Fukushima Accident Updates (Blog)

Your most reliable source of objective Fukushima News... summaries of news reports in Japan's Press on Fukushima Daiichi, often mis-stated as a nuclear disaster.

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August 12, 2022

  • Fukushima is skeptical that the wastewater release next year will actually happen. Governor Masao Uchibori says the negative speculation is because "...you cannot say sufficient understanding has been obtained from prefectural residents and the nation's general public." He added that Tepco and Tokyo need to raise (Tepco) employees' awareness, because a series of troubles have happened in the decommissioning process that continue to cause anxiety among people in the prefecture. Many members of the public seem to expect perfection! Tokyo and Tepco have said they "will not dispose of (contaminated water) in any manner without the understanding of the parties concerned." But forging this understanding has made little progress, with opposition still very strong, particularly among local fishermen. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1118

  • There should be enough wastewater tank capacity until well after the first scheduled discharges happen. This is based on the somewhat reduced rate of buildup over the past two years which has been reduced 20 tons per day. The reduced inflow is because of fixing roofs over the four damaged units at F. Daiichi. The only caveat is unexpectedly high future rainfalls. Regardless, Tokyo wants the daily buildup of 140 tons per day to be dropped down to less than 100 tons per day. https://japantoday.com/category/national/focus-respite-for-japan-as-radioactive-water-accumulation-slows-in-fukushima

  • A senior Canadian official says nuclear energy is “cool”. Matthew Mairinger, is on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Nuclear Association. He was recently in Japan and gave extended answers to many questions posed by the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum. The questions and his responses can be found here... https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/events/6099

August 5, 2022

    • Tepco started to build F. Daiichi wastewater release facilities on Thursday. The event was posted on all Japanese news outlets, as well as Tepco's News website. This occurred two days after local authorities approved the plan for building it. (next bullet) Specifically, Tepco will make a a tunnel for operating an underground tunneling machine and install pipes to transfer the treated water to the several new facilities before actual discharge about 1 kilometer off shore. In these facilities, the ALPS-purged liquids will be severely diluted so that the main residual radioisotope (Tritium) will be way below Japan's drinking water standard, as has been posted numerous times over the past few years. Tepco's Akira Ono said, “We are aware of various views on reputational impact and safety concerns (of the release) and we'll keep explaining thoroughly to stakeholders.” Of course, the largely antinuclear Japanese Press, led by the Mainichi Shimbun and infamous antinuke reporter Mari Yamaguchi, continues to focus on purely hypothetical notions like the health effects of long term exposure to Tritium are “still unknown”.

      https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220803_36/ - https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/hd/decommission/information/newsrelease/reference/pdf/2022/reference_20220804_01-e.pdf (includes photos of the work) https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220804/p2g/00m/0na/016000c - https://japantoday.com/category/national/construction-begins-at-fukushima-plant-for-water-release

    • Tepco gets local approval for wastewater release construction on Tuesday. Governor Masao Uchibori and the two host town mayors of Okuma and Futaba announced the decision. The amount of tritium in the diluted water will be 40-times less than the drinking water concentration established by the World Health Organization.Uchibori said opinions vary about the plan and it does not have full public support, largely because the local fisheries stubbornly oppose a release to the sea. They say the move will further exacerbate already-negative public opinion. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14686406 - https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220802_41/

    • A water leak further delays the restart of Mihama Unit #3. It was found during a regular inspection for commercial operation. The leak occurred in the unit's auxiliary building and was completely contained. Thus, there was zero environmental impact. Kansai Electric says they do not know how long of a delay there will be because ther cause of the leak has yet to be determined. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14686289


July 29, 2022

  • The United Nations says the accident at F. Daiichi caused no adverse health effects. This is the conclusion of the prestigious United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR). It comes as the result of the close examination of more than 500 scientific papers and investigations into the subject. Past committee chair Dr. Gillian Hirth says, “future cancer rates that could be inferred from radiation exposure from this accident are unlikely to be discernible.” She added that child thyroid cancer increases were due to “extensive, ultra sensitive screening.” After the report's release, meetings were held with residents, scientists, and students in Fukushima City, Minamisoma, Naraha, and Tokyo. This was only reported on the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum website. Why this important finding was not posted throughout Japan's new Media is a mystery! https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/news/6071

  • 15% of Futaba will have its evacuation order lifted on August 30th. This will be the third “difficult to return” locale to have the order rescinded. Regardless, 85% of the town will continue to be subject to the Tokyo-mandated evacuation order. It was also announced that these restrictions will be terminated for Tomioka, Namie, and Iitate next spring. The extent of the lifting will be limited to those areas that were designated as reconstruction and revitalization zones. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220726/p2g/00m/0na/046000c

  • Tepco posts a preliminary progress report on its marine rearing trials. Basically, the organism's are being bred in tritium-laced seawater to see what happens. The trials will probably result in no discernible effects because Tritium is essentially harmless due to its exceedingly weak Beta radiation emission. Tepco says “tritium is not concentrated in the living bodies and that the concentration of tritium in live bodies do not exceed that of the rearing environment.” Regardless, the testing program will be run to hopefully alleviate radiophobic concerns of the fishing industry and from neighboring countries. Full scale testing in ALPS treated water mixed with seawater, to tritium concentrations expected with next year's first releases, will begin in September. The testing will be done on flounder and abalone, as well as seaweed. https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/hd/decommission/information/newsrelease/reference/pdf/2022/reference_20220721_01-e.pdf

  • Indonesia removes all import restrictions on Japanese food imports. Indonesia had required radiation-free certificates for imports of meat, vegetables and other food products. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022072700554

July 22, 2022

  • Japan's nuclear regulator approves the F. Daiichi water release plan. The “treated” wastewater is currently stored in massive tanks on the plant site. Before release to the sea, all radioisotopes except Tritium will be stripped away, down to nearly nothing. Tritium will be at 40 times less than Japanese standards. Although harmless, the release is going to occur despite the groundless “concerns” of local fishermen over the negative effect of baseless rumors. The mandatory public comment period produced nothing of substance that could stop the release. China tried to muddle the mix by stating that the plans are “extremely irresponsible” of Japan. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220722_23/ - https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/07/67af4b80215a-nuclear-regulator-approves-treated-fukushima-water-release-plan.html - https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220722/p2g/00m/0na/050000c

  • Nearly half of Japan supports nuke restarts. A Jiji Press survey found that more than 48% want the restarts. Only about 28% were opposed. The reason for the sudden shift in opinion was not stated in the article. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022072100800

  • Even with nuke restarts, Japan is mired in a power crunch. As a result, old, idled fossil fueled plants will probably be restarted to off-set the shortage. There are six nukes currently operating, and four more are about ready for power resumption. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022072000439

  • Takahama unit #3 will resume operation on July 26th. The unit has been down because of Steam Generator tubes were found to be damaged. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14674753

  • Ohi unit #4 was restarted on July 15th. But, the 1,180 megawatt nuke will not officially begin commercial (financially profitable) operation until August 15th . The plant has been shut down for a regularly-scheduled refueling. The outage extension was due to a Nuclear Regulation Authority-mandated emergency response facility to be completed. In addition, the NRA has approved the draft review for restart of Tepco's Kashiwazaki Kariwa units 6&7. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/news/6064

  • A Fukushima beach closed since 2011 has reopened. It happened last Saturday. The is the first beach reopened in an area previously under a Tokyo-mandated evacuation order. The Naraha beach is 20-25 kilometers south of F. Daiichi. Before the tsunami-caused nuke accident, the beach attracted some 30,000 visitors a year, largely due to surfers. Many facilities at the location were destroyed by the tsunami. The Naraha evacuation order was lifted in 2015, but rebuilding beach facilities has delayed the reopening. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022071600302 - https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220716/p2a/00m/0na/023000c

July 15, 2022

  • Young people are trying to revive Futaba. The town was ordered to be evacuated by Tokyo, soon after the nuke accident in 2011. Now, college students from across Japan are doing whatever they can to bring back the town, hoping to attract tourists and sustainable businesses. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220711/p2g/00m/0na/035000c

  • Another evacuation order for Futaba Town will be relaxed as early as next month. This lifting will cover about 2 square miles around the town rail station. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220714_35/

  • The Tokyo District Court condemns Tepco's corporate culture, prior to the nuke accident. It said the company should have exercised safety awareness that is strictly required of a nuclear plant operator. Instead. The company focused on schmoozing federal regulators to try and keep costs under control. The ruling states that the executives were naive and, fundamentally lacked an awareness of the need for safety and a sense of responsibility that is asked of executives of an operator of a nuclear plant.” Then they overstated the case, saying that a nuke accident “could lead to the collapse of our nation because the damage would extend over a wide land area and cause enormous damage to the entire population.” It added that former VP Sakae Muto's inaction prior to the tsunami was “unforgivable”. Because of this and other points of alleged wrongdoing, the court found that the accident itself was avoidable... in contradiction to the recent supreme court conclusion! https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220713_46/ - https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14669884 - https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/society/crime-courts/20220714-44746/

  • PM Fumio Kishida say nine nuclear units will go on line by winter. This is because of anticipated power shortages. He says, “We are aiming to put as many nuclear reactors as possible online. We will have up to nine reactors operating this winter to secure enough sources of energy to cover about 10 percent of Japan’s overall power consumption.” In addition, consumers are strongly urged to conserve. All nine were brought online at least once after passing the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s screening for restart. Four were in operation as of July 14. Industry Minister Hagiuda added that up 10 fossil-fueled units could also be restarted. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14670899

July 8, 2022

  • Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan for the cowardly assassination of former PM Shinzo Abe! The perpetrator says his reasons were non-political. https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/society/crime-courts/20220708-43512/

  • Japanese PM Fumio Kishida promotes nuke restarts. Last Sunday, he said,"We'll utilize nuclear power to the fullest extent possible." His firm statement comes amid a summer power shortage that could be mitigated by nuke restarts. Until his desire can be effected, he said the shortage will be addressed with fossil-fueled plants and hydro units. Opposition party leader Ichiro Matsui agreed with Kishida, "We hope to have nuclear plants restarted in order to address energy shortages and soaring electricity rates." https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022070400042

  • A rad-waste storage tank in Aomori Prefecture has cooling interrupted. The operator of the Rokkasho Village station said it lost the function for about eight hours. There is about 2,600 liters of highly radioactive water in it. The reason was a valve had closed for reasons yet to be understood. The Aomori Prefecture government sent officials to the facility to look for the reason. The liquid's temperature raised about eight degrees Celsius during the outage. None of the liquid leaked from the tank. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220703_13/

  • (late entry) A Skeptical Inquirer article examines more than a decade of Fukushima disinformation. It asserts, “The event’s memory is shaped mainly by unsubstantiated horror stories that have decisively influenced nuclear power debates.” After a comprehensive overview of the past decade of rampant misinformation in the news, it concludes, “The actual consequences pale against the background of the more severe destruction and casualty figures of the natural disaster. Fukushima was not the global catastrophe it is often made out to be.” It adds, “The data strongly suggest that measures in Germany (and, in retrospect, Japan) were not appropriate... decisions (should be) based on science and facts rather than following popular narratives.” It should be noted that our Hiroshima Syndrome site and E-book “Kimin:Japan's Forgotten People” are included in the references. https://skepticalinquirer.org/2021/06/ten-years-of-fukushima-disinformation/?fbclid=IwAR3XoPSZkS570bTgqoInPjfv9Bx6ywMRnEPhtsJD0DDgEKGiMGtX6qII_pE

July 1, 2022

  • Part of Okuma Town has some of its evacuation order rescinded. The co-host community for F. Daiichi has been under the order since the March, 2011 nuke accident. The order was lifted for about 20 percent of Okuma Town's "difficult-to-return" zone on Thursday. This is the second “difficult to return” zone with the order lifted this month. Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda said, "Ending restrictions on an area, which used to be downtown (Okuma) before the disaster, will be a significant first step in reconstruction." https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220628_19/ - https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/06/e96af5c6ecfb-japan-oks-return-to-nuclear-plant-host-town-for-1st-time-in-11-yrs.html

  • Britain lifts its F. Daiichi import restrictions. British PM Boris Johnson said, “...finally, we are able to have Fukushima-origin products all over the shops in the U.K." Farm products including mushrooms from Fukushima, Miyagi and seven other prefectures had been subject to the restrictions. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/06/05d8df3e62cd-britain-to-lift-import-restriction-on-food-products-from-fukushima.html

  • Electric utility share owners want nuke restarts to abate summer power shortfalls. A Chubu Electric Power Co. shareholder said, “If the plant (Hamaoka) had been brought back online, consumers' concerns about power shortages might have been eased. A spike in electricity rates as a result of a surge in fossil fuel prices could have been avoided as well.” Kyushu Electric Power Co. president Kazuhiro Ikebe says, “Nuclear energy can play a big role when power supplies are tight.” Japan is currently experiencing a major heat wave, causing a major shortfall in power supply. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14656785

June 24, 2022

  • More on Japan's Supreme Court denial of government responsibility for the F. Daiichi accident. The court said the earthquake was “beyond expectation”. The most extreme quake supported by scientific evidence was Richter Scale 8.2, while the actual quake was 7-8 times more powerful at Richter Scale 9.0. It was estimated that such a quake could produce a 15.7 meter tsunami hitting the plant site out of the southeast, with an epicenter somewhere between Sanriku and Boso. The actual tsunami produced a greater surge along the Tohoku coast, with a maximum surge of 19 meters. The court ruled on whether or not the accident could have been averted if protective actions based on the prediction were taken. The decision said protective actions for the 8.2 quake and tsunami would not have been sufficient for the actual quake and tsunami. Legal expert Shinsuke Toyonaga said, As opinions were divided among the judges, the ruling may well have been decided within the limits they were able to draw together. But the top court, as the court of last resort, should have given a collective view on major points of contention, including the long-term evaluation.” A former judge countered with, The latest ruling has assessed too strictly whether the consequence could have been avoided or not. Given the risks of a nuclear power plant, there was a possibility of ampler measures than suggested by the provisional calculation was taken. Therefore, I would have to say that the top court has not considered the matter sufficiently.” Japanese law requires the company owning the plant having an accident to compensate damaged parties, whether or not the severity of the accident could have been anticipated.https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/society/general-news/20220618-38959/ - https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220618/p2a/00m/0op/014000c

  • Fukushima Governor Uchibori responds to a public opinion poll concerning F. Daiichi wastewater. Specifically, 47.3% of the respondents said the prefecture's efforts had not improved public understanding. Thus, the prefecture would continue to make efforts to provide accurate information.” Uchibori suggested that the poor level of understanding may be due to emergence of new rumors and misinformation. He added that dispelling fears and misinformation—including those overseas—was a high-priority prefectural issue. He wants to “eliminate those concerns, working in cooperation with the national government.”https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/news/5984

June 17, 2022

  • Japan's Supreme Court absolves the government of F. Daiichi accident blame. The court finding says the government "was highly unlikely to have been able to prevent the flooding" of the plant, even if it had exercised its regulatory powers over TEPCO to take preventative measures because the scale and direction of the actual tsunami differed from estimates. Thus, the accident could not have been avoided even if seawalls were built to protect from the theoretical worst-case tsunami, citing a 2002 seismic study's estimate. The decision effectively quashed a four civil suits brought by more than 3,600 citizens that had to evacuate by government mandate. However, the decision does not forgive Tepco of responsibility. The company was ordered to compensate the plaintiffs in March to the tune of about $10.5 million. Of course, the plaintiffs were unhappy with the courts. Plaintiff lawyer Izutaro Managi angrily said it was unacceptable and the court should read the decision to the people of Fukushima. How this will impact the (Aside – if Tokyo cannot be found legally culpable, how can Tepco be held responsible of malfeasance?) https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/society/crime-courts/20220617-38551/ - https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/06/e3802f4efbc6-breaking-news-japans-top-court-rules-state-not-liable-for-fukushima-disaster.html - https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220617_24/ - https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220617/p2g/00m/0na/034000c (The above references represent the dozens of news outlets posting on the decision.)

  • Another “difficult-to-return” area will have its evacuation order rescinded. This time for a portion of F. Daiichi co-host Okuma. This covers about 3.2 square miles of the town. The area covers a needed train station and the roads leading to it from outside the town proper. The Order will be lifted on June 30. Mayor Jun Yoshida said, "We hope that the removal (of the evacuation order) will lead to further progress in the town's reconstruction process." https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022061600879

June 10, 2022

  • Despite Japan's business community's support, nuke restarts move at a snail's pace. Utility companies have applied for 27 nuke unit safety inspections, But, only 10 have actually restarted, and some of them are currently idled by order of the Nuclear Regulation Authority. Seven others have been bogged down with local issues that stand in the way. For the other 10, the blame is squarely on the NRA for unnecessarily protracted reviews on the startup requests, mostly to have anti-terrorism facilities completed. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) are literally fed up and have formally called for immediate restart of those units where safety has been assured through meeting or exceeding the NRA regulations. NRA Chair Toyoshi Fuketa sheepishly retorts with the old NRA line,We cannot allow any compromise on safety. We can never neglect the confirmation of safety by hurrying.” He constantly promises to improve the speed and efficiency of the screening process, but literally nothing has been done to show that it is actually happening. https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/science-nature/science/20220608-35679/

  • Prime Minister Kishida calls for a clean energy strategy with “the maximum utilization” of nukes. This is part of Kishida's “new capitalism” concept. Industry Minister Hagiuda said, The clean energy strategy aims to make the most of everything we can use, including nuclear power, to respond to circumstances, such as the Ukraine crisis and the energy supply shortage, on condition that nuclear energy is safely used.” Electricity prices have risen to all-time highs because of Russia's invasion of the Ukraine. The trend will continue as long as the NRA and local politics keep nukes idled. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14636067

  • PM Kishida tells Katsurao residents when their local evacuation order will end... 8am on June 12th. He says, "I am glad, from the bottom of my heart, that I can tell you right here the decision to lift the order. The government will continue to tackle reconstruction of Fukushima responsibly, keeping firmly in mind that the elimination of the evacuation order is not an end goal but a start."http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1109

  • Will reopened Fukushima areas need sustained federal support? The Mainichi Shimbun says “yes”. On June 12th, a small portion of Katsurao will be the first area designated “difficult to return” to reopen. Only eight of the 82 people evacuated in 2011 plan to return. As such, they will have little-to-no medical or commercial facilities at their disposal. A formal plan of action seems prudent. One local official puts it this way, “It's important to properly support the lives of people who have returned. We want to move forward one step at a time from there."https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220610/p2a/00m/0op/013000c

  • Mihama unit #3 to restart two months ahead of schedule. It restarted for the first time last June, but the NRA shut it down after four months for not being able to meet the mandated deadline for implementing anti-terrorism measures. The designated safety facility will be ready to go around August 12th. It was originally scheduled to begin operation on October 20th. Kansai Electric, which owns the unit, stated “We will operate our nuclear plants in a safe manner while considering current challenges in the power supply and demand." https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/06/a031a57f82df-aging-fukui-nuclear-unit-to-restart-in-aug-2-months-early.html

May 27, 2022

There were two detailed postings by Tepco about its detailed robotic probe around the F. Daiichi reactor pedestal of Unit #1.

  • May 19th – A detailed inspection around the Unit #1 pedestal began on March 14th, but was terminated and rescheduled because of too much turbidity in the water and a sudden drop in water level due to a March 16th earthquake. The investigation restarted on May 17th after the water had cleared sufficiently and earlier technical problems were resolved. Videos taken by the submersible robot (ROV) revealed no major damage to the pipes and vales of the Unit #1 auxiliary cooling water system or the primary recirculation system (PLR). A number of deposits were found, but none seemed to be comprised of resolidified corium (mixture of melted fuel and structural metals). A radiation monitor on the ROV recorded the exposure levels at many locations around the pedestal. While the radiation levels near the in-place technology around the pedestal, actual exposures to technicians were very low. May 17 – 0.56 milliSieverts (56 millirems) and May 18 – 0.19 mSv (19 mrem)... both of which were well below the assumed exposure of 300 mrem per day per person. Numerous pictures were included in the posting. https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/hd/decommission/information/newsrelease/reference/pdf/2022/reference_20220519_02-e.pdf

  • May 23rd – A second investigation began on May 19th, looking at the pedestal opening and PLR system jet deflectors. As with the earlier look-see, there were a lot of deposits, but nothing resembling resolidified corium. May 20th and 21st had measurements taken of the neutron flux in these two areas, but the readings were not posted because analysis and assessment had yet to be completed. The investigation culminated on May 23rd. Similar to the earlier look-see, numerous new pictures were posted. Additional cumulative exposures to the operators of the ROVs (there were four) were May 19 – 120 mrem, May 20 – 13 mrem, and May 21 – 21 mrem. There was no change in the condition of pipes and/or valves since the first investigation, two days earlier. Thus, it is safe to assume that conditions have stagnated, and (judging by the amount of dust-like sedimentation) have remained so since soon after the accident itself. https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/hd/decommission/information/newsrelease/reference/pdf/2022/reference_20220523_01-e.pdf

. . .

  • On May 18th, a brief but poignant report was published in the Sage Journal on Dose Response (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/15593258221103378 ). It concludes that the risk perception of low dose radiation has been greatly exaggerated. It boldly statesthere is no evidence that radiation is a carcinogen below some threshold.” Further “Unfounded suppositions about enhanced aggressiveness of malignancies may be conductive to overtreatment.” 

Next - https://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-133-12-31-2021-3-25-22.html