Fukushima 59... 9/26/14-10/10/14

October 10, 2013

  • Tepco has detected elevated Cesium levels at the barricaded shoreline of F. Daiichi. The reason seems to be some contaminated dirt which was knocked into the water during construction work between the units #1 & 2 intake structures. Soil-solidifying chemicals were being injected into the ground which displaced some of the soil near the waterline. Inside the immediate silt-fence containment, Cesium levels (combined isotopes 134 and 137) were at 1200 Becquerels per liter, up from 90 Bq/liter on Tuesday. Outside the silt fence, combined Cesium levels were at 127 Bq/liter, up from 106 Bq/liter. All remains contained within the barricaded inner port (quay). It is unlikely that the cause is groundwater flow because of its quite low Cesium content – certainly not enough to cause increases of this type over such a short period of time. There has been relatively little coverage in the Japanese Press as of this morning’s posting. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2013/1231317_5130.html -- http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2013101000161
  • Tepco also reports that they have found barely-detectible Cs-137 in one open-sea sample. The activity was 1.4 Bq/liter in a sample taken on Tuesday at one kilometer’s distance. The minimum detection level is 0.72 Bq/liter. A sample taken today shows nothing detectible. No detectible activity was found at any other open-sea location. For some unknown reason, Tepco added that the level is far below the 10 Bq/liter limit for drinking water – but who drinks seawater? Regardless, a few Japanese Press outlets suggest that the recent wastewater leaks have not been contained, contrary to the statements from Tepco and the Prime Minister.  http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2013/1231338_5130.html - http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2013/10/250820.html
  • Contract workers at F. Daiichi caused a spill inside a temporary warehouse. During maintenance of a reverse osmosis desalination system, the contractor removed a piping section from the wrong process line and water gushed out. The spill was stopped inside of an hour by closing isolation valves and replacing the piping section. All eleven workers at the scene were wearing raingear over their full-body protective clothing, but six were later found to be contaminated on their bodies. None had evidence of facial contamination or ingestion of radionuclides. Five of the contaminated people showered, which removed the radioactivity. One other still had some contamination on one foot-sole and has been detained for further treatment. Tepco estimates that seven tons (~1,750 gallons) of pre-treated water escaped to the warehouse floor, but none has left the facility. Tepco says their latest reading of pre-treated wastewater was at 34,000,000 Becquerels per liter of “total radioactivity”. The water entering the desalination system has already undergone Cesium removal. All of Tepco’s updates on the incident can be found here… http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/index_ho-e.html  A relatively detailed breakdown of the water’s contained radionuclide levels is on the “follow-up information 3” page. The incident has been widely covered in the Japanese Press, with the to-be-expected exaggerations and worst-case assumptions. Here’s a prime example… http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20131009p2a00m0na012000c.html
  • Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka says the latest human error incidents are due to low worker morale. He suggested that another part of the problem is because most of the workers at F. Daiichi are contract employees who are not always monitored by plant staff. Shunichi said Tepco must fully commit their management to all aspects of ongoing work to keep morale as high as possible.  http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20131009_39.html
  • The latest research on Fukushima bulls shows no radiation-induced abnormalities. The research focused on the testes of three bulls that were left untended for many months within 20 kilometers of F. Daiichi after the Tokyo-mandated evacuation. Microscopic examination of the bull’s reproductive cells showed nothing unusual and meiosis (sex-cell formation) appeared normal. In the effort to leave no stone unturned, Tohoku University’s Manabu Fukumoto said, "In the future, we want to examine (radiation's) genetic impact by transplanting fertilized eggs to cows or conducting artificial insemination." http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20131009p2g00m0dm033000c.html
  • Japan and South Korea will co-study the effects of Fukushima leaks on the Pacific Ocean. NRA Chair S. Tanaka made the announcement on Tuesday. The joint investigation is intended to dispel the growing international concerns that F. Daiichi is contaminating the sea. Such rumors led to the current Korean ban on fish from Fukushima and seven other prefectures. Tanaka said the IAERA suggested a joint effort with Korea last month. Tanaka told an extraordinary Diet panel meeting, "We're preparing to launch a joint probe through the Foreign Ministry. We're considering ways to invite South Korea and Southeast Asian countries, which are concerned about the effect of the crisis, to participate in the monitoring, with the IAEA serving as a coordinator." Also at the panel meeting, Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi was grilled on his proposal to split Tepco into separate power-supply and nuclear crisis mitigation entities. Motegi made no new comments, saying the suggested change is not binding. When asked about former PM Koizumi’s recent antinuclear turn, Motegi said, "There are a variety of opinions on the issue among members of the public." http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20131008p2a00m0na013000c.html
  • Former PM Junichiro Koizumi’s recent antinuclear turn “shows clear lack of perspective”. So says the headline of the Yomiuri Shimbun’s scathing criticism of Koizumi’s call for a complete end to nuclear energy in Japan. At a recent lecture, the former PM said he believes Japan can establish “recycling society based on natural resources and that does not rely on nuclear power generation.” He feels his vision can be “certainly be worked out by wise people.” However, the Yomiuri calls Koizumi’s statement “overly optimistic and irresponsible”. Koizumi’s belief that no nukes should be operated because there are no approved spent fuel disposal plans in place is also criticized. The Yomiuri says Koizumi-himself is one reason why there is no established disposal site because his administration was in power when prior plans were rejected. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0000707543
  • A Tokyo citizens group says some of Japan’s 2020 Olympic venues have high radiation. The government dismisses the claims. The group’s data was sent to the IOC and its more than 200 member countries in June, but there has been no response. Japan’s national standard is 0.23 microsieverts per hour measured at one meter (~ 3 feet) above the ground. The citizen group says they have found above-standard levels when measured at 2 inches above the ground, with the highest at 0.484 microSv/hr. Group leader Takehiko Tsukushi says, “The central and Tokyo metropolitan governments have not informed athletes and audiences around the world about data concerning possible radiation exposure. I felt it was our moral responsibility as citizens to conduct the measurement and inform people, regardless of whether they support or oppose having the Olympics in Tokyo.” The group’s readings were taken by 92 volunteers using personal radiation monitoring devices. As a result of the independent survey, Tsukushi said, “We believe the data shows that radioactive materials have spread throughout the Kanto region, and that there are some hot spots within that wider area.” Kunikazu Noguchi of Nihon University supports the group’s effort, “There is no doubt that some Olympic venues with higher than normal airborne radiation levels have been contaminated.” The Tokyo metropolitan government insists there is no need for decontamination for isolated cases because none of the areas fall under the established guidelines. The official background radiation source is at the Tokyo Institute for Public Health. Their records show that Tokyo’s radiation levels are the same now as they were before 3/11/11. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201310080051

October 7, 2013

The Fukushima wastewater contamination issue is of concern to everyone. The following is the most recent data concerning groundwater, inner harbor, outer harbor, and open sea activity levels associated with Fukushima Daiichi. The links include the latest readings at all sampling points and graphics depicting sampling locations. We will post future updates on these readings as they become available.

Groundwater - http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/f1/smp/2013/images/tb-east_map-e.pdf

Inner Harbor (Quay) - http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/f1/smp/2013/images/2tb-east_map-e.pdf

Outer Harbor - http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/f1/smp/2013/images/intake_canal_map-e.pdf

Open Sea (near F. Daiichi break-walls) - http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/f1/smp/2013/images/seawater_map-e.pdf

Open Sea (out to 20 kilometers) - http://www.nsr.go.jp/english/data/131001.pdf 

Now, for other Fukushima Updates…

  • Power was briefly lost to the F. Daiichi unit #1 reactor cooling system this morning. Tepco says the cause was human error. An operator making routine system checks inadvertently hit the “stop” button for the cooling pump, but a backup pump automatically started within a few seconds of the error. Reactor vessel temperatures were unaffected. Tepco president Naomi Hirose says they will take more extreme actions to avoid human error in the future. Among the human-based upgrades will be measures to avoid worker exhaustion, a larger workforce, and the opening of more worker’s lounges. At a Press conference, Nuclear Regulation Authority Chair Shunichi Tanaka said that human-error mistakes will not reassure the public that reactors are safe to restart. In addition, Environment Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Tokyo cannot let Tepco go bankrupt because it will necessarily delay mitigation of the current wastewater crisis. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20131007_21.html -- http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20131007_31.html
  • Towns adjacent to F. Daiichi are “generally accepting” plans for underground waste storage facilities. In February, 50 residents of Futaba, the northern-most town, said in writing that they would cooperate with Tokyo.  District head Takashi Takehara commented, "Mountains of contaminated soil have built up in various areas of the prefecture, but there's nowhere to take it besides Futaba. The young people who would've taken over the town in the future are starting new lives in other areas where they have evacuated. If we can get compensation, it could help elderly people rebuild their lives." Last summer Okuma official Jin Kowata handed the Ministry of the Environment a petition signed by about 1,700 residents -- over 10 percent of the town's population -- calling for the government to purchase land and construct a waste storage facility. Kowata said, "I imagine they don't need to decontaminate areas where they're going to build a storage facility. Restoration funds should go to residents.” Okuma Mayor Watanabe is remaining cautious, "I'd like to hear residents' opinions in a briefing attended by a small number of people, and make a decision together with the town assembly." On the other hand, Nahara Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto and the former Futaba mayor continue to be staunch opponents of Tokyo’s plans for local underground storage. However, Futaba’s new mayor, Shiro Izawa is supportive of the planning. http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20131007p2a00m0na015000c.html
  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says Japan welcomes foreign assistance with Fukushima. Speaking at an international science conference in Kyoto, Abe said, “Our country needs your knowledge and expertise. We are wide open to receive the most advanced knowledge from overseas to contain the problem.” It appears this was in response to criticism of Abe’s statement last month that the crisis at Fukushima is “under control”, which led one Diet lawmaker to say that he lied. Abe has since acknowledged that there have been contaminated water spills at F. Daiichi, but that the contamination has been contained by the barricaded inner port at the station. Meanwhile, Abe’s political party, the LDP, is considering splitting Tokyo Electric Company into two operating entities. “We are discussing the idea of splitting Tepco into an entity in charge of all work related to the Fukushima No. 1 plant and another handling the rest of the firm’s operations,” said Yasuhisa Shiozaki, acting chairman of the party’s Policy Research Council.He added that international expertise would be utilized by the entity responsible for the nuke plant’s clean-up. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/10/06/national/abe-seeks-help-to-end-fukushima-water-crisis/#.UlFaGYHD8dU
  • Fukushima farmers are selling their produce in London. A festival called “Japan Matsuri” was held in the city’s Trafalgar Square. About 50 Japanese vendors sold their foods, including Fukushima Prefecture’s rice, peaches, ramen noodles, and apple juice. All Fukushima products had labels clearly showing they met Japan’s stringent contamination limits. Vendor’s head Yoshio Mitsuyama says he is happy with how well the Fukushima products sold. “Trafalgar Square attracts tourists from around the world. We want to emphasize to the world from this place that agricultural products from Fukushima are safe,” he said.  http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20131006_12.html -- http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0000702892
  • An education minister says Tepco facilities in Fukushima Prefecture should handle all contaminated waste. Minister Yoshitaka Sakurada said, "We should place it (waste) in TEPCO's facilities in Fukushima which has become uninhabitable for people due to the nuclear accident." He was speaking to a group of local politicians from Chiba Prefecture, some 250 kilometers south of F. Daiichi. One of the attending mayors wanted to know Sakurada’s plans for disposal of cesium-contaminated incinerator ash produced in Chiba. http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2013/10/250141.html

October 4, 2013

  • One of the Fukushima tanks receiving low-contamination rainwater has overflowed. Most of the water seems to have fallen inside the foot-high coffer dam surrounding the five tank group. But, because the tanks are located on a slight incline and the problem one is the last in line, some of the overflow fell outside the dam. Tepco tests on the water inside the dam revealed about 200,000 Becquerels per liter of Beta-emitting activity. Cesium-134 was at 18 Bq/liter and Cesium-137 was at 54 Bq/liter, both below the national limit for release. The tank is located about 200 meters from the sea.


  It is estimated that the released wastewater measured about 430 liters. Because a small drainage ditch is near the spill and connects to a main drainage culvert, Tepco could not say that some of the lost water did not make it to the sea. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2013/1231162_5130.html -- http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20131003_18.html

  • On Thursday, Tepco said some of the most-recent leak probably made it to the sea. Senior TEPCO official Masayuki Ono said, “We think contaminated water has entered the sea.” Samples taken from the ditch leading to the sea show diminishing contamination levels the further the trough gets from the tank that overflowed. Adjacent to the tank, the reading was 15,000 Becquerels per liter of “all Beta” activity. At a point near the ditch’s outlet, the reading was 840 Bq/liter. Tepco also said the tank that overflowed did not have a completely bolted-down cover on it. Many of the bolts were not tightened. Fukushima Prefecture drew their own ditch outlet samples on Thursday, expecting the results to be available later today. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0000697762
  • The F. Daiichi rainwater spill earlier this week had higher activity than previously reported. Tepco posted a handout on it. Tepco initially said that the concentration of “all-Beta” activity was 160 Becquerels per liter, based on what was found in the rainwater buildup in the main storage tank’s coffer dams during the recent typhoon. However, testing of the water inside the notch tank shows a concentration of 390 Bq/liter. Prior news reports mistakenly indicated that the transferred rainwater was intended for a storage tank, but was mistakenly sent to one already full. Actually, the water was erroneously pumped to a relatively small “notch tank” by mistake. From the Tepco handout, it appears the tank has a capacity of about 5 tons. It was surrounded by a small temporary retaining dam, standing perhaps 20 centimeters high. Once the notch tank was full of the very-low contaminated water, it overflowed and quickly filled the temporary dam to overflowing. The estimated four tons that spilled out of the dam quickly soaked into the surrounding soil. http://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2013/201310-e/131001-01e.html -- http://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2013/201310-e/131001-01e.html
  • Fukushima Prefecture will run their own testing on the sea around F. Daiichi. Speaking at an emergency meeting of officials, Governor Yuhei Sato said they have done this because of the contaminated tank spills reported this week. Sato now questions the honesty of Tepco’s president who promised wastewater containment would be given the highest priority. Thus, he feels Tepco can no longer be trusted and the Prefecture feels compelled to run their own seawater testing. Sato added that the heads of other nearby prefectures tell him they are concerned about what is happening and wanted Fukushima to do whatever is necessary to stop leakage of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. The first sampling occurred today at the outlet of the affected drainage ditch to the sea. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20131003_19.html
  • The Nuclear Regulation Authority admonished Tepco for the current wastewater problems at F. Daiichi. The NRA’s Chief Secretary Katsuhiko Ikeda summoned Tepco President Naomi Hirose, tore into him for “rudimentary mistakes” and said the company’s management of their problems was “significantly deteriorating”. Ikeda told Hirose, “I want you to implement on-site management appropriately even if it requires bringing workers from Tepco’s other nuclear power plants.” Hirose responded that he will “devote all the company’s resources” to manage the situation. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/10/04/national/nra-to-tepco-fix-water-mess-even-add-workers/#.Uk62ooHD8dU  Meanwhile, NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said he wants Tepco to emphasize the wastewater problems at F. Daiichi rather than pursue restarts at other nuke stations. He said, “I would like to remind Tepco that their priority is the contaminated water issue at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.” Tanaka’s position was supported by the other NRA commissioners. Commissioner Kayoko Nakamura said, “From what I have seen at panel meetings, they don’t have the relevant know-how or knowledge of radiation-related technology. I cannot help but be surprised by the fact these people have applied for a review.” Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa fears that trying to handle restarts and F. Daiichi simultaneously could lead to problems because Tepco will have two separate sets of managers who might not communicate with each other. http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2013/10/03/fukushima-watch-watchdog-says-tepcos-priority-shouldnt-be-on-reactor-restarts/
  • Local Tohoku region fisheries are upset with Tepco over the recent wastewater issues at F. Daiichi. They all fear that the reports of leaks, possibly to the sea, will cause rumors that will hurt business. Masakazu Yabuki, head of the Iwaki City Fisheries Cooperative Association, says "How long is Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) going to hold us fishermen back?" He also questioned PM Abe’s recent assertion that F. Daiichi is under control, "He was only referring to the data on radioactive materials after contaminated water was diluted by seawater. Fishery operators are enraged, saying the prime minister is making a fool of them." Hiroyuki Sato, 57, head of the Soma-Futaba fisheries, also criticized the Prime Minister, "We've been fishing after confirming the safety of areas through monitor surveys. It's not like we are conducting test fishing in the belief of the prime minister's irresponsible remarks that the situation is 'under control.'" Namie Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe also took the opportunity to blast Tepco and Tokyo, "This happened despite now being a crucial time for devising a recovery plan. It just makes us feel 'Not again' and discourages us from even making comments." http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20131004p2a00m0na010000c.html

October 1, 2013

  • The Tokyo Electric Company president says they will probably scrap F. Daiichi units 5 and 6. In an interview Saturday, Naomi Hirose said neither unit will ever be used for electrical generation. “In absolutely no way am I considering using [units 5 and 6] as power plants,” Hirose said. “It’s impossible to decommission them right now [because of the need to focus on the Nos. 1-4 reactors]. I’m thinking about how they [the sites of Nos. 5 and 6 reactors] can be used for the Nos. 1-4 reactors. A promising idea is to use them as training facilities.” It is believed that Hirose made this statement due to PM Shinzo Abe’s suggestion to scrap both units two weeks ago. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0000687045  On Monday, Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Tepco should also decommission all four units at Fukushima Daini. He told a parliamentary committee, "Thinking about the current feelings of the people in Fukushima Prefecture, I don't think we can treat Fukushima Daini in the same way as other nuclear power plants." F. Daini is located about 12 kilometers south of F. Daiichi and all four units are fully functional. http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2013/09/248877.html
  • Tepco has set a firm criteria for discharging rainwater buildup to the sea. The limit for unconditional release is now 10 Becquerels per liter of “all-Beta” activity, 20 Bq/liter of Cesium-134, and 30 Bq/liter of Cesium-137. All limits are three times less than the national standard for release. Those waters that have activity above the self-imposed limits will be pumped to specific tanks designated for very-low-level activity storage. A new limit for Tritium discharge is pending while Tepco awaits instruction from the Nuclear Regulation Authority. Because Tritium’s Beta emission is so low in energy, it takes considerable time to measure it with any certainty. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20131001_39.html  Four tons of mildly-contaminated rainwater escaped from a storage tank. When draining rainwater buildup from a coffer dam around a group of storage tanks, the water was pumped to an already-filled tank by mistake. Since the receiving tank was full, the pumped water leaked out of a connecting pipe and onto the ground. An estimated 4 tons of the water escaped and soaked into the ground before the mistake was noticed. The rainwater contained about 160 Bq/ liter of “all Beta” activity. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20131001_46.html
  • Tepco has posted a detailed listing of the Pacific Ocean contamination levels off F. Daiichi. It includes a graphic delineating the three areas of interest – Outside the station’s port, inside the port, and inside the unit #1-#4 intake channel (quay). Each location’s radionuclide levels are linked just beneath the graphic. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/f1/smp/index-e.html  At the same time, the Nuclear Regulation Authority has posted their sampling results out to 200 kilometers off-shore. http://radioactivity.nsr.go.jp/en/contents/8000/7255/24/424_0904.pdf
  • The test run of the high-tech water decontamination system at F. Daiichi was briefly suspended. A greatly reduced flow out of one of three process lines was discovered on Sunday, causing the shutdown. A rubber mat was found covering the outlet inside one of the process tanks. The mat was used to keep a ladder from slipping. The mat was removed and the test run for all three flow-paths was restarted at 2:28am on Monday. http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20130930p2a00m0na003000c.html
  • Tepco has raised the assumed volume of leakage into the station’s quay to 400 tons per day. The speculation is based on a new groundwater flow simulation. The previous assumption of 300 tons per day was reported by the Tokyo government in early August. Tepco says the simulation estimates total underground flow around the four damaged units at F. Daiichi is 800 tons per day, with 400 tons seeping into the turbine building basements. The remainder is assumed to be flowing into the station’s barricaded inner quay. Tepco president Hirose made the revelation to a special government committee meeting, but stressed that the company does not think all of the groundwater is contaminated. Regardless, he said that Tepco is making the worst-case-assumption that all water is contaminated. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/09/27/national/tepco-raises-toxic-water-estimate-to-400-tons-a-day/#.Ukl84oHD8dV
  • Water has been found “oozing” from another wastewater storage tank at F. Daiichi. This time, it is a tank at the undamaged unit #6. The water in the 500-ton tank is seawater removed from the basement of the unit’s turbine building after the tsunami receded in March, 2011. The seawater has very low levels of contamination, at “around several dozen Becquerels”. How much has seeped from the tank and or what may have happened to it is not yet available. http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2013092900049
  • Tepco has also announced their submittal for permission to restart units #6 and #7 at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuke station. They have received a written set of conditions for restart from Niigata Prefecture, home to the nuclear complex, all but one of which are already in-place. Tepco has already said they will install the required filtered containment depressurization venting system. Additional measures already taken include… upgrading mobile emergency power supplies (April, 2011), upgrading the anti-tsunami sea wall (July, 2013), deployment of air-cooled gas generators (March, 2012), and deployment of alternative heat exchanger vehicles (March, 2013). Unfortunately, the official request is currently available in Japanese-only form. However, the summary Press release is in English. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2013/1230976_5130.html
  • Industry Minister Motegi says Tepco’s finances are stabilizing. "Financial institutions will continue extending loans to the utility," Motegi said on an NHK program. "Improvement of its balance of payments is now in sight." Tepco is currently negotiating for refinancing. They feel their chances of success are good following their NRA request for restarting two units at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa station. http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2013/09/248650.html
  • Two revealing reports on the Fukushima accident and America’s flawed involvement have been published by author (and friend) Paul Blustein. The first, Fukushima’s Worst-Case Scenarios, shows that much about what the world heard concerning the accident was wrong. This strong claim is based on recently-released documents from prestigious Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, under the Freedom of Information Act. Though un-related to the current wastewater situation at F. Daiichi, Blustein says, “These revelations, together with additional new information, debunk some powerful myths about Fukushima and have weighty implications for the debate about nuclear power that has raged in the accident's aftermath.” http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/09/fukushima_disaster_new_information_about_worst_case_scenarios.html  Blustein’s second article, Shaken Faith, chronicles how America’s mistaken speculations on the accident plus the situation with the spent fuel pools undermined the Japanese government. As a result, millions of Japanese continue to question what their government tells them about the risks of radiation exposure. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/09/nrc_response_to_fukushima_a_mistake_turned_public_opinion_against_japan.html
  • The Environment Ministry says they will build 10 underground contaminated waste facilities near F. Daiichi. There will be 5 in each of two towns – Okuma and Naraha. Local opponents have opposed all planning, arguing that they have not been consulted and the land is sacred to them and their ancestors. There will be two kinds of facilities. One will incinerate burnable material and the other will store what cannot be burned. The ministry has not divulged exact locations, saying they will first inform the local communities. Another plan concerns building a facility in the Futaba area, adjacent to F. Daiichi, for temporary storage of contaminated waste containers. The storage time limit will be three years, with the expectation that Tokyo will have a 30-year facility by then. http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/govt-announces-plans-for-10-contaminated-waste-storage-facilities-in-fukushima?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2013-09-28_PM
  • Former PM Junichiro Koizumi has jumped onto the “no-nukes” bandwagon. He believes the current administration should ban all nukes before it is too late. “I will be dead decades from now and may not be able to see a Japan without nuclear power plants. But making it happen is what a true statesman should do,” he said. Koizumi calls current PM Abe’s support of nuke restarts “unfortunate”. His reason for wanting all nukes scrapped is the issue of spent fuel disposal, and his concern that Japan will never be able to deal with an ever-increasing volume of spent fuel. http://japandailypress.com/former-japan-pm-koizumi-urges-abe-to-push-for-zero-nuclear-power-immediately-3036818/
  • Attempts to confuse reactors with bombs have upset many people in Hiroshima. Many antinuclear protests use this confusion to support their aversion to atomic power. But, to those who have suffered the aftermath of a nuclear weapon, the differences between reactors and bombs dwarf the similarities. Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said, “Our position, and this is a position we can never compromise, is that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil. [But] I oppose connecting the two simply because they both involve radiation.” He stressed that the widespread sentiment is that Hiroshima has endured something more terrible than the aftermath of a nuclear accident, and people resent getting the two lumped together. Many of the city’s population point to 140,000 being killed by the Hiroshima bombing and the after-effects of its fallout, but, no-one has died from the radiation released out of Fukushima. This difference alone should avert the confusion, but some ruthlessly cling to keeping it alive. Professor Robert Jacobs at the Peace Institute says the similarities as being considerable, calling Fukushima a “slow-motion nuclear war”. Author Hiromichi Ugaya, who recently published “Road from Hiroshima to Fukushima”, considers reactors and bombs to share much, “The atomic bomb and nuclear power are like twin siblings if you trace their history.” But, most of the city’s denizens feel tying the two together is wrong. http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/attempts-to-link-fukushima-hiroshima-upset-some?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2013-09-30_AM

September 29, 2013

176th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the 176th edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers. For the full reports, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include – making science-based communications effective, how too-low exposure limits hurt Japan, JFK’s Best-of-the-Above speech revisited, Germany’s rising electricity expenditures, the costs of building new nukes, and much more.

From ANS Nuclear Cafe (2) -

Science-Based Science Communications: Surprising New Findings


Decommissioning of Private Assets is Public Matter in Japan; TEPCO Forges Ahead


From The Hiroshima Syndrome/Fukushima Commentary -

Low Exposure Standards Have Become a Problem for Japan


From Atomic Insights -

JFK's "Best of the Above" speech at Hanford, WA on September 26, 1963


From Next Big Future (4) -

Germany faces rising electricity costs and at least $270 billion for wind power with an exit from nuclear power


History of nuclear power costs


Weather analysis shows there was no plausible Fukushima scenario in which Tokyo, Yokosuka, or Yokota would have been subject to dangerous levels of airborne radiation


Debates should not treat money as scarce for energy research and infrastructure


From Yes Vermont Yankee (2) –

The Safety of Nuclear versus Gas: A guest post by N Nadir


After Vermont Yankee: A Poor Area Will Become Poorer


September 26, 2013

  • Fukushima fisheries say they have resumed off-shore fishing. The Soma-Futaba Fisheries Cooperative suspended operations in early September because of reports of leaks at Fukushima Daiichi. However, tests run on 100 fish and seafood products have shown nearly nothing. 95 of the products had no detectible Fukushima radioactivity, and the other five were at less than one-tenth of Japan’s 100 Becquerel per kilogram limit for consumption. The Cooperative explained their reasoning in a Press release, "Through tests we know the radioactive levels of the fish are not an issue and that they are safe." Federation chief Hiroyuki Sato told the 21 vessels that put to sea, "You probably harbor all sorts of feelings on the contaminated water problem, but put your motivation into action so we can make this lead to full-scale operations." About 1,500 kilograms of seafood are expected to be prepared for sale. This morning, the first of the catch hit the stores in Soma City, including crab and squid. Initial sales were encouraging. More seafood will be marketed in Sendai on Friday and Tokyo on Saturday. Another fisheries cooperative in Iwaki City says they will resume off-shore testing on October 3rd. Iwaki fishing has been suspended since March, 2011.  http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2013/09/247753.html -- http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20130926_23.html --  http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20130925p2a00m0na002000c.html
  • Hirono town will market their rice for the first time in three years. After last year’s small test crop tested to within national standards (100 Becquerels/kilogram), it was decided to expand to a 110 hectare planting this year. This is half of the paddies farmed before the Fukushima accident. Hirono actually has stricter limit on radioactivity than that set by the Tokyo government for shipment to national markets. The lower limit is hoped to quell consumer fears and allow the product to regain its former level of sales.  http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20130925_28.html
  • Tepco’s president met with Niigata’s dissident governor next week over nuke restarts. Governor Hirohiko Izumida and Tepco President Naomi Hirose met for the first time since the governor refused to support restarts of two units at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa station in early July. Izumida took umbrage with Tepco announcing plans to apply for restarts without informing him first. The governor has developed a deep distrust of the company over the summer. After the meeting, Izumida said that he has not made a decision, and “I will keep this issue on hold.” But, this morning the governor has given his consent for Tepco to apply for restart. A Tepco Press release also said that the mayors of Kashiwazaki City and Kariwa Village have also agreed with Tepco’s desire for a restart filing. Tepco added that the K-K station has improved their sea-walls, flood barriers, and installed water-tight doors to the reactor buildings. They have also deployed mobile emergency diesel generators and other power-supply cars.  http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2013/09/247986.html -- http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2013092500584 -- http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2013/1230926_5130.html
  • Tepco will soon resume its test run of the F. Daiichi wastewater purification system (ALPS). Plant staff hoped to have the tests completed and place the system in full operation last month. A leak in the system was discovered and the trial run was terminated due to a chemical-corrosion-based leak. The system has been re-designed to prevent a recurrence. Three of the five parallel ALPS systems will be tested beginning Friday and all five within the next month. After tests are complete, high-performance resins will be installed that will allow up to 1,500 tons of wastewater to be decontaminated daily. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20130926_01.html
  • A rip in the silt fence for F. Daiichi units 5&6’s shoreline seawater structure has a rip in it. The two units were not operating at the time of the accident and never lost all electrical power. There was no damage to the fuel or any emergency cooling systems for either unit. There has been no release of radioactive material from the two units, but Tepco decided to install the silt fence anyway. The silt-filtering “curtain” seems to have been torn by the typhoon that recently passed over the station. The curtain will be repaired after another, smaller typhoon passes the power complex. Press coverage in Japan is treating this as if it is yet another nuclear accident and give the strong impression that the contained water is contaminated to a lesser extent than the “more toxic water” inside the barricaded quay along the unit #1-#4 shoreline.  All testing of the units #5&#6 seawater since Dec. 2011 have shown nothing detectible.  http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20130926p2g00m0dm100000c.html
  • The Nuclear Regulation Authority says they will work closely with the IAEA on information flow. The IAEA suggested the move last month after the world’s Press blew the wastewater leak reports from F. Daiichi way out of proportion. The Kantei’s (Prime Minister’s office) new English-version website on the wastewater situation (http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/96_abe/decisions/2013/osensui_e.html) is but one step in the process. While the leaks at Fukushima have been a headache, experts say the Press has exaggerated the risks involved, and both the Kantei and IAEA feel this needs to be mitigated in order to keep rumors as reduced as possible. While the Cesium-removed waters stored at F. Daiichi are of a much weaker variety than the pre-cleaned waters coming into the Cesium absorption system, it has been routinely broadcast as highly radioactive and toxic by the Press. “The public has been traumatized by the accident itself and ongoing issues and there is a lot of concern out there,” said American expert Lake Barrett. “In my scientific view, much of that concern is overstated sometimes, but there are legitimate concerns. Not only does the water management plan need to be scientifically effective for the public, it needs to be perceived and understood by the public.” The Kantei and IAEA hope that a corroborative effort will turn the tide and lead to more realistic reporting. Some critics feel that more control over the Press’ reporting might be dangerous. http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2013/09/26/fukushima-watch-japan-to-cooperate-with-iaea-on-public-communication/
  • Ex-American chair of the NRC, Gregory Jaczko, says Fukushima leaks will not affect Tokyo. He told the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Japan, "There is no immediate impact from the contamination issues at the Fukushima Daiichi plant on Tokyo." However, he said that the flow of contaminated groundwater at F. Daiichi "cannot be controlled. You can try and do things to mitigate the impact of that groundwater on the site. But whether it's an ice wall...whatever system you build… groundwater will find a way around it and affect it.” He added that the problem with groundwater contamination had been expected “from the beginning”, and he has been surprised that the issue has not been addressed until recently. http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20130924p2g00m0dm074000c.html
  • Renowned radiation expert Dr. Jerry Cuttler says most negative health effects with Fukushima are from a misunderstanding of radiation exposure. He explains that most of the people evacuated from around F. Daiichi in 2011 were not actually at risk, and many evacuation-related deaths could have been avoided. Cuttler argues that considerable evidence shows the low levels of exposure relative to Fukushima evacuees are not at all harmful. The average person has more than 15,000 gamma rays pass through them every second from naturally-occurring radioactivity. These theoretically cause about one genetic “double-strand break” per 10,000 cells per day. However, spontaneous double-strand breaks occur at a rate of one per ten cells per day. Natural cell and genetic repair mechanisms have evolved to fix any damage produced, and as exposures increase so does the rate of repair. Radiation exposure is actually a very weak cellular and genetic threat at low exposures. The estimated doses to Fukushima evacuees are many times lower than any level that could possibly hurt anyone. Cuttler calls for a resolution of the “divergence between fear and facts regarding Fukushima”. http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/09/23/fukushima-and-misunderstood-effects-radiation#!
  • Tepco has received $741 million from the government to meet their evacuee compensation payouts through October. The money came from the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund under the revised Special Business Plan. The evacuee payouts conform to the "Act on Contract for Indemnification of Nuclear Damage Compensation". The monies previously received, nearly $3 billion, would have been exhausted in October if not for the new funding support from Tokyo. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2013/1230837_5130.html


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