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Fukushima Takes a Turn for the Worse.

January 10, 2022by Robert Hunziker

Tokyo Electric Power Company-TEPCO- has been attempting to decommission three nuclear meltdowns in reactors No. 1 No. 2, and No. 3 for 11 years now. Over time, impossible issues grow and glow, putting one assertion after another into the anti-nuke coffers.

The problems, issues, enormous danger, and ill timing of deconstruction of a nuclear disaster is always unexpectedly complicated by something new. That’s the nature of nuclear meltdowns, aka: China Syndrome debacles.

As of today, TEPCO is suffering some very serious setbacks that have “impossible to deal with” written all over the issues.

Making all matters nuclear even worse, which applies to the current mess at Fukushima’s highly toxic scenario, Gordon Edwards’ following statement becomes more and more embedded in nuclear lore: “It’s impossible to dispose of nuclear waste.” (Gordon Edwards in The Age of Nuclear Waste From Fukushima to Indian Point)

Disposing of nuclear waste is like “running in place” to complete a marathon. There’s no end in sight.

As a quickie aside from the horrendous details of the current TEPCO debacle, news from Europe brings forth the issue of nuclear power emboldened as somehow suitable to help the EU transition to “cleaner power,” as described by EU sources. France supports the crazed nuke proposal but Germany is holding its nose. According to German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke: “Nuclear energy could lead to environmental disasters and large amounts of nuclear waste. (Source: EU Plans to Label Gas and Nuclear Energy ‘Green’ Prompts Row, BBC News, Jan. 2, 2022) Duh!

Minister Lemke nailed it. And, TEPCO is living proof (barely) of the unthinkable becoming thinkable and disastrous for humanity. Of course, meltdowns are never supposed to happen, but they do.

One meltdown is like thousands of industrial accidents in succession over generations of lifetimes. What a mess to leave for children’s children’s children over several generations. They’ll hate you for this!

In Fukushima’s case, regarding three nuclear power plants that melted all-the-way (China Syndrome), TEPCO still does not know how to handle the enormously radioactive nuclear fuel debris, or corium, sizzling hot radioactive lumps of melted fuel rods and container material in No. 1, No 2 and No.3, They’re not even 100% sure where all of the corium is and whether it’s getting into underground water resources. What a disaster that would be… what if it is already… Never mind.

The newest wrinkle at TEPCO involves the continuous flow of water necessary to keep the destroyed reactors’ hot stuff from exposure to air, thus spreading explosively red-hot radioactivity across the countryside. That constant flow of water is an absolute necessity to prevent an explosion of all explosions, likely emptying the streets of Tokyo in a mass of screaming, kicking, and trampling event to “get out of town” ASAP, commonly known as “mass evacuation.”

The cooling water continuously poured over the creakily dilapidated ruins itself turns radioactive, almost instantaneously, and must be processed via an Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) to remove most radioactive materials (???) housed in a 17-meter (56 feet) tall building on the grounds of the disaster zone.

Here’s the new big danger, as it processes radioactive contaminated water, it flushes out “slurry” of highly concentrated radioactive material that has to go somewhere. But where to put it?

How to handle and dispose of the radioactive slurry from the ALPS is almost, and in fact may be, an impossible quagmire. It’s a big one as the storage containers for the tainted slurry quickly degrade because of the high concentration of radioactive slurry. These storage containers of highly radioactive slurry, in turn, have to be constantly replaced as the radioactivity slurry eats away at the containers’ liners.

Radioactive slurry is muddy and resembles a shampoo in appearance, and it contains highly radioactive Strontium readings that reach tens of millions of Becquerel’s per cubic centimeter. Whereas, according to the EPA, 148 Becquerel’s per cubic meter, not centimeter, is the safe level for human exposure. Thus, tens of millions per cubic centimeter is “off the charts” dangerous! Instant death, as one cubic meter equals one million cubic centimeters. Ahem!

Since March 2013, TEPCO has accumulated 3,373 special vessels that hold these highly toxic radioactive slurry concentrations. But, because the integrity of the vessels deteriorates so quickly, the durability of the containers reaches a limit, meaning the vessels will need replacement by mid-2025.

Making matters ever worse, if that is possible, the NRA has actually accused TEPCO of “underestimating the impact issue of the radioactivity on the containers linings,” claiming TEPCO improperly measured the slurry density when conducting dose evaluations. Whereas, the density level is always highest at the bottom, not the top where TEPCO did the evaluations, thus failing to measure and report the most radioactive of the slurry. Not a small error.

As of June 2021, NRA’s own assessment of the containers concluded that 31 radioactive super hot containers had already reached the end of operating life. And, another 56 would need replacement within the next 2 years.

Transferring slurry is a time-consuming highly dangerous horrific job, which exposes yet a second issue of unacceptable risks of radioactive substances released into the air during transfer of slurry. TEPCO expects to open and close the transfers remotely (no surprise there). But, TEPCO, as of January 2, 2022, has not yet revealed acceptable plans for dealing with the necessary transfer of slurry from weakening, almost deteriorated containers, into fresh, new containers. (Source: TEPCO Slow to Respond to Growing Crisis at Fukushima Plant, The Asahi Shimbun, January 2, 2022)

Meanwhile, additional batches of a massive succession of containers that must be transferred to new containers will be reaching the end of shelf life, shortly.

Another nightmarish problem has surfaced for TEPCO. Yes, another one. In the aftermath of the 2011 blowup, TEPCO stored radioactive water in underground spaces below two buildings near reactor No.4. Bags of a mineral known as zeolite were placed to absorb cesium. Twenty-six tons (52,000 lbs.) of bags are still immersed with radiation readings of 4 Sieverts per hour, enough to kill half of all workers in the immediate vicinity within one hour. The bags need to be removed.

TEPCO intends to robotically start removing the highly radioactive bags, starting in 2023, but does not know where the bags should be stored. Where do you store radioactive bags containing enough radioactive power to kill someone within one hour of exposure?

Additionally (there’s more) the amount of radioactive rubble, soil, and felled trees at the plant site totals 480,000 cubic meters, as of 2021. TEPCO is setting up a special incinerator to dispose of this. Where to dispose of the incinerated waste is unknown. This is one more add-on to the horrors of what to do with radioactive material that stays hot for centuries upon centuries. Where to put it?

Where to put it? Which is the bane of the nuclear power industry. For example, America’s nuke plants are full of huge open pools of water containing tons of spent nuclear fuel rods. If exposed to open air, spent fuel rods erupt into a sizzling zirconium fire followed by massive radiation bursts of the most toxic material known to humanity. It can upend an entire countryside and force evacuation of major cities.

According to the widely recognized nuclear expert Paul Blanch: “Continual storage in spent fuel pools is the most unsafe thing you could do.” (see- Nuclear Fuel Buried 108 Feet from the Sea, March 19, 2021)

It’s not just Fukushima that rattles the nerves of people who understand the high-risk game of nuclear power. America is loaded with nuclear power plants with open pools of water that hold highly radioactive spent fuel rods.

What to do with it?

January 13, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | 2 Comments

Candidates, tell us your stances on Fukushima water release

At a press conference calling on South Korean presidential candidates to set out plans for dealing with Japan’s plans to release contaminated water from the Fukushima site, members of environmental groups put on a sketch wherein one member (wearing a mask that reads: “Korea’s next president”) stops another (wearing a mask of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida) from turning the faucet on contaminated water.

Jan.7,2022

Environmental groups in South Korea are calling on presidential candidates to make public their stances on Japan’s plans to dump contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear site, and to come up with courses of action. Groups including the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM), Nuclear Safety and Future, and Korea Radiation Watch convened for a press conference on Thursday morning in front of KFEM’s offices in Jongno District, Seoul. The groups criticized the government’s response thus far as “timid,” saying that since Japan had announced its intentions to release the radioactive water in April of last year, the government had only gone so far as to express protest to the Japanese Embassy and send a letter of protest to Japan. The groups called on presidential candidates to come up with concrete, practical plans for dealing with the issue.

Members of environmental groups present at the press conference hold up signs as they urge candidates for president to announce their stances on Japan’s plans to release radioactive water into the ocean.
One person present at the press conferences holds up a sign that reads: “Candidates for president! Put forward plans for dealing with contaminated water from Fukushima!”
Those present at the press conference call on presidential candidates to make their stances on Japan’s release of contaminated water into the ocean.

https://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/1026453.html?fbclid=IwAR1BI7sjx184RZfFGmwPfO4qZuUvcedjeanxanOyy9v7AfTD6GJoKv-wmR0

January 12, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan to implement compensation rules for losses by Fukushima rumors

Yeah, radiation is just a very harmful rumor….

Photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter on Feb. 13, 2021, shows tanks at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant storing treated radioactive water from the plant.

Dec 28, 2021

The Japanese government on Tuesday decided to set, within a year, standards for compensating businesses that suffer losses due to rumors that may emerge when Japan starts discharging treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.

As neighboring countries such as China and South Korea have expressed worries over the release of the treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant slated for spring of 2023, the action plan includes having the International Atomic Energy Agency evaluate the safety of the water to secure transparency.

The government will also set up a fund using 30 billion yen ($261 million) earmarked in the fiscal 2021 supplementary budget to purchase seafood products when demand falls and promote online sales of products by fishery groups.

During a Cabinet meeting on the topic, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno called on members to “implement the measures swiftly and steadily and have as many consumers as possible be aware of the safety (of the processed water) to create an environment in which people in communities can continue operating and expand their businesses.”

The action plan was formed as the government decided in April to allow Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to release significantly diluted contaminated water into the sea in a step-by-step operation.

More than 1 million tons of the treated water has accumulated on the plant’s premises after a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011.

The water is treated using an advanced liquid processing system. The process removes most radioactive material except for tritium, which is said to pose few health risks.

Under the action plan, the government will set compensation plans for each industry such as fisheries, agriculture, commerce and tourism and decide which period to compare when calculating losses before the Fukushima plant operator, TEPCO, creates standards for compensation.

The IAEA will dispatch a survey team to the Fukushima Daiichi power plant to compile its mid-term safety evaluation report within 2022 and will have long-term involvement with the release of the water, according to the plan.

The plan also includes holding online surveys targeting consumers in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and elsewhere from January to understand their perceptions of the treated water and food products from Fukushima Prefecture.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/12/34ffb99f4235-japan-to-implement-compensation-rules-for-losses-by-fukushima-rumors.html

December 30, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Japan maps out plan for disposing of treated radioactive water from Fukushima plant

Under the government program, Japan aims to set standards for compensation for damage caused by what it described as harmful rumors about local industries such as fishing, tourism and agriculture, while reinforcing monitoring capability and transparency to avoid reputational damage.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno (second from left) and other Cabinet ministers hold a meeting Tuesday on the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant’s planned water release.

Dec 28, 2021

The government on Tuesday outlined a plan for releasing treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, including compensation standards for local industry and the compilation of a safety assessment report.

Japan said in April it would discharge more than 1 million metric tons of contaminated water in stages after treatment and dilution, starting around spring 2023. The announcement provoked concern from local fishermen and objections from neighboring China and South Korea.

Earlier this month, the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., outlined detailed plans for the disposal, including building an undersea tunnel to release the water.

Under the government program, Japan aims to set standards for compensation for damage caused by what it described as harmful rumors about local industries such as fishing, tourism and agriculture, while reinforcing monitoring capability and transparency to avoid reputational damage.

Under the plan, the industry ministry and the Reconstruction Agency will work together from next month to start publicizing in Japan and abroad the safety of the water, and conduct a consumer opinion survey on the issue through next March.

The government will also create a fund to support the temporary purchase and storage of freezable seafood in case producers are hit by reputational damage. For the fund, the government has secured ¥30 billion under its fiscal 2021 supplementary budget.

Japan also expects the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to compile an interim safety assessment next year, based on its review over the safety of the treated water, competence of local analytical laboratories and regulatory frameworks, it said.

In an effort to improve transparency to gain the trust of the international community, Japan asked the IAEA in April to conduct a review to assess and advise on the handling of the water.

A decade after a massive earthquake and tsunami ravaged the country’s northeastern coast, disabling the plant and causing the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, nearly 1.3 million metric tons of contaminated water has accumulated at the site.

The water, enough to fill about 500 Olympic-sized swimming pools, is stored in huge tanks at an annual cost of about ¥100 billion ($870 million), and space is running out.

Japan has argued the release is necessary to press ahead with the complex decommissioning of the plant. It says similarly filtered water is routinely released from nuclear plants around the world.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/12/28/national/fukushima-radioactive-water-release-sea-nuclear/?fbclid=IwAR3ej_KoIDmbfc6NalRVLfSyKiXW2ge-JzSxr3GR0pBWe-4zi5OY9ICrizQ

December 30, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Despite widespread opposition, Japan plans to dump water from Fukushima plant into the Pacific Ocean.

A million tons of contaminated water will be released in two years’ time

30 December 2021

People in coastal communities in Japan, joined by voices from around the world, denounced a new governmental plan to dump contaminated water from the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster into the Pacific Ocean. Local communities and other nations in the Pacific Ocean fear the dumping will poison the environment and cripple local fishing and tourism industries that have struggled to recover from the March 2011 nuclear accident on Japan’s northeast coast for over a decade.

According to a government plan released on December 28, 2021, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) will start releasing 1 million metric tonnes of radioactive water from the Fukushima plant into the Pacific Ocean in 2023. The plan, which is still being developed over the coming months, states that an undersea tunnel will be built to pump the water out to the sea. Funds have also been reserved to compensate local fishing and tourism industries for potential “reputational damage.”

In March 2011 an earthquake and tsunami caused three nuclear reactors operated by TEPCO in Fukushima to meltdown. Over the years, groundwater flowing through the plants was contaminated with radioactive content. In order to prevent this water from reaching the ocean, it was pumped from the reactor buildings into large tanks that now dominate the reactor installation.

As of December 2021, at least 1 million tonnes of contaminated water are stored in the tanks inside the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

While highly radioactive contaminants are removed, the stored water that the Japanese government is planning to pump out to sea still contains significant amounts of tritium, a radioactive element that some experts say is harmless when diluted in seawater.

The Japanese government’s plan to pump the contaminated water has been in the works since 2020. Greenpeace said in April 2021 that it collected 183,000 signatures opposing the plan to discharge water from the Fukushima plant.

Also in April 2021, South Korean civil society groups issued a statement condemning TEPCO’s plan, noting, “even if diluted the total amount of radioactive material thrown into the sea remains unchanged. If the radioactive wastewater is discharged, it will be an irrevocable disaster not only for marine ecosystem but for the human.”

The issue was tackled during the Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting in July 2021, and the body made the following declaration:

Forum Foreign Ministers noted the concerns surrounding the seriousness of this issue in relation to the potential threat of further nuclear contamination of our Blue Pacific and the potential adverse and transboundary impacts to the health and security of the Blue Pacific Continent, and its peoples over both the short and long term.

In November 2021, TEPCO said its radiological impact assessment showed minimal impact on the environment:

The assessment found that effects of the discharge of ALPS (Advanced Liquid Process System) treated water into the sea on the public and the environment is minimal as calculated doses were significantly less than the dose limits, dose targets, and the values specified by international organizations for each species.

TEPCO assured the public that it is continually updating its scientific studies regarding the plan to release processed water into the Pacific. But doubts remain about their reports, mostly because there still are few concrete plans about how and where the contaminated water will be dumped, making it difficult for outside observers to assess the risk.

The Pacific Collective on Nuclear Issues, which represents civil society organizations based in Oceania, refutes the veracity of these studies. It also has a message for TEPCO and the Japanese government:

The Pacific is not and must not become the dumping ground for nuclear wastes.

The Collective considers that TEPCO, and the relevant Japanese Government agencies, have wrongly prioritised convenience and costs over the short term and long term environmental and human cost of their planned actions.

Japanese residents have also consistently expressed concern about TEPCO’s plan.

Greenpeace interviewed fisherman Ono Haruo from the township of Shinchi in Fukushima, who echoed the sentiments of the local population:

Fish are finally starting to return after ten years, but if they now pour tritium into the water, no matter how much they dilute it, who’s going to buy those fish? Who wants to eat poisoned fish?

The ocean is our place of work. Can you imagine what it feels like for that to be intentionally polluted?

It’ll be 30 or 40 years before we see the effects. The causal relationship will have become unclear and it’ll be impossible to prove anything. What’s going to happen to the future of our children, our grandchildren? It’s not even clear who will take responsibility.

A group of mothers in Iwaki city, Fukushima, participated in a protest in November 2021 opposing the plan to dump contaminated water into the ocean. The townships of Okuma and Futaba, which host the stricken Fukushima Daiichi complex, have experienced almost complete depopulation over the past decade.

In spring 2022, the International Atomic Energy Agency will evaluate and report on plans has on the Fukushima water treatment, while stakeholders will continue to engage authorities about the controversial plan of TEPCO.

December 30, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima fishermen worry about Japan’s plan of releasing nuclear wastewater 

December 25, 2021

People in Japan are strongly opposing and greatly concerned as the government moves forward with a plan to dump approximately 1.3 million tons of nuclear wastewater into the sea from the crippled Fukushima plant starting from the spring of 2023.

The fishery in Fukushima was heavily hit after the nuclear plant was destroyed. Dumping contaminated water into the sea will undoubtedly result in another strike on the local fishing industry. 

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-12-25/Fishermen-worry-about-Japan-s-plan-of-releasing-nuclear-wastewater-16hxdOBSfvy/index.html

December 27, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

China opposes Japanese decision to release nuclear-contaminated water into ocean

December 22, 2021

BEIJING, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) — China is seriously concerned about and firmly opposes Japan’s unilateral decision to discharge the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea and its proceeding with the preparatory work, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday.

Zhao Lijian made the remarks when asked to comment on a media report that Tokyo Electric Power Company has submitted an application to Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority with a detailed plan of discharging nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea.

Since April this year, the international community has raised concerns to the Japanese side over the legitimacy of the discharge into the sea, the rationality of the discharge plan, the credibility of the data about the nuclear contaminated water and the reliability of the equipment to purify the nuclear-contaminated water, Zhao said.

The work of the IAEA technical working group on the handling of the nuclear-contaminated water from Fukushima is still undergoing, he added.

“In total disregard of the legitimate and reasonable concerns of the international community, the Japanese side only continues to proceed with the preparations for the discharge both policy-wise and technology-wise,” Zhao said.

“Obviously, it wants to impose its wrong decision on the entire international community, and it is all the littoral countries of the Pacific Ocean that will have to take the risk for such move. The Japanese side is extremely irresponsible in doing so.”

He said that over the past eight months, Japan has constantly tried to defend the decision to discharge the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea, claiming the discharge is safe.

“However, many countries and international environment groups have questioned that if the water is truly harmless, why doesn’t the Japanese side discharge it into lakes or use it for civil purposes instead of releasing it into the ocean? To say the least, why doesn’t it try to build more storage tanks for the water at home? How can the international community trust Japan’s own words regarding whether the water to be discharged is safe or not? The Japanese side should give responsible answers to all these fundamental questions,” Zhao said.

He stressed that the handling of the nuclear-contaminated water from Fukushima is never Japan’s private matter. Instead, it bears on the marine environment and public health of the whole world.

Japan should heed and respond to the appeals of neighboring countries and the international community, and rescind the wrong decision of dumping the water into the sea.

“It mustn’t wantonly start the ocean discharge before reaching consensus with stakeholders and relevant international institutions through full consultations,” Zhao said.

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/asiapacific/20211015/C9A4AEDD72B00001F26810B030601260/c.html

December 27, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Their unheard voices: The fishermen of Fukushima

Mitsuhisa Kawase 20 December 2021

In April 2021, the Japanese government decided to discharge radioactive water stored inside the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the Pacific Ocean. TEPCO’s plan is to build a pipeline along the ocean bed and release diluted processed radioactive water 1 km off the coast of Fukushima. In November, Greenpeace conducted its 33rd Fukushima radiation survey since the nuclear disaster, during which we had the opportunity to interview local fisherman Mr. Haruo Ono. Mr. Ono opens up about the pain he feels, saying that discharging radioactive water into the ocean will throw Fukushima’s fishing industry back down into the abyss.

Greenpeace Japan has been regularly conducting radiation survey in the Fukushima Prefecture after the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in March 2011, and conducted its 33rd survey in November 2021. © Greenpeace

It has taken us 10 years to get to where we are

“How can such a thing be allowed to happen,” sighed Mr. Ono with a thick Fukushima accent. As he scanned the newspaper in his home, his eyes came to rest on an article and comments about the plan, announced by TEPCO the previous day, to discharge radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the ocean. “The ocean’s alive, too, you know!” The hand that gripped the newspaper turned white.  

Mr. Haruo Ono from Shinchi Town, Fukushima was born into a family of three generations of fishermen, and has helped out with the family business from as early as he can remember. Then in March 2011, everything fell apart. His town was badly hit by the tsunami that followed the Great East Japan Earthquake and then, to make matters even worse, vast amounts of radiation were released from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The fish they landed were found to contain radioactive substances, and fishermen were left with no choice but to voluntarily cease all fishing off the coast of Fukushima for approximately one year.

In June 2012, just over a year after the disaster, fishing trials were restarted and the sale of certain seafood, such as octopus and some shellfish was subsequently permitted. In February 2020, the ban was finally lifted for all seafood, and now Mr. Ono is permitted to go out to sea to fish up to ten times in a month. However, in April 2021, a month after the ten year anniversary of the disaster, the Japanese government made a cabinet decision to discharge radioactive water into the ocean.

Mr. Haruo Ono, who has lived half his life as a fisherman in Shinchi Town, Fukushima (November 2021) © Greenpeace

“Fish are finally starting to return after ten years, but if they now pour tritium into the water, no matter how much they dilute it, who’s going to buy those fish? Who wants to eat poisoned fish? ”

For a decade since the nuclear disaster, Mr. Ono has endured the frustration of not being able to fish freely, and the unfairness of having his catch overlooked simply because it’s from Fukushima. “So then why didn’t they discharge it into the sea ten years ago? That’s because it would have been wrong, right?” Unable to hold back any longer, his frustration poured out. 

Voices going unheard

After the decision was made to discharge the polluted water into the ocean, the government held a number of information sessions for the residents of Shinchi Town, which Mr. Ono attended. However, he says he still hasn’t received an answer as to why they are going to discharge the water into the ocean. 

“The person in charge arrives at 3:30, and the session is over at 5. There’s 30 minutes for questions. Out of the blue, they hand us a huge stack of documents, and they expect us to understand,” said Mr. Ono. “We have a right to ask questions, we have a right to know. If there is no option but to discharge the water into the ocean, then we want an acceptable answer about this decision.” 

TEPCO’s “Radiological Impact Assessment Regarding the Discharge of ALPS Treated Water into the Sea”1 that was released in November 2021, reflected exactly the same stance. “TEPCO is skilled at spinning the story. They make it seem as if we have accepted the decision. They are very good at manipulating the language, and on top of that, how many people are even going to actually read such a huge document”.

Fukushima’s fishing industry was severely damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, and subsequent nuclear power disaster (Soma City, November 2021) © Greenpeace

Behind the enduring mistrust is a decade of repeated dishonesty by the government and TEPCO towards the local fishermen. Firstly, in 2015 TEPCO made a promise to the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations that it “would neither treat nor dispose of” the contaminated water stored inside the buildings, “in any way, without the understanding of those concerned”2. Furthermore, with reports that the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) treated water actually contained levels of radiation other than tritium, such as carbon-14, that exceeded permitted levels, they have repeatedly betrayed the trust of local residents and those involved in the local fisheries.

“Why do they have to put TEPCO first so much? Shouldn’t it be the victims, the local residents, who need protecting?” Mr. Ono protested. “Nobody has agreed to this. And then they go and make such a thoughtless decision regardless. The ocean is our place of work. Can you imagine what it feels like for that to be intentionally polluted?”

Responsibility to the future up in the air

As of 8 December 2021, there’s a total of approximately 1.285 million tonnes of radiation contaminated water stored in the tanks inside the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station3. During 2020, with groundwater flowing into the nuclear reactor buildings, and the cooling of fuel debris, the amount of water increased at a pace of approximately 140 tonnes a day4

According to TEPCO, the tanks will be full by spring 2023, hence their decision to discharge the polluted water into the ocean. However, a subcommittee of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, set up in 2019, suggested that there is room to build more tanks within the plant5. “If we can continue to store the polluted water, then there’s no need to rush to a decision. Why are they rushing to make a decision, when we might find a better way to process the water in the future?”

TEPCO plans to eliminate radionuclides, other than tritium, to levels below regulatory standards, and dilute the tritium to 1/40 of permitted levels before discharging the water into the ocean. TEPCO says that the level of tritium discharged annually will not exceed 22 trillion becquerels per year – the maximum annual limit that was in place prior to the nuclear disaster – and that it will conduct regular reviews. 

10 years since the disaster, radioactive water inside the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant continues to increase (Namie Town, November 2021) © Greenpeace

However, whether you dilute the polluted water or employ new techniques to discharge it, the total amount of radiation released into the environment does not change. While the half-life of tritium might be 12 years, the half life of carbon-14 is 5730 years. As long as water is being discharged, radioactive material will continue to accumulate in the ocean.

“It’ll be 30 or 40 years before we see the effects. The causal relationship will have become unclear and it’ll be impossible to prove anything. What’s going to happen to the future of our children, our grandchildren? It’s not even clear who will take responsibility.”

The ocean is alive too

“It feels like – it’s our ocean, but it’s not our ocean”. This is something that Mr. Ono often said and seems to reflect the persistent sensation that things are moving forward without the people who have lived alongside the ocean for so long, the fishermen. 

The fishermen of Fukushima face a harsh reality. They are only allowed to go out fishing up to 10 times a month, and their monthly income comes to about 120,000 Yen (~940 Euro). The future is unclear, and their troubles just keep increasing. “Who would want to continue fishing in such an environment, who would want their children to become fishermen? If it goes on like this, there won’t be another generation of fishermen. Discharging the water into the ocean is the last straw.”

In response to the ocean discharge plan, the government and TEPCO have promised compensation and measures to counteract reputation damage, to local forestry and fishery businesses. However, this is beyond the point. “They’re focusing solely on things like mitigating damage to the reputation of local produce, or promises to buy our fish, but that’s not what’s important. We’re not catching fish so that they can be thrown away. We want to catch them so that people can eat and enjoy them,” he says with a sigh. 

On occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Greenpeace Japan activists hold up a banner saying “Stand with Fukushima” in front of the national Diet (Parliament) building, calling for the Japanese government to shift to a renewable energy future. A decade has passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake that brought about the triple meltdown and evacuation of 160,000 people. The earthquake and tsunami led to the shutdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The overheated reactors melted down, causing a steam explosion that followed with a large amount of radioactive materials scattering around.

“Firstly, why is it not okay to release radiation on land, but okay to put it in the ocean? You’ve got the mountains and the water from the rivers flowing into the sea, plankton grows, small fish eat the plankton and bigger fish eat the smaller fish. That’s the cycle. Polluting it is easy, but once you’ve polluted you can’t go back to how it was. The ocean is alive too, you know.”

The ocean that Mr. Ono is trying to protect is the same ocean that took away his brother’s life ten years ago, in the tsunami. “The ocean can kill, but it can also give life. If we don’t protect it, who will? The fish don’t have a voice.”

“The ocean is alive too. And we’re citizens of this country, too, you know. I’m begging, somebody, please listen to us.”

Currently, at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Station, preparations are underway to discharge the polluted water into the ocean in spring 2023. This is going to destroy the livelihoods and dignity of Fukushima’s fishermen, and their heartbreaking pleas have yet reached the government or TEPCO, who are focused only on maintaining the superficial appearance of “recovery”.

1Radiological Impact Assessment Regarding the Discharge of ALPS Treated Water into the Sea (Design stage) at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station

2TEPCO https://www.tepco.co.jp/news/2015/images/150825a.pdf (Japanese only)

3TEPCO Treated Water Portal Site

4TEPCO How much contaminated water is being generated

5METI The Subcommittee on Handling ALPS Treated Water

Mitsuhisa Kawase is Senior Communication Officer at Greenpeace Japan.

December 27, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima operators to use tunnels and pumps to release contaminated water into the sea

22 December 2021

The operator of Japan’s destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), has submitted plans to the country’s nuclear regulators to release contaminated water from the site into the sea.

According to Reuters, Tepco proposes to discharge the water via pumps and and underwater tunnels to a location about 1km offshore.

Tepco will process the water first to remove radioactive contamination, except for tritium, which cannot be removed.

Nearly 1.3 million tonnes of contaminated water have accumulated at the site – enough to fill 500 Olympic swimming pools.

The water has built up over the past ten years, after the site was ravaged by an earthquake and tsunami – causing the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

Currently, the water is stored in huge tanks at an annual cost of around $880m, and space is running out.

Although international authorities support the water discharge effort, the plans do have raised concern from neighbours China and South Korea and worried both local farmers and the fishing industry.

The operator will continue to discuss the issue with residents and others before construction, set to start in the middle of next year.

December 27, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear power plant plans seabed tunnel to discharge treated radioactive water into ocean

22 déc. 2021

The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has unveiled plans to build an underwater tunnel to release treated radioactive water into the sea. The Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) submitted detailed plans on December 21, 2021, to the nuclear regulation authority for approval. In 2011, a devastating earthquake and tsunami sparked a nuclear disaster on Japan’s northeastern coast. Nearly 1.3 million tonnes of contaminated water has to be processed to eliminate radioactive contamination, except for tritium, which cannot be removed. Japan’s plans to dump the treated water in the ocean have raised concerns among neighbouring China and South Korea, as well as farmers and fisherfolk.

December 23, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Tepco to build underwater tunnel for Fukushima water release

December 21, 2021

The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant intends to build an underwater tunnel to release water from the plant into the sea, it said on Tuesday (Dec 21), as part of a project to treat and dispose of contaminated water.

A decade after a massive earthquake and tsunami ravaged the north-eastern coast, disabling the plant and causing the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, nearly 1.3 million tonnes of contaminated water have accumulated at the site.

The water, enough to fill about 500 Olympic-sized swimming pools, is stored in huge tanks at an annual cost of about 100 billion yen (S$1.2 billion), and space is running out.

This year, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) outlined plans to discharge more than one million tonnes of the water, after treatment and dilution, from a point about 1km offshore from the power station.

Tepco submitted detailed plans on Tuesday to the nuclear regulation authority for approval, company official Junichi Matsumoto told reporters.

Pumps would move the treated water from the tanks to the seashore and through a seabed tunnel to release it at a depth of 12m, and about 1km out at sea, the firm said.

Although the international authorities support the water discharge effort, it has provoked concern from neighbours China and South Korea and worried local farmers and fisherfolk.

December 23, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Wrecked Fukushima Nuclear Plant One Step Closer to Releasing Radioactive Water Into Pacific

A protestor holds a slogan during a rally against the Japanese government’s decision to release treated water from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the sea, outside of the prime minister’s office in Tokyo on April 13, 2021.

December 21, 2021

The operator of the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant is one step closer to releasing treated radioactive water into the Pacific ocean after applying for approval Tuesday to create a tunnel to the Pacific ocean to dispose of the water safely.

The nuclear power plant was severely damaged in 2011 after a massive earthquake triggered a tsunami that caused contamination of their cooling water, which then began leaking. The 1,000 tanks storing the contaminated water will reach capacity next year, the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO), said.

TEPCO plans to create the sea tunnel so they can release a massive amount of treated radioactive water into the ocean. The Nuclear Regulation Authority needs to approve the plan, including the tunnel’s design, equipment needed to dilute the water and other materials.

The contaminated water will be treated with seawater to reduce the levels of radioactive material to reach a safe level that won’t harm the environment. The water will be released about half a mile from the plant and about 40 feet below the ocean’s surface, according to TEPCO’s plan.

TEPCO wants to start construction in June so they can begin to release the radioactive water by April 2023.

The contaminated water is to be diluted to reduce the concentration of radioactive materials below allowable limits.

About 1,000 storage tanks filled with the radioactive water need to be removed to make room for facilities necessary for the plant’s decommissioning, TEPCO says.

Increasing amounts of radioactive water have been stored at the plant. The plant says the storage tanks currently hold about 1.29 million tons of water and will reach their capacity of 1.37 million tons by early 2023.

An official in charge of the water discharge project, Junichi Matsumoto, said TEPCO will construct the undersea tunnel by drilling through bedrock in the seabed.

The government in April approved the decision to start discharging the water into the Pacific Ocean under safety standards set by regulators, calling it the most realistic option. The idea has been fiercely opposed by fishermen, residents and neighboring countries including China and South Korea.

https://www.newsweek.com/wrecked-fukushima-nuclear-plant-one-step-closer-releasing-radioactive-water-pacific-1661836

December 23, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

S. Korea holds emergency meeting over Japan’s Fukushima water release plans

21 déc. 2021

Earlier this year… Japan announced plans to discharge treated radioactive water from Fukushima nuclear power plant. Neighboring countries expressed concerns. As Tokyo submit a request for an approval… Seoul reiterated its opposition to the idea.

Kim Do-yeon has the details. South Korea has expressed deep concern to Japan after its electrical company Tepco on Tuesday requested regulatory approval to release treated radioactive water from Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea.

South Korea held an emergency Vice Ministerial meeting… and the country’s nuclear safety chiefl affirmed their stance on the matter.

“To share the main points of the letter, we’ve requested that during the process of collecting opinions, in addition to Japan, other countries’ opinions should be taken into account as well as…. while cooperating with the international community. In addition, we requested that relevant information should be transparent, and Japan be cooperative and prompt to South Korea’s request to confirm the release is safe.”

This was the second time South Korea used its nuclear safety commission as a means to send a message to Japan.

The first time was earlier this year when Japan said it had decided to push for the discharge of more than 1 million tons of the water into the ocean.

Tepco’s appeal for regulatory approval this time around… was around 500 pages long… detailing how the water will be released as well as the extent of the dilution process. The firm said… pumps would move the treated water from the tanks to the seashore and through a seabed tunnel before releasing it at a depth of 12 meters, and about 1 kilometer out at sea.

South Korean authorities plan on examining the appeal thoroughly and will request additional information. They will also strengthen its watch over the level of radioactivity in the sea. Currently… it has 32 spots in coastal waters to check for levels of tritium and cesium, and it is planning to add 2 more spots with more frequent checks being carried out.

Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News.

December 23, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Release of treated water from Fukushima Daiichi: TEPCO applies for implementation plan to the Regulatory Commission

December 21, 2021

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has announced its plan for the release of treated water containing tritium and other radioactive substances that continues to accumulate at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the sea.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) held a press conference on April 21 and announced that it has applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for an implementation plan in line with the government’s policy that the treated water that continues to accumulate at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant will be discharged into the sea in the spring of the next year after being diluted to a concentration below the standard.

The plan describes the procedure for diluting the treated water with seawater and the design of an undersea tunnel to be constructed to release the diluted water from 1 km offshore.

After receiving approval from the regulatory board and gaining the understanding of the local community and other related parties, the company plans to start construction of the equipment to dilute the treated water with seawater and the undersea tunnel around June next year, aiming to complete the work around the middle of April next year in accordance with the national policy.

Junichi Matsumoto, the executive officer of TEPCO who is in charge of the plan, said, “Based on the government’s policy, we would like to explain the plan to the local community and many related parties in parallel with the regulatory committee’s examination, and study specific designs and operations to ensure safety.

With regard to the release of treated water being promoted by the government and TEPCO, there are deep-rooted concerns about harmful rumors, especially among local residents, and the issues that remain to be addressed are how to gain the understanding of those concerned and how to take effective measures to deal with the rumors.

What is “treated water”?
At the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, so-called “contaminated water” is being generated at a rate of 140 tons per day, including water used to cool the nuclear fuel in Units 1-3 that melted down in the accident 10 years ago, as well as groundwater that flows into the buildings.

The contaminated water is treated in a special purification system to remove most of the radioactive materials, but the water containing tritium, a radioactive material that is difficult to remove, or “treated water,” remains and is stored on the plant grounds.

According to the current plan, 1.37 million tons of water can be stored in a large tank on the site, but more than 90% of the tank is already filled with treated water, and it is expected to be full after next fall.

Therefore, the government has decided to dilute the treated water to less than 1/40th of the standard by adding seawater and discharge it into the sea around the spring of 2023, as it is unlikely to affect human health if the concentration is reduced below the standard.

What is the outlook for the future?
The implementation plan applied for by TEPCO will be reviewed by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will examine the plan, which includes the following: (1) measures against natural disasters, such as equipment to dilute the treated water with seawater and an undersea tunnel, and (2) a function to stop the release of water in case of abnormalities.

Toyoshi Sarada, chairman of the regulatory board, said, “There are no major technical difficulties in diluting and checking the concentration of the treated water, and it will not take a long time.

On the other hand, there are deep-rooted concerns about the release of treated water, especially in the local community, and Mr. Sarada pointed out that “the understanding of the local community and other related parties is extremely important, and even if the plan is approved, the period until the start of construction is unpredictable.

On April 20, TEPCO submitted a “Request for Prior Approval,” which is required for the construction of new facilities and expansion of facilities, to Fukushima Prefecture and the municipalities of Futaba and Okuma.

In addition, the construction work is expected to take about a year, so the government’s goal of releasing treated water in the spring of 2023 is still uncertain.

After TEPCO reported to fishermen in Iwaki that it had applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for a plan to release treated water, Tetsu Nozaki, chairman of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, said, “It’s unfortunate and frustrating that we have been opposed to the release of treated water into the ocean, but we are moving forward without hesitation. We want them to think of other ways. We have no choice but to send out the message that fishermen are against it.
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/lnews/fukushima/20211221/6050016725.html?fbclid=IwAR3VlVNSI0PxYOuA9Kxpr1i7Eg836xnjIAzsC57-aWsok-fK0ep5RkYzSLU

December 21, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO starts offshore drilling to release Fukushima water

14-Dec-2021

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) began offshore drilling operations on Monday for the undersea tunnel that will implement its plan to release radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, local media has reported.

TEPCO is scheduled to initiate the release in the spring of 2023.

The Japanese operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has decided to release treated wastewater from the ruined facility in an area roughly 1 kilometer offshore from the site, reported Nikkei.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings plans to discharge the wastewater through a pipeline, which will be contained in a tunnel to be drilled within the seafloor, said the report.

https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-12-14/TEPCO-starts-offshore-drilling-to-release-Fukushima-water-15YY7KhjzoI/index.html?fbclid=IwAR2a1-kZZLpficE4sO7iCfbf1LJLWPDufuyu-OlFbPmf8VkHGYpOb0KS_hQ

December 20, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment