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Volcanoes of Japan (118 volcanoes)

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Source:

http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/japan.html

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August 18, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | 2 Comments

Japan nuclear utility says no special precautions over volcano

Japanese utility Kyushu Electric Power said on Monday that it was monitoring activity at a volcano near its Sendai nuclear plant, but did not need to take any special precautions after authorities warned of the risk of a larger-than-usual eruption.

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TOKYO: Japanese utility Kyushu Electric Power said on Monday that it was monitoring activity at a volcano near its Sendai nuclear plant, but did not need to take any special precautions after authorities warned of the risk of a larger-than-usual eruption.

The reactor is the first to be restarted under new safety standards put in place since the meltdowns at Fukushima in 2011.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and much of Japanese industry want reactors to be switched on again to cut fuel bills, but opinion polls show a majority of the public oppose the move after the nuclear crisis triggered by an earthquake and tsunami.

The possibility of a significant eruption of Sakurajima, located about 50 km (30 miles) from Sendai, is a reminder of the volatile geology of Japan, which has 110 active volcanoes.

“We are not currently taking any particular response,” Kyushu Electric spokesman Tomomitsu Sakata said by phone.

“There is no impact in particular to the operations” of the Sendai plant, Sakata said. “We will continue to pay close attention to information from the Japan Meteorological Agency.”

The 890-megawatt-reactor had reached 50 percent of its output by Sunday and the operator expects full power to be achieved around Aug. 24, Sakata said.

Critics of the nuclear industry say that new safety measures are insufficient, particularly for plants such as Sendai, which is located near five giant calderas, crater-like depressions formed by past eruptions, with the closest one about 40 km away.

The precautions by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority for volcanic eruptions were “wanting in a number of important respects” and did not meet international standards, said John Large, chief executive of Large & Associates, a nuclear engineering consultancy.

Large wrote a report this year on the Sendai plant’s ability to withstand being hit by volcanic ash and has testified in court about the issue.

Sakurajima is one of Japan’s most active volcanoes and erupts almost constantly. There was a risk of larger than usual eruption, an official at the Japan Meteorological Agency said on Saturday.

“With Kyushu’s volcanoes clearly more active, Sendai should be shut immediately,” said Aileen Mioko Smith, executive director at activist group, Green Action, claiming there was no viable evacuation plan for the plant.

The Meteorological agency raised the warning level on the peak, about 1,000 km southwest of Tokyo, to an unprecedented 4, for prepare to evacuate, from 3.

Seventy seven residents who live within a 3 km radius of the craters have been evacuated, an official said on Monday.

Source: Channel News Asia

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/japan-nuclear-utility-say/2055256.html#.VdHuMAEVI4M.facebook

August 18, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Japanese volcano alert issued just miles from newly reopened nuclear reactor

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Japan’s weather agency issued a warning to thousands of residents in Kagoshima that the likelihood of the eruption of a nearby volcano was extremely high.

Officials have raised their alert to its second highest level after it detected a spike in seismic activity in a volcano on Saturday near the offshore volcano Sakurajima, Agency France Presse reported.

They have warned an evacuation of the city of just over 600,000 people may be necessary.

The Japanese Meteorological Agency said: “The possibility for a large-scale eruption has become extremely high for Sakurajima.”

It warned residents to exercise “strict caution” and prepare for evacuation.

An official told Sky News: “There is the danger that stones could rain down on areas near the mountain’s base, so we are warning residents of those areas to be ready to evacuate if needed.”

It comes as a nuclear reactor 50 kilometres (31 miles) away was switched back on for the very first time on Tuesday after it was closed in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Critics had warned that the reopening of the Sendai plant, the first in Japan’s renewed nuclear programme, was premature and Japan’s nuclear reactors are still vulnerable to natural disaster.

In October last year, the meterological agency warned that another volcano, Ioyama, near to Sendai plant was at risk of an eruption.

Japan is on the so called “Ring of Fire” along the Earth’s tectonic plates where earthquakes and volcanos are thought to be more common.

According to the agency there are more than 100 active volcanoes in Japan making it one of the most seismological volatile places on earth.

The last major eruption of Sakurajima was in 2013 where an estimated 63 people were killed.

Source: The Independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/japanese-volcano-alert-issued-just-miles-from-newly-reopened-nuclear-reactor-10457830.html

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August 18, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | 2 Comments

Abe Govt. pushes for nuke restart in Sendai even as volcano pops 151km (94 miles) from there

More than 100 people have been ordered to evacuate after a volcano erupted on the tiny southern Japanese island of Kuchinoerabu on Friday morning.

Spectacular TV footage captured the moment Mount Shindake exploded, sending columns of thick, black smoke high into the air.

Japan’s meteorological agency raised the alert level to five – the highest on its scale – and ordered the island’s 140 residents to evacuate.

The agency said no injuries or damage had been reported following the eruption, which occurred eight months after 57 people died after Mount Ontake in central Japan erupted without warning.

The agency added that pyroclastic flows, dense currents of rock fragments and hot gases from the volcano had reached the island’s north-west shore.

In Tokyo, the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, set up an emergency response team and dispatched a self-defence force to the island. Abe said he had instructed local authorities to do “everything possible” to ensure the islanders’ safety.

Yoshihide Suga, the government’s chief spokesman, said a coastguard vessel had also been sent to help residents evacuate.

A local official said the eruption, which occurred without warning, had forced about 100 people to take shelter at an evacuation centre. “There was a really loud sound of an explosion, and then black smoke rose, darkening the sky,” Nobuaki Hayashi told the national broadcaster NHK. “It smells of sulphur.”

Source: The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/29/the-moment-japans-mount-shindake-volcano-erupts-in-spectacular-fashion

May 29, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Japan to reopen 1st nuclear plant after Fukushima disaster – despite volcano risks

AJ201410280088MSendai nuclear power plant

October 28, 2014

A town in southwest Japan became the first to approve the restart of a nuclear power station on Oct. 28, a step forward in Japan’s fraught process of reviving an industry left idled by the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011.

Kagoshima Prefecture’s Satsuma-sendai, a town of 100,000 that hosts the two-reactor Kyushu Electric Power Co. plant, is 1,000 km (600 miles) southwest of Tokyo and has long relied on the Sendai nuclear power plant for government subsidies and jobs.

Nineteen of the city’s 26 assembly members voted in favor of restarting the plant while four members voted against and three abstained, a city assembly member told Reuters.

The restart of Japan’s first reactors to receive clearance to restart under new rules imposed following the Fukushima disaster is unlikely until next year as Kyushu Electric still needs to pass operational safety checks.

All 48 of the country’s nuclear reactors were gradually taken offline after the nuclear disaster, the world’s worst since Chernobyl in 1986.

An earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima No. 1 plant, 220 km (130 miles) northeast of Tokyo, sparking triple nuclear meltdowns, forcing more than 160,000 residents to flee from nearby towns and contaminating water, food and air.

Japan has been forced to import expensive fossil fuels to replace atomic power, which previously supplied around 30 percent of the country’s electricity.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is pushing to restart nuclear reactors, but has said he will defer to local authorities to approve a policy that is still unpopular with large swaths of the public.

The restart divided communities nearest to the plant, pitting the host township that gets direct benefits from siting reactors against other communities that do not reap the benefits but say they will be equally exposed to radioactive releases in the event of a disaster.

In Ichikikushikino, a town less than five km (three miles) from the Sendai plant, more than half the 30,000 residents signed a petition opposing the restart earlier this year.

In the lead-up to the local vote, officials held town halls in neighboring towns to explain the restart, where some residents complained that the public meetings were restrictive and did not address concerns about evacuation plans.

A fire broke out at Kyushu Electric’s other nuclear plant on Oct. 28, according to Japanese media. The fire started in an auxiliary building of the idled nuclear station and was extinguished by plant workers, the agency said. There were no injuries and no release of radioactive materials, it said.

mountinMount Ioyama

A local council has voted to re-open the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant on the outermost western coast of Japan, despite local opposition and meteorologists’ warnings, following tremors in a nearby volcano.

Nineteen out of 26 members of the city council of Satsumasendai approved the reopening that is scheduled to take place from early 2015. Like all of Japan’s 48 functional reactors, Sendai’s 890 MW generators were mothballed in the months following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Satsumasendai, a town of 100,000 people, relies heavily on state subsidies and jobs, which are dependent on the continuing operation of the plant.

But other towns, located within sight of the plant, do not reap the same benefits, yet say they are being exposed to the same risks. A survey conducted by the local Minami-Nippon Shimbun newspaper earlier this year said that overall, 60 percent of those in the region were in favor of Sendai staying shut. In Ichikikushikino, a 30,000-strong community just 5 kilometers away, more than half of the population signed a petition opposing the restart. Fewer than half of the major businesses in the region reported that they backed a reopening, despite potential economic benefits.

Regional governor Yuichiro Ito has waved away the objections, insisting that only the city in which the plant is located is entitled to make the decision.

While most fears have centered around a lack of transparency and inadequate evacuation plans, Sendai is also located near the volcanically active Kirishima mountain range. Mount Ioyama, located just 65 kilometers away from the plant, has been experiencing tremors in recent weeks, prompting the Meteorological Agency to issue a warning. The government’s nuclear agency has dismissed volcanic risks over Sendai’s lifetime as “negligible,” however.

Satsumasendai’s Mayor Hideo Iwakiri welcomed the reopening, but said at the ensuing press conference that it would fall upon the government to ensure a repeat of the accident that damaged Fukushima, an outdated facility subject to loose oversight, is impossible.

September’s decision to initiate the return Japan’s nuclear capacity back online was taken by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who endorses nuclear production in the country, but has delegated the controversial call on reopening to local councils. Sendai was chosen after becoming the first plant to officially fulfill the government’s new stricter safety rules. It may also have been picked due to its geographical remoteness, and distance from the 2011 disaster area.

The primary reason for Abe’s nuclear drive been the expense in replacing the lost energy that constituted 30 percent of the country’s consumption, which the government says cost Japan an extra $35 billion last year. Japanese consumers have seen their energy bills climb by 20 percent since the disaster as a result.

But another concern remains the state of the country’s aging nuclear plants, which will cost $12 billion to upgrade. Meanwhile plans to build modern nuclear reactors – which were supposed to be responsible for half of the country’s nuclear power by 2030, according to previous government energy plans – have predictably been shelved in the wake of the disaster.

Sources:

Asahi Shimbun  http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201410280087

RT http://rt.com/news/200175-sendai-fukushima-nuclear-volcano/

October 29, 2014 Posted by | Japan | , , , | 1 Comment

Sendai reactors vulnerable to eruptions, state-picked volcanologist warns

xOctober 18th, 2014 | ◆
Toshitsugu Fujii, a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo
A prominent volcanologist disputed regulators’ conclusion that two nuclear reactors are safe from a volcanic eruption in the next few decades, saying Friday that such a prediction is impossible.

A cauldron eruption at one of several volcanoes surrounding the Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture could not only hit the reactors, but also cause a nationwide disaster, said Toshitsugu Fujii, a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo who heads a state-commissioned panel on eruption prediction.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority last month said two Sendai reactors fulfilled tougher safety requirements set after the 2011 Fukushima crisis began.

The NRA ruled out a major eruption over the next 30 years until the reactors reach the end of their usable life span.

The surprise eruption of Mount Ontake on the border of Gifu and Nagano prefectures on Sept. 27 has renewed concerns about the volcanoes in the region.

“It is simply impossible to predict an eruption over the next 30 to 40 years,” Fujii said. “The level of predictability is extremely limited.”

He said eruptions can only be predicted in hours or days, at best.

Studies have shown that pyroclastic flow from an eruption 90,000 years ago at one of the volcanoes near the Sendai plant reached as far as 145 km (90 miles) away, Fujii said.

He said that a pyroclastic flow from Mount Sakurajima, an active volcano that is part of the larger Aira cauldron, could easily hit the nuclear plant, which is only 40 km (25 miles) away.

Heavy ash falling from an eruption would make it impossible to reach the plant, and could also affect many parts of the country, including Tokyo, he said. Many nuclear power plants could also be affected in western Japan.

The Sendai reactors are the first to pass the safety checks, which added resistance to volcanic eruption as part of the new evaluation.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing to restart any viable reactors deemed safe, saying nuclear power is stable and relatively cheap compared to other energy sources and key to Japan’s recovery. Ironically, the utilities, many of which operate atomic plants, are revolting against the feed-in tariff system — for producing a solar energy glut.

Kyushu Electric Power Co., which runs the Sendai plant, promised steps to ensure worker access in up to 15 cm (6 inches) of ash and a monitoring system to detect changes in volcanic activity.

It also promised to transfer fuel rods to safer areas ahead of time if eruption signs are detected — a time-consuming process experts say is unrealistic.

Fujii said 10 cm (4 inches) of ash will render any vehicle except tanks virtually inoperable. Power lines would be cut by the weight of the ash, causing blackouts that could shut reactor cooling systems.

Only after approving the reactors’ safety did the NRA establish a volcano panel to discuss eruptions and countermeasures.

Fujii, a member of that panel, said experts are opposed to the NRA’s views.

Even though a catastrophic eruption might occur only once in 10,000 years, the likelihood of one cannot be ruled out either, he said.

“Scientifically, they’re not safe,” he said of the Sendai reactors. “If they still need to be restarted despite the uncertainties and risks that remain, it’s for political reasons, not because they’re safe, and you should be honest about that.”

Source: Japan Times

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/10/18/national/science-health/reactor-safety-near-japans-volcanoes-disputed-by-prominent-expert/#.VEJynq0cSM8

October 19, 2014 Posted by | Japan | , , | 2 Comments