Fukushima 127...

November 27, 2020

  • F. Daiichi unit #1 passes a milestone. Work has finished which should prevent large debris from falling into the fuel storage pool. Specifically, the 161 ton crane that has been hanging over the pool for nearly 10 years. Tepco has released a video showing a bag moved below the broken device, which will be filled with mortar to support it and keep it from moving. The next step is fabricating a cover over the entire fuel handling deck area, now exposed to the elements. Removal of the fuel bundles from the pool remains scheduled for 2027. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20201127_05/
  • Premium Fukushima rice is now available in Japan. The market debut was on November 10th in Tokyo and Fukushima City. Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori said, “We would like you to feel the tastiness of Fukushima-produced rice, packed with farmers’ passion, and break into a wide smile.” Takashi Kanno, head of the Japanese Agricultural Cooperatives (JA), spoke at the unveiling and said, “We would like to ask for your cooperation so that the new rice will be enjoyed nationwide.” The rice was harvested from a new premium breed planted in several Fukushima locations earlier this year. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1034
  • A British YouTuber makes another video about tsunami recovery. The video was made by Britisher Chris Broad and has already amassed over a million views. He says his trip to the tsunami ravaged city of Ishinomaki in 2013 inspired him to make post-calamity videos. During his recent interview with the Mainichi Shimbun, he said, "After the disaster you don't really hear about the tsunami today, and all you hear about is Fukushima, and the nuclear disaster that overshadowed everything," However, after seeing the disaster-hit areas with his own eyes, he was moved to share the reality that tens of thousands of people had passed away in the tsunami. With is first video in 2018, he realized the people’s resilience with the rebound made by the town of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, which was inundated by the massive tsunami. Returning to Onagawa this year, he was awed by the construction of a massive sea wall around the town. But also saddened that the process of recovery continued, even though the disaster happened nine years earlier. The links to the videos are https://youtu.be/ObSo4VxCFzs (“What Happened in Japan After the Tsunami?”) and https://youtu.be/gR5KVIP7PKk (“Japan’s $200 Billion Disaster: Stories from the Tsunami”) The videos reveal the horror of an actual natural disaster, largely avoiding reference to F. Daiichi! https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20201121/p2a/00m/0fe/022000c
  • A Tomioka resident is recognized in Guinness World Records. Badminton star Kento Momota is listed as the winner of "the most badminton men's singles titles in a season" because of 11 victories this year. Momota was named the Male Player of the Year for 2019 by the Badminton World Federation. He won the BWF World Championships for the second straight year, and five other international tournaments. The Japanese star said, "It's an honor and great privilege. I'm happy to have my name listed in a famous book everybody knows.” http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1035
  • Takahama Town Ok’s the restart of nuke units #1 and #2. Both have reached their 40 year licensing limit for operation, and have the official OK for 20-year extensions. #1 began to run in 2014 and #2 a year later. These will be the first Japanese nukes to operate beyond 40 years. Unit #1 is expected to restart in March, and unit #2 in May of 2018. Takahama’s mayor and the Miyagi governor have not yet approved the restarts.  http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13961345
  • Two-thirds of Fukushima’s remaining evacuees have no desire to return home. It is estimated that there are still nearly 37,000 evacuees who remain estranged from their former homes. A poll taken by Kwansei Gakuin University had a relatively poor response, but showed about 65% of the respondents will not go back. However, some 23% said they still want to return. Of those who replied in the negative, 46% said they are afraid of radiation and 45% said they have comfortably settled down in the places they now live. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/11/675982b84707-65-of-fukushima-evacuees-have-no-intention-of-returning-home-survey.html
  • Radiophobia prevents the revival of Fukushima forestry. More than 70% of the prefecture is tree-covered, but large tracts have been abandoned and/or neglected since the F. Daiichi nuke accident of March, 2011, even though most of the deposited contaminants have been washed away by wind and rain. A local forest cooperative has returned in the hope of restoring the industry, resulting in the return of residents. What stands in the way is phobic fear of residual low level radioactive contamination. Local forestry head Akimoto Kimio is cautiously optimistic, “Our mission is to take good care of our hometown forests and enhance the surrounding environment. We will help lay the groundwork to ensure residents can return worry-free. We hope many will come home.” https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/1383/

November 20, 2020

  • Seeds for Greek olive trees will be given to Naraha in Fukushima Prefecture. Naraha is a “host Town” for one of the of three Tohoku Region prefectures designated by Tokyo to boost reconstruction. The seeds will first be sent to the International Space Station for next planting season. They will be kept for about a month on the ISS in the Japanese Experimental Module "Kibo" (hope) before being returned and sent to Naraha. They will be planted in and around the town to show good will between Greece and Japan, concerning next summer’s Olympics. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1033
  • Sendai unit #1 resumes operation. It was shut down on May 20th for planned maintenance and routine refueling. However, the outage was prolonged because the plant’s mandated safety upgrades were behind schedule. The facilities included the installation of emergency remotes-control rooms, power sources, and additional water-injection pumps for damage prevention. They were required by Tokyo to deter a hypothetical terrorist takeover of the unit. Sendai #1 is the first nuke in Japan to have a remotely located “Specific Severe Accident” response facility become operational. It was approved by the Nuclear Regulation Authority on November 11th. The unit began restarting on November 17th and the reactor was taken critical the following day. Unit #2 is expected to have its own emergency operating facility ready to for a December 26th restart.  https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/kyushu-electric-starts-operating-facilities-at-sendai-1-npp-designed-for-specific-severe-accident-response-first-time-in-japan/ -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13944771
  • The government has begun the long, tedious process of locating Japan’s first high-level waste repository. On Nov. 17th, Economy Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama approved plans to launch the first selection stage for two small Hokkaido municipalities—Suttsu and Kamoenai--as possible sites for the reprocessed waste from nuclear power plants. In this first stage, Tokyo officials will examine documents and maps of seismic activity for about two years and meet with local officials to explain safety considerations. The next stage will include test borings into the geology for study. The final stage will be the building of the facility. Oversight will be handled by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan (NUMO). NUMO started canvassing municipalities to apply for siting consideration in 2002. Toyo Town in Kochi Prefecture was the first to apply in 2007, but fierce local opposition resulted in the application being withdrawn. Suttsu and Kamoenai have taken the plunge, largely due to a substantial financial enticement (~$19 million). On Nov. 17 Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki said he opposed the process, citing an ordinance stating that no nuclear waste should be brought onto Hokkaido for disposal. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13941302

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