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New reactor being built in western Japan applies for safety checks

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This file photo taken on May 21, 2018, shows Shimane Nuclear Power Plant’s No. 3 reactor in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, western Japan. (Kyodo)
August 10, 2018
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Chugoku Electric Power Co. on Friday applied to the government for safety screening of a nuclear reactor it is constructing, opening up the possibility of it becoming Japan’s first newly built reactor to go into operation since the 2011 Fukushima crisis.
Work on the No. 3 unit at the Shimane plant in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, is almost complete and safety checks by nuclear regulators may proceed faster than for another reactor in northeastern Japan that is also under construction.
The No. 3 reactor will have a maximum output of 1,373 megawatts, making it one of the largest in the country. It is a boiling water reactor, the same type as those at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Chugoku Electric was initially aiming to activate the reactor in December 2011 after starting construction in 2006. But the plan was postponed following the Fukushima nuclear crisis, triggered by a massive quake and tsunami disaster that hit northeastern Japan.
The crisis led to the introduction of more stringent safety standards for nuclear power plants. Around 10 reactors have resumed operation in Japan after clearing the safety hurdles, but there has been no case in which new reactors have been activated after the disaster.
“With existing nuclear reactors currently restarting, we thought it is possible to file for checks of the No. 3 unit (even though it is a new reactor),” Tatsuo Kitano, managing executive officer of the utility based in Hiroshima Prefecture, told reporters.
The latest development came a day after Shimane Gov. Zembee Mizoguchi officially gave the green light for Chugoku Electric’s application for government screening.
But prospects remain unclear on when the reactor will be put into service as the utility will not just have to clear the safety tests but also again seek local consent for operation.
Chugoku Electric is spending around 500 billion yen ($4.5 billion) on safety measures for the No. 3 reactor, aiming to finish the work by September 2019.
The other new reactor that is seeking to start operation is being built at Electricity Power Development Co.’s Oma nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture.
The company known as J-Power applied for government safety checks in 2014, but the process has been drawn out. The Oma reactor is expected to become the world’s first commercial reactor to run fully on plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel.
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August 17, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Giving new status to 30-km zones within nuclear plants

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The No. 3 reactor of the Shimane nuclear power plant stands in the foreground, with the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors in the background.
June 2, 2018
The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster provided graphic evidence of the lasting and far-reaching damage that can result when this technology goes askew.
Electric utilities that operate nuclear power plants have a duty to respond with utmost sincerity to safety concerns among local governments and communities, especially cities and towns within 30-kilometer emergency planning zones. Utilities should treat local governments within the zones, which are required to develop emergency evacuation plans under stringent new regulations introduced after the March 2011 emergency, equally as the governments in nuclear host communities.
Chugoku Electric Power Co. recently took the first step toward the start of operations of the Shimane nuclear power plant’s new reactor, whose construction was halted following the Fukushima catastrophe.
The utility, based in Hiroshima, asked the Shimane prefectural government and the Matsue city government to approve its application to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) for safety screening of the No. 3 reactor under the new regulatory standards.
The No. 3 reactor was close to completion when the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant went in a triple meltdown. Work to install the necessary safety measures is expected to finish in the first half of 2019.
This facility could become the first new nuclear reactor in Japan to start operation after the Fukushima disaster, an event that triggered tighter safety standards for nuclear plants.
The new reactor, if cleared for operation, will be in service until around 2060 under the principle that imposes a 40-year limit on the operational life of a reactor.
The reactor is part of a complex that has the distinction of being the only nuclear power plant located in the capital of a prefecture.
Within 30 km of the plant lie three other cities in Shimane as well as the cities of Sakaiminato and Yonago in neighboring Tottori Prefecture. Some 470,000 people live in the 30-km zone.
In 2011, authorities in Tottori Prefecture and the two cities signed an agreement with Chugoku Electric Power that commits the utility to put top priority on the safety of local residents in operating the plant.
These local governments have been demanding that the utility apply the procedures for obtaining consent for reactor operations from the Shimane and Matsue governments also to the local governments in Tottori Prefecture.
In April this year, the prefectural and municipal governments in Tottori formed a joint task force to assess the safety of the new reactor with the help of the utility.
Chugoku Electric Power’s move to seek the consent of only the Shimane prefectural government and the Matsue city government to start the process of bringing the reactor online has caused “considerable confusion” among the local communities in Tottori Prefecture, according to Tottori Governor Shinji Hirai.
“I feel bewildered” at the way the utility is going ahead with the plan, Hirai said with obvious and justifiable discontent.
Safety agreements between nuclear plant operators and local governments generally require utilities to secure the advance consent of the local governments when new reactors are built or important changes are made to existing facilities. In most cases, however, the scope of the local governments covered is limited to the prefectures and municipalities where the plants are located.
But an agreement was reached this spring between Japan Atomic Power Co. (JAPC), the operator of the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, and five surrounding municipalities that commits JAPC to seek approval from these municipalities within the 30-km zone before bringing its idled reactor back on stream. They include the city of Mito, as well as Tokai village, which hosts the nuclear plant, and the prefecture.
Some local governments around the Shimane nuclear plant are calling on Chugoku Electric Power to hold advance talks over the operation of the new reactor with all the six cities within the 30-km zone. The utility should treat all the local governments within the emergency planning zone like host communities.
When Kyushu Electric Power Co. moved to restart the No. 3 reactor at its Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture, four of the eight municipalities in three prefectures located within the 30-km zone were up in arms over the plan. But the procedures for the restart went ahead after the town of Genkai, which hosts the plant, and Saga Prefecture gave their consent.
Shimane Governor Zenbe Mizoguchi has indicated his intention to listen to the opinions of all the surrounding local governments, including those in Tottori Prefecture. The Shimane and Matsue governments plan to propose this approach to their respective local assemblies. The case of the Genkai plant should serve as a cautionary tale for these local governments.

June 5, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Japan is the ideal country for nuclear plants…

A series of earthquakes, including a M6.1 intense one, hit Shimane, the prefecture holds 3 reactors in Shimane Nuclear Power Plant.
Dear friends (especially non-Japanese folks) can you imagine the life like that shivers always run through your body when you experience, or even just hear an earthquake? Because you know every single jolt possibly cause meltdown in some of 53 reactors scattered around all over your country??
But simple facts: the pro-nuke masses, politicians and enterprises are all majorities here, and remaining reactors are ready to restart in few years.
And FYI, 30% of the major earthquakes in the world happen in the Japanese Archipelago.
Lately a remarkable number of tourists (approx. 3 times larger than 2010) are visiting Japan, and the government and the JP media welcome this phenomena as ‘inbound prosperity.’ And the Olympics is coming in 2020.
Everyone is welcome to come to Japan, but I kindly (and sarcastically) recommend you to prepare yourself with a gas mask, and some potassium Iodide tablets if you dare to visit this shaking islands.
 
April 9, 2018
M6.1 quake hits western Japan’s Shimane, 5 injured
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A collapsed torii gate of Karita Shrine is blocking a street in Oda, Shimane Prefecture, on April 9, 2018.
 
TOKYO (Kyodo) — A magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit the western Japanese prefecture of Shimane early Monday, injuring five people, while also causing a partial blackout and disrupting water supply in the hardest-hit city of Oda.
The quake occurred at 1:32 a.m. at a depth of 12 kilometers, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. It registered upper 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7.
Four people were injured in Oda including a 17-year-old boy who fell from his bed at home, local officials said. A woman in her 70s in the adjacent city of Izumo injured her leg, also after falling from her bed.
Some 100 households lost tap water and 50 households electricity in Oda. A Self-Defense Forces unit has been dispatched to assist in water supply to the area based on a request by the prefectural government.
Damage to some buildings and cracks in roads were also confirmed. In Oda, an entrance gate at a Shinto shrine was destroyed and homes were damaged, forcing more than 100 people to evacuate at one point.
No abnormalities were found at the Shimane nuclear power plant, its operator Chugoku Electric Power Co. said.
Isamu Yamashita, an 81-year-old man who evacuated to an elementary school in Oda, said, “When the quake hit, I couldn’t stand on my own and had to hold on to a column. I still cannot return home because I am scared of possible aftershocks.”
A hospital in the city was forced to stop most of its outpatient services after a pipe in a water storage tank was damaged. The hospital received emergency water supply from the city to serve its inpatients.
West Japan Railway Co. halted some express trains in the region but road traffic was unaffected, according to the Japan Road Traffic Information Center.
In Shimane, a magnitude 5.1 quake struck in 1963 just two hours before a magnitude 5.0 quake hit some 10 to 20 km from the epicenter of the latest quake.
 
 
Earthquake cracks streets, leaves 5 injured in Japan
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This photo released by the Shimane Nichinichi Shimbun via Jiji Press on April 9, 2018 shows the tarmac along a street damaged by a earthquake in the city of Ohda, Shimane prefecture.
 
TOKYO — A strong earthquake hit western Japan early Monday, cracking streets, cutting water and power to a number of homes and injuring five people. The Meteorological Agency said the magnitude 6.1 quake struck 7 miles underground near Ohda city, about 480 miles west of Tokyo.
 
Five people sustained injuries, but most of them were minor and not life-threatening, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.
 
The quake also rattled nearby Izumo, home to one of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines. No damage was reported at the shrine.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said roads were cracked in some locations, while more than 1,000 households lost water supplies and dozens of homes were without electricity.
 
Local officials said dozens of trains in the region were delayed or suspended.
 
There was no danger of a tsunami.

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

6.6 Magnitude Earthquake in Western Japan

 

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Since the strong earthquake today at 2:07 p.m. in Tottori, of 6.6 magnitude and 6 intensity that shook half of Japan, the earth continues to shake with an impressive number of aftershocks. Officials at the Meteorological Agency say seismic activity continues in Tottori and are asking people to be prepared and take precautions against another possible earthquake.

On this coast of West Japan lies the largest concentration of nuclear power plants in the world. Though stopped, they are full of potentially very dangerous spent nuclear fuel. The epicenter of this earthquake was at 76km from the Shimane nuclear power plant. Of course, no damages say the Authorities, as usual…

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Strong quake in western Japan

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 struck Tottori Prefecture in western Japan on Friday afternoon. The Japan Meteorological Agency says there is no tsunami theat.
The jolt registered 6 minus on the Japanese seismic scale of 0 to 7 in central Tottori. The focus was 10 kilometers deep in the prefecture.
There are some reports of injuries and houses collapsing.
About 30,000 households in the prefecture are without power.
The tremors have disrupted transportation.
Local airports have cancelled flights.
Some bullet train services in central Japan are suspended. Parts of highways have been closed to check for damage.
Officials at the nearby Shimane nuclear power plant say there are no irregularities. The plant was off-line at the time of the quake.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161021_27/

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M6.6 quake strikes western Japan, no tsunami warning issued

A powerful earthquake struck Tottori Prefecture and surrounding areas shortly after 2 p.m. on Oct. 21, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. No tsunami warning was issued.

The 2:07 p.m. quake, which had an estimated magnitude of 6.6, measured a lower 6 on the 7-point Japanese seismic intensity scale in some parts of the Tottori Prefecture city of Kurayoshi, the town of Yurihama and the town of Hokuei, the agency said. It measured an upper 5 in parts of the city of Tottori, as well as in parts of neighboring Okayama Prefecture.

Reports said that several homes in Yurihama had collapsed. The Tottori Prefectural Government is in the process of confirming the information. The quake caused a blackout affecting nearly 32,000 households in Tottori Prefecture, Chugoku Electric Power Co. reported.

Firefighters in Tottori said that a female employee at a supermarket restaurant was taken to hospital with burns to her legs after an accident with hot oil when the quake struck. Elevators also stopped in the quake and there were reports that at least one person had been trapped.

Broken windows were reported over a wide area of Kurayoshi. A 53-year-old architect in the city, Katsunori Choda, said he was about to get in a vehicle when the ground started shaking, and pedestrians crouched on the ground to balance themselves. Soon afterward there was a blackout. Ambulance sirens could be heard and tiles fell from the roofs of old homes.

“I’d never felt an earthquake this big before,” the architect said. “There is a lot of old town scenery in the area and I’m worried about damage.”

Earthquake sounds could still be heard 30 minutes after the quake and aftershocks were reportedly continuing. The earthquake struck at an estimated depth of 10 kilometers, the meteorological agency said.

Services on the Sanyo Shinkansen bullet train were suspended between Shin-Osaka and Hakata stations following the quake, but resumed at 2:27 p.m., West Japan Railway Co. announced.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161021/p2g/00m/0dm/062000c

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This aerial photo shows broken grave markers and collapsed walls at a cemetery in Kurayoshi, Tottori Prefecture, following a strong earthquake that shook the area Friday.

Homes damaged, power cut after strong quake rattles parts of western Honshu

A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 shook parts of western Honshu early Friday afternoon, damaging homes and roads and cutting power to almost 40,000 households.

The Meteorological Agency said the earthquake occurred at 2:07 p.m. in central Tottori Prefecture, about 700 km west of Tokyo, at a depth of 10 km. It was followed by a weaker aftershock about 30 minutes later.

The agency said there was no danger of a tsunami from the inland temblor.

Two houses collapsed in the town of Hokuei, Tottori Prefecture, according to the local fire department. Roads were cracked and roof tiles laid strewn in the town.

In Kurayoshi in the prefecture, ATMs at some local banks temporarily went offline due to a power outage.

All up, the blackout affected nearly 40,000 households in Tottori Prefecture, according to Chugoku Electric Power Co.

Okayama City Fire Department said a woman in her 70s was taken to hospital after she fell and broke her right leg. Five people are reported to have been injured in Tottori Prefecture.

West Japan Railway Co. temporarily suspended all services on the Sanyo Shinkansen Line between Shin-Osaka and Hakata stations.

The quake registered lower 6 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7 in parts of Tottori Prefecture, and upper 5 in a wide area in Tottori and Okayama prefectures, according to the agency.

No abnormalities were detected at the Shimane nuclear plant, which is currently off-line, in nearby Shimane Prefecture, according to the utility.

Okayama airport closed its runway to check its safety, airport officials said.

According to local officials a house in the town of Yurihama, in central Tottori Prefecture, was destroyed, and a number of dwellings in other parts of the prefecture suffered damage

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/21/national/strong-earthquake-rattles-western-honshu-shinkansen-train-services-disrupted/#.WAn2siTKO-d

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UPDATE: Quake rattles buildings in Tottori; 6 injured

Tottori Prefecture in western Japan was struck by a series of major earthquakes on Oct. 21, causing structural damage to some buildings and homes and at least six injuries.

A quake measuring lower 6 on the Japanese intensity scale of 7 was recorded at 2:07 p.m.

The focus was about 10 kilometers underground, and the temblor had an estimated magnitude of 6.6.

Shaking was felt in a wide area of western Japan and as far as the Kanto and Kyushu regions.

Japan Meteorological Agency officials urged caution because there was a possibility of another quake measuring lower 6 in intensity striking over the next week in areas where the shaking was particularly strong.

Among the buildings damaged was the Kurayoshi city government building. Government workers evacuated as the building has been declared off-limits.

Homes in Yurihama were also heavily damaged, according to Tottori prefectural officials.

One individual suffered burns at a shopping center in Tottori city while a woman in her 70s in Okayama city, south of Tottori, fell and broke her leg.

Meanwhile, officials of Chugoku Electric Power Co. said about 31,900 households in the prefecture suffered a blackout after the quake struck, centered mainly on Kurayoshi.

However, the quake did not affect the two reactors at the Shimane nuclear power plant in the neighboring prefecture. Both reactors were not operating when the temblor struck.

Various stretches of expressways were closed to traffic.

Bullet train services between Shin-Osaka and Hakata stations operated by West Japan Railway Co. were stopped for about 20 minutes immediately after the quake. Service on the Tokaido Shinkansen line was also temporarily suspended between Shin-Osaka and Toyohashi in Aichi Prefecture.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201610210040.html

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October 21, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , , , | Leave a comment