Fukushima 129... 3/12/2021-3/26/2021

March 26, 2021

  • An earthquake of 6.9 Richter Scale struck off shore of Miyagi Prefecture, this past Sunday. It was caused by fault slippage 59 kilometers from the shoreline, about 20 km offshore. Evacuation orders were temporarily issued for 11,000 coastal residents. A tsunami advisory was declared for the prefecture, but lifted after 90 minutes. Nine people were injured, but no deaths occurred. Unlike the 7.3 Richter Scale temblor in mid-February, this was not a major aftershock related to the Great East Japan Earthquake of Mar4ch, 2011. A perfunctory report of no abnormalities for Fukushima Daiichi and Daini, Miyagi's Onagawa, and Ibaraki's Tokai Daini stations was issued. An Ishinomaki resident said, "I felt a violent rolling motion. I can never overcome the fear of tsunami" after the massive quake in 2011. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/03/dcf49a2b3192-breaking-news-strong-quake-shakes-eastern-northeastern-japan.html – https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210320_24/ –- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210320_21/ –- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210321_14/

  • Tokyo asks the IAEA to support the safety of releasing F. Daiichi wastewater to the sea. Industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama told IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi that Japan wants the U.N. nuclear watchdog to hold an objective review of the proposed release and share its view to the international community. Kajiyama said, "It has become increasingly important to dispel concerns and reputational worries over the safety of the water which have been raised domestically as well as from our neighboring countries." https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/03/1f2a2e6d0c79-japan-asks-iaea-to-verify-safety-over-fukushima-water-release.html

  • The UNSCEAR 2020 report on F. Daiichi accident radiation exposure is now available. The numerous findings include (1) less than 8% of the total Iodine-131 inventory, and less than 3% of the total Cesium inventory of the three damaged reactors was released to the environment; (2) less than 20 Petabecquerels of I-131 and less than 6 Pbq of Cs-137 were deposited in the ocean; (3) “The material released to the Pacific Ocean was rapidly dispersed and diluted in seawater: by 2012, the concentrations of Cs-137 were little above the levels prevailing before the accident.”; (4) average annual effective doses have been estimated to be less than 0.5 milliSieverts in all non-evacuated municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture and below 0.1 mSv elsewhere in Japan: and (5) Compared with the estimates in the UNSCEAR 2013 Report, the revised estimates of average doses in the first year (after the accident) are lower by more than an order of magnitude for municipalities or prefectures with lower doses and up to about 30% lower for those with higher doses. Perhaps the most significant conclusion is, “The consequential over-diagnosis of thyroid cancers, many of which may never result in clinical symptoms, has the potential to cause considerable anxiety among some of those screened and to lead to unnecessary treatment, the detrimental effects of which may outweigh those of the radiation exposure itself...” https://www.unscear.org/docs/publications/2020/UNSCEAR_2020_AnnexB_AdvanceCopy.pdf

  • A Japanese doctor says the F. Daiichi evacuations had a bigger health impact than the accident's releases. Dr. Masaharu Tsubokura has studied the exposures and social situation in Fukushima Prefecdture for ten years and says, “No one died of radiation,” whereas uprooting tens of thousands of people caused clear social and health problems. In more than 140 papers, he and colleagues have documented the relatively low radiation exposures of Fukushima residents and the health impacts of the evacuation. They documented a high death toll among the elderly, increases in chronic diseases, and a decline in general well-being due to social displacement. Tsubokura says, “My goal was to help the local people, not as a researcher but as a local physician, to share the knowledge with the scientific community, and to record how the disaster affected people [as a way to] give my condolences.” He has found that the total releases to the environment were about a tenth of those attributed to Chernobyl, but a massive, perhaps unnecessary evacuation followed, nonetheless. His subsequent public statements have convinced may that it is OK to return home. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/03/physician-has-studied-fukushima-disaster-decade-and-found-surprising-health-threat

  • Water has been added to the unit #1 containment building. After the major February earth quake, the water level inside the structure dropped about 90 centimeters (~3 feet). The amount of coolant flow to the building has been increased about 4 tons per hour to bring the level back up so that consistent, reliable monitoring can continue. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210323_08/

  • The Olympic torch relay kicks off in Fukushima Prefecture. It has been delayed by a year due to the COVID19 pandemic. The relay will travel through all 47 prefectures, ending in Tokyo. Tokyo 2020 President Hashimoto Seiko said, "I hope the Olympic flame of the Tokyo Games will light up hopes around Japan one by one with its sacred, powerful and warm shine." https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210325_40/ –- https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0007258404

  • Tepco says the removal of corium has been delayed a year. The biggest task in the F. Daiichi decommissioning is the removal of resolidified fuel (corium) from the March, 2011 meltdowns. It was hoped to begin the work this year with unit #2, but the company now says it will begin at some time in 2022. The start dates for such work with units #1 & #3 have yet to be decided. The reason for the delay is reduced staffing due to the COVID pandemic. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210326/p2a/00m/0na/030000c

  • The NRA will punish Tepco for K-K anti-terrorism errors. The Nuclear Regulation Authority will issue corrective actions for the anti-terrorism flaws discovered by Tepco at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuke station in Niigata Prefecture. The order is based on the Law on the Regulation of Nuclear Source Material, Nuclear Fuel Material and Reactors, and will prohibit Tepco from loading fuel into the reactors for restart. This is the NRA's first corrective action order to be issued since the agency's inception in 2012. The K-K plant's operation is needed by Tepco to stanch its financial bleeding. The NRA says the order will remain until the situation is “where self-sustained improvement is expected.” The security breach is defined as the worst in terms of safety and severity. If the agency finds Tepco has not taken appropriate measures, it will not be allowed to operate the plant. On Thursday, Tepco formally apologized to the Niigata governor. Tepco President Tomoaki Kobayakawa told Governor Hideyo Hanazumi, "I sincerely apologize for causing great concern." Hanazumi responded, "Having heard your words of apology, I now want you to demonstrate what you said by action and achievements." https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021032500665 –- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210324_23/ –- https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0007251746 – https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021032501056 

March 19, 2021

  • A Japanese video says news coverage has blown the radiation effects of F. Daiichi out of proportion. It is entitled “How Fukushima is Killing 1000s of People”. It stresses that F. Daiichi radiation might have caused one death. But fear of radiation and the evacuations from Fukushima Prefecture have killed thousands. These deaths are not only in Japan, but around the world in countries that have banned nuclear in favor of fossil fuels and its various deadly pollutants. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LC_LQbOjE8

  • Japan posts two relatively positive videos about recovery from the 2011 cataclysms. One video covers the progress made in Tohoku region reconstruction of the damage caused by the quake and tsunami. It also covers the joint Japanese-American relief effort; Operation Tomodachi. The other video focuses on New Zealander Sylvia Gallagher who moved into the prefecture and began producing Japanese washi paper, a traditional Japanese art form.https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210313_19/

  • A high court reverses its shutdown order for Ikata unit #3. The Hiroshima court ordered the plant's shut down in January, 2020, due to local resident's concerns about Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) risk assessments. Locals argued that there are active earthquake faults within 2 kilometers of the nuke. But, Shikoku Electric Co. provided evidence to the court that the alleged faults do not exist. The court also decided that any risk from a volcanic eruption from Mt. Aso, 130 kilometers distant, is “tiny”. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14282936

  • Tokyo says Tepco's K-K nuke station cannot be restarted. The NRA announced it has rated the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuke station “red”, which the most serious security rating the agency has. The rating system was started last April, and the K-K station is the first to receive a red rating. The reason is that some anti-terrorism equipment malfunctioned last March and Tepco staff neither reported it nor fixed it. As a result, the NRA found that “organizational management functions had deteriorated to the point where unauthorized intrusion was possible.” NRA Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa said, “We are not at the stage where we can restart the plant as it stands now. This case is serious in that there had been multiple areas where third parties could illegally enter for a long period of time.” TEPCO responded, “We take the severe evaluation seriously.” Prime Minister Suga has criticized Tepco for allowing this to happen. Suga wants Tepoco to take drastic measures to improve its management practices. Kashiwazaki Mayor Masahiro Sakurai says he is shocked, “I am afraid that the recent problem illustrates the company’s inability to alter its systemic awareness.” He has expressed support for K-K restarts, but now he isn't sure. https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0007231738 –- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210316_26/ – http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14276457 –- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210319_30/

  • Nuclear power companies are at the mercy of local courts over restarts. So says Japan's largest news outlet, the Yomiuri Shimbun. The reason is yesterday's Mito court ruling denying the restart of Tokai unit #2 – the only nuke in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The court says evacuation plans are either flawed or nonexistent for the nearly 1 million people within 30 kilometers of the station. The main problem is that there are 14 municipalities in the evauation zone, and nine have yet to formulate plans mandated by the NRA. Presiding Judge Eiko Maeda said the current situation "poses a concrete danger that could infringe on personal rights" of local residents. Restart of nuclear plant operations is at the mercy of disparate courts - The Japan News (the-japan-news.com) -– Tokai nuclear plant ordered to halt for lack of evacuation plans (kyodonews.net)

  • Another 10th anniversary “hopelessness” article is posted. The Asahi Shimbun says that there is no end in sight for those working hard to decommission F. Daiichi. The Press outlet calls the process “the most expensive and dangerous nuclear clean-up ever attempted.” While Tokyo estimate it could take 40 years, un-named “outside experts” say it will be twice that length of time. It also says, “There still is no plan for where to put the radioactive debris from the reactors.” Decommissioning Committee leader Hiroshi Miyano laments, Where will the waste go? Will it be pulverized? These are the questions that need to be asked.” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14270075

  • Anti-nuclear consultant Mycle Schneider says F. Daiichi makes nuclear energy irrelevant. He cites deceased Dave Freemen who said, "The debate is over. Nuclear power has been eclipsed by the sun and the wind." Schneider focuses on the lack of nuke construction in America, and its “aging” operational fleet. He asserts, “No wonder despair is reigning in nuclear companies' headquarters. Ten years after the disaster struck Japan, nuclear power has become irrelevant in the world.” https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/03/1a9b07886b98-opinion-nuclear-power-has-become-irrelevant----like-it-or-not.html

March 12, 2021 

Yesterday marked ten years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami that caused the Fukushima Daiichi accident. As we anticipated, the Japanese Press flooded the world with news reports; some with a semblance of objectivity, some emotional appeals, and others that rehashed old news in order to promote continued FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt).  

  • Two districts in Okuma ease entry restrictions. Citizens now have unrestricted access to  Shimonogami and Kuma Districts. The barrier gates preventing entry were removed this past Monday morning. Technically, the evacuation orders remain in place, awaiting necessary support infrastructure to be completed. The full lifting of the evacuation order should occur early next year. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210308_25/  

  • The United Nations says radiation-caused health problems from the F. Daiichi accident are unlikely. To be precise, the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation says health effects ae “unlikely to be discernible.”  The committee adds that the reported increases in Child Thyroid Cancer cannot be from the very low exposure levels caused by the nuke accident. To the contrary, it is the result of "ultrasensitive screening procedures that have revealed the prevalence of thyroid abnormalities in the population not previously detected." Though an increase in child thyroid cancer could be inferred, it will not be medically observed or identifiable. In addition, UNSCEAR says cancer increases among F. Daiichi workers is unlikely to be discernible. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021030901238  

  • Rear Admiral Robert Girrier commanded the USS Ronald Reagan during Operation Tomodachi in March, 2011. Despite the widely publicized lawsuits claiming severe effects of radiation exposure to his crew, he says, “To be clear, the radiation levels measured out at sea were extremely low level and did not pose a health risk. In fact, the levels were a fraction of the annual amount one might normally receive from naturally occurring sources such as soil, water, air and solar radiation.” When asked if the crew remained calm during the period of low-level Fukushima contamination exposure, he responded, “The answer is that we didn’t have a problem with this because the information flowed from the bottom-up. Meaning, the people that were reading the instruments, the radiation control techs and other personnel engaged in monitoring onboard, were all highly trained. They had the monitoring information before I did, and they knew the facts.”   http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14245903  

  • Former American Ambassador John Roos recalls the terror he felt on March 11, 2011. He was in his Tokyo office when the F. Daiichi accident happened. He recalls that the earthquake lasted for “what seemed like an eternity. We thought the embassy was going to collapse, and, quite frankly, we were not going to survive.” At first, he concerned himself with doing whatever he could to support the effort to mitigate the effects of the quake. About an hour later, he found out about the catastrophic tsunami by watching his cellphone because all formal lines of communication were not working. Then, “Several minutes later, one of our Japanese staff in the embassy came up to me and said she just talked to the Defense Ministry and a nuclear crisis, or nuclear situation, was developing. All of the pressure seemed to be converging on the U.S. Ambassador’s office.” He was also by cellphone that the NRC commissioner said “There was a 50 percent chance that within 24 hours, the Fukushima situation could turn into a Chernobyl, or even worse than a Chernobyl.” Soon after, a senior military official told him, “There is a possibility that Tokyo could become a contaminated wasteland.” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14262890  

  • The NRA has put together its latest official report on the F. Daiichi accident. The investigation had been suspended due to high radiation levels, but resumed it two years ago. The Nuclear regulation Authority inquiry indicates that 70 thousand trillion Becquerels of radioactive material might be adhered to the concrete shield plugs atop the containment vessels of units #2 and #3. This makes the removal of the containment “lids” difficult. The NRA says it will instruct Tepco on how to proceed. The report adds that during the accident the ventilation system caused some of contaminated, hydrogen-filled gasses to build up in the reactor buildings, which could have triggered the catastrophic explosions. This is the NRA’s first detailed confirmation on the hydrogen explosions. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210310_25/  

  • The reason water level fluctuated in unit #3 containment building after last week’s earthquake was the opening of a clogged drain. Following the quake, which was actually an aftereffect of the March 2011 quake, workers checked the unit for quake damage. They found no damage, but discovered a drain was clogged with paint debris. When they cleared the drain, the water level inside the building dropped. In fact, it went down to a level lower than what it was before the quake occurred. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210312_03/ 

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