TEPCO - September 2013

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TEPCO - September 2013

Tokyo Electric Power Company, Incorporated (東京電力株式会社, Tōkyō Denryoku Kabushiki-gaisha?, TYO: 9501), also known as Toden (東電, Tōden) or TEPCO, is a Japanese electric utilities servicing Japan's Kantō region, Yamanashi Prefecture, and the eastern portion of Shizuoka Prefecture.
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. TEPCO - Problems since June 2013 .

With the Tokyo Olympics, Tokyo 2020
now even more in the limelight !

Please read the daily news at NHK here
source : www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english

. Tokyo Olympic Games 2020
and Fukushima
東京オリンピック 2020 .

updates on this BLOG


August 29, 2013

Govt. to bolster tainted water treatment equipment

Japan's industry ministry plans to craft a set of far-reaching measures next month to address the growing problem of radioactive water at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Workers at the plant found in July that highly radioactive water was flowing with groundwater into the sea. They also discovered this month that more than 300 tons of contaminated water leaked from one of the storage tanks. Some of the water may have escaped into the sea.

To tackle the situation, a panel of experts at the industry ministry plans to compile a number of countermeasures at the earliest possible date in September. The steps will include preventing tainted water from leaking into the sea and blocking groundwater from entering areas near reactor buildings. Groundwater is mixing with radioactive water in the basement of the reactor buildings.
The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, plans to restart a trial run of a system to remove radioactive substances from toxic water as early as mid-September. The operation ran into problems previously.
The expert panel will consider beefing up the treatment equipment to reduce the increasing amount of contaminated water at the plant, including more than 300,000 tons of tainted water stored in tanks.
Meanwhile, TEPCO announced that its workers at the Fukushima plant were exposed to radiation earlier this month due to contaminated dust spread by debris removal work nearby.
A total of 12 workers were exposed to radiation on August 12th and 19th in front of the head office for efforts to decommission the damaged reactors.

TEPCO says the tainted dust came from the rooftop of the No.3 reactor, southeast of the headquarters building. Workers recently removed large pieces of rubble from the rooftop, possibly making it easier for toxic dust underneath to spread.
TEPCO will widen the areas where it tries to prevent dust from spreading when debris is removed. It will also cover the headquarters' entrance with sheets.
TEPCO initially blamed the exposure on a misting machine designed to prevent heatstroke. But it has since found that exposure occurred even when the machine was not in use.

Fukushima spill snags reactor restart quest - Japan Times
Hosts appear split despite nation's inability to quickly solve water crisis
The Fukushima No. 1 power plant’s continued pollution of the Pacific is fueling growing domestic and international concern about radiation hazards, clouding plans by utilities and the government to quickly restart a dozen reactors.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority’s decision to raise the severity assessment of a tank leak Wednesday to level 3 (“serious incident”) on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event scale comes over a month after Tokyo Electric Power Co. admitted radioactive groundwater under crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant is flowing to the Pacific Ocean, and six weeks after applications were filed to restart reactors in Hokkaido, Fukui, Ehime, Saga, and Fukui prefectures under new safety standards.

But there is something of an east-west divide among regional governments as to the wisdom of restarting the reactors. On Wednesday, Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato called on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to declare a national state of emergency over the water leaks.

“Under the recognition that this is a declared national emergency, the government should respond in a concerted effort, and with a sense of urgency,”
Sato told Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi.
source : www.japantimes.co.jp/news


September 01, 2013

- Japan Times -
Tepco fixes leaky pipe but finds hot spots, jump in radiation
Toxic drip sealed with tape amid lethal radiation at Fukushima No. 1

Tokyo Electric Power Co., manager of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, said Sunday it halted a slow leak from a pipe connecting two water storage tanks by patching it with tape just hours after stumbling upon a potentially lethal radioactive hot spot.

Tepco has been unable to safely contain the growing volume of water used to cool the three reactors hit by meltdowns triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and the government is in the process of taking over the cleanup.

The discovery of the dripping pipe came just after Tepco said late Saturday it had found hot spots at four sites near the water tanks, with one giving off 1.8 sieverts per hour — enough to kill a human being in four hours.
The other three hot spots were not detailed.

The pipe, which was leaking a drop about every 90 seconds, was sealed using absorption material and plastic tape. A puddle of giving off 230 millisieverts per hour was found below it, Tepco said.
“We have to suspect that the high radiation levels were caused by the toxic water oozing from the flange connections,” a Tepco spokesman said, adding that no conclusions had been reached.

The beleaguered utility also said it recorded 900 becquerels of tritium per liter in a groundwater interdiction well, compared with 450 becquerels per liter in February.

Since the well is near the H4 area, where a tank lost 300 tons of radioactive water last month without anyone noticing, Tepco is looking into whether the rise in tritium is related to that incident. Tritium is one of the elements Tepco’s makeshift filtering system, which is partially offline, can’t remove.

On Sunday, the utility said it logged 920 becquerels of strontium-90 per liter of liquid emitting beta rays in the drainage ditch south of H4 that leads from the tanks to the Pacific. Tepco logged 580 becquerels in the ditch on Aug. 22.

Last week, Tepco revealed that 300 tons of toxic water had disappeared from a huge tank — one of 930 on site — before anyone noticed. The spill sparked fears that the toxic water may have escaped into the ocean or seeped into the ground, and was categorized — by Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Agency — as a Level 3 event on the International Nuclear Radiological Event Scale (INES), the most serious incident since the meltdown itself, which was rated Level 7.
The hot spots were discovered during daily inspections Saturday near three tanks and a pipe connecting them to the crippled plant.

Although it was unclear whether the hot spots indicated that a fresh spill had taken place, traces of water reading 230 millisieverts per hour were found below the pipe.
In response to growing domestic and international pressure on Tepco to stop tainting the ocean and to seek outside help, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday promised the world that his government will play a greater role in solving the water crisis.

“The accident in Fukushima cannot be left entirely to Tokyo Electric Power. There is a need for the government to play a role with a sense of urgency, including taking measures to deal with the waste water,” he said.

Abe’s pledge came as the world’s nuclear watchdog urged Japan to explain more clearly what is happening at Fukushima and avoid sending “confusing messages” about the disaster, including the Level 3 rating.
The International Atomic Energy Agency recently questioned why last week’s 300-ton leak of radioactive water prompted the NRA to rate the event on its INES scale, when no other incident since the meltdowns had.

source : japantimes.co.jp/news


September 02, 2013

Govt. to speed up efforts to build storage sites
- NHK news
Japan's government is setting up a task force to speed up the establishment of intermediate storage facilities for radioactive waste in Fukushima Prefecture.
Reconstruction Minister Takumi Nemoto and Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara will head the task force to be set up on Wednesday.
The move is aimed at accelerating consultation with local residents and municipalities about purchasing land for the storage sites. The facilities will be used to hold contaminated soil and debris gathered during decontamination work.
The government plans to build the sites in the towns of Futaba, Okuma and Naraha, close to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Officials plan to start moving contaminated waste from temporary storage sites around January, 2015.
But people in the 3 towns are expressing concern that such intermediate facilities may become final disposal sites.
Nemoto says intermediate storage facilities are essential to promote decontamination. But he says he will handle the issue carefully because it will have an impact on the reconstruction of local communities and the lives of the residents.

TEPCO steps up monitoring of toxic water leaks - NHK news
The operator of the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has boosted efforts to monitor hundreds of storage tanks holding radioactive water.
Tokyo Electric Power Company has increased the number of inspectors from 10 to 90 and doubled the tank's monitoring activities to 4 times a day.
On August 19th, TEPCO workers found contaminated water leak from a storage tank in an area near the number 4 reactor.
Over the weekend, the operator detected extremely high levels of radiation in storage tanks in 2 other areas. More water leaks were also found.
The reading at one of the tanks was 18 hundred millisieverts per hour at the highest. Most of the contamination was caused by radiation called beta rays.
Beta rays can cause serious burns if a person comes in direct contact with them. Beta rays can also damage the eyes such as causing cataracts. The government sets the exposure limits for eye lens at 150 millisieverts per year. 18 hundred millisieverts are extremely high and can reach the limit level 5 minutes after exposure.
TEPCO says all the storage tanks where the contaminated water leaks were found are not welded together. More contaminated water leaks from the tanks are possible.
The operator says it has about 300 such tanks and will monitor them 4 times a day. For 2 of the inspections, the inspectors will use radiation measuring equipment.
When high levels of radiation are detected, the workers will conduct further monitoring approaching closer to the tank.
NHK's reporter says there is a possibility that more contaminated water leaks will be found with the boosted monitoring. The reporter says TEPCO will have to ensure the safety of the workers and conduct strict monitoring to see the radioactive water is not seeping into the ocean.

Govt. earmarks $210 mil. to fix Fukushima problem
Japanese leaders have drawn up a plan to help the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. They're committing about 21 billion yen -- or 210 million dollars -- to manage huge quantities of radioactive water.
They say they would use reserve funds from the 2013 budget.
Funds will be used for freezing soil to create an underground wall around the 4 damaged reactors, and a process to decontaminate the water.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga will lead a panel to address the radioactive-water issue and the further decommissioning of the reactors.
Leaders are planning to set up bureaus to strengthen communication with workers at Fukushima Daiichi, and at the operator Tokyo Electric Power Company.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet with his cabinet on Tuesday to authorize the necessary emergency measures.


September 03, 2013

Tanks said built in haste, bound to leak - Japan Times
A subcontractor who was involved in building water storage tanks at the damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant said late last month that concerns about leaks emerged after workers were told to build the vessels as quickly as possible.
As feared, one of the tanks at the plant leaked 300 tons of highly radioactive water last month, Tokyo Electric Power Co. recently disclosed.

“We were required to build the tanks in quick succession,” the man said, recalling his experience building a group of tanks in the H4 area of the plant two years ago. “We were told to put priority on making the tanks, rather than quality control. There were fears that toxic water may leak.”

With some 400 tons of the radioactive coolant accumulating at the plant after the three reactor core meltdowns, workers rushed to slap together a 1,000-ton tank every three days, he said. The water, highly radioactive, was stored after being used to cool the melted fuel in the three reactors.
The tanks were flange-type units, which are less watertight than those with welded seams because they have many bolted parts that spring leaks.
The man said the workers were ordered by Tepco and its subcontractor to meet a deadline for the tanks because the amount of coolant water was rising and needed to be stored.
He said management of the tanks’ construction was poor, with necessary materials sometimes not delivered on time and rusty bolts found among the materials.
The tank that was confirmed to have leaked was originally constructed in the H1 area of the plant in June 2011, around three months after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami helped trigger the three meltdowns. After terrain instability was detected in H1, the tank was dismantled and later reassembled in H4, he said.
He said he was involved in sealing the bolted parts and in waterproofing the insides of the tanks to prevent leaks. Currently, the work of waterproofing the insides is done by a company specialized in the field.
He also said the workers checked for cracks and leaks by injecting water.

“We never cut any corners in constructing the tanks and we used the latest technology,” he said. That said, the man noted the average life span of the water tanks is only five years.
“All of the tanks are makeshift. So more toxic water may leak as they deteriorate,” he said.

There are around 350 such water tanks at the plant.
Speaking on Tepco’s current efforts to deal with the huge volume of radioactive water accumulating daily, the man said, “Everyone is working so hard, but I don’t know whether this method is the right answer.”
On Monday, Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, said Tepco cannot store huge amounts of coolant water at the plant indefinitely.
“I’m afraid that it is unavoidable to dump or release the water into the sea” after it is purified to levels recognized as safe under international standards, Tanaka told a news conference.
Other officials said the government will present a set of emergency measures Tuesday to deal with the radioactive water problem. It’s not clear if the steps are also meant to curb the roughly 300 tons of highly radioactive groundwater that is believed flowing toward the Pacific Ocean daily, after running under the plant and possibly mixing with water in the basements of the stricken reactor buildings.
The measures to address the buildup of contaminated water, possibly including steps financed by the state budget, will be presented at a ministerial meeting headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
source : www.japantimes.co.jp

TEPCO: Worn resin may be cause of high radiation - NHK news
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says degrading resin may be to blame for extremely high radiation detected on the plant's storage tanks.
Tokyo Electric Power Company measured high radiation levels near the bottom of 3 tanks holding radioactive waste water, over the weekend. One of them had beta-ray radiation of up to 1,800 millisieverts per hour.
All the high measurements came from the joints of tanks built of steel plates that are bolted together. Workers found resin extruding from the joints. The resin is used inside the seams as a "water-stop" material because it expands when soaked with water.
TEPCO officials believe wear and tear caused the resin to extrude from the steel joints. They say there's no trace of water leakage from the joints, and no high levels of radiation have been measured on the ground beneath.But they say they will look into the problem further, as degrading resin could result in leaks.
The company has been stepping up monitoring of tanks since a leakage of more than 300 tons of radioactive water was found from a single tank in mid-August.
But increased patrols have only led to more discoveries of hot spots.
On Monday, beta-ray radiation of more than 100 millisieverts per hour was detected on another tank in a different area.

Govt. sets policy to tackle Fukushima leak - NHK news
The Japanese government has decided to spend public funds of about 47 billion yen, or 470 million dollars, to deal with the massive buildup of radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and other members of the government's nuclear disaster taskforce approved the basic plan at a meeting on Tuesday.
They agreed the government should take the initiative in tackling technically challenging problems instead of leaving them for plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company to deal with.
The money will be used to freeze soil to create an underground wall around the 4 damaged reactors. The aim is to prevent groundwater from seeping through and becoming contaminated.
The government will also foot the bill for decontaminating radioactive water.
Of the funds, 210 million dollars will be financed with reserve funds from the fiscal 2013 budget.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga will head a new ministerial panel to address the radioactive water issue.
The government will also set up two liaison bodies so officials can coordinate with workers at the Daiichi plant and officials at TEPCO's head office.
Abe said the measures are intended to achieve a fundamental solution to the radioactive water problem instead of dealing with it in an ad hoc manner.
He said the government will work in a coordinated way, as the world is closely watching whether Japan can successfully resolve problems at the plant and decommission the reactors.

Criminal complaint filed against TEPCO - NHK news
Three residents of Fukushima Prefecture have filed a criminal complaint against Tokyo Electric Power Company over the leakage of radioactive water from the company's damaged nuclear power plant.
The residents submitted the complaint on Tuesday to the Fukushima Prefectural Police Department. They accuse TEPCO and its president, Naomi Hirose, as well as about 30 other executives of violating anti-pollution legislation.
The complaint says TEPCO and the officials should be held criminally responsible for their failure to take appropriate measures to prevent the leakage of water used to cool the reactors.
A lawyer representing the residents said TEPCO let the leakage worsen by delaying necessary preventive measures such as building barriers. He said the utility feared such measures would cost more than a billion dollars and cause the company's share price to fall.
The lawyer argued that TEPCO's priority was to save money -- the same reason the utility failed to take necessary measures against earthquakes and tsunamis before the March 11th 2011 disaster. He said the utility must be held responsible for its negligence.
A TEPCO official declined to comment on the complaint.


September 04, 2013

Frozen soil wall test to begin at Fukushima plant - NHK news
Japan's government is set to test a project to build a frozen artificial wall at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Engineers hope the wall will stop groundwater from seeping into the contaminated compound.
Groundwater is flowing into the plant's reactor buildings from surrounding mountains at a rate of 400 tons per day. The inflow is adding to the problems of toxic wastewater onsite.
The government has pledged 32 billion yen, or about 320 million dollars, to build the underground wall.
The feasibility test will start by mid-October at the earliest. Engineers plan to drive steel pipes 30 meters deep into the soil near the Number-4 reactor building. The pipes will be used to surround a 10-by-10-meter plot on the mountain side of the building.
Liquid calcium chloride at minus 40 degrees Celsius will be pumped into the pipes to freeze the soil. The test will examine whether the wall stops the groundwater flow.
Officials will also check for any impact on the surrounding soil and groundwater, as well as how best to change pipes over the long-term.
Japan's industry ministry hopes to finish the test by the end of next March and start operating the wall by March 2015. The government has earmarked 1.3 billion yen, or 13 million dollars, for the test.
Tokyo Electric Power Company has for the first time released video footage of groundwater flowing into the compound. The video shows the water splashing into the Number-1 turbine building from an area near an underground cable tube.


September 05, 2013

Leaked water may have reached groundwater - NHK news
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says radioactive water that leaked from a storage tank may have reached groundwater.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it detected high levels of radioactive substances in water collected on Wednesday at a monitoring well about 10 meters from the tank.
It says the water contained 650 becquerels per liter of beta-ray emitting substances, including strontium. The water was taken from about 7 meters deep, where groundwater is flowing.
Last month, TEPCO discovered more than 300 tons of contaminated water had leaked from the tank. Company officials said some of the water may have reached the sea.

Steam leaks at idling Ohi nuclear power plant - NHK news
The operator of the Ohi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture says steam leaks occurred in a turbine building of the facility on Thursday. But it says the steam contained no radioactive substances and resulted in no injuries or damage.
Kansai Electric Power Company says steam leaked at 6 locations from piping near a turbine at the plant's Number 3 reactor.
The steam rose as high as 3 meters. The utility told 20 workers in the building to evacuate.
The reactor had been shut down for regular safety inspections on Tuesday after running as one of only 2 online reactors in Japan.
The utility says that immediately before an alarm went off, a worker in a control room mistakenly opened a valve for a pipe carrying steam. It says the valve was immediately closed and the leak stopped.


- Tokyo Olympics, Tokyo 2020 -
now Fukushima is even more in the limelight !

September 08, 2013

Fukushima wants govt. to do more - NHK news
Fukushima residents affected by the nuclear crisis have expressed both joy and discontent over the choice of Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games.
The nuclear disaster in March 2011 is still keeping nearly 150,000 people away from their homes due to a high level of radiation.
A woman in her 40s in Fukushima City said it is good that Tokyo won the Olympic bid. But she said she felt unhappy at hearing someone say "The Olympics site is far from Fukushima" to explain Tokyo's safety.
She is worried about repeated reports of radioactive waste water leaks from the crippled nuclear plant.
She stressed that the government should solve the issue as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the international community that the incident is under control.
Another woman in her 70s said she is very excited about Tokyo's hosting the Games and she wants to be at the opening ceremony with her family members. She lives apart from the rest of her family in a temporary shelter after being evacuated from a town near the plant.
A man in his 60s said he doesn't think people have a clear image of what will happen in the next 7 years given current circumstances. He said the government should address the nuclear crisis responsibly and try to improve evacuees' lives first rather than prepare for the Olympics.

Case against TEPCO, Kan likely to be dropped - NHK news
Prosecutors are not likely to press criminal charges against former TEPCO executives and others, including a former prime minister, for their handling of the 2011 nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Fukushima residents had filed criminal complaints against more than 40 people from Tokyo Electric Power Company and the government.
Those included former TEPCO chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
Over the past year, prosecutors have been investigating whether these officials and executives were able to predict such a massive earthquake and tsunami in advance.
The prosecutors also sought out the opinions of earthquake and tsunami experts.
They concluded that these people cannot be held responsible because they were not able to predict the real dangers of such a massive quake and tsunami.
The prosecutors have also concluded that they will not press criminal charges for the actions of the utility and the government in the aftermath of the nuclear crisis.
Fukushima residents say they will immediately take the matter to a prosecution inquest panel. The decision on whether or not these people should be indicted will be decided by randomly-selected citizens.


September 09, 2013

Govt., TEPCO meet to discuss Fukushima leaks - NHK news
Officials from the government and the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have met for the first time as part of a task force to discuss radioactive waste water leaks at the plant.
They agreed to boost measures to stop the waste water from flowing into the Pacific Ocean.
About 20 officials, including senior vice industry minister Kazuyoshi Akaba, attended the task force meeting in Naraha town near the plant on Monday.
The government-led task force was established on September 3rd as the problem of contaminated water at the plant was getting more serious.
They talked about radioactive waste water leakage from storage tanks. Tokyo Electric Power Company workers last month discovered that about 300 tons of the water had leaked from one of tanks. Some of water may have flowed into the ocean.
They decided to build higher barriers around the tanks and seal a ditch leading to the ocean so that waste water will not enter it.
They also asked the plant operator to draw up a plan to change the storage tanks for more reliable welded types by the next meeting in October.
The hundreds of tanks being used, including the one that leaked waste water, are made of steel plates fastened together with bolts.
The task force will also address groundwater contamination in the plant.

Fukushima leaks contaminate more groundwater - NHK news
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it has recorded a spike in the level of radioactive substances in groundwater in and around the plant compound.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it suspects contaminated water that leaked last month from a storage tank may be spreading.
TEPCO says it detected 3,200 becquerels of strontium and other radioactive substances per liter of water collected on Sunday from a new well. The well is about 20 meters north of the tank that leaked.
The reading was 5 times higher than for a sample taken from another well, to the south of the tank, last Wednesday.
TEPCO officials said they also detected 80,000 becquerels of tritium per liter in a sample collected last Thursday from a well on the coastal side of the No.1 reactor building.
That's higher than a reading taken about a year ago.
TEPCO is planning to dig more wells to try to find out how the underground water is being contaminated.


September 10, 2013

Japanese govt. vows to IAEA to solve nuclear issue - NHK news
The Japanese government has vowed to take the initiative in dealing with the massive buildup of radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Ambassador Toshiro Ozawa of Japan's diplomatic mission made that pledge on Monday at a regular board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. He outlined the government's plan to solve the problem of contaminated water leaking from the plant.
Ozawa said the buildup of radioactive water is the most urgent problem caused by the 2011 nuclear accident. He stressed the government's determination to solve it as soon as possible.
Ozawa told reporters after the meeting that other countries, especially Japan's neighbors, hope Japan will be able to successfully cope with the situation.
The ambassador said those countries want Japan to provide more information.
At the IAEA board meeting, the Japanese mission provided English translations of the government's basic plan to deal with the buildup of radioactive water. The government approved the plan last week.
The mission also plans to hold a briefing at the general meeting of the IAEA next week about the current situation at the Fukushima plant.


September 11, 2013 - in Memory of March 11

Abe’s assurance to IOC on nuclear plant called into question - Japan Times
One question that emerged among the public immediately after Tokyo won the right to host the 2020 Olympics was whether Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made an incorrect statement, or told an outright lie, about the contaminated water issue at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
During the Tokyo bid delegation’s final presentation before the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires on Saturday, Abe stressed that the “effects from the contaminated water have been perfectly blocked within the (artificial) bay” of the wrecked nuclear complex, and said “the situation is under control.
Experts have long pointed out that irradiated water from the plant has kept gushing into the Pacific far beyond the man-made bay, although the government continues to claim that most radioactive materials have been contained within a silt fence that forms a barrier directly in front of reactor units 1 through 4. Reactors 1, 2 and 3 suffered core meltdowns in March 2011.
The silt fence was deliberately set up with many openings so it can withstand waves and tidal movements.
When disclosing the results of a simulation last month, Tokyo Electric Power Co. admitted that a lot of water — and probably radioactive materials — was penetrating the fence and pouring into the wider ocean. The simulation assumed that 50 percent of the water inside the fence becomes mixed with seawater daily due to tides and other factors.
Tepco, based on the findings, concluded that a maximum of 10 trillion becquerels of radioactive strontium-90 and a further 20 trillion becquerels of cesium-137 may have reached the ocean.
At a news conference Tuesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga admitted that contaminated water has escaped through the silt fence. But at the same time, he stressed that surveys have shown that the levels of radioactive materials in coastal waters around the nation, including off Fukushima Prefecture, are far lower than international safety thresholds.
“Even at the maximum, the density of (radioactive) cesium is less than one-five hundredth of the World Health Organization standards for drinking water, which poses no (health) problems at all,” Suga said.
“So (based on this, Abe) said (in Buenos Aires that) the effect has been totally blocked” within the bay of Fukushima No. 1, Suga said.
However, Suga did not answer repeated questions on the possibility that the density readings might be lower simply because tainted water is being diluted with massive amounts of seawater, and not because Tepco or the government has the situation “under control” as Abe claimed.
Jota Kanda, a professor at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, pointed out that densities of radioactive materials within the artificial bay have stopped falling recently, despite the huge amounts of seawater that flow in and out every day.
This indicates a certain amount of new radioactive materials are flowing nonstop from the plant’s wrecked reactor buildings into the sea, he said.
Kanda, however, also noted that the total amount of radioactive materials detected in contaminated water samples has been so low that it is unlikely to pose any danger to human health.
Surveys of fish caught around Japan’s shores have shown no alarming concentrations of radioactive materials in recent months.
source : www.japantimes.co.jp

Water highly irradiated near leaky tank - Japan Times
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said groundwater at an observation well near the site of a leaky storage tank at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has shown high levels of radiation.
Tests found 3,200 becquerels per liter of beta ray-emitting materials, including strontium. As a result, it “now seems more likely” that radioactive water from leaking tanks at the crippled facility became mixed with groundwater in the area, Tepco said Monday.
The level of contamination far exceeds the government limit of just 10 becquerels of strontium per liter in drinking water and 100 becquerels per kilogram for food. If ingested, experts say, strontium accumulates in bones and can cause cancer.
Many of the tanks were used to cool molten fuel in the No. 1 plant’s three reactors that experienced core meltdowns from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Last week, the government unveiled a ¥47 billion plan to stem the leaks by creating a wall of ice under the plant. Tepco also plans to use wells to pump out groundwater before it seeps into the Pacific Ocean.
The latest findings could affect that plan, as the nearest pumping well is only 130 meters from the monitoring site where the highly irradiated water sample was taken.
source : www.japantimes.co.jp/

Decontamination posing challenges
- NHK news
Japan's national and local governments are struggling with decontamination efforts in areas affected by radioactive fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant 2 and half years after the accident.
The national government is responsible for the removal of radiation from 11 evacuation areas in Fukushima Prefecture by the end of March 2014.
Among the 11, work has only been finished in the city of Tamura.
The Environment Ministry admitted on Tuesday that it cannot complete decontamination in 7 cities and towns by the deadline.
They include Minamisoma City, Namie Town, and Futaba Town. The ministry says that by the end of the year, it will draw up a new timetable to deal with those areas.
It says difficulty obtaining residents' approval and a lack of storage facilities for contaminated soil are key factors in the delay.
100 local governments in 8 prefectures are in charge of cleaning up municipalities other than evacuation areas. Among them, Iwate, Gunma, Saitama and Chiba Prefectures had cleaned up their educational facilities by the end of June.
But for residences, work is finished on only about 20 percent of the nearly 380,000 units listed for decontamination.
The Environment Ministry says the clean-up will probably take several more years.

215,000 hit by disaster still live away from home - NHK
More than 215,000 people are still living away from home in 3 Japanese prefectures 2-and-a-half years after the March 11 disaster.
On this day 30 months ago, a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan.
The National Police Agency says 15,883 people are confirmed to have died in the disaster and 2,654 remain unaccounted for.
The Reconstruction Agency says 2,688 people fell ill and died after evacuation.
The evacuees from the hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima are living in temporary housing or rented apartments.
The construction of public housing for displaced people is making slow progress. Only 1.6 percent of the planned units, or 448, are complete in the 3 prefectures.
People who used to live near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant still do not know when they will be able to return.
The central government's efforts to lower radioactive contamination levels in the evacuation areas are far behind schedule.

Tainted water may be leaking near No.2 reactor - NHK news
Tritium tainted groundwater expands at plant

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it has found rising tritium levels at a monitoring well near a wastewater storage tank.
One of the storage tanks leaked more than 300 tons of highly radioactive water in August. The water is likely to have seeped into the soil.
Tokyo Electric Power Company has since increased the number of monitors to check radioactive materials in groundwater near the tank.
The company says the level of radioactive tritium at one of the wells rose to 64,000 becquerels per liter on Tuesday, more than twice the reading the previous day.
The well is located 20 meters north of the leaking tank. Engineers checked soil taken when the well was dug and found beta radiation of 0.1 millisieverts an hour.
Beta rays are kind of radiation emitted from tritium and other substances.
The operator suspects the leak is spreading but says it doesn't know why as the well is not located near to the groundwater flows. It says most of the contaminated soil around the tank has been removed.
The company initially planned to pump up clean groundwater and release it into the ocean before it passes through heavily contaminated reactors buildings. The finding that the groundwater is already tainted before its reaches the buildings may hamper that plan.

Tainted water may be leaking near No.2 reactor
A nuclear expert says radioactive groundwater at the crippled plant in Fukushima is likely still flowing into the sea.
Attempts by Operator Tokyo Electric Power Company to stop the water appear to have had little effect.
The utility admitted the leak in May after detecting high radioactivity at some of the wells between reactor facilities and the sea, as well as the plant port's water.
Head researcher at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Seiji Takeda, says levels of radioactive tritium in water samples from the wells and the nearby sea suggests the groundwater is to blame. Takeda says tritium, which resembles hydrogen in character, moves with water and can be used to track water flow.
He noted that water samples taken in these wells at the sea side of the No. 2 reactor are showing higher levels of tritium compared to wells in surrounding areas. The wells are close to an underground tunnel also between the reactor facility and the sea.
From these reasons, he suggests the tunnel is one of the main sources of the contaminated water. He says the water is most likely flowing fairly quickly into the sea through pebbles inside the tunnel.
The operator has been solidifying the embankment to plug the leak. But it admitted on Wednesday that the measure is not working so far.


September 12, 2013

TEPCO to dismantle tank to find how water leaked - NHK news
The operator of the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant says it will dismantle a wastewater tank to find out how highly radioactive water leaked last month.
Tokyo Electric Power Company officials say they will closely examine all of the tank's parts and foundation materials to determine the cause.
About 300 tons of tainted water leaked from the tank in August. Officials say some of it may have seeped into the sea.
Inspections outside the tank in the past 3 weeks failed to pinpoint the leak. Some say the water may have seeped out at steel panel joints.
The officials on Thursday reported their plan to the Nuclear Regulation Authority. They say they will take apart the tank by around Friday next week.
The regulator told them to look at concrete foundations and soil under the tank to see where the leaked water went.
Tokyo Electric is also required to address suspected spreading of contamination as rising tritium levels were recently detected in groundwater near the tank.
Officials have planned to dig wells to pump out groundwater to keep it from flowing into contaminated reactor buildings, and to release the untainted water into the sea.
They say they will add more wells to the plan so that they can closely monitor possible groundwater contamination.

US nuclear expert inspects Fukushima Daiichi - NHK news
A US nuclear expert says problems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant are more complex than an accident on Three Mile Island in 1979.
Lake Barrett is a former official with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He directed cleanup operations at the US plant for 4 years after the accident.
He visited the Fukushima plant on Thursday, after the Tokyo Electric Power Company invited him to provide advice to its water management task force.
Barrett inspected a storage tank from which about 300 tons of contaminated water leaked last month. He also visited a construction site for barriers to prevent radioactive water from seeping into the sea.
Barrett said TEPCO should have made the barriers around the storage tanks high enough to stop any leaks even if all the water escapes.
In a meeting with TEPCO president Naomi Hirose, Barrett said that in the Three Mile Island accident, contaminated water remained inside the reactor buildings. He said Fukushima is more complex and difficult as it involves groundwater.
Barrett is expected to take part in a meeting at the TEPCO headquarters in Tokyo on Friday to provide advice on water management.
Barrett also spoke about the increase of contaminated water in the storage tanks. He said radioactive substances must be lowered to a level below national and international limits.
He added that the volume of contaminated water is too large to be stored in tanks indefinitely. Barrett said public consent will be more important than technical issues if the water eventually needs to be dumped into the ocean.
The president of TEPCO said the utility expects Barrett to apply his expertise and experience from the Three Mile Island accident, to solve the problems in Fukushima.

Lawmakers inspect water tanks at Fukushima Daiichi - NHK news
Lawmakers of Japan's ruling and opposition parties have inspected the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after leaks of radioactive water there.
Eleven board members of a Lower House committee on economy and industry visited the plant on Thursday. They looked at a storage tank from which more than 300 tons of contaminated water leaked.
They later met fishermen in nearby Iwaki City to hear their opinions on the leakage problem.
Some fishermen expressed concern that the problem has worsened every day and that if the situation does not improve, young fishermen will quit the business and the local industry will die.
Others said they don't support Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's assertion that the problem is under control. They said the government should do all it can to contain the problem as soon as possible.
Shigeyuki Tomita, a member of the ruling party New Komeito who chairs the committee, told reporters that the matter should be taken up in the Diet as soon as this month. He added that the president of the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, should be present at that time.

Radioactive water in ditch may have reached sea - NHK news
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says some of the water used to decontaminate a drainage ditch may have reached the sea near the plant.

Last month, more than 300 tons of highly radioactive water leaked from a storage tank. Tokyo Electric Power Company says some of the toxic water may have escaped into the sea through the ditch.
TEPCO is monitoring radiation levels at 8 spots in the ditch and the sea nearby to find out how the leaked water has spread.
The utility discovered 80 becquerels per liter of cesium-137 in water samples taken on Wednesday at a location 30 meters from the sea. The density is close to the government-set threshold for radioactive water allowed to be discharged to the sea.
The company also found 220 becquerels per liter of beta-ray emitting radioactive substances, including strontium.
TEPCO says decontamination work is underway at an upstream ditch following the leak of radioactive water from storage tanks. The utility adds some of the tainted clean-up water may have flowed down the ditch and into the sea.
The power company says it had taken measures to remove the decontamination water to prevent it from leaking into the sea. But TEPCO admitted these steps were insufficient. It promised additional measures to remove clean-up water and beef up surveillance of the decontamination work.


September 13, 2013

Tanks, not leak, main problem at Fukushima
- Japan Times
The radioactive water leaking into the sea from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has developed into a scandal, drawing media attention from around world in the past few weeks.
Despite the screaming headlines, however, a critical question remains unanswered: Just how much danger does the contaminated water pose to human health?
Jota Kanda, a professor at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, has some insight to offer.
“Compared with the release of radioactive materials in the initial stage (of the crisis), the amount of material now is overwhelmingly small,” the expert on maritime movement of radioactive substances said in a recent interview with The Japan Times.
“This is not something that has a big impact on fish in the sea,”
Kanda said.
The real threat is not the 300 tons of toxic water flowing into the Pacific each day, but the highly radioactive water sitting in the more than 1,000 huge tanks on land, Kanda argued.
“I understand it’s quite important to try to stop the groundwater (from flowing into the sea). But I’m far more concerned about the tanks,” he said. “We still have extremely contaminated water in those tanks. In that sense, we are in a crisislike situation.”
source : www.japantimes.co.jp

TEPCO official: Leakage 'not under control' - NHK news
A senior official from the Tokyo Electric Power Company has acknowledged that the radioactive water leakage at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant is not under control.
The government's top spokesman later said the assessment does not contradict Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's statement, delivered internationally, that the situation in Fukushima is under control.
TEPCO official Kazuhiko Yamashita was speaking at a hearing on Friday in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture. The session was organized by the opposition Democratic Party, with officials from the government and TEPCO taking part.
Yamashita apologized for the radioactive water leaks, saying that what's happening now goes beyond TEPCO's assumptions.
A lawmaker asked if Yamashita agrees with Abe's statement made last Saturday at a general meeting of the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires.
Yamashita replied that he believes the current situation is not under control.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga later told a news conference that he heard Yamashita made the comment after being pressed several times for an answer.
Suga said government officials have confirmed with TEPCO that Yamashita was speaking in reference to independent incidents, including a leak of radioactive wastewater from a storage tank at the plant.
Suga said that even if such independent incidents take place, multi-layered steps will be taken to prevent the radioactive water from contaminating the ocean.
Suga said it is true that tainted water has leaked from a tank. But he said workers' patrols of storage tanks have been increased from once to 4 times per day, as part of all-out efforts to urgently deal with the problem.

Tritium rises in groundwater in Fukushima Daiichi - NHK
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says that it found sharply rising tritium levels at a monitoring well near a wastewater storage tank.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says the level of radioactive tritium at one of the wells rose to 130,000 becquerels per liter on Thursday. That's more than twice the government-set level for its release into the sea.
One of the storage tanks leaked more than 300 tons of highly radioactive water in August. The water is likely to have seeped into the soil.
The company has since increased the numbers of monitors to check the radioactive materials in groundwater near the tank.
The tritium level in the well was 64,000 becquerels per liter on Tuesday and rose to 97,000 becquerels on Wednesday. The well is located 20 meters north of the leaking tank.
Meanwhile, the tritium in another well on the southern side of the tank was 290 becquerels per liter. The level is declining slightly.
Officials say the rise was apparently caused by a leak from the tank last month, but they can't exactly determine how that happened. They are also investigating past leaks from pipes connecting the tanks.
Abe plans to visit Fukushima nuclear plant
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning to visit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Thursday next week to inspect the radioactive water leakage.


September 14, 2013

Tepco tech chief disputes Abe’s ‘under control’ assertion - Japan Times
A Tokyo Electric Power Co. executive created a stir Friday by stating that he doesn’t believe the radioactive water leaks at the Fukushima No. 1 plant are under control — contradicting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s bold assertions in Tokyo’s Olympics presentation in Buenos Aires.
At a meeting Friday in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, however, Kazuhiko Yamashita, Tepco’s top technology executive, reportedly told Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers that he “does not believe (Tepco) is able to control” the situation.
By saying “the situation is under control,”
Abe and Tepco meant to say that the densities of the radioactive contaminants in seawater outside that bay are far below their legal limits, Ono said.
- and
Toxic drain water may have run into Pacific
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it found radioactive substances in a drainage ditch that leads directly to the Pacific Ocean near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Substances radiating 220 becquerels per liter were found in samples taken Wednesday from a ditch about 150 meters from the sea. The beta rays given off by strontium, cesium and other substances were some 12 times greater than samples taken there Tuesday, Tepco said Thursday.
Workers have been trying to decontaminate an upstream ditch for several days, and Tepco suspects toxic water seeped through sandbags placed there.
Tepco said it has not taken measures to prevent the radioactive substances in the ditch from reaching the sea.
source : www.japantimes.co.jp


September 15, 2013

Damaged Fukushima plant on typhoon alert - NHK
Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are preparing for the approaching storm. They are increasing patrols to make sure contaminated water does not overflow in the heavy rain.
Strong tropical storm Man-yi is expected to approach Japan's northeastern Fukushima Prefecture on Monday.
By Sunday afternoon, it has already brought heavy rain fall of 41.5 millimeters per hour in a town near the crippled power plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Company workers have placed weights on large cranes used to move debris around the reactor building to keep them from being toppled by strong winds.
They also attached ropes to outdoor piping and pumps that are used to inject water into the reactors.
The operators are strengthening patrols to prevent rain from entering and overflowing the basement of turbine buildings and the underground tunnel where highly contaminated water has accumulated.
They found water overflowing from a fence around storage tanks near the Number 4 reactor on Sunday afternoon. TEPCO officials are inspecting the leaked water to determine if it's contaminated.
The workers are dismantling a wastewater tank from which highly radioactive water is suspected to have leaked last month.
TEPCO says it plan to continue the work on Monday, but may decide to stop if the weather worsens.
Tropical storm Man-yi bringing heavy rain


September 16, 2013

Rainwater released from Fukushima plant into sea - NHK news
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has released into the ocean rainwater that had accumulated at the facility.
Tokyo Electric Power Company officials say radiation levels in the water were below government-set standards.
Heavy rain brought by tropical storm Man-yi led water levels to rise inside containment barriers that surround storage tanks.
Workers took water samples from the barriers on Monday to measure the amount of beta-ray emitting radioactive particles. The samples yielded between 3 and 24 becquerels per liter.
TEPCO officials concluded that the levels of radioactive strontium in the samples were below the government-set limit of 30 becquerels.
The utility says it started discharging excess water from the barriers into the ocean at around 12:40 PM on Monday.
It maintains that water levels increased just because of the rainfall, and that contaminated water did not leak from the storage tanks.
Workers also took samples inside the containment barrier of a tank that leaked 300 tons of contaminated water last month.
The samples yielded 170,000 becquerels per liter of beta ray-emitting substances. The utility transferred the excess water from that location to another tank.
Workers also moved excess contaminated water to nearby tanks at other 11 locations.

Japan assures IAEA over Fukushima leakage - NHK news
Japan's science and technology policy minister has pledged strong leadership to deal with the leakage of radioactive water at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Ichita Yamamoto spoke at the annual International Atomic Energy Agency General Conference that opened on Monday in Vienna.
Yamamoto said the toxic water is not polluting seawater outside a 0.3-square-kilometer radius of the plant's port.
He said Japan's food and drinking water are safe.
About 200 people attended an explanatory session by Japanese nuclear regulators and energy officials.
One Austrian participant said Japan has more work to do. He said he will keep monitoring the situation.


September 17, 2013

TEPCO: 1,130 tons of water released onto ground - NHK news
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has released more than 1,100 tons of rainwater that had pooled inside barriers around wastewater storage tanks.
Heavy rain lashed the plant on Sunday and Monday due to the effects of a severe tropical storm.
Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Company told reporters on Tuesday that workers discharged 1,130 tons of water from 7 sections onto nearby soil to prevent it from overflowing.
They said the level of radioactive substances in the water was below the government-set standard, so they judged it to be rainwater.
The government sets 30 becquerels per liter as the limit for discharging radioactive water into the ocean.
TEPCO officials say workers released the water onto the ground and not into drainage ditches that lead to the sea, so they cannot say how much may have leaked into the ocean.
The utility plans to study ways to prevent rainwater from accumulating within the storage tank barriers to prepare for future heavy rains.

Leakage prevention specs explained to bidders - NHK
Japanese government officials have held a briefing for potential bidders on projects to deal with the massive buildup of radioactive water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Groundwater is flowing into the plant's compound, increasing the amount of contaminated water accumulating at the site.
The government is earmarking about 210 million dollars in reserve funds from this year's budget to deal with the problem.
The industry ministry on Tuesday gathered more than 30 general contractors and other companies aiming to win contracts for the projects.
Officials explained a plan to create a 1.4 kilometer underground frozen soil wall around the reactors to block groundwater. It will measure about 30 meters deep.
Officials say the structure must withstand any rapid flow of groundwater and still be effective in places where underground plumbing exists.
They also outlined a project to reduce radioactive substances in the tainted water.
They told the firms that they need equipment that can treat 500 tons of water a day. It has to drastically cut levels of 62 types of radioactive materials in the water and reduce the amount of radioactive waste to one-fifth compared to current amounts.
The ministry hopes to start the projects in the next fiscal year, which begins in April.

Motegi: Fukushima situation under control - NHK
Japan's industry minister has emphasized that the situation of radioactive water leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is under control.
Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters on Tuesday that individual events should not be mixed up with the entire situation.
Motegi was responding to criticism that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's view of the situation contradicts that of the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company.
At a presentation on September 7th in Buenos Aires for Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Olympics, Abe assured the International Olympic Committee about the city's safety and said the situation is under control.
But a TEPCO official said on Friday at a meeting held by the opposition Democratic Party that the situation is not under control. Democrat legislators are taking issue with the discrepancy between the remarks.
Motegi said that despite leaks of tainted water from a storage tank, the effects of radiation are limited to waters in a port at the plant. He said offshore radioactivity levels are far below safety standards.
He stressed that the government is taking initiative in tackling the problem by pushing preventive and multilayered countermeasures.


September 18, 2013

TEPCO starts dismantling leaky Fukushima tank - NHK news
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says work has begun to dismantle the tank that leaked highly radioactive water in August.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it began taking apart the storage tank on Tuesday to find out why it leaked more than 300 tons of radioactive contaminated water.
TEPCO says some of the radioactive water may have flowed out to sea. The dismantling process is expected to take several days.
TEPCO says it will study the parts of the tank to identify where the leak occurred.
About 350 similar tanks are installed on the grounds of the plant.

TEPCO failed to meet promise on water barriers - NHK news
A onetime advisor to former Prime Minister Naoto Kan has revealed that the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant promised 2 years ago to build fences to block radioactive water leaks at the plant, but failed to deliver on the promise.
Democratic Party of Japan executive member Sumio Mabuchi told a party meeting on Wednesday that Tokyo Electric Power Company agreed with the DPJ-led government in June 2011 to build shields around the reactor buildings.
Soon after the crisis at the plant began in March 2011, Mabuchi was helping the government respond to the situation as an advisor to the prime minister.
Mabuchi says TEPCO asked the government not to announce the agreement about building the fences, saying that the company was worried the 1 billion dollar construction cost would add to its debt and lead to market confusion.
He says the government agreed not to publicize the deal.
Mabuchi says TEPCO then promised it would honor the agreement by building the fences immediately, but it did not carry out the work.

Coastal whitebait fishing postponed in Fukushima - NHK news
A fisheries cooperative in Fukushima Prefecture says it will put off coastal test-fishing of whitebait due to concerns about radioactive water leaks into the sea from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. About 40 local fishermen in Iwaki City decided at a meeting on Wednesday to postpone at least until next spring the fishing originally planned for late September.
They said gaining understanding from consumers would be difficult due to a delay in implementing measures to deal with leaked radioactive water.
A report presented at the meeting explained radiation tests carried out this month on marine products caught in the area.
The tests detected no radiation in most of the samples and extremely low levels of radioactive substances in some of them.
. . . . . Another fisheries cooperative in Soma City, also in Fukushima, plans to resume offshore test-fishing on September 26th as well.

Cracks found in vent pipe at Fukushima plant - NHK news
The people in charge of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant say they've found cracks in a steel framework that supports an unused ventilation pipe. They relied on the pipe for a period of time to release dangerous vapors created by the 2011 accident.
Officials at Tokyo Electric Power Company say workers on Wednesday discovered the cracks and cuts at 8 places in the buttress about 66 meters above the ground.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority has ordered the company to assess the capacity of the pipe to withstand an earthquake as quickly as possible.
The 120-meter vertical pipe stands between the number-1 and number-2 reactor buildings.
When they were handling the 2011 accident at the plant, TEPCO workers used it to discharge radioactive vapor and ease pressure in the containment vessels. They did this to prevent explosions.
TEPCO officials say they believe the 2011 earthquake damaged the steel framework. They say they have not observed any obvious damage in the pipe itself.
The officials say they are considering how to access the pipe to assess its strength. The area around the pipe is contaminated with high levels of radiation measuring 10 sieverts per hour.


September 19, 2013

Earthquake M 5.8 at Fukushima Hamadori
at 2:21.
No tsunami warning.

Abe asks TEPCO to decommission 2 more reactors - NHK news
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has urged the operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to decommission 2 more of its idle reactors.
Abe was speaking to reporters after inspecting the plant on Thursday. Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has been decommissioning the plant's No.1 to 4 reactors.
Abe said he urged the utility to decommission the plant's No.5 and 6 reactors to concentrate efforts to address problems left by the 2011 nuclear accident.
He quoted TEPCO President Naomi Hirose as saying the firm will decide this year how to deal with the 2 reactors.
Abe also said he asked TEPCO to earmark discretionary funds that can be used by managers at the site to implement necessary safety measures. He urged the utility to set a deadline for completing purification of contaminated water stored in tanks at the plant.
Hirose reportedly replied that another 1 trillion yen, or about 10 billion dollars, will be added to funds that the company has already earmarked. He also said the company plans to complete purification by March 2015.
Abe stressed that monitoring data collected in the ocean off Fukushima shows that the radioactive water affects only 0.3 square kilometers in the plant's port. He had explained this to the general assembly of the International Olympic Committee in Argentina this month.
The prime minister added that the government will play a major role in the cleanup and that he will be responsible for handling the issue.


September 20, 2013

TEPCO's water purification plan faces difficulties - NHK news
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it will purify all the radioactive water at the site by March 2015.
But observers say that won't be easy.
Tokyo Electric Power Company said Thursday there's a total of 440,000 tons of contaminated water in the basement of the turbine buildings and in storage tanks. The utility says there's another 15,000 tons in tunnels under the compound.
Containing the radioactive water was the main issue Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed with TEPCO on Thursday during his visit to the plant.
The utility plans to install 2 more water treatment devices in addition to one now in place. But its trial run is currently on hold because of damage caused by corrosion.
One of the two additional devices is a high performance model. TEPCO hopes the three devices will enable it to treat 1,500 tons of water a day. That's 3 times the present rate.
But the water-treatment devices cannot remove tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.
TEPCO also has a plan to release clean groundwater into the ocean before it is contaminated by the facilities area. It will do that by forming a bypass around the plant.
But there are growing fears that a leak of 300 tons of tainted water from a storage tank could be affecting the groundwater before it reaches the facility.
Local fishermen are worried this could further hurt Fukushima's image and delay the restart of the local fishery.
Observers say TEPCO needs to come up with a credible plan to deal with these problems.

New nuclear waste disposal plan presented to panel - NHK
Japan's Industry Ministry has proposed a new way of disposing of highly radioactive nuclear waste that can be retrieved, if needed, after it is buried underground.
Ministry officials made the new proposal to its panel of experts on Friday.
They explained radioactive waste might need to be recovered from an underground storage if something happens that requires a review of the method, or if new technology to lower its toxicity is developed.
The ministry plans to bury high-level radioactive waste more than 300 meters underground, where it would remain for tens of thousands of years.
The ministry has been considering storage sites for 13 years, but the process had been stymied by strong public concern.
The Science Council of Japan said last year that since Japan is prone to seismic and volcanic activity using current technology it is difficult to determine sites that will remain stable for tens of thousands of years.
The ministry began overhauling plans in May this year.
Ministry officials say a time limit cannot be placed on how long the new proposal will be discussed.

Inose: Tainted water not necessarily under control - NHK
Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose says that the problem of radioactive water leaking from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant isn't necessarily under control.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared at the general assembly of the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires that the situation at Fukushima is under control.
The IOC chose Tokyo as the host city for the 2020 summer Olympics and Paralympics.
At a news conference on Friday, Inose said the most important thing is that Abe expressed his determination to bring the situation under control.
The governor praised Abe for dispelling widely spread speculation and concern about the leakage problem.
Inose added that he expects the central government to do all it can to solve the problem.

More Fukushima plant workers show health problems - NHK
The health ministry says the percentage of workers who have health issues in their physical exams has increased at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and nearby locations.
The ministry for the first time analyzed the results of physicals reported to a labor standards inspection office which has jurisdiction over 2 nuclear plants in Fukushima.
Some 6,700 people engaged in radiation-related work for 545 work units in the region took special physicals last year. Most of them are believed to be plant workers.
The health ministry officials say that 284 of them, or 4.21% of the employees in the area, showed unhealthy medical readings, such as higher white blood cell counts.
They were required to take more detailed tests or undergo treatment.
The proportion of people with health issues was up 3.23 percentage points from the figure reported in 2010, before the nuclear crisis.
The ministry says it's not easy to simply compare the results since the work units have seen 70% of their employees replaced over the past 3 years.
But, it says it plans to conduct an epidemiological survey to learn more about the impact of the radiation.

Slacken bolts may cause radioactive water leakage - NHK
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says radioactive water may have leaked from a storage tank whose pivot bolts used for the joints of steel sheets had become loose.
In August, more than 300 tons of highly radioactive water was found leaking from one of the storage tanks. But one month later the cause of the leakage is still unknown.
In order to find the cause of the problem, the plant operator on Tuesday began work to dismantle the tank.
TEPCO officials say 5 of the pivot bolts used to fix joints of steel sheets at the bottom of the tank were found loose. They say it is highly probable that this caused the leakage.
But officials say they will also check deformed resins and rust on the sides of the sheets for ruptures.
Fukushima Daiichi has more than 300 similar tanks that store radioactive water. It is feared the same problem could be found at the bottom of those tanks.
But TEPCO officials say it is impossible to directly check or reinforce them, or to replace all the tanks at the same time.
They say they will do more to monitor the leakages.


September 22, 2013

LDP bigwig pushes Tepco split to speed up Fukushima No. 1 decommissioning - Japan Times
A senior official of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has proposed to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Tepco be split up and a new company created to take charge of decommissioning the Fukushima No. 1 plant, a party official said Saturday.
The plan, floated Wednesday by Tadamori Oshima, head of the LDP committee on Tohoku’s recovery from the 2011 disasters, could speed up decommissioning work while allowing Tokyo Electric Power Co. to focus on compensating those affected by the nuclear crisis and on its primary business, the official said.
Of the six reactors at Fukushima No. 1, Tepco is moving to dismantle No. 1 through 4, which were crippled by core meltdowns or hydrogen explosions in March 2011. Abe on Thursday urged Tepco to also scrap the No. 5 and 6 units, which didn’t suffer any major structural damage.
Under the plan proposed by Oshima, a former vice president of the LDP, Tepco employees engaged in cleanup efforts and decommissioning work at Fukushima No. 1 would be transferred to the new entity, which would be primarily funded by the government.
Observers, however, say the idea may face resistance from some quarters for its potential to confuse the responsibilities of Tepco and the government over the plant’s decommissioning.
The LDP committee is expected to compile a formal proposal based on Oshima’s plan in the near future. But it may also include other options, such as setting up a new government agency or an independent administrative body for the dismantling of Fukushima No. 1, the official said.
source : www.japantimes.co.jp

Japan to protest Fukushima-Olympics cartoons in French weekly - Japan Times
Japan plans to complain to the French satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaine after it published cartoons poking fun at Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympics in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
One cartoon published in the Sept. 11 edition of the paper shows two emaciated sumo wrestlers with extra limbs battling it out with nuclear reactors in the background. The caption reads: “Thanks to Fukushima, sumo has become an Olympic sport.”

source : japantimes.co.jp/news


September 23, 2013

Guidelines for radioactive waste storage drawn up - NHK
A Japanese government panel has drawn up guidelines to minimize the environmental impact of projects to build storage sites for radioactive waste near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The Environment Ministry plans to build intermediate storage facilities in Futaba, Okuma and Naraha towns for radioactive contaminated soil and debris collected around the plant.
The panel of experts said on Tuesday that the amount of exhaust and noise from trucks carrying such waste should be minimized. They said they will draw up plans to regulate the trucks' operation and routes.
The experts also said construction could damage wild habitats, and suggested using existing facilities or setting up conservation areas where few buildings are available.
The guidelines cover only Okuma and Naraha towns, which have approved field studies. The town of Futaba has not approved such a survey.
The ministry plans to continue studying environmental measures while listening to experts' views.

Fukushima fishermen to resume offshore fishing - NHK
A fisheries cooperative in Fukushima Prefecture says it will resume offshore test-fishing after several weeks of suspension.
The Soma-Futaba Fisheries Cooperative suspended operations in early September over concerns about radioactive water leaks from the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The fishermen decided at a meeting on Tuesday that they will resume test-fishing north of the prefecture on Wednesday, as radiation tests on marine products in that area indicated no problems.
The head of the cooperative said he hopes the plant operator will cause no more trouble and prevent further leaks of radioactive water.
Another fisheries cooperative in Iwaki City, also in Fukushima Prefecture, plans to start offshore test-fishing next week.


September 25, 2013

Niigata governor to study TEPCO safety plan
The governor of Niigata Prefecture says he will closely examine a request by Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, to approve installation of more safety devices at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant. The installation is a prerequisite for the plant's restart.
TEPCO President Naomi Hirose visited Niigata on Wednesday. He handed Governor Hirohiko Izumida a document seeking advance approval of a plan to install more filter vent systems at the Number 6 and 7 reactors of the plant in Niigata Prefecture on the Sea of Japan.
Such systems are designed to release pressure in containment vessels while limiting massive emissions of radioactive substances from boiling water reactors in emergencies.
Izumida asked Hirose how his utility will notify local residents when using the systems, and how it will minimize people's exposure to radioactive substances.
Hirose said the utility has the necessary safety measures in place. He also pledged efforts to deepen communication with local residents.
TEPCO hopes to restart the two reactors. The plant has seven and is the world's largest nuclear power plant in terms of power output. But the reactors must first be screened under the government's new tough guidelines.
The move to seek prior approval of local communities is based on a safety agreement between the utility and prefectures and municipalities that host nuclear plants.
At their previous meeting in July, Izumida refused to take the document, to protest TEPCO's plan to file for safety screening before obtaining local approval.

Fukushima fishermen land catch from test-fishing
Fishermen from Fukushima Prefecture have unloaded their fish catches after test-fishing resumed following a suspension due to concerns over radioactive water leaks.
Twenty-one trawlers returned on Wednesday afternoon to a port in Soma City in the north of the prefecture. They had been fishing since the morning.
Offshore trial fishing was suspended in early September after tainted water leaked into the sea from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Officials with the Fukushima fisheries federation say they decided to resume operations after tests of fish and seawater showed they were safe.
Fishermen are allowed to operate under certain conditions.
The catches are limited to 16 types of fish that were found to have either no radiation or radiation levels well within safety limits. The fishing grounds must be at least 50 kilometers from the plant and at least 150 meters deep.
A local fisheries cooperative says the trawlers unloaded about 5,200 kilograms of fish. They caught 11 species, including giant octopuses, spear squids and hairy crabs.
Samples are being tested for radioactivity.
The cooperative plans to put the catches on sale at local markets on Thursday after their safety is confirmed. It also plans to ship the fish to Tokyo and elsewhere.
The prefectural fisheries federation says it plans to start trial fishing off Iwaki, in southern Fukushima Prefecture, next month.

Govt. plans to continue research at Monju
Japan's science ministry has unveiled a plan to run the Monju fast breeder reactor on the Sea of Japan coast for about 6 years before deciding whether to continue further research there.
- - - The plan stresses the importance of securing energy options, and describes Monju as a core facility for research and development.
If the reactor is allowed to restart, the ministry is to run it on an experimental basis for 2 years, and fully operate the facility for about 4 years.
- - - But a restart of Monju is nowhere in sight. In addition to safety problems at the reactor, experts are examining what could be an active fault under its compound.

TEPCO finds gap between plates of leaked tank - NHK
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it may have identified the cause of a highly radioactive water leak from a storage tank in August.
TEPCO workers have found a gap between steel plates at the bottom of the tank.
The workers put foam on the joints between the plates and managed to suck it through to the other side.
TEPCO says the massive weight of stored water might have widened the gap and allowed the water to leak.
TEPCO earlier found that some bolts used to fix joints in the lower part of the tank had come loose.
The utility says it will further investigate.
The company has about 300 similar tanks installed at the plant site. It is being called on to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

On Wednesday, officials from the NRA discussed the possible volcanic effects on nclear plants based on stricter rules implemented after the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima.


September 26, 2013

Fukushima fish hit local markets - NHK
Fish caught off the coast of Fukushima are being sold at local markets after test-catches resumed, following a suspension over concerns of radioactive water leaks.
Fishermen and wholesalers flocked to the Matsukawaura Port in the city of Soma early on Thursday.
They prepared around 1,500 kilograms of hairy crabs, squid and other marine products.
Fishermen resumed offshore test-fishing on Wednesday. Such fishing was suspended early this month after contaminated water leaked into the ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The local fisheries cooperative said no radioactive substances were found in the 11 types of seafood caught this time.
Any catch must clear a radiation test before reaching the markets.
The shipped products soon hit the shelves of local retailers. At a supermarket in Soma, shoppers bought the seafood after checking the attached test certificates.
A 79-year-old customer says he prefers local products because of their freshness. He says although he is concerned about the leakage, he has no worries about food safety as all the products are thoroughly checked.
The seafood is expected to be put on sale on Friday in Sendai, the prefectural capital of neighboring Miyagi Prefecture, and in Tokyo on Saturday.

Fukushima Daiichi underwater fences breached - NHK
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says underwater barriers in the facility's port have been breached. The so-called silt fences are intended to prevent the spread of radioactive materials.
Tokyo Electric Power Company officials said on Thursday they found damage in the curtain-like barriers near the intake canals of the No. 5 and 6 reactors.
The silt fences are to stop contaminated sea-bed soil from near the damaged No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 reactors polluting water near the still-intact No. 5 and 6 reactors.
TEPCO is investigating the accident's cause. It plans to repair the fences once high waves triggered by an approaching typhoon subside.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority instructed the power company to measure radiation levels in the sea near the No. 5 and 6 reactors.
The underwater barriers were also damaged in April. TEPCO officials attributed the cause to high waves.

TEPCO resumes wastewater decontamination - NHK
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has resumed test-runs of its filtration equipment to decontaminate radioactive wastewater.
Tokyo Electric Power Company planned to fully operate the Advanced Liquid Processing System in August. It is designed to remove most radioactive substances from contaminated water. But in June pre-treatment water leaked from a storage tank and forced TEPCO to halt test-runs of the system.
The firm suspects the leak was caused by chemical-induced corrosion. It took countermeasures, including putting an anti-corrosion cover inside tanks.
TEPCO has finished those steps on one of the 3 purification systems. This allowed the utility to restart test-runs on Friday.
TEPCO officials say they plan to resume test-runs of the remaining 2 systems by mid-November. When all 3 systems are online the filtration equipment will be able to treat about 500 tons of contaminated water a day.
However, the equipment cannot filter out the radioactive material tritium, leaving open the question of how to dispose of the tritium-contaminated water.

Tepco finds chinks around two bolts in leaky tank - Japan Times
okyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday night that it found chinks in a storage tank from which 300 tons of highly radioactive water escaped with barely a trace last month.
It is highly possible the small openings are what caused the massive leak, but more testing of the flange-type storage tank is required to confirm that, said Akira Ono, chief of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, during a news conference at the plant streamed live over the Internet.
source : www.japantimes.co.jp

Police to tighten security at nuclear facilities - NHK
Japan's National Police Agency chief has instructed police headquarters nationwide to tighten anti-terror security at nuclear power plants.
Tsuyoshi Yoneda gave the instruction on Thursday at a meeting of about 200 senior officers in charge of anti-terrorism measures.


September 27, 2013

TEPCO admits to putting shield walls on hold - NHK
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant says it has had to delay constructing underground walls to block the leakage of contaminated water because other work was more urgent.
Tokyo Electric Power Company President Naomi Hirose testified on Friday at a Lower House committee meeting.
The committee was convened to discuss the massive groundwater contamination at the plant.
Hirose admitted that TEPCO was aware of the possible leakage of radioactive water into the sea at an early stage.
Three months after the nuclear accident, the utility decided to build underground walls around the reactor buildings.
Asked why TEPCO did not pursue the plan, Hirose said it had to deal with many "hot spots" of radiation, as well as contaminated debris.
He said it was first decided by the government and TEPCO to build underground walls near the sea, instead of around the reactor buildings.
The seaside walls were built by solidifying an embankment with chemicals. The current plan calls for walls surrounding the reactors to be built by freezing the soil, which is unprecedented in scale and cost.
The president was also asked about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's remark at the general assembly of the International Olympic Committee earlier this month. Abe claimed situation is under control.
Hirose says Abe seemed to have meant that the impact of the contaminated water has been contained within the plant's port and that in that sense he agrees with the prime minister.


September 28, 2013

Waste water decontamination suspended - NHK
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it has suspended the process of decontaminating radioactive wastewater with a new filtration system. The move came less than one day after it resumed a test-run.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it detected a decline in the flow of radioactive wastewater in a pipe that carries the water to a storage tank at about 10:30 PM on Friday.
TEPCO officials say they are checking what caused the problem. They say they do not know when the decontaminating operation will resume.
It was the first time TEPCO had tried testing the new equipment in one and a half months.
The equipment is designed to eliminate almost all of the radioactive materials in the accumulating wastewater at the plant.


September 29, 2013

Rubber plate blocking radioactive wastewater - NHK
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says a rubber mat has come loose in a tank of a new filtration system, possibly clogging the drain outlet.
On Friday, Tokyo Electric Power Company suspended a test run of its ALPS system designed to eliminate radioactive materials from the water that is accumulating at the plant.
The suspension came less than one day after the operation was resumed for the first time in one-and-a-half months.
TEPCO had detected a decline in the flow of radioactive wastewater in a pipe that carries the water to a storage tank.
The utility used a camera to check the interior of the upstream tank and found the 3-millimeter thick rubber plate measuring 20 centimeters square had come loose.
The mat is used to protect the floor of the tank when carrying out an inspection with a ladder.
TEPCO says it is likely that the plate is blocking the drain outlet of the tank.
The utility will check other tanks to see if similar problems have occurred.
TEPCO plans to install more ALPS systems to complete the task by the end of the next fiscal year. But a series of problems is casting doubt on whether the work will progress as planned.

Rubber mat in tank may have shut down ALPS
source : Japan Times


September 30, 2013

TEPCO resumes water decontamination at Fukushima
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant resumed decontamination of waste water early Monday.
On Friday, Tokyo Electric Power Company resumed a test run of its Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS system, designed to remove radioactive materials from the contaminated water.
But it suspended the operation in less than 24 hours after it detected the flow of radioactive wastewater had declined in a pipe which sent the water into a storage tank.
The utility says a rubber mat which had been left by workers in a tank after an inspection clogged the drain outlet.
It says the mat had been placed under a ladder.
The utility says workers were supposed to remove the mat as soon as they finished the inspection, but forgot.
The ALPS system has experienced a number of troubles, including a water leak caused by corrosion in June.

TEPCO president meets Fukushima assembly members- NHK
Tokyo Electric Power Company President Naomi Hirose has pledged to ensure the dismantling of the crippled nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi power plant proceeds without delay.
Hirose, Vice President Yoshiyuki Ishizaki, and other TEPCO executives attended a session of the Fukushima Prefectural Assembly on Monday, at the request of the assembly.
Hirose apologized for a series of problems at the nuclear plant. He said the company will make decontamination of radioactive wastewater its top priority and deploy management resources to deal with the issue.
Hirose noted that TEPCO has put aside an additional 1 trillion yen, or about 10 billion dollars, for this purpose.
He said he would make certain that no necessary measures are cancelled or delayed just because the company wants to cut costs or streamline its businesses.
Assembly members asked whether there are enough tanks to store the radioactive wastewater. Hirose said the volume of tainted water will reach the plant's storage capacity of 800-thousand tons within the next 3 years. He says the company will take measures to ensure it does not build up to that level.
This is the second time that a TEPCO president has attended a Fukushima Prefectural Assembly session since the nuclear accident in 2011.


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  1. Fukushima: health disaster or PR fail?
    by Rowan Hooper

    One thing about having a nuclear accident in a rich country is that at least there is going to be good medical care and long-term monitoring. The repair and clean-up operation is another matter, of course — which is why Japan is currently under pressure to accept help from abroad in fixing the appalling mess caused by the three reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

    But having great monitoring, assessment and medical treatment of citizens is one thing. It is quite another making sure information is communicated to the public clearly and openly. That is something at which neither the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco), nor the Japanese government have succeeded at all well. And without good communication, fear and misinformation about radiation can understandably grow.

    I was talking about this last week with Gerry Thomas, who runs the Chernobyl Tissue Bank (CTB) at Imperial College London. The CTB collects and analyzes samples of tissue from people exposed to radiation after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the USSR (present-day Ukraine) in 1986, and monitors the occurrence of thyroid cancer in contaminated areas.

    About Fukushima, she is dismissive of the health risks. That might seem cavalier to people in the Tohoku region of northeastern Honshu who are worried about radiation contamination, but Prof. Thomas has seen what happened in Chernobyl — which released far more radiation than Fukushima has to date.

    “Fukushima is nothing compared to Chernobyl,” she told me. “It really is nothing, it’s a tenth of the dose of cesium.” (For the World Nuclear Association report on this, see bit.ly/17urZKd)

    The problem in Japan, she says, is more one of communication than public health.

    “They’ve got a huge problem out there — largely a PR problem; it’s not a health problem because none of this is going to do anything health-wise,” the professor said.

    Our conversation came about because I’d seen a news clip on NHK reporting 18 cases of thyroid cancer in a monitored population around Fukushima.

    Fukushima Medical School monitors some 360,000 people who were aged 18 or younger at the time of the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. What you might conclude from the report — but you’d be mistaken — is that there is a direct link between the cases of cancer and the release of radioactive material following the meltdown. I asked for Thomas’ opinion.

    What we don’t know, she told me, is whether these thyroid cancers are to do with the environment in Fukushima — or whether there is something about the genetics of the people monitored.

    We also don’t know, she pointed out, whether the frequency is similar to that seen in other areas of Japan. In Chernobyl (where children were exposed to more than 100 times the maximum dose of radioactive iodine seen after Fukushima), thyroid cancers did not present themselves until four or five years after the disaster.

    “Given what we know about radiation dose and time elapsed since the accident,” says Thomas, “I personally cannot see how this finding can be related to the radiation — the doses were too low and the time too short, based on what we know from Chernobyl.”


    We are all exposed to radiation, all the time (this fantastic dose chart makes it clear: xkcd.com/radiation) There is, however, a special fear of radiation that is introduced to the environment by human activities. But that fear can get out of hand. Far more radiation was released in the Chernobyl disaster than has been so far from the Fukushima plant, but even the Chernobyl disaster — the world’s worst — can be put into context.

    “If you compare Chernobyl with what we allowed to escape into the atmosphere as a result of the nuclear tests in the Nevada desert, that was far, far more than Chernobyl,” Thomas says. “We’ve got a short-term memory about things like this. Instead of looking back and saying, ‘What do we know from exposures in the past?’ we just panic about the next one.”


  2. Japan halts last nuclear reactor

    The only nuclear reactor in Japan that was generating electricity was halted on early Monday morning.
    Kansai Electric Power Company is the operator of Ohi nuclear power plant in central Japan. It began lowering the output of the Number 4 reactor on Sunday evening.

    The reactor stopped generating electricity Sunday night and was halted at about 1:30 AM on Monday Japan time. This means all 50 of the country's reactors have ceased operation for the first time in 14 months.

    After the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011, all reactors in the country went offline for safety inspections. Two reactors at the Ohi plant restarted operation last year.
    Ohi's Number 4 reactor was the only one running in Japan after another reactor at the same plant stopped generating power earlier this month for regular checks.

    Electric power companies have asked the Nuclear Regulation Authority for approval to restart 12 reactors at 6 power plants, including the Ohi power plant.
    The regulators began safety assessments from July in a process they say will take about 6 months.

    Local municipalities must also give their approval before reactors can be restarted.
    None of the reactors are likely to resume operations in the near future.

    Sep. 15, 2013 - NHK world news -

  3. - Japan Times -

    Despite safety worries, nuclear power isn’t going away
    There's just too much money involved to go completely cold turkey
    by Elaine Kurtenbach
    With the No. 4 reactor in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, being taken offline for refueling and maintenance, Japan is once again without nuclear power.

    But despite signs that the Fukushima No. 1 crisis is worsening, the government’s commitment to restarting many of the 50 idled reactors appears stronger than ever, a year after the previous administration said it would begin to phase out nuclear power completely.

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says nuclear power remains essential, even with a surge in generation capacity from solar, wind and other renewable sources, and that the world’s No. 3 economy can’t afford the mounting costs from importing gas and oil that have only been steepened by his weakening of the yen.

    Four nuclear plant operators have applied to restart a dozen reactors under revised safety guidelines, though the pace will be relatively slow, with the first expected to come online early next year at the earliest.
    Even with little to no nuclear power, the nation has managed to avoid power rationing and blackouts. Industries have moved aggressively to avoid disruptions by installing backup generators and shifting to new sources, such as solar power.


  4. September 16th - AP news

    Landslide at MOX-fueled Japan Nuclear Plant — AP: Emergency data transmission from Monju stops as typhoon hits — Kyodo:
    Can’t access site due to mudslides, reactor temperatures unknown

    Data transmission from Monju reactor stopped [...] There are no prospects for restoration of data transmission for now, with the reactor site in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, inaccessible due to mudslides and fallen trees caused by the typhoon, it said. The Monju reactor has effectively been prohibited from operation because of lax safety management by the operator.

  5. MONJU - NHK news

    12,000 plus 2,000 new items checked in Monju

    The operator of a trouble-hit prototype reactor has completed safety checks on about 14,000 pieces of equipment that should have been inspected earlier.
    The checks included about 2,000 items the operator recently discovered hadn't been inspected.
    The Japan Atomic Energy Agency presented its report on the Monju fast-breeder reactor to the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Monday.
    Monju, located on the Sea of Japan coast, had been cited for more than 12,000 safety lapses, including some involving equipment that is crucial to safe operation of the reactor. In May, the nuclear regulator ordered the operator to halt preparations for resuming test-runs until it has dealt with the safety issues. The operator subsequently found additional equipment that had not been checked.
    The Monju reactor in Fukui Prefecture uses plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel to generate power. The reactor has been mostly offline since a coolant leak accident in 1995 and the fall of a fuel exchange device into the reactor in 2010.
    Last week, the science ministry drew up a plan to run Monju for 6 years before it will whether to continue research there.
    But a restart of Monju is not likely anytime soon.
    This is due to the regulator's order that test-runs cannot be resumed until new maintenance and management systems are in place. Experts are also investigating whether active fault lines run beneath the reactor.

    Sep. 30, 2013