Fukushima Accident Updates (Blog)


Your most reliable source of objective Fukushima News. No "spins"...just summaries of news reports in Japan's Press, which calls the Fukushima accident a nuclear disaster. Posts are made weekly on Thursdays.

There are three regularly-updated pages on this site concerning popular Fukushima issues; Fukushima Evacuee Compensation Payments (updated monthly), Fukushima Child Thyroid Cancer s and  Fukushima Radiation on North America’s West Coast? 

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November 15, 2018

  • The latest numbers for Fukushima accident personal and property indemnification can be found here… http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-evacuee-compensation-payments.html
  • Another Japanese high court rejects an antinuclear lawsuit to stop Ikata unit #3 operation. This time it is the Takamatsu High Court; the third rejection in series. Last July, the Matsuyama High Court shot down a similar request, and the Hiroshima High Court did the same in September. The unit restarted on October 27th and is in pre-commercial operation. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181115_22/
  • Tepco plans to test for the amount of corium remaining in the three damaged reactors next year. The first test will begin in January and end sometime in March. The plan is to drop cooling water flow to the core, one unit at a time. Once the cooling is a 50%, the company will study how fast the vessel temperature increases. The first test will be for unit #2. After the 50% test, full cooling will be restored. Then in March, a total cut-off of cooling will be effected for seven hours to see if temperature increases agree with computer models. https://japantoday.com/category/national/TEPCO-plans-tests-to-see-how-much-melted-uranium-fuel-has-cooled-in-damaged-reactors
  • The IAEA tells Japan to move quickly to stop the ever-growing buildup of waste water at F. Daiichi. A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency visited this month to examine the state of decommissioning. They cited progress, including the successful reduction of groundwater in-flow. However, team leader Christophe Xerri said "We advise the Japanese government that now a decision should be taken very rapidly. We take note that at the moment the Japanese government has 5 options. And it is up to the Japanese government to decide, in engaging with the stakeholders, of course, on the option Japan wants to implement.” https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181114_01/
  • Fukushima has held a two day event in Tokyo to tout its home-grown produce. The product included rice, vegetables, and apples. Other specialties were provided, such as grilled beef skewers, a fried noodle dish, and a traditional potato stew. The event was organized by more than 100 companies that support the prefecture’s recovery. Group official Hiroyoshi Koizumi said lingering safety concerns continue to have a negative impact, thus he hoped the event will diminish harmful misconceptions about Fukushima products. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181110_17/
  • Fukushima marathons promote prefectural reconstruction. For example in Tomioka, where the evacuation order was lifted in the spring of 2017, marathon participation doubled to nearly 1,300. This occurred despite an approaching typhoon. 10K runner Junji Fujikawa said, "The warm cheers of the spectators and the sense of excitement made it feel like the area hadn't been affected by a disaster." Most runners were current or former Tomioka residents, but about 200 were from outside the prefecture. "Runners also value their experience as tourists and there are people who want to go (to Fukushima) because it was hit by the disaster," Waseda University professor Munehiko Harada said, "Runners also value their experience as tourists and there are people who want to go (to Fukushima) because it was hit by the disaster." https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2018/11/c92fccddb210-fukushima-marathons-drawing-runners-supporting-areas-reconstruction.html
  • Minamisoma tree-planting will be expanded to all of Fukushima Prefecture. The inaugural festival was held on November 4th. 3,000 people participated from within and outside the prefecture planted about 27,000 trees and promised further restoration of greenery-covered prefectural land. Governor Masao Uchibori said he wants to develop forest building into a movement throughout the prefecture. He told participants to "put your energies into the planting of forests so that the growth of trees and children will overlap with post-disaster reconstruction." Minamisoma Mayor Kazuo Momma said that "the saplings into which the participants put their thoughts and prayers will grow into a forest of comfort for the spirits of victims (and lay) the groundwork for our future." http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=920

November 8, 2018

  • Tepco has posted a “virtual tour” of the Fukushima Daiichi decommissioning site. It takes you from the main gate and around the various parts of the station, including the damaged units. We can also tour the areas covered in wastewater tanks, and undamaged unit #5. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/insidefukushimadaiichi/index-e.html#/route1
  • The newly re-elected governor of Fukushima Prefecture visited F. Daiichi on November 6th. Photos of the visit have been posted by Tepco. https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2018-e/201811-e/181101-01e.html
  • The analytical results of radionuclide concentrations of fish and shellfish within the 20km radius of F. Daiichi show that only five of the 57 specimens have detectible internal Cesium-137, and no detectible Cesium-134. The Cs-137 levels are consistent with levels resulting from post-WWII atmospheric nuclear weapons testing. All Cs-134 from weapons testing has long-since decayed away. https://www7.tepco.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/handouts_181030_02-e.pdf
  • The Japan Hormesis Council’s lecture series will begin November 27th in Tokyo. The prospectus announcing the event is now available in Japanese. We have provided a link to the translation here. The goal of the Council is to spread correct knowledge about radiation. http://www.microsofttranslator.com/bv.aspx?from=&to=en&ref=IE8Activity&rr=HE&a=http%3a%2f%2fs-radiation.info%2f%3fp%3d536%26fbclid%3dIwAR3cyqOqZYKAWjotpLljWRSFiqz5HErRqz88UpgevuxliFkgdJdVWFul5cM
  • An automobile maintenance worker at F. Daiichi is recognized to have died due to over-work. The man died on October 27th after working more than 100 overtime hours over the month. He had worked at F. Daiichi since 2012. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2018110500586
  • A tsunami evacuation drill was held in the city of Sendai. The city’s Minamigamo District was completely submerged by the March, 2011 tsunami. 7,000 residents participated in the drill. The drill was productive. Several problems were discovered, including parked cars blocking key evacuation routes. Community leader Kazuo Matsuoka says they will continue holding drills to make sure everyone will be safe. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181105_24/
  • Tokai unit #2 is approved for operation beyond Japan’s essentially arbitrary 40 year nuke operating limit. Tokai #2 is an 1100 MWe Boiling Water Reactor system with the same design as F. Daiichi’s units #1 through #4. It is located more than 110 kilometers from central Tokyo and the nuke nearest the capital city. The main issue challenging restart is that nearly 1 million Japanese live within the 30km evacuation zone, and at least one local mayor says safe evacuation of that many people is not possible. Regardless, the Nuclear Regulation Authority says Tokai #2 meets all post-Fukushima safety requirements, and that the effects of aging pose no problems for the 20-year licensing extension. The required upgrades and tsunami protection are estimated to cost $1.54 billion. 2w0 activists protested the approval outside NRA headquarters in Tokyo. They presented a petition against restart to the NRA containing 15,000 signatures. Activist leader Makoto Yanagida said it's a very sad day because the unit is close to Tokyo, many people will not be able to live in the city in the event of a major accident.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181107_21/ -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201811070061.html -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181107_47/

November 1, 2018

  • Ikata unit #3 restarts. Last Friday, the reactor operators began the slow process of raising specific control rods from their fully-inserted positions, in a precise pre-determined pattern. It is assumed that the unit achieved full power and began electricity transmission on Tuesday. It is scheduled to begin commercial operation on Nov. 28th. Meanwhile, a suit filed by local residents to bar operation was rejected by the Hiroshima District Court. Judge Takahiko Fujisawa said, "There is no risk that needs to be removed immediately with the injunction." https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181027_10/ -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20181026/p2g/00m/0dm/072000c
  • Estranged Futaba refugees recall memories of F. Daiichi and voice hope for eventual return to their homes. Contrary to the Mainichi Shimbun headline, “Scenes of Heisei: Were residents scattered by nuclear crisis beneficiaries or victims?”, those interviewed made mostly positive statements. Buried near the end of the article, we find that 40% percent of Futaba’s pre-accident population may still wish to return home. Tokyo plans on lifting the evacuation order in the spring of 2022. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20181029/p2a/00m/0na/009000c
  • Masao Uchibori won a second four-year term as Fukushima’s Governor, in a landslide. He ran as an independent candidate. His campaign relied heavily on his track record for prefectural recovery during his first term. He won support from a wide spectrum of local organizations and national political parties. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=919
  • Tokyo rejects the United Nation’s most antinuclear body’s call to halt the return of women and children to communities where evacuation orders have been lifted. U.N. special rapporteur Baskut Tuncak said that people felt they were "being forced to return to areas that are unsafe, including those with radiation levels above what the government previously considered safe." He called Tokyo’s decision to repopulate affected communities “deeply troubling”, because "Japan has a duty to prevent and minimize childhood exposure to radiation." The government rejected this criticism stating that Tuncak's comments were based on “one-sided information and could fan unnecessary fears about Fukushima." https://japantoday.com/category/national/japan-rejects-un-call-to-stop-returns-to-fukushima
  • Tepco’s 2011 chairman says the massive tsunami could not have been predicted. Tsunehisa Katsumata is the latest of three former executives to testify, on trial for alleged professional negligence. After a perfunctory, socially-mandated apology to local Fukushima residents for the nuclear accident, Tsunehisa Katsumata said safety was his most important job, but when apprised of the 2009 report of a the minimal possibility of a massive tsunami hitting the plant, he had no authority to make a business decision for the company. He added, "My direct contact with employees decreased and my external activities increased" after he became Tepco’s president, and he became even further removed after his ascension to chairman. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181030_42/ -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201810300056.html
  • A cabling pit fire occurred at Tepco’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa station this morning. It was discovered at 6:28am. The latest report from firefighters said that the fire had died down. None of the external area radiation monitors showed a release of any radioactive materials. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181101_25/

October 25, 2018

  • The latest personal, business, and property compensation numbers have been posted.  http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-evacuee-compensation-payments.html
  • A former Tepco vice president testifies that preventing nuclear accidents is difficult. Tuesday and Wednesday, Ichiro Takekuro testified in the on-going trial of three company executives concerning whether or not they were guilty of professional negligence. He headed the section responsible for nuclear plants prior to the F. Daiichi accident. He admitted that he held-off on anti-tsunami countermeasures in 2008 because it was unclear as to whether or not evidence of such an occurrence was reliable. When asked what might have prevented the accident, Takekuro said it was a difficult question to answer because it dealt with uncertainty and ambiguity. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181020_02/
  • The Mayor of Naka City voices his opposition to restarting Tokai unit #2. The city is located north of Tokai station, but some of it lies within the 30 kilometer evacuation zone. Mayor Toru Umino met with city residents and decided it is impossible to draw up a viable plan to evacuate the 960,000 people who live inside the 30 kilometer radius of Tokai. Tokai #2 is expected to be approved for extended operation next month. Naka City is part of the greater Tokyo megalopolis. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181024_40/
  • Onagawa unit #1 will be decommissioned. Tohoku Electric Company has decided that the cost of bringing the 524 MWe unit up to Japan’s current safety standards could not be recovered by operating it. Onagawa #1 is 34 years old, causing most nuclear-critical news outlets to say the company’s decision was based on age. However, age has little to do with it. It is because the company has found that operating the plant for 26 years would not provide enough income to justify the required safety upgrades. The 825 MWe units #2 and #3 should not have to suffer such an early demise. To date, 10 units have been earmarked for decommissioning at seven nuke stations, all due to economic factors. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181025_33/

October 18, 2018

  • Japan’s NRA wants automatic power generators installed to keep radiation monitor locations operating during blackouts. The Nuclear Regulation Authority studied this possibility after the recent Hokkaido earthquake knocked out 11 such monitors within 30 kilometers of the Tomari nuke station, and decided to mandate installation of the generators. The NRA wants all local governments affected by the agency dictum to make such plans by the end of November. The generators are required to keep running for at least three days. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181017_32/
  • Tepco apologizes for radioactive waste water build-up at F. Daiichi. Tepco recently announced that most of the waters run through ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) contain some residual radioactive substances in excess of national limits. About 750,000 tons of processed waters at F. Daiichi have these elevated radio-isotope levels. 65,000 tons (8.67%) have levels more than 100 times above the legal limit. Of most concern is the concentration of Strontium-90. A few tanks hold St-90 concentration at 600,000 Becquerels per liter, which is 20,000 times the national standard. Tepco’s spokesperson offered, "We will filter the water in the tanks one more time to bring the levels to below regulatory limits before release into the ocean if a decision is made to do so." The ALPS decontamination factor has run between 1,000 and 10,000 since 2013. https://japantoday.com/category/national/TEPCO-apologizes-for-still-radioactive-water-at-Fukushima-plant
  • A Tepco executive being tried for corporate incompetence says he did not procrastinate on anti-tsunami measures for Fukushima Daiichi. Former company Vice President Sakae Muto is one of three Tepco officials on trial in Tokyo District Court regarding anti-accident precautions at the nuke station. He said, he felt it was “an appropriate measure” to reexamine a 2008 government estimate of a worst case tsunami measuring about 15.7 meters high, because the evidence had a low level of credibility due to a lack of agreement between experts. He also added, "I had no intention to buy time and I'm offended by the claim that I put off taking measures!" Muto described the allegations against him as totally unthinkable. He also said he and his colleagues felt the estimated worst case wave height was too high, and that it came “out of the blue”. Moreover, Muto stressed that he had no decision-making authority over F. Daiichi in 2008, "I thought the long-term evaluation was unreliable. I was not in a situation where I could decide on measures based on it." The prosecution alleges Muto and his two co-defendants continued to operate F. Daiichi without taking safety measures to accommodate the estimated tsunami height. The alleged “proof” was an affidavit read aloud to the court, saying, "Our business environment was deteriorating because of the Niigata Chuetsu offshore earthquake of 2007 that halted the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station, and we wanted to prevent the Fukushima No. 1 plant from stopping by all means." Prosecution argues that management decided to postpone taking tsunami counter measures because they were more costly than expected. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2018/10/2e5f6b4a7599-tepco-exec-denies-delaying-anti-tsunami-steps-before-nuclear-crisis.html -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20181016/p2g/00m/0bu/084000c -- https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2018101600834 -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20181015/p2a/00m/0na/028000c
  • Tepco says the delay in retrieval of unit #3 stored fuel bundles is due to miscommunication. On Monday, an official with Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions said the company ordered the equipment from an overseas firm, which outsourced to another company with "unstable skills." The NRA urged Tepco and Toshiba to investigate the situation so that the issue will not recur in the future. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181015_28/
  • Japan’s Reconstruction Agency says about 58,000 Tohoku refugees remain in an evacuation status. This is a decline of 15,000 over the past six months. Construction of public housing stands at 96.3% for Fukushima Prefecture, 98.4% for Miyagi, and 91.1% for Iwate. About 20% of the residents have returned home in the Fukushima communities where evacuation orders have been lifted. Tokyo plans on phasing out temporary housing in Iwate and Miyagi by 2020, and Fukushima by 2021. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180911/p2a/00m/0na/004000c

October 11, 2018

  • JAIF’s Chief predicts progress will be made in Japanese BWR safety screenings. President Akio Takahashi of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum said that since the Nuclear Regulation Authority passed two units on safety screenings at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, he expects subsequent Boiling Water Reactor screenings to proceed smoothly. He also mentioned the Hiroshima High Court lifting its temporary injunctions against Ikata unit #3 as further support for his opinion. He hoped that all nuclear plant owners would “present their arguments appropriately” with respect to all pending antinuclear filings in court. He also pointed to the instability of renewables as a reason why continued nuclear energy generation in Japan is likely. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/jaif-press-briefing-president-takahashi-foresees-progress-in-bwr-examinations-by-nra/
  • Dr. Sai Ochi says the removal of the “Sun Child” statue in Fukushima City has not been popular as the Press makes it seem. While she acknowledges the popular Press reports concerning the objections to the statue by some Fukushima residents, she points out that it is far from an across-the-board opinion. Ochi states, “It is not clear if any of those views represent a majority of public opinion. Indeed, many people in the prefecture, while voicing their understanding of the feelings of the statue’s critics, personally wanted the piece to remain.” She points out that works of art seldom please everyone, “But can there be any message that never upsets anybody and pleases everyone all the time? The removal of the Sun Child statue puts that question squarely before us.” She also addresses the possibility that Press coverage saying there are a lot of false Fukushima rumors have cause the issue to diminish. But, positive commentary in social media concerning Fukushima continues to be deluged with negative comments, keeping those posting positivity from continuing to do it. She says, “Such experiences keep the people who want to be involved, and who want to talk about Fukushima, at arm’s length from the issue” and, “Now, the people who made such comments are thinking twice about getting involved again. I’ve been increasingly concerned about that trend recently.” Her commentary covers many other important topics relative to countering false social media claims, so we heartily encourage everyone to read Ms. Ochi’s piece in its entirety. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/the-implications-of-removing-the-sun-child-statue-in-fukushima/
  • More than half of Fukushima’s residents have “no idea” about the facts concerning tritiated water stored at F. Daiichi. 51% of the respondents to a Fukushima Minpo survey say they “have no idea” about how the waters should be disposed. On the other hand, 49% say they do understand the proposed methods of disposal, however the majority says, "…opinions should be exchanged further with parties related to the agriculture, forestry and fisheries industry, and the tourism sector which are feared to be affected by reputation damage." Many also said that “measures” should be adopted to counter likely reputation damage before releasing any of the water into the Pacific Ocean. In addition, the Minpo article mentions that Tepco “is considering purifying tainted water again to reduce the density below the standards before releasing it into the natural environment.” http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=915
  • The IAEA is once again testing the seawater, marine sediment, and fish around F. Daiichi. The testing began October 9th and will continue through October 19th. This is the eighth time The International Atomic Energy Agency has held such an examination since 2014. https://japantoday.com/category/national/nuclear-experts-to-test-water-fish-around-japan-power-plant

October 4, 2018

  • Tepco says as much as 80% of the treated water stored at F. Daiichi exceeds Japan’s release limits, which are by-far the most restrictive in the world. The existence of biologically-harmless Tritium has long been known, but the co-existence of detectible, above-standards levels of other radioisotopes such as Strontium have not been reported until now. About 890,000 tons of the over-limit waters are now in storage. There is about 1,095,000 total tons stored at the nuke station. All of the waters have been run through ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) that can remove all isotopes but Tritium, but the 10,000+ removal rate has left greatly reduced low levels of some other-then-Tritium radioisotopes. 146,000 tons have been successfully run through and additional system that removes the Strontium residuals. Some of the tanks that have not been stripped of Strontium are up to 20,000 times above japans standard for release. Tepco says the residual contaminants may be due to degraded absorption materials, equipment “glitches”, or other causes. The main public complaint is that the voluminous amount of data Tepco has posted, to date, has overwhelmed the understanding of many residents.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181002_02/ -- https://www7.tepco.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/handouts_181001_02-e.pdf -- http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0004863468

September 27, 2018

  • Tokai unit #2 satisfies its nuclear safety requirements for restart. The Nuclear Regulation Authority laid down its decision on Wednesday. The approval was unanimous. Tokai #2 is now the 15th unit to clear the safety requirements for operation, and the third Boiling Water Reactor system. It is the first nuke that was operationally-affected by the March 1, 2011, earthquake. The region’s blackout caused the automatic start-up and operation of the unit’s emergency diesels. The next step is getting approval for operating past the largely arbitrary 40-year licensing limit. It is likely to clear this hurdle before the November 27th statute. Approval to operate from local communities could be a problem, but owner Japan Atomic Power Company is confident that said permission is coming soon. Critics say the unit should not operate because the new fire-resistant cabling in the control room is insufficient.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180926_24/ -- https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2018092600701 -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180926/p2a/00m/0na/012000c
  • The Hiroshima high court reverses its injunction preventing restart of Ikata unit #3. The decision was rendered on Tuesday. The initial estoppel order of September 25th, was based on a suit claiming that a volcanic eruption of Mount Aso, 130 kilometers distant. At the two formal appeals, owner Shikoku Electric demonstrated that there is no magma pool under Mt. Aso, and that no reliable long-term prediction method exists. Judge Masayuki Miki’s court had to concede acceptance of the company’s assertions, stating that the fears were “groundless”. He said, "The possibility of a destructive volcanic eruption during the plant's operating period is not backed by grounds and there is a small chance of volcanic ash and rocks reaching the plant.” He added that the public does not view the risks of a major eruption as a problem to the plant, “Unless the court is given reasonable grounds for the possibility of a major eruption, it is a socially-accepted idea that the safety of a facility will not be undermined even if measures are not in place to prepare for such a scenario.” Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said, “The decision is pandering to power and has contradictory points." Plaintiffs do not plan for an appeal. The Company plans to restart the unit on October 27th. The ruling may have far-reaching effects for antinuclear activists in Japan. The Hiroshima high court ruled that that the plaintiffs must have highly credible evidence of risk for a catastrophic volcanic eruption.   https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180925_23/ -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180925/p2a/00m/0na/013000c -- https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2018/09/b3697605f02c-update1-japan-high-court-allows-shikoku-electric-to-restart-ikata-reactor.html -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201809260057.html
  • The Environment Ministry says that the nuclear contribution to the grid will be less than 10% in 2050. The ministry originally estimated the nuke contribution would be 21% in 2030, but has extended this forecast to less than 12& in 2040, and 7-9% in 2050. The reason are the assumption that renewables will be introduced to the maximum degree, no new nuke stations will be built, and none will be added to the existing nuke stations. On the other hand, the Economy Ministry says the new projection has no real basis. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201809240032.html
  • The New York Times makes a flimsy attempt to connect Japan’s nuke recycling plans to building a nuclear arsenal. The News outlet’s rationale drips with antinuclear rhetoric and misleading terminology. For example, it says only nine of Japan’s 36 possibly restarted nukes are “operational”, when in fact they are all capable of operation. To date, nine have been allowed to restart by the NRA. Regardless, the Times fails to consider that plutonium produced by recycling used nuclear fuel is virtually worthless for use in weapons. This is because of the two neutron-scavenging isotopes Pu-240 and Pu-241 that do not fission. It is technologically very, very difficult to remove them from the matrix, plus the cost would so monumental that no country on Earth would consider it. The majority of the article is about the reprocessing facility in Rokkasho, under construction and scheduled for operation in 2021. It is fraught with speculation as to why it might not happen, and that the volume of Mixed Oxide fuel it will produce will not be enough to reduce Japan’s ever-growing stockpile of reactor plutonium. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/22/world/asia/japan-nuclear-weapon-recycle.html?smid=fb-nytscience&smtyp=cur

September 20, 2018

  • The latest state of evacuee compensation has been posted. http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-evacuee-compensation-payments.html
  • Dairy farming returns to Katsurao. Tetsuji Sakuma has re-started his dairy business with eight cows. Before the 2011 Tokyo mandate to evacuate the community, Tetsuji had a herd of 129. He made sure his wife and child were moved safely to Gunma Prefecture, then he moved in with his parents in Fukushima City. He returned to his farm two months later and found ten of the cattle dead. He sent 25 of his younger stock to a Hokkaido ranch, and the rest shipped off to be culled for their meat. Eventually, he moved his family to Minharu and worked as an assistant to a civil engineer. Restrictions on milk shipments were lifted in December of 2016, a year and a half after the Katsurao evacuation order was rescinded. It was not until It took time to repair has dairy equipment and return his property to its former condition. He bought the eight cows on September 11th to rejuvenate his business. He hopes to have a herd of 300, at some point. Tetsuji says, "I hope to restore my finances and to lead this area (to recovery). I don't want to be perceived as someone who quit in exchange for compensation. If I stop farming, I would feel like I have lost to these circumstances." https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180919/p2a/00m/0na/031000c
  • (Late entry) The number of Tohoku region evacuees due to the 2011 quake, tsunami, and nuke accident drops to 75,000. Some 20,000who reside with relatives and 20,000 in prefabricated buildings. More than 100,000 have moved into permanent accommodations over the past two years. The main reasons for the drop have been the lifting of evacuation orders in Fukushima Prefecture and removal of voluntary evacuees from the listing. While most of the businesses in the region have returned to successful operation, rumors and concerns remain a barrier to Fukushima recovery. Also on the downside, over half of the residents in Ōkuma, Futaba, Namie, and Tomioka still say they do not intend to return home. https://www.nippon.com/en/features/h00169/

September 13, 2018

  • The NRA Chairman rejects the idea that the recent Hokkaido blackout would have been averted with Tomari restarts. Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa of the Nuclear Regulation Authority said such comments about the unrestarted Tomari nuke units fail to consider “Confirming the safety of a nuclear plant and ensuring the power supply are two entirely separate issues. The NRA’s judgment will not be affected by other considerations.” The three units at Tomari are currently being examined by the NRA for compatibility with the new regulatory standards. Some experts feel, however, that restarting the reactors would be acceptable out of human necessity, with examinations continued “in parallel.” However, federal and local political bodies avoid the issue early restarts. The dilemma is a question of prudence. What is more acceptable? Continuing the current process for restarts, or implementing a more responsible energy policy? https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/nra-chairman-rebuts-idea-that-hokkaido-blackouts-could-have-been-averted-had-tomari-npps-been-restarted/
  • The NRA Chairman defends his wait-and-see position on F. Daiichi unit#3 wastewater.  After two days of public hearings on the issue, Fuketa said, “Given that a precise process (of hearings) is proceeding, we are waiting to make a judgment.” Some are concerned about the damage of unfounded fears and rumors by the offshore disposal of tritiated water. Many others believe the water should remain stored for the time being while new treatment technologies are being sought. Fuketa added that it is natural for people to feel psychological resistance to once-contaminated things, even after those things had been cleaned. In addition, he recognized that people were concerned about unfounded fears and rumors. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/nra-chairman-worried-that-tritium-water-storage-would-complicate-fukushima-daiichi-decommissioning/
  • The Tritiated water hearings took place in Tomioka Town, Koriyama City, and Tokyo. Experts from Japan’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) were heard. There was strong opposition by some of the participants against the offshore release of the tritium. Their reasons ranged from fear that it would only worsen the damage from unfounded fears and rumors, to adverse effects on health and to concern about who would be held responsible. On the other hand, some criticized the hearing venue itself. One complaint was that the hearings “should not be used as a pretext to proceed with pre-assumed offshore release,” and that “the issue should be considered nationally, and opinions from overseas should be heard.” There were also opinions on how to form a consensus, including holding a referendum in the surrounding municipalities before tritium water is discharged, corresponding to the distrust in the government. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/explanatory-meetings-and-public-hearings-held-on-handling-of-tritium-water-in-tomioka-koriyama-and-tokyo/
  • F. Daiichi will be reinforced against tsunami. Tepco wants to avoid another possible mega-tsunami from causing the leakage of highly radioactive water accumulated in the basements of units #1 through #4. The company announced its plan at a meeting of with the NRA on Friday. Research shows such a quake could send tsunami of more than 10 meters into the nuke station and cause highly radioactive water to gush out. Tepco will seal the building entrances and other openings to keep radioactive water from being released, plus extend existing sea walls. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180914_29/
  • The NRA criticizes Tepco’s delays in spent (used) fuel removal from F. Daiichi unit #3. Tepco says the cause of the delays is lax quality control of facilities and equipment. The removal of the used fuel bundles was supposed to begin in November, but the company now says it will be difficult to start the work as planned due to a series of problems with facilities and equipment. The NRA says Tepco’s over-all quality control system is “low”, beginning with top management. The company promised to find the cause of the problems and effect prompt resolution. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180914_31/

September 6, 2018

  • A powerful earthquake in Hokkaido causes Tomari station to lose all off-site power. At 3:07 am this morning, a quake measuring 7 on the Japanese intensity scale struck the northern island of Hokkaido, causing a major blackout. Nearly 3 million homes lost power. Tomari station was also struck by the island-wide blackout, so six emergency diesels automatically started to supply the station with all the power necessary for cooling all there reactors and spent fuel pools. The diesels kicked in so quickly that there was no measurable change in spent fuel pool water levels. No release of radioactivity has occurred. In addition to Tomari, all fossil-fueled power plants and hydro-electric units were knocked off the grid, resulting in the blackout. The only power to the island came from interconnections with Honshu’s electric grid. Power was restored to Tomari by 1pm through the Honshu connection and restarts of hydro plants. By 9pm, some of the fossil-fueled units were restarted, so some 412,000 homes had power. The industry ministry says that about 1.2 million home should get power back by Friday morning. 25 mobile generators have been deployed and it is expected that another 150 mobile units will be sent to Hokkaido from other parts of Japan. First priority to use the mobile generators to power hospitals across the island. The quake has killed at least 9 people, injured more than 300, and has caused another 36 people to be unaccounted for. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180906_16/ -- http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0004713745 -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180906_16/ -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180906_33/ -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180907_02/ -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180906/p2g/00m/0dm/082000c
  • The Nuclear Regulation Authority instructs nuke plant operators to install atmospheric monitoring systems for radioactive plumes. Government grants are available to pay for the monitors placed inside the 30 kilometer emergency planning zones around the nuke stations. The monitors will provide plume updates every 10 minutes. Each EPZ will have up to 48 monitors; 3 each at 16 locations. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201809040018.html  
  • Fukushima residents voice strong objections to Tokyo saying the Tritium-laced waste waters at F. Daiichi should be released to the sea. Fishermen and local residents vehemently oppose the government’s plan to discharge the mildly radioactive water, saying it will damage a number of industries. The residents also blasted the Industry Ministry and Tepco for allegedly “misleading” the public by failing to disclose that radioactive substances, such as strontium, remained in the water to be discharged. Aside – The announcement of these trace amounts has been public knowledge for several months. – End aside. Although Tokyo says they will have all the stored water re-run through the purification system to remove the trace levels isotopes other than Tritium, such as Strontium, the nay-sayers were still up in arms. One said, “The (negative) influences of the measure will reach a wide range of fields, including not only the fishery industry but also tourism and restaurant businesses.” Another said any release of the Tritiated waters would strike a “devastating blow” to the prefecture’s fishing industry, “If the water is discharged in large quantities, it will inevitably cause confusion in Japan and abroad and lead to damage from groundless rumors.” The NRA says the discharge of the waters, after dilution, is the only feasible way to stop the constant buildup. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201808310042.html
  • A former F. Daiichi worker dies of cancer, and his lifetime exposure is played by the Press as the reason for his demise. NHK World and Japan Today say the government “acknowledges” this, and the Mainichi Shimbun reports that the man’s cancer was indeed work-related. All news outlets are calling this the first death actually cause by Fukushima radiation exposure. The man’s lifetime exposure over a period of 28 years as a professional in radiation detection was 195 millisieverts. At F. Daiichi, he was exposed to nearly 110 millisieverts between March, 2011 and September, 2015. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare decided that the worker qualified for workman’s compensation under Japan’s ridiculous blue law on the subject, on September 4th. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180905_31/ -- https://japantoday.com/category/national/japan-acknowledges-first-radiation-death-among-fukushima-workers -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180905/p2a/00m/0na/004000c  (Comment – Residents of Ramsar, Iran, are routinely exposed to 250 millisieverts every year, and show no significant health differences from people who live in normal background areas. This important fact is always overlooked by Japan’s largely antinuclear Press! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11769138 ) Addendum - the following link is for Dr. Jim Conca's Op/ed piece in Forbes showing why the worker's cancer death could not possibly be due to his Fukushima exposure. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2018/09/06/no-the-cancer-death-was-probably-not-from-fukushima/#7385a69721b5
  • A Tokyo court accepts a written statement by a former Tepco executive relative to an on-going negligence trial. The official says his boss abruptly postponed tsunami prevention measures at F. Daiichi 1 in 2008. The statement was made by Kazuhiko Yamashita and read aloud in court on September 5th. To prove negligence, prosecutors are trying to show that the top executives could have predicted the height of the tsunami that swamped the plant, and upgraded tsunami protection accordingly before the march 11, 3011 natural disaster caused a full-station blackout. Yamashita says that the upgrades were at-first approved by the three former Tepco executives on trial, but later delayed the implementation of the measures. Instead of sworn testimony, the court allowed the written statement because “(Yamashita) is not in a condition able to testify at the court.” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201809060062.html

August 30, 2018

  • A public hearing was held concerning the Tritium-laced water stored at F. Daiichi. A panel of government experts discussed how to deal with the problem in Tomioka Town on Thursday. Roughly 100 residents and heads of stakeholder organizations attended. Among the possible options to dispose of the tritium-laced water, the government says diluting and releasing it into the sea is the quickest and most inexpensive way. But, local fishermen fear that the progress made since fishing resumed could be undone if the release happens. On the other hand, an Osaka participant supported the dilute and release option. More hearings will be held in Koriyama and Tokyo on Friday. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180830_17/
  • A double nuclear accident drill was held in Fukui Prefecture. The two day drill was simultaneously coordinated between the Ohi and Takahama stations, which are 13 kilometers from each other. Tokyo’s Cabinet Office planned the exercise to prepare for accidents striking multiple locations at the same time. The hypothetical scenario was a severe earthquake resulting in both nuke stations being blacked out, all cooling systems being lost, and the subsequent environmental release of radioactive substances. Roughly 21,000 people participated in the exercise. The 1,600 people who live within 30 kilometers of the stations were evacuated by bus or private vehicles to test the effectiveness of evacuation plans. Those moved to neighboring Kyoto Prefecture were scanned for radioactive contamination. Data from the drill will be used to upgrade the existing evacuation plans. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180825_15/ - https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180826_19/  - https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2018/08/e25eab5cdb7f-update1-govt-conducts-evacuation-drill-for-multiple-nuclear-accidents.html
  • Fukushima’s “radiation boy” statue is removed from public view. Fukushima City Mayor Hiroshi Kohata says it was done because the statue causes the misconception that the city is contaminated. He said, “I sincerely apologize to people who have been saddened or discomforted (by the statue). We set up the statue as a symbol of people striving for reconstruction but have come to judge that the statue is not accepted by many citizens. We’ve judged that it is too difficult to continue to display such a controversial work as a symbol of the desire for reconstruction.” The 6.2 meter statue named “Sun Child” was made by contemporary artist Kenji Yanobe to express his wish for a world free of nuclear disasters. He said, "(The removal) is truly regrettable, but I thought we shouldn't provoke a confrontation anymore among people inside and outside the city." Of the 110 public responses concerning the statue, 75 wanted it removed and 22 did not. The question of what to do with the statue will not be easily answered because the city has no municipal art museum. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0004693866 - https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2018/08/9b560c15c4ec-controversial-fukushima-statue-of-child-in-radiation-suit-to-be-removed.html
  • Tepco plans to begin training in trial operations for de-fueling the unit #3 Spent Fuel Pool. On August 10th, the company told the Nuclear Regulation Authority that actual fuel bundle removal could begin by the end of the year. On August 6th, President Akira Ono of the Fukushima Daiichi Decontamination & Decommissioning Engineering Company said that the workers can now wear ordinary clothing or use light protective equipment in most 96% of the area, thanks to efforts reducing radiation levels. Besides alleviating the physical burden on the workers and improving their efficiency, being able to wear less-cumbersome outfits facilitates ordinary communications between them. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/preparations-continue-to-remove-spent-nuclear-fuel-from-unit-3-at-fukushima-daiichi/
  • The removal of fuel bundles from the Monju Fast Breeder reactor begins. Japan Atomic Energy Agency has plans to relocate 530 used fuel bundles from sodium-based storage to a water pool by December 2022. The reactor is currently ear-marked for decommissioning. One bundle a day will be relocated to minimize the possibility of a violent sodium-water reaction. JAEA also plans to remove 760 tons of uncontaminated sodium from a secondary cooling system by year-end. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2018083000598
  • Dr. Jim Conca answers the question, “How far do we need to run if a small modular reactor melts down?” He says no one needs to run because SMRs cannot melt down, and further that any plausible emergency condition would not release environmental contamination beyond the property boundary. Jim brashly states, “You can just stand there at the fence and watch what’s going on.” America’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission essentially came to this conclusion while evaluating a Tennessee Valley Authority application for a site permit! https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2018/08/29/how-far-do-you-have-to-run-after-a-small-modular-nuclear-meltdown/#5c3857b77393
  • The Tokyo government holds public briefings on the disposal of highly radioactive nuclear waste. The Agency for Natural Resources and Energy has so far held 55 briefing sessions in the capitals of prefectures that may be geologically suitable for such a repository. Participants question whether or not high-level nuclear waste can safely be stored in earthquake-prone Japan. They are also concerned about how local people's opinions may be reflected. Although no municipality suitable for the repository has agreed to it, the briefings covering some 900 communities will continue. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180827_27/

 

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