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TEPCO sprays rainwater before confirming its safety, calls for prevention of recurrence METI Minister Hagiuda

December 7, 2021

Over the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced on December 29th that it sprayed rainwater that had accumulated in tanks at the plant before confirming the safety of the water. Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hagiuda said at a press conference after the cabinet meeting on November 7, “This kind of mistake must not happen,” and demanded that the company take measures to prevent a recurrence.

On November 29, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced that it had confirmed that workers had sprayed rainwater from tanks on the premises of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant without analyzing the water for radioactive materials, which should have been done to ensure safety.

The All Japan Federation of Fishermen’s Cooperative Associations (Zenryoren) has protested the incident, calling it “extremely regrettable.

However, TEPCO needs to gain the understanding and trust of fishermen and other concerned parties in order to decommission the plant, and this kind of mistake should not happen.

In addition, he urged TEPCO to conduct a thorough investigation of the cause of the accident and take drastic measures to prevent recurrence.

On the other hand, regarding the IAEA’s decision to postpone until next month or later the dispatch of a survey team to verify the safety of discharging the increasing amount of treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the sea, he said, “I don’t think this will have an immediate impact on the schedule for future releases, but we will steadily work on what we can do.

December 7, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Radioactive rain releases can’t be curbed due to lack of laws: NRA

Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s stricken Fukushima No. 1 power plant has released rainwater tainted with radioactive substances into the Pacific Ocean at least seven times since April.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government, pressured by worried residents and fishermen, has pressed the Nuclear Regulation Authority to set maximum radiation limits for rainwater releases, but the regulator hasn’t acted yet, citing the lack of specific laws on radioactive rainwater.

The plant’s K channel, a gutter that was built to drain rainwater accumulated around the six reactors, leads directly to the sea. After rainwater was found tainted with radiation in April, Tepco, as a temporary fix, installed eight pumps and a special underwater curtain in its artificial bay to segregate the water from the open ocean.

With the pumps and the curtain, Tepco claims it can keep radioactive runoff within the bay as long as the rainfall stays at 14 mm per hour or less. But on Aug. 17, rainfall at the plant exceeded 18 mm per hour, and some untreated rainwater overflowed the K channel and got into the ocean. The same thing happened again on Sept. 9 and 11, amid flooding in the Kanto and Tohoku regions triggered by Typhoon Etau.

When the drainage system is overwhelmed by heavy rain, it is difficult to measure the tainted water and its radiation level, the utility said.

In May 2014, when Tepco succeeded in measuring rainwater on the premises, the cesium-137 level was gauged at 770 becquerels per liter, or over eight times the 90-becquerel limit for water the plant can release into the sea.

To rectify the situation, Tepco has been trying to change the K gutter’s path so it will flow into the artificial bay instead. But the rerouting work will take until March 2016.

While Tepco says the problem will be solved in six months, prefectural officials are demanding Tepco resolve the problem as soon as possible, because if the leaks are allowed to continue throughout the typhoon season, public distrust in the government will deepen, making the decommissioning process even more difficult.

Fishery officials are meanwhile worried that their industry could be damaged further if the unregulated rainwater releases continue.

The prefecture is specifically asking that a new pump be installed close to the source of the tainted rainwater, but Tepco has been reluctant, saying such a pump is structurally impossible to install because the part of the drainage system where tainted water is leaking from is underground.

Tepco has been cleaning the drainage gutters on a regular basis to reduce the radiation levels, but to no avail.

Kiyoshi Takasaka, a prefectural expert on atomic power, wants the NRA to place radiation limits on rainwater immediately.

However, the NRA’s position is that there are no laws that regulate radiation-tainted rainwater and therefore it cannot set numerical limits. One industry source said doing so would require revisions to existing laws, which will take a lot of time.

“I’m worried because we don’t know how much radiation-tainted rainwater has leaked out,” said Tomomitsu Konno, a 56-year-old fisherman in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture. “Tepco should fully investigate the problem and show the results to the fishermen.”

Source: Japan Times

September 22, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment