Fukushima 133... 12/31/2021-3/25/2022

May 27, 2022

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

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

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

May 20, 2022

The visit to F. Daiichi by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi sparks a virtual tsunami of Japanese Press articles, all but one of which stop short of saying the release of wastewater has zero risk to anyone. The following are representative of the reporting...

There is one news report not associated with the Grossi visit...

  • A date for the end of Katsurao's evacuation order for the Noyuki District is posted. Tokyo's disaster response headquarters and Katsurao Village jointly said the restrictions will be lifted on June 12thhttps://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022051600897

May 13, 2022

  • Some of Katsurao Village will have its evacuation order lifted in three weeks. The Noyuki District, which covers about 20% of the town, is planned to have its order rescinded on June 5th. It is significant because this will be the first lifting of an evacuation order located inside a “difficult to return” zone. It will allow eight persons from four eager families to go home. They will be briefed on the situation by authorities on Sunday. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220513_30/ 

May 6, 2022

  • Despite some neighboring naysayers, Fukushima agricultural exports have risen above the 2011 level. Officials say the growth is due to increased rice shipments to Singapore and Hong Kong. The export total through March 2022 was about three times the level immediately before the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Exports sharply dropped after the quake/tsunami largely due to fears about contamination from the F. Daiichi accident. Given this sharp increase, officials now focus on increasing shipments to the United States, which removed its restrictions last fall, but the market has yet to recover. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1104

  • IAEA says there will be only a limited impact with the planned release of treated F. Daiichi wastewaters. Their February task force says residual radioactive isotopic concentrations are “far below the Japanese regulatory limits”. However, the agency has refrained from calling the release safe. Its final decision is planned for just prior to the actual start of the releases. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022043000330

April 29, 2022

  • Tokyo says that F. Daiichi wastewater discharges will have limited consumer impact. A government survey of consumers shows that only 14.7% will stop buying Fukushima food items once the releases begin. 13.3% say they are already doing it. Surprisingly, the percentage of Koreans avoiding Fukushima foods appears will drop once the releases begin. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022042700484

  • Tepco posts photos of efforts to improve the areas around F. Daiichi discharge facilities. Part 1 shows the arrival of a large”shield machine”. Part 2 shows off shore work being done by a sea-going crane. https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2022-e/202204-e/220425-01e.html – https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2022-e/202204-e/220425-02e.html

  • Tepco announces that the F. Daiichi wastewater tanks may not be full until the fall of 2023. The original estimate was for the fall of 2022 The reason is that the amount of contaminated water is less than had been the case previously, and new tanks were added. The company plans to start the sea discharge in the spring of 2023. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14609795

  • Only 61% of the people in Japan know that wastewater at F. Daiichi continues to increase. Further, only 43% know about the plan to begin ocean discharges to mitigate the situation, in 2023! On the other hand, as much as 83% of people outside Japan know about the on-going wastewater buildup, and 56% were aware of the discharge plans! These numbers were generated by Tokyo's Reconstruction Agency surveys. https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/society/general-society/20220428-23767/

April 22, 2022

  • The disposal of Japanese radioactive equipment becomes an issue. It is estimated that more than 50,000 tons of it may eventually exist. It might be sent overseas for disposal, which challenges the current ban of such exports. Critics oppose the idea and want the stuff recycled. The materials in question include steam generators from Pressurized Water reactor units, feedwater heaters, and casings used to store and transport used nuclear fuel. A Kansai Electric official says, "It is virtually impossible to dispose of the waste domestically. The regulatory reconsideration is a gleam of hope for the waste issue that is at a dead-end.” Nagasaki University professor Tatsujiro Suzuki says, "This is what you get when the state has failed to seriously discuss what to do with waste. It is sheer irresponsibility when looked at from the principle that disposal must be done in one's own country." https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/04/35db6ff5b51f-tons-of-japanese-nuclear-waste-may-be-destined-for-overseas-disposal.html

April 15, 2022

  • The town of Tomioka starts “stays” allowing evacuated residents to spend overnight in their homes. The area affected surrounds Yomiuri Station on the Joban Line of the East Japan Railway. Only 11 people from 9 displaced families have applied for the opportunity, out of the pre-evacuation population of more than 3,500. This part of Tomioka affected by the “stays” covers about 5 percent of the town. When the evacuation order is lifted later in the spring, some 95% of Tomioka will be open for repopulation. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022041100927 - https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220411_15/

  • The NRA is set to approve Tepco's release of F. Daiichi wastewater. The Nuclear Regulation Authority has been inspecting Tepco's release plans for months. Tepco promises to only release the liquid that has been diluted with raw seawater to make the Tritium concentration less than one-fortieth of Japan's overly-restrictive limit for the isotope. A draft inspection document will be posted next month. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220415_32/

  • Fukushima-area fisheries remain opposed to the planned wastewater release. On April 12th, Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda says Tokyo will “take effective measures to curb expected reputational damage to fisheries products while hearing input from the fisheries industry.” But fisheries head Hiroshi Kishi said he and other officials of the federation are expecting additional assistance on top of that. Tokyo promises a “supersize fund” to cover the losses. But Kishi says the fund is a measure to sustain the fishing business, but does not address reputational damage. Hagiuda responded that there will not be a second fund because, “The government has already set aside 30 billion yen and we believe that it is fairly large.” https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14598159

  • Local citizens are skeptical about the planned wastewater release. They allege that the decision for the release was hasty and was made before understanding was gained with the public. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022041300563

  • Tepco announces that the construction of a cover over F. Daiichi unit #1 has begun. Work began on the 13th of April. The cover itself will be supported by the reactor building's outer walls, that survived the Hydrogen explosion. All work is being done by remote control to minimize exposure to workers. Details on the work and pictures are to be found here... https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/hd/decommission/information/newsrelease/reference/pdf/2022/reference_20220413_01-e.pdf

April 8, 2022

April 1, 2022

  • Tepco plans a look inside F. Daiichi RPV #2 within three years. Reactor Pressure Vessel #2 is being considered because robotic surveys have progressed better in unit #2 than units #1 & #3. This will be the first internal look at one of the three RPVs that experienced meltdown in March, 2011. It is believed that the corium (mixture of formerly molten fuel and structural metals liquefied by by the heat of the meltdown) for unit #2 is contained inside the RPV. The internal look will be either by robotic or otherwise remote controlled camera. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220401_05/

  • The IAEA checked screening for F. Daiichi wastewater. They plan to post a formal report on their findings in about two months. IAEA Deputy Director General Lydie Evrard said, "The NRA (Japan's nuclear watchdog authority) has demonstrated to the agency task force that they are committed to a regulatory approach in line with the international safety standards." Tokyo and Tepco plan to dilute the treated water to levels below national regulations and will be discharged into the ocean in the spring 2023. Samples of treated water were taken by the IAEA team, to be analyzed by an IAEA facility to verify Tepco's data. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220325_36/ - https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2022-e/202203-e/220325-01e.html

  • It looks like four Japanese nukes will face further restart delays. They are Onagawa #2, Genkai #3 & #4, and Takahama #3. The delay for the Onagawa unit is due to being unable to meet the deadline set by the NRA for anti-terrorist upgrades. The Genkai units' delays are also due to not being able to meet the deadlines set by the NRA, and incidents at the construction sites for their anti-terrorist facilities. The Takahama delay is due to discovery of unacceptable decay in four steam generator pipes. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220331_13/

March 25, 2022

  • Tepco has posted the latest status of the recent robotic inspection of the pedestal in Unit #1 Reactor building. Photos taken by the submersible robot show the situation with the Primary Loop Recirculation System and nearby technology. Surprisingly, the objects look quite pristine, with few accident-related debris deposits and a continuous stream of bubbles from one submerged vent pipe. Also, the posting reveals that the company added water to the containment to recover the 16-inch drop in its level since last week's earthquake, in order to accommodate submersible investigations by all robotic devices. https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/hd/decommission/information/newsrelease/reference/pdf/2022/reference_20220324_01-e.pdf

  • A Press article covers a night spent by a Futaba family in their home. Technically, no-one is allowed to live in Futaba due to Tokyo's paranoiac mandate, former residents planning to make a full return home can make these preliminary visits. The father first visited their home January 29th to check on its condition, after 11 years. Though skeptical about what he would find, it wasn't catastrophic. A cupboard and the refrigerator had fallen over, but the utilities worked (electricity , water, and etc.). The father now looks forward to permanent residency. The family hopes to return permanently in June. 15% of the former residents say they want to return. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220324/p2a/00m/0na/013000c

  • A majority (59%) of Japanese fear military attacks on nukes. The reasons are the international fear spawned by Russia's takeover of nukes in the Ukraine and the overreaction to the inconsequential fire in a Ukrainian nuke station's training center. In addition, the recent powerful earthquake off the Tohoku coast re-ignited the memories of the March, 2011 tsunami-caused nuke problems at F. Daiichi. Within the poll that was taken, only a minority (39%) said they remained very worried about another F. Daiichi-type accident happening in Japan. In addition, 51% said they opposed the restarts of nukes. The poll was run by the anti-nukes bastion, Asahi Shimbun. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14578742

March 18, 2022

  • Tepco posts information and images of the March 4th Unit #1 internal investigation. The robotic probe looked at the condition of structures around the Unit #1 pedestal, checked the dispersal of debris, the condition of the concrete structure of the pedestal, and the neutron radiation levels around the area. The data and images were recorded over a five day period. The images taken through the pedestal opening. There is no indication of a “melt-through” of the reactor pressure vessel, which has been repeatedly speculated by numerous antinuclear voices of doom and gloom. The following URL reference is quite detailed and very informative. https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/hd/decommission/information/newsrelease/reference/pdf/2022/reference_20220314_01-e.pdf

  • A 7.4 Richer Scale earthquake was experienced by Fukushima and Miyagi Prefectures on Thursday, March 17. The epicenter was undersea, located near the spot of the 3/11/11 tectonic displacement event. Thursday's quake was about 500 times less forceful than the catastrophic quake of 2011. However, Thursday's temblor resulted in the deaths of four people and more than 100 injured. Buildings shook violently, and ground motion was felt in Tokyo, some 240 miles from the quake. A tsunami of about 30 centimeters was generated. Local water supplies were disrupted in some locations in the two prefectures, and about 43,000 homes remained without water as of noon today. The Self Defense Force set up water supply stations to mitigate the effects of the water shortage. In addition, the Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train was derailed, disrupting operations between Tokyo and Sendai. This could last for the rest of the month. The quake also knocked out power to some cooling water pumps on used fuel storage pools at F. Daiichi Units #2 & #5, and F. Daini, but all were restored within 8 hours and no abnormalities occurred with the stored fuel bundles. https://news.yahoo.com/tsunami-alert-issued-powerful-7-161052731.html - https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14574826 - https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022031700809 - https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/03/c902732d46d0-recovery-work-continues-after-northeast-japan-quake-cuts-water-supply.html - https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220317_35/

  • Tokyo says they might create a special police force to guard nukes. The concept is based on Fukui Prefecture's initiative concerning Russia's attacks on Ukrainian nuke stations, and its creation of a police force to protect the nukes within its borders. PM Fumio Kishida said, "Public interest in the safety of nuclear plants has surged. The act of violence by Russia, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, just shows how much we need a new framework of the international order." https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022031400507

March 11, 2022

  • The Fukui governor calls for troop deployments at nukes because of the Ukraine war. The Russian seizure of a nuke station has caused the paranoiac request. Governor Tatsuji Sugimoto explained “Operating reactors should never come under attack. To prepare for such a contingency, I urge the Defense Ministry to set up SDF bases to intercept attacks.” His request is being considered by Tokyo. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14567801

  • Tepco plans on fuel debris removal at F. Daiichi. The company wants it to begin later this year. Tepco official Akira Ono said his main concern is gaining local support for releasing wastewater from the station prior to any fuel removal. He said, "Decommissioning is not possible without society's trust. Restoring trust is a very big task we must face."https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022030301148

  • Fukushima river ans stream fishermen await restrictions being lifted. Many feel the angling restrictions are no longer appropriate. Restrictions have been lifted for seafood, but not for freshwater species. Restrictions remain for catches from 25 rivers and lakes in five prefectures--Fukushima, Miyagi, Ibaraki, Gunma and Chiba. A Gunma official said, “Even when the figure goes down and we think it is safe, we find fish with high figures every few years. That makes it difficult for us to take a step toward lifting the restrictions.” The problem seems to be continued bottom feeding by local species., consuming contamination coming from forests. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14566055

  • Meanwhile, the Nagoya District Court has rejected a citizen's request to shutter two nuke units at Takahama Station. The main argument from nine from five prefectures is lack of faith in the countermeasures implemented for ash from distant volcanoes, should they erupt. The ruling says that the volcanoes in question are either not categorized as active, or too distant to pose a threat. Further, the precautionary backfit measures ordered by Tokyo may not ever be needed, so no due date has been mandated for them. This is the first legal ruling in Japan on volcanic backfit measures. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14569930

The 11th anniversary of the F. Daiichi accident is today. Many articles focus on it...

  • Some 2,500 people from six prefectures remain unaccounted for because of the Tsunami. 196 are from Fukushima. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022030900991

  • Shelter relocations are blamed for many post 3/11/11 deaths. Especially with those who have moved three or more times. 11 of the deaths registered in the last year are from Futaba County. 1,025 people from Fukushima had moved to new shelters three times or more before their deaths. Of these, 248 had relocated three times, 267 four times, 211 five times, and 299 six or more times.There are now more post-3/11 related deaths than those directly attributed to the quake and tsunami. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220307/p2a/00m/0na/007000c

  • The number of quake/tsunami evacuees who have not returned home is 38, 139. Many are prevented by fear of lingering contamination from the accident at F. Daiichi. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022031001010

  • Some Futaba evacuees will soon be allowed to return home. A sequential lifting of restrictions is scheduled to begin soon. Decontamination efforts have been prioritized in specified reconstruction areas. Also, similar plans are scheduled for areas in Katsurao and Okuma. As for Futaba, the area scheduled for lifting restrictions only covers about 10% of the municipality, mostly around the train station, but at least it will be a start. Many who say they will not return, continue to work toward disaster recovery.For the town of Futaba in particular, the lifting of evacuation orders is a major milestone. The functions of the municipal office will return to the town from Iwaki, where they have been based since the mandated evacuation. Of the 5,600 who lived there on 3/11/11, only about 10% say they want to return, and 60% say they have no intention to do it. The main reason is the 11 years away have made residents create livelihoods elsewhere. But, some return on occasion to help recovery for those who want to return. Osamu Kohata needs help to weed fields and work the land for his farming business. A few farmers are helping him. It is hoped that commercial farming will recover in three years. At age 71, Kohata explains, "The most important thing is to protect the land passed down from our ancestors. I want to continue commuting to the town as long as my physical strength permits and dedicate myself to disaster recovery." https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0008353127 - https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220310/p2a/00m/0op/015000c

  • Plans to mitigate future tsunami impact are still possible in the Tohoku region. The plan to relocate 18,000 houses to areas of high ground for residential land development remain in place. However, this iw but a fraction of what existed before 3/11/11. The problem centers around the aftermath of the F. Daiichi accident. Much of the problem concerns rumors and misconceptions concerning the release of the detectably radioactive wastewaters that will be released, beginning in 2023. The coastal fishing industry is currently about 20 % of the pre-accident level. fishery associations in both Miyagi and Ibaraki prefectures, as well as in Fukushima, continue to oppose the plans because they fear the on-going negative impact of false rumors, and because fishermen feel the decision has been forced on them by the government. However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. The Yotsukura clam industry has recovered some because the locals have held clam festivals once or twice a month to demonstrate the safety of the product. Regardless, Tokyo promises to compensate the local seafood industry if damaging rumors persist. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14569666

March 4, 2022

  • The incumbent mayor favoring his village as a nuke waste storage site is reelected in a landslide. Masayuki Takahashi won his sixth term as mayor of Kamoenai, in Hokkaido Prefecture. He said, “Voters understood my policies.” He won 5559 votes, and his closest opponent won but 48 votes. He added that this should not be taken as a mandate for siting a permanent storage facility. He wants a public vote held at a later date. He said, “I would first like to see the results of the literature review process before considering how to sum up the views of the village assembly and villagers. A referendum is one of the ways to do so.” The village applied to be considered for the nuke waste site in 2020. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14559851

  • Fukushima will add three new sites to monitor its future wastewater releases to the sea. The waters will have been stripped of radioactive isotopes to well-below Japan's ridiculously low drinking water limits, including Tritium. The prefecture had already planned on six sites, but will now have nine. The three new spots were chosen by assuming that Tritium content may increase there through unusual wastewater release parameters. The new locations will be used to draw for samples per year before the releases begin to establish a baseline, and monthly thereafter. In addition, the Nuclear Regulation Authority has increased its number of sampling points from 12 to 20, and the Environment Ministry up to 30 locations. This overly cautious approach is in the hope of quelling harmful rumors before they start. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1097

  • The Director of Japanese Fisheries says the wastewater release will surely delay the removal of foreign food import restrictions on Fukushima seafood. He said, "Even in Japan, some people think that Fukushima food is bad for health", and adds to the foreign rationale for restrictions. The releases will only make it worse. Thus, he cannot accept the government's plan for the essentially harmless discharges. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022030101193

February 25, 2022

  • The IAEA task force looking at F. Daiichi wastewater discharge plans seems happy. Team chairman Gustavo Caruso said,"The task force mission was very productive. We received valuable information - and posed many questions - about all safety aspects of the planned water discharge in frank and open discussions, ranging from the undersea tunnel that will carry the water out to sea to the protection of workers at the site and the public at large." The team has taken fifty liters of wastewater designated for discharge was taken by the team and sent to IAEA laboratories in Austria for analysis. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said, "Thanks to our presence, people everywhere can have full confidence that the water discharge is carried out without harming public health or the environment." https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/IAEA-says-Fukushima-visit-very-productive

  • A Fukushima foods event is held in New York. Hosted by Japan's agriculture ministry, dozens of people from the New York food industry attended the event. In a video message, Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori spoke about the prefecture's food products that should make American consumers smile. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022021900346

  • Japanese power companies support international trade in Plutonium. Specifically, trade in Mixed Oxide fuels (MOX). Some used nuclear fuel bundles are currently shipped to a reprocessing facility in France to fabricate the MOX bundles, but the facility's supply of Plutonium is running low due to a lack of the ability to market the commodity. The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC) is trying to get international power companies to use MOX fuel. The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC) is trying to expand the world's market. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/fepc-updates-new-plutonium-utilization-plan/

  • The Asahi Shimbun alleges that F. Daiichi threatens age-old cultural practices in the Tohoku region. Specifically, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, devastated by the Tsunami of 3/11/2011 and under the hypothetical risk of F. Daiichi. Three Miyagi events are suspended because the sea-side communities were left in shambles in the aftermath of the tsunami and many of the people who fled elsewhere have not returned to their community after reconstruction. Three canceled in Miyagi Prefecture and another three in Fukushima Prefecture are in danger of cancellation, according to officials. The three in Fukushima Prefecture blame F. Daiichi residuals as one reason why many won't return. 14 such events have been canceled in Iitate Prefecture, all due to the nuke accident. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14556651

Next - https://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-132-11-5-2021-11-12-2021.html