Fukushima 131... 8/13/2021-10/8/2021


October 8, 2021

  • Japan has a new Prime Minister. Fumio Kishida was elected by Japan's Parliament to replace Yoshihide Saga on Monday. He said, “From here on out is the start in the true sense of the word. I want to go ahead with a strong mind and strong determination.” Kishida won 311 votes in the Lower House, over 80 more than a majority. He garnered 141 votes in the Upper House, 20 more than a majority. He immediately decided on who all 20 ministers will be. 13 of them will hold a Minister's position for the first time. https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0007841630 - https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20211004_27/

  • New Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda says there is currently no plan to build new nukes or rebuild old ones. Japan is in the process of updating its basic energy plan and released a draft of the new one. It says that nuclear will maintain its 20-22% share of the grid, but there is no mention of nuclear plant construction. However, Hagiuda said nuclear energy “is essential in terms of ensuring a stable supply of reasonable electricity and responding to climate change." He was previously the Education, Culture, Science, and Technology Minister. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021100600524

  • Japan's NRA inspects the Japan Atomic Power Company offices in Tokyo for the seventh time. In August, the Nuclear Regulation Authority decided to suspend screening on whether to allow the Tsuruga Unit No.2 to be restarted. This came after disclosure that the company had deleted part of its data report on a possible earthquake fault running under the unit. Japco says it will respond to the inspection in an earnest manner. The company and the NRA cannot agree on whether or not the fault might be active. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20211004_14/

  • A popular Japanese Press outlet tries to revive radiophobia in Fukushima. The Mainichi Shimbun, Japan's 3rd largest news outlet, continues to provoke fear of radiation in its readers. Now, it's alleging that the “effects” of the deposited Cesium is still being felt in the Abukuma region's logging industry. Logging has stagnated severely because of the residual radioactive Cesium found in the wood. The problem is the cesium absorbed though the bark and through their roots. If plants have scant supplies of essential Potassium, they will absorb Cesium, which has similar chemical properties. Radiation fears have essentially stopped the sale of the wood. Researcher Kazunori Aoki said, "The nuclear accident changed the mountains' value, and our connection to them has become quite tenuous." https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20211007/p2a/00m/0bu/023000c

October 8, 2021

  • Japan has a new Prime Minister. Fumio Kishida was elected by Japan's Parliament to replace Yoshihide Saga on Monday. He said, “From here on out is the start in the true sense of the word. I want to go ahead with a strong mind and strong determination.” Kishida won 311 votes in the Lower House, over 80 more than a majority. He garnered 141 votes in the Upper House, 20 more than a majority. He immediately decided on who all 20 ministers will be. 13 of them will hold a Minister's position for the first time. https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0007841630 - https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20211004_27/

  • New Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda says there is currently no plan to build new nukes or rebuild old ones. Japan is in the process of updating its basic energy plan and released a draft of the new one. It says that nuclear will maintain its 20-22% share of the grid, but there is no mention of nuclear plant construction. However, Hagiuda said nuclear energy “is essential in terms of ensuring a stable supply of reasonable electricity and responding to climate change." He was previously the Education, Culture, Science, and Technology Minister. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021100600524

  • Japan's NRA inspects the Japan Atomic Power Company offices in Tokyo for the seventh time. In August, the Nuclear Regulation Authority decided to suspend screening on whether to allow the Tsuruga Unit No.2 to be restarted. This came after disclosure that the company had deleted part of its data report on a possible earthquake fault running under the unit. Japco says it will respond to the inspection in an earnest manner. The company and the NRA cannot agree on whether or not the fault might be active. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20211004_14/

  • A popular Japanese Press outlet tries to revive radiophobia in Fukushima. The Mainichi Shimbun, Japan's 3rd largest news outlet, continues to provoke fear of radiation in its readers. Now, it's alleging that the “effects” of the deposited Cesium is still being felt in the Abukuma region's logging industry. Logging has stagnated severely because of the residual radioactive Cesium found in the wood. The problem is the cesium absorbed though the bark and through their roots. If plants have scant supplies of essential Potassium, they will absorb Cesium, which has similar chemical properties. Radiation fears have essentially stopped the sale of the wood. Researcher Kazunori Aoki said, "The nuclear accident changed the mountains' value, and our connection to them has become quite tenuous." https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20211007/p2a/00m/0bu/023000c

October 1, 2021

  • The removal of America's bans on Fukushima imports is explained. The move should assist in removing the negative reputation on food from the prefecture. Continuing restrictions flies in the face of scientific results and safety data. America is the world's largest importer of Fukushima products, mostly with respect to beef. U.S beef shipments were running at several hundred kilograms a year before the nuke accident, but rose to a record high of 4,577 kg in fiscal 2018. Japan expects the total lifting of restrictions will further increase beef exports. Of the 55 countries that effected restrictions on Fukushima products, only 14 remain. Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori said, "The elimination of all import restrictions on Japanese agricultural, forestry and fishery products by the United States, an important trading partner for these products, will affect other countries that are still restricting their imports, taking a major step toward dispelling bad rumors about our prefecture."http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1076

  • Japan's NRA will conduct an on-site inspection of Tepco's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa station. The Nuclear Regulation Authority is under pressure to investigate into the breaches of anti-terrorism measures at the station. Last week, Tepco submitted a report on its investigation as to whether or not the safety of the K-K units has been compromised. NRA Chairman Fuketa Toyoshi says the inspection is to confirm or deny the contents of the report. Tepco wants to load fuel into both units, but the NRA has banned fuel loading until the situation can be shown to have sufficiently improved. Tepco desperately needs the cash flow from restarting both units. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210929_28/  

September 24, 2021

  • America removes remaining Fukushima-based food restrictions on Japanese imports. Japan's agriculture ministry announced the lifting of the limitations on Wednesday. 100 products from 14 Japanese prefectures, such as rice and naturally grown shiitake mushrooms, now can be exported to the United States without restriction.https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021092200256

  • The European Union will reduce restrictions on Japanese food products. Fukushima-grown bamboo shoots and cultivated mushrooms will be removed from the restricted list on October 10th. This is the EU's first lifting of Fukushima accident-based import limitations in nearly a year. A Japanese official said the easing will"greatly reduce the burden of administrative work and possibly increase exports."https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021092100977

  • Japan continues to brief the IAEA on plans for releasing F. Daiichi wastewater to the sea. Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy, Inoue Shinji, explained the plan in a video message to the IAEA General Conference on Monday. He said (once again) that Japan will continue to explain the plan in a transparent manner to the international community based on scientific evidence. Regardless, South Korea continues to rap Tokyo's decision and demands they reconsider because of insufficient consultations with them. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210921_07/ – https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021092200286

  • Futaba Town harvests its first rice since 2011. The town had 470 hectares of rice prior to the nuke accident. On Wednesday, three farmers harvested from a 10 acre paddy. The plants will be tested for radioisotope content, then disposed of, regardless of the results of the examination. But, if the tests show less than Japan's limit, plans will be developed for full-scale rice farming in 2025. Farmer Kohata Osamu said he hopes that test farming will serve as reference for those who might grow rice again.https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210922_30/

  • Tepco mislocates about 100 fire detectors at their distressed Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant. Sources say they were not located according to safety regulations. Nuclear plant operators are required to place a fire detector at least 1.5 meters from an air conditioner vent or other opening. In February, inspectors from the Nuclear Regulation Authority noticed that a smoke detector was placed incorrectly. After Tepco had the unit placed properly, an additional NRA inspection found that two other fire detectors were misplaced. Then, the company looked for other such misplaced units and found that dozens were located in error. This is the latest in a series of safety violations at the K-K site, and it will probably further delay restarts of units #6 and #7. TEPCO is eager to get the K-K units back online because fossil fueled electricity is expensive.https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14444231

  • The NRA wants Tepco to improve radioactive waste management at F. Daiichi. Most solid waste has been stored at designated outdoor “interim” depots. But, some 60,000 cubic meters of the material has been stored for more than one year, which was the intended limit. The NRA says the volume has increased eight-fold since January 2020, and Tepco has not been inspecting their storage ares enough. The company says it will review the on-site temporary storage situation and do whatever is needed to satisfy NRA concerns.https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210919_01/

September 17, 2021

  • Another Boiling Water Reactor unit passes the safety check for restart. This time it is a boiling water reactor system (BWR). It is Shimane unit #2, located in the prefecture after which the unit is named. It has an output capacity of 820 MW electrical and is the 17th unit approved by the Nuclear Regulation Authority for restart under Japan's stricter regulations following the 2011, tsunami-caused Fukushima accident. It still needs consent of the Shimane prefectural government and the Matsue (capital) city government to restart. To date, the prefectural governor and the Matsue mayor have not indicated any opposition. Work on the yet-to-be-completed 1,370 MW unit #3 continues. Chugoku Electric President Mareshige Shimizu says the two units “will bring benefits that match our investment once they are put into operation.”The screening process for unit #2 took more than 7½ years due to official disagreement on the scale of a theoretical future earthquake. As a result, the original estimate of 600 gals acceleration was increased to 820 gals, and maximum tsunami height from 9.5 to 11.9 meters. The local evacuation plans were approved by Tokyo on September 7th. Chicogu Electric wants to restart at some point after March, 2022. Shimane #2 is the fifth Japanese BWR approved for restart. NRA approval verifies the unit's regulatory compliance with respect to natural disasters, including tsunami and volcanic events, with reference to meteorological phenomena and geological data based on the newest edition of the Chronological Scientific Tables.https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0007776371 –- https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14441672 – https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/nra-permits-shimane-2-under-new-regulatory-standards/

September 10, 2021

  • A team of IAEA experts will assist in preparing for the release of essentially harmless F. Daiichi wastewater. They arrived in Japan on Tuesday, September 7th, and plan to leave on Friday, September 10th. Headed by Lydie Evrard, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, is compiling information for a review of the discharge plans.Evrard stated, "The agency is firmly committed to ensuring that the review is comprehensive and objective and that the results are conveyed to the international community." The team met with Japanese officials in Tokyo to begin what will be a two decade oversight of the releases through an underground tunnel. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said,“The Agency is supporting Japan to ensure that the entire operation to discharge the water over the coming decades is conducted in a way that is consistent with international safety standards.” The team will also visit South Korea and China, as well as domestic fishing villages where objections to the release have been raised. https://japantoday.com/category/national/iaea-team-in-japan-to-help-prepare-fukushima-water-release -– https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210907_18/ -- https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/09/88db03b66061-iaea-to-review-water-release-plan-at-fukushima-nuke-plant-in-dec.html –- https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2021-e/202109-e/210909-01e.html

  • The IAEA says science is the key to F. Daiichi wastewater releases. The agency's Lydie Evrard said her team and the Japanese discussed data necessary for a safe and transparent plan, plus how to share information with concerned communities in Japan and abroad. She added that the project is unique because of “the technical specifics, the duration of the release, and the level of international and regional interest and scrutiny that the plan will receive.” Evrard said that team will have members from multiple countries, possibly including China and South Korea, for greater transparency and to address diverse views. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14437762

  • Japan's NRA will replace radiation monitors in Fukushima Prefecture. There are about 3,000 monitoring posts were set up at schools and other locations. The Nuclear Regulation Authority felt the monitors good until at least 2026, but local paranoiac opposition made the watchdog agency move the replacement dates up. The NRA considered removing 80% of the posts completely because nothing of significance had been detected for several years, but local concerns about radiation could not be quelled. So, 300 per year will be refurbishe3d or replaced per year, as needed. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210905_04/

September 3, 2021

  •  Tokyo confirms the lifting of evacuation mandates for those who want to go home by 2030. The government promises to do whatever is necessary for former residents who wish to return home. Prime Minister Suga says, "On the basis of this plan, we'll carry out decontamination work while holding adequate discussions with the local communities, so that we can lift evacuation orders to allow all residents to return if they wish to do so."He added that the entire Cabinet will make full efforts with the recognition that they are all ministers in charge of recovery. Roughly 20,000 people are registered as residents in the remaining difficult-to-return zones. Those who do not want to go home will not be compelled to do so. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210831_21/ - https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021083100657
  • An IAEA team cannot say F. Daiichi cleanup will be done by 2051. This is because too little is known about the corium still inside the containments of the three meltdowns. Leader Christophe Xerri says, “Honestly speaking, I don’t know, and I don’t know if anybody knows.” He wants Japan to speed up studies of the reactors to get a better long-term grasp of decommissioning. His main concern is, “We need to gather more information on the fuel debris and more experience on the retrieval of the fuel debris to know if the plan can be completed as expected in the next 30 years.” He added that research and development of new technologies needed for the cleanup could take as long as two decades The IAEA team review was conducted remotely, primarily on-line. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14428063

  • Fukushima fishermen pressure Tokyo to gain consumer trust at an on-line meeting. The government explained its measures to prevent damage, including a temporary program to use state funds to purchase Fukushima fishery products if the market dwindles. Trade and Economy Minister Kiyoshi Ejima said, "We'll take necessary measures flexibly." Regardless, The fisheries still stubbornly oppose the release of treated water containing harmless Tritium, only because it is mildly radioactive. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021082800491

August 27, 2021 

Opinion - “Tainted” and “contaminated” press terminology sends the wrong message about F. Daiichi wastewater releases. The terms make it seem as if the water to be released will be dangerous and potentially deadly, which is clearly not going to be the case. After sufficient passes through the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), and further dilution with seawater to bring essentially harmless Tritium to about 1/40th of Japan's overly-restrictive standards, the waters to be released will not merit the negative sobriquets. It seems the Press wants to keep its anti-nuclear agenda vibrant and doesn't care about the reputational damage it is inflicting on Fukushima's fishing industry! Thus, we have decided to eliminate such disparaging terms from our reporting of the Fukushima wastewater issue! 

Now, here's the Fukushima news from the past week... 

  • Tokyo will buy up all unsold seafood after wastewater releases begin. This is, perhaps, the most do-able part of a draft report on how to deal with reputational damage to the local seafood industry. It says the government will set up a fund to buy the seafood that can be frozen and stored if demand falls. The program will be developed by a panel of cabinet ministers. The plan will also include a provision to inform consumers through supermarket seminars, inside and outside Japan, saying that the water release poses no actual risk... it is all hypothetical. In addition, Tokyo will support trading agricultural products to ensure that pricing will not harm the local market. If the plan does not work, Tokyo will force Tepco to pay compensation to affected businesses. Further, Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu says that all efforts will be made to keep misinformation from emerging. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021082400518 -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210824_08/

  • Tepco says it will build an undersea tunnel to release treated wastewaters. The water, with all radioisotopes, except Tritium, lowered to about 1/40th of Japan's limits by passage ALPS and dilution with raw seawater, will be released 1 kilometer off the Tohoku coast. The reinforced concrete tunnel will be about 2.5 meters in diameter. The dilution and release will be performed through the F. Daiichi unit #5 seawater intake and discharge system. A Tokyo official said, “Releasing [the water] through the seabed would make a better impression although the construction costs would be high.” Hopefully, this will reduce concerns of reputational damage to local fishermen. The company says the tunnel will prevent released water from being part of the diluting liquid. The tunnel is supposed to be finished by early 2023. https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0007708998 - https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021082600005 - https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210825_27/

  • South Korea continues to exacerbate Japan's plans for the F. Daiichi wastewater release. On Wednesday, Government Policy Minister, Koo Yun-cheol, said Seoul regrets Tokyo's decision on the future release because no consultations seeking consent. Korea wants current Tokyo planning to stop so that consultation discourse can happen. Aside – S. Korea continues to ignore all Japanese efforts to communicate with its neighboring countries. A clear case of intentional international malfeasance by Korea. - End aside. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210825_30/

  • Tokyo says all remaining Fukushima evacuees will be allowed to return this decade. This will affect seven municipalities currently burdened with such severe restraints. The plan for this could be adopted by the government as soon as this month. The present no-go zones cover about 8% of the subject municipalities. Previously, the districts were going to be re-opened between 2022 and 2023. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021082300557 

August 13, 2021

  • Fukushima's foods are promoted at the Olympics by Japan's Reconstruction Agency. Food served to the athletes is not allowed to be accompanied by its geographic source, and some lawmakers feel this is wrong. This led the Agency to unilaterally produce posters to be hung around the Olympic village. One poster with Fukushima Agricultural High School students has them holding various fruits and vegetables grown in the prefecture. The poster says, “We want to surprise the world with the deliciousness of Fukushima.” To get detailed information on the checks the foods must go through, a QR code on the poster needs to be scanned. The Agriculture Ministry explained, “Very strict shipment standards are applied to foodstuffs produced in Fukushima Prefecture, thereby making sure they are safe.” https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0007657881

August 6, 2021

  • Tepco posts the results of a comprehensive study about F. Daiichi wastewater treatment. As of March 31, more than 1,250,000 tons of treated water were stored at the plant site. Of the 1061 massive tanks, 1020 are used for storage, 27 for Strontium-removed liquid, 12 for fresh water, and 2 for concentrated wastewater. Total capacity on the site is 1.37 million tons, which is the limit resulting from space limitation. The total radioactivity of the essentially harmless Tritium in the tanks is 860 trillion Becquerels. Due to its extremely weak Beta radiation, “no impact on human health has been confirmed (from Tritium ingestion) and it also does not accumulate in any specific organs in the human body.” Long-lived isotopes are listed beginning on page 17, and only some of the waters having gone once-through ALPS treatment have Strontium-90 and Iodine-129 concentrations exceeding national standards for drinking water. https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/decommission/progress/watertreatment/images/tankarea_en.pdf

  • Despite South Korea's absurd boycott of Fukushima foods for their Olympic athletes, other squads praise the prefecture's peaches. Australia’s softball coach Laing Harrow said the fruit was “by far the best”. The prefecture boasts the second-largest production of peaches in the country. The prefectural government first gave 30 kilograms of the luscious fruit to the hotels housing the teams. But the result was an overwhelming success, so the prefecture gave an additional 30 kilograms to each team competing in the prefecture! Reconstruction Minister Katsuei Hirasawa said he was glad the peaches were enjoyed by the foreign athletes “Since they are influential people, I want them to send the information all over the world.” https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0007633935

  • In a reversal of last week's posting on nuclear cost projections, the Industry Ministry says solar will cost more than nuclear-based electricity in 2030. The original projection alleged solar would become cheaper. But, after expenses caused by reduced use and lower efficiency of liquid natural gas-fired power were added in, nuke power won again. The fossil fuel must be used because climate conditions and local weather determine solar availability, and LNG is used to sustain production when solar output is necessarily reduced. As a result, solar power will cost 18.9 yen per kilowatt-hour, versus 14.4 yen for nuclear. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021080301160

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