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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

Fierce opposition to recycling radioactive soil from Fukushima

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Radiation-contaminated soil is kept temporarily in Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, before being moved to an intermediate storage facility
February 26, 2019
How to dispose of mountains of soil contaminated by radiation from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster poses a massive headache for the central government.
Officials had long insisted that contaminated surface soil removed after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant would eventually be stored outside of Fukushima Prefecture.
According to one estimate, the total volume of such soil will reach 14 million cubic meters by fiscal 2021. Local entities outside of Fukushima are understandably hesitant about serving as host to such vast quantities of possibly hazardous dirt.
Officials in Tokyo are now hoping to sway local governments to act as hosts by proposing reuse of the contaminated soil for public works projects under certain conditions.
One requirement would be that soil radiation levels below 8,000 becquerels per kilogram, the standard used by the government in classifying whether the waste material requires special treatment, could be used for various construction projects.
This poses a dilemma for Fukushima Prefecture, which fears local residents will be stuck with the problem despite repeated pledges by the government to move all contaminated soil from the prefecture.
Work got under way four years ago to move contaminated soil to intermediate storage facilities in Fukushima Prefecture. As of Feb. 19, the volume of soil transported to those facilities totaled 2.35 million cubic meters.
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March 1, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Niigata gov’t to handle radioactive mud stored since Fukushima crisis

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January 9, 2019
NIIGATA – The Niigata prefectural government said Tuesday it will dispose of radioactive mud that has been stored since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and ask the operator of the crisis-hit plant to shoulder the costs.
The prefecture in central Japan, located about 200 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, has stored around 60,000 tons of mud containing radioactive cesium and requested Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc since 2012 to dispose of it.
But the operator has refused, saying it is not able to handle industrial waste. The disposal costs are estimated at 3 billion yen and TEPCO formally expressed its readiness to pay in December.
The level of radioactive cesium in the mud is below 8,000 becquerels per kilogram, which could be disposed of by regular landfill operations, and most of it is below 100 becquerels per kg, according to the prefecture.
The local government has stored the mud instead of disposing of it, arguing that TEPCO should take responsibility for the damage caused by fuel meltdowns at the plant triggered by the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
The Niigata prefectural government has also stored the waste as some local residents were concerned about safety despite the low level of radioactive cesium.
Niigata Gov. Hideyo Hanazumi said at a press conference Tuesday it is “not realistic” to keep asking TEPCO to dispose of the mud and expressed “regret” that it had taken so long for the operator to decide how to handle the matter.
The contaminated mud, produced at an industrial water supply facility that takes in water from a river containing radioactive materials, is growing by 5,000 tons annually and the storage facility could become full later this year, according to the prefecture.
Municipalities other than Niigata have also been grappling with radioactive mud as a result of the crisis at the six-reactor Fukushima complex, with some shouldering the disposal costs.

January 20, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Rubble storage at Fukushima plant shown to media

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The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has completed a facility to store radioactive rubble from the March 2011 accident.
 
Tokyo Electric Power Company showed the new storage facility in the compound to the media on Thursday.
 
The Number 1 to Number 3 reactors suffered meltdowns and the reactor buildings were badly damaged after a quake-triggered tsunami hit the plant on March 11th, 2011.
 
As part of decommissioning work, rubble scattered after the accident needs to be cleared before spent nuclear fuel can be removed from storage pools in the upper parts of the reactor buildings.
 
At the Number 1 reactor building, work to clear more than 1,500 tons of rubble began in January. Its pool stores 392 fuel units.
 
The newly-completed facility is capable of storing more than 60,000 cubic meters of rubble.
 
Officials say a special vehicle that blocks radiation will take rubble from the Number 1 reactor building to the storage facility, and remote-controlled forklifts will be used to carry the rubble inside it.
 
The storage facility is 2 stories above ground and 2 below. The more radioactive the debris, the deeper underground it will be stored.
 
Officials say the facility can block radiation of levels up to 10 sieverts per hour, as it is covered by concrete walls up to 65 centimeters thick.
 
Kazuteru Ofuchi, a TEPCO official in charge of waste disposal, says the firm will make sure to minimize workers’ exposure to radiation, by working remotely.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Okuma-Futaba Incineration & Storage Facility

Official storage of contaminated soil begins in Fukushima

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Contaminated soil produced during cleanup in communities affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster is carried on belt-conveyers covered with plastic sheets at an interim storage site in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Oct. 28.
OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–Hailed by the government as a major step to rebuilding, radioactive soil from the cleanup of municipalities impacted by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster began arriving at an interim storage site here on Oct. 28.
However, officials and residents with the towns of Okuma and Futaba fear the repository may end up being permanent as finding a final resting place outside Fukushima Prefecture is expected to be extremely difficult.
Still, local governments welcomed the start since rebuilding has been hampered by the countless number of bags containing polluted soil that have been kept in backyards.
“We are hoping to remove as many bags of contaminated soil as possible from people’s living spaces,” said Tadahiko Ito, vice environment minister who inspected the site on Oct. 28.
All the soil there is supposed to be taken out of the prefecture by March 2045 for final disposal under the law.
The repository began operating at the site, where soil from low-level pollution will be kept after being brought in via a belt-conveyor system. Bulldozers will afterward flatten the surface.
After a certain amount of soil is brought in, the ground will be covered with uncontaminated soil. The site can hold about 50,000 cubic meters of soil, according to the Environment Ministry, which oversees the project.
The ministry began building the interim storage facility about a year ago. As of the end of September, contracts had been signed for about 40 percent of the 1,600 hectares of land needed for storage in Okuma and Futaba, which co-host the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
A total of seven facilities will be built to keep polluted soil.
The ministry also plans to complete two facilities to store more radioactive waste in fiscal 2019.
Overall construction costs are estimated at 1.1 trillion yen ($9.67 billion) for all the interim storage facilities.
They can store up to 22 million cubic meters of soil and other waste.
According to the ministry, about 15.2 million cubic meters of contaminated soil from decontamination work are piled up or buried at about 150,000 location in Fukushima Prefecture, including plots near houses and schoolyards.
The ministry envisages moving 12.5 million cubic meters of the total to the interim sites by the end of March 2021.

Sprawling radioactive waste storage facility opens for business in Fukushima

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A new facility in the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, starts storing radioactive waste generated by the 2011 nuclear crisis on Saturday.
The government’s new radioactive waste storage facility in Fukushima Prefecture kicked into full gear on Saturday after completing a roughly four-month trial run.
While the facility near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex is designed to store soil and other tainted waste collected during decontamination work for up to 30 years, it remains only half complete six years after the triple core meltdown struck in March 2011.
An estimated 22 million cu. meters of contaminated waste exists in Fukushima, but the facility does not yet have enough capacity to store it all, and residents fear it will sit there permanently in the absence of a final disposal site.
The government has been able to buy only 40 percent of the land so far but eventually plans to secure 1,600 hectares for the facility, which is expected to generate ¥1.6 trillion ($14.1 billion) in construction and related costs.
The storage facility is urgently needed to consolidate the 13 million cu. meters of radioactive waste scattered around the prefecture. The prolonged disposal work, among other concerns, is said to be keeping residents away from their hometowns even when the evacuation orders are lifted.
Also on Saturday, the government began full operation of a facility where waste intended for incineration, such as trees and plants, is separated from the rest.
Contaminated soil is sorted into different categories depending on cesium level before storage.

Work to store tainted soil at Fukushima facility begins

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Tainted soil is brought into an interim storage facility for radioactive waste in Fukushima Prefecture on Saturday.
FUKUSHIMA (Jiji Press) — The Environment Ministry started Saturday bringing tainted soil to one of its interim storage facilities for radioactive waste in Fukushima Prefecture.
Soil generated from work to decontaminate areas hit by fallout from the March 2011 triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.’s disaster-damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has temporarily been piled up in about 1,100 places within the prefecture.
Shifting the soil and other radioactive waste to the storage facilities, to be finally built on a 1,600-hectare site straddling the towns of Okuma and Futaba, is expected to make it smoother to reconstruct areas devastated by the nuclear accident as well as the massive earthquake and tsunami that triggered the accident.
On Sunday, 36 cubic meters of contaminated soil arrived at the facility from a temporary storage in Okuma.
“I hope all tainted soil and other waste will be removed from living spheres in the prefecture as soon as possible,” State Environment Minister Tadahiko Ito told reporters after watching the work.
But over 60 percent of the overall construction site remained to be acquired as of the end of September, and facilities to burn plant waste and store ashes with high cesium levels have yet to be built.
Please read also these related articles :
Issues of Incineration Disposal of Agricultural and Forestry Radioactive Wastes in Fukushima Prefecture by Toshikazu Fujiwara
How long shall we accept Japan to pollute our skies with incineration of radioactive materials?
About the Incineration of Fukushima Decontaminated Soil and Debris

 

October 30, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear storage crisis grows as reactor restarts continue

n-nukewaste-a-20170529-870x653.jpgAn official from the Agency for Natural Resources and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan shows a model of a proposed underground burial facility for nuclear waste during a town hall meeting in Toyama on May 20

More than six years after the March 11, 2011, Tohoku quake, tsunami, and triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Japan is accelerating efforts to restart as many reactors as it possibly can. Four have been revived so far, and Kansai Electric Power Co. plans to restart the Takahama No. 3 unit soon.

But the rush to restart them has only highlighted the fact that Japan still has no final repository for its high-level radioactive waste. Original plans to first reprocess spent fuel at the Rokkasho facility in Aomori Prefecture before final disposal somewhere else have long been stalled. After 17 years asking prefectures and municipalities around the country to host such a site, no takers have been found.

So the government has changed its approach, saying it will draw up a map by this summer of “scientifically appropriate” candidate sites around the country.

To explain what that means, a series of town hall meetings are taking place at select locations this month and next month.

On May 20, officials from the Agency for Natural Resources and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan (NUMO) were in Toyama, which is less than 50 km from the Shika nuclear power plant in neighboring Ishikawa Prefecture.

At present, there are about 18,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel stored in about 40,000 canisters at Japan’s nuclear power plants, said NUMO Executive Director Shinichi Ito. A final disposal site for high-level waste produced when, or if, the fuel is reprocessed would need to be quite large. Most of it would be underground, with an elaborate tunnel system of transport vehicles to deliver and store the waste.

“In terms of scale, above-ground facilities at a final depository would be between 1 to 2 sq. km, and the underground portion would be 6 to 10 sq. km in area, located at a depth of more than 300 meters from the surface. There would be some 200 km of tunnels in total for the storage facilities,” Ito said.

Waste would be stored at the site for around a half century. The basic cost for building a final depository is ¥3.7 trillion.

In drawing up the map of what constitutes a scientifically appropriate site, the government has a list of conditions and standards based on what it does not want.

A site should not be built within a 15-km radius of a volcano, and not near active fault lines at least 10 km long. In addition, it should not be situated in area where there is a lot of geothermal activity.

The government is also seeking a site that is within 20 km of a port where ships carrying the waste could dock, since transporting waste by ship, the government says, is the most appropriate method.

Iwao Miyamoto, director of the public relations office of the Agency for Natural Resources’ Radioactive Waste Management Office, said that, after the map is publicized and dialogue takes place with authorities deemed to have appropriate sites, a three-stage survey process would be carried out.

“The first stage would be to research the seismological and geological history of a potential site, checking to see how frequently earthquakes and volcanoes in and around the area have occurred,” Miyamoto said. “The second stage would be on-site drilling to determine how porous the rock bed is, and the third step is a precision survey to determine if the site can handle an underground storage facility.

“The first survey stage is expected to take two years, the second stage four years, and the final stage around 14 years,” he added.

In an attempt to entice the authorities at a chosen site, the central government will offer funding and economic incentives that the municipalities hosting nuclear power plants have long enjoyed.

“NUMO will work with a government that accepts a final storage facility to renovate and expand its roads, ports, and information systems,” Ito said. “There will also be donations for revitalizing the local economy via support for locally produced goods and for local culture.”

However, overcoming local political resistance in an area judged appropriate for a final depository is likely to be a long, difficult road. Nobody wants to be known as the town or village with a nuclear waste dump, and questions remain about the safety of transporting toxic waste by land or by sea.

Some governors in prefectures with many reactors have made it clear they will oppose any effort by the central government or utilities to bury nuclear waste on site or beside the plant that generated it.

“Fukui has accepted nuclear power plants. But it has no obligation to accept final disposal of nuclear waste,” Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa said in 2015. Fukui is home to 13 commercial reactors.

“We have our hands full just dealing with the nuclear reactors we have now,” Saga Gov. Yoshinori Yamaguchi said last year, indicating his prefecture would not accept being the site of a final repository. Saga hosts the four reactors at the Genkai plant run by Kyushu Electric. Yamaguchi approved the restart of Genkai units 3 and 4 in April.

Once the map is published, it is sure to galvanize opinion in those places judged appropriate and become a politically delicate topic. Yet with Agency for Natural Resources estimates showing the spent fuel pools of 17 power plants will run out of space within the next 15 years, if run continuously, the problem of final disposal grows more acute with each passing day. Pressure on those areas that fit the requirements for final disposal is likely to be intense.

At this point, though, the central government says that if a local government with a site deemed appropriate by the map still refuses once the survey begins, that will be the end of it.

“If there is official opposition at the local level at any stage of a survey, there would be no advancement to the next stage,” Miyamoto said.

However, given all of the problems Japan has had trying to make its reprocessing program work, critics say that attempting to draw up a plan for a final repository is a pipe dream.

” The Japanese government knows the current final nuclear waste repository program will never materialize. The whole project depends upon the creation of high-level vitrified waste canisters, i.e. the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. But the program also depends on Japan recovering and consuming tons and tons of plutonium

” The Rokkasho reprocessing plant’s commercial operation has been delayed 23 times, and the fast reactor program to consume the plutonium is at square one despite over a half century of effort,” said Aileen Mioko Smith of Kyoto-based Green Action.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/05/28/national/nuclear-storage-crisis-grows-reactor-restarts-continue/#.WSrbDvUrK3A

May 29, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Government to release map of potential final nuclear disposal sites this summer

n-nukewaste-a-20170503-870x564.jpgSolidified nuclear waste mixed with glass is placed in canisters at a reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, in 2012

The government has set the criteria for a map meant to identify potential final disposal sites for high-level radioactive nuclear waste, paving the way for its release as early as this summer.

The process of finding a host for nuclear waste could face challenges amid public concerns over safety.

Based on the map, the government will approach select municipalities to allow research to be conducted for suitable sites to store waste from nuclear power generation.

For permanent disposal, high-level nuclear waste needs to be stored at a final depository more than 300 meters underground for up to about 100,000 years until radiation levels fall and there is no longer potential harm to humans and the environment.

The government plans to create a permanent underground repository somewhere in stable bedrock so the canisters can be stored for tens of thousands of years.

The map is likely to classify which areas are geologically suitable for such a structure to be built deep enough underground. This would rule out areas near active faults and volcanoes as well as oil and coal fields.

Based on waste transport criteria, the map is likely to show that zones within 20 km of the coastline are favorable to host final disposal sites.

The government hopes other municipalities — not just the ones located near nuclear power plants — may also become interested in hosting the disposal facilities. It also wants to show that a variety of places nationwide are suitable for nuclear waste management.

The map was originally planned for a 2016 release but the publication date was later postponed, as some local governments were wary that disposal sites would be imposed on them.

About 18,000 tons of spent fuel currently exist in Japan. Including spent fuel that has already been reprocessed, the country’s total jumps to about 25,000 canisters of vitrified high-level waste, all of which needs to be managed.

The process to find local governments willing to host final storage started in 2002, but little progress was made due mainly to opposition from local residents.

In May 2015, the central government introduced a plan announcing that final depository site selection would be based on scientific grounds, rather than waiting for municipalities to volunteer.

Before presenting the map, the government will hold symposiums between mid-May and June at nine cities to explain the map criteria to the public. The cities include Tokyo, Nagoya and Fukuoka.

Radioactive waste is classified into two categories: The high-level type is generated from reprocessing spent fuel by separating the plutonium and uranium for recycling, while the low level type refers to all other waste.

High-level waste is a byproduct of fission in the reactor core, which is very hot and dangerous. It is mixed with glass and solidified before being placed in robust heat-resistant stainless steel canisters that are 130 cm high, 40 cm in diameter and weigh 500 kg each.

A full canister emits about 1,500 sieverts per hour — an extremely lethal biological level — and has a surface temperature in excess of 200 degrees.

Its radioactivity starts at 20,000 trillion becquerels. It will take about 1,000 years to fall to one-thousandth of that level, and tens of thousands of years to weaken to the same intensity as natural uranium ore, the Natural Resources and Energy Agency says.

Worldwide, only Finland and Sweden have been able to successfully decide on a final depository site for nuclear waste, while many other countries with nuclear plants face difficulties in doing so.

The United States decided in 2009 to call off a plan to build a site to dispose spent fuel in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain due to local opposition, but President Donald Trump earmarked funds to revive the plan in the budget proposal for fiscal 2018 unveiled in March.

In Japan, the selection process is also a touchy issue and has triggered conflicts in the communities around which prospective depository sites have been considered.

In one example, Minamiosumi Mayor Toshihiko Morita in Kagoshima Prefecture filed a criminal complaint against a 65-year-old resident for libel, claiming that his allegations that the rural town office had been actively inviting such a facility was not only groundless but also defamation.

The resident handed out flyers to about 500 households in the town in January which said Morita went to Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, and Horonobe in Hokkaido at the invitation of the private sector involved in the construction of nuclear waste disposal facilities. Both municipalities host nuclear-related facilities.

Morita flatly denied the allegations, telling Kyodo News in writing that he has heard “rumors” that there have been moves aimed at hosting a nuclear waste disposal facility but “I myself haven’t gone anywhere and been treated to anything.”

I would reject any request from the central government” to host one, Morita said. The town approved an ordinance to reject a plan to host a nuclear waste disposal facility the year after the 2011 nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

A supporter of the mayor, however, did visit nuclear-related facilities in locations including Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, several years ago, according to the supporter’s admission, and a Tokyo company covered the expenses of the trip.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/05/02/national/government-release-map-potential-final-nuclear-disposal-sites-summer/

May 3, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Transfer sites for 610 tons of spent nuclear fuel undecided; decommissioning plans may be affected

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Spent nuclear fuel is stored in a pool at the La Hague reprocessing facility in northwestern France in October. It is one of the most dangerous sites in the world, with its 10,000 tons of spent fuel. We were afraid of the Fukushima Daiichi fuel pool 4  but it was nothing: The whole fuel of the Hague corresponds to radiotoxicity 360 times greater than Chernobyl.

 

About 610 tons of spent nuclear fuel stored at seven of the 17 reactors in Japan that are set to be decommissioned have no fixed transfer destination, it was learned Sunday, threatening to hold up the decommissioning process.

If it remains undecided where to transfer the spent nuclear fuel, work to dismantle reactor buildings and other structures may not be carried out as planned.

The tally excludes the six reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant, which was heavily damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The seven reactors are the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Fugen advanced converter reactor, the agency’s Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor, Japan Atomic Power Co.’s reactor 1 at its Tsuruga plant, reactors 1 and 2 of Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama plant, reactor 1 of Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane plant and reactor 1 of Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai plant, according to the companies and the agency.

The Fugen reactor has 70 tons of spent mixed-oxide, or MOX, fuel, a blend of uranium and plutonium recycled from spent nuclear fuel.

The agency has abandoned its plans to move the MOX fuel out of the reactor site in the current fiscal year to March 2018. It has considered consigning the reprocessing of the fuel overseas but a contract has not been signed yet.

The agency’s schedule to finish the decommissioning work by fiscal 2033 has remained unchanged, but an official admitted that the timetable will be affected if a decision on where to transfer the spent fuel is not made.

As for the trouble-prone Monju reactor, the agency has yet to submit a decommissioning program to authorities. How to deal with 22 tons of spent MOX fuel at the reactor is a major issue.

The Mihama No. 1 reactor has 75.7 tons of spent conventional nuclear fuel and 1.3 tons of spent MOX fuel, while the No. 2 reactor has 202 tons of spent nuclear fuel. Kansai Electric plans to take them out of Fukui Prefecture, which hosts the power plant, by fiscal 2035, but the transfer location has not yet been selected.

At the Tsuruga plant’s reactor 1, Japan Atomic Power plans to transfer 31.1 tons of the reactor’s 50-ton spent nuclear fuel to the fuel pool of reactor 2, with the rest to be transported by fiscal 2026 to a Japan Nuclear Fuel reprocessing plant under construction in the village of Rokkasho in Aomori Prefecture.

After being postponed more than 20 times, the completion of the reprocessing plant is currently slated for the first half of fiscal 2018 and the blueprint is undergoing screenings by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, a nuclear watchdog.

As nuclear fuel cannot be brought into the reprocessing plant until it starts operations after receiving all necessary regulatory approval, it is uncertain whether the Tsuruga reactor fuel can be transferred as planned.

Chugoku Electric aims to transfer 122.7 tons of spent nuclear fuel at its Shimane plant’s reactor 1 to the Rokkasho reprocessing plant by fiscal 2029.

Kyushu Electric hopes to take 97.2 tons of spent nuclear fuel at the Genkai reactor 1 out of its fuel pool by fiscal 2029, but the destination has not been fixed.

At three other nuclear plants with reactors set to be decommissioned, spent nuclear fuel is mostly planned to be moved out of the current pools to other pools within the same plant.

In the case of Tepco’s disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 plant, the site of the 2011 triple meltdown accident, where the 2,130 tons of spent nuclear fuel will be transferred to has yet to be decided.

Still, the decommissioning work for the six reactors there will not be affected in any significant way for the time being, as more urgent tasks, such as a survey of melted fuel, have been given higher priority, officials said.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/04/30/national/transfer-sites-610-tons-spent-nuclear-fuel-undecided-decommissioning-plans-may-affected/#.WQa0fZxJfbI.facebook

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

The Fukushima Decontamination, Waste Storage, Processing and Recycling Utopia

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In Fukushima Prefecture, large quantities of contaminated soil and waste have been generated from decontamination activities. Currently, it is difficult to clarify methods of final disposal of such soil and waste. Until final disposal becomes available, it is necessary to establish an Interim Storage Facility (ISF) in order to manage and store soil and waste safely.

The only solution proposed is a storage facility of 16 km2 around the Fukushima plant for a period of 30 years. After that, time will tell, because the problems are endless.

The following materials generated in Fukushima Prefecture will be stored in the ISF.

1. Soil and waste (such as fallen leaves and branches) generated from decontamination activities, which have been stored at the Temporary Storage Sites.

2. Incineration ash with radioactive concentration more than 100,000 Bq/kg.

It is estimated that generated soil from decontamination will be approx. 16 ~22 mil. m3 after the volume reduction incineration, estimated value based on the decontamination implementation plan of July 2013. (Ref: approximately 13~18 times as much as the volume of Tokyo Dome (1.24 mil. m3) .

 

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Transportation to Stock Yards

In order to confirm safe and secure delivery towards the transportation of a large amount of decontamination soil, MOE implemented the transportation approx. 1,000m3 each from 43 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture from 2015-2016.

Actual achievement in 2016 as of July 30, 2016

Stored volume: 13,384m3 (58,766m3 in total)

Stock yards in Okuma: 4,883m3; stock yards in Futaba: 8,501m3

* Calculated on the assumption that the volume of a large bag is 1m3

Total number of trucks used: 2,279 (9,808 in total)

Stock yards in Okuma: 815 trucks; stock yards in Futaba:1,464 trucks

 

To construct facilities, it will need comprehensive area and 2/3 will be assumed to be used for facilitation. The possible volume for installation is to be 10,000m3/ha and 140,000m3/5ha for a storage facility, and will be installed from TSS to ISF sequentially.

Approximate period from contract with operators to ISF operation: 3months for TSS, 6months for delivery & classification, 12months for storage, 18months for incineration.

On the premise that infrastructure construction on roads for Okuma and Futaba IC would proceed as planned, the maximum volume of possible transportation is estimated: 2millions m3 /y before the operation of both IC, 4millions m3/y after Okuma IC & before Futaba IC, 6 millions m3/y after the both ICs operation.

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Landowners are still reluctant to sell their land to put the waste. In late September 2016, according to the official data of the Ministry of Environment, only 379 owners out of 2360 had signed a contract. This represents an area of 144 ha, or about 9% of the total project.

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The town of Okuma, is almost entirely classified as “difficult to return”zone, therefore it intends to offer all its municipal land to put the waste. This represents 95 hectares, or about 10% of land considered in the town. This includes schools, the Fureai Park with some sports grounds … The town has not yet decided whether it would sell or would lease its land.

Meanwhile, it is an abandoned village:

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The Joban railway line was partially destroyed by the tsunami, as here in Tomioka:

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Destroyed Tomioka train station and sorting facility for radioactive waste

Some parts have reopened, but not in the most contaminated areas; between Tatsuta and Namie. Japan Railway wants to fully reopen the railway before 2020, avoiding the coast. Decontamination should produce 300,000 m3 of radioactive waste. The radioactive waste bags are along the railway, but they will need to be take them away. The Environment Ministry is negotiating with landowners owning the land beside the railway, but this is not enough because few responded favorably. So it’s a game of musical chairs that is planned: use the lands where some waste is right now after they’ll freed by the transfer of the waste to the storage center located around the Fukushima Dai-ichi.

Meanwhile, the waste is piling up everywhere:

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Radioactive waste in Iitate

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Valley of radioactive waste in Iitate mura

This storage was not expected to last as long, which is not without causing problems because the bags do not hold. Here in Tomioka, weeds grow back:

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The equivalent of the Court of Accounts of Japan went to inspect some of these sites and found other problems, according to the Asahi. Those who receive contaminated soil, are elevated in the center so that the water flows over the edges where it can be harvested and controlled because the bags are not waterproof. There are up to 5 levels. With time and the weight of waste, a hollow that may appear in the center, and contaminated water accumulates there. Monitoring is difficult or impossible. See diagram of Asahi:

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It is not normal that the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, the NRA does not control these storage sites for radioactive waste.

Regarding the waste from the decommissioning of nuclear power plants, the NRA wants to bury the most contaminated within 70 meters for 100 000 years. This is essentially reactor control rods. Utilities would bear responsibility for 300 to 400 years. They have not yet found where to have the sites … Read Asahi for more. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609020034.html

The government relies on the radioactive decay for these wastes to pass below the 8000 Bq / kg to be downgraded and utilized …

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http://josen.env.go.jp/en/pdf/progressseet_progress_on_cleanup_efforts.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 25, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Situation of Storage and Treatment of Accumulated Water including Highly Concentrated Radioactive Materials at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station

Situation of storing and treatment of accumulated water in the building (actual record) Stored amounts in each unit building (Units 1 to 4 (including condensers and trenches)) and stored and treated amounts, and other related data in the Accumulated Water Storing Facility as of July 28, 2016

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Forecast of storing and treatment

(1) Short term forecast

Water transfer is planned so that the levels of the accumulated water in Units 1 and 2 and Units 3 and 4 building will be maintained around at the level of OP. 3,000, based on the stored amount in the Accumulated Water Storing Facilities and the operating situation of the radioactive material treatment equipment. Water is transferred to the Process Main Building and/or High Temperature Incinerator Building as Accumulated Water Storing Facilities. Treatment is implemented considering the state of storage and transfer of Accumulated Water Storing Facilities.

We assume stored amounts in each unit building (Units 1 to 4 (including condenser and trench)), and stored and treated amounts, and other related data in the Accumulated Water Storing 2 Facilities as of August 4, 2016.

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(2) Middle term forecast

Regarding accumulated water in Units 1 and 2 buildings and Units 3 and 4 buildings, from the viewpoint of reducing the risks of discharging to the ocean and leaking into the groundwater, it is necessary to keep enough capacity for the accumulated water in the building until its level reaches OP. 4,000 and to keep the accumulated water level lower than the groundwater level. On the other hand, based on the view of limiting inflow of underwater to buildings and reducing the amount of emerged accumulated water, we are planning to transfer accumulated water keeping its level in the building around OP. 3,000 considering water tank capacity. As for accumulated water of the Process Main Building and the High Temperature Incinerator Building, we are planning to treat the accumulated water considering the situation of construction of middle and low level waste water tanks, the operation factor of the radioactive material treatment instruments and duration for maintenance.

We forecast stored amounts in each unit building (Units 1 to 4 (including condensers and trenches)), and storing and treatment situations in the Accumulated Water Storing Facilities for the next 3 months.

Stored amounts in each building and the water storage equipment are forecasted to be unchanged in case transfer and treatment were implemented as scheduled without rain. However, it would be subject to change depending on the operation factor of the radioactive material treatment instruments and so on. Also, the water treated at the radioactive material treatment equipment (fresh water and condensed salt water) can be stored in the middle and low level waste water tanks.

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2016/1315201_7763.html

 

August 7, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Government OKs multiple-site storage of radioactive waste

MITO, IBARAKI PREF. – The Environment Ministry has allowed Ibaraki Prefecture to continue storing waste contaminated with radioactive substances from the March 2011 nuclear disaster in multiple locations for the time being.
The ministry on Thursday supported ongoing use of the multiple-site storage option at a meeting with officials from Ibaraki Prefecture and 14 municipalities in the prefecture that are currently storing such designated waste on a temporary basis.
This is the first time the ministry, which has upheld a policy to construct one designated waste disposal facility in each of the prefectures of Miyagi, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba, to give the green light to multiple-site storage within a prefecture.
On Friday, Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa said at a news conference the ministry will continue coordinating with local municipalities to deal with the issue.
As part of the process, she said, it would consult with the community to move forward with lifting the designation on waste where radiation levels have lowered and consolidate remaining waste.
Designated waste, including incineration ash, sewage sludge and paddy straw, is contaminated with radioactive substances exceeding 8,000 becquerels per kilogram as a result of the triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant caused by a major earthquake and tsunami.
Although the ministry has been pursuing the policy of concentrating such waste in one location in each of the five prefectures for disposal, the construction of disposal facilities has yet to transpire five years after the nuclear accident amid strong opposition from local residents.
The ministry’s decision to tolerate multiple-site storage is apparently intended to overcome the situation.
The ministry plans to have the municipalities in Ibaraki Prefecture continue safely storing designated waste for now, and have them dispose of the waste as general waste after radiation levels fall below 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.
As a result, the ministry forecasts that the amount of designated waste in the prefecture will drop to about 0.6 ton in about 10 years from 3,643 tons at present.
It will examine whether multiple-site storage can be continued in Gunma and Chiba prefectures, where municipalities are storing designated waste indoors just like those in Ibaraki Prefecture.
At Thursday’s meeting, the ministry proposed rules that would require the central and local governments to hold talks in advance if the radioactive waste designation is to be lifted.
The ministry also indicated a plan to consider providing financial support to municipalities that dispose of the waste after removal of the designation as radioactive waste at their existing facilities.
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/02/05/national/government-oks-multiple-site-storage-radioactive-waste/#.VrTSbFLzN_l

February 6, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment