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 every week or two on Fridays

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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October 11, 2019

  • Fukushima Prefecture continues to try and overcome false rumors. On one hand, prefectural tours including open-air meals using local fruits and vegetables are gaining in popularity. Magonote Travel has created the tour program where tables are set up in fields with meals put together by famous chefs. Company president Shonoshin Yamaguchi explains, “I wanted to make tours featuring (local) foods and food producers (because) I've seen farmers struggling after the nuclear accident.” The program began in 2015 and has scheduled 13 tours for this year. Meanwhile, the Fukushima Joban Products Fair in Tokyo has presented products from Fukushima. Two dozen participating restaurants in Tokyo and Yokohama are making original dishes using fish and shellfish from the prefecture to enhance consumer recognition of regional brands and hopefully dispel unfounded fears and rumors. An opening ceremony was held October 1st. Director Takuji Mizuno of the Fukushima Fisheries Office said, “Good, tasty fish are caught in the waters off Fukushima Prefecture, where the Oyashio Current, rich in nutrients, meets the warm Kuroshio Current.” This fair ends October 15th, but a second is planned for November. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2019100800442 -- https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/fukushima-joban-products-fair-begins-featuring-seafood-sent-directly-to-restaurants-in-tokyo-yokohama-area/
  • Fukushima’s effort to dispel rumors seems to be working, at least in Europe. The European Union says it will ease restrictions on Japanese foods before year’s end. EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the good news last month. Japan’s foreign  ministry sees this as a good sign, and hopes other countries will follow suit. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191005_23/
  • Tomioka evacuees share their memories of the 2011 Tsunami and its aftermath. Teacher Yoshiko Aoki tells of the horror caused by the tsunami and the confusion resulting from Tokyo’s order for everyone to evacuate the town. Though not sure why they had to flee, most people felt they would be allowed to return home soon. However, this was not the case. It was some six years before evacuation restrictions were relaxed, but there are locations that are still off-limits. Now, about 1,000 of the evacuees have returned, all committed to rebuilding the town that turned into a disaster area due to neglect. Yoshiko says, “It’s people that built the town. It’s also people who destroyed the town. And, it’s people who can build it back up again. It’s not easy to get back the lost years of trauma. People coming together can begin to heal.” Moe Harada was eight years old when the tsunami changed everything for her. Her family’s houses had been swept away. Now, she wants to tell her story and her personal opinion on the evacuation. Both Yoshiko and Moe believe the mandated evacuation may have been more dangerous than staying home, “It can be safer to stay home after a nuclear accident. But here in Fukushima, people were forced to evacuate instantly.” Both want the world to know the “real Fukushima”. https://thoughtscapism.com/2019/10/10/stories-from-tomioka-town-fukushima/?fbclid=IwAR3sco5nQrJpWJf0IRRj-d8T51M7jYQqrjBojRsOZjXV0JryUzVvphReXVs
  • Japan’s new environment minister visits Fukushima Daiichi, and the popular press ignores it. Shinjiro Koizumi came to F. Daiichi on October 2nd. His placement as the new minister was posted in headlines across Japan because he is the son of popular antinuclear ex-PM, Junichiro Koizumi. On the day of his appointment, Shunjiro pledged himself to seek the end of nuclear generation of electricity in Japan. His visit included riding in the autonomous EV bus around the station, going inside unit b#3 reactor building, viewing area radiation exposure levels, and examining the site’s emergency response headquarters. Tepco posted a video record of the event on October 2nd, but no Japanese news outlets seem to have picked up on it. https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2019-e/201910-e/191002-01e.html
  • The Nuclear Regulation Authority is having a radiation exposure treatment manual created. The agency says it is doing this because of a growing use of radioactive material in industrial facilities and the medical community. The NRA has asked the National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology to compile the material. The manual will follow guidelines by the International Atomic Energy Agency and contain the latest information about treatment in cases of accidental exposure. It will cover everything from high-level to low-level exposure, as well as the inhalation of radioactive materials. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191009_12/
  • Japan’s Board of Audit says there are flaws in systems that transmit information during nuclear emergencies. Specifically, visual (closed-circuit television) conference technology intended to connect Tokyo to local governments and power plant staff involved in the emergency. 24 such systems have been installed since the 2011 F. Daiichi accident. However the Board found a lack of capacity in transmission lines for about 10 of the systems that could lead to a communication malfunction. The Board adds that about $1.5 million has been wasted in subsidies for the inadequate systems. The NRA Cabinet Office, charged with overseeing the network, declined comment. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191008_10/
  • Class action suit leader Ruiko Muto voices her opinion on three Tepco executives in the hope of having the recent court decision reversed, “Grassroots efforts are what pushes forward the social change we need to see… awareness spreads only when each individual starts to think about the issue at hand.” She was staunchly antinuclear for more than two decades before the accident, resulting from what she heard concerning the Chernobyl accident in the Ukraine. When she saw the televised images of explosions at F. Daiichi, “I thought… this is exactly the same as Chernobyl.” She spearheaded the suit against Tepco officials in the hope that “the truth of what happened that day and who should be held accountable would come to light.” Though the court decision was a disappointment to her, she feels the 37 sessions brought evidence to the world that would otherwise have been buried. She also blames Tepco for more than 100 suicides following Tokyo’s order for people to evacuate. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/10/11/national/tepco-acquittal-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-closure/#.XaCSslVKiUl

October 4, 2019

  • Fukushima fisheries will consider unrestricted resumption of full fishing operations. The Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations will discuss all pertinent issues concerning the possible resumption as a formal policy. The reason is that Tokyo’s Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters has lifted the bans on the three remaining species on the restricted list. Federation head Tetsu Nozaki said, "We would like to discuss the issues cautiously, listening to the opinions of people including local fishermen." http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=971
  • Fukushima Prefecture will sue voluntary evacuees in Tokyo for unpaid rent. Five households that voluntarily fled from Fukushima to Tokyo in 2011 have lived in housing for government employees without signing a contract or paying rent. The prefectural assembly has approved suing them for more than $56,000 in unpaid rent. Only the few communist Party representatives voted against filing the suit. The evacuees lived rent-free until the subsidy was terminated at the end of March, 2017. One evacuee complains she has spent every day living in fear of having everything taken from her. The evacuees’ lawyers say three households have no means of income and cannot pay their back rent. The lawyers assert, “What the prefecture is going to do is to take housing by force at the evacuation sites. It is extremely unacceptable.” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201910040050.html
  • Japan publishes comparison of Seoul and Fukushima radiation levels on the internet. The intent is to show that they are essentially the same, implying that South Korea’s concerns are merely unfounded rumors. Relations between the two Asian nations have been tenuous due to WWII labor conditions and other issues. The posting comes out of Japan’s Foreign Ministry. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190929_12/
  • Unrelenting lawyers appeal the recent acquittal of three Tepco executives charged with criminal negligence concerning the Fukushima accident. Then appeal was filed in Tokyo’s High Court on Monday. The appeal statement read, in part, “The ruling not only evaded judgment on the defendants’ important duties and responsibilities to prevent foreseeable damage (to the nuclear plant), but it even denied the possibility that they could foresee the disaster. To allow the ruling to be finalized at this stage would significantly go against justice,” One of the court appointed lawyers in the case added, “Letting this decision stand is clearly against justice. Taking into consideration the burden of the victims, it is incumbent on us to demand a judgment by a higher court.” A statement posted by a team of resident’s lawyers said, "Many people, especially the residents who were hit by the accident, found the ruling unacceptable." More than 14,000 signatures calling for the appeal were collected, mostly through the internet. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190930_29/ -- https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/10/01/national/crime-legal/prosecutors-appeal-tepco-acquittal-fukushima-case/#.XZYh9VVKiUk -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201910010047.html -- https://japantoday.com/category/crime/prosecutors-appeal-tepco-acquittal-in-fukushima-case
  • A new radiation shielding material is malleable enough to seal streaming openings. The material is made out of radiation-resistant rubber called “sealer soft tungsten rubber”. When heated to 60C in water, it can be shaped to any configuration desired, and it maintains the new form when it cools. It has been developed by the Kindai University Medical Department as a non-toxic alternative to lead and antimony as radiation shields with medical therapies. By placing the shaped material on a patient’s skin, improving electron beam accuracy and greatly reducing undesirable collateral exposure. Other possible non-medical uses seem probable. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/kindai-university-hayakawa-rubber-develop-easily-molded-radiation-shielding-material/
  • Two restarted nuclear units will be shut down for anti-terrorism upgrades. Sendai #1 & #2 will be shuttered in March and May, respectively, by order of the NRA (Nuclear Regulation Authority) in order to complete remote control facilities. They are expected to restart in late 2021. The facilities were mandated to prevent nefarious control of the systems resulting from terrorist attack. All electric utilities owning nukes are given five years to complete the remote facilities once the nuke units are pass NRC requirements for restart. Kyushu Electric expects the nearly 1,700 MWe of lost capacity to be replaced by gas-fired units. This will increase fuel costs by nearly $40 million per month for each unit shuttered.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191004_01/ -- https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/10/e6775b4c60a0-kyushu-electric-to-halt-2-reactors-due-to-delay-in-anti-terrorism-step.html -- https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006055603?fp=c1a3d4a82f1d5e05183b49413fd3de13 

September 27, 2019

  • Tepco will revise maintenance planning at F. Daiichi on-site facilities untouched since 2011. Its current long-term planning no-longer accommodates the post-accident situation. The incident that spurred the updating was a 22 kilogram steel plate that fell more than 75 meters from the units #3 & #4 exhaust stack. Though no-one was close enough to be injured, then possibility that someone could have been seriously hurt has taken priority. The plate supposedly fell because of “decrepitude”. The proposed plan will identify all possible locations of a similar incident, as well as all facility devices that may pose a risk of leaking radioactive substances if damaged. The company will attempt to predict if and when repairs may be necessary due to future physical deterioration. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=970
  • Tepco says they may have to store F. Daiichi wastewater on land adjacent to the existing station boundary. On Thursday, the company agreed with an industry ministry suggestion that Tepco consider storage on vacant space outside the immediate plant boundary. Tepco cautioned, however, that such a move could negatively impact plans for building facilities for temporary storage of used fuel bundles and corium (resolidified fuel debris). The ministry concedes that storing radionuclide-stripped water outside the existing boundary would be socio-politically difficult. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190926_38/
  • The recent rejection the lawsuit to stop operation of Genkai units #3 & #4 might be appealed, after all. The Fukuoka High Court ruled that the two units hold no specific danger to local residents and evacuation plans met national standards. Presiding Judge Noriyuki Yamanouchi said a large volcanic eruption cannot be assumed if the possibility of such an eruption occurring is deemed low. The court also found that Kyushu Electric Co. estimates on earthquakes and/or terrorist attacks are rational and acceptable in establishing design criteria. When the decision was rendered on Wednesday, there seemed to be no plans on the part of the plaintiffs to appeal. On Thursday, however, plaintiff representative Akira Hasegawa said, “This is very unpleasant. We want to challenge (them), again, in a lawsuit.” Thus, the issue may not yet have reached a culmination. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/09/25/national/crime-legal/fukuoka-high-court-rejects-residents-appeal-halt-saga-nuclear-reactors/ -- https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2019092501099 -- https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/09/f0ecf92cecb0-update2-japan-high-court-rejects-residents-appeal-to-halt-nuclear-reactors.html
  • A Real Clear Science report asks, “Has science let radiation scare us to death?” Radiophobia… fear of ionizing radiation… is said to be the stuff of horror movies, but it is a very real phenomena for many members of the public. Some examples would be comical if they were not real. The problem is the official notion that radiation exposure is a mortal risk, no matter how small the dosage might be, based on the Linear/No Threshold model for exposure assessment. While small doses have never actually been proven harmful, LNT-inspired radiophobia itself can be life-threatening. Expert Dr. Carol Marcus calls LNT “hogwash” and colleague Jeffry Siegel says, "Overestimating radiation risks using the LNT model may be more detrimental than underestimating them. This approach has resulted in unnecessary loss of life due to traumatic forced evacuations, suicides, and unneeded abortions after the Fukushima nuclear accident." The fight over replacing LNT with an evidence-based threshold model is fierce. Even antinuclear stalwarts such as Jan Beyea admit to this, "The debates can be brutal — so much so that, at times, they make the spats between William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow look tame." The vast difference between scientific understanding and public perception has done more harm than good because of the resulting irrational fears. The truth is that too much exposure can be deadly, but small doses appear to be life-enhancing! This apparent dichotomy has been around since the Renaissance when physician Paracelsus said, "Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy." Supporters of LNT say they are playing it safe, but detractors argue that LNT-itself may well be the actual mortal risk. https://www.realclearscience.com/articles/2019/09/14/has_science_let_radiation_scare_us_to_death_111105.html

September 20, 2019

  • The criminal trial of three former Tepco executives ends in a not guilty verdict. The three were charged with professional negligence for not ordering tsunami-defense upgrades that could have prevented the nuke accident. The main issue was whether or not the executives were responsible for the deaths of 44 hospital patients that died in concert with the Tokyo-mandated evacuation. The court found they were not criminally culpable! Presiding judge Kenichi Nagafuchi said foreseeing the earthquake-induced tsunami that caused the accident was impossible! He added that information suggesting a massive tsunami was questionable and should not have compelled the defendants to take extraordinary measures to compensate for the predictions. He further stated, “It would be impossible to operate a nuclear plant if operators were obliged to predict every possibility about a tsunami and take necessary measures." Further, even if the executives did order tsunami-protective upgrades, it’s unlikely that the defensive measures would have been completed before the March 2011 quake and tsunami. The court decision came after Tokyo prosecutors twice decided not to charge the men in previous trials in 2013 and 2015. (This was the top news story with all Japanese news outlets on Thursday. The following is what we feel is representative of the whole.)  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190919_42/ -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/685/ -- https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006019707 -- https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006019707 -- https://japantoday.com/category/national/Court-rules-TEPCO-execs-not-guilty-of-professional-negligence-over-nuclear-crisis -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190919/p2g/00m/0dm/061000c
  • The judges of the (above) court case concluded that “absolute zero risk” is a pipe-dream! Especially when the actual culprit for a mortal calamity is an unprecedented natural disaster! While the judges agreed the nuke accident could have been prevented, they could not rule that criminal negligence was proven, or even possible. This was because the prediction of earthquake possibilities “lacked credibility”. In fact, the prediction assessment stated that such a massive quake and tsunami had merely a 20% probability of actually occurring. Thus, there was insufficient evidence upon which to find the defendants materially culpable.  https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006021562 --  https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006021752
  • The verdict rendered at the Tepco executive’s criminal case is decried by the plaintiffs. Cries of “No one has taken responsibility” for the deaths of hospital patients and “People who died cannot rest in peace” were common. A general feeling of disbelief permeated the dissenters. Almost immediately after the verdict was announced, saddened plaintiffs displayed papers with the words “All are innocent. It is an unjustified ruling”! Several muttered “This must be a joke”! One woman said, "The three of them might think 'We were right,' but from the victims' points of view, they got away with the damage they caused. “ On the other hand, some of the plaintiffs admitted they expected the not guilty verdict. Fukushima evacuee Saeko Uno said she knew this was coming, but will never bring herself to accept it. She vows to continue the fight against the utility from her current residence in Kyoto. Another of the claimants, Keiko Sasaki, said she knew the court was biased in favor of Tepco and would ignore the fact that the nuke accident should have been prevented. Another, Yoshinobu Ishii of Kauwachi Village, made an insightful statement, "Looking at it in hindsight, they could have taken measures to prevent the accident, but at the time no one expected such a terrible disaster to unfold. But putting the responsibility for it on someone, that kind of talk is pointless.” https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190920/p2a/00m/0na/007000c -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201909200065.html -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190919_36/
  • Fukushima Prefecture wants to lead the effort in promoting and testing flying cars. Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori said this to a Tokyo conference on flying car development organized by the Industry Ministry. The Japanese government wants an operable flying car developed by 2023. It is predicted that the Japanese market could be about $6 billion by 2030, out of a world market of $90 billion. A number of diverse companies need to work together to make this happen, and Fukushima wants to be the collaborative focal point. The prefecture already has a state-of-the-art facility for aeronautical testing, making it a prime location effort. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=969
  • Fukushima Prefecture is prepared to review estimates of possible damage due to future severe earthquakes. The three-year study will begin sometime this fiscal year, which ends in March. The main focus will be on temblors caused by offshore subduction zones, but will also look at two possible locations of inland-based quakes. The study is intended to estimate death toll, number of other injuries, building damage leading to collapse, severed lifeline systems, and other catastrophic categories with respect to 59 cities, towns and villages. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=962
  • Friend and colleague Jim Conca says, “It’s really OK if Japan dumps radioactive water into the ocean.” His provocative notion was inspired by last week’s statement by former Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada, who said release to the open sea is the only real option for disposal of the ever-increasing volume of F. Daiichi’s treated wastewater. Conca writes, “The funny thing is that putting this water in the ocean is actually the best way to handle it. And that’s because it’s contaminated mainly with tritium, the least radioactive, and least harmful, of all radioactive elements.” He feels that Greenpeace’s objection to the release is ignorance of the harmless nature of Tritium. Dr. Conca points out that Tritium is naturally-occurring and a slow (10-year-long) release of F. Daiichi’s million tons of wastewater will not harm anyone or anything! Claims to the contrary are scientifically unsupportable and “only hypothetical”. He asserts that “no harm has ever come to humans or the environment from tritium, no matter what the concentration or the dose.” The problem preventing the harmless release of the liquids is the false perception of tritium being bad. The reality is that it is harmless! In fact, he says the respective national standards “were just taken out of thin air”. Dr. Conca cites scientific fact upon scientific fact to explain why Tritium is essentially harmless and the controlled dumping of the wastewater to the Pacific is not a risk to anyone or anything. Reading his article is highly recommended. http://ansnuclearcafe.org/2019/09/12/its-really-ok-if-japan-dumps-radioactive-fukushima-water-into-the-ocean/#sthash.H6kEoDrp.LFTbJTmk.dpbs
  • South Korea condemns Japan’s management of F. Daiichi wastewater at the IAEA General Conference in Vienna. South Korea's Vice Minister of Science Technology, Moon Mi-ok, said the issue of contaminated water has not been resolved, “escalating fear and anxiety throughout the world.” She added that if the release of the harmless liquid to the Pacific occurs, it would be “a grave international issue that can affect the whole global marine environment!” However, Japanese ambassador Takeshi Hikihara dismissed the allegation, pointing out that Japan has accepted representative opinions from various international expert organizations and approved of an IAEA team to look at the situation. He called Moon’s comments “unacceptable”, and based on false assumptions. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also disputed Moon’s statements, saying, “What she said was not based on facts and scientific grounds. It is extremely regrettable since it can spread baseless negative publicity.” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201909180083.html -- https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2019091700306 -- https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/at-63rd-iaea-general-conference-japanese-minister-of-state-for-science-and-technology-policy-stresses-need-for-science-based-discussions-on-decommissioning-and-contaminated-water-measures/
  • Former PM, now antinuclear fanatic, Junichiro Koizumi urges his son to wean Japan off of nuclear power generation. He insists that the loss of nuclear power generation can be made up using “natural energy”! In a speech extoling the virtues of his son Shinjiro, who was recently appointed Environment Minister, the elder Koizumi said, “The environment is the most pressing issue. I want him to abandon nuclear power and turn Japan into a nation that can develop on natural energy.” Echoing his father’s position statement, Shinjiro vowed to also reduce Japan’s reliance on coal-fired electrical generation. He stated, "Japan can absolutely make contributions to the world in this field. A future in which people say 'Japan saved the Earth' is possible.”  http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201909160016.html -- https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2019091301129

September 13, 2019

The latest compilation of Fukushima compensation pay-outs has been posted here… https://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-evacuee-compensation-payments.html

  • Japan’s outgoing environment minister says dumping F. Daiichi’s treated wastewater to the sea is the “only option”. On Tuesday, the day before he was removed from office as part of PM Abe’s cabinet restructuring, Yoshiaki Harada said dilution and a controlled release is the only reasonable way to resolve the radiophobia-based issue. He stressed that it was only a personal opinion and should not be taken as government policy. He pointed out that the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s (NRA) position that dilution and open ocean release is scientifically appropriate. Harada stated, "Although I'm not (actually) the minister in charge, I believe there's no choice but to dump the water (into the ocean) and dilute it." Most of the million-ton volume currently stored at F. Daiichi has been fully-treated and stripped of all radionuclides Tritium, which is biologically innocuous. Tritium is a hydrogen isotope and part of the water molecules in the tanks. However, local fisheries believe the release would devastate the local fishing industry due to nation-wide radiophobia.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190910_35/ -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190910/p2g/00m/0fp/085000c -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190911_42/
  • On Wednesday, new Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi denounced his predecessor’s opinion. He is fully opposed an essentially benign release to the sea and apologized to the Fukushima fishing associations for Harada’s opinion. Koizumi is the son of former PM Junichiro Koizumi who is fanatically opposing all things associated with nuclear energy. He is clearly in his father’s antinuclear camp! Fledgling Minister Koizumi was no sooner sworn in, when he met with the Fukushima fishery officials and governor to make a decidedly populist appeal to both parties. He also told Governor Uchibori that he will do his utmost to insure that all bags of contaminated soil and debris will be safely kept in the new, temporary storage sites in Okuma and Futaba, and that final disposal will occur elsewhere within the next 30 years. It should be noted that on Thursday, Koizumi told Reuters that he is in favor of the permanent closure of all nuclear power plants in Japan, regardless of the NRA’s expert decisions on safe operability! This would include the six nukes now safely operating in Japan. The NRA is overseen by the environment ministry. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190912_40/ -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190912_43/ -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201909120025.html
  • Japan and South Korea voicetheir F. Daiichi wastewater differences through the IAEA. The International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors is having a closed-door meeting in Vienna. S. Korea’s representative insinuated that Tokyo has been less than transparent on the F. Daiichi wastewater issue. In response, Japanese Ambassador Takeshi Hikihara responded that Japan has indeed provided all relevant scientific information in the most transparent possible way! Undeterred Seoul is going to raise the issue again at the IAEA annual meeting that begins Monday.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190910_30/
  • On Wednesday, the NRA made it official. The agency will formally re-open the investigation into the cause(s) of the 2011 nuke accident. The rationale is that time has resulted in a sufficient decay of on-site radiation levels at F. Daiichi to allow a more detailed examination into the failures of venting processes during the accident, ”among other questions”. The NRA’s 2014 report said the accident was caused by the massive tsunami resulting from severe subduction fault slippage 100 kilometers off shore. The post-accident investigation was cut short due to high radiation levels at F. Daiichi station. The NRA plans to provide support to the Natural Resources and Energy Agency, which is in charge of decommissioning. Tepco says, "If requested in the future, we would like to proactively cooperate in the investigation, such as providing necessary data." https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190911/p2g/00m/0na/075000c -- https://japantoday.com/category/national/japan-regulator-to-re-investigate-fukushima-nuclear-disaster
  • The Japanese Atomic Industrial Forum Symposium in Tokyo addresses fear and misinformation concerning Fukushima seafood. The September 5th event looked at the reconstruction of Fukushima, as well as the role of nuclear energy in power supplies and environmental protection.  Kyoto Professor Lee Liao Yenpeng, from Taiwan, witnessed inspection of flounder caught 10 kilometers off-shore from the prefecture, and fsaw that no radioactive Cesium was detectible. He said this counters the general belief of the Taiwanese people and “It is important to convey the facts.” https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/symposium-in-tokyo-looks-at-taiwanese-energy-situation-and-discusses-fear-and-misinformation-about-foods-sourced-in-fukushima/
  •  A Canadian Professor at Fukushima University has taken on the burden of trying to correct specious reports about conditions in the prefecture. Erroneous articles about exaggerated damage from radioactive contamination are widespread on the internet. To reverse this negative situation, Professor William McMichael and his students are trying to do something positive! (video “Discovering the Real Fukushima” in English) https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/videos/20190911153027456/

September 6, 2019

  • The upper section of units #1&#2 exhaust stack has been removed. We announced the plans for dismantling the upper half of the stack last month. The process was delayed about a month when it was noticed the crane for the work was too short. A few subsequent equipment failures exacerbated the delay. Tepco made a video recording of the removal, but it has yet to be posted on-line!  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190902_26/
  • All fish analyzed in July from within 20 kilometers of F. Daiichi have radioactive Cesium levels below the national standard of 100 Bq/kg. The 94 fish taken from outside the station breakwall had no detectible internal Cesium-134; the “fingerprint” isotope for F. Daiichi aqueous and atmospheric releases. https://www7.tepco.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/handouts_190828_02-e.pdf  Four of the fish taken from inside the breakwall had detectible Cs-134, but none of the 16 specimens were above the national standard. https://www7.tepco.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/handouts_190828_01-e.pdf
  • Fukushima peach exports are expected to be at a post-2011 high. The anticipated 50 tons of   shipments marks a 1.5 times increase over last year. About 30 tons have been already shipped to Thailand in 2019, and another 7 tons have been ordered by the SE Asian country. The peach season ends later this month. The prefecture has set an annual target of 500 tons of produce shipments beginning April 2021. 218 tons were exported last year! This good news is despite the persistent radiophobic food restrictions on Fukushima exports still ridiculously in-place in nearly two-dozen countries around the world! http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=961
  • Tokyo briefs foreign representatives concerning ultimate disposal of F. Daiichi’s stored wastewater. Government spokespersons spoke to diplomats from 22 countries on Wednesday. Yumiko Hata, an official at the briefing, said, "In order to prevent harmful rumors about the Fukushima Daiichi plant from being circulated, we believe it is extremely important to provide scientific and accurate information." The restriction on releasing the essentially harmless liquid is due to the detectible levels of Tritium (radioactive Hydrogen) contained there-in. Tritium is naturally-occurring and found in all water sources around the world. The main fear is that releasing the waste water will cause a disastrous radiophobic backlash on Tohoku region fisheries. None of the foreign diplomats challenged the information given to them, or protested the possibility of open releases, during the briefing. However, on Thursday, South Korea sent a written request to the IAEA asking the international nuclear watchdog agency to play an active role with the issue. The letter states that S. Korea has “serious concerns” about the environmental impacts of a controlled release to the ocean.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190904_30/ -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190904/p2g/00m/0fp/070000c -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201909040052.html -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190905_41/
  • Tokyo will send officials to municipalities affected by the nuke accident to stimulate resumption of agricultural production. Beginning next April, one official will be stationed in each of twelve municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture. The move is intended to stimulate agricultural renewal on currently abandoned farmlands in conjunction with local and prefectural agricultural organizations. At the end of March, agriculture had resumed in only one-fourth of the farmland located in the communities before April 2011. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/09/03/national/japanese-government-send-staff-disaster-hit-fukushima-towns-help-restart-farming-production/#.XXE4ny5KiUk
  • The Nuclear Regulation Authority will re-open its investigation into the cause(s) of the Fukushima accident. The initial study ended in 2014 with the publication of an “interim report”. NRA Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa revealed the restart plan on Wednesday. He said decontamination efforts have revealed an increase in areas with low radiation levels and decommissioning work has uncovered new data with respect to damaged reactor buildings. The new study is expected to result in a new, improved report in 2020. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190904_35/
  • A Japanese renewable energy supplier says it will file a lawsuit against Tokyo allowing customers to pay fees to cover the costs resulting from the 2011 Fukushima accident. The suit  will also demand removal of a consignment charge paid by alternative energy suppliers in order to use existing power lines. Current government plans to use the increased consumer fees to allow recovery of mandated victim compensation funding, beginning in 2020. Chiemi Kumano, director representative of Green Co-op Community, said, “It is very problematic that we are forced to pay unintended costs derived from the nuclear accident. If we allow such a practice, it will end up helping to preserve nuclear power.” Ryukoku University professor Kenichi Oshima added, “The central government used the logic that people are responsible for the liabilities from the nuclear accident, in deciding to impose additional compensation costs.” He said this logic is “far-fetched”! http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201909040059.html

August 30, 2019

  • Tepco says it will decide on the future of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa station once units 6 & 7 are restarted. The decision was given to Mayor Sakurai of Kashiwazaki in writing on August 26. The mayor had asked for the decommissioning plans for units #1-#5 more than 2 years ago, as a condition for approval of restarts for the other two units. The company says it wants to take a “hard look” at the future need for energy supplies before committing to K-K unit decommissioning. It explained that this path is socially responsible. Japan’s goal for 2040 is 40% non-fossil-fueled electrical supplies, including renewables and nuclear. Tepco also promises to give all information on K-K station operations to the public promptly and cooperate fully with prefectural officials. Units 2, 3 and 4 have not operated since July 2007 due a severe offshore earthquake, that year. Mayor Sakurai says he believes Tepco has presented the best plan currently available. However, he continues to hold back on giving Tepco his permission to restart units #6 & #7 because he is considering additional conditions on the resumption of station operation. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/tepco-to-decide-fate-of-kashiwazaki-kariwa-units-1-to-5-five-years-after-restarting-units-6-and-7/ -- https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0005963696
  • Four Japanese companies plan on a joint nuclear energy collaboration. The four are Tepco Chubu Electric, Hitachi, and Toshiba. The companies believe a joint venture will improve safety and economic viability. The most probable first step is completion of a nuke plant in Aomori Prefecture that was halted following the Fukushima accident. All affected nuclear units are Boiling Water Reactors, but decommissioning of the six Fukushima units owned by Tepco will not be part of the collaborative process. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190829_17/ -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201908290017.html

August 23, 2019

  • Fukushima decides to end the maternal health survey for adverse radiation effects in July of next year. The frequencies of birth defects, babies with low birth weights and other abnormalities have been about the same as the nationwide average. The national average of birth defects is about 3%. In 2011, Fukushima had a 2.85% defect rate, and 2017 had a rate of2.38%. The rate of post-partem depression with the mothers remains well-below the national average. The program will now focus on the real needs of expectant and nursing mothers. One official said, “Soon after the nuclear accident, mothers’ anxiety was severe, but the needs of expectant and nursing mothers have been changing. We shall improve consultation systems in cooperation with municipal governments, so that assistance can reach the people who need it.” https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0005952743
  • Okuma strawberries are going to market. They have been grown in a ~29,000 m2 indoor facility in the Ogawara district, where the evacuation order has been lifted. The computerized environment allows for year-round growth and reaping. About 10 tons are expected to be shipped this year. https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0005950919
  • South Korea asks a Japanese envoy to explain the possibility of releasing Fukushima wastewater to the sea. Environmental affairs bureau chief Kwon Se-jung handed a document to Tomofumi Nishinaga on Monday. Nishinaga assured Se-jung that Japan will faithfully provide information to South Korea and the international community. Allegedly, Seoul is taking a hardline stance on the issue as a response to public concerns about the environment. Relations between South Korea and Japan are strained over contentious trade issues and the historical problem concerning WWII “comfort women”.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190819_20/ -- https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/08/19/national/south-korea-summons-japanese-diplomat-plans-fukushima-water/#.XV7Bo-NKiUl

August 16, 2019

  • Tepco gets tougher concerning Fukushima damages settlements. This has been noticed by lawyers and government officials. As a result, it is believed that dissatisfied damages claimants could face lengthy legal actions. Lawyers complain that some of their clients have already given up. In 2014, the company agreed to accept the government’s dispute resolution group’s decisions. The body has proposed settlements based on government disaster guidelines. However, Tepco refused to honor 49 settlement proposals in 2018, forty of which were claims of Fukushima residents. Prior to that, the only rejected claims were those made by Tepco employees. Tepco says the rejected settlements were outside government guidelines.  If they were paid, it would lead to a revision of compensation codes. https://japantoday.com/category/national/tepco-toughens-posture-toward-nuclear-disaster-damages-settlement  
  • The Asahi Shimbun says “Ballooning costs give lie to notion nuclear power is cheapest energy”. However, nowhere in the report are there actually any comparative cost figures relative to fossil fuel or so-called renewable sources. The justification for the assumptions is, “With the ballooning safety costs, the government’s argument that nuclear energy is cheaper than hydro power and coal is increasingly in doubt.” However, with no cost comparisons, the Asahi’s notion is similarly in doubt! http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201908120062.html

August 9, 2019

  • The latest figures on Fukushima evacuee monetary compensation (as of 8/2/10) is posted here… https://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-evacuee-compensation-payments.html
  • Used fuel bundles removal will probably begin with unit #2 in 2021. The plan was released on Aug. 8 by the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation (NDF). It reads, in part, "It would be appropriate for us to start with the No. 2 reactor. From 2021 we will begin extraction work from the No. 2 reactor. It will enable us to safely and reliably extract the debris, and allow us to obtain necessary information and experience for the subsequent expansion of work." It should be noted that a “submersion method” for fuel extraction has been considered to difficult and has too many possible technical issues to be used. One of the issues is the almost-impossible notion of recriticality by reintroducing water. Aside- the admixing of fuel, control rod material, and other formerly-melted materials makes this virtually impossible, but for some unstated reason it is treated asa possibility by the commission. - End aside! https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190809_06/ -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190809/p2a/00m/0na/005000c
  • A relatively strong earthquake struck Fukushima Prefecture, but caused no damage to nuclear units. The 6.4 Richter Scale temblor hit last Sunday. It was sourced within the off-shore seabed at an approximate depth of 45 kilometers. No reports of major damage or casualties occurred. Tepco dutifully reported that there were no abnormalities at F. Daiichi or F. Daini nuke stations. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/08/749a3bf09b4c-breaking-news-m62-quake-hits-off-japans-fukushima-weather-agency.html
  • Fukushima’s governor promotes prefectural foods in China. On July 3, Governor Masao Uchibori of reported on his business trip to the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2019, known as “Summer Davos” in Dalian, Liaoning Province, China. He met with representatives from around the world, including those from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. It was his intent to promote Fukushima products and provide the current status of decommissioning the prefecture’s two nuclear stations. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/fukushima-governor-promotes-local-products-and-tourism/
  • Tohoku Electric Company applies for approval of decommissioning Onagawa unit #1. The 524 MWe unit is considered too small to surmount the technological and financial hurdles presented by Japan’s current regulatory system, within the largely arbitrary 40 year limit on licensure for operation. Onagawa #1 was commissioned in 1984. The primary technological challenges are enhanced safety, the number of years it had been in operation, and “issues related to power generation.” Decommissioning is expected to be completed in early 2054. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/tohoku-electric-power-applies-for-approval-of-onagawa-1-decommissioning-plan/
  • Tepco says they will run out of room for F. Daiichi wastewater in three years. At the current rate of build-up, all tanks will be full in the summer of 2022 and there will be no room to build more tanks after 2020. The problem is includes having to construct facilities for storing used fuel bundles from units #1, #2, & #3. A government subcommittee has reconvened to address the issue. Committee member Tokuhiro Yamamoto says, “As the decommissioning work will move forward, some space is needed to build the necessary facilities. Whether (the tanks) will eat up so much space that it drags down the decommissioning work needs to be considered. Various equipment and storage space are necessary. We will discuss how to make (more) storage space available.” While the committee approves the process of building more tanks, it needs to come to a binding decision on final disposal. Currently, there is about 1.15 million tons of detectibly radioactive water in some 1000 tanks at the F. Daiichi station, with nearly 150 tons being added daily. Current plans indicate that new tanks to be built will accommodate 380,000 more tons. All but about 100,000 tons contain only one radioactive isotope at a concentration above national limit – Tritium, which is essentially harmless. But, nationwide radiophobia prevents the harmless release of the volume to the Pacific. Meanwhile, typically alarmist Asahi Shimbun embellishes the waste water situation at F. Daiichi by saying it remains “out of control”, indicating that either Tepco is incompetent or simply doesn’t care. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190808_35/ -- https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2019080800997 -- https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/08/09/national/treated-water-fukushima-plant-hit-storage-capacity-summer-2022-current-rate/#.XU2fb-NKiUl -- http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=959 -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201907280040.html
  • The IEEJ reports on Japan’s 2020 energy outlook. The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, report focuses on three issues: the impact of nukes being unable to meet the government’s deadline for building remote control rooms to combat hypothetical terrorist takeovers, ever-increasing crude oil prices, and the negative impacts of on-going international trade wars. With the first issue, it is said that as many as four already restarted nukes could be shuttered in 2020. On a more positive note, as many as five other nukes could be restarted next year. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/ieejs-2020-economic-and-energy-outlook-compares-effects-of-completing-and-not-completing-anti-terrorism-facilities-at-japans-npps/

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