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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January 19, 2024

  • Tepco says they will begin the next F. Daiichi wastewater release late in February. The wastewater releases have been scheduled in stages, and nothing has happened to alter the schedule. China and Russia continue their banning of Japanese seafood, falsely calling the releases “scientifically unjustified”. Two additional releases are planned before the end of March. https://japantoday.com/category/national/japan's-tepco-to-start-fourth-release-of-treated-fukushima-water-in-late-feb

  • South Korea's business leader supports nuke startups. Korea'sRyu Jin of the Federation of Korean Industries said he wants to strengthen support for startups. A joint Japan-Korea statement says, “...it is important to harness the vitality of startups and make them a growth engine for both countries.” https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/business/companies/20240111-161445/

  • Tepco says that the January 1 quake and tsunami will not change F. Daiichi recovery. Negligible water sloshing and minor transformer oil leaks occurred at the Shika station and reported in the largely antinuclear Press. The head of Tepco's decommissioning unit, Akira Ono, said, “At the moment, we believe there won’t be any change to our plan because of the Noto quake.” He added that the existing F. Daiichi structures would survive even if subjected to a quake 1.5 times greater than the March 2011 temblor. The Nuclear Regulation Authority order for increased vigilance on Shika nuke plant safety is merely a prudent consideration reflecting the F. Daiichi experience, and nothing more. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/15115987

  • Pictorial of the latest F. Daiichi Unit 2 containment investigation. The images were taken inside the containment penetration after the bore hole in the debris collapsed. Low pressure water was used to remove much of the collapsed material. Though available, high pressure water does not seem to have been used. Careful work will continue on opening the X-6 containment penetration to facilitate the internal investigation. https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/hd/decommission/information/newsrelease/reference/pdf/2024/reference_20240118_01-e.pdf

January 12, 2024

  • Tepco continues to prepare for corium retrieval at F. Daiichi Unit #2. Corium is the term used for melted and re-solidified fuel mixed with structural materials. Workers have pushed through a portion of the collapsed material blocking the the pipe used for inspections inside the containment structure. The process of preparation is slow and tedious because everything is being done by remote control. Retrieval of the corium is scheduled to begin in March. Tepco plans to use a high pressure water stream to clear the pipe now that it is understood that the some of the debris blocking the pipe is loose and granular. Once the pipe is fully clear, robotic arms can be used to remove the corium bit-by-bit. https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/hd/decommission/information/newsrelease/reference/pdf/2024/reference_20240110_01-e.pdf - https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20240110_32/

  • Last week's severe earthquake in Japan caused a 3-meter tsunami at the Shika nuke. It was measured at the Shika Nuclear Station in Ishikawa Prefecture. The tsunami struck the plant area about 90 minutes after the 7.6 Richter Scale temblor occurred off-shore. The station is protected by a 4-meter high sea wall atop the 11-meter high shoreline. Thus, no damage occurred to the nuke. The tsunami was announced late because the measuring device set in the sea floor stopped working when the quake hit and the water level of a shoreline pool at the nuke station rose 3 meters. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20240109/p2g/00m/0na/037000c

  • The quake shook The Shika nuke above safety standards. The level was slightly higher than the estimated maximum. Regardless, no damage occurred due to the quake, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority, although some oil leaked from transformers at the station. Both units at the site were not operating when the quake occurred. The mu8ch-milder tremors experienced at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa station in neighboring Niigata Prefecture were well-below safety standards. Some radiation monitors near the Shika Station did not transmit post-quake rad levels, which the NRA said is a “huge problem”. The NRA also said that safety standards for Shika may have to be revised because of the quake, but that it could take years of research to make a final decision. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/15107348 - https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20240111/p2g/00m/0na/014000c - https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2024011100234

January 5, 2024

December 29, 2023

  • Japan and China plan “expert” talks about F. Daiichi wastewater. These discussions will occur early next year. There is no guarantee of agreement or China lifting its blanket ban on Japanese seafood. The International Atomic Energy Agency already has a framework in place to monitor wastewater releases, but China doesn't trust the IAEA. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, comprehensive, effective and independent long-term monitoring mechanism by all stakeholders”. (As if the IAEA isn't independent.) https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/15097958

  • A Tokyo High Court says only Tepco is culpable for the 2011 nuke accident. The court ordered Tepco to pay $165,000 in damages to 44 plaintiffs. Judge Hiro Misumi said the flooding of the plant because the tsunami wasn't preventable even if the industry ministry used its authority and ordered the utility to enhance a seawall based on a tsunami estimate at that time. Plaintiff attorney Nakagawa said the court's decision was merely a cut and paste from earlier findings One evacuee complained that the decision trivializes the suffering of the evacuees. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20231227/p2g/00m/0na/003000c

December 22, 2023

  • Is financial relief for Tepco in the offing? Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority has lifted its ban in Kashiwazaki-Kariwa operations, which makes restarting units # 6 and #7 possible. The ban was put in place in 2021 for alleged improper operations with a worker using someone else's ID card to gain access to a control room. Now, local approval will be needed before restart can actually occur. Tepco's questionable financial issues would be eased if the two units resume operation. Tepco's president said, "As the company that caused the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, it's not an easy task to win trust."https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2023122000652 - https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20231221/p2a/00m/0op/023000c

  • Kagoshima's governor approves of licensing extensions for 2 nukes. On Thursday, Governor Koichi Shiota agreed that Sendai units #1 & #2 can operate for an additional 20 years beyond its original 40 years. He said the decision resulted from “comprehensive judgment”. The NRA approved the extension last month. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng

December 15, 2023

  • A Fukushima worker might have been contaminated. During a routine post-working scan, he was found to be facially contaminated. He was wearing a full face mask while doing his job. He was decontaminating fences near unit #2. He was immediately decontaminated by washing his face. How he was contaminated under his mask is not immediately known. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20231211/p2g/00m/0na/045000c

  • Using more nuclear energy will reduce atmospheric greenhouse emissions. This is the conclusion of a global study agreement at COP28. This is the first time nuclear energy has been touted as part of the solution at a COP meeting., World Nuclear Association Director General, Dr Sama Bilbao y León said, “This marks a 180degree turn around treatment of nuclear energy in the COP process. It is now time to deliver rapid acceleration in global nuclear capacity needed to achieve net zero.”<.Press@world-nuclear.org – December 13, 2023>

  • Fukushima accident compensation reaches new heights. Another $14 million will be added to the already copious pay-out to the public. This reflects the December 2022 revised criteria plus damages to the fishing industry due to rumors and and Chinese ban on Japanese seafood. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2023121500698

December 8, 2023

  • The NRA says Tepco has improved anti-terror measures at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuke station. The secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority made this statement in a draft report on Tepco's corrective measures at the K-K station. Start-up and operation of any K-K unit is currently forbidden due to a series of flaws found in anti-terrorism measures. The improvements were made by the company independent of the regulatory body. Tepco officials will meet with the NRA on Wednesday to begin discussions on possibly lifting the ban. K-K houses seven nukes, but only four are designated to eventually start. Two (#6 & #7) are 1,315 Megawatt Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor system (APWR) units and the other two (#1 & #5) are conventional 1,067 MW PWRs. Tepco needs the income from the K-K units operating, so this is very good news for the company. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20231204_18/

November 17, 2023

  • Pacific Islands Forum is concerned about the F. Daiichi wastewater releases. Cook Islands PM Mark Brown says “strong concerns” have been raised by “our forum leaders for the significance of potential threats of contamination to the health and security of the blue Pacific." Most have acknowledged the findings of the IAEA, but a few, like the Solomon Islands PM, have denounced the releases, largely because of close diplomatic ties with China. The Pacific Islands Forum consists of Australia, the Cook Islands, Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.https://japantoday.com/category/national/Pacific-island-nations-express-concern-over-Japan's-tainted-water-release

  • (Late entry) Removal of F. Daiichi corium will be more difficult than wastewater releases. Corium is the resolidified mixture of nuke fuel and surrounding materials from the meltdowns. Tepco spokesperson Kenichi Takahara says, “Removal of the melted fuel debris is not like we can just take it out and be finished.” He said the scarcity of information from inside the containments makes planning and development of robotic technology for the removal extremely difficult. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14991260

November 10, 2023

  • The last evacuation order for a Fukushima special reconstruction zone is lifted. This is the last such zone created by Tokyo after the 2011 accident. It is in Tomioka Town and includes a cemetery, community center, and some public roads. The formal removal is scheduled for November 30. The reason is that radiation level have fallen to acceptable levels. Unfortunately, two town districts remain in the “difficult to return” category. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20231106_21/

  • The possibility of filling and solidification for F. Daiichi is resurrected. This method is being added to the partial and full submersion options, already on the table. The two options seem superior because it will stabilize damaged materials, fix radioactive dust in place and provide additional shielding. However, it will probably increase to total volume of waste to be removed. Regardless, the study will look at all possible methods without prejudice. Each method has both advantages and disadvantage relative to the other options. Head of the investigation Yamana Hajimu said, A still better method might yet be considered, or some combination of the three.” https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/news/6775

  • The ICRP (International Commission on Radiation Protection) visits F. Daiichi. (Photos only) https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2023-e/202311-e/231109-01e.html

November 3, 2023

October 27, 2023

October 27, 2023 -

October 20, 2023

October 13, 2023

  • An IAEA team will test Fukushima second-round wastewater releases. This time, the group will include experts from China and Canada, as well as from China, Samples will be compared to those from the first round of releases. China claims Japan “has not offered a scientifically credible explanation for its actions.” Third party testing has been done since 3035, but this is the first time China has been past of it. Regardless, China continues its negatively abuse the IAEA plan. Chines official Wang Wenbin says the plan will be carried out by the IAEA under an arrangement with Japan, and thusly fall short of an international monitoring agreement. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20231011_18/ - https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/15027071

  • Photos of the IAEA team in action can be found here... https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2023-e/202310-e/231012-02e.html

  • Tepco has begun compensation action for Japanese fisheries. The give-out will cover diminished income due to China's baseless fear inflammation over the wastewater releases of August 24 through September 11. Actual compensation began October 2. Estimates for that pay-out runs in the billions of yen. One Fishery spokesperson says “We have been losing about 10 million in sales each week, which is a big blow to our business. We plan to seek compensation for our loss.” Seafood sales in China are down. One salesperson said, “More and more people are avoiding fish and shellfish. Business has been slow even though this is supposed to be one of the busiest seasons for us.” Even Japanese cosmetics sales are taking a major hit. https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/society/general-news/20231008-141856/

  • Nearly half of the Chinese people in Japan are worried about the wastewater releases. 25% are “worried” and 22% are “very worried”. Only 8% are “not worried at all”, and nearly 19% are “not very worried”. However, their outward reaction seems to be that of calm. Meanwhile, 92% of Japanese have an unfavorable opinion of China, worsening from 87% last year. https://japantoday.com/category/national/about-half-of-chinese-worried-about-fukushima-water-release-poll

  • The Fukui governor supports operating nukes beyond 40 years. Governor Tatsuji Sugimoto also approved local used fuel storage until a more permanent site can be approved by 2030. The used bundles will be stored on-site at the nuke plants. Some Fukui Prefectural officials don't like it. One called it a “pie in the sky” plan, while another said the temporary storage could well become de-facto permanent. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2023101301149 - https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/15028320


October 8, 2023

  • Tepco begins the second round of wastewater releases. They began on Thursday, October 7, at 10:18 am, Japan time. The ratio of dilution is one ton of treated wastewater stripped of nearly all radionuclides, except essentially harmless Tritium. The Tritium concentration was found to be between 63 and 87 Becquerels per liter. Tepco's self-imposed limit for discharge is 1,500 Becquerels per liter. Japan's standard limit is 60,000 Bq/l. No unusual levels of Tritium, or any other redionuclide, have been found in the seafood taken from near the damaged plant site. Regardless, China continues its ridiculous ban on Japanese seafood. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20231005_16/ - https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2023/10/e25aaa51a481-japan-begins-2nd-round-of-fukushima-treated-water-discharge.html#google_vignette (Nearly all Japanese news outlets carried the story, but these two seem to best cover the range of reporting.)

  • The IAEA says Tritium is way below the limit for 2nd discharge.The International Atomic Energy Agency said its independent on-site analysis confirmed that Tritium in the waste water was far below the limit of 1,500 becquerels per liter.https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2023100600308

  • Another IAEA task force will review the wastewater release. It will take place October 24-27, with representatives from Argentina, Australia, Britain, Canada, China, France, South Korea, the Marshall Islands, Russia, the United States, and Vietnam. The mission will look at the releases "from an independent standpoint." It is hoped the visit will promote better international understanding. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2023/10/25f83a15d8aa-iaea-team-to-visit-japan-late-oct-to-review-fukushima-water-release.html

  • Japanese anti-nukes call for a nuke restart referendum. A petition for the referendum was submitted to the governor of Kagoshima Prefecture on Monday, October 4. It was signed by more than 46,000 people. The Secretary General of the submitting group said, This request expresses the will of the people, as the number of signatures far exceeds the required minimum. Now, the conscience of the governor and the assembly will be called into question.” Governor Koichi Shiota said, I will follow the procedures in an appropriate manner. I will state my position when I submit a draft ordinance.” None of the operating plants in the prefecture have reached the age of 40, but two will by the end of 2025. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/15021894

September 29, 2023

September 22, 2023

September 15, 2023

  • F. Daiichi Unit #1 can survive a major earthquake. This is the conclusion reached after the most recent investigation by Tepco. The inquiry was required by the Nuclear Regulation Authority after the most recent video evidence of the reactor pedestal. The exposed rebar was studied and found to be sufficient for a quake measuring 900 gals. The investigation is ongoing... https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230911_31/

  • Tepco has finished the first round of wastewater releases from F. Daiichi. There will be at least three more releases this fiscal year. Tepco plans to release another 7,800 tons later this month. https://japantoday.com/category/national/1st-round-of-treated-water-release-off-fukushima-plant-completed

  • The long-awaited restart of Takahama No.2 is in progress. Initial control rod withdrawal began at around 3pm today. Power generation should resume by this coming Wednesday. Official commercial operation should follow thereafter. It has been shuttered for about 11 years. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2023091500856

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