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TEPCO claims it is running out of space to store radioactive water and simply must discharge it into the Pacific

November 10, 2020

Dilution is not the solution to pollution! Last month, thanks to local fishermen, citizen concern, and international outrage, Japan delayed plan to dump radioactively contaminated water from Fukushima Daiichi.

TEPCO claims it is running out of space to store radioactive water and simply must discharge it into the Pacific. But land [see picture] immediately adjacent to their property is EMPTY and too radioactive to be sold. Why not build more tanks there?

Source: Fairewinds Energy Education

November 15, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | Leave a comment

Court rules Fukushima nuclear disaster preventable, increases liabilities

Fukushima nuclear disaster preventable, court rules, with more damages claims likely

Government and company Tepco ordered to pay some damages for 2011 event, but ruling could spur further claims

Plaintiffs and their supporters march in Japan ahead of the court ruling in Sendai on the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster on Wednesday.

Oct 1, 2020

A Japanese court has found the government and Tepco, the operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, negligent for failing to take measures to prevent the 2011 nuclear disaster, and ordered them to pay 1bn yen ($9.5m) in damages to thousands of residents for their lost livelihoods.

The ruling on Wednesday by Sendai high court could open up the government to further damage claims because thousands of other residents evacuated as reactors at the coastal power station overheated and released a radioactive cloud, following the devastating tsunami. While some people have returned home, areas close to the plant are still off limits.

The plaintiffs had sought monthly compensation of about 50,000 yen ($470) per person until radiation levels subside to pre-disaster levels, seeking a total of 28bn yen ($265m).

The plaintiffs’ head lawyer, Izutaro Managi, hailed the ruling as a major victory, saying: “We ask the government to extend relief measures as soon as possible, not only for the plaintiffs but for all victims based on the damage they suffered.”

The latest ruling follows 13 lower court decisions, which were divided over government responsibility in the disaster. The latest ruling doubles the amount of damages against Tepco ordered by a lower court in 2017

In 2011, 3,550 plaintiffs were forced to flee their homes after a magnitude-9 earthquake triggered a tsunami that devastated the country’s north-east and crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant, known as the triple disaster.

Decommissioning work is underway at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, north-eastern Japan.

Radiation that spewed from the plant’s melted reactors contaminated the surrounding areas, forcing about 160,000 residents to evacuate at one point. More than 50,000 are still displaced because of lingering safety concerns. The plant is being decommissioned, a process expected to take decades.

The court said that the government could have taken measures to protect the site, based on expert assessments available in 2002 that indicated the possibility of a tsunami of more than 15 metres, reported public broadcaster NHK, which aired footage of the plaintiffs celebrating outside the court after the ruling.

The government has yet to say whether it will appeal in the supreme court against the decision. “We will consider the ruling and take appropriate action,” chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato said after the ruling.

Officials at Tepco were unavailable when Reuters tried to reach them outside regular business hours.

In court, the government argued it was impossible to predict the tsunami or prevent the subsequent disaster. Tepco said it had fulfilled its compensation responsibility under government guidelines.

Plaintiffs said the ruling brought some justice, but that their lives could never return to normal and their struggle was far from over.

“For more than nine years, I have planted seeds on the contaminated soil and grown vegetables, always worrying about the effects of radiation,” plaintiff Kazuya Tarukawa, a farmer from Sukagawa in Fukushima, said at a meeting after the ruling. “Our contaminated land will never be the same.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/01/fukushima-nuclear-disaster-preventable-court-rules-with-more-damages-claims-likely?fbclid=IwAR36150Www7rdCRHKktTAwu57KZ3tOYGqCCm5pczYANUxAnF3aLgvQq7ngs

Court increases state liability, compensation for nuclear disaster

Plaintiffs hold up signs in front of the Sendai High Court on Sept. 30 stating victory in their lawsuit against the central government and Tokyo Electric Power Co.

October 1, 2020

SENDAI—A high court here on Sept. 30 more than doubled the amount of compensation awarded to victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and issued a scathing critique against the central government for its inaction.

The Sendai High Court found the central government equally at fault as plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. for failing to take anti-tsunami measures and ordered the defendants to pay a total of about 1.01 billion yen ($9.6 million) to around 3,550 evacuees and residents living in Fukushima Prefecture and elsewhere.

It was the first high court ruling in various lawsuits seeking compensation from TEPCO and the central government for the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant caused by a quake-triggered tsunami in March 2011.

In October 2017, the Fukushima District Court ordered the defendants to pay about 500 million yen to about 2,900 evacuees. That decision was appealed to the Sendai High Court, which increased both the compensation amount and the number of recipients.

“We won a total victory over the central government and TEPCO,” Izutaro Managi, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said. “The effect on the various lawsuits to be decided in the future will be huge.”

A major point of contention in the case was a long-term assessment of the probability of major earthquakes released by the science ministry’s Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion in 2002. The report pointed out that Fukushima Prefecture could be hit by a major tsunami.

The high court found the assessment to be a “scientific finding that had a considerable level of objective and rational basis,” making it an important perspective that differed greatly from various views presented by individual scholars or private-sector organizations.

The court ruled that if the economy minister at the time had immediately ordered TEPCO to calculate the height of a possible tsunami, a forecast could have been made of the likelihood of a tsunami striking the nuclear plant.

But the ruling said, “The regulatory authority did not fulfill the role that was expected of it” and that “not exercising regulatory powers was a violation of the law regarding state compensation.”

The Fukushima District Court found that the central government only had a secondary responsibility to oversee the utility.

The high court, however, ruled that the government had the same level of responsibility. It said both the central government and TEPCO avoided making tsunami calculations because they feared the effects that would arise if the urgent measures were taken.

The high court ruling also expanded the range of plaintiffs who could receive compensation to people living in the Aizu district of Fukushima Prefecture as well as Miyagi and Tochigi prefectures where evacuation orders were not issued.

Experts said the high court ruling is a game-changer because of the positive assessment given to the long-term evaluation about possible tsunami.

Other district courts have ruled that the central government was not responsible because even if it had ordered measures to be taken, there would not have been enough time to complete such steps to prevent damage from the tsunami.

“Plaintiffs in the other lawsuits have provided testimony at a similar level so this could turn the tide in the recent trend of plaintiffs losing their cases,” said Masafumi Yokemoto, a professor of environmental policy at Osaka City University who is knowledgeable about nuclear plant issues.

Yotaro Hatamura, a professor emeritus of engineering at the University of Tokyo who headed the government panel that investigated the Fukushima nuclear accident, said, “This was an unprecedented ruling that pointed out in a rational manner the stance of both the central government and TEPCO of not looking at data that they did not want to see.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said at his Sept. 30 news conference that the central government would carefully go over the court ruling before making a decision on whether to appeal.

TEPCO also issued a statement with similar wording.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13777556?fbclid=IwAR36TBfK7X8gdO1FuWLG0rLq0XhEN3hofWwWufZ1bjHuPk3CJcUvXu1WCOM

October 2, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | 2 Comments

Japanese Government Is Ordered to Pay Damages Over Fukushima Disaster

The Sendai High Court said the state and the plant’s operator must pay $9.5 million to survivors of the 2011 nuclear accident. They have until mid-October to appeal to the country’s Supreme Court.

A damaged reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan in 2011.

September 30, 2020

TOKYO — A high court in Japan on Wednesday became the first at that level to hold the government responsible for the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, saying in a ruling that the state and the plant’s operator must pay about $9.5 million in damages to survivors.

The overpowering earthquake and tsunami that ripped through northern Japan in March 2011 caused a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, leading to the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

Under Wednesday’s ruling by the Sendai High Court, the government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company, known as Tepco, must compensate 3,550 plaintiffs, the Kyodo news agency reported. The plaintiffs had sought monthly compensation payments of about $475 per person until radiation at their homes returns to pre-crisis levels.

In 2017, a lower court had ordered the government and Tepco to pay about half that amount to about 2,900 plaintiffs. But the ruling by Sendai’s high court, one of eight such courts in Japan, is significant because it could set a legal precedent for dozens of similar lawsuits that have been filed across the country.

The government has long argued that it could not have prevented the tsunami or the nuclear accident, while Tepco says it has already paid any compensation that was ordered by the government. Last year, a Japanese court acquitted three former Tepco executives who had been accused of criminal negligence over their roles in the accident.

Hiroshi Kikuchi, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, called Wednesday’s decision “groundbreaking.”

“The court carefully collected facts for this judgment,” Mr. Kikuchi said at a news conference. “We feel now it will largely impact on other actions nationwide.”

Workers removing the top soil from a garden in Naraha, inside Fukushima’s evacuation zone, in 2013.

Izutaro Managi, another lawyer on the team, said in a brief interview that if the government and Tokyo Electric Power appeal the decision, he expects it to go to the country’s Supreme Court. The deadline for filing that appeal is Oct. 14.

Tepco said in a statement on Wednesday that it would examine the judgment before responding to it.

“We again apologize from our heart for giving troubles and concerns to people in Fukushima as well as in the society largely caused by our nuclear power plant’s accident,” the statement said.

Toyoshi Fuketa, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, an agency that was created after the Fukushima accident, said on Wednesday that he would not comment until the details of the judgment were released.

“The Nuclear Regulation Authority was set up based on reflection over, and anger against, the nuclear accident in Fukushima,” Mr. Fuketa added. “I would like to advance strict rules on nuclear power so that a nuclear accident will never happen again.”

Takashi Nakajima, one of the plaintiffs in the case, told reporters that the ruling was a reminder that the consequences of the Fukushima disaster were still real, even if many people in Japan were starting to forget about it.

“Some people say that I’m damaging Fukushima’s reputation,” Mr. Nakajima said. “But now I think we are encouraged by the court to say what we think.”

Another plaintiff, Kazuya Tarukawa, said in a tearful statement that he had been tilling contaminated soil in the area for nearly a decade, and waiting for the government and the plant’s operator to take responsibility.

He said the money was beside the point, and that the ruling raised a larger question about the long-term risks of nuclear energy.

“What will come of Japan if there is another nuclear disaster like that?” he asked.

A roadblock in a contaminated area northwest of the nuclear plant in 2013.

October 2, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | Leave a comment

Sendai court upholds ruling that state and Tepco must pay Fukushima evacuees

A group of plaintiffs demanding compensation for the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster rally in Sendai on Wednesday prior to the high court’s ruling that held the state and Tepco responsible.

September 30, 2020

Sendai – The Sendai High Court on Wednesday ordered the state and the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to pay ¥1 billion ($9.5 million) in damages to residents over the 2011 earthquake- and tsunami-triggered disaster.

It was the first time a high court has acknowledged the state’s responsibility for the incident in about 30 similar lawsuits filed nationwide.

The Sendai court told the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to pay about ¥1.01 billion to 3,550 out of some 3,650 plaintiffs, up from the sum of ¥500 million that a lower court ordered them to pay to around 2,900 plaintiffs in an October 2017 ruling.

In line with the 2017 ruling by the Fukushima District Court, the high court made its decision based on three points in dispute, including whether a major tsunami could have been foreseen.

The two other points were whether countermeasures could have been implemented to prevent a disaster, and whether the compensation levels outlined by the government were sufficient.

The plaintiffs had sought monthly compensation payments of around ¥50,000 per person until radiation at their residences returns to the pre-crisis level, bringing their total final demand to approximately ¥28 billion.

The state, meanwhile, argued it was impossible to predict the tsunami and prevent the subsequent disaster. Tepco claimed it had already paid compensation in accordance with government guidelines.

In the district court ruling, the government and Tepco were both blamed for failing to take steps to counter the huge tsunami.

It ruled that the two should have been able to foresee the risks of a maximum 15.7-meter-high wave, based on a quake assessment issued in 2002, and that the disaster could have been prevented if the state had instructed the operator to implement measures that year.

The magnitude 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck Tohoku on March 11, 2011, causing multiple meltdowns and hydrogen blasts at the nuclear power plant.

Around 55,000 people remained evacuated both within and outside Fukushima Prefecture as of the end of August.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority issued a comment that said, “We will consider appropriate ways to respond while closely examining the ruling and consulting with relevant authorities.”

Tepco said in a statement, “We deeply apologize again for causing great trouble and worries to the people of Fukushima Prefecture and the whole of society because of the nuclear power plant accident. We will closely examine the ruling by the Sendai High Court and consider ways to respond.”

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/09/30/national/crime-legal/sendai-court-tepco-fukushima-evacuees/

October 2, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO’s fitness to operate nuke reactors still open to question

From left, the No. 5 to No. 7 reactors of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture

September 24, 2020

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has effectively endorsed Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s fitness to operate nuclear reactors in its safety screening of the utility’s plans to restart the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture.

The nuclear watchdog’s endorsement, based on new legally binding safety rules the utility drafted and pledged to follow, has opened the door for the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to start running reactors again.

But TEPCO’s actions concerning safety, the decommissioning of the destroyed Fukushima reactors and compensation for victims of the catastrophic accident have created a deep sense of distrust that is hard to brush off. The NRA’s decision is open to question.

Three years ago, when it cleared the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors under the tougher new reactor safety standards established in response to the Fukushima disaster, the NRA placed great importance on TEPCO’s “fitness” to run reactors.

This has led the utility to incorporate seven new principles into its safety code. They include the company’s commitment to carry through the decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and hold its president responsible for reactor safety as well as its pledge not to put economic efficiency before safety.

The safety code is legally binding, with a violation potentially provoking an order to suspend operations.

This time, the NRA has examined TEPCO’s seven commitments and acknowledged that they are specific enough to allow the watchdog to identify and punish any violations.

But the seven principles still contain vague elements. It is difficult not to wonder whether they will effectively enable the NRA to monitor and check TEPCO’s operations for violations.

TEPCO, for example, has promised to follow through with the payment of compensation to victims of the Fukushima calamity. In fact, however, the company has rejected many proposed compensation agreements with local residents.

As for decommissioning the stricken plant, the company has left entirely to the government the vital challenge of disposing of radiation-contaminated water being generated by the plant.

These actions of the firm appear to be at odds with the safety code. What does the NRA think about them?

The real question is whether TEPCO’s basic attitude has really changed.

Asahi Shimbun editorials have questioned the company’s reliability to operate nuclear plants safely because it has failed to demonstrate the safety awareness and commitment required for the operator of a nuclear power plant.

TEPCO, for example, failed to report accurately the fact that an important facility at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant does not have sufficient earthquake resistance.

It also avoided publishing voluntarily the fact that contaminated water from the Fukushima plant contains various radioactive materials whose levels are well above the safety standards after treatment. All these facts raised doubts about the firm’s ethical integrity.

Unless the utility changes its culture and behavior, it will be unable to win local support for its plans to restart the reactors.

TEPCO, as the operator of the Fukushima plant, has the responsibility to put the priority on decommissioning the reactors and paying compensation to people who have suffered from the accident.

It is doubtful whether the company will be able to operate reactors safely while grappling with the colossal challenge of decommissioning the plant, a process that will continue for decades.

There are legitimate concerns that the company could be unable to secure sufficient human and other resources for its efforts to ensure the safety of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.

Instead of sticking to its business strategy, which is focused on restoring its financial health by restarting the reactors at the plant in Niigata Prefecture so that it can bear the huge cost of decommissioning and compensation payments, TEPCO should start exploring carving out a viable future without nuclear power generation for itself.

As the utility’s virtual leading shareholder, the government should urge the firm to reconsider its business strategy.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13755624

October 1, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Energy authority clears TEPCO to restart Niigata’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant

It is the largest nuclear generating station in the world by net electrical power rating. There are seven units, all lined up along the coast line. Numbering starts at Unit 1 with the south-most unit through Unit 4, then there is a large green space in between Unit 4 and 7, then it continues with Units 6 and 5, the newest of the reactors.

The plant is owned and operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), same company which owns the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant where the nuclear disaster is still ongoing since March 2011.

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant is a large, modern (housing the world’s first ABWR) nuclear power plant on a 4.2-square-kilometer (1,000-acre) site including land in the towns of Kashiwazaki and Kariwa in Niigata Prefecture, Japan on the coast of the Sea of Japan, from where it gets cooling water.

It was approximately 19 km (12 mi) from the epicenter of the second-strongest earthquake to occur at a nuclear plant, the Mw 6.6 July 2007 Chūetsu offshore earthquake.

Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear complex in Niigata Prefecture

September 23, 2020

Tokyo Electric Power Co. cleared a major regulatory hurdle toward restarting a nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture, but the utility’s bid to resume its operations still hangs in the balance of a series of political approvals.

The government’s nuclear watchdog concluded Sept. 23 that the utility is fit to operate the plant, based on new legally binding safety rules TEPCO drafted and pledged to follow. If TEPCO is found to be in breach of those regulations, it could be ordered to halt the plant’s operations.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority’s green light now shifts the focus over to whether local governments will agree in the coming months to restart the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.

TEPCO is keen to get the plant back up and running. It has been financially reeling from the closure of its nuclear plants in Fukushima Prefecture following the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in 2011 triggered by the earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The company plans to bring the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors back online at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear complex, which is among the world’s largest nuclear plants.

The two reactors each boast 1.35 gigawatts in output capacity. They are the newest of the seven reactors there, first put into service between 1996 and 1997.

TEPCO has not revealed specific plans yet on what to do with the older five reactors.

In 2017, the NRA cleared the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors under the tougher new reactor regulations established in 2013 in response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

It also closely scrutinized the operator’s ability to run the Niigata Prefecture plant safely, given its history as the entity responsible for the nation’s most serious nuclear accident.

After several rounds of meetings with top TEPCO managers, the NRA managed to hold the utility’s feet to the fire enough to make it pledge, in writing, to abide by a new seven-point safety code for the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.

The creation of the new code, which is legally binding, is meant to hold the company accountable for safety measures at the facility.

“As the top executive, the president of TEPCO will take responsibility for the safety of nuclear power,” one of the points reads. “TEPCO will not put the facility’s economic performance above its safety,” reads another.

The company promised to abide by the points set out in writing during the NRA’s examination of its safety regulations.

TEPCO also vowed to set up a system where the president is directly briefed on risks to the nuclear complex, including the likelihood of earthquakes more powerful than what the plant is designed to withstand. It must also draft safeguard measures to deal with those kinds of earthquakes and confirm whether precautionary steps are in place.

The utility additionally pledged to promptly release public records on the decision-making process concerning crucial matters related to nuclear safety, and to preserve the documents until the facility is decommissioned.

TEPCO plans to complete its work to reinforce the safety of the No. 7 reactor in December. It has not set a definite deadline for similar work for the No. 6 reactor.

To restart the Kashiwazki-Kariwa plant, TEPCO needs to obtain consent from local governments, including the Niigata prefectural government.

The prefectural government is studying the plant’s safety through a panel of experts, which is reviewing whether evacuation plans are adequate and the health impact on residents from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Niigata Governor Hideyo Hanazumi said he will not decide on the restart until the panel completes its review.

The nuclear complex suffered damage, including from fire at an electric transformer, when an earthquake it deemed able to withstand hit in 2007.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13753076

September 24, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Regulator demands TEPCO clarify responsibilities

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July 10, 2020

Japan’s nuclear regulator has demanded Tokyo Electric Power Company clarify the responsibilities of its president in the event of a nuclear accident.

Three years ago, the Nuclear Regulation Authority endorsed safety measures at TEPCO’s two nuclear reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture.

The regulator then requested that the company lay out its policies for preventing another nuclear accident in the plant security rulebook. The company had several years earlier been at the heart of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

On Thursday, TEPCO officials told the regulator that they would include a clause stipulating that the president be quickly informed of any risk with the potential to lead to an accident. The clause also stipulates that the president address the issue, regardless of whether the risk has been confirmed or not.

The officials also said records related to such issues would be kept for five years.

But the regulation authority says the storage period should be longer. It also says the responsibilities of the president should be laid out more specifically.

They are also demanding written opinions from law experts on the matter. Tokyo Electric says it will reconsider these measures.

Regulators want TEPCO to be as specific in its safety measures as possible, after the company rejected a report warning of the possible impact of a massive tsunami before the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200710_08/

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Tepco and Toshiba join forces to upgrade Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant

KKTepco Holdings Corporation and Toshiba Energy Systems Corporation have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a company to carry out safety upgrade measures at unit 6 of Tepco’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant.

 

In December 2017, Tepco received approval from the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to change the installation of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa units 6 and 7. It is currently working to obtain approval for the construction plan for unit 7. In parallel with the examination, it is working on preparations for the application for construction plan approval for unit 6.

“Tepco and Toshiba have brought together technologies and knowledge that cross-industry boundaries to jointly establish a company responsible for safety measures for Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station 6,” the companies said. “We aim to establish a new company in mid-June and aim to start a full-scale business in July 2020. Going forward, we will aim to improve safety and quality by maximising the synergistic and complementary effects of the two companies toward the completion of safety measures for the Kashiwazaki Kariwa 6.”

The 1356MWe Kashiwazaki Kariwa 6, a boiling water reactor (BWR), began commercial operation in 1996.

The new company, KK6 Safety Measures Joint Venture Co Ltd, has an investment of JPY 300 million ($2.8m) and capital of JPY150 million with Toshiba and Tepco each holding 50%.

Kashiwazaki-Kariwa was unaffected by the 2011 earthquake, although its reactors were all previously offline for up to three years following the 2007 Niigata-Chuetsu earthquake, which caused damage to the site but did not to the reactors. While the units were shut, work was carried out to improve the plant’s earthquake resistance. Currently, Tepco is focusing on units 6 and 7 while it deals with the Fukushima clean-up. The two units have been offline for periodic inspections since March 2012 and August 2011, and restarting them would increase Tepco’s earnings by an estimated JPY100 billion a year.

Units 6 and 7 at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa are the first BWRs to meet Japan’s revised regulatory standards. Tepco expects to complete safety upgrades at the units by December 2020.

In 2017, Tepco received initial approval from NRA to restart Kashiwazaki-Kariwa 6 and 7. The plant’s total capacity of 8,212MWe represents 20% of Japan’s nuclear capacity. Kashiwazaki-Kariwa is Tepco’s only remaining nuclear plant after it announced plans to shut its Fukushima Daini station, near the Fukushima Daichi plant destroyed in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

https://www.neimagazine.com/news/newstepco-and-toshiba-join-forces-to-upgrade-kashiwazaki-kariwa-nuclear-plant-7961478

June 11, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Chairman of Tepco, owner of Fukushima nuclear plant, to resign

gglkklmlFuture of utility uncertain as Takashi Kawamura, 80, steps aside

Takashi Kawamura, the chairman of Tepco has held the post since 2017. However, he has expressed his intention to step down, partly due to age.

 

April 28, 2020

TOKYO — The chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings will resign, Nikkei learned on Tuesday.

Takashi Kawamura, 80, has held the post since 2017. However, he has expressed his intention to step down partly due to age. Indications at this point are that a successor will not immediately be named.

The Japanese government has asked a number of industry leaders to assume the post, but no one has so far accepted. Without a chairman, the outlook for the company in the continuing aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident appears challenging.

Tepco will soon hold a board of directors’ meeting and officially approve Kawamura’s resignation. A new management arrangement will start in June.

Kawamura also held the position of chairman of the board. Shoei Utsuda, ex-chairman of Mitsui & Co., and unaffiliated director at Tepco, will take over that post.

Kawamura succeeded Fumio Sudo, former president of JFE Holdings. Before assuming Tepco’s chairmanship, Kawamura worked for Hitachi for most of his career, contributing to the industrial conglomerate’s recovery as president following the 2008 financial crisis. At Tepco, Kawamura worked to raise employees’ awareness of the company’s difficulties in the wake of the Fukushima meltdown.

The chairman plays an important role in overseeing Tepco, especially because the power company has effectively been under government supervision since the nuclear disaster. With the chairmanship vacant, it is uncertain how much control the company will be able to exercise over its own governance.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Chairman-of-Tepco-owner-of-Fukushima-nuclear-plant-to-resign

 

May 14, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO ordered to cough up after it refused deal on compensation

Earlier in February, a Japanese judge ordered TEPCO to pay over 50 plaintiffs: “Refusing the court’s settlement offer was outrageous. It amounted to ignoring the company’s responsibility for causing this unprecedented nuclear disaster.”

ggjlmùPlaintiffs and supporters at a news conference in Fukushima after the court ruling on Feb. 19

February 20, 2020

FUKUSHIMA–The district court here sided with local residents seeking compensation for psychological damage resulting from the 2011 nuclear disaster after the operator of the stricken facility snubbed mediation efforts for a settlement.

The court on Feb. 19 ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pay 12.03 million yen ($108,000) to 50 of the 52 plaintiffs. 

The plaintiffs had sought 99 million yen in damages for their psychological suffering due to their voluntary evacuation after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and fear of being exposed to high levels of radiation.

In his ruling, Presiding Judge Toru Endo noted that residents who evacuated voluntarily found themselves living an uncertain and insecure existence with no future prospects.

The court acknowledged that those who didn’t evacuate were also unable to move around freely, given that they lived in fear and anxiety over the prospect of being exposed to radiation.

The court ordered TEPCO to pay between 22,000 yen and 286,000 yen to each eligible plaintiff, in addition to a uniform compensation sum of 120,000 yen per person that the utility had already paid.

The court recommended a settlement last December, the first of its kind among 30 or so class action lawsuits filed around the country over the nuclear accident, but TEPCO refused to comply.

Residents living in designated voluntary evacuation zones in Fukushima city and other areas more than 30 kilometers from the nuclear power plant filed the lawsuit in April 2016, seeking higher compensation than the figure stipulated in the government’s guidelines.

The plaintiffs had sought to settle the lawsuit quickly in light of their mental exhaustion and advanced age rather than engage in a drawn-out process.

In a statement, TEPCO said it will consider how to respond to the ruling after thoroughly examining it.

‘REFUSING SETTLEMENT OUTRAGEOUS’

After the ruling, Yoshitaro Nomura, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, condemned the stance that TEPCO took on the matter.

Refusing the court’s settlement offer was outrageous. It amounted to ignoring the company’s responsibility for causing this unprecedented nuclear disaster,” Nomura said.

Groups of disaster victims resorted to a system called alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, in the hope of winning compensation for the nuclear accident. But many of them started facing an impasse in the process two years ago after TEPCO refused to accept deals proposed by the Nuclear Damage Compensation Dispute Resolution Center.

The issue was taken up in the Diet, and the industry minister warned the utility to be more cooperative. However, the number of ADR cases that went nowhere continues to rise.

TEPCO refused to change course even after the district court recommended a settlement in a trial where the plaintiffs and the defendant are required to provide more solid arguments and proof.

The court-ordered compensation of 12.03 million yen comes to almost the same amount as the court proposed in the settlement last December. The government guidelines set individual compensation at 120,000 yen.

TEPCO has made it clear it intends to make no compromise on settlement offers that may lead to a revision of the government’s guidelines,” said lawyer Izutaro Manaki, a member of the Daini Tokyo Bar Association who is well-versed in compensation issues.

As of Feb. 14, TEPCO had paid more than 9.32 trillion yen in compensation. The company has covered the costs through government loans and higher electricity rates.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13144481

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan Gov’t liability denied for nukes damages, Tepco to pay minimal damages to evacuees

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Satoshi Abe (standing), head of the plaintiffs’ legal team, speaks at a news conference following the Yamagata District Court ruling in the city of Yamagata, northern Japan, on Dec. 17. 2019.
TEPCO ordered to pay minimal damages to Fukushima evacuees; Japan gov’t liability denied
 
December 18, 2019
YAMAGATA — The Yamagata District Court on Dec. 17 ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to pay a total of 440,000 yen in damages to five plaintiffs who evacuated due to the March 2011 triple-meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, while also absolving the Japanese state of liability.
Not only did the ruling dismiss the plaintiffs’ damages claims against the central government, the compensation amount falls far short of the more than 8-billion-yen (about $73 million) total sought by the 734 people in 201 households who were party to the lawsuit. The plaintiffs, who evacuated from Fukushima to neighboring Yamagata Prefecture in northern Japan following the nuclear disaster, have stated they will appeal.
The ruling was the 13th by a district court in similar cases filed across the country. Among those, 10 lawsuits were filed against the government and TEPCO, and the state was found liable in six of them.
Regarding the plaintiffs beyond the five granted compensation, Presiding Judge Nobuyuki Kaihara stated that “the consolation money sought does not exceed what they have already been paid by Tokyo Electric,” among other reasons for denying them damages.
The decision went on to say that “there was a limit” to what degree the tsunami that disabled the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s cooling systems could have been predicted, and therefore the Japanese state was not liable to pay the nuclear disaster evacuees compensation. The court also found that though TEPCO was liable for some damages, “we cannot conclude that the company committed gross negligence. Practically speaking, it is difficult to say that the firm could have implemented rational controls (at the plant) to prevent an accident.”
The plaintiffs’ suit had demanded 11 million yen in compensation per person — the highest of any nuclear disaster evacuee civil suit in Japan save one filed with the Fukushima District Court. More than 90% of the households that were party to the Yamagata lawsuit had lived in the city of Fukushima and other parts of the northeastern prefecture not covered by mandatory evacuation orders.
“The ruling was a result that betrayed our expectations,” commented Satoshi Abe, who led the plaintiffs’ legal team. Meanwhile, the Nuclear Regulation Authority secretariat refrained from comment on the case, while TEPCO stated that it would “examine the content of the ruling and consider a response.”
Court denies state liability for nuke damages
December 18, 2019
YAMAGATA (Jiji Press) — The Yamagata District Court rejected Tuesday the claim that the government is liable for damages over the March 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Meanwhile, the court ordered TEPCO to pay a total of ¥440,000 in compensation to five plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by 734 people of 201 households who evacuated to Yamagata Prefecture after the nuclear accident.
About 90% of the plaintiffs, who sought some ¥8,074 million in total damages, are evacuees from outside areas for which a government evacuation order was issued following the triple meltdown accident at the plant, stricken by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The ruling marked the 10th of its kind for collective lawsuits against the government and TEPCO over the nuclear accident. This is the fourth time that state liability for damages has been denied.
The plaintiffs said the government and TEPCO could have predicted a tsunami that would lead to a nuclear accident on the basis of a long-term assessment to forecast the scale and probability of earthquakes. The assessment was disclosed by a government organization in 2002.
The accident could have been avoided if the government and TEPCO had set up coastal levees and made the emergency power system watertight, the plaintiffs also said.
But Presiding Judge Nobuyuki Kaihara rejected the claim of government liability for compensation. “Although there was a foreseeability [of the accident], we can’t help saying that there was a limit to it,” he said.
The court ordered TEPCO to pay some compensation under the law to compensate for nuclear-related damages.
“I wanted [the court] to understand our hardship,” said a female plaintiff who evacuated with her three children from Fukushima Prefecture, which hosts the crippled nuclear power plant
 

December 24, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO estimates tritium volume for disposal from Fukushima plant

Tritium, radioactive hydrogen, is clinically recognized as causing cancer, birth defects and genetic mutation. That should be plastered on the side of nuclear power plants.
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Storage tanks containing processed but still contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant
November 18, 2019
Tokyo Electric Power Holdings Co. on Nov. 18 released for the first time an estimate of the annual disposal amount of radioactive tritium from its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The volume will vary from 27 trillion to 106 trillion becquerel, depending on the commencement date and ending time of the disposal process, according to a report the utility presented to a subcommittee of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
In comparison, a domestic nuclear power plant in operation usually dumps liquid radioactive waste that contains tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, from several hundred billion up to 100 trillion becquerel annually into the ocean, according to the ministry.
In line with the comparison, there will be no health-related problem by being exposed to radiation of the tritium disposed of from the Fukushima plant, the ministry said.
TEPCO made its preliminary calculation in substantiating the impact of the long-term storage of contaminated water.
The estimate set the total amount of tritium contained in the radioactive water stored in the tanks to be 860 trillion becquerel as of January 2020. Four starting dates of the disposal process were set as the beginning of 2020, 2025, 2030 and 2035.
The estimate assumed two ending times for the disposal at the end of 2041 and 2051, based on the progress schedule set by the government and the utility, which predicted the reactor decommissioning to be completed in 30 to 40 years.
The amount of tritium is expected to decay naturally over time. Still, the estimate revealed that the later the starting date is, the more the annual disposal amount will be.
Since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant in Fukushima Prefecture, TEPCO has processed and stored a large amount of radiation-contaminated water in tanks on the grounds of the plant.
Even after being treated with a filtering system, the polluted water still contains tritium, which will be released when the water is dumped into the ocean or is disposed of in another manner.
The volume of contaminated water has continued to accumulate from the cooling of melted nuclear fuel debris and underground water pouring in.
TEPCO said that it cannot keep installing more storage tanks for the contaminated water due to space limitations of the site and that all the tanks will be full by around the summer of 2022.
If the disposal process hasn’t begun by then, TEPCO will have to build more storage tanks, exceeding the limit, which will lead to a delay in the construction of other facilities that are necessary for the decommissioning work of the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear regulator says cost-cutting culture creating mistakes, delays at Fukushima plant

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The No. 3 reactor, right, and No. 2 reactor, left, are seen in this photo of work at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in November 2018, provided by Tokyo Electric Power Co.
November 8, 2019
TOKYO — Decommissioning efforts following the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station have been hit by delays and a series of mistakes contravening safety rules relating to the operation of nuclear facilities.
In response to the issues, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) is carrying out a survey into whether operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has sufficient staffing numbers working on the project, and is seeking to have TEPCO’s board improve its preparations.
According to the secretariat of the NRA, this summer there were errors in the wiring of electrical cables to the No. 5 and 6 reactors, which caused problems when smoke started to emerge from equipment attached to the reactors.
Furthermore, drinking facilities are being continually installed in controlled zones with high levels of radioactivity where they are forbidden from being built, and it has emerged that workers have drunk water from those areas. In October, the NRA identified both incidents as contravening safety regulations.
Elsewhere, the continuation of work to remove spent nuclear fuel from storage pools at the No. 3 reactor has been delayed. NRA Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa said, “It appears the absolute number of such workers (who manage the work at the power station) is insufficient. If small mistakes continue, it creates the danger of leading to big mistakes.”
Ryusuke Kobayashi, head of the Fukushima Daiichi NRA Regional Office, attended a regular meeting of the NRA on Nov. 6. Regarding the situation at the power station, he said, “There’s a strong focus on cost-cutting at the site. It has an atmosphere which makes it difficult to speak out and say there are too few people working there.” At a press conference after the meeting, chairman Fuketa stressed that it was essential for more staff to be secured.
In response to the NRA, a representative at TEPCO said, “It’s believed an easing of vigilance at the site has been one reason (for the mistakes). The number of human errors has stayed at between 100 and 200 each year for the last five years. We want to proceed with a plan to resolve this considering the specific characteristics of the working environment at the site.”
(Japanese original by Yuka Saito and Suzuko Araki, Science & Environment News Department)

November 19, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO needs to make its case for bailing out aging nuclear plant

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Japan Atomic Power Co.’s Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in Ibaraki Prefecture
October 31, 2019
Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. (TEPCO) decided on Oct. 28 to provide financial support to Japan Atomic Power Co., the operator of the aging Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant.
TEPCO will provide support to help Japan Atomic Power finance the work to implement legally required safety measures at the plant in the form of advance payments for the electricity it plans to buy from the company in the future.
Japan Atomic Power is seeking to restart the currently offline plant in Ibaraki Prefecture.
TEPCO says it made the decision because the plant is expected to serve again as “a source of power that helps provide inexpensive and stable electricity that emits less carbon dioxide to customers.”
At a news conference to announce the decision, however, the utility did not disclose the amount it will provide, although it is estimated to exceed 220 billion yen ($2.02 billion).
The company also refused to reveal the price at which it will buy electricity generated at the plant, failing to back up its claim that the power will be “inexpensive.”
TEPCO even kept mum about an outline of its planned financial aid that can be easily guessed by other electric utilities or experts, saying providing such information would “put us at a disadvantage in competition with other companies.”
TEPCO, the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, has been put under effective state control so that it can pay huge amounts in compensation to victims of the 2011 nuclear disaster and also finance the colossal cost of decommissioning the reactors destroyed by the core meltdowns.
TEPCO is coming to the rescue of another financially struggling company while being kept alive with taxpayer money. But it does not offer detailed information about its rescue plan or convincing reasons for the action.
How can the utility expect to win public support for the plan?
TEPCO says the money it will provide to Japan Atomic Power will not be “support” but a form of “cooperation” and create a “win-win” situation for both sides.
But strong opposition to a restart of the Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant, which began operations in 1978, will make it a tough challenge, to say the least, to win the support of the local communities.
TEPCO’s decision is based on highly uncertain assumptions.
The plan to rebuild TEPCO, developed jointly with the central government, calls on the utility to fulfill its responsibility as the operator of the disaster-stricken nuclear plant by making a profit from nuclear power generation.
But there seems to be no prospect of an early resumption of the operation of its own Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture. The gloomy outlook of its nuclear power operations has probably prompted TEPCO to make the seemingly premature decision, which raises serious doubt.
If the reactor at the Tokai No. 2 plant cannot be restarted, TEPCO will only suffer massive additional losses instead of earning profits.
Japan Atomic Power’s two reactors–the other in Fukui Prefecture–have remained offline since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Even so, major electric utilities under contracts to buy electricity from Japan Atomic Power have paid some 1 trillion yen in total as basic fees for the contracts. It has been also revealed that these utilities all plan to provide financial support to help Japan Atomic Power restart the Tokai No. 2 plant.
Since these utilities also have stakes in Japan Atomic Power, the firm’s failure would cause hefty losses to them.
They seem determined to keep supporting the embattled nuclear power supplier to avoid such losses. But there are clearly limits to what such stopgap measures can do.
Commenting on TEPCO’s decision to provide financial support to Japan Atomic Power, Hiroshi Kajiyama, the industry minister, who is in charge of the power industry, said such “specific management decisions should be made at the discretion of the management team” unless they could disrupt efforts to pay compensation to victims of the nuclear disaster, decommission disabled reactors or ensure a stable power supply.
Kajiyama’s comment signals a noncommittal stance toward TEPCO’s decision although his ministry can effectively control the company’s management.
The government, which has been promoting nuclear power generation as a national policy, has a duty to tackle basic questions related to the matter, such as what to do with reactors that are difficult to resume operations and Japan Atomic Power, which only operates nuclear plants and is therefore facing bleak future prospects.
The government should play an active role in dealing with these and other questions instead of leaving the industry to do so and fulfill its responsibility to explain its related policies and agendas.

November 4, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

New tactics from TEPCO to get Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP reopening approval

Japan’s Tepco weighs retiring some reactors at massive plant
Dismantling one or more units geared to easing local opposition to resuming operations
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When fully operational, Tepco’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa facility is the largest nuclear power plant in the world.
August 24, 2019
TOKYO — Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings is considering decommissioning one or more of the seven reactors at a key nuclear power plant in northern Japan, Nikkei has learned, as it attempts to ease community pushback against restarting it.
Tepco will not aim to reactivate all of the No. 1 through No. 5 reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa in Niigata Prefecture — meltdown-hit Fukushima Prefecture’s western neighbor. It will instead pick at least one of them to dismantle after restarting the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors, as approved by the central government. Tepco President Tomoaki Kobayakawa is expected to convey that intent to Masahiro Sakurai, mayor of the city of Kashiwazaki, in meetings on Monday.
The plant — the world’s largest when fully operational — is undergoing separate checks led by the prefectural government, leaving the time frame for a restart unclear.
The utility hopes that offering a plan for decommissioning down the road, as Sakurai has demanded, will help win over locals for its efforts to restart the two greenlit reactors, an important step in improving its financial health.
Tepco decided in late July to retire all its remaining reactors in Fukushima Prefecture on top of the ongoing decommissioning of disaster-stricken Fukushima Daiichi, the site of the 2011 meltdown resulting from a massive earthquake and tsunami. Coming on the heels of July’s move, the utility judged that issues of manpower and finance would preclude immediately moving to dismantle parts of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa.
In June 2017, Sakurai asked that Tepco present a plan for dismantling at least one of reactors No. 1 through No. 5 within two years as a condition for restarting No. 6 and No. 7. Tepco has missed that deadline. Restarting the two reactors, which passed central-government safety inspections in December 2017, would likely create an easier environment for tackling the problem.
Tepco aims to shoulder the costs of decommissioning Fukushima Daiichi and paying out compensation. An outflow of customers on its capital-area home turf has left it in worsening financial straits. It hopes for relief from Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, where each reactor it restarts is expected to provide a roughly 100 billion yen ($939 million) shot in the arm per year.

September 1, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment