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Court rejects call to revoke approval for nuclear reactor restarts

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Kyushu Electric Power’s Sendai nuclear power plant
June 18, 2019
FUKUOKA – A district court said Monday it had found no illegality in safety clearance granted for two nuclear reactors in southwestern Japan that restarted after the 2011 Fukushima crisis, dismissing a demand by local residents and others seeking retraction of the permission.
A total of 33 plaintiffs filed the lawsuit over a license issued by regulators for design changes to the Nos. 1 and 2 units at Kyushu Electric Power Co’s Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, under tougher post-Fukushima safety regulations.
The two units were the first to restart among the commercial reactors that went offline in the wake of the nuclear disaster. The plaintiffs argued regulators gave the green light without sufficiently assessing the potential risk of eruptions at nearby Mt Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture and four other volcanoes.
But, in the first ruling of its kind, the Fukuoka District Court concluded the license issued by the Nuclear Regulation Authority was not illegal.
“Japanese laws on nuclear power do not go so far as requiring (regulators) to consider the impact of a catastrophic volcanic eruption that is impossible to predict and highly unlikely to occur,” Presiding Judge Moriharu Kurasawa said.
But Kurasawa acknowledged there were some “doubts” over the NRA’s volcanic risk assessment standard, given that methodology to accurately assess volcanic activity is yet to be established.
The plaintiffs, from a total of 10 prefectures, are considering appealing the ruling. Kyushu Electric said it viewed the ruling as “appropriate” and will continue to work to ensure the safety of the reactors.
During the trial, authorities said the rules were rational based on the latest analysis and there was nothing wrong with the approval process.
The plaintiffs, meanwhile, argued it is difficult to predict exactly when an eruption could occur and how big it could be, and the current safety standards on volcanoes underestimate their impact.
“It is regrettable,” Ryoko Torihara, a 70-year-old plaintiff from Kagoshima Prefecture, said after the ruling, adding, “The lessons of the nuclear accident (in Fukushima) have not been learned.”
Another plaintiff said, “The frequency of a catastrophic eruption may be low, but it could happen tomorrow. I’m very disappointed that the ruling appears to be just following (what) the state (wants to do).”
While the government is aiming to bring reactors back online after the triple reactor core meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi complex led to a nationwide halt of nuclear plants, a number of lawsuits have been filed in the hope of stopping the drive.
The Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at the Sendai plant were rebooted in August and October 2015, respectively, after securing the license in September 2014.
A suit demanding an injunction to halt the Sendai reactors was rejected by the Kagoshima District Court in April 2015, a decision upheld by the Miyazaki branch of the Fukuoka High Court in April 2016.
Volcanic hazards have been a major concern in regard to nuclear plant operations, with similar injunction requests filed elsewhere.
The Hiroshima High Court in December 2017 halted the planned restart of the No. 3 unit at Shikoku Electric Power Co’s Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture with a provisional injunction, citing the potential hazard from Mt Aso, around 130 kilometers away.
But the court later accepted an appeal by the utility to reactivate the reactor, saying worries over a volcanic eruption damaging the unit were “groundless.”
The Saga District Court in March 2018 rejected local residents’ demand to suspend the planned restart of two reactors at Kyushu Electric’s Genkai plant in Saga Prefecture due to the risk of a volcanic eruption in the region.

June 27, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

NRA safety license for Sendai reactors legal, Fukuoka court finds, dismissing volcano risk lawsuit

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“The plaintiffs argued the Nuclear Regulation Authority gave the green light without sufficiently assessing the potential risk of eruptions at nearby Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture and four other volcanoes.”
June 17, 2019
FUKUOKA – A district court said on Monday it found nothing illegal with a safety clearance granted to two reactors in Kyushu that were restarted after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, dismissing a demand for a retraction filed by plaintiffs who said it ignored the risk of volcanic eruptions.
The lawsuit was filed by 33 plaintiffs against a license authorizing design changes at reactors 1 and 2 at the Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture under tougher post-Fukushima safety regulations.
They were the first commercial reactors in the nation to be restarted after the crisis.
The plaintiffs argued the Nuclear Regulation Authority gave the green light without sufficiently assessing the potential risk of eruptions at nearby Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture and four other volcanoes.
In the first ruling of its kind, the Fukuoka District Court concluded the license issued was not illegal.
“Japanese laws on nuclear power do not go so far as to require that regulators consider the impact of a catastrophic volcanic eruption that is impossible to predict and highly unlikely to occur,” Judge Moriharu Kurasawa said.
But Kurasawa acknowledged there were “doubts” over the NRA’s standard for volcanic risk assessment, given no methodology exists for accurately assessing volcanic activity.
Kyushu Electric Power Co. described the ruling as “appropriate,” but the plaintiffs, who came from 10 prefectures, said they might appeal.
During the trial, authorities said that the rules were rational based on the latest analysis and that there was nothing wrong with the approval process.
The plaintiffs argued it is difficult to predict exactly when an eruption could occur and how big it could be, and said current safety standards underestimate their impact.
“It is regrettable,” plaintiff Ryoko Torihara, 70, of Kagoshima Prefecture said after the ruling. “The lessons of the nuclear accident have not been learned.”
Another plaintiff said, “The frequency of a catastrophic eruption may be low, but it could happen tomorrow. I’m very disappointed that the ruling appears to be just following (what) the state (wants to do).”
While the government is aiming to bring dozens of reactors back online after the triple reactor core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 complex led to a nationwide suspension of nuclear power, a number of lawsuits have been filed to stop the drive.
The two reactors at the Sendai plant were rebooted in August and October 2015, respectively, after the license was issued in September 2014.
A suit demanding an injunction to halt them was rejected by the Kagoshima District Court in April 2015, a decision that was upheld by the Miyazaki branch of the Fukuoka High Court in April 2016.
Volcanic hazards have been a major concern in regard to nuclear plant operations, with similar injunction requests filed elsewhere.
The Hiroshima High Court in December 2017 halted the restart of the No. 3 unit at Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture with a provisional injunction, citing the potential hazard from Mount Aso, around 130 km away.
But the court later accepted an appeal by the utility to reactivate it, saying worries over a volcanic eruption damaging the unit were “groundless.”
In March 2018, the Saga District Court rejected a demand by residents to suspend the restart of two reactors at Kyushu Electric’s Genkai plant in Saga Prefecture due to the risk of a volcanic eruption in the region.

June 19, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Greenpeace: Takahama & Sendai reactors must be shut down immediately following Kobe Steel scandal

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Tokyo, 1 December 2017 – On 30 November, Kansai Electric and Kyushu Electric announced that they are delaying the restart of four nuclear reactors for approximately two months due to ongoing investigations into Kobe Steel components. Greenpeace is calling for the immediate shutdown of operating reactors, owned by these same utilities, that may also have defective Kobe Steel components at the Takahama and Sendai plants.
While Kansai Electric has delayed operation of Ohi 3 and 4 reactors, it continues to operate its two reactors at Takahama. Similarly, Kyushu Electric has delayed operation of Genkai 3 and 4, while continuing to operate its two reactors at Sendai. 
“If Kansai Electric and Kyushu Electric are delaying restart of the Ohi and Genkai reactors due to the need to conduct investigations, how can they justify continued operation of the reactors at Takahama and Sendai?  The NRA has so far failed in its responsibilities as a regulator to get to grips with this rapidly evolving scandal. It must set aside nuclear industry interests and prioritize inspections. That includes shutting down operating reactors that may have defective parts until and unless safety can be guaranteed.” said Kazue Suzuki, Energy Campaigner Greenpeace Japan.
More than a month ago, Greenpeace Japan warned that there were potentially major safety risks with Kobe Steel components installed in reactors that warranted strong intervention by the NRA.[1] On 24 October, Greenpeace Japan, along with other citizens groups, submitted evidence to the NRA of Kobe Steel’s extensive supply chain to the nuclear industry, demonstrating the pervasiveness of the potential problems.[2] We called on the agency to take urgent action to launch a comprehensive investigation into the supply and widespread use of potentially flawed Kobe Steel products in the Japanese nuclear industry. Included in the demands were calls for the suspension of restart plans for the Ohi, Genkai reactors, and shutdown of the four reactors Takahama and Sendai.
As of today, the NRA has yet to issue detailed written instructions to all reactor operators to investigate the use of potentially faulty Kobe Steel components. Instead, submissions have been made by 6 of the 11 nuclear utilities and lack any substantial information and analysis.
In one example, On 13 October, it was confirmed that Shinko Metal Products Co., owned by Kobe Steel, supplied tubes to the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) for use in heat exchangers at the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant but failed to conduct required inspections.[3 & 4]
 
For further information:
[1] The letter was signed by Green Action, Mihama-no-kai, Citizens Nuclear Information Center, Citizen’s Watch on Nuclear Regulator, Friends of the Earth Japan, and Greenpeace Japan
[2] The Kobe Steel Group Supply Chain to the Nuclear Industry And Safety Implications (Greenpeace Japan Briefing Paper)
[3] See the TEPCO’s announcement (in Japanese)
[4] For more information on the risks of faulty steel in these components, see: “Irregularities and anomalies relating to nuclear reactor primary coolant circuit components installed in Japanese nuclear power plants”
 
Contacts:
Chisato Jono, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Japan, email: chisato.jono@greenpeace.org, mob: +81 (0) 80-6558-4446
 
Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist, Greenpeace Germany, email: sburnie@greenpeace.org, mob: +49 151 643 20548 (Germany)

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Typhoon Lan Targets Never-Ending Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Site Area With High Waves, Wind, Rains

1.jpgTyphoon Lan and Japan Nuclear Power Stations.

 
 
“Powerful typhoon drenches Japan, soaks voters as they trudge to polls
Posted:Sun, 22 Oct 2017 03:39:46 -0400
TOKYO (Reuters) – Tens of thousands across Japan were advised to evacuate, hundreds of flights were canceled and rail services disrupted as heavy rain and wind lashed a wide swathe of Japan on Sunday, a national election day, as a powerful typhoon neared“. http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/environment/~3/si-9SOj0Ex4/powerful-typhoon-drenches-japan-soaks-voters-as-they-trudge-to-polls-idUSKBN1CR02N
 
Apparently the Fukushima area may get 10 meters (32 ft) waves.
 
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Typhoon Lan offshore: “MAXIMUM SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT AT 220000Z IS 41 FEET” http://www.usno.navy.mil/NOOC/nmfc-ph/RSS/jtwc/warnings/wp2517web.txt
 
Sendai Nuclear Power Station and Ikata are apparently back in operation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_Japan. Hamaoka and others not operating almost certainly have spent fuel still onsite, which still requires energy for cooling.
 
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Source: Japan Meteorological Agency website
 

 

October 22, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Governor likely to OK Sendai plant operation

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The governor of Kagoshima in western Japan is expected to approve the continued operation of a nuclear plant in the prefecture. Experts have found no irregularities at the facility following last year’s strong earthquakes.

Governor Satoshi Mitazono had called for the operation of the Sendai nuclear plant to be suspended after a series of earthquakes centered in nearby Kumamoto Prefecture.

He noted public concern and also asked for an inspection of the plant.

Kyushu Electric Power Company officials rejected his call to halt operations, but they carried out a special inspection. They say they found the quakes caused no abnormalities.

Last Thursday, an expert panel set up by the prefecture also reported that the quakes left no effects on the plant.

Mitazono said on Wednesday that there is currently no need for strong measures against the plant. He said he will remain vigilant if troubles arise.

There were mixed reactions to Mitazono’s decision.

A man in his 70s says the governor may have found that he cannot prevail over the central government in his anti-nuclear battle. He says there was no other choice but to continue operating the plant.

A woman in her 30s says she wanted the governor to stick to the anti-nuclear policy he pledged in the campaign.

She says she wants him to ensure that Kagoshima is a place where children will be able to live safely, now and in the future.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170222_33/

February 24, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Sendai Reactor Back Online

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Workers in the control room restart reactor 1 at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture Thursday night

Sendai reactor goes back online

Operators have powered on a nuclear reactor at a plant in western Japan on Thursday night after 2 months of inspections.
Officials at Kyushu Electric Power Company say workers have begun pulling control rods out of the Number One reactor at their Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.
The reactor has been offline since October. Before that, it operated for 14 months as the first reactor in the country to go online under new regulations following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
The utility says it found no abnormalities during its regular and special inspections.
The special checks were added at the request of Kagoshima Governor Satoshi Mitazono, who took office in July. He asked the utility to see if strong earthquakes that occurred at nearby Kumamoto Prefecture in April had affected the plant.
Officials say they expect the reactor to reach criticality on Friday and begin transmitting electricity to the grid on Sunday. They also expect the plant to resume commercial operations in early January.
A group opposing the restart held a rally on Thursday outside the facility. Group leader Yoshitaka Mukohara said a proposed prefectural panel should first give a judgment before the reactor is brought online.
Governor Mitazono had promised to set up an expert panel to look into the reactor’s safety, but it has yet to be launched. Mukohara urged the governor to stick to his position.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161208_30/

Kyushu Electric fires up Kagoshima reactor after governor gives OK

FUKUOKA – Kyushu Electric Power Co. restarted a nuclear reactor in Kagoshima Prefecture on Thursday after the prefectural governor, who is opposed to nuclear power, effectively permitted the move last week.

Reactor No. 1 at the Sendai nuclear power complex is one of five reactors to have been reactivated under stricter safety regulations adopted in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima reactor meltdowns. Following resumption in August 2015, its operation had been suspended for a regular checkup since Oct. 6.

The utility pulled out control rods from the reactor at around 9:30 p.m. The reactor is expected to achieve criticality by Friday morning and to start power generation from Sunday. Commercial operation is set to resume from Jan. 6.

Kyushu Electric on Tuesday notified Kagoshima Gov. Satoshi Mitazono of the planned restart of the reactor and was not requested to suspend it this time, it said.

Mitazono, who was elected in July on an anti-nuclear platform, asked the utility in August and September to immediately suspend operation of the plant. Reactor No. 1 came to a halt in October for a regular checkup.

The Sendai complex’s reactor No. 2 is scheduled to be suspended for regular checks from Dec. 16 to Feb. 27.

Mitazono had told the prefectural assembly earlier this month that he had no legal power to decide whether to restart the reactor, paving the way for the latest move.

On Thursday, however, Mitazono said that he will take “strong action, regardless of the reactor’s operation,” if an experts’ committee, which he plans to set up to examine safety at the plant, finds any safety problems.

Some 30 local residents and anti-nuclear group members gathered in front of the Sendai plant Thursday morning to protest the reactivation.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/12/09/national/kyushu-electric-fires-kagoshima-reactor-governor-gives-grudging-nod/#.WEp11lzia-d

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Kyushu Electric Restarts Sendai Nuclear Reactor

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FUKUOKA (Kyodo) — Kyushu Electric Power Co. restarted a nuclear reactor in the southwestern Japan prefecture of Kagoshima on Thursday after the prefectural governor, who is opposed to nuclear power, effectively permitted the move last week.
The No.1 reactor at the Sendai nuclear power complex is one of five reactors to have been reactivated under stricter safety regulations adopted in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Following resumption in August 2015, its operation had been suspended for a regular checkup since Oct. 6.
The utility pulled out control rods from the reactor at around 9:30 p.m. The reactor is expected to achieve criticality by Friday morning and to start power generation from Sunday. Commercial operation is set to resume from Jan. 6.
Kyushu Electric on Tuesday notified Kagoshima Gov. Satoshi Mitazono of the planned restart of the reactor and was not requested to suspend it this time, it said.
Mitazono, who was elected in July on an antinuclear platform, asked the utility in August and September to immediately suspend operation of the plant. The No. 1 reactor came to a halt in October for a regular checkup.
The Sendai complex’s No.2 reactor is scheduled to be suspended for regular checks from Dec. 16 to Feb. 27.
Mitazono had told a prefectural assembly earlier this month that he had no legal power to decide whether or not to restart the reactor, paving the way for the latest move.
On Thursday, however, Mitazono said that he will take “strong action, regardless of the reactor’s operation,” if an experts’ committee, which he plans to set up to examine safety at the plant, finds any safety problems.
Some 30 local residents and antinuclear group members gathered in front of the Sendai plant Thursday morning to protest the reactivation.

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December 9, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Kagoshima governor under fire after effectively accepting restart of nuclear reactor

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Kagoshima Governor Satoshi Mitazono on Nov. 28 explains to the prefectural assembly why he has requested a budget to form a committee of experts on nuclear power generation.

Governor under fire as Sendai nuclear reactor likely to restart

KAGOSHIMA—Anti-nuclear activists are castigating Governor Satoshi Mitazono, saying the politician has retreated from his campaign promises regarding the planned restart of a nuclear reactor in the prefecture.

Despite stressing that he would take a hard look at safety issues, Mitazono’s actions on Nov. 28 indicate that Kyushu Electric Power Co. will be allowed to restart the No. 1 reactor at its Sendai plant on Dec. 8 as was expected.

What he had done over the past months now appears to be a mere publicity stunt,” said Yukio Taira, chief of a confederation of labor unions in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Taira withdrew his candidacy in the governor’s race in July after he and Mitazono agreed on many policy measures toward a temporary halt of operations at the nuclear plant in Satsuma-Sendai.

Mitazono on Nov. 28 submitted to the prefectural assembly a budget proposal for establishing an expert panel on nuclear power generation–a centerpiece of his campaign pledges.

I will make a comprehensive judgment on how to respond when the panel releases its findings of the utility’s reports on ‘special checks,’” Mitazono told the assembly session, referring to the reactor restart plan.

However, given that a governor does not have the legal authority to order a halt, the No. 1 reactor will probably already be running by the time those findings are released.

The assembly is expected to vote on the budget request for the panel on Dec. 16. Kyushu Electric is scheduled to release the outcome of its special checks in early January.

The utility agreed to carry out the additional checks in response to the new governor’s concerns. These inspections, including checking bolts fastened on barrels containing nuclear waste, are nothing new and have been done in the past, according to Kyushu Electric.

Two reactors at the Sendai plant were the first in the nation to go online under new nuclear safety regulations set up after the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture.

The No. 1 reactor has been shut down for maintenance since October. The No. 2 reactor is scheduled to be taken offline in December for a routine inspection.

Mitazono, a former TV journalist, was elected on campaign promises to take a “strong response regarding a reactor restart if the envisaged committee deems the plant unsafe.”

Concerns over the safety of the nuclear complex arose when roads and other infrastructure were damaged in a series of powerful quakes that began rattling neighboring Kumamoto Prefecture in April.

After gaining support from anti-nuclear groups, Mitazono won the race against the incumbent, who was seen as friendlier toward nuclear power generation.

But after he took office, Mitazono appeared to back off from his campaign promises.

He did request an “immediate halt” of plant operations to Michiaki Uriu, president of Kyushu Electric, in late August and early September.

After the company refused the governor’s requests, Mitazono decided not to pursue the issue, saying a governor does not have the legal authority to demand a halt to operations.

He tried to assuage public concerns about the safety of the plant, citing the extra special checks the utility promised to conduct.

Taira said Mitazono has rejected repeated requests for a meeting with him and other anti-nuclear activists. They have asked Mitazono to quickly establish the expert panel for possible action to counter Kyushu Electric’s reactor restart plans. But the governor did not reply.

Mitazono also did not submit a budget request for the expert panel in the September session.

When asked by reporters, Mitazono merely kept saying he would establish the panel “as soon as possible.”

He is breaking the campaign promise if he allows the resumption of the plant without obtaining the conclusion of the panel,” Taira said.

According to one source, the governor told an informal gathering of members of the Liberal Democratic Party, the largest group in the assembly, that he shares the LDP’s direction in nuclear power policy.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201611290066.html

Kagoshima Governor Satoshi Mitazono on Nov. 28 explains to the prefectural assembly why he has requested a budget to form a committee of experts on nuclear power generation,

Kagoshima governor effectively accepts restart of nuclear reactor

KAGOSHIMA — Gov. Satoshi Mitazono on Nov. 28 effectively expressed his approval for the restart of the No. 1 reactor at the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Satsumasendai, which is undergoing inspections.
The governor said that he will draw a conclusion on operation of the No. 1 reactor after the completion of special checks that are concurrently being performed by the plant’s operator, Kyushu Electric Power Co. Since the special checks include items that are to be completed after the reactor is scheduled to resume operation on Dec. 8, the governor’s comments indicate that he accepts reactivation of the reactor.

In a prefectural assembly meeting on Nov. 28, the governor presented a supplementary budget draft for December that earmarked 3 million yen to set up an inspection committee to probe the safety of the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant and the appropriateness of evacuation plans. In explaining this, he stated, “We will have the inspection committee verify and confirm a report on the result of the special check to be submitted by Kyushu Electric Power Co. and make a comprehensive decision based on its conclusions.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161129/p2a/00m/0na/008000c

December 1, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Kagoshima governor accepts restart of reactor at Sendai plant

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Kagoshima Governor Satoshi Mitazono responds to questions from reporters at a news conference at the prefectural government building on Oct. 28.

KAGOSHIMA–Despite campaigning on a pledge to immediately suspend operations at the Sendai nuclear plant, Governor Satoshi Mitazono has now accepted the scheduled restart of a reactor there amid mounting pressure from the plant operator.

I have no (legal) authority over whether (the reactor) can restart or not,” Mitazono said of the No. 1 reactor at the plant at a news conference on Oct. 28. “Kyushu Electric (Power Co.) will bring it back online anyway no matter how I respond.”

After being elected in July, Mitazono twice called on the utility in August and September to immediately shut down the plant in Satsuma-Sendai in the prefecture for additional safety checks.

Each time, the company turned him down.

Mitazono stopped making a similar request to the company, saying he would likely receive the same response.

After the No. 1 reactor went offline early this month for regular maintenance, the media focus has shifted to whether the new governor would accept the reactor’s scheduled restart around Dec. 8.

A governor does not have the legal authority to order a halt to the operation of a nuclear power plant.

Mitazono, a former TV journalist, won the gubernatorial race due, in part, to growing calls from the public for extra safety checks on the plant and the overhaul of the existing evacuation plan, which was compiled by his predecessor.

Concerns about the soundness of the plant mounted among voters since a series of powerful earthquakes struck Kumamoto Prefecture, Kagoshima Prefecture’s northern neighbor, in April.

Many of the roads and other infrastructure were damaged in the temblors in Kumamoto Prefecture, hindering residents from swiftly evacuating.

At that time, the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the Sendai plant were the only two units operating in the nation. They were the first two reactors signed off on meeting the new regulations set after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Mitazono’s news conference was the first since he gave one in late July right after he took office.

He had signaled previously that he would decide on the restart of the No. 1 reactor based on the discussion of an expert panel he intended to set up at the prefectural government to examine the safety of the Sendai plant.

But he stopped short of laying out a specific time frame for forming the panel.

I am hoping to do it as soon as I can,” he said at the news conference.

The governor has yet to submit a budget request needed to assemble the panel to the prefectural assembly.

The prefectural assembly is expected to convene in late November in the next session, meaning that the panel will not be established ahead of the No. 1 reactor’s restart.

Mitazono also said he expects to inspect the Sendai plant alongside other experts on nuclear energy next month.

The inspection is aimed at examining details of “special checks” Kyushu Electric promised to conduct, in addition to the regular maintenance of the No. 1 reactor.

I am hoping to put together my thoughts about the plant’s safety through discussions with experts,” Mitazono said. “If necessary, I want to take some measures.”

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201610290035.html

October 29, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear watchdog eyes standards for reactor shutdown in fear of giant volcanic eruption

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An aerial view shows the eruption of Mount Aso in Aso, Kumamoto prefecture, southwestern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo October 8, 2016.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) held a meeting of a panel of outside experts on Oct. 17 to start considering the formulation of standards for ordering a nuclear power plant to shut down in preparation for a giant volcanic eruption.

Arguing that there is a high possibility of smaller volcanic eruptions occurring ahead of a giant eruption, the expert panel showed a proposal to prepare for a giant eruption after a smaller eruption occurs. But the panel did not show specific details of standards.

According to the NRA’s proposal, a giant eruption is believed to occur following small-, medium- or large-scale eruptions. With such a possibility in mind, the NRA said that the expert panel would consider how to respond in the event of small- and medium-sized eruptions occurring and extremely abnormal data being observed. The NRA listed crustal movement, seismic activity and temperatures and gasses of a volcano as data to be subject to monitoring.

Meanwhile, there was a spate of suggestions from experts at the meeting that it would be difficult to detect signs of a giant eruption. For example, Tetsuo Kobayashi, professor emeritus at Kagoshima University, said, “Even if there is a significant phenomenon, whether or not it will lead to a giant eruption will not be known until the last minute.”

The NRA is to examine data on past volcanic eruptions, but it will likely face difficulties in working out standards as there are very few cases of giant eruptions being observed in the world.

The NRA had given the green light for two reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kagoshima Prefecture to restart, saying, “The possibility of a giant volcanic eruption occurring at the periphery of the nuclear plant is very low.” If the NRA deems there is a sign of a giant eruption, it will order a relevant power company to halt the operation of nuclear reactors and take nuclear fuel out from the reactors. But in order to take out nuclear fuel from reactors, several years have to be spent to cool down the atomic fuel first. And yet, nothing has been decided as to where such fuel should be sent.

 

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161018/p2a/00m/0na/008000c

October 18, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Active Volcanoes Endanger Japan’s Operating Nuclear Power Stations: Mount Aso Awakened Explosively; Sakurajima Already Awake

Japan’s Mount Aso volcano erupted explosively on Saturday, 8 Oct., 2016, and volcanic “ash was falling as far as 320 km (200 miles) away, … Kyushu Electric Power Co said the eruption had no impact on its Sendai nuclear plant, which is about 160 km (100 miles) south of Mount Aso“(Reuters, 8 Oct. 2016). Sendai nuclear power station has two reactors online. The other nuclear power station online is Ikata, with one reactor operating. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_Japan

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Volcano locations exported from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_volcanoes_in_Japan

With a change in wind direction ashfall from Mount Aso and/or Sakurajima could endanger Japan’s operating reactors. As can be seen on the map, Ikata Nuclear Power Station is closer to Mount Aso, and Sakurajima to Sendai Nuclear Power Station. Ash plume forecasts for both appear at the bottom of this post.

Disruptions due to a major volcanic eruption, as well as ashfall could lead to nuclear meltdown: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/08/15/official-volcano-evacuation-warning-near-re-opened-nuclear-reactors-in-japan-volcanic-ashfall-could-lead-to-meltdown-spent-fuel-pool-collapse/

https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/08/27/japan-governor-asks-for-halt-of-sendai-nuclear-reactors/

Japan’s Mount Aso volcano erupts, no injuries reported
Posted:Sat, 08 Oct 2016 07:41:33 -0400
TOKYO (Reuters) – Mount Aso, a volcano on Japan’s main southern island of Kyushu, erupted early on Saturday, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said, spewing volcanic ash 11,000 meters (7 miles) into the sky. http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/environment/~3/DLFdmJfALl4/us-japan-volcano-idUSKCN12804E

“Mount Aso, a volcano on Japan’s Kyushu island, has been erupting sporadically for decades. Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program lists 38 separate eruptions since 1950, with the most recent beginning on December 8, 2014. All of these eruptions have occurred at Naka-dake, a cinder cone located within Aso’s massive caldera.”

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ERUPTION AT MOUNT ASO Credit: NASA Earth Observatory by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data from USGS. Caption by Adam Voiland. Date: January 13, 2015 Visualization Date: January 15, 2015
http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=85090

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http://www.jma.go.jp/en/volcano/

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Asosan
Volcanic Ash Fall Forecast (Scheduled)
Issued at 05:00 JST, 09 October 2016 Japan Meteorological Agency: http://www.jma.go.jp/en/ashfall/scheduled_503.html

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Sakurajima Aug 19 2010 NASA

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Sakurajima
Volcanic Ash Fall Forecast (Scheduled)
Issued at 05:00 JST, 09 October 2016 Japan Meteorological Agency
http://www.jma.go.jp/en/ashfall/scheduled_506.html

Source :

https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/10/09/active-volcanos-endanger-japans-operating-nuclear-power-stations-mount-aso-awakened-explosively-sakurajima-already-awake/

October 11, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Sendai N°1 nuclear reactor shuttered for safety work

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Nuclear reactor buildings of the Kyushu Electric’s Sendai nuclear power plant in southern Kagoshima in 2015.

Japan nuclear reactor shuttered for safety work

TOKYO: A reactor at the centre of Japan’s national debate over nuclear power was halted on Thursday (Oct 6) under stricter post-Fukushima safety standards, as Tokyo struggles to bring back atomic energy.

Utility Kyushu Electric is shutting down the No. 1 reactor at its Sendai plant in southern Kagoshima for a few months of inspections and maintenance, leaving Japan with just two operating reactors.

But there is speculation that the reactor’s safety work could drag on longer.

Thursday’s shutdown follows demands from the region’s top politician that Kyushu Electric conduct extra safety inspections at its two operating reactors in the Sendai plant – after deadly quakes hammered a neighbouring prefecture in April.

Last month, the company refused governor Satoshi Mitazono’s demands to immediately shut down the reactors over safety concerns.

But it agreed to what it called “special inspections” in addition to regular maintenance work. Sendai’s No. 2 reactor will be shut down for a similar review starting in December.

Dozens of reactors were switched off in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima accident, the worst nuclear disaster in a generation.

Anti-atomic sentiment still runs high five years later, challenging a push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and utility companies to switch Japan’s stable of reactors back on.

The catastrophe forced resource-poor Japan to turn to expensive fossil fuels to plug its energy gap, but fears about the safety of nuclear power and radiation exposure linger.

The two Sendai reactors were restarted last year under new safety regulations brought in after Fukushima, where reactors went into meltdown in March 2011 after a huge earthquake and tsunami.

Another reactor has been restarted at the Ikata plant in western Japan.

Opposition to nuclear power has seen communities across the country file lawsuits to prevent restarts, including the Sendai plant.

The residents argued that the plant’s operator underestimated the scale of potential earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that could hit the region. A court rejected their argument and ordered restarts.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/japan-nuclear-reactor-shuttered-for-safety-work/3184554.html

October 7, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Kagoshima governor once again requests nuclear reactor halt

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Governor again requests reactor suspension

Satoshi Mitazono, governor of the southwestern Japan prefecture of Kagoshima, meets with reporters on Sept. 7, 2016, in the city of Fukuoka after issuing a second request to Kyushu Electric Power Co. to suspend operations of two reactors at its Sendai nuclear plant. The utility rejected the initial request issued on Aug. 26.

Kagoshima Gov. Satoshi Mitazono once again requested Wednesday that Kyushu Electric Power Co. immediately suspend the operation of two reactors at its nuclear power plant in the southwestern prefecture after the utility rejected his earlier call.

Following a meeting with Mitazono in Fukuoka, Kyushu Electric President Michiaki Uriu indicated to the press that the operator is likely to reject the request, saying he wants the company to be “spared of” the suspension as it will conduct “special safety checkups” thoroughly on the Sendai nuclear plant reactors — two of only three nuclear reactors currently operating in Japan.

The latest request came after the new governor demanded on Aug. 26 that the utility halt the plant’s Nos. 1 and 2 reactors to verify their safety, citing local worries about the plant’s safety after major earthquakes rocked neighboring Kumamoto Prefecture and its vicinity in April.

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/09/432470.html

September 9, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Kyushu Electric nixes governor’s request to halt Sendai nuclear plant

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Kyushu Electric President Michiaki Uriu, left, hands over the company’s response to Kagoshima Governor Satoshi Mitazono on Sept. 5.

Kyushu Electric nixes governor’s request to halt nuclear plant

KAGOSHIMA–Kyushu Electric Power Co. on Sept. 5 knocked back a request by Kagoshima Governor Satoshi Mitazono to immediately shut down its Sendai nuclear power plant in light of recent earthquakes in the region.

Mitazono, who was elected in July on a campaign pledge to suspend the reactor operations for a safety review, submitted his request to Kyushu Electric on Aug. 26, citing concerns about active faults around the facility.

Michiaki Uriu, president of Kyushu Electric, delivered the company’s response to Mitazono in person at the Kagoshima prefectural government office.

He said the two reactors at the Sendai nuclear plant would continue to generate electricity until mandatory safety inspections are carried out later this year.

The utility did, however, promise to give stronger backing to the prefectural government’s review of evacuation plans and provide more information about the plant to local residents in the event of a natural disaster or nuclear accident.

Uriu told Mitazono, “We understand your concerns in all seriousness and plan to take steps to reduce the anxiety felt by Kagoshima residents.”

Mitazono expressed dismay at Kyushu Electric’s decision and indicated he may submit another request to shut down the plant “if the need arises.”

“I strongly requested that in the wake of the earthquakes in Kumamoto the nuclear plant should be stopped for another inspection,” Mitazono said. “I wish you could abandon the mind-set that nuclear plants are infallibly safe.”

In his August request, Mitazono called for an immediate suspension of the nuclear plant operations and a further safety examination on grounds that residents of Kagoshima had become more concerned after a series of earthquakes from April hit Kumamoto Prefecture bordering Kagoshima to the north.

Kyushu Electric argued that the prefectural governor does not have the legal authority to suspend nuclear plant operations, which the utility said were vital for stable corporate performance.

The company also feared that if it went along with the request it could jeopardize operations at other nuclear plants around Japan.

The Sendai plant’s No. 1 reactor will undergo a periodic safety inspection from Oct. 6, and the No. 2 reactor from Dec. 16.

Kyushu Electric said the inspections will incorporate seven factors asked for by Mitazono, including the reactor pressure vessel.

The utility also said it will undertake special additional inspections covering aspects not included in the governor’s request, such as whether bolts on equipment had loosened.

The company pledged to provide additional vehicles to the 16 that elderly residents can use to evacuate in the event of an accident at the plant. The offer represents the company’s commitment to providing support for the planned revision of evacuation plans.

But it rejected Mitazono’s request for a study of active faults in the vicinity of the Sendai plant on the grounds that a considerable number of such studies had already been conducted.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609050044.html

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The No. 1 and No. 2 reactors are seen at the Sendai nuclear power plant in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, in this photo taken from a Mainichi helicopter.

Kyushu Electric rejects governor’s call to suspend nuclear reactors

KAGOSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) — Kyushu Electric Power Co. on Monday rejected a request by the governor of Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan to immediately suspend operations of two reactors at its Sendai nuclear plant there.

In a meeting at the prefectural government office, the utility’s president, Michiaki Uriu, handed Gov. Satoshi Mitazono a written rejection, seeking to gain understanding about its claim that the safety of the facility will be proved through a regular checkup scheduled to be held as early as October.

Mitazono will scrutinize the paper and consider his government’s response. Although a governor has no legal power to suspend the operation of reactors, he could still repeat his request by issuing a statement if he finds the utility’s response unsatisfactory.

In the checkup, Kyushu Electric plans to examine its reactor vessels and a facility for keeping spent nuclear fuel as sought by the prefecture.

The company does not plan to hold any new probe into possible active faults near the plant, saying it has already thoroughly checked them and is ready to explain the survey results to the governor.

In late August, Mitazono demanded that Kyushu Electric immediately suspend the plant’s Nos. 1 and 2 reactors to verify their safety, the first such move by the head of a prefecture since the 2011 nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant.

Mitazono, who was elected on an antinuclear platform in July, cited growing local worries about the plant’s safety after powerful earthquakes devastated nearby Kumamoto Prefecture and its vicinity in April.

In September 2014, the Sendai plant passed tougher safety standards for nuclear plants in Japan introduced in the wake of the Fukushima crisis, leading to the restart of Nos. 1 and 2 reactors in August and October last year, respectively.

The No. 1 reactor will suspend operations from Oct. 6 and the No. 2 reactor from Dec. 16 for the regular checks that will take about two months to complete.

Currently, the two Sendai reactors and another reactor at Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata plant in western Japan are operating in Japan after passing the post-Fukushima safety checks.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160905/p2g/00m/0dm/043000c

 

September 5, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Anti-nuclear governor in Japan asks Kyushu Electric to suspend nuke plant

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An aerial view shows the No.1 (L) and No.2 reactor buildings at Kyushu Electric Power’s Sendai nuclear power station in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima prefecture, Japan, August 11, 2015

A local Japanese governor on Friday asked Kyushu Electric Power to temporarily suspend the Sendai nuclear plant, one of two operating in the nation, further clouding efforts by the government and utilities to restart more idled reactors.

Anti-nuclear advocate Satoshi Mitazono, who was elected governor of Kagoshima prefecture last month, called on Kyushu Electric to re-examine safety and safety measures at its facility in southwestern Japan, raising concerns about a series of strong quakes that struck neighboring Kumamoto in April.

The request was expected as Mitazono, a former journalist, had said he wanted the temporary shutdown amid heightened concerns from local residents about safety and evacuation plans.

Mitazono’s pledges to suspend operations at the Sendai plant are credited with helping him beat in a July election incumbent Yuichiro Ito, who had agreed to the resumption of Sendai’s reactors.

“As an operator of nuclear power plants, the company has a duty to sincerely listen and response to the concerns of local residents. The company should temporarily suspend the nuclear plant and re-examine safety,” Mitazono said in a statement that was handed to Kyushu Electric President Michiaki Uriu at the prefectural government offices.

Mitazono has no legal power to shut down operating reactors.

“We will give the matter serious consideration,” Kyushu Electric said in a subsequent statement.

Only three reactors are online in Japan: two at Kyushu Electric’s Sendai plant and one at Shikoku Electric Power’s Ikata station. Utilities have struggled to get nuclear units running again in the face of a skeptical public after shutting them all down following the Fukushima disaster of 2011.

Sendai’s reactors are already schedule to be stopped for maintenance this year, one in October and one in December. Reactors in Japan are required to be shut for servicing after 13 months of commercial operation.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-nuclear-kyushu-elec-pwr-idUSKCN1110WH

August 26, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment