October 2012

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Restored Tokyo Station opens
After 5 years of renovation, the iconic Tokyo Station has officially reopened

Japan introduces environment tax

The Japanese government has introduced an environment tax beginning on Monday to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Critics say the tax will lead to higher prices for consumers.
The new tax comes on top of an existing tax businesses in Japan must pay on crude oil and coal imports.

The government says it will use the extra revenue to boost renewable energy and power-saving projects.
The amount of tax companies must pay on a kiloliter of oil will increase by about 3 dollars during the current fiscal year to March. The government will raise the tax every 2 years until fiscal 2016.
Analysts say the tax will lead to higher gasoline prices and utility costs for businesses and residents.
Consumers could face additional costs. Companies may try to cover higher fuel bills by raising prices on products and services.

Nuclear plant construction to resume in Japan

A Japanese power company says it will resume the construction of a nuclear power plant. This is the first such move in the country since last year's nuclear accident at Fukushima.
President Masayoshi Kitamura of the Electric Power Development Company, or J-Power, announced the decision on the Ohma plant in Aomori Prefecture on Monday.
Kitamura told a special session of the Ohma town assembly that his company decided to restart the project because of the government's recent clarification of its stance on uncompleted nuclear plants.
The assembly members welcomed the decision.

J-Power also dispatched officials to Hakodate City in Hokkaido to explain the decision. The city is located about 20 kilometers from the plant and is against the project.
Hakodate Mayor Toshiki Kudo told the officials that his city will never accept the decision, because the Ohma project received government approval based on criteria set before the Fukushima accident.
Kudo told reporters that the city will take legal action to stop the project.
J-Power began building the plant in 2008 but stopped after the Fukushima accident. The facility is nearly 40 percent complete.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Forest radioactive contamination to be monitored
A Japanese nuclear research agency will conduct a long-term study of radioactive fallout on Fukushima forests to see how the contamination affects human habitats.
The government-affiliated Japan Atomic Energy Agency plans to begin the study later in October. It will cover forests within 20 kilometers of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Most of the area has been designated as a no-entry zone.


Thursday, October 3, 2012

Tanaka casts doubt on 'contradictory' energy strategy
New education and science minister Makiko Tanaka wastes little time before stirring up some controversy, questioning the strategy of phasing out nuclear power generation by the 2030s without terminating the long-standing policy to recycle spent fuel.

Used fuel being removed from Fukushima Daini plant

Tokyo Electric Power Company has allowed media access to operations to remove nuclear fuel rods from a reactor to a storage pool for spent rods at the Fukushima Daini power plant.
... TEPCO invited media on Tuesday to observe operations to transfer nuclear fuel rods from the No. 4 reactor to a storage pool in the upper part of the reactor building....


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Nuke plants come up short in EU stress tests
From missing seismic devices to insufficient emergency systems, Europe's nuclear power plants face hundreds of problems requiring billions in new investment.

Crippled Reactor 2 in Fukushima No. 1 gets new thermometer

Nuclear disaster guidelines to be expanded
Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority has called for expanding evacuation areas in case of nuclear disasters. It's also considering distribution of iodine tablets to people near nuclear power plants.
The agency on Wednesday presented a draft of revised guidelines for dealing with nuclear disasters.
It calls for expanding evacuation areas around nuclear plants from the current 10 kilometers to 30.

The number of municipalities covered by the guidelines is to increase from the current 45 in 15 prefectures to 135 in 21 prefectures. The municipalities are to reestablish by March 2013 their plans for handling nuclear disasters.
The plan calls for consideration of instructing people to stay home during nuclear disasters, and distributing iodine tablets to people within 50 kilometers of nuclear plants to protect them from radioactive plumes that could cause thyroid damage.
Since iodine tablets can have side effects, it would be necessary to explain their risks before distribution and to decide how to compensate for such effects.
The authority also calls for increasing the maximum distance between nuclear power plants and offsite emergency response centers from the current 20 kilometers to 30.
The agency also proposes prohibiting centers from being located within 5 kilometers of plants and establishing alternative facilities outside of the 30-kilometer area.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Government tries to duck reactor-restart decisions
The chief Cabinet secretary suggests the government does not have the ultimate say, or responsibility, in restarting nuclear reactors, triggering confusion over who will give the green light.

TEPCO releases more Fukushima conference footage

Tokyo Electric Power Company has released more footage of its teleconferences from the early days of the Fukushima nuclear accident last year.
The utility released a 6-hour-long video on its website on Friday at the request of media. ...


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fukushima univ. launches disaster recovery course
Fukushima University has launched a course on reconstruction after the March 11th disaster and nuclear accident.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Noda visiting Fukushima
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is visiting Fukushima Prefecture to inspect the latest efforts at the disaster-stricken nuclear power plant.
On Sunday morning, Noda visited the J-Village athletic center, an operation base for repair and clean-up efforts at the nuclear plant. He had talks with 8 workers, including employees of Tokyo Electric Power Company who worked at the plant immediately after the nuclear accident.
..... Noda is to visit the Daiichi plant in the afternoon.

Noda orders speeding up of decontamination
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has instructed Environment Minister Hiroyuku Nagahama to speed up the decontamination of the area affected by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
Noda visited the Fukushima Daiichi plant on Sunday. This was his second visit since he assumed office.
..... Noda said decontamination is the basic requirement for Fukushima's recovery and revival, and it needs to be expedited.
He said he instructed Nagahama to quickly draw up new measures that include delegating his ministry's authority to its Fukushima branch to speed up the decontamination work. He added that local residents should be kept informed about the progress.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Noda gets close look at Fukushima plant
Yoshihiko Noda visits the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, becoming the first politician to inspect the central control room and the first prime minister to enter one of the four wrecked reactor buildings.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sendai conference on disaster preparedness opens
World politicians and disaster officials are meeting in the northeastern Japanese city of Sendai to discuss disaster preparedness.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Japan's Imperial Couple to visit village near crippled nuke plant


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Above-limit radioactive cesium detected in Fukushima tobacco, JT says

Japan's new nuclear safety standards to include steps against terrorist acts

'Fukushima 50' recount quiet heroism - Noda

TEPCO: Water level high enough to cool reactor-1
The operator of Japan's crippled nuclear plant says melted fuel at the bottom of the No.1 reactor is being kept cool. Tokyo Electric Power Company says its latest probe reveals the water level in the reactor's containment vessel is at 2.8 meters - enough to stop the fuel from overheating.
TEPCO used endoscopes to look inside the vessel at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. ..... The find means that TEPCO's schedule for decommissioning the reactor is still on course.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Reactor 1 water level higher than expected

Contaminated soil remains untouched in Fukushima
Hundreds of thousands of bags containing radiation-contaminated soil remain undisposed of in Fukushima Prefecture due to a lack of temporary storage sites. ...


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Nuke chief hints no restarts this year

Former US NRC chairman urges TEPCO reform
Former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Dale Klein says Tokyo Electric Power Company will not be able to sustain itself without reforming its management. The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has come under criticism since the accident in March of last year. ...


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tepco finally admits nuke crisis avoidable
Tepco concedes it was aware safety improvements were necessary at the Fukushima No. 1 plant long before the nuclear catastrophe, but feared the political, economic and legal consequences of implementing them.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Fukushima exports 1st beef in 30 months
Cattle farmers in Fukushima Prefecture have resumed beef exports to the United States for the first time in 2 and a half years.
Farmers celebrated the shipment of 3 cattle with a ceremony on Sunday. The leader of a local agricultural cooperative said the resumption is a tailwind for Fukushima farmers who have been suffering from the effects of the nuclear accident.
The 3 cattle will be processed in Japan and the meat will be sold to upscale restaurants in the United States. ...


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fukushima joke lands French TV host in hot water
A French TV host draws criticism for showing a composite picture of goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima with four arms and citing the "Fukushima effect" when praising him for his performance in Japan's defeat of France in a recent match.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Nuke panel chief hopes for change in governance

Seismologists to avoid using term "prediction"
Japanese earthquake experts say they will more strictly specify the use of the terms, "prediction" and "projection," in order to prevent any misunderstanding that the prediction of an earthquake is possible at the current time.
At a conference in Hakodate, Hokkaido, on Wednesday, the Seismological Society of Japan announced a plan to review its efforts to make earthquake predictions. In that context, the Society also called on its members to be careful about the use of the 2 terms.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Cosmic rays eyed to locate nuke fuel melt
Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory develop a method to use cosmic rays to locate molten nuclear fuel within the crippled reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Manufacturer to relocate plant to avoid disaster
A major Japanese precision equipment maker plans to relocate its plant to the Sea of Japan coast to avoid the negative impact of a predicted major earthquake along the country's Pacific coast.
Tokyo's Nikkiso Company manufactures medical equipment and aircraft parts at its plant in Makinohara City on the Pacific coast of Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan. ...

Experts warn tsunami debris may harm ecosystem
Japanese researchers are warning that debris from the giant tsunami that hit northeastern Japan on March 11th last year may harm marine ecosystems over the long run.
A team from Kagoshima University crossed the Pacific from Japan to Hawaii during August and September on board a training ship to visually check the presence of debris.
The researchers spotted more than 900 items, including styrene foam and plastic objects, fishing buoys and timber. Some of the debris was found in the stomachs of tuna the researchers caught.
The researchers say not all the items could have originated from the tsunami-hit areas. But they say some of the fishing gear they found was clearly from northeastern Japan.
The research team leader is Professor Shigeru Fujieda, who is calling for more detailed surveys. Fujieda says the debris could greatly harm the marine ecosystem if the objects are consumed by fish and seabirds.
Tsunami debris has already reached the western coast of North America. But Japan's Environment Ministry says a sizable volume of debris is expected to remain adrift in the Western Pacific.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hokkaido Electric warns of shortages

Nori cultivation restarts in tsunami-hit region

Growers of Nori seaweed have resumed cultivation off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture. They were unable to harvest the popular food for 19 months after a massive tsunami hit the area.

Fish festival held in tsunami-hit Ishinomaki

Many people are flocking to an annual fish selling festival held for the first time in 2 years in Japan's northeastern city of Ishinomaki, hard hit by last year's tsunami.
The "Bumper catch festival" sells fresh seafood at reasonable prices. The event was canceled last year due to the March disaster.


Monday, October 22, 2012

New priorities turn Kyoto goals into an afterthought
Japan's oil and gas plants are running at full capacity, meaning the country that spearheaded an international agreement on climate change is unlikely to honor its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions significantly over the next decade.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Japan shies away from 16-nation plan to outlaw atomic weapons


Wendesday, October 24, 2012

30-km nuke safety zone may not be enough

Radiation doses beyond 30 km from four nuclear plants, including those in Niigata and Fukui prefectures, could reach 100 millisieverts in the first seven days amid a severe meltdown crisis like the one that started in March 2011 at the Fukushima No. 1 complex, estimates by the Nuclear Regulation Authority show.

A first since '51: No Kepco dividends

Japanese government radiation monitoring posts not showing reality: Greenpeace
Greenpeace said Tuesday a survey it carried out has found that many of the official radiation monitoring posts set up after the Fukushima nuclear crisis provide lower readings than nearby locations and the environmental group is urging the government to disseminate more accurate data to the public.
. . . "The government should not offer a wrong sense of security to citizens," a Greenpeace official said.

Record 2.12 million Japanese living on welfare
Poverty in Japan is becoming a more serious problem. The number of people living on welfare in July rose to a record high for the 3rd straight month. ...

Hachioji to set up solar panels at schools
A city in western Tokyo says it plans to provide roof space at schools free of charge as a place to set up solar panels. ...


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Regulator to urge wider nuclear safety zones

Nuclear regulatory authorities release their first projections for the spread of radiation from nuclear reactors in the event of severe accidents like the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant last year, and the results show that bigger evacuation zones may be needed.

Fukushima rice above threshold for cesium

Survey balloon flown inside Fukushima reactor

The operator of the defunct Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has flown a balloon inside the No.1 reactor building to check the upper part of the structure.
Tokyo Electric Power Company on Wednesday launched a balloon from the first floor, to about 30 meters up inside the building. ...

Possible catastrophic nuclear scenarios reviewed
Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority will study a wider range of possible severe difficulties when reviewing safety standards for nuclear power plants nationwide.
Measures to cope with major accidents at nuclear power plants had been voluntarily devised by power companies. However, last year's Fukushima nuclear disaster revealed their inability to project possible catastrophic scenarios.

Manpower shortages delay Tohoku reconstruction
A survey by the Board of Audit of Japan shows a lack of civil engineers is hampering efforts to rebuild areas devastated by the March 11th disaster.
The survey found less than half the reconstruction funds, earmarked for 58 hard-hit towns, was used by the close of last fiscal year ending in March.

Over 8 billion dollars was designated for use in 7 prefectures.

Earthquake at 19:44 - off Miyagi -magnituge 5.6

2012年10月25日 19時44分 宮城県沖 5.6 - 5弱


Friday, October 26, 2012

Misuse of disaster 'reconstruction' money runs rampant
> see reconstruction for details

Fukushima animals pose road hazard
Police are warning of a rise in road accidents involving farm animals abandoned in evacuation zones around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Police in Fukushima Prefecture say 31 such accidents have been reported since July last year. The vehicles hit cows and boars in 5 towns and villages. Some cars carry residents temporarily returning to the evacuated areas. Others transport decontamination workers to the area.
No one has been injured, but 10 vehicles have been badly damaged. 12 animals have died.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cesium still high in Fukushima fish

Radioactive cesium levels in most kinds of fish caught off the coast of Fukushima haven't declined in the year since the nuclear disaster started, a signal that the seafloor or leakage from the damaged reactors is continuing to contaminate the waters -- possibly threatening fisheries for decades, a researcher says.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

No. 1 radioactive water tanks maxed
Workers at the Fukushima No. 1 plant are struggling to find space to store tens of thousands of tons of highly contaminated water used to cool its crippled reactors.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Ohi plant operator: Seam may not be active fault
An electric utility in western Japan will submit its interim report this week on whether the Ohi nuclear power station sits atop an active earthquake fault.
The Japanese government ordered Kansai Electric Power Company to conduct a geological survey at the nation's only on-line nuclear plant. ...


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Kepco to report fault under Oi plant inactive


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fallout projection irks rice region, new targets
Municipalities near six nuclear plants criticize apparent erroneous projections made by the new nuclear regulatory commission on the potential spread of radioactive fallout if any of the facilities experience a meltdown disaster like that at Fukushima No. 1.


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September 2012



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  1. Nuclear Radiation:
    Washington Forces the Re-Start of Japan’s Nuclear Reactors

    Americans Are Largely Responsible for Japan’s Ongoing Nuclear Policy

    Archaic nuclear reactor designs such as those used at Fukushima – built by American company General Electric – were chosen because they were good for making nuclear bombs. The U.S. secretly helped Japan develop its nuclear weapons program starting in the the 1980s. Therefore, the U.S. played a large role in Japan’s development of nuclear energy. (See this).

    After the Fukushima disaster – in an effort to protect the American nuclear industry – the U.S. has joined Japan in raising “acceptable” radiation levels. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also signed a pact with her counterpart in Japan agreeing that the U.S. will continue buying seafood from Japan, despite the fact that the FDA is refusing to test seafood for radiation in any meaningful fashion. So U.S. actions are helping to protect a pro-nuclear policy in Japan.

    Indeed, mainstream Japanese newspaper Nikkei reports that it was President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton who have pressured the Japanese to re-start that country’s nuclear program after the Japanese government vowed to end all nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.


  2. U.S. nuclear plant declares "alert" after Sandy storm surge: NRC

    Exelon Corp declared an "alert" at its New Jersey Oyster Creek nuclear power plant due to a record storm surge, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Monday, warning that a further rise in water levels could force operators to use emergency water supplies from a fire hose to cool spent uranium fuel rods.
    The alert -- the second lowest of four NRC action levels -- came after water levels at the plant rose by more than 6.5 feet, potentially affecting the pumps that circulate water through the plant, an NRC spokesman said.

    Those pumps are not essential since the plant is shut for planned refueling at the moment. However a further rise to 7 feet could submerge the service water pump motor that is used to cool the water in the spent fuel pool.
    The concerns over the status of the spent fuel pool at Oyster Creek were reminiscent of the fears that followed the Fukushima disaster in Japan last year, when helicopters and fire hoses were enlisted to ensure the pools remained filled with fresh, cool water.

    The nuclear industry has said that the spent fuel rods at Fukushima were never exposed to the air.