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Japan releasing contaminated water of Fukushima would only create another disaster

“The idea of releasing the contaminated water before it has been entirely treated for radioactivity is completely unacceptable. For the Japanese government to make a unilateral decision about a multilateral matter that endangers the health of not only its own citizens but also the citizens of its neighbors is both irresponsible and immoral.”
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The storage tanks for contaminated water from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown
 
 
 
Aug.15,2019
If Japan releases 1.1 million tons of water contaminated with high-level radioactivity from storage tanks at the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, that water could reach the east shore of South Korea within a year. That was the bottom line of a press conference held in South Korea on Aug. 14 by Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany.
 
The problem is that discharging the contaminated water isn’t some vague possibility, but the option favored by the Japanese government. Last October, Japan’s nuclear regulator said it would allow the water to be released, provided that it’s diluted first.
 
The idea of releasing the contaminated water before it has been entirely treated for radioactivity is completely unacceptable. For the Japanese government to make a unilateral decision about a multilateral matter that endangers the health of not only its own citizens but also the citizens of its neighbors is both irresponsible and immoral.
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Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, talks about the dangers of Japan’s decision to release radioactively contaminated water from the 2011 Fukushima disaster during a press conference in Seoul on Aug. 14.
 
It’s obvious that the contaminated water will be carried by sea currents to the East Sea, with harmful effect. A study has found that the levels of radiation in the East Sea more than doubled during the five years after contaminated water was released for a brief time in 2011, during the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
 
The main reason the Japanese government hopes to discharge the contaminated water is cost. The massive amount of radioactive water produced since the 2011 accident at Fukushima is being stored in the reactor’s water tanks; at the current rate, they will overflow by March 2021. Attempting to skimp on the cost of building more tanks by releasing the contaminated water is the worst possible option, as it would trigger another catastrophe. According to Shaun Burnie, the only option is to build more water tanks while focusing on developing techniques for treating the radioactive particles.
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The route by which contaminated water discharged by Japan would eventually reach the eastern shores of Korea.
 
With the Tokyo Olympics just one year away, the Japanese government is working overtime to promote the claim that it’s moved beyond the Fukushima disaster. First it announced that dishes for athletes will be prepared with crops grown at Fukushima, and then it selected a spot just 20km away from the accident as the starting point for the Olympic torch. That has prompted not only leading global media outlets but even domestic ones to run multiple stories concluding that the Fukushima area isn’t safe from radioactive materials. Japan needs to call off this rash marketing campaign, which jeopardizes the safety of Olympic athletes and audiences.
The South Korean government has announced that it will respond proactively to the issue of contaminated water at Fukushima. Some see this as another way to pressure Japan in the two countries’ ongoing economic dispute. But the two are separate issues. We hope the government will deal with this issue with a firm, and consistent, attitude.
 
 
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August 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | 1 Comment

Fukushima: Nuclear-contaminated water raises 2020 Games site fears

They would love to get rid of all that accumulated radioactive water by dumping it into the sea before the venue of the 2020 Olympics. An ongoing media campaign pushing for it is relentlessly continuing….
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August 13th, 2019
Storage space is running out for Fukushima
Beginning late next July, Tokyo and several other sites around Japan will welcome elite athletes from around the world for the 2020 Summer Games. One of the sites carries with it a stigma that organizers are hoping to help heal — Fukushima.
Some scheduled baseball and softball events will take place at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium, located about 70 km northwest of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The site’s three reactors famously suffered a partial meltdown in the wake of the 2011’s Great East Japan Earthquake and the resulting 15-metre tsunami. The disaster was the second-worst since Chernobyl, leaving piles of melted radioactive fuel in the plant’s three reactors.
While it’s now estimated that 96 per cent of the power plant can be safely accessed without protective clothing, and no evacuation order has ever been in place for parts of the prefecture — including where the baseball stadium is located — the damage to the name has been done, according to locals.
“We are looked at like Chernobyl,” Saito Nobuyuki, who was born in Fukushima and now a sporting goods store there, told the New York Times. “It’s difficult to change.”
Yoshiro Mori, the 2020 organising committee president, hopes by hosting events at the site, that change can begin.
“By hosting Olympic baseball and softball events, Fukushima will have a great platform to show the world the extent of its recovery in the 10 years since the disaster,” Mori said, according to the Guardian.
There may be another hitch in the road to recovery, however, and it’s looming on the horizon for next year.
Tremendous amounts of water flooded the reactors in the wake of the disaster, both from the tsunami itself and from water added to cover the melted reactors and allow them to cool as part of the efforts to clean up the site and decommission the plant. Since then, groundwater has also infiltrated the site. All of this water has been contaminated by radioactive substances, like cesium and tritium. While the cesium can be removed via processing, tritium generally remains, meaning the still-contaminated water must be stored.
TEPCO, the utility which operated the reactor, has installed about 1,000 large storage tanks at the site to hold the contaminated water; currently, more than 1.05 million tons of radioactive water are being stored in the tanks, and roughly 150 tons are added every day.
TEPCO continues to install new tanks, but according to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, “space limitations mean that by the end of 2020, a maximum storage capacity of about 1.34 million tons will be reached.” Officials have added that if the groundwater infiltration was decreased, it will be possible to stretch that date until summer 2022.
While more tanks can be installed, a long-term solution is still being sought and, so far, most of them aren’t going over well with the locals.
One suggestion before the central government is to dilute the water after processing and gradually release it into the Pacific. Another is to build a long-term storage facility near the plant site. Fukushima residents, and fishermen in particular, have expressed strong opposition to both ideas, not over fears of the wastewater itself but because of the negative publicity and continuing stigma that would damage their livelihoods.
Tritium — the contaminant left in the water after treatment — is a relatively weak source of radiation that doesn’t pose much threat to humans, though in extremely large quantities impacts to health are possible. It’s commonly used in glow-in-the-dark lighting and signs.
Setting a deadline on the current storage situation puts additional pressure on Japanese authorities and the public to reach a consensus.
“When we talk about Fukushima’s reconstruction, the question is if we should prioritize the decommissioning at the expense of Fukushima people’s lives,” Naoya Sekiya, a University of Tokyo professor of disaster social science, told the Associated Press. “The issue is not just about science.”

August 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea to actively deal with radioactive water discharge from Fukushima plant

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This photo, provided by Kyodo news agency on March 8, 2019, shows the storage tanks keeping radioactive water from the Fukushima meltdown, in Fukushima, Japan.
 
August 13, 2019
SEOUL, Aug. 13 (Yonhap) — South Korea will actively seek ways to deal with Japan’s planned discharge of water contaminated as a result of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown, Seoul’s foreign ministry said Tuesday, amid concern storage space will soon run out.
 
The treatment of radioactive water stored in tanks in Fukushima has drawn international concern in recent months following reports that the Japanese government is considering releasing the water into the Pacific Ocean.
 
Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility company managing the storage, has said it will run out of space to store the toxic water in three years. Greenpeace warned in a report early this year that South Korea will be among countries particularly affected by the discharge into the sea.
 
“Our government puts top priority on the health and safety of our citizens, and we plan to actively ask Japan to disclose information and to provide us with a concrete stance on the current management system and disposal plans,” ministry spokesman Kim In-chul told a regular press briefing.
Seoul has proposed that Tokyo hold bilateral and multilateral talks over the matter since the government became aware in August 2018 of a plan to discharge the water, Kim added.
 
Two months later, the government sent Tokyo an official statement detailing national concerns and requests in relation to the matter, and continued negotiations over the issue at various levels, bilaterally as well as through multilateral channels, according to the ministry.
 
The ministry said Japan has only maintained that the final decision for disposal of the radioactive water is still under review and that it will announce it to the international community when it’s ready.
 
“If it’s deemed necessary, we will also closely cooperate with our neighbors in the Pacific that are also feared to be affected, so as to actively cope with the problem of the discharge of contaminated water,” Kim said.
 
In that regard, the government is mulling over other concrete actions such as raising the matter at the IAEA General Conference to be held in Vienna next month and the South Korea-China-Japan Top Regulators’ Meeting on Nuclear Safety, which is to take place in China in November.
 
While there’s no other country yet to formally take issue with Japan’s reported move to release contaminated water, the environmental authorities of many Pacific nations are apparently keeping a close eye on it, a ministry official said later on background.
 
International environmental groups including Greenpeace are voicing concern about the issue as well, the official added.
 
Asked about the possibility of South Korea boycotting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in connection with the matter, the ministry spokesman avoided a direct answer.
 
Seoul and Tokyo are locked in an escalating economic and political row stemming from the longstanding issue of compensation for wartime forced labor.
 
Since 2013, South Korea has banned all seafood imports from eight Japanese prefectures near Fukushima, after Japan announced a leak of contaminated water.
 
Tokyo sought to challenge Seoul’s decision by lodging a complaint at the World Trade Organization (WTO). In April this year, the WTO finalized the ruling in favor of Seoul, saying the measures do not amount to unfair trade restrictions or arbitrary discrimination. (Yonhap)

 

August 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Contaminated water tanks in Fukushima will be full in 3 years

All part of the now massive media PR campaign to prepare the public opinion for the dumping of that accumulated radioactive water into the Pacific ocean. Let’s face it, for them to dump it into the sea is the quickest, cheapest conveniency. And they’d love to have it out of the way before the 2020 Olympics venue.
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August 9, 2019
By the summer of 2022, storage tanks holding processed water on the grounds of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant will become completely full, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co.
That marks the first timetable the utility has set on when capacity will be reached in the tanks holding the water processed to remove most radioactive substances.
Analysts said setting a deadline for the tank capacity allows TEPCO to push the central government and other entities to take action on the volume of contaminated water that continues to accumulate at a rate of about 150 tons a day.
TEPCO officials are expected to present their estimates at an Aug. 9 meeting of a subcommittee under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry looking into dealing with the contaminated water.
The triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 plant after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami produced piles of melted nuclear fuel in three reactors at the plant.
The melted fuel continues to be cooled, but that results in the build-up of water contaminated with high levels of radioactive substances.
Groundwater has also seeped into the reactor buildings, increasing the high volume of contaminated water.
While most of the radioactive substances are being removed through processing equipment, tritium remains in the processed water, which must be stored.
Large storage tanks have been constructed on the grounds of the Fukushima No. 1 plant, which currently store about 1.05 million tons of processed water.
TEPCO continues to install new storage tanks, but space limitations mean that by the end of 2020, a maximum storage capacity of about 1.34 million tons will be reached.
Utility officials claim that even if groundwater volume was decreased, the storage tanks would become full of processed water by about summer 2022.
One option being considered by the central government is to dilute the processed water and gradually release the water into the ocean. But local fishermen are fiercely opposed on the grounds the negative publicity generated by that action would hurt their future sales.
Sources said the industry ministry was planning to present another option of storing the processed water for a long period outside the Fukushima plant site. Fukushima fishermen had requested that such an option be considered to avoid negative publicity that would hurt their livelihoods.
However, TEPCO officials have expressed doubts about whether that option will ever get off the table. For one thing, finding a community that would be willing to host such a storage site would be extremely difficult. TEPCO officials also said problems would arise in transporting the processed water from the Fukushima site to a new location, including the possibility that radiation could be released during the transportation process.
After the ministry subcommittee considers how to deal with the processed water, the central government will decide on a basic plan after coordinating with other relevant parties, including the local governments involved.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi’s radioactive water to run out of tanks in 2022

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Storage tanks at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant hold more than 1 million tons of tainted water.
Fukushima’s contaminated water to run out of tanks in 2022
With Olympics approaching, Tokyo hesitant to release into ocean
August 09, 2019
TOKYO — Tanks containing runoff from the devastated Fukushima nuclear plant are likely reach capacity as early as the summer of 2022, a new forecast shows, putting pressure on Japan’s government to dispose of the wastewater.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has leaked water laced with radioactive isotopes since its reactors suffered meltdowns after a crippling March 2011 tsunami.
Various solutions have been proposed, but one that a panel of experts called in 2016 the fastest and least costly — releasing water into the ocean — is opposed by locals who fear it will hurt the image of the region’s seafood.
The 960 tanks located at the site now hold roughly 1.15 million tons of water. Plant administrator Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings, or Tepco, expects to secure enough tanks to hold 1.37 million tons by the end of 2020.
An average 170 tons of contaminated water was produced each day during fiscal 2018, mostly as the result of groundwater flowing into the ruined plant.
Tepco, which counts a government-backed fund as its top shareholder following a 2012 bailout, aims to reduce the volume to 150 per day next year. Even at that reduced level, the tanks would reach full capacity in either the summer or fall of 2022, Tepco estimates.
This marks the first projection that storage at the plant will reach its limit. The findings will be presented at an expert panel meeting on Friday.
Tepco installed equipment to pump out and decontaminate the water. But the treated water still contains tritium, a radioactive hydrogen isotope that also occurs in minute amounts in nature.
The utility has been criticized for its handling of the plant after the disaster, with its so-called ice wall, a costly, complex technique of freezing the soil to keep the leaks from reaching the ocean, questioned over its effectiveness.
A panel commissioned by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry considered a plan to dilute and release the water into the ocean. Toyoshi Fuketa, chairman of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, described the approach “most logical.”
But with the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo approaching, the government is worried about a potential blow to its international reputation by releasing the water into the sea. It appears to be dragging its feet on a decision.
In his final pitch to secure the Games six years ago, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had told the International Olympic Committee that the situation at Fukushima was “under control.”
A number of Japan’s trading partners banned imports of seafood from Fukushima and other areas after the nuclear disaster. These restrictions added to the economic pain for the region’s fisheries industry, which was recovering from the physical damage of the tsunami.
 
 
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In this April 14, 2017 file photo, tanks storing radioactive contaminated water are seen at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture.
Tanks storing radioactive water in Fukushima to be full by 2022: TEPCO
August 9, 2019
TOKYO (Kyodo) — It is estimated tanks storing water contaminated with low-toxicity radioactive tritium at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant will be full by the summer of 2022, the plant operator said Friday.
At a meeting of a government panel on the same day, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. was unsupportive of the idea to replace the existing tanks with larger vessels as a long-term storage solution for water that was contaminated when cooling the plant’s cores.
Local fishermen and residents support the storage solution, preferring it to any plan that would see the water released into the sea out of fear over the potential impact on fish stocks.
A nuclear expert from the International Atomic Energy Agency, however, 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.”
The treated water remains tainted with the low toxicity tritium as a result of cooling the plant’s reactors, which suffered core meltdowns following the 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster. The water is regarded as relatively harmless to humans.
TEPCO also said storing the tanks outside the premises would present difficulties with transportation and getting approval from local governments. Moreover, the tanks would remain even when the decommissioning work was completed and would take up land required for storing debris, the company added.
Toxic water produced by cooling debris and other processes is purified using the Advanced Liquid Processing System, said to be capable of removing almost all radioactive materials except tritium.
As of late July, around 1.1 million tons of tritium-contaminated water was stored on the premises of the plant, according to TEPCO. The utility plans to raise storage capacity to 1.37 million tons by the end of 2020, but plans beyond that have yet to be decided.
The tanks currently fill at the rate of around 150 tons of water per day.
The government panel has looked into five options to dispose of the tainted water including discharging it into the sea and vaporization.
“It is unreasonable to store (the water) forever. The (storage) period and conditions should be established,” a member of the panel said.
Another member argued that the treated water should not be discharged into the ocean at any time soon, saying it is “illogical to sacrifice the livelihood of local residents to proceed with the decommissioning work.”
At the plant, an area of up to around 80,000 square meters, enough to accommodate tanks containing 380,000 tons of treated water, is required to store melted nuclear fuel and other debris that will be extracted in the future, according to TEPCO.
TEPCO also said at the panel meeting it is possible to expand the Fukushima plant by acquiring neighboring land used for interim storage of soil from decontamination work, but that the company hopes to carry out the decommissioning within the area of the existing premises.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

South Korea Weary of Japan’s Plans to Dump Fukushima Daiichi Radioactive Water into the Pacific

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Storage tanks for radioactive water are seen at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, in this picture taken on Feb. 18.
Greenpeace warns Korea of Japan’s radioactive water discharge
August 8, 2019
An international environment organization has said that Japan plans to discharge radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean in the near future and Korea will fall particularly vulnerable.
 
Greenpeace Korea, the global NGO’s branch in Seoul, reposted on Facebook, Wednesday, a column by its nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie published in The Economist, saying Japan is planning to discharge more than 1 billion liters of contaminated water stored at the Fukushima nuclear plant since the massive earthquake and nuclear disaster of 2011.
 
Burnie wrote in his article that the Japanese government has decided recently to take the “cheapest and fastest” way to dispose wastewater, which is to discharge it into the Pacific Ocean.
 
The scientist added neighboring countries will be exposed to radiation as a result and Korea, in particular, will suffer the most from it.
 
He claimed that if 1 million tons of radioactive water is discharged into the ocean, it will take 17 years and 770 million tons of water to dilute it, adding it is impossible not to discharge it without contaminating the ocean, and countries in the Pacific region will be exposed to radiation.
Burnie continued that Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings has tried to find ways to handle the contaminated water for the last eight years but failed. He pointed out that the Shinzo Abe administration never speaks about the risks of radioactive pollutant, and ignores unfavorable reports when they are released.
 
Chang Mari, a climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Korea, said the environmental organization has been watching the status of the nuclear plant in Fukushima, which was damaged by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
 
“Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has been conducting technical evaluations to discharge or manage the contaminated water between 2013 and 2016. The affiliated taskforce team dealing with titrated water under the ministry proposed five ways to dispose of the wastewater and it recommended discharging it into the ocean,” Chang told The Korea Times, Thursday.
 
“We have been issuing warnings to the Japanese government of possible consequences that could follow the pollutant discharge, but they all have been disregarded.”
 
The Korean government has been requesting the Japanese government share information on radioactivity levels in Fukushima for years but the latter has refused to do so, according to relevant Korean ministries.
 
“We have been holding meetings with Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism every year and we asked them to share data on how Japan has been dealing with contaminated water, but they have kept avoiding answering,” an official at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said.
 
“The radiation levels in the coastal areas here have shown no big changes so far since 2015.”
 
 
Gov’t Says It Will Closely Monitor Fukushima’s Radioactive Wastewater
August 8, 2019
South Korea’s Oceans Ministry said that it is closely watching how Japan will deal with radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant that melted down earlier this decade.
 
Following claims by global environmental watchdog Greenpeace that Japan plans to release more than one million tons of radioactive water into the ocean, a ministry official told KBS on Thursday that the government has been demanding that Tokyo disclose how it plans to deal with the problem. 
 
According to the official, Seoul has in the past demanded Tokyo explain how it plans to deal with the contaminated water, but Tokyo has continuously stonewalled.
 
The ministry has been examining water near South Korea’s shores on a quarterly basis since 2015, and there has been no significant change so far, according to the official.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | 2 Comments

Japan to resume effort to tackle contaminated water problem at Fukushima

Japanese Government, TEPCO and the Japanese media keep on bringing back this issue, the lack of space on site to keep the accumulating radioactive water, as a mean to force the public’s acceptance for its dumping into the Pacific ocean. The two radionuclide filtering systems are not fully performing, therefore that stored water is only partially decontaminated, and still radionuclides loaded.
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Storage tanks for radioactive water are seen at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan February 18, 2019
August 8, 2019
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan is resuming efforts to disperse a build-up of contaminated water at Tokyo Electric Power’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant that is stalling progress on cleaning up the site, the government said on Thursday.
A panel of experts will meet on Friday for the first time in eight months to consider options to get rid of the water, Japan’s government said in briefing documents it released.
The panel will consider strategies such as evaporation of the water and injection deep underground, in addition to a recommendation by Japan’s nuclear regulator to release the treated water into the ocean, a more conventional technique.
Regular meetings of the panel had stopped nearly three months after Tokyo Electric (Tepco) admitted it had not managed to completely remove potentially dangerous radioactive particles from treated water held in tanks.
The admission had been a setback for the company and the government, as the water hampered clean-up of the site where three reactors melted down after an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
In 2016, the Japanese government estimated that the total cost of plant dismantling, decontamination of affected areas, and compensation, would be 21.5 trillion yen (£166.6 billion), or about a fifth of the country’s annual budget.
Tokyo won the bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics around six years ago, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declaring that Fukushima was “under control” in his final pitch to the International Olympic Committee.
At nuclear sites around the world, contaminated water is treated to remove all radioactive particles except tritium, a relatively harmless isotope of hydrogen hard to separate from water and released into the environment.
But because of missteps such as last year’s admission that it had not removed everything except tritium from the tanks, Tepco faces difficulties winning the trust of regional fisherman who oppose the water’s release into the ocean.
Some countries, including South Korea, still have restrictions on produce from areas around the Fukushima site.
Tepco has completed replacement of older tanks that had experienced leaks with stronger ones, the government said.
It is expected to run out of tank space by mid-2022, the government added, adding to the urgency to resolve the problem.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Toxic water level at Fukushima plant still not under control

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Highly contaminated water has accumulated in the No. 1 to No. 4 reactor buildings and turbine buildings of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
July 28, 2019
Almost six years after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe famously declared the contaminated water problem at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant “under control,” today it remains anything but.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) continues to face difficulties in dealing with water contaminated with radioactive substances at its crippled plant.
About 18,000 tons of highly contaminated water remain accumulated in reactor buildings and other places.
Abe made the declaration in September 2013 while Tokyo was bidding to win the 2020 Summer Games.
In reality, however, the situation is not under control even now.
In a meeting of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) in June, one of its members, Nobuhiko Ban, told TEPCO officials, “I want you to show whether you have a prospect (for the reduction of contaminated water) or you have given up.”
The water level did not fall as planned in an area of a basement floor at the No. 3 reactor building for two months. Asked why the level did not drop, TEPCO officials offered only vague explanations in the meeting. Ban made the remark out of irritation.
Highly contaminated water that has accumulated in reactor buildings and turbine buildings is a major concern at the Fukushima plant. In addition to water that was used to cool melted nuclear fuel at the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 reactors, groundwater also has flowed into those buildings through cracks.
The concentration of radioactive substances in the highly contaminated water is about 100 million times that of the contaminated water that has been processed and stored in tanks.
Immediately after the nuclear accident at the Fukushima plant in March 2011, highly contaminated water leaked into the sea through underground tunnels. As a result, radioactive substances whose concentrations were higher than allowable standards were detected in fish and other seafood.
After the nuclear accident, about 100,000 tons of water initially accumulated in the basement portions of buildings that housed the No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 reactors and buildings that accommodated turbines.
TEPCO has removed groundwater through wells. It also created “frozen walls” in the ground by freezing soil around the buildings. Using those methods, the company has decreased the flow of groundwater into the buildings and, as a result, the level of highly contaminated water has dropped there.
Eight years since the nuclear accident occurred, the volume of highly contaminated water in the buildings has fallen to 18,000 tons. TEPCO aims to reduce the volume further to 6,000 tons by the end of fiscal 2020.
However, work to decrease the water has not progressed as expected.
As for the area in the basement of the No. 3 reactor building, it is known that water used to cool melted nuclear fuel is flowing into the area. But why the water level does not drop only in that area is not known.
If the water level in the building remains high, highly contaminated water there could leak into the ground through cracks when the groundwater level outside the building drops. If the leaks occur, the entire effort to decrease the amount of highly contaminated water will be stalled.
The NRA is also requiring TEPCO to take anti-tsunami measures because if a huge tsunami engulfs the buildings again, it could send highly contaminated water pouring into the sea
However, anti-tsunami measures are also delayed.
The work to close openings that could become locations for leakage of highly contaminated water during a tsunami is expected to continue until the end of fiscal 2021. Such openings exist at 50 locations at present.
Additional construction of sea walls as a safeguard against another huge tsunami like the one triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake will take time until the first half of fiscal 2020.

July 31, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

17 years needed to send treated Fukushima water into sea: expert

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The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station’s forest of water storage tanks is seen in July 2018 from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter in Fukushima Prefecture.
 
July 25, 2019 (Mainichi Japan)
TOKYO — A new estimate claims it will take around 17 years to send treated radioactive water, which is currently stored at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station site as a consequence of the 2011 nuclear disaster, into the sea.
The figures came from calculations by Hiroshi Miyano, visiting professor in nuclear engineering at Hosei University, and head of the investigative committee on the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station at the Atomic Energy Society of Japan.
While the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry intends to resume discussions on the methods for disposal of treated water at a subcommittee of experts as early as next month, Miyano called for his estimate to be utilized in calm and quick discussions on the issue.
Miyano drew his attention to auxiliary cooling seawater pumps based on the premises of the nuclear power station, which was severely damaged by the March 2011 earthquakes and tsunamis and the subsequent meltdown they caused.
There are three operational pumps each at the No. 5 and 6 reactors, which are for pumping up seawater to cool apparatus at the nuclear plant. They can individually process 1,800 metric tons of water per hour at the No. 5 reactor, and 2,800 tons of water per hour at the No. 6 reactor.
At nuclear plants across the country, radioactive water containing tritium, which is difficult to remove, is released after being diluted to contain 60,000 becquerels or less of radioactive substances per liter of water, in accordance with criteria set under the Act on the Regulation of Nuclear Source Material, Nuclear Fuel Material and Reactors.
At the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, where decommissioning work is underway, however, stricter standards are being applied, with water such as rainwater accumulated in trenches outside reactor buildings released after being diluted to contain less than 1,500 becquerels of radioactive substances per liter of water.
At present, the nuclear power station site is host to over 950 storage tanks, which together hold more than 1.05 million tons of treated water containing tritium. Were the stricter rules on dilution to be applied, the treated water would amount to some 699 million tons.
The calculations by Miyano were based on the pumps at the No. 5 and 6 reactors working alternately but without interruption for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Under such conditions, it is expected that all of the water would be released after about 17 years and 4 months.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is investigating a range of potential disposal methods, from releasing the water into the sea, to vaporizing the liquid or storing it for an extended period of time.
In 2016, the ministry came up with an estimate that releasing the water into the sea would take somewhere between 7 years and one month and 7 years and four months, using different preconditions from those employed by Miyano.
Miyano said, “At some point the tanks will deteriorate. This estimate is ultimately just one example, and it could change depending on conditions. But it does show that processing the water is going to take a long time. It’s time to have a calm discussion.”

July 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima plant radioactive water could be stored in tanks long term: gov’t source

Heading toward 1.37 million tons of strontium-90 tea, enough to give a 500ml portion to 2.74 billion people
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May 13, 2019
The Japanese administration is considering keeping the enormous and still growing volume of radioactively contaminated water at the disaster-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in storage tanks for the long term, a source close to the government has told the Mainichi Shimbun.
Previously, five options to deal with the contaminated water were being compared: releasing it into the ocean; piping it into a deep stratum of the Earth’s crust; releasing it into the atmosphere as steam; encasing it in cement and burying it; and using electrolysis to hydrogenate tritium — a relatively low-impact radioactive element not filtered out with plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)’s current decontamination systems — in the water before releasing it into the air.
However, strontium 90 — a radioactive element that can accumulate in the bones — was discovered in treated water in government maximum-busting concentrations just before August 2018 public hearings on the contaminated water problem. The revelation “completely destroyed the premise for discussions,” the Mainichi source said, and public worries about releasing the water into the environment prompted the government to reconsider.
As a result, a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry expert committee on the contaminated water issue set to meet in June will add long-term tank storage to the existing five options.
According to the government source, the administration will take the expert committee’s opinions into account when it makes a final decision on the water problem. However, views in the prime minister’s office are apparently split. Furthermore, the government is worried that taking any decision ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Games could invite increased attention on the problem and risks the spread of harmful rumors, making it very difficult to project which method will be chosen.
Any of the options is expected to take about two years to implement, a senior industry ministry official said.
Meanwhile, Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa warned at a March news conference that “the time when a decision must be made (on how to deal with the contaminated water) is very close indeed.”
There is already over 1 million metric tons of contaminated water stored on-site at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, while existing plans will see total capacity max out at 1.37 million tons in 2020. At the current rate of increase, all the 10-meter-tall tanks will be full in four to five years. It is thought that the government will look into processing the water in small quantities as the total volume nears capacity, beginning with the most lightly contaminated.
However, “from a scientific and technical standpoint, the only choice is to dilute it and release it into the ocean,” Fuketa said at the March news conference. The industry ministry’s panel of experts has released figures showing this is also the fastest and lowest-cost option.
The water volume continues to increase due to ground water flowing into the fractured reactor buildings, and the need to keep pumping more water into the shattered reactor cores to cool the nuclear fuel debris inside. Just after the March 2011 triple-meltdown at the plant triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the amount of groundwater flowing into the reactor buildings was around 400 tons daily. A subterranean ice wall and other measures have cut this by about half, but eliminating it entirely is impossible.
It is expected to take until 2051 to finish decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi plant, including processing the contaminated water.
https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190513/p2a/00m/0na/006000c?fbclid=IwAR073VgJRSeZObQZWxnufaW7bQVUNFuGKIoJAdnxFOI-XzjQhvJa2pvqQQY

May 15, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima water headache: 1 million tons and counting

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Hundreds of storage tanks on the grounds of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant hold water contaminated with radioactive materials.
March 19, 2019
The crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant reached an undesired milestone on March 18: Storage tanks at the site now contain more than 1 million tons of radiation-contaminated water.
The announcement by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., came as the utility and the central government continue to weigh water-disposal methods while hearing the concerns of fishermen who fear for their livelihoods.
Toyoshi Fuketa, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, has repeatedly said a decision must be made soon on how to deal with the contaminated water.
Groundwater becomes contaminated when it flows into the buildings of the three reactors that suffered meltdowns in 2011 following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
… Water is used to cool the nuclear fuel debris, but its processing in order to remove radioactive substances is far from successful, which Tepco itself recently finally admitted after years of claiming that it was effective and that only tritium remained in the filtered water, lobbying for its relase into the ocean…
… These problems have forced TEPCO to store the contaminated water in hundreds of tanks installed at the Fukushima plant.
If more storage tanks are constructed, the overall capacity of 1.37 million tons at the site will likely be reached by the end of 2020….
… Fukushima fishermen are already on alert for the one option they have already criticized–diluting the water and dumping it into the Pacific Ocean…
… The government has spent about 34.5 billion yen ($309 million) to build a frozen underground earth wall around the three reactor buildings to divert the groundwater to the ocean. The “ice wall” has cut down the flow of groundwater, which at one time reached about 500 tons a day.
But still, groundwater continues to flow into the three reactor buildings at a rate of about 100 tons daily.
Read more:

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

8 years on, contaminated water remains big problem for Fukushima clean-up

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March 10, 2019

Okuma – Eight years after the Fukushima nuclear crisis, a fresh obstacle threatens to undermine the massive clean-up: 1 million tons of contaminated water must be stored, possibly for years, at the power plant.

Last year, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said a system meant to purify contaminated water had failed to remove dangerous radioactive contaminants.

That means most of that water – stored in 1,000 tanks around the plant – will need to be reprocessed before it is released into the ocean, the most likely scenario for disposal…

. Fanning out across the plant’s property are enough tanks to fill 400 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Machines called Advanced Liquid Processing Systems, or ALPS, had treated the water inside them.

TEPCO said the equipment could remove all radionuclides except tritium, a relatively harmless hydrogen isotope that is hard to separate from water. Tritium-laced water is released into the environment at nuclear sites around the world.

But after newspaper reports last year questioned the effectiveness of ALPS-processed water, TEPCO acknowledged that strontium-90 and other radioactive elements remained in many of the tanks.

TEPCO said the problems occurred because absorbent materials in the equipment had not been changed frequently enough.

The utility has promised to re-purify the water if the government decides that releasing it into the ocean is the best solution. It is the cheapest of five options a government task force considered in 2016; others included evaporation and burial…

.Another option is to store the water for decades in enormous tanks normally used for crude oil. The tanks have been tested for durability, said Yasuro Kawai, a plant engineer and a member of Citizens’ Commission on Nuclear Energy, a group advocating abandoning nuclear energy.

Each tank holds 100,000 tons, so 10 such tanks could store the roughly 1 million tons of water processed by ALPS so far, he said.

The commission proposes holding the tritium-laced water, which has a half life of 12.3 years, in tanks for 123 years. After that, it will be one thousandth as radioactive as it was when it went into storage…

Read more :

https://japantoday.com/category/national/Eight-years-on-contaminated-water-remains-big-problem-for-Fukushima-clean-up

 

March 18, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

TEPCO failed to spot leak of contaminated water

 
 
Like they always say… “there is no impact on the environment.”
 
January 24, 2019
 
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it has determined that water containing radioactive substances leaked from a tank at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for more than two years. The company says there is no impact on the environment.
 
The utility says workers discovered water from an unknown source in an underground tunnel on January 10th at the plant.
 
The reactor complex was heavily damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
 
Officials later found that the water level of a nearby tank had dropped since around November 2016. They say about 300 tons of water leaked from the tank.
 
The officials say the water contained 120,000 becquerels of tritium per liter. That is twice the allowable level for the release of contaminated water at a nuclear plant operating normally.
 
The officials report that the tritium level of the water found in the tunnel was below the standard.
 
They believe the water flowed into the turbine building for the number four reactor through pipes.
 
The officials say the tank’s water level declined by about 1.7 meters during the period, but measurements conducted four times each day failed to detect the tiny difference from the previous check.
 
The company will now work to uncover the cause.
 

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

Greenpeace slams Japan’s plan to dump radioactive Fukushima water into the ocean

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22 January, 2019
The decision by the government and the tsunami-devastated plant’s operator to release contaminated water into the Pacific was ‘driven by short-term cost-cutting’, a new study has found
Greenpeace has slammed a plan by the Japanese government and an electric utility company to release into the ocean highly radioactive water from the tsunami-devastated Fukushima Daiichi power plant, saying in a new report the decision was “driven by short-term cost-cutting”.
Released on Tuesday, the Greenpeace study condemns the decision taken after the disaster to not develop technology that could remove radioactivity from the groundwater, which continues to seep into the basement levels of three of the six nuclear reactors at Fukushima.
An estimated 1.09 million tonnes of water are presently stored in more than 900 tanks at the plant, which was destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, with up to 4,000 tonnes added every week.
The decision by the government and the plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), to avoid developing the relevant technology “was motivated by short-term cost-cutting, not protection of the Pacific Ocean environment and of the health and livelihoods of communities along the Fukushima coast”, said Kazue Suzuki, campaigner on energy issues for Greenpeace Japan.
“We have raised the water crisis with the UN International Maritime Organisation and firmly stand with local communities, especially fisheries, who are strongly opposed to any plans to discharge contaminated water into their fishing grounds.”
The backlash against the plan jointly put forward by the government and Tepco began late last year after the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) held public hearings in Tokyo and Fukushima designed to convince local people that releasing the water into the ocean would have no impact on marine or human life.
Anti-nuclear and environmental groups had obtained data leaked from government sources, however, that showed that the water was still contaminated, triggering public anger. Tepco was forced to admit late last year that its efforts to reduce radioactive material – known as radionuclides – in the water had failed.
The company had previously claimed that advanced processes had reduced cancer-causing contaminants such as strontium-90, iodine-129 and ruthenium-106 in the water to non-detectible levels.
Despite the much-vaunted Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) plant at Fukushima, Tepco has confirmed that levels of strontium-90, for example, are more than 100 times above legally permitted levels in 65,000 tonnes of water that have already been through the ALPS system.
n one of the hearings, Tatsuhiko Sato, a resident of Naraha who only returned to his home last spring because of contamination from the nuclear accident, accused Tepco of “not gathering all the data” and failing to adequately investigate reports that dangerous levels of radionuclides were still in the water after it was treated.
Local fishermen used the public hearing to express their “strong opposition” to plans to release the water, with one, Tetsu Nozaki, pointing out that while levels of radiation in locally caught fish and shellfish have been at or below normal levels for the past three years, releasing contaminated water would “deal a fatal blow” to the local fishing industry.
There has also been anger in some nearby countries, with environmental groups demonstrating in Seoul in November and Korea Radioactive Watch declaring that releasing the water “will threaten the waters of South Korea and other neighbouring nations”.
The issue was also part of a referendum held in Taiwan in November, with voters asked whether the government should maintain the ban on imports of food and products from areas of Japan that were most seriously affected by radiation from the disaster.
Japan’s trade ministry, however, still refuses to rule out the possibility that the water will be poured into the Pacific.
“We have established a committee to discuss the treatment of the water that is presently being stored and those discussions are still going on,” Shinji Hirai, director of the ministry’s Nuclear Accident Response Office, told the Post.
“There are five proposals being discussed, including releasing the water into the ocean or storing it underground, and we have not set a deadline for the committee to reach a decision.”
He declined to comment on the findings of the Greenpeace report.
But others have welcomed the new study, with Caitlin Stronell, spokeswoman for the Tokyo-based Citizens’ Nuclear Information Centre, also expressing opposition to plans to dump the water into the ocean.
“There needs to be a lot of consultations before any decision is reached on what to do and it cannot simply be the government making an arbitrary decision,” she said. “The whole story of the Fukushima disaster has been one of lies and half-truths from the authorities and it is very hard to trust anyone in Tepco or the government on this issue.
“People’s opinions have been completely disregarded in the rush by the government to tell us how everything is just fine and we believe the people from the region, those who have lost the most, cannot be overlooked or neglected.”
The Greenpeace report concludes that the water crisis at the plant will remain unresolved for the foreseeable future – and that the only viable option to safeguard local communities and the environment is to continue to store the water.
“The Japanese government and Tepco set an objective of ‘solving’ the radioactive water crisis by 2020 – that was never credible,” said Shaun Burnie, a nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany.
“The reality is that there is no end to the water crisis at Fukushima, a crisis compounded by poor decision-making by both Tepco and the government. Discharging into the Pacific is the worst option and must be ruled out.”

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

Technical failures increase risk of contaminated Fukushima water discharge into Pacific – Greenpeace

The nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant contin
by Greenpeace International
22 January 2019
Tokyo, 22 January 2019 – The nuclear water crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant has been compounded by multiple technical failures and flawed decision making driven by short term cost cutting by the Japanese government and TEPCO, a new Greenpeace Germany analysis concludes.
The report details how plans to discharge over 1 million tonnes of highly contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean was proposed by the same Government task force that ignored alternative options that would have avoided threatening further contamination of the ocean.
“The decision not to develop water processing technology that could remove radioactive tritium was motivated by short term cost cutting not protection of the Pacific ocean environment or the health and livelihoods of communities along the Fukushima coast,” said Kazue Suzuki, Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Japan. “We have raised the water crisis with the UN International Maritime Organization and firmly stand with local communities, especially fisheries, who are strongly opposed to any plans to discharge contaminated water into their fishing grounds.”
The report concludes that the water crisis remains unresolved, and will be for the foreseeable future. The only viable option to protect the environment and the communities along the Fukushima coast being long term storage for the contaminated water.
The discharge option for water containing high levels of radioactive tritium was recommended as least cost by the Government’s Tritiated Water Task Force and promoted by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA). The Task Force concluded in 2016 that “sea discharge would cost 3.4 billion yen (US$30 million) and take seven years and four months to complete. It concluded that this was cheapest and quickest of the five methods.” However, technical proposals for removing tritium were submitted to the same Government Task Force by multiple nuclear companies with estimated costs ranging from US$2-US$20 billion to US$50-US$180 billion depending on the technology used. These were dismissed as not viable but without detailed technical consideration.
TEPCO has claimed since 2013 that its ALPS technology would reduce radioactivity levels “to lower than the permissible level for discharge.” However, in September 2018 TEPCO admitted that the processing of over 800,000 tons of contaminated water in 1000 storage tanks, including strontium, had failed to remove radioactivity to below regulatory limits, including for strontium-90, a bone seeking radionuclide that causes cancer. TEPCO knew of the failure of the technology from 2013. The Greenpeace report details technical problems with the ALPS system.
The Fukushima Daiichi site, due its location, is subject to massive groundwater contamination which TEPCO has also failed to stop. Each week an additional 2-4000 tonnes of contaminated water is added to the storage tanks.
“The Japanese government and TEPCO set an objective of ‘solving’ the radioactive water crisis by 2020 – that was never credible. TEPCO has finally admitted that its ALPS technology has failed to reduce levels of strontium, and other hazardous radioactivity, to below regulatory limits,” said Shaun Burnie, nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany.
“The reality is there is no end to the water crisis at Fukushima, a crisis compounded by poor decision making by both TEPCO and the government. Discharging into the Pacific is the worst option and must be ruled out. The only viable option, and it’s not without risks, is the long term storage of this water in robust steel tanks over at least the next century, and the parallel development of water processing technology.”
Greenpeace offices are calling on the government and TEPCO to urgently reassess options for the long term management of highly contaminated water at Fukushima Daiichi. Paramount in any future decision making should be the protection of the environment and the interests of the those in the front line – the communities and fishing industries of Fukushima’s Pacific coast.
END
Photos and video can be accessed here
Notes:
“TEPCO Water Crisis” briefing can be accessed  here
Contact:
Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist, Greenpeace Germany, sburnie@greenpeace.org – +49 151 6432 0548
Greenpeace International Press Desk, pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org, phone: +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

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