This site requires a lot of work. We hope you find our efforts valuable and rewarding. Please consider offering your support. There is no minimum amount. Feel free to donate as you see fit, without restriction. Thank you...















Fukushima 92...10/19/15-11/2/15


November 2, 2015

  • Sendai unit #2 reaches full power. There are now two reactors at full power in Japan. Since restarting the reactor on October 15th, Kyushu Electric Company operators has slowly increased the power level while performing required checks on equipment function at various points along the way. The unit finally reached its 100% power output of 890 MWe on Sunday morning. The Nuclear Regulation Authority has begun the final inspections needed to approve commercial operation. Approval is expected by mid-November, barring unforeseen problems. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclear.html

  • Flanged wastewater tanks at F. Daiichi are dismantled. The breaking-down of 12 tanks began June 8th and was completed on Saturday. The flange-type tanks were erected immediately following the nuke accident, and some leaked highly contaminated water into the ground. The Tokyo government and Press reacted harshly, so new welded-seam tanks were installed by Tepco. The dismantling of the emptied flanged tanks awaited approval from the NRC for more than a year before authorization was issued last spring. There was no significant increase in radioactive isotope concentrations in the soils around the tanks during dismantling. Pictures taken before, during, and after dismantling are included in the attached link. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2015/images/handouts_151029_01-e.pdf (Comment - Once again, good news about Fukushima is disregarded by the Press. When the first tank leaks were discovered in July of 2013, the incident made major headlines in Japan and around the world. Over the ensuing months, more leaking flange-type tanks were found and the Press was all over it. The Press lost interest when the flanged tanks were emptied. The Press could care less about their disassembly.)

  • A Fukushima river opens for anglers. On Saturday, more than two dozen sport fishers tossed their lines into the Kido River flowing through recently unrestricted Naraha Town. There has been no rod-and-reel salmon fishing in Naraha for nearly five years. A local siren sounded at 7am, signaling the anglers to begin. One man said he was happy to be fishing for salmon in the Kido River once again. In addition to the sport fishing, a local fish store at a processing plant opened to the delight of several shoppers. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=583

  • On Friday, two Japanese news outlets reported a 9.4 sieverts radiation field outside the unit#2 Containment. The reports were sketchy, but it seems that a preliminary radiation scan has been underway for nearly a month to prepare for putting a robot into the containment through a piping penetration. The high reading appears to have been somewhere on or near a “cell” covering a pipe that comes out of the containment wall. Both news reports say, “The highest contamination was detected on the floor.” The Press is confusing apples with oranges. A radiation field (millisieverts) is not contamination (Becquerels). It is also not stated whether the reading was made by a robot or a person. The reports say Tepco is halting the plans for inserting the robot until the situation can be fully investigated. There has been no further reporting on this. http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2015102901047 -- http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/10/30/national/deadly-9-4-sieverts-detected-outside-fukushima-reactor-2-containment-vessel-checks-stop/#.VjNW4JDosdV

  • Voluntary Fukushima evacuees form a new group to get provisional housing and financial aid extended. About 130 self-obliged refugees have gathered in Tokyo to create a national evacuees association. Organization representative Seiichi Nakate said, “There is a risk even if radiation levels become lower. Especially, voluntary evacuees, who receive smaller support, are being forced to choose between living in poverty and returning to their hometowns with low radiation levels.” Kaori Kawai of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, says she is on welfare and needs free housing to make ends meet. She said, “We chose to evacuate just to protect children…”, thus she feels government assistance to voluntary evacuees should not end. Free housing for them will end in March of 2017. Some attendees were from Fukushima Prefecture and some were from other prefectures. All bolted from their homes due to fear of low level radiation exposure. It was mentioned that Tokyo-ordered evacuees who refuse to go home will eventually become voluntaries, as well. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201510300078

  • An antinuclear Fukushima accident archive site announces its existence. A non-profit group, Access-Info Clearinghouse, has collected more than 60,000 documents and is converting them to Japanese-only PDF for on-line access. The NPO says its goal is to establish responsibility for the Fukushima accident. The NPO’s head Yukiko Miki says, "In addition to boosting the number of documents in our archive, we also want to arrange the archive into such categories as 'compensation,' 'evacuation,' 'measurement of radiation levels,' and so on. We also want to shed light on what kind of information has not been released… The central government, Fukushima Prefectural Government, and other bodies simply force their conclusions onto the people who suffered in the disaster, without clarifying the negotiation and coordination processes. They might fear that if this information were disclosed, it could create confusion or a backlash, but it should be the job of administrative bodies to release the information and face the facts in spite of this.” http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20151102p2a00m0na007000c.html

 October 29, 2015

  • More information on Fukushima child thyroid cancers. Fukushima University’s Dr. Shinichi Suzuki presented his team’s screening results of nearly 450,000 individuals following the nuclear accident in 2011. His report was given at the 15th International Thyroid Congress and 85th Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid association in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The report was loosely directed at the recent interest coverage concerning a Japanese researcher’s study claiming the increased child thyroid cancer rates in Fukushima are due to the nuke accident’s I-131 releases. Suzuki says the data does not support the new claim because the confirmed cancers thus far “appear to have occurred prior to [Fukushima] radiation exposure”. Further, the average size of the suspect thyroid tumors were significantly smaller with the post-accident screening cohort than had been the case with those screened before the Fukushima releases (1.4cm vs. 4.1cm, respectively). Plus, the average age of those from the post-accident cohort having surgery was much older than those recorded in pre-accident data (17.4 years vs. 11.9 years, respectively). If the tumors found post-accident were due to Fukushima radiation, the average age of the surgery patients should have been much, much lower. Ironically, Suzuki’s findings were supported by another Japanese specialist who made a plenary lecture comparing Fukushima to Chernobyl. Dr. Nagataki of Nagasaki University, the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, and the Radiation Effects Association in Tokyo, said, “We were surprised to see so many children with thyroid cancer . We found a huge number of children [with thyroid cancer] by screening but […patient] ages were very different [from Chernobyl].” He added that “We did not find regional differences in the prevalence of thyroid cancer within Fukushima Prefecture” which should have been the case due to the wide range of contamination levels across the region. http://www.cancernetwork.com/ata-2015-thyroid-cancer/role-fukushima-radiation-unclear-pediatric-thyroid-cancers

  • Japan’s nuke watchdog chief says F. Daiichi recriticality is “physically impossible”. During his visit to Minamisoma City, NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka made what appears to be the first official confirmation of the obvious, “Recriticality is physically impossible.” It seems this was meant to show that there will be no further production and release of additional fission products, which appears to have been Tokyo’s reason for the prolonged living restrictions. However, when City Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai asked what residents could regard as safe radiation exposure, Tanaka hedged his answer, “We can’t say what amount will be good. It will depend on the residents’ way of thinking.” (Aside – this shows that Tanaka is a confirmed advocate of the no-safe-level of exposure assumption. End aside…) http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=585

  • More on the impermeable seaside wall… F. Daiichi staff finished sealing the 780 meter long barrier on Monday, October 26th. Soon thereafter, groundwater levels began to rise behind the wall, demonstrating the high integrity of the project. This confirmed that the concrete sealant between the steel piles is doing its job very well. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/tepco-completes-seaside-shielding-wall-at-fukushima-daiichi-greatly-reducing-risk-of-contaminated-water-leakage/

  • A new robot will be used to decontaminate high, hard-to-reach places at F. Daiichi. The device stands about two meters tall when fully contracted, but can extend itself upwards to about eight meters (~25 feet) for cleaning the upper reaches of the spacious rooms inside reactor buildings 1, 2, & 3. The robot will be deployed in mid-November on the first floor of unit #3. Ground-level decontamination of the first floor has been on-going using other robots, but the too-high spots on top of piping and/or equipment enclosures could not be reached. Thus, the new robot was built. It is felt that 70% of the existing radiation field is due to this hard-to-reach contamination. The first floor radiation level is 125 millisieverts per hour. Tepco would like to lower this to about 3 mSv/hr before letting people enter to perform work. http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20151029p2a00m0na011000c.html

  • The Asahi Shimbun says only about 15% Of Tomioka and Okuma Town’s evacuees want to return home. 51% of Tomioka’s estranged residents say do not want to go home any more, as do 64% of Okuma’s evacuees. Both town pools show a small increase in the percentage refusing to return since last year’s poll. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201510280056 (Comment - Tokyo and Tepco have been patient with confirmed repopulation dissenters for long enough. Each of them gets more than $7,500 a month in compensation, plus much more than that every month if the family owns its home, and more still if they own a business. That means that the typical family of four, with home ownership, gets ~$50,000 per month. If Dad runs a business on the property, the monthly stipend swells even more. Two years ago, the Asahi estimated that the typical family had already received $2 million. This has probably more than doubled if we factor in the $800/month mental anguish payments for each evacuee, grandfathered back to April 2011. If a family says it will not ever return home – no matter what - all payments should immediately stop! The intent of compensation was to tide the evacuees over until they returned home. More than half repeatedly say they will never go home, even if Tokyo says they can. As I stated in my initial rant about this more than 2 years ago, being a nuke accident evacuee is big business. If they have no intention to go back, cut them off!!)

  • Japan’s antinuclear ex-PMs continue their no-nuke crusade. This time, Junichiro Koizumi and Morihiro Hosokawa visited Hakodate, Hokkaido Prefecture, to echo their long-held antinuclear opinions with a new audience. Koizumi said, “We reaffirmed that Hakodate has the core problems of Japan’s nuclear power issue.” Hakodate filed a suit against Oma nuke plant’s construction in April, 2014. The case has not been decided. Oma is in Aomori Prefecture across the Tsugaru Strait from Hakodate. Because the nearest extent of the town’s official border is 23 kilometers from Oma, the Mayor and other officials feel they should have more say in the plant’s safety because they will be required to draw up evacuation plans. (Aside - It doesn’t matter that such plans would be used for much-more-likely situations such as tsunamis, typhoons, and or blizzards. The town should be held accountable for any future injuries or deaths caused by natural calamities due to their refusal to create evacuation plans, and the two PMs for aiding and abetting.) http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/10/29/national/koizumi-hosokawa-head-hakodate-help-city-fight-mox-nuke-plant-across-strait/#.VjIbDpDosdU -- http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2015/10/381685.html

October 26, 2015

  • Estimated F. Daiichi groundwater outflow drops to 10 tons per day. Previously, 300-400 tons per day were assumed to be seeping into the barricaded inner port (quay). The reason for the significant drop is completion of the near-shore impermeable shield wall. Construction of the massive 780 meter-long wall began in 2012. It is made of 594 steel sheet-pilings (pipes) that extend 30 meters underground. The last piling was driven into the ground on September 22nd. Since then, the small spaces between the pilings have been filled with a cement sealer. The sealing of the wall is now complete. Tepco will closely monitor groundwater buildup on the land side of the wall and pump out contaminated liquids as needed. The waters will then go into storage to be decontaminated in the multi-stage purification system.  99% of the pilings were in place for more than a year, but Tokyo’s nuke regulator (NRA) delayed permission to install the remaining nine. The NRA was concerned about possible water buildup behind the impermeable structure, and eventually overflowing it sending detectibly contaminated water into the barricaded inner port (quay). Tepco’s subdrain system was set up and pumps water out of the ground at a rate greater than groundwater flow. The sub drains have dropped groundwater flows into the damaged building basements from 300 tons per day down to about 150 tons/day.  The decrease of inflow would only be possible if the subdrain system was removing groundwater faster than it was being replenished. Tepco says they will continue its intensive port and open sea monitoring program, even though the impermeable wall is finished. While this seals the sea side of the four damaged units, the NRA continues to withhold permission to begin freezing the soils on the three inland sides of the basements. The equipment installation for the ice wall was completed more than a month ago, but cannot begin operation until the NRA gives its consent. An NRA official explained that Tepco has not yet convinced the agency on how it will control water levels inside the four unit facility facility once freezing prevents continued groundwater seepage into the contaminated basements.  http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclear.html --  http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2015/1262806_6844.html -- http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/10/26/national/tepco-completes-sea-wall-keep-toxic-fukushima-no-1-water-reaching-sea/#.Vi4eFJDosdV A detailed handout of the covering the sea-side impermeable wall, subdrain system, installed ice wall technology, water purification system, and pre-discharge radioactive isotopic criteria, can be found here… http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2015/images/handouts_150902_01-e.pdf

  • Another exclusion zone rice harvest. Rice crops designated for commercial sales have been reaped in the town Namie, most of remains under a full evacuation order by Tokyo. Namie Mayor Tomatsu Baba said, “The revival of the (town’s) agricultural sector will build momentum toward residents’ permanent return home.” Baba joined with farmer Kiyoto Matsumoto during some of the harvesting. The rice will (of course) be tested for contained radioactivity to insure that it meets Japan’s severe standards for sale. A 2014 crop was used to test for contained radiation, and found to be well below the 100 Becquerels per kilogram limit. As a result, this year’s crop is intended for shipment to the Futaba Agricultural Group for marketing. The Namie crop is the second one to be harvested inside the exclusion zone this month, with Tomioka being the first some four weeks ago. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=581

  • Radiation exposures to safety forces during the 20km Fukushima evacuation were less than 10% of their 100 millisievert limit. In fact, more than 60% received less than 1 mSv. The cohort included 2,800 police, firefighters, and Self Defense Force (SDF) personnel. Their tasks included guiding evacuees, performing search and rescue operations resulting from the 3/11/11 quake and trsunami, and transporting injured people. Since they all wore full body suits and masks, their exposures were entirely external. Exposure levels were measured by individual personnel dosimeters. The highest exposure was with an SDF person who received 10.8 mSv. 12% of the police firefighters got more than one mSv, with a maximum of 2.2 mSv. Their exposure period covered the last three weeks of March, 2011.  http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20151026p2a00m0na014000c.html

  • A Nippon.com news article about Naraha repopulation reveals a disturbing reality. Naraha was reopened for unrestricted habitation last month, but only 200-300 or the pre-nuke accident population of more than 7,000 has returned home. The reason is a mortal fear of radiation exacerbated by the belief that children are especially susceptible to its negative health effects. The Guardian has interviewed several of the souls who have returned to their homes, most of which are retirees. Even in this limited demographic, fear of radiation remains. Kohei Yamaguchi says, “Our children told us never to come back to this place. We’re too old to be worried about getting cancer from radiation exposure. I expect a lot of older people will return, but not their children or grandchildren. It’s going to be difficult to raise children here.” Another resident who commutes from Iwaki, Seijun Watanabe, says, “You see lots of people milling around, but they’re all construction workers, not the people I used to live alongside before the disaster. It’s impossible to know what the future holds, but I don’t think this place will ever be the same again. Lots of residents are in their 70s and 80s – no one in their 30s and 40s, especially parents of young children, is interested in coming back.” One former resident who is staying in Iwaki shares a widespread distrust of the government, saying, “I don’t trust the authorities when they say the water is safe to drink… I’d rather stay where I am.” The estimated average radiation exposure for the town is just 3 millisieverts per year, roughly the same as that of Colorado Plateau residents due to natural background. The unquestioned safety of such exposure makes little or no difference. The parents and prospective parents of children have been frightened by a constant reminder of children being in increased hypothetical danger by activists and the Press. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/12/safe-at-last-view-from-naraha-the-first-fukushima-community-declared-fit-for-humans

  • All political hurdles for Ikata #3 restart have been cleared. Ehime Prefecture’s Governor Tokihiro Nakamura approved restart today. He made his decision known during a public meeting with Shikoku Electric’s President Hayato Saeki. Nakamura handed Saeki a nine-point list of requests to insure the safety of his constituency. Nakamura said, "Today, as governor of Ehime Prefecture, I decided to accept advance consultations (over the reactivation) after making a comprehensive judgment based on the national government's views, Shikoku Electric Power Co.'s approach, and discussions among locals." He added that the decision “entails a very heavy responsibility. I managed to make every request imaginable to the national government and Shikoku Electric Power Co." After the meeting, the governor traveled to Tokyo to make his decision known to Industry Minister Motoo Hayashi. Meanwhile, 30-40 protesters demonstrated outside the meeting place, saying the governor should not have approved restart. Local antinuclear leader Taukasa Wada said, "The governor had kept saying he was undecided over a decision on reactivation, but in fact he considered no alternatives." Other demonstrators complained that the governor’s promise to consider all factors must be questioned because he did not do what the antinuclear public wanted. On the other hand, most residents of host community Ikata Town were happy because it means there will be more jobs available. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002519881 -- http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20151026p2a00m0na022000c.html -- http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20151026_23.html

  • A Tokyo High Court orders antinukes to remove their tents from the property of the Industry and Economy Ministry. Activists erected a small tent town on the METI property soon after the March, 2011, accident. Many have been removed over the past four years, but three have remained. Late in 2012, a lower court ordered the tents to be removed, but the two antinuclear leaders at the site refused and appealed to the higher court. Now, the activists say they will appeal the High Court orde5r. The three tents have been a national base of operation for live online programs, including a staging a hunger strike and forming a human chain around the METI offices. http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2015/10/381111.html

October 22, 2015

  • On Tuesday, Tepco recorded images inside unit #3 Primary Containment Vessel (PCV). Using a remote-controlled device pushed through a pipe penetrating the thick PCV wall, pictures were recorded above the water welled-up in the basement area. Temperature and radiation levels were also recorded. The internal radiation field appeared to be less than one sievert per hour, which is significantly lower than has been observed inside both unit #1 & #2 PCVs. The water level in the PCV seems to be about 6.4 meters deep and covered in dust which prevented cameras from inspecting the bottom of the reactor vessel (RPV). Tepco says they will insert a waterproof device later this week to collect water samples for laboratory analysis and try to look under the RPV. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/10/20/national/tepco-set-send-camera-containment-vessel-reactor-3-fukushima-no-1-plant/#.ViZEpJDosdV -- http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclear.html  Pictures taken during Tuesday’s inspection are posted here… http://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2015/201510-e/151020-01e.html

  • On Wednesday, Sendai unit #2 began transmitting electricity. The electrical output will be raised slowly over a ten day period until it reaches 100%. This is the second nuclear reactor to reach electrical transmission since Japan’s stricter safety standards were introduced. Sendai #2 is a Pressurized Water Reactor system capable of generating 890 MWe of electricity. Three inspectors from the Nuclear Regulation Authority observed the process of connecting the output to the transmission and distribution system. If no problems are found by plant staff or the NRA, commercial operations will begin in mid-November. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002509146 -- http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20151021_19.html

  • On Thursday, Tepco released the first underwater images inside unit #3’s PCV. The pictures are of the area immediate to the spot where an “inspection stand” will be placed in order to extract water samples for chemical and isotopic analysis. The location will also be used to install permanent monitoring technology.  No damage was found, but the range of the camera’s field of vision was limited by the PCV water’s cloudiness. Thus, no images could be taken of the underside of the RPV. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2015/images/handouts_151022_01-e.pdf

  • A former Fukushima contract worker receives workmen’s compensation for radiation exposure. The man has contracted leukemia and qualifies for the benefits under Japanese law.  Workers who are injured or become ill due to work or commuting can receive financial aid under the nation's Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act of 1976. For a disease to be certified as an industrial accident linked to radiation exposure, a claimant must have been exposed to at least 5 millisieverts per year, times the number of years of such exposure, and have developed the illness more than a year after first being exposed. An official of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said, "While the causal link between his exposure to radiation and his illness is unclear, we certified him from the standpoint of worker compensation." This individual had been sent to several nuke plants between November 2011 and October, 2012 where he received 4.1 millisieverts. He then worked at F. Daiichi from October, 2012, through December, 2013, receiving an additional 15.7 millisieverts. It was during his stint at F. Daiichi that he had the exposure which met the criterion for workmen’s compensation. He will be getting an unspecified amount of money and free medical coverage for. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20151020_34.html -- http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201510200086  --  http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20151020p2g00m0dm081000c.html  It must be noted that one Japanese newspaper (Japan Today) and numerous international news outlets (linking Reuters as an example, but including NBC, CBS, AP, Telegraph UK, and many more) have spun this workman’s comp decision as a government admission of a definitive link between leukemia and low level radiation exposure. It should also be noted that Japan Today also tries to suggest that the esophageal cancer death of former F. Daiichi plant superintendent might also have been due to exposure after 3/11/11, which is a first for any Japanese news outlet. http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/1st-fukushima-worker-diagnosed-with-radiation-linked-cancer?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2015-10-21_AM -- http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/20/us-japan-nuclear-fukushima-idUSKCN0SE0VD20151020

  • The former F. Daiichi worker says he has no regrets about working at the accident site. The Asahi Shimbun interviewed him on Wednesday. He said, “I decided to go to Fukushima hoping that I could make some contribution to the recovery of the disaster-stricken communities, and I have no regret over my decision.” He also said he did not initially link his cancer to F. Daiichi, but when he heard that another nuke welder had applied for the compensation, he decided to file for it. He was very ill at the time and his immune system had been deteriorated by the cancer drugs he was taking. He worried about his family’s finances, so he tried to see if workman’s comp might help. It did. A workman’s comp official said, “Based on the spirit of workers’ compensation insurance, we gave consideration to his case from a standpoint that he should not miss compensation (he might be eligible for). We also took into account that the maximum permissible radiation dose for ordinary people was 5 millisieverts annually when it was introduced in 1976.” The worker said he is now in remission and the money he gets will help ease the financial burden on his family until he can return to work. He also hopes that other F. Daiichi workers who find themselves in a similar situation can take advantage of workman’s comp to pay bills and cover medical expenses. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201510210076

October 19, 2015

  • Salmon fishing resumes in Naraha Town. Historically, the Kidogawa River has been a major source of marketed salmon for Fukushima Prefecture and outlying markets. The business was suspended when Tokyo ordered the town evacuated in 2011. Now that the evacuation order has been lifted, fishermen decided to catch some salmon and see what the radioactive content might be. The test fishing showed no radioactive substances in the fish, so full-fledged salmon harvesting has restarted. Members of the local fishing cooperative assembled at 11:30am on Sunday and began driving salmon from upstream and into their downstream nets. The cooperative believes that at least some of the adult salmon are former fry released into the river before the nuke accident, returning home to spawn. A celebratory gathering on Sunday also marked completion of a processing plant destroyed by the tsunami on 3/11/11. Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto was pleased to see the business return to Naraha because it is a key local resource and should invigorate repopulation. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201510190032 -- http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20151019_10.html

  • A Fukushima speed skating rink will reopen. The rink is located in the Yamakiya district of Kawamata, which was the only part of the town Tokyo ordered evacuated in 2011. The government plans to lift the Yamakiya order as early as next spring. The Kawamata Skating Club announced it will reopen the rink in January. Using an $80,000 subsidy, the club will make a 150 meter course on the same rice paddy it used prior to the evacuation. The clubhouse will be stocked with 50 pairs of new skates. The facility will be open from mid-January until early February, free of charge. The club says Olympic champion Hiroyasu Shimizu - the 500m gold medal winner in 1998 - will be invited to give lessons in late January. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=579

  • Okuma Town will build apartments for the elderly. The complex is planned to be opened within two years. It will be located in the Ogawara District, south of F. Daiichi, where decontamination is effective. At this point, radiation levels are one-tenth of that needed for repopulation. Residents are allowed to enter the district during the day and work has begun to restore infrastructure needed to allow unrestricted habitation. The district’s evacuation order is expected to be removed by March, 2017. The town government polls show that about 100 elderly residents to take advantage of the opportunity. Also, Tepco says they will be building dormitories on the same property for F. Daiichi workers, which should be completed in late 2016 or early 2017. On a related note, PM Shinzo Abe visited Okuma Town today and told Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe that Tokyo will ensure the reconstruction of Okuma will continue. He also visited Naraha later in the day to try and spur increased repopulation, which to this point has been disappointing. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201510190039 -- http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20151019p2g00m0dm074000c.html

  • More about no radioactive Cesium found in Fukushima Children. About 2,000 of the more than 2,700 children tested live in Fukushima Prefecture. The other 700 do not; with 200 being evacuee offspring and 500 are lifetime residents of Prefectures other than Fukushima. There were no radiologically-discernible differences between children of families who shun Fukushima-produced foods (4% of the cohort) and those who eat Fukushima foods (96%). Research team leader Masaharu Tsubokura said, “This is ample evidence to prove that the risk is low [even if one ate Fukushima food]… We will continue to conduct the checkups to help dispel safety concerns.” http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=576  The actual report posted in the Proceedings of the Japan Academy can be found here… https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/pjab/91/8/91_PJA9108B-06/_pdf  (Comment – Since there has been no Cesium found in the children, why do the researchers persist in the “low risk” rhetoric? IMHO, it’s because there is a numerically significant minority – literally millions - of consumers in Japan who believe that unless there is detectability down to absolute zero, it proves nothing. To them, there is contamination below the detectible limit to worry about. It seems the Fukushima research team is catering to these radiophobic worry-warts.)

  • A Fukushima City farmer ignores consumer radiation fears and is making a profit. Hidenori Abe owns a fruit farm near the city. When he harvested his peaches and apples in August of 2011, he found they passed the government’s strict radiation limits. He took his harvest to the Agricultural Cooperative, but found they only sold for half the pre-accident value. Undeterred, Abe took 300 kilograms of his produce to a consumer’s sales event in Tokyo and sold the entire lot in one day. Buyers were impressed with the fruit’s quality and began ordering more a few days later. Abe says, “There is no point in worrying about harmful rumors. It is the customer that decides whether to buy or not." By personally marketing his fruit through sales events and the internet, he made more money in 2014 than the year before the nuke accident. Last month, he was selling at a Fukushima City sales event and was approached by a Singapore buyer. Impressed by Abe’s product, the buyer has set up a business meeting with Abe in Singapore, scheduled for December. As for widespread reports of radiation rumors harming Fukushima Farmers in the marketplace, Abe shows that it can be overcome, saying, “It’s enough to get the product to those who will buy it.” http://mainichi.jp/english/english/features/news/20151018p2a00m0na003000c.html

  • New camera images of Spent Fuel Pool #3 at F. Daiichi. A Friday Tepco Press handout shows the condition of the used fuel bundles in SFP #3. Considerable debris can be seen on the tops of most bundles, but the key bundles that were impacted by the fallen fuel handling crane are not rubble covered. It shows that the grappling handles on the top of two bundles are misshapen, but there is no indication of any damage to the fuel assemblies below. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2015/images/handouts_151016_01-e.pdf

  • Sendai #2 achieved criticality last Thursday at ~11pm; right on schedule. Kyushu Electric Co. plans to begin electrical generation on Wednesday if the turbine generators respond as expected. The unit has been idled for more than 4 years. Commercial operation is planned for mid-November. It should be mentioned that NHK World’s report on the announcement states that other nuke operators want to restart their units now that the Sendai plants are operating. This is a misleading statement. All companies with nukes have wanted restarts ever since the creation of the Nuclear Regulation Authority more than three years ago. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20151016_80.html

  • Ehime Prefecture’s governor meets with the Industry Minister. On October 15th, Governor Tokihiro Nakamura of Ehime Prefecture met with Industry Minister Motoo Hayashi concerning the restart of Ikata unit #3. Following the Ehime Assembly’s approval of restart on October 9th, Nakamura said he would not decide on the restart until the meeting with the minister was held. He briefed Hayashi on the additional measures at Ikata-3 for earthquakes, power-source measures and emergency reporting systems. After the meeting, the governor said, “the citizens of the prefecture have a range of opinions, with some agreeing with the conditions and others not.” He stressed that the final decision process must be fully explained to the public to gain their understanding. Nakamura did not say when he expected to announce his restart decision. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/ehime-governor-and-meti-minister-meet-about-ikata-3-npp-restarting/

October 26, 2015

  • Estimated F. Daiichi groundwater outflow drops to 10 tons per day. Previously, 300-400 tons per day were assumed to be seeping into the barricaded inner port (quay). The reason for the significant drop is completion of the near-shore impermeable shield wall. Construction of the massive 780 meter-long wall began in 2012. It is made of 594 steel sheet-pilings (pipes) that extend 30 meters underground. The last piling was driven into the ground on September 22nd. Since then, the small spaces between the pilings have been filled with a cement sealer. The sealing of the wall is now complete. Tepco will closely monitor groundwater buildup on the land side of the wall and pump out contaminated liquids as needed. The waters will then go into storage to be decontaminated in the multi-stage purification system.  99% of the pilings were in place for more than a year, but Tokyo’s nuke regulator (NRA) delayed permission to install the remaining nine. The NRA was concerned about possible water buildup behind the impermeable structure, and eventually overflowing it sending detectibly contaminated water into the barricaded inner port (quay). Tepco’s subdrain system was set up and pumps water out of the ground at a rate greater than groundwater flow. The sub drains have dropped groundwater flows into the damaged building basements from 300 tons per day down to about 150 tons/day.  The decrease of inflow would only be possible if the subdrain system was removing groundwater faster than it was being replenished. Tepco says they will continue its intensive port and open sea monitoring program, even though the impermeable wall is finished. While this seals the sea side of the four damaged units, the NRA continues to withhold permission to begin freezing the soils on the three inland sides of the basements. The equipment installation for the ice wall was completed more than a month ago, but cannot begin operation until the NRA gives its consent. An NRA official explained that Tepco has not yet convinced the agency on how it will control water levels inside the four unit facility facility once freezing prevents continued groundwater seepage into the contaminated basements.  http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclear.html --  http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2015/1262806_6844.html -- http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/10/26/national/tepco-completes-sea-wall-keep-toxic-fukushima-no-1-water-reaching-sea/#.Vi4eFJDosdV A detailed handout of the covering the sea-side impermeable wall, subdrain system, installed ice wall technology, water purification system, and pre-discharge radioactive isotopic criteria, can be found here… http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2015/images/handouts_150902_01-e.pdf

  • Another exclusion zone rice harvest. Rice crops designated for commercial sales have been reaped in the town Namie, most of remains under a full evacuation order by Tokyo. Namie Mayor Tomatsu Baba said, “The revival of the (town’s) agricultural sector will build momentum toward residents’ permanent return home.” Baba joined with farmer Kiyoto Matsumoto during some of the harvesting. The rice will (of course) be tested for contained radioactivity to insure that it meets Japan’s severe standards for sale. A 2014 crop was used to test for contained radiation, and found to be well below the 100 Becquerels per kilogram limit. As a result, this year’s crop is intended for shipment to the Futaba Agricultural Group for marketing. The Namie crop is the second one to be harvested inside the exclusion zone this month, with Tomioka being the first some four weeks ago. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=581

  • Radiation exposures to safety forces during the 20km Fukushima evacuation were less than 10% of their 100 millisievert limit. In fact, more than 60% received less than 1 mSv. The cohort included 2,800 police, firefighters, and Self Defense Force (SDF) personnel. Their tasks included guiding evacuees, performing search and rescue operations resulting from the 3/11/11 quake and trsunami, and transporting injured people. Since they all wore full body suits and masks, their exposures were entirely external. Exposure levels were measured by individual personnel dosimeters. The highest exposure was with an SDF person who received 10.8 mSv. 12% of the police firefighters got more than one mSv, with a maximum of 2.2 mSv. Their exposure period covered the last three weeks of March, 2011.  http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20151026p2a00m0na014000c.html

  • A Nippon.com news article about Naraha repopulation reveals a disturbing reality. Naraha was reopened for unrestricted habitation last month, but only 200-300 or the pre-nuke accident population of more than 7,000 has returned home. The reason is a mortal fear of radiation exacerbated by the belief that children are especially susceptible to its negative health effects. The Guardian has interviewed several of the souls who have returned to their homes, most of which are retirees. Even in this limited demographic, fear of radiation remains. Kohei Yamaguchi says, “Our children told us never to come back to this place. We’re too old to be worried about getting cancer from radiation exposure. I expect a lot of older people will return, but not their children or grandchildren. It’s going to be difficult to raise children here.” Another resident who commutes from Iwaki, Seijun Watanabe, says, “You see lots of people milling around, but they’re all construction workers, not the people I used to live alongside before the disaster. It’s impossible to know what the future holds, but I don’t think this place will ever be the same again. Lots of residents are in their 70s and 80s – no one in their 30s and 40s, especially parents of young children, is interested in coming back.” One former resident who is staying in Iwaki shares a widespread distrust of the government, saying, “I don’t trust the authorities when they say the water is safe to drink… I’d rather stay where I am.” The estimated average radiation exposure for the town is just 3 millisieverts per year, roughly the same as that of Colorado Plateau residents due to natural background. The unquestioned safety of such exposure makes little or no difference. The parents and prospective parents of children have been frightened by a constant reminder of children being in increased hypothetical danger by activists and the Press. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/12/safe-at-last-view-from-naraha-the-first-fukushima-community-declared-fit-for-humans

  • All political hurdles for Ikata #3 restart have been cleared. Ehime Prefecture’s Governor Tokihiro Nakamura approved restart today. He made his decision known during a public meeting with Shikoku Electric’s President Hayato Saeki. Nakamura handed Saeki a nine-point list of requests to insure the safety of his constituency. Nakamura said, "Today, as governor of Ehime Prefecture, I decided to accept advance consultations (over the reactivation) after making a comprehensive judgment based on the national government's views, Shikoku Electric Power Co.'s approach, and discussions among locals." He added that the decision “entails a very heavy responsibility. I managed to make every request imaginable to the national government and Shikoku Electric Power Co." After the meeting, the governor traveled to Tokyo to make his decision known to Industry Minister Motoo Hayashi. Meanwhile, 30-40 protesters demonstrated outside the meeting place, saying the governor should not have approved restart. Local antinuclear leader Taukasa Wada said, "The governor had kept saying he was undecided over a decision on reactivation, but in fact he considered no alternatives." Other demonstrators complained that the governor’s promise to consider all factors must be questioned because he did not do what the antinuclear public wanted. On the other hand, most residents of host community Ikata Town were happy because it means there will be more jobs available. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002519881 -- http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20151026p2a00m0na022000c.html -- http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20151026_23.html

  • A Tokyo High Court orders antinukes to remove their tents from the property of the Industry and Economy Ministry. Activists erected a small tent town on the METI property soon after the March, 2011, accident. Many have been removed over the past four years, but three have remained. Late in 2012, a lower court ordered the tents to be removed, but the two antinuclear leaders at the site refused and appealed to the higher court. Now, the activists say they will appeal the High Court orde5r. The three tents have been a national base of operation for live online programs, including a staging a hunger strike and forming a human chain around the METI offices. http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2015/10/381111.html

<< Later Posts | Earlier Posts >>