July 7, 2023

The top news story this week was the IAEA endorsement of the F. Daiichi water release. All news outlets had numerous reports on it. Here are a few of the most prominent...

June 30, 2023

  • All work for the F. Daiichi wastewater release is completed. The last piece of equipment was installed in the one kilometer undersea tunnel this past week. All that remains for starting the controlled releases of the essentially harmless liquids is passing the Nuclear Regulation Authority's final inspection, which began Wednesday.. Government approval is expected within the next week. The start will be sometime later this summer. Local fishing groups still stubbornly oppose the release fearing rumors will harm their business. Masanobu Sakamoto, president of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives said, “We cannot support the government’s stance that an ocean release is the only solution. Whether to release the water into the sea or not is a government decision, and in that case we want the government to fully take responsibility.” Tokyo says it has set up a fund to promote Fukushima seafood and to provide compensation in case sales fall.Some neighboring countries continue to voice safety concerns. Before release, the liquids, stripped of all radioisotopes to below safety standards, except Tritium, will be diluted with seawater to some 40 times less than drinking water standards. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230626_22/ - https://japantoday.com/category/national/fukushima-nuclear-plant-operator-says-equipment-to-release-treated-wastewater-into-sea-is-complete - https://japantoday.com/category/national/japanese-fisheries-head-opposes-a-plan-to-pump-treated-radioactive-water-from-fukushima-into-the-sea - https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14942529 - https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2023-e/202306-e/230626-01e.html

  • PM Fumio Kishida will meet with the IAEA head about the water release. The meeting with International Atomic Energy Association Director General Rafael Grossi will occur on July 4th. The IAEA has run numerous tests on the waters and made detailed inspections of the releasing system. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14942616

  • The Industry Ministry wants Japanese fisheries to trust they will be protected. Minister Nishimura Yasutoshi promises to work closely with the fishermen during the prolonged releases. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230630_27/

  • Another Japan Fisheries group protests against the wastewater releases. The Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations adopted a resolution on the matter today, June 30th. Federation chief Nozaki Tetsu said they want the government and Tepco to keep the water on land. However, he admitted the group is powerless to stop the impending releases. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230630_24/

  • 78% of S. Koreans are worried about the essentially harmless wastewater releases. 62% in a Gallop Korea poll said they are “very worried” that the releases will negatively impact sea products, and 16% were “somewhat worried”. Only 9% said they were not worried at all. 10 S. Korean minority lawmakers will go to Japan in July to make a formal protest. The ruling People Power Party strongly criticizes the visit and the national majority's opinion. It says the public should not be deceived by unscientific propaganda. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230630_20/

June 23, 2023

  • A respected Anthropologist says the F. Daiichi wastewater debate is not scientific, but rather linguistic. Those opposed to the move use terms like “dumping” nuclear waste to the sea. Those in the favorable camp use terms like release,” “disposal,” or “dilution.” The problem is exacerbated by use of “technosyncratic” language where realities take a back seat to factual expression. Opponents to the release use technical terms to make their opinions appear scientific. Proponents for the release tey to let the facts speak for themselves. Carefully-chosen words are a powerful mechanism in determining how reality is perceived. https://thediplomat.com/2023/06/the-fukushima-wastewater-discharge-whats-in-a-name/

  • Japan's largest newspaper says an “information war” is starting over F. Daiichi wastewater. Specifically between Japan and China. The Chinese government makes claims of insincerity based largely on hearsay. They say the Pacific is not “Japan's sewer” for contaminated cooling water. This is despite the fact that Chinese nukes release wastewater at radioactivity levels many times that which the impending F. Daiichi release will be. China's People's Daily says,Japan’s plan is not the country’s private matter, but a major issue that has an effect on the global marine environment and public health.” China's hypocrisy on the matter is obvious. https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/politics/politics-government/20230623-118012/ - https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/world/asia-pacific/20230623-118053/

June 16, 2023

June 9, 2023

  • The F. Daiichi release tunnel is filled with seawater. The filling process began on Monday, June 5th. The company says it takes about 6,000 tons of seawater to fill the one kilometer tunnel. Final construction on a reservoir for the release should be complete by the end of the month. The problem holding up the release is radiophobic issues concerning the Tritium in the fully treated waters. Tritium is the one radioactive element essentially impossible to remove because is Hydrogen. Tritium is essentially harmless because of its barely detectable Beta emission, but ignorant over-reaction by a significant minority in Japan to all things radioactive looms over the release. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230606_21/ - https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2023-e/202306-e/230606-01e.html

  • Fukushima Fisheries continue to fret over the impending wastewater releases. Fisheries Association Konno Toshimitsu descended on the Industry Ministry on Monday. Members are convinced the harmless release will significantly harm the reputation of the Association members. Although having large funds set up to deal with radiophobic harm, members fear it may not be enough. Konno said he continues to oppose the water release and wants the government to take responsibility for possible reputational damage, rather than Tepco.https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230607_36/

  • Tepco announces additional plans for the F. Daiichi unit #1 pedestal damage. Visual inspection of the pedestal shows concrete loss nearly all the way around the structure, but the steel reinforcement inside the concrete is essentially intact. The Nuclear Regulation Authority wants firm plans should the rebar buckle or collapse. Tepco says there would be little likelihood of added damage to the Reactor Vessel, even if the worst case occurred. Regardless, they committed to adding more cooling water pipes should existing ones become useless. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230605_23/ 

June 2, 2023

  • Japan enacts law for nuke operations beyond 60 years. This excludes time spent during formal inspections and testing. The Upper House passed the legislation this past Wednesday, and the Lower House in April. The Nuclear Regulation Authority pased the measure in February. A plant will be inspected for deterioration every 10 years once it has been in operation for 30 years. The industry minister will grant extending the life of nuclear reactors on a case-by-case basis. Naysayers, including some lawmakers and citizens, argue that the bill was passed hastily without adequate deliberation, and public concerns about the safety of aging reactors were not properly addressed. Plus, they say standards for age-related deterioration remain unclear. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230531_36/ - https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2023/05/4e5e10940b30-japan-enacts-law-for-operating-nuclear-reactors-beyond-

  • The IAEA completes its final review on discharge of F. Daiichi wastewater. The team of 11 experts from Britain, China, and South Korea plans to issue a report on its findings in June. Tokyo hopes the team's findings will engender international understanding. The team statement says Tepco "has demonstrated a high level of accuracy in their measurements and technical competence" and the operator's analytical methods for different radionuclides were "appropriate and fit for purpose." This will be the last IAEA inspection before the releases begin. A minority of nay-saying Some scientists say the impact of long-term, low-dose exposure to radionuclides is unknown and the release should be delayed. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230529_27/ - https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230602_24/

  • Tepco posts photos of the IAEA Task Force visiting F. Daiichi. https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2023-e/202306-e/230602-01e.html

  • Tepco posts photos of Latin American Ambassadors visiting F. Daiichi. https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2023-e/202305-e/230530-01e.html

May 26, 2023

  • South Korean expert group visits F. Daiichi. They arrived on Monday, may 23, and left today. Their official purpose was to assess the safety of the impending release of essentially harmless wastewater to the ocean. The S. Koreans will next assess what Japan tells them, after returning home. The waters have been run through the ALPS system (Advanced Liquid Processing) which removed all radioisotopes except Tritium, the harmless, mildly radioactive isotope of hydrogen that is part of the water molecules. As such, it is virtually impossible to remove. (See Background Information on Tritium) Japan hopes the visit will dispel rumors and unfounded opinions and influence S. Korea to accept the impending release. Upon leaving, S. Korean team leader Yoo Guk Hee said,"We confirmed things such as how to control facilities and those valves function when the power is out during an emergency," This item was a lead story on virtually all Press outlets in Japan.https://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/background-information-on-tritium.html - https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230523_15/ - https://japantoday.com/category/national/S-Korean-experts-visit-Fukushima-nuclear-plant-before-treated-water-is-released-into-sea - https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2023-e/202305-e/230526-01e.html
  • Sendai District court rejects local pressure to bar restart of Onagawa Unit #2. Presiding Judge Mitsuhiro Saito explained, "It cannot be assumed that a specific danger of an accident exists that leads to the abnormal release of radioactive materials. In demanding an injunction against a nuclear plant, plaintiffs have a responsibility to prove the specific danger of an accident." Onagawa was closest to the quake epicenter on 3/11/2011, experiencing the greatest shocks and tsunami in-surge of anywhere in Japan. There was minor damage and no release of airborne contamination. The lawsuit was filed by 17 local residents. The vacuous fears were summed up by a Sendai resident, "At the time (of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident), there were fears that nobody would be able to live in the whole of the Tohoku region. I don't want nuclear reactors in the devastated areas to resume operations." The story was covered by nearly all Japan news outlets on Wednesday. https://japantoday.com/category/national/update1-court-rejects-case-opposing-restart-of-miyagi-pref.-nuclear-plant – https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/society/general-news/20230524-111723/

  • The NRA has asked Tepco to immediately assess the damage to F. Daiichi Unit #1. Video images of the area immediately below the Reactor Pressure Vessel were recently released. The pedestal supporting the RPV was damaged all the way around, but there is no evidence that its ability to support the the weight has been compromised. The Nuclear regulation Authority says Tepco's assessments to-date have been too optimistic. The company says even iff the pedestal began to lose its ability to hold up the RPV, other surrounding structures would prevent catastrophic collapse. Regardless, the NRA demands upgraded countermeasures to prevent collapse. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230524_18/

 May 12, 2023

  • Fukushima residents want more publicity about safety of their local fish. Local fishermen still adamantly oppose the release of the F. Daiichi wastewaters. Last week, The Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations held free tasting events In Iwaki City and Tokyo. All fish were caught off the prefecture. A Fukushima Fisheries Federation official, Tadaaki Sawada, said, “The volume of fish landed, which plummeted after the Great East Japan Earthquake, has slowly managed to recover to a little over 20% of its pre-2011 level. (but) If the treated water is discharged now, the rumors will be amplified. That’s why we’re absolutely opposed to releasing it into the ocean. The rumors will not disappear unless not only we, but also consumers, the public and the international community, understand the safety of the treated water. I hope that the safety will be properly understood and that reputational damage will not occur. ” Sale of the caught fish have not been good because of consumer radiophobia. https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/original/decommissioning-fukushima/20230506-107635/

  • South Korean experts will visit F. Daiichi later this month. S. Korea is one of Japan's neighbors that doubts the safety of the impending water release to the sea, sometime during the next few months. It is not to establish or verify safety. The visit is more of a fact-finding mission. Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura stresses that the visit is "not to evaluate or certify the safety of treated water." Rather, the Koreans will see the over 1,000 storage tanks, have the storage explained, and learn the status of release preparations. After sufficient runs through the ALPS purification system, the concentrations of all radionuclides except Tritium (H-3) will be one-seventh of the international standards for open release. Being an isotope of hydrogen and part of the water molecules, Tritium cannot be removed. Nishimura added, "We hope the inspection will help deepen understanding in South Korea of the safety of the release." Scientifically, Tritium is essentially harmless. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230507_16/ 

April 28, 2023

  • Delegations from France and Great Britain visit F. Daiichi. The British Environmental Minister, Trudy Harrison, was there on April 26, overlooked the plant from high ground and examined the plant's Marine Organism Test Facility. The French Nuclear safety Authority had several members visit the plant on April 27. No quotes have been attributed to either group. https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2023-e/202304-e/230426-01e.html... https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2023-e/202304-e/230427-01e.html

  • Tepco posts internal images of the F. Daiichi discharge tunnel. Two pictures show the shield machine that bored the excavation. The third image was taken after the shield machine had been removed. The tunnel is essentially complete and ready for use. https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2023-e/202304-e/230426-02e.html

  • The existing tanks for wastewater at F. Daiichi will be sufficient until February... maybe even later. The new estimation replaces the former one, which was late summer or fall of this year. The former estimation was based on a 149 tons per day accumulation, but that has ebbed back to about 90 tons per day. The company still plans to begin releases this coming summer. Currently, there is 1.33 million tons in storage, which is about 97% of maximum capacity. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230427_28/

  • Tepco speculates that F. Daiichi unit #1 has holes in the reactor pressure vessel (RPV). This is because videos of the underside reveals that a device on the vessel's bottom is gone. Also it seems that water is flowing out of the vessel, to a spot below. Further, devices inside the RPV are covered with corium debris, suggesting that other holes might have been formed before the corium re-solidified. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230424_25/

  • Kansai Electric wants the operating licenses for two units extended. The company has applied for 20 year extensions for Takahama units #3 & #4. If granted, both units wil be allowed to operate until 2045. However, replacement of the steam generators will happen before the restarts occur. Both units are currently operating. Units 1&2 are already operating under extended licenses. All four units are Pressurized Water Reactors. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14894598

April 21, 2023

  • Some of the F. Daiichi fuel debris will be sampled and tested later this year. The debris, also known as corium, contains a mixture of re-solidified fuel and structural materials. Pebble-sized corium removal is planned to begin with unit #2 later this year. In addition, the fuel assemblies in units #1 and #2 fuel pools will also be targeted for removal. Before removal can occur with unit #1, the entire unit will be wrapped in a large cover to prevent wind from blowing radioactive dust around the surrounding environment. The cover is hoped to prevent local resident's concern, says a Tepco official, “There are residents who have returned to their homes, and we must not cause them any concern.” The fuel assemblies might begin removal as early as 2027. All preparations are covered in the attached Yomiuri Shimbun article. https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/original/decommissioning-fukushima/20230208-89675/

  • Tokyo will lift yet another evacuation order, this time for a portion of Iitate designated as a reconstruction base. This means that all Fukushima reconstruction bases will be exempt of evacuation orders. Iitate Mayor Makoto Sugioka says, "It is essential to lift the order to keep our hopes for reconstruction and revival alive for the future.We'll continue working to get the evacuation order in the village lifted entirely."https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2023041500387 - http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1170

  • Germany's Environment Minister visits F, Daiichi and voices stern criticism. She dislikes the idea of a planned release of treated wastewater to the ocean. Minister Steffi Lemke said Germany will not welcome the release, contradicting Japan's Industry Minister. She called the situation at F. Daiichi, depressing, "The visit was depressing. I drove through deserted areas to get to the nuclear power plant that was hit by a tsunami in 2011." Both ministers will speak on the issue at the two day G-7 Meeting in May. Germany is abandoning nukes as a result of the F. Daiichi accident. Their last three will be off the grid by this coming Saturday. https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2023-e/202304-e/230418-01e.html - https://energycentral.com/news/lemke-visit-fukushima-nuclear-power-plant-depressing - https://www.dimsumdaily.hk/germanys-environment-minister-criticises-japans-release-of-treated-nuclear-water-into-ocean/

  • Meanwhile, an MIT study concludes shutting down nukes will increase air pollution. Polluting replacement power sources could cause more than 5,000 premature deaths per year! Many experts consider nuclear a low-carbon alternative to climate-warming coal, oil, and natural gas emissions. The greatest risks would be to African-American people. The study's lead expert says, “In the debate over keeping nuclear power plants open, air quality has not been a focus of that discussion.” Another adds, “What we found was that air pollution from fossil fuel plants is so damaging, that anything that increases it, such as a nuclear shutdown, is going to have substantial impacts, and for some people more than others.” https://news.mit.edu/2023/study-shutting-down-nuclear-power-could-increase-air-pollution-0410

  • Japan's nuke watchdog requires corrected Tsuruga documentation by August. Japan Atomic Power wanted the unit #2 safety review completed so they can restart it, but the Nuclear Regulation Authority said no. Industry Minister Nishimura says the company has made repeated errors, and this is the last warning. The issue has been on the back burner since 2019. The problem is a fault line that runs beneath the unit and might be active. https://japantoday.com/category/national/tsuruga-reactor-operator-required-to-correct-document-errors-by-aug.

April 14, 2023

  • School opens in Okuma for the first time in 12 years. 26 students are enrolled at the Manabiya Yumenom school in the town. A gala opening ceremony was held on Monday, April 10. The students had been attending a facility in Aizuwakamatsu City since the evacuation ordered by Tokyo in 2011. A ninth grader spoke at the opening and said, "I'll carve out my own future so that the people of this town can see me grow into a respectable member of this community." Another said, “Learning in our hometown is starting. We’ll take pride in opening a path to the future.” https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/society/general-news/20230410-102725/ - https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2023041000570

  • NHK World posts the history and current status of Fukushima's financial compensation. More than 160,000 have received an evacuation allowance, which has varied depending on mandated or voluntary withdrawal from their homes. About 75, 000 voluntary evacuees each received more than $50,000, lump sum. The 85,000 people ordered to leave by Tokyo have been paid generous compensation, to the tune of more than $75 billion. That's nearly $900,000 for every man woman and child. A family of four has received more than $3.5 million. The compensation is being paid by Tepco. Of the 85,000 mandated evacuees, some 16,328 have officially returned home. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/2388/

  • An essentially harmless fire near a washing machine makes headlines. Why? Because it occurred at the idled Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuke station, owned by Tepco. NHK World said the fire was in a building next to the nuke unit and “soon put out and no injuries were reported”. However, some foreign news reports blew the minor incident out of proportion.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230411_24/ - https://www.latestly.com/world/japan-fire-blaze-erupts-at-kashiwazaki-kariwa-nuclear-power-plant-in-niigata-5051061.html

April 7, 2023

  • Tepco posts new video taken inside the F. Daiichi Unit 1 pedestal. The 5 minute video shows that steel reinforcing bars have been exposed along the inner side of the pedestal’s wall up to 1 meter from its bottom and about half the inner circumference. The camera got hung up in debris so the other half of the wall could not be imaged. Last year, Tepco posted video around the outside of the unit 1 pedestal showing exposed rebar. The nearly 4-foot thick, steel reinforced pedestal is the main load-bearing structure below the reactor pressure vessel. The International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID) says that quake resistance will not be compromised even if one-fourth of the pedestal was damaged during the meltdown.TEPCO spokesperson Keisuke Matsuo told reporters Tuesday that the steel reinforcement is largely intact Tepco will run a detailed assessment on what the camera saw during the 39 hour imaging and plan accordingly. Most news outlets, local politicians and Tepco assume new safety issues have been spawned, despite the fact that the damaged pedestal has survived numerous earthquakes over the past 12 years. Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori urged TEPCO to “swiftly evaluate levels of earthquake resistance and provide information in a way prefectural residents can easily understand and relieve concern of the residents and people around the country.” Tepco posted “...[because video was unable to be taken] it’s possible that the other half of the circumference is gone.” Unit #1 is assumed to have experienced the most damage of the three reactors that had meltdowns 12 years ago. https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2023-e/202304-e/230404-01e.html - https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14878440 - https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20230404/p2g/00m/0bu/040000c - https://japantoday.com/category/national/new-images-from-inside-fukushima-reactor-spark-safety-worry

  • The IAEA says further oversight on F. Daiichi wastewater release is unnecessary. The International Atomic Energy Agency says no more surveys of the water is needed before the releases begin. The latest IAEA team report says, “No further missions to TEPCO and METI (the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) are needed prior to the issuance of the IAEA’s comprehensive report.” It asserts that the standards for the water release are “sufficiently conservative yet realistic.” https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/science-nature/science/20230407-102078/

  • Some areas of Tomioka are re-opened. The lifting of evacuation orders coincides with the community's annual cherry blossom festival. The Yonomori District has a row of about 400 cherry blossom trees stretching about 2.2 kilometers. Resident Koichi Ono said, "After 12 years, I can finally return to my life here. The disaster hit when I was just starting my retirement life, so I'm starting all over again." PM Fumio Kishida added, "The lifting of the evacuation is by no means a final goal.” The re-openings mark expansion of the officially habitable part of Tomioka to 93%. However, only about 10% of Tomioka's pre-disaster population have returned. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20230401/p2g/00m/0na/035000c - https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2023040100349 - https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/society/20230401-100975/

  • Trees near F. Daiichi have been genetically unaffected. This is the conclusion of a study done by Fukushima University and the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute. In addition, radiation doses in the difficult-to-return zone around F. Daiichi were far below the international standard for low-dose exposure.https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2023040700212

  • A nuke restart screening for Tsuruga Unit #2 is further delayed. The Nuclear Regulation Authority cited documentation errors as the cause. The main issue is a geological anomaly under the plant that might be affected by a nearby fault that might be active. The NRA has said the anomaly is an active earthquake fault, but Japan Atomic Power Company experts say that it is not an active fault. Of the existing 39 nukes in Japan that are believed to meet the post-F. Daiichi accident regulations, only 10 have been restarted. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20230405_19/ - https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2023/04/f93eec45eb34-japan-nuclear-watchdog-halts-tsuruga-reactor-safety-assessment-again.html

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