022.

Japan has not yet decided how to deal with the contaminated water, but its environment minister said in September that radioactive water would have to be released from the site into the Pacific Ocean.

“We have been raising Japan’s radioactive water issue to the international community to minimize the impact … but as Japan hasn’t disclosed any specific plan and process we would need more details to run simulations and study,” Uhm Jae-sik, chairman of the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, told Reuters.

In addition to the Fukushima crisis, safety concerns about nuclear energy have increased in South Korea following a 2012 scandal over the supply of faulty reactors parts with forged documents, prompting a series of shutdowns of nuclear reactors.

South Korea, the world’s fifth-largest user of nuclear power, targets a long-term phase out of atomic power to allay public concerns.

“Regardless of the government’s energy policy change, our primary goal is ensuring the safety of nuclear power,” Uhm said.

South Korea operates 25 nuclear reactors, which generate about a third of the country’s total electricity. Of the 25 reactors, 10 are offline for maintenance, according to the website of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power.

(This story corrects the word “specific” to clarify meaning in translated quote in paragraph 4)

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-nuclear/south-korea-nuclear-regulator-wants-information-on-radioactive-fukushima-water-release-idUSKBN1XU0N8

November 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima operator accused of cover-up over ‘contaminated’ water set to be poured into the Pacific

kjlm.jpgFukushima Dai-ichi operator Tepco said that concerns over security prevented independent testing of the water being stored in vast tanks

Fukushima operator accused of cover-up over ‘contaminated’ water set to be poured into the Pacific

19 November 2019

The Japanese government has been accused of a cover-up after it refused to allow independent testing of water from the Fukushima power plant that is likely to be released into the Pacific Ocean.

Officials at the industry ministry on Monday said the water stored at the crippled nuclear site was “safe” to release into the Pacific Ocean, despite concerns about radioactive material from environmental and citizens’ groups.

Following a recent visit to the plant, the Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) told The Telegraph that concerns over security prevented independent testing.

“Other organisations are not permitted to carry out tests of the water”, Hideki Yagi, a spokesman for Tepco, told The Telegraph.

“If we are going to allow external organisations to test the treated water then we would need to go through very strict procedures and due process because that water is contaminated. If it is taken outside this facility, then there need to be strict regulations”.

Both Greenpeace and the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Centre (Cnic), an anti-nuclear lobbying group, suggested that Tepco may be trying to cover up the true scale of contamination of water stores at the site.

Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist for Greenpeace, says the refusal to permit third-party testing only serves to raise new concerns about plans to discharge the water into the ocean.

“Moving nuclear material always carries risk, but for the purpose of independent analysis it would be justified”, he said. “Tepco has lost trust across society in Japan as well as in the international community, including in South Korea, and providing samples for analysis would be in their best interests – unless they are covering something up.

“There are many questions about the effectiveness of Tepco’s … technology so providing samples that could verify their reports on content would go some way to demonstrating their commitment to transparency”, Mr Burnie added.

“It won’t remove doubts that they are covering up major issues at the site – but would be an improvement on the current situation”.

Hideyuki Ban, co-director of Cnic, said: “There would need to be lots of checks because there is a lot of water, but right now it looks very much to the outside world that they are trying to cover something up – as they have a long history of doing – and it would be very much in their best interests to be transparent on this.

“If they don’t, how will they ever get back any of the public trust that they have lost completely since the accident?” Mr Ban said.

During a recent visit to the plant, Tepco officials told The Telegraph that a decision on how to dispose of the water must be made soon as tanks at the site are already near capacity and there is limited space to construct new storage facilities. The company estimates that capacity will be reached in the summer of 2022.

The industry ministry on Monday told a government committee considering methods to dispose of the more than a million tons of water presently being stored in hundreds of tanks at the site that the risk to humans associated with releasing the water into the ocean would be “small”.

Discharging the water into the Pacific over the course of a year would amount to between just one-1,600th and one-40,000th of the radiation to which humans are naturally exposed, the ministry officials told the committee.

Estimates indicate that annual radiation levels near the release point after a release would be between 0.052 and 0.62 microsieverts at sea, the officials said, and 1.3 microsieverts in the atmosphere. That compares with around 2,100 microsieverts that humans come into contact with each year in everyday life.

The ministry how emphasised that no final decision has been reached on how or when the water will be disposed of.

The water became contaminated with radiation when it was used to cool three of the six reactors at the plant that suffered melt-downs after being damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Ground water is also seeping into the basement levels of the reactor buildings, with an additional 120 tons of water accumulating every day.

Tepco was forced to admit earlier this year that efforts to remove varying amounts of 62 radionuclides – including strontium, iodine, caesium and cobalt – from the water through the ALPS equipment had not been completely successful.

Officials of the company have added that testing of the water is presently carried out by Tokyo Power Technology Ltd, which it claims has advanced analytical skills and “very high” reliability. Tokyo Power Technology is a subsidiary of Tepco that was set up two years after the Fukushima disaster.

Monitoring is also conducted by the government-funded Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the Japan Chemical Analysis Centre.

Azby Brown, lead researcher for Tokyo-based monitoring organisation Safecast Japan, a group that monitors radiation, said the lack of transparency means the risks to marine life of releasing the water are relatively unknown.

“We don’t have enough data to evaluate the impact that any release with those concentrations will have on marine life,” he said.

“The expected doses that they are talking about are quite low and therefore the amount of radiation that is absorbed into marine life and then into humans when they eat fish would also be quite low.

“But that has to be full of caveats because the way that information has been presented is confusing and not transparent so ordinary people do not understand and cannot make informed decisions.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/11/19/fukushima-accused-cover-up-contaminated-water-set-poured-pacific/

fhj.jpgTepco has been accused of shielding up the trusty scale of contamination of water stores at the positioning

Fukushima accused of cover-up over ‘contaminated’ water set to be poured into the Pacific

November 19, 2019

The Eastern authorities has been accused of a quilt up after it refused to enable honest checking out of water from the Fukushima vitality plant that is doubtless to be launched into the Pacific Ocean.

Officers at the industry ministry on Monday said the water saved at the crippled nuclear plan used to be “capable” to release into the Pacific ocean, despite concerns about radioactive cloth from environmental and citizens’ groups.

Following a most modern consult with to the plant, the Tokyo Electrical Energy Co (Tepco) instructed The Telegraph that concerns over security prevented honest checking out.

“Assorted organisations are now not permitted to internet exams of the water”, Hideki Yagi, a spokesman for Tepco, instructed The Telegraph.

“If we’ll enable exterior organisations to take a look at the treated water then we would deserve to struggle thru very strict procedures and due route of because that water is rotten. If it is taken originate air this facility, then there wish to be strict rules”.

The corporate estimates water storage ability will seemingly be reached within the summer season of 2022

Both Greenpeace and the Electorate’ Nuclear Files Centre (Cnic), an anti-nuclear lobbying community, instructed that Tepco might perhaps well perhaps be attempting to quilt up trusty scale of contamination of water stores at the positioning.

Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist for Greenpeace, says the refusal to permit third-internet collectively checking out only serves to fetch unique concerns about plans to discharge the water into the ocean.

“Transferring nuclear cloth repeatedly carries possibility, but for the unbiased of honest diagnosis it might perhaps perhaps truly perhaps be justified”, he said. “TEPCO has misplaced belief across society in Japan moreover within the worldwide community, including in South Korea, and providing samples for diagnosis might perhaps well perhaps be in their most efficient interests – unless they are maintaining something up.

“There are a form of questions regarding the effectiveness of Tepco’s … technology so providing samples that can additionally voice their reports on affirm material would scamper some technique to demonstrating their dedication to transparency”, Mr Burnie added.

“It will additionally now not settle away doubts that they’re maintaining up foremost points at the positioning – but might perhaps well perhaps be an development on the sizzling worry”.

Hideyuki Ban, co-director of Cnic, said: “There would deserve to be tons of assessments because there is a form of water, but decent now it looks to be very powerful to the originate air world that they’re attempting to quilt something up – as they bear a lengthy history of doing – and it might perhaps perhaps truly perhaps be very powerful in their most efficient interests to be clear on this.

“In the occasion that they don’t, how will they ever internet attend any of the general public belief that they bear misplaced fully since the accident?” Mr Ban said.

The tsunami water engulfed the vitality plant

Credit:
AP

During a contemporary consult with to the plant, Tepco officers instructed The Telegraph that a resolution on easy suggestions to internet rid of the water desires to be made rapidly as tanks at the positioning are already advance ability and there’s dinky suppose to create unique storage facilities. The corporate estimates that ability will seemingly be reached within the summer season of 2022.

The industry ministry on Monday instructed a authorities committee brooding about suggestions to internet rid of the higher than 1 million a form of water presently being saved in tons of of tanks at the positioning that the possibility to humans connected to releasing the water into the ocean might perhaps well perhaps be “small”.

Discharging the water into the Pacific over the route of a yr would quantity to between decent one-1,600th and one-40,000th of the radiation to which humans are naturally exposed, the ministry officers instructed the committee.

Estimates conceal that annual radiation phases advance the release level after a release might perhaps well perhaps be between 0.052 and nil.62 microsievert at sea, the officers said, and 1.3 microsieverts within the ambiance. That compares with spherical 2,100 microsieverts that humans reach into contact with each and each yr in everyday lifestyles.

The ministry how emphasised that no final resolution has been reached on how or when the water will seemingly be disposed of.

The water turned rotten with radiation when it used to be used to frosty three of the six reactors at the plant that suffered soften-downs after being broken within the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Ground water is additionally seeping into the basement phases of the reactor buildings, with an further 120 a form of water collecting each and on daily basis.

Tepco used to be compelled to admit earlier this yr that efforts to settle away varying quantities of 62 radionuclides – including strontium, iodine, caesium and cobalt – from the water thru the ALPS instruments had now not been fully a hit.

Officers of the corporate bear added that checking out of the water is presently implemented by Tokyo Energy Technology Ltd, which it claims has evolved analytical expertise and “very high” reliability. Tokyo Energy Technology is a subsidiary of Tepco that used to be arrange two years after the Fukushima catastrophe.

The magnitude 9 earthquake caused a large natural catastrophe

Credit:
EPA

Monitoring is additionally performed by the authorities-funded Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the Japan Chemical Prognosis Centre.

Azby Brown, lead researcher for Tokyo-essentially based totally mostly monitoring organisation Safecast Japan, a community that shows radiation, said the dearth of transparency technique the dangers to marine lifetime of releasing the water are quite unknown.

“We blueprint now not bear ample recordsdata to deem the affect that any release with these concentrations might perhaps well perhaps bear on marine lifestyles”, he said..

“The anticipated doses that they’re talking about are fairly low and attributable to this truth the quantity of radiation that is absorbed into marine lifestyles after which into humans after they eat fish would additionally be fairly low

“Nevertheless that must be paunchy of caveats for the reason that technique that recordsdata has been provided is confusing and now not clear so traditional of us carry out now not understand and might perhaps well perhaps now not assemble instructed decisions.”

https://headlinezpro.com/fukushima-accused-of-cover-up-over-contaminated-water-set-to-be-poured-into-the-pacific/

November 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO estimates tritium volume for disposal from Fukushima plant

Tritium, radioactive hydrogen, is clinically recognized as causing cancer, birth defects and genetic mutation. That should be plastered on the side of nuclear power plants.
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Storage tanks containing processed but still contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant
November 18, 2019
Tokyo Electric Power Holdings Co. on Nov. 18 released for the first time an estimate of the annual disposal amount of radioactive tritium from its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The volume will vary from 27 trillion to 106 trillion becquerel, depending on the commencement date and ending time of the disposal process, according to a report the utility presented to a subcommittee of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
In comparison, a domestic nuclear power plant in operation usually dumps liquid radioactive waste that contains tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, from several hundred billion up to 100 trillion becquerel annually into the ocean, according to the ministry.
In line with the comparison, there will be no health-related problem by being exposed to radiation of the tritium disposed of from the Fukushima plant, the ministry said.
TEPCO made its preliminary calculation in substantiating the impact of the long-term storage of contaminated water.
The estimate set the total amount of tritium contained in the radioactive water stored in the tanks to be 860 trillion becquerel as of January 2020. Four starting dates of the disposal process were set as the beginning of 2020, 2025, 2030 and 2035.
The estimate assumed two ending times for the disposal at the end of 2041 and 2051, based on the progress schedule set by the government and the utility, which predicted the reactor decommissioning to be completed in 30 to 40 years.
The amount of tritium is expected to decay naturally over time. Still, the estimate revealed that the later the starting date is, the more the annual disposal amount will be.
Since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant in Fukushima Prefecture, TEPCO has processed and stored a large amount of radiation-contaminated water in tanks on the grounds of the plant.
Even after being treated with a filtering system, the polluted water still contains tritium, which will be released when the water is dumped into the ocean or is disposed of in another manner.
The volume of contaminated water has continued to accumulate from the cooling of melted nuclear fuel debris and underground water pouring in.
TEPCO said that it cannot keep installing more storage tanks for the contaminated water due to space limitations of the site and that all the tanks will be full by around the summer of 2022.
If the disposal process hasn’t begun by then, TEPCO will have to build more storage tanks, exceeding the limit, which will lead to a delay in the construction of other facilities that are necessary for the decommissioning work of the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s METI says it’s ‘safe’ to dump radioactive water from Fukushima nuclear disaster into ocean

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Tanks storing radioactive water at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, in February
Nov 18, 2019
Japan’s industry ministry said Monday it would be safe to release water contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster into the ocean, stressing that the amount of radiation measured would be very small compared to what humans are naturally exposed to annually.
Discharging the water into the Pacific Ocean over the course of a year would amount to between just one-1,600th and one-40,000th of the radiation that humans are naturally exposed to, the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry told a government subcommittee on the issue.
Water used to cool the melted-down cores and groundwater near the disabled plant contains some radioactive materials, and is currently being collected and stored in tanks on the plant grounds.
But space is running out fast, and the government is exploring ways to deal with the water — already more than 100 tons and increasing every day.
According to the ministry, annual radiation levels near the release point is estimated at between 0.052 and 0.62 microsievert at sea and 1.3 microsieverts in the atmosphere, compared with the 2,100 microsieverts that humans are naturally exposed to annually.
While government officials stress the safety of releasing the water, opposition lawmakers as well as neighboring South Korea have expressed concern. Local fishermen are also opposed to the release of the water into the sea, fearing the potential impact on fish stocks.
The water is being treated using an advanced liquid processing system, or ALPS, though the system does not remove the relatively nontoxic tritium and has been found to leave small amounts of other radioactive materials.
The tanks storing the water are expected to become full by the summer of 2022, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The plant was disabled by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami on March 11, 2011.
A nuclear expert from the International Atomic Energy Agency said in 2018 that a controlled discharge of such contaminated water “is something which is applied in many nuclear facilities, so it is not something that is new.”

November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan accused of trying to justify nuclear dump

Fukushia 2019
Nov 07, 2019
COVER?Tokyo Electric Power Co has said new storage tanks could be built to hold radioactive water at its stricken plant, a Greenpeace Germany member said
The Japanese government’s claim that it will run out of room to store radiation-contaminated water at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in two years is not true, and is simply an attempt to justify discharging polluted water into the Pacific Ocean, a Greenpeace International member said yesterday.
Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist at Greenpeace Germany who has conducted long-term surveys in Japan, was invited by Greenpeace Taiwan to talk about the issue at a news conference in Taipei.
An earthquake and a tsunami in March 2011 caused the plant’s reactor fuel rods to melt and large amounts of radioactive-contaminated water was released into the Pacific.
As of Oct. 22, more than 1 million cubic meters of processed polluted water was stored at the treated water storage tank, while the current storage capacity is nearly 1.1 million cubic meters, Burnie said.
Tokyo Electric Power Co in August said the tank would reach full capacity by the summer of 2022 and that there is no room for expansion at the site, he said.
However, the company in a meeting in September said that land is available to build additional tanks, Burnie added.
The claim of insufficient capacity is just an excuse to cover the Japanese government’s political agenda, Burnie said, adding that Tokyo has the option of storing contaminated water for a longer period.
If Japan approves the discharge, radioactive tritium and other radionuclides in the water will likely enter the East China Sea, and eventually the waters surrounding Taiwan through the subtropical gyre, he said.
However, even if the Japanese government decides to discharge polluted water into the ocean, it would not be able to carry out the plan immediately, as it might take years to build outflow pipelines, he said.
In addition to protests from local fishers, especially those living along Japan’s Tohoku coast, the Japanese government would face strong pressure from the international community for discharging polluted water, he said, adding that it is a long-term problem that should be approached more cautiously.
The Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster has led to catastrophic results, and the Taiwanese government should be lauded for making the “brave and correct” decision to phase out nuclear power plants, Burnie said.
Taiwan should call on the Japanese government, via diplomatic or non-governmental channels, to shoulder its responsibility as a Pacific nation and not discharge radiation-contaminated water into the sea, National Nuclear Phase-out Action Platform spokesperson Tsuei Su-hsin (崔愫欣) said.
As Taiwan generates less than 10 percent of its electricity from nuclear power — much lower than the ratio in Japan before the 2011 disaster, it should persist in its goal of phasing out all nuclear power plants by 2025, Tsuei said.

November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy proposes long-term storage for treated water from damaged Fukushima Daichi plant

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5th October 2019

On October 3, the Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy, whose members include academics, technical experts, and NGOs, made a new proposal to deal with contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant after the water has been treated. The proposal, submitted to Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), and the Nuclear Regulation Authority, is to convert the treated water to solid form by mixing with mortar, and storing it on land. Citizens’Comittee on Nuclear Energy (CCNE)

01Figure 1 (Prepared by Yasuro Kawai, Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy, for October 3, 2019 press conference)

 

However, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) rejected the concept of large-tank storage, claiming that it takes three years to install each tank, that the efficiency of site utilization is not significantly different from that of tanks currently being used, that a floating roof design may result in rainwater mixing with the contents, and that there would be major volume of leakage in the event of damage to the tanks.

Those claims were rebuffed in a presentation by Yasuro Kawai of the Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy (regulations subcommittee) at a press conference on October 3. He said that the installation of large tanks takes 1.5 to 2 years, that they actually improve the efficiency of site utilization, that a dome-shaped design could be used to prevent mixing with rainwater, that large tanks are robust and have a proven track record in oil storage, and that perimeter walls would be needed as a measure to prevent leakage.

Advantages and disadvantages of mortar solidification proposal

The proposal by the Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy is to mix contaminated water with cement and sand to solidify it, then pour the mixture into concrete tanks and store it partially underground. Mr. Kawai described achievements using this approach at the Savannah River nuclear reservation in South Carolina, the United States.

Discussion about land-based storage has finally begun

The Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy has long taken the position that treated water from the so-called Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) should not be released into the ocean. It has been proposing land-based storage using large tanks, an approach that has a proven track record for the storage of oil reserves.

In August 2018, at a hearing held by METI’s ALPS subcommittee, fisheries-related stakeholders and many other participants expressed the view that long-term land-based storage should be used for the treated water. In response, Chairman Kazuyoshi Yamamoto promised to consider the land based storage plan as an option, and the topic finally came up at the 13th sub-committee meeting, held on August 9, 2019.

02Figure 2 (Prepared by Yasuro Kawai, Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy, for October 3, 2019 press conference)

 

The advantages are that no radioactive substances need to be released into the environment, and the approach works with existing technologies. Disadvantages include low volumetric efficiency and evaporation of moisture due to heat generation.

Local community consent would also be required, because the site would become a permanent disposal site.

Is there really a lack of space for onsite storage?
Media have repeatedly reported claims that onsite storage space will run out by the summer of 2022, but is that really true? According to documents from on September 27, TEPCO explained to the ALPS Subcommittee that the site has about 81,000 square meters reserved for temporary storage facilities for spent fuel and fuel debris.

03Figure 3 (Document 3, 14th subcommittee meeting on handling of ALPS treated water)

TEPCO also claims that in the first half of the 2020s, the site is required for facilities for analysis, mock-up facilities for fuel debris retrieval, equipment and material storage, and research facilities, etc.

04Figure 4 (Document 3, 14th subcommittee meeting on handling of ALPS treated water)


But is it realistic and necessary to attempt to remove fuel debris?

The location and condition of the fuel debris is not precisely known due to high radioactivity. An unreasonable effort to remove it will expose workers to a large amount of radioactivity.

The Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy has proposed a “debris non-removal” option of keeping the debris isolated for 100 years, after which it would be dealt with, as one option that should be seriously considered, in order to avoid technical risks, enormous costs, and radiation exposure of workers.

Is it necessary to construct research facilities on the site?

Furthermore, at METI’s ALPS subcommittee, committee members have asked many questions, for example, about giving consideration to using sites where soil is currently being dumped, and expansion of the current site. In all cases, METI responded that such options were “difficult.” However, there was no evidence of any serious consideration having been made of whether or not the ideas raise were really possible.

05

METI should immediately consider the land based storage proposal from the Citizens’ Committee on Nuclear Energy by setting up an ALPS subcommittee or a new committee.

By Kanna Mitsuta

Note: The above proposal was covered by Kyodo News, and Kahoko Shimpo news.
Kahoko Shimpo: “Experts Propose Mortar Solidification for Treated Water from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant” (4-Oct-2019, in Japanese)
Kyodo News: “Treated water should go into long-term storage and solidification treatment, says citizens’ group opposed to ocean discharge” (3-Oct-2019, in Japanese)

Related posts by FoE Japan (in Japanese unless noted)
・“FoE Japan objects to statement by Japan’s former Environment Minister: He undermined discussions on long-term storage of contaminated water at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant”
Japanese: http://www.foejapan.org/energy/library/190911.html
English: http://www.foejapan.org/en/energy/doc/190911.html

Big problems at the public hearing on contaminated water: Many speakers oppose ocean discharge”

・“Traces of nuclides other than tritium found in ALPS treated water: Basic premises of public briefing/hearing are undermined”

http://www.foejapan.org/en/energy/doc/191005.html

 

November 4, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Korea brings up Fukushima’s radioactive water disposal issue at WHO

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October 15, 2019
The Ministry of Health and Welfare said that it conveyed the Korean government’s concerns over radioactive water disposal at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, during the 70th World Health Organization’s West Pacific Regional Conference.
Kang Dae-tae, assistant minister for the Planning and Coordination Office at the ministry and chief representative of the regional meeting, expressed concern about the handling of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant and urged the Japanese government and international agencies to respond with care.
“Disposing of radioactive water into the sea is not just a problem for Japan but an international issue that can have a significant impact on the marine environment of the Western Pacific region and the health of its people,” Kang said. “The WHO Western Pacific Regional Office, along with relevant international organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has to minimize the impact on the health of the residents of the region.”
Kang urged the international bodies to disclose relevant information transparently so that there is no unnecessary anxiety when Japan decides on how to dispose of the contaminated water.
In response to Korea’s concerns, the Japanese health ministry officials said that they have made efforts to share information and clean up contaminated water, but have not currently decided on how to deal with Fukushima’s contaminated water.
The Japanese officials also noted that the decision to discharge the radioactive waters would be made under international standards such as the International Radiation Protection Committee.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is now sitting on a million-ton of water contaminated with radioactive elements while the amount grows around 150 tons a day.
While the Japanese government has claimed that it has removed most of the radioactive isotopes using an elaborate filtration process, it could not eliminate one isotope, tritium, so it has been storing the water in large tanks, which will fill up by 2022.
Some scientists have claimed that tritium causes harm to humans except in very high concentrations, and the IAEA also argues that properly filtered Fukushima water could be diluted with seawater and then safely released into the ocean without causing environmental problems.
However, other experts have claimed that even the diluted version of tritium can affect cell structures in plants, animals, or humans. The consensus of dumping the water into the Pacific Ocean also faces fierce backlash from both the Japanese fisherman groups and the Korean government, they said.

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea Brings Fukushima Radioactive Water Sea Dumping Issue at International London Convention and Protocol of Marine Pollution

S. Korea raises issue of Fukushima’s contaminated water dump to international convention

Japan says it will keep international community updated on progress

157077756772_20191012Song Myeong-dal, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries ocean environment policy officer, represents South Korea during a consultative meeting of contracted parties to the London Convention and London Protocol on Oct. 7.

Oct.11,2019

The South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) raised the danger of Japan’s ocean dump of contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant as an international issue at a meeting in London concerning an international convention. Japan responded by saying it would keep the international community informed of the progress on an ongoing basis. The developments suggest South Korea was successful in raising international interest in and concern about Japan’s irresponsible approach to the disposal of contaminated water from Fukushima.

On Oct. 10, the MOF reported that the day before, representatives had attended a consultative meeting of contracted parties to the London Convention and Protocol on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter – which opened in London on Oct. 7 – to express concerns to Japan concerning the handling of the contaminated water from Fukushima and request ongoing interest in the issue at the consultative meeting level. The meeting was attended by representatives of 47 contracted parties, as well as international organizations such as the OECD and NGOs including Greenpeace.

The Japanese government has recently talked several times about the ‘unavoidability’ of an ocean dump as a way of dealing with contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant,” Song Myeong-dal, MOF ocean environment policy officer and senior South Korean representative at the meeting, said on Oct. 9.

If [Japan] does release contaminated water from the plant into the ocean, this could have an impact on the global oceanic environment and be in violation of the aims of the London Protocol,” Song warned. Article 2 of the London Convention and Protocol states that contracting parties “shall individually and collectively protect and preserve the marine environment from all sources of pollution and take effective measures [. . . ] to prevent, reduce and where practicable eliminate pollution caused by dumping or incineration at sea of wastes or other matter.”

Song stressed that the Japanese government “needs to be transparent about its means of handling contaminated nuclear power plant water, adequately communicating and discussing important matters such as its handling methods and schedule with neighboring countries and the international community in the future and deciding on a safe and rational approach.”

In order to find a method of contaminated nuclear power plant water handling that the international community can be confident is safe, I think this matter should be discussed on an ongoing basis by the consultative meeting of contracted parties to the London Convention and Protocol ,” he suggested.

157077756799_20191012A consultative meeting of contracted parties to the London Convention and London Protocol on Oct. 7.

 

In response, a representative of the Japanese government reiterated the position that the matter was “not something to be discussed by the consultative meeting,” adding that there had been “no decision within the Japanese government on how to handle the contaminated nuclear power plant water” and that the international community would be “kept informed about the process.” The representative also presented information on the water’s handling that was previously shared in September with locally stationed diplomats in Japan.

Greenpeace expresses similar concern about ocean dump

The issue of contaminated water had not previously been discussed within the context of the London Protocol at past consultative meetings since the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster. In addition to South Korea, representatives from China and Chile also expressed concerns at the latest meeting over the possibility of Japan dumping the contaminated water into the sea and suggested that the issue would be the focus of ongoing discussions at the meeting.

The NGO Greenpeace similarly shared concerns about the possibility of an ocean dump in a document at the meeting containing “concerns and questions about the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant contaminated water release plan.” Contending that the Japanese system for handling contaminated nuclear power plant water is “inefficient,” it proposed that the international community work together on finding a solution.

During a Compliance Group meeting held ahead of the consultative meeting on Oct. 3–4, the South Korean representative strongly emphasized the need to review the ocean release of radioactive waste matter within the context of the London Protocol, insisting that Japan should not be allowed to make a unilateral decision on whether to proceed with the dumping of contaminated nuclear power plant water into the ocean. The Compliance Group meeting was established to discuss whether contracted parties to the protocol are complying with their obligations.

In bilateral meetings with major countries and through issues raised in the Compliance Group setting, the South Korean government rallied support for the position that this matter should be addressed at the consultative meeting,” said Song Myeong-dal.

We will continue to make such requests at this meeting and other international meetings going forward so that the Japanese government can find an approach that we can be confident is safe,” he pledged.

http://www.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/912889.html

 

South Korea Brings Fukushima Wastewater Issue to London Convention Meeting

October 11, 2019

The South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) raised the danger of Japan’s contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant as an international issue at a meeting to the London Convention. 

 

South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) deemed the danger of Japan’s contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant as an international issue at a meeting to the London Convention. 

The London Convention controls pollution of the seas and oceans by dumping and covers the deliberate disposal of wastes and other matter into the world’s waters, according to the U.S. EPA. The discharged water will have a direct influence on the marine life and ecosystem in its territorial waters and eventually the people in Korea, according to the Korea Times.

As of Aug. 22, approximately 1.1 million tons of contaminated water is being stored in 977 tanks at the decommissioned power plant in Fukushima, which was destroyed by the 2011 earthquake and ensuing tsunami

The Japanese government said recently it will only build more facilities through 2020, which will bring the total stored volume to 1.37 million tons, according to Science Page News. The storage facilities are projected to be filled by August 2020, which suggests that there will be no more tanks to hold the 170 tons of radiation-contaminated water created daily.

If [Japan] does release contaminated water from the plant into the ocean, this could have an impact on the global oceanic environment and be in violation of the aims of the London Protocol,” said Song Myeong-dal, MOF ocean environment policy officer and senior South Korean representative. “In order to find a method of contaminated nuclear power plant water handling that the international community can be confident is safe, I think this matter should be discussed on an ongoing basis by the consultative meeting of contracted parties to the London Convention and Protocol.”

In response, a representative of the Japanese government said that the matter was not something to be discussed by the consultative meeting and that the international community would be kept informed about the process, reported the Hankyoreh.

“There is another option to deal with radioactive water. Japan can keep it in the tanks until the radiation level becomes low enough. But this takes time and money. It will take about 300 years until it is okay to discharge the water,” said Kim Ik-jung, a former medical professor and member of the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission to the Korea Times.

South Korea plans to continue to raise the wastewater issue to the international community until Japan comes up with a safe and acceptable solution, according to the Hankyoreh.

https://www.wwdmag.com/waste-treatment-disposal-services/south-korea-brings-fukushima-wastewater-issue-london-convention

 

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

S. Korea raises worries over Fukushima waste water at global maritime conference

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October 10, 2019
South Korea raised the issue of Japan’s reported plan to release radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean …at a global conference of the International Maritime Organization in London this week.
During a meeting to discuss the London Convention and Protocol… Seoul’s fishery ministry demanded that Tokyo transparently disclose information over its handling of the contaminated water and called for continuous discussion of the issue.
The London Protocol is aimed at preventing marine pollution and bans the export of waste or other matter to other countries for dumping or incineration at sea.
However, the direct dumping of wastewater from land to sea has been absent from the discussion.
 
With the management of radioactive waste on the agenda for this year’s meeting, …representatives from China and Chile also expressed their concern and called for more discussions over the matter.
Ghana’s representative to the IMO, who is the chair of the meeting, also noted that the issue can be brought up for discussion and that Japan should provide information.
For the first time, Japan’s representative said it will continue to provide transparent information concerning the contaminated water at Fukushima.
 
This is the latest effort by the Korean government to deter Tokyo from discharging an estimated one.one million tons of contaminated water stored at its Fukushima plant.
Last month, Seoul raised the issue at the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
At the gathering, Japan dismissed criticisms, claiming they were not based on scientific evidence.
Park Se-young, Arirang News.

October 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

At Fukushima plant, a million-tonne headache: Radioactive water

nz_daiichi_051055.jpgA Tokyo Electric Power Company researcher shows processed water where tritium remains, at a lab in Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, on Oct 2, 2019.

Oct 5, 2019,

FUKUSHIMA (AFP) – In the grounds of the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant sits a million-tonne headache for the plant’s operators and Japan’s government: tank after tank of water contaminated with radioactive elements.

What to do with the enormous amount of water, which grows by around 150 tonnes a day, is a thorny question, with controversy surrounding a longstanding proposal to discharge it into the sea, after extensive decontamination.

The water comes from several different sources: some is used for cooling at the plant, which suffered a meltdown after it was hit by a tsunami triggered by a massive earthquake in March 2011.

Groundwater that seeps into the plant daily, along with rainwater, add to the problem.

A thousand, towering tanks have now replaced many of the cherry trees that once dotted the plant’s ground.

Each can hold 1,200 tonnes, and most of them are already full.

“We will build more on the site until the end of 2020, and we think all the tanks will be full by around the summer of 2022,” said Mr Junichi Matsumoto, an official with the unit of plant operator Tepco in charge of dismantling the site.

Tepco has been struggling with the problem for years, taking various measures to limit the amount of groundwater entering the site.

There is also an extensive pumping and filtration system, that each day brings up tonnes of newly contaminated water and filters out as many of the radioactive elements as possib

HIGHLY RADIOACTIVE

The hangar where the decontamination system runs is designated “Zone Y” – a danger zone requiring special protections.

All those entering must wear elaborate protection: a full body suit, three layers of socks, three layers of gloves, a double cap topped by a helmet, a vest with a pocket carrying a dosimeter, a full-face respirator mask and special shoes.

Most of the outfit has to be burnt after use.

“The machinery filters contain radionuclides, so you have to be very protected here, just like with the buildings where the reactors are,” explained Tepco risk communicator Katsutoshi Oyama.

Tepco has been filtering newly contaminated water for years, but much of it needs to go through the process again because early versions of the filtration process did not fully remove some dangerous radioactive elements, including strontium 90.

The current process is more effective, removing or reducing around 60 radionuclides to levels accepted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for water being discharged.

But there is one that remains, which cannot be removed with the current technology: tritium.

Tritium is naturally present in the environment, and has also been discharged in its artificial form into the environment by the nuclear industry around the world.

There is little evidence that it causes harm to humans except in very high concentrations and the IAEA argues that properly filtered Fukushima water could be diluted with seawater and then safely released into the ocean without causing environmental problems.

‘ABSOLUTELY AGAINST IT’

But those assurances are of little comfort to many in the region, particularly Fukushima’s fishing industry which, like local farmers, has suffered from the outside perception that food from the region is unsafe.

Mr Kyoichi Kamiyama, director of the radioactivity research department at the regional government’s Fisheries and Marine Science Research Centre, points out that local fishermen are still struggling eight years after the disaster.

“Discharging into the ocean? I’m absolutely against it,” he told AFP.

At the national government level, the view is more sanguine.

“We want to study how to minimise the damage (from a potential discharge) to the region’s reputation and Fukushima products,” an Industry Ministry official said.

The government is sensitive to fears that people inside Japan and farther afield will view any discharge as sending radioactive waste into the sea.

No decisions are likely in the near term, with the country sensitive to the international spotlight that will fall on Japan as it hosts the Olympic Games next year.

Environmentalists are also resolutely opposed to any discharge into the sea, and Greenpeace argues that Tepco cannot trusted to properly decontaminate the water.

The solution, said Greenpeace senior nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie, “ultimately can only be long-term storage and processing”.

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/at-fukushima-plant-a-million-tonne-headache-radioactive-water

October 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Japanese Report Confirms Hazardous Radioactive Materials Contained in Contaminated Fukushima Water

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South Korean environmental activists hold a rally in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Oct. 8, 2018, to protest against Japan’s decision to release the Fukushima nuclear plant’s radioactive, contaminated water into the sea.
October 4, 2019
SEOUL, Oct. 4 (Korea Bizwire) — As Japan seeks to release contaminated water from its disabled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean, South Korean media revealed that the tainted water contains hazardous radioactive materials.
KBS News reported on Thursday that a report submitted by the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry early this week confirmed the presence of the hazardous radioactive materials, such as cesium and strontium, in the contaminated water.
The report said that cesium, strontium, and iodine 129 exceeded standard levels in 82 percent of all contaminated water kept in Fukushima as of October of last year.
It was also revealed that 17 percent of the tainted water emitted radiation that was ten times stronger than the annual limit on radiation exposure (1 mSv/Y), while 7 percent of the water contained radioactive materials that were 100 times stronger.
In an interview with KBS News, a TEPCO official said that “problems with the filters and several systems in the water treatment facility prevented it from being run at full capacity for a certain period.”
TEPCO said it can no longer accommodate the contaminated water that is being produced every day since the East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and has proposed a plan to release it to the atmosphere or the sea.
Roughly 170 tons of contaminated water is being produced at the Fukushima Power Plant every day. As of last July, the total amount of tainted water had reached 1.15 million tons.
The Japanese government, in contrast, has been claiming that the water now only contains tritium, a radioactive hydrogen isotope known to exist in the natural environment.
Neighboring states, including South Korea, are strongly opposing the idea of releasing the water, since it may cause secondary damage.
“The International Atomic Energy Agency understands the issues and concerns that we face. They are also keeping a close watch on the matter,” said Uhm Jae-sik, head of the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission.

October 8, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment