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Fukushima Accident Updates (Blog)


The web's top source of objective Fukushima News. No "spins"...just summaries of news reports in Japan's Press, which admits it is 94% antinuclear and calls the Fukushima accident a nuclear disaster. Posts are twice weekly; Monday and Thursday.

The are three regularly-updated pages concerning widely-reported Fukushima issues on this site; Fukushima Evacuee Compensation Payments (updated monthly), Fukushima Child Thyroid Cancer Issue and Is There Fukushima Radiation on North America’s West Coast? (both updated when new information is available) All can be accessed by clicking the titles in the left-column menu.

E-BOOKs - "Kimin: Japan's Forgotten People" - the untold story of Japan's 300,000 tsunami refugees, ignored by the world's news media. Available at all E-book stores/sites... Click here for more...

Fukushima: The First Five Days... taken from the hand-written staff records at Fukushima Daiichi the first five days of the crisis. Fukushima : Available here and all E-book stores. Click here for more...

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September 29, 2016

  • Why the public debate on child thyroid screenings is complicated. On one hand, a Fukushima pediatrician’s group feels that future screenings should be voluntary, thus reducing the scale of the study. On the other hand, a group of residents opposes the pediatrician’s opinion and demands that the program maintain obligatory participation. When state-of-the-art child thyroid screenings began five years ago, there were essentially three purposes for it – identifying the effects of low-level radiation exposure, protecting the health of Fukushima residents, and lowering anxiety felt by the prefecture’s population. Over time these goals have become questions - can the program actually identify low-level exposure effects, are the screenings actually a health benefit, and does program alleviate apprehensions? Public dissatisfaction remains a significant problem, largely because of long-standing distrust of the government. One disgruntled resident said, “In the long run, the national government is inclined only to accept test results showing ‘no increase’ in cancer.” While the large-scale screening has shown no increase in child thyroid cancers, harmful rumors continue to circulate with negative effects on the mental health of many Fukushima residents. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/reaching-a-common-ground-on-thyroid-gland-screening/

  • Tepco reports that the replacement of old wastewater tanks at F. Daiichi is behind schedule. Bolted-together tanks were initially used to store the contaminated waters being produced inside the four damaged units at F. Daiichi. Some of the tanks leaked along the vertical seams, so Tepco was forced to use only welded-seam tanks. Replacing the more than 200 original bolted-together tanks has been going slowly. It was hoped that the replacement would be finished by the end of March, 2017. But, it now seems that the completion date will be sometime in June, 2018. More than 100 of the one-thousand ton bolted-together tanks still need to be exchanged. http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016092800865

  • Hitachi, Toshiba, and MHI plan to merge their nuclear fuel businesses. The primary reason behind the proposed merger is financial. With the snail’s-pace restarts of Japan’s nuclear power fleet and successful international competition coming from China and South Korea, the three companies are experiencing cash-flow problems. By consolidating the three nuclear organizations, business efficiency will improve due to staff integration and closure of overlapping departments. Material procurement costs will also be lowered. One company executive said, "All Japanese reactor makers need to join hands to protect the country's nuclear technology." Chinese, South Korean and Russian rivals are actively expanding, so the Japanese must build a system to curb costs and maintain their business edge. Tokyo wants all of Japan’s nuclear manufacturing to be housed under one corporate roof. The merger of nuclear fuel operations will likely be the first step in realizing the government’s goal. The possible consolidation has international implications. Global Nuclear Fuel is jointly financed by Hitachi and General Electric Co., Nuclear Fuel Industries Ltd.’s major shareholder is Toshiba’s U.S. subsidiary Westinghouse Electric Co., and Mitsubishi Nuclear Fuel Co. is a venture involving MHI and Areva. Arrangements must be made to satisfy all parties involved. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003248663 -- http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Japan-reactor-makers-consider-merging-fuel-units-to-counter-rivals

September 26, 2016

  • Canadian antinuke is found guilty of death threats to Fukushima research scientists. Dana Durnford was found guilty of criminal harassment in Victoria, British Columbia, last Thursday. Durnford broadcast that University of Victoria’s Jay Cullen and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Ken Buesseler should be publicly executed for being part of an alleged international conspiracy to cover-up the effect of Fukushima radioactivity on the Pacific Ocean. Durnford was sentenced to three years’ probation. Jay Cullen said, “I expected and was pleased with the judge’s ruling. Mr. Durnford, on many occasions, threatened physical violence against scientists and others who have focused their attention and expertise to better understand how the Fukushima nuclear disaster has affected the marine environment and human health. Such behavior is criminal.” Ken Buessler said that threatening violence is “never an appropriate response to scientific findings you might disagree with.” Durnford spouts protestations on his website, saying that “They [the nuclear conspirators] bankrupted us in these court proceedings in order to silence us.” http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/23/national/crime-legal/canada-activist-found-guilty-harassing-scientists-fukushima-fallout/#.V-UmpdLr0dU

  • Most of Hirono Town’s voluntary evacuees plan on repopulating. Hirono is located south of Naraha, and is outside the Tokyo-mandated evacuation zone in total. Nearly all of the town’s 5,000 citizens initially fled following the 2011 Fukushima accident. About 45% of the voluntary evacuees have already returned home. Another 1,700 say they want to go home by next spring. Most say they will go home because their free temporary housing is expected to terminate by the end of March, 2017. Hirono Mayor Satoshi Endo showed the outcome of the town’s survey municipal assembly on Sept. 13. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=728

  • New Delhi holds a Fukushima Food Fair. A group of Fukushima expatriates held the event on Saturday at a Japanese school in the city to dispel false rumors about food safety. The rumors persist despite scientific data showing that there is nothing unsafe about the foods. Items on sale included freshly made rice balls, traditional potato stew, and peach juice, all made from Fukushima Prefecture produce. Proceeds will be donated to the areas devastated by April’s Kumamoto earthquake. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160925_01/

  • Cesium in Fukushima dam sediments causes anxiety in some residents. The Mainichi Shimbun calls the dams “de facto storage facilities for high concentrations of radioactive cesium…” The government says water in the dams is safe, but some people say that is a ploy to downplay what they feel is a real problem. Some sediment samples show radioactivity greater than the 8,000 Becquerels per kilogram national standard for radioactive waste disposal, but water-borne cesium activity is only one or two Bq/liter – well-below the drinking water limit of 10 Bq/l, which is the lowest Cesium standard in the world. Area radiation exposure levels around the dams are below 2 microsieverts per hour. But, some Fukushima residents want the sediments dredged out and buried elsewhere as radioactive waste. The government says the cost and effort o do this is not justifiable. The Ogaki agricultural dam is estimated to hold sediment containing 8 trillion Becquerels of cesium activity. A Namie official says worries about what might happen if the dam breaks, “…when asked what they [Environment Ministry] plan to do if the dams break, they have no answers. It's painful to us that we can only give town residents the answers that the Environment Ministry gives us…” Another official worries about consumer impact, "No matter how much they are told that the water is safe, will consumers buy agricultural products from Namie, knowing that there is cesium at the bottom of local dams?" http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160926/p2a/00m/0na/011000c

  • Tokyo may add more hurdles to Fukushima Daini restarts. Currently, government policy calls for the approval of host communities and host prefectures before restarts can happen. The new legislation would make it mandatory for F. Daini, and could possibly expand the number of required approvals to non-host municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture. Further, Tepco will have only three years after the legislation is approved to get it done. The new rule will be submitted to the Diet during its extraordinary session, which begins today. F. Daini lies within the 20-kilometer radius of F. Daiichi; the old “no-go” evacuation zone. F. Daini experienced no damage to any of the nuclear safety systems of its four units during the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March, 2011. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/24/national/japan-mulls-legislation-requiring-local-government-approval-restarting-fukushima-no-2-nuclear-plant/#.V-Z9l9Lr0dV

  • Japan’s #2 newspaper calls for the public release of remaining Fukushima accident testimonies. After the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission report was published in 2012, calls for the release of the actual testimonies were rampant. Hundreds of hours of recordings and a myriad of transcripts were released. However, the testimonies of ~1,200 people have been kept under wraps, mostly because many were questioned on the condition that their input would not be made public. Many Japanese academics and some politicians feel that the remaining trove should be open to the public. Tokyo University Professor Kiyoshi Kurokawa chaired the NAIIC and wants all testimonies released, "It will be possible to learn about the background to the nuclear accident from new reports or books that are written based on the documents. A fundamental point to not repeating mistakes is to learn from one's past errors." One antinuclear lawmaker said, "Both the ruling and opposition parties are hesitant about releasing the documents because there is the possibility that they contain contents that are disadvantageous to the LDP, which had pushed nuclear energy, and the then Democratic Party of Japan, which had to deal with the nuclear accident." http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609250019.html

  • The Spent Fuel Reprocessing Organization is approved by the Industry Ministry. It will be headquartered in Aomori Prefecture. The organization will be charged with the steady recycling spent fuel amidst the ever-changing business environment for nuclear power. Costs for its operation will be shouldered by a contributory system funded by all utilities with nuke plants. The actual recycling activities will to be run by Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. (JNFL), which has the necessary technology, human resources, facilities, and equipment. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/meti-approves-new-spent-fuel-reprocessing-organization/

  • The recent decision to scrap the Monju breeder project spawns another no-nukes rally in Tokyo. An estimated 9,500 people from all over Japan assembled to demand that all nukes be scrapped; not just Monju. Under a banner “No nukes, No war” - obviously spawned by the Hiroshima Syndrome - organizing committee official Hisae Sawachi said,  “Why don’t government officials have the courage to close down all the other nuclear power plants?” Journalist Satoshi Kamata said, “Unplugging Monju is just a starting point in ending Japan’s nuclear fuel recycling policy and the restart of nuclear power plants…” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609230047.html

September 22, 2016

  • Fukushima InFORM says trace-levels of Pacific coastline radioactivity are peaking. The concentration of the F. Daiichi “fingerprint” isotope, Cs-134, has “increased considerably” since 2014, but this is nothing to worry about. The level has gone from barely detectible in off-shore locations in 2014, to no more than 3 Becquerels per cubic meter (ton of seawater) in 2015. The trend indicates “…that the smearing effect will continue to disperse the plume and that we are approaching the maximum.” However, concentration in Vancouver ocean water will probably double in 2016, and perhaps triple before it begins to decline. But, InFORM points out that these levels are nothing to worry about because will be hundreds of times less than Canada’s 10,000 Bq/m3 limit for drinking water. https://fukushimainform.ca/2016/09/20/september-2016-informal-update/

  • The number of “farm inns” near the F. Daiichi’s evacuation zone is increasing. There are 24 of these inns in the Towa district of Nihonmatsu, roughly 40 kilometers from F. Daiichi, a few km. from the border of the mandated evacuation zone. Visitors may work on the farms and partake in cuisine grown there. The program is intended to assure Japanese citizens that Fukushima farm produce is safe to eat. The city’s farmer population dropped about 50% over the past half-century. However, the increase in necessary lodging for people working within the evacuation zone has spurred having these inns. To date, only about 1,000 people have taken advantage of the opportunity, but it is expected that those numbers will swell. It is hoped the inns will counter unfounded rumors that persist throughout Japan. http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160921/p2a/00m/0na/016000c

  • Namie cattle are now being used to study the effects of low-level radiation exposure. The article has been released by the Associated Press. Roughly 200 are tested every three months. Researchers draw blood, collect urine, and check for unusual lumps or swollen lymph nodes. This is point at which objective reporting dwindles and makes in accord with the AP’s on-going antinuclear agenda. The report contains numerous misstatements, exaggerations, and negative innuendos. For example, the article states that the animals live in “radioactivity that is 15 times the safe benchmark.” The article is referring to the ultra-conservative Tokyo guideline for decontamination, which is not a benchmark for safety. Further, the article also says Namie is “…a ghost town with no prospect of being habitable for years,” even though 87% of Namie’s former population has been allowed to make visits and over-night stays at their homes since 2014. For these people, the remaining restrictions will be lifted by Tokyo in six months. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/cows-fukushima-radiation-zone-find-purpose-science-42269800

  • F. Daiichi staff prevents groundwater overflow caused by Typhoon Malakas from reaching the sea. The company held a Press conference on September 21st, and provided pictures of the F. Daiichi staff’s efforts. http://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2016/201609-e/160921-02e.html -- http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2016/images/handouts_160921_01-e.pdf However, Japan’s popular Press made it sound as scary as possible. Japan Times said the situation was “raising fears of tainted water flooding out to the plant’s port area.” The Asahi Shimbun said, “there is a possibility that some of it spilled into the sea,” and later adds, “…most of the water may have poured into the sea…” As it turns out, only one of the numerous piezometers for measuring groundwater level indicated a rise to 3cm above ground-level, but Tepco pointed out that there is a much higher wall around it so there is little chance that any of the water made it to the sea. A Tepco official said, “We will analyze the seawater because we cannot determine whether groundwater containing radioactive materials has actually leaked.” None of these reports mention that the entire shoreline is covered by an impermeable wall that virtually assures there will be no outflow to the sea. Further, there is no mention of the actual contamination level in the one suspect piezometer, though it is dubbed “tainted”. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/21/national/typhoon-rain-raises-tainted-fukushima-plant-groundwater-near-surface/#.V-JmPNLr0dU -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609210047.html

  • Tokyo forms another Tepco reorganization and management committee. The committee will be overseen by the Industry Ministry. It will study to what degree Tokyo should be helping TEPCO pay for decommissioning costs at F. Daiichi, as well as focus on managerial restructuring of the company’s business. Central issues concern the ever-increasing costs of decommissioning F. Daiichi and providing generous compensation to the government-mandated Fukushima evacuees. The panel’s plan is expected to be submitted by the end of March. The ministry has picked prominent business leaders as members of the committee, including Akio Mimura - chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry - and Yoshimitsu Kobayashi - chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives. Company president Naomi Hirose will attend committee meetings as an observer. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/meti-to-discuss-ways-to-support-tepco-in-decommissioning-fukushima-daiichi/ -- http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016092000659 -- http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/09/434807.html

September 19, 2016

  • Japan creates laser technology to break up solidified corium. Corium is the re-solidified material resulting from meltdown of a nuclear fuel core. Removal of corium from F. Daiichi units #1, 2, & 3, is a problem because of the inaccessible locations of the material due to the high radiation levels in each containment (PCV).The Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd. and Sugino Machine Ltd. have jointly developed new laser technology that could possibly solve the problem. On September 8th, the three-party group said the technology is ''highly adaptable to decommissioning work'' because water can be sprayed to prevent contaminated dust from dispersing while the laser beam moves and cuts the debris. The dense, extremely hard corium beds need to be crushed into small pieces to effect removal and eventual disposal. The technology can cut up any thickness of the debris regardless of conditions inside PCVs, in both water-filled and dry spaces. The laser system promises to be less problematic than drills and other cutting tools for remote-control in narrow spaces, eliminating problems such as being jammed or damaging of cutting edges. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=726 (Comment – this is yet another example Japan’s popular Press ignoring something important because it can’t be spun in a negative fashion.)

September 15, 2016

  • Tepco begins disassembly of F. Daiichi unit #1’s prefabricated outer enclosure. The enclosure was erected in 2011 to stanch the release of atmospheric radioactive isotopes. It has been a complete success. Now, it is time to disassemble the structure in order to remove debris from the March 12, 2011, hydrogen explosion. This must be done to eventually move the used bundles in the spent fuel pool to the ground-level storage facility. The roof was removed last year, with the final section taken off on October 5th. After nearly a year of following ultra-cautious procedures, the first side-wall panel was removed on September 13th. It weighed 20 tons and covered nearly 400 m2. A Fukushima prefectural official said, “Steady progress is necessary in reconstruction, but we hope they will carry on the procedure with safety as the No. 1 priority.” Tepco will use tarpaulins to prevent release of airborne radioactive materials after the enclosure is fully disassembled. Tepco and Tokyo have set a 2020 target date for used fuel removal. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2016/1323201_7763.html -- http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2016/images/handouts_160913_01-e.pdf -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609130070.html

  • Tepco posts the contamination level in the unit #1 & 2 common exhaust drain sump. The depressurizations of March 12 (unit 1) and March 13-14, 2011 (unit 2), resulted in large volumes of radioactive gasses flowing up and out of the common stack. The sump collected any condensation left behind by the exhaust gasses. The water in the pit is nearly two feet deep. Samples were taken by F. Daiichi staff and found to have the following radioactive isotopic concentrations: gross Beta activity is 6x107 Becquerels per liter, Cesium-134 is 8.3x106 Bq/l, and Cs-137 is 5.2x107 Bq/l. https://www4.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2016/images/handouts_160913_02-e.pdf

  • The plan for the licensing extension of Takahama units #1 & 2 is made public. The plan was reported to host Fukui Prefecture on September 8th. Each of the two PWR units has an output rating of 826 MWe. The major parts of the plan includes (1) installation of additional shielding inside the containment vessels, (2) replacement of refueling water tanks, (3) additional fire protection, (4) relocation of the seawater intake facility for Unit 2, and (5) installation of digital control panels. Work will begin in February and should end in November, 2019. Station owner Kansai Electric Co. said, Kansai EP reiterated, “From the perspective of the ‘3E+S approach’ (energy security, economic efficiency, and environmental protection plus safety), nuclear is a key power source. We will continue promoting it as the core of our business at power plants whose safety has been confirmed by the government, including those in operation for more than 40 years.” Takahama units #3 & 4 restarted earlier this year, but a court in a neighboring prefecture filed an injunction forcing both to be shut down because Japan’s new regulatory system cannot provide absolute assurance that no nuke accidents will ever happen again. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/kansai-ep-releases-plan-to-improve-safety-of-takahama-units-12-eyeing-sixty-years-of-operation/

September 12, 2016

  • Fukushima Medical University finds no connection between thyroid cancer and the nuke accident. Professor of Epidemiology Tetsuya Ohira reported, “At the present stage, we have found no evidence pointing to any relationship between More than 300,000 children have been screened with state-of-the-art ultrasound technology. The children’s records were divided into three groups; (1) those in which one percent or more of the people had an external radiation dose of 5mSv or more, (2) those where 99.9% or more of the people had an external radiation dose of 1mSv or less, and (3) all others. Less than 0.01% of the children tested positive for thyroid anomalies in all three groupings. The similar rates between the three exposure groups showed there was no correlation with the nuke accident releases. Professor Ohira explained, “We had already released findings on the prevalence of thyroid malignancies or possible malignancies by area, including Nakadori, Aizu and Hamadori. This time, we divided the municipalities by radiation doses for comparison. What is significant is that there was no difference by area or individual.” The team also reported that 112 of the cohort were found to have nodules that tested positive for carcinoma. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/external-radiation-exposure-found-to-be-unrelated-to-prevalence-of-thyroid-cancer-in-minors-aged-18-and-younger/ -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609100031.html

  • A fund is started to support to the families of Fukushima children with positive screenings. The “3/11 Children’s Fund for Thyroid Cancer” will begin accepting donations on September 20th. The money is intended to cover medical expenses for child thyroid cancers in Fukushima and neighboring prefectures. The fund hopes to give each family $500 (50,000 yen). Lawyer Hiroyuki Kawai says, “They are struggling to pay medical bills. I don’t think ¥50,000 will be enough for them, but they are impoverished and are struggling, and even that amount will be of help.” Kawai conveniently overlooks the fact that all thyroid exams and medical expenses are covered by Fukushima Prefecture. He also fails to acknowledge that all but one of the positive tests are indolent (not malignant) and probably never develop into full-blown thyroid cancer. Japan Times says 380,000 Fukushima children have been tested since 2011, but does not say where they got the number from. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/09/national/fund-started-help-fukushima-thyroid-cancer-patients-cover-expenses/#.V9KkmdLr0dU

  • Namie evacuees are allowed to go home for short stays. Namie was ordered to become a ghost-town by Tokyo in 2011, under the antinuclear regime of PM Naoto Kan. The limited “short stay” program began September 1st. Just over 300 residents applied for permission to exploit the opportunity, but only a few actually did it during the first two days. The stays only allow the residents to go home for several hours per day. One resident said, "The special stay program is important to pave the way for reconstruction." Namie Mayor Tamotsu Baba said, "I hope townspeople will stay at their homes, remembering the town's atmosphere before the disaster." http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=722 (Comment – once again, the Japanese Press at-large ignores a positive news story. It was only carried by Fukushima Minpo, which is circulated only in Fukushima Prefecture.)

  • 99.9% of Japanese foods were well-below national standards for radioactivity in 2015. Seventeen northern prefectures have had their farm and marine products tested since the nuke accident. A Food Safety Policy Division official said, "The cesium levels of 99.99 percent of vegetables, tubers and roots have dropped below 25 becquerels. There must be farm products for which we can scale down inspections if cultivation management continues to be carried out properly as in the past." A non-profit group official said, "No matter how you look at it, it is excessive to inspect all cattle. Even if the scope of inspections is scaled down, there will be no change in risks involving beef." Many feel that since the risk of cesium contamination is extremely low, funds for tests should be used for fighting disease-causing germs of a much higher risk.  Japan’s radiocesium limit of 100 Becquerels per kilogram is ten times lower than the European Union, and 12 times lower than America’s 1,200 Bq/kg standard. More than 260,000 items were tested in 2015, and only a smattering of wild vegetables, meats, and seafood failed to pass the test. Of the 264 items that failed, 259 were wild mushrooms, freshwater fish, and other “hard to control” foodstuffs. None of the seafood taken from waters offshore from Fukushima Prefectures were above-standard. Regardless, food producers continue to complain about public radiophobia hurting business. One said, "We are still suffering from groundless rumors." http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160909/p2a/00m/0na/023000c

  • Nearly 200,000 tons of F. Daiichi’s stored water has been stripped of radioactive Strontium. More than 720,000 tons have been run through the multi-stage purification system (ALPS), but detectible levels of Sr-90 remain after the process. Tepco added a Strontium-stripping technology to allay public fears. Once stripped of SR-90, all that remains is biologically-harmless Tritium. While scientific evidence shows that the Sr-90 stripped water should be discharged to the sea, local fisheries fear that unfounded rumors would further damage the market for seafood. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/betu16_e/images/160909e0101.pdf

  • Governor Satoshi Mitazono told Kyodo News he will might annul his demand to shutter Sendai station. Kagoshima’s governor said, "Thinking realistically, time is short before (the reactors will go through) regular checkups," during which the “concerns” of his supporters can be addressed. Meanwhile, Japan’s largest newspaper says these concerns lack proof. The Yomiuri Shimbun says Mitazono’s shuttering demand have no specificity as to where quake-induced safety problems might exist. Thus, his actions are judged to be “demagogic” – appealing to popular prejudices rather than rational argument. The Yomiuri asks, “Isn’t Mitazono himself fanning the flames of fear among local residents? Isn’t he trying to suspend the plant’s operation for reasons not based on relevant information?” The newspaper says the governor’s actions are “nothing but a political maneuver, apparently with opponents of nuclear power plants in mind.”  http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/09/433086.html -- http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003208802

September 8, 2016

The status of the Fukushima Daiichi “ice wall” has been a major news story this week. The Press claims the wall is failing due to accelerated rainwater run-off. Tepco’s regularly-posted data on in-ground temperatures show that the run-off has caused some superficial thawing. Obviously, Japan’s Press continues to doubt Tepco’s honesty.

  • Actual F. Daiichi “ice wall” data reveals it is not melting. Over the past weekend, Japan’s Press made it seem as if the frozen earth wall surrounding the basements of F. Daiichi’s four damaged units was melting due to the series of typhoons that have struck the Tohoku coast. However, the data posted on 8/25 shows that melting occurred only at the surface, and the rainwater had absolutely no impact at depth. More than 95% of the already frozen locations showed little or no surface thawing. Most of the remainder show it in the top meter of the 30-meter wall. A few of the locations on the inland stretch softened deeper than one meter, with two of the more than 1,500 locations down to five meters, and one spot to a depth of nine meters. In other words, none of the F. Daiichi ice wall has not come close to fully melting. Once again, we Japan’s Press has exaggerated to the maximum.  https://www4.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2016/images/handouts_160825_01-e.pdf   The 9/8/16 postings show that all twenty of the readings in strategically-placed “temperature monitors” are now below 0o Celsius. Only the few locations near one of land-side wall sections where freezing is not allowed by Tokyo is thawed to a depth of more than six meters. All other locations seem to have recovered from the temperature dips experienced with the most recent typhoon. https://www4.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2016/images/handouts_160908_01-e.pdf

  • Also in the above link, we find that the injection of concrete into the slowly freezing locations is working. One of the five former problem locations is now fully frozen, and the other four are steadily showing a steady trend which is approaching 0oC. Unfortunately, none of Japan’s Press outlets have reported this.

  • The Mainichi Shimbun believes the “ice wall” resembles a “bamboo screen”. In complete disregard for the data showing the thawing of the ice wall is superficial (above), the Mainichi says, “The ice wall has holes in it.” There are generally two reasons behind the editorial. First, “There has been almost no drop in the amount of radioactive water produced.” But, the Mainichi fails to believe Tepco’s continual posting that the ice wall is not supposed to stop the production of contaminated water because nearly all of it comes from leaks out of the reactor cooling systems. Second, a bevy of mostly-anonymous “experts” are evoked. One un-named person says, "TEPCO's claim that the ice wall is highly effective at blocking the water flow is utterly bankrupt." Nagoya Professor Akira Asaoka, is even more provocative, "The ice wall isn't really a 'wall' per say, but more like a bamboo screen, which has gaps. It's obvious that the ice wall's ability to block water is poor.” In both cases, the actual intent of the barrier is completely ignored. http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160907/p2a/00m/0na/011000c

On Wednesday, lead stories in all of the Japanese Press outlets we scan on a daily basis give the antinuclear Kagoshima governor free publicity. In our last posting, (9/5/16) we covered Kyushu Electric Co.’s respectful rejection of the governor’s unprecedented demand to shutter two perfectly-safe nukes because some of his constituents don’t believe Sendai #1 & 2 were unaffected by an earthquake centered 100 kilometers away, and 50 times weaker than the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011. A few Japanese news outlets covered the Kyushu Electric rejection. However, the governor’s immediate re-demand has been reported by all news outlets. There can be little doubt that Wednesday’s Press conference held by the governor was pre-planned and well-orchestrated in order to cater to the antinuclear agenda held by all Japanese news media. Here are a few examples…

  • The Asahi Shimbun says the governor was “stung by an earlier rejection”. Governor Satoshi Mitazono said, “As the governor, I have to protect the safety of residents,” and told Kyushu Electric to “make a bold decision [to immediately shut down Sendai station]. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609070038.html

  • Japan News [Yomiuri Shimbun] reported that the governor’s demands are due to some local residents “are voicing concerns about evacuation in case of an emergency.” Mitazono demanded that Kyushu Electric “consider and report on measures to help secure roads for evacuation…” http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003198683

  • Jiji Press reported the governor said, "I request again that the reactors be stopped as soon as possible for renewed (safety) checkups and verifications."  Then Jiji cites Kyushu Electric’s President Maichiari Uriu’s response, "We would like to review your request from the standpoint of lessening local residents' anxieties and enhancing the safety and credibility of the nuclear power plant." http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016090700391

Now, for some other Fukushima and related news…

  • Former USNRC Chair Dale Klein says Japan should release all purified F. Daiichi water to the sea. He calls for a controlled release, meaning it should be done at a relatively slow pace. Unfortunately, Klein feeds the Press’ continual fixation on the unfounded fear of a large accidental release when he says, “It is much better to do a controlled release in my view than to have an accidental release. I get nervous about just storing all that water when you have about a thousand tanks. You have all the piping, all the valves, everything that can break.” All that remains after full treatment of the water is biologically-innocuous Tritium, a naturally-occurring isotope of Hydrogen. Klein admits that a rapid release “will not be a safety issue, but it will be an emotional issue. A lot of people are not going to know what tritium is and they’re just going to perceive that the water is glowing in the dark.” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-05/treated-fukushima-water-safe-for-release-tepco-adviser-says  (Comment – Catering to unfounded fears and misconceptions only insures their continuation. IMHO, just do it! When nothing negative happens, the public will understand there is nothing to fear and the Tritium issue can be put to bed.)

  • A former prime minister calls PM Shinzo Abe a “liar” about Fukushima safety. Former PM Junichiro Koizumi blasted current PM Shinzo Abe over his 2013 remark that the situation at Fukushima Daiichi was "under control," calling it a "lie." Koizumi made his claim to about 180 journalists at a Press conference held by Tokyo’s Foreign Correspondence Club of Japan. Koizumi said Abe’s claim of control at F. Daiichi was an “outright lie” intended to help get Tokyo to 2020 Olympics. He also attacked Japan’s nuclear industry, saying, “The nuclear power industry says safety is their top priority, but profit is in fact what comes first.” In addition, Koizumi voiced his continued support of US sailors’ claims of radiation-caused health effects from very minor exposures during the US Navy assistance in the 2011 “Operation Tomodachi”. Koizumi shared his reason for helping the ~400 US sailors, “I’m not a doctor, but using common sense one can infer their conditions were caused by radiation, since strong and healthy sailors just don’t find tumors or suffer from conditions like nasal hemorrhages.” (Aside – That’s right. He is not a doctor! If he were, he would realize that there is no medical or scientific basis for the sailors’ claims. - End aside) He has set up a fund to provide the sailors with enough money to allegedly pay medical expenses, hoping to raise $1 million. He says he has already garnered $400,000. Koizumi is fanatically antinuclear, arguing that his support for nukes during his term as PM from 2001-2006 was because the industry lied to his government about safety. He lamented, "I became ashamed how I had believed such lies. They said Japan was safe. And that simply was not true." http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609070073.html -- https://www.navytimes.com/articles/sick-us-sailors-and-marines-who-blame-radiation-get-support-from-japans-ex-leader -- http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/09/07/japans-ex-leader-backs-sick-us-sailors-who-blame-radiation.html (Comment - The Associated Press’ giving Koizumi free publicity is not a surprise. The AP has exposed its decidedly antinuclear underbelly since well-before the Fukushima accident. However, Navy Times giving Koizumi coverage is a total disappointment considering the US Navy has repudiated all of the sailor’s claims.)

September 5, 2016

  • Ten percent of Naraha’s population has returned home. Tokyo’s evacuation order was rescinded last year, allowing the pre-evacuation population of over 7,000 to return. Only 681 have taken advantage of the opportunity, but it is a start. A town official said, “We expect the town’s population to go up in steps.” Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto says the town may have been overly optimistic, “With our expectations, we somewhat inflated the repatriation goal,” but he expects accelerated repopulation once more infrastructure is effected. Naraha’s radiation level is actually only half of that in the prefectural capital, Fukushima City – 0.1 micro sievert per hour vs. 0.23 µSv/hr. But, residents still say they fear residual F. Daiichi radiation, especially with respect to children. One Naraha grandfather said, “Work is still under way at the plant to prepare for decommissioning, and we are concerned about radiation exposure. We cannot encourage our grandchildren to return.” More than half of those who have returned are age 65 or older. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609050042.html

  • NHK World says F. Daiichi fuel remains molten, which is not true. Internationally-popular NHK World makes the following statements, “Japan's academic societies are soliciting robot technologies that will allow direct surveying of molten fuel in the crippled nuclear reactors in Fukushima,” and, “Removing the molten fuel is considered the most difficult step in dismantling the plant.” In fact, NHK used the term “molten fuel” four times in the brief article. Nowhere is it stated that the formerly melted fuel re-solidified once cooling water flow was re-introduced in units #1, 2, & 3 by March 15, 2011!! NHK is usually reliable with its Fukushima reports, but they dropped the ball on this one. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160904_12/

  • Japan’s Press fixates on F. Daiichi ice wall melting due to typhoons. The Asahi Shimbun reports that typhoons hitting the Tohoku coast this summer have caused some surface melting of the frozen soil surrounding the four damaged units at F. Daiichi. The newspaper makes it sound as if the entire project is a failure when it says, “TEPCO admitted the underground wall of frozen dirt is not working.” However, that’s not what Tepco actually said. The company reported that partial melting happened at two sections of the more than 1,000 refrigerant pipes in the earth. In addition, the newspaper posts that the minor, largely superficial melting allowed contaminated groundwater to leak from around the building basements and flow into the Pacific. But, Tepco actually said in might have caused some of the groundwater to move “toward the sea” – not into it. Also, a less than three inch temporary rise in groundwater level at the steel and concrete, sea-side impermeable wall is made to seem as a precursor to a catastrophic outflow into the ocean. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609020020.html

  • American Dale Klein criticizes the obsession with Tepco’s non-use of the word “meltdown”. Beginning in June, Japan’s Press and some Tohoku governments have loudly complained because Tepco followed Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s March, 2011 order to not mention the word in Press conferences. Dale Klein, head of Japan’s Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee, told Japan’s Press, “They [Tepco] were trying to bring the reactor into a safe situation. Their focus was on safety or safe operation, not necessarily a choice of words.” Klein added that the US NRC “typically do not use the word meltdown.” Japan’s Press says Klein is downplaying the issue - making it seem less important than it should be. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/03/national/expert-plays-tepco-presidents-order-not-use-term-meltdown-2011-nuclear-crisis/#.V8rCBdLr0dU (Comment – The obvious reason behind wanting the word “meltdown” used during a nuke plant crisis is so that paranoiac residents can flee at first flinch. It doesn’t matter whether or not the local public is really endangered. It doesn’t matter that the chaotic nuclear evacuation caused more deaths than the tsunami in Fukushima Prefecture. It seems that many public officials and Japanese Press outlets condone public over-reaction.)

  • Kyushu Electric Co. rebuffs the governor’s demand for immediate shutdown of Sendai #1 & 2. On August 26, Governor Satoshi Mitazono of Kagoshima Prefecture directed the utility to suspend operation of Sendai units #1 & 2. He said that an increasing number of his constituents were afraid an earthquake, centered more than 100 km away, had compromised safety. Further, the plant staff’s inspections during operation were insufficient to allay the fears. Today, Kyushu’s President Mishiaki Uriu gave the governor a written reply, respectfully declining to comply with Mitazono’s demand. Uriu said that special inspections would take place for each unit during the scheduled refueling and refurbishment outages in October (unit 1) and December (unit 2). In addition, the governor’s stated concerns will be addressed by increasing quake observation points, improve the utility’s public disclosure of information, and add more vehicles to the public evacuation fleet. Mitazono said he found Kyushu Electric’s reply regrettable, and added a new demand to the mix, “I want you (Kyushu Electric) to renounce the belief that nuclear plants are safe.” http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160905_20/ -- http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003194869

  • An Ikata nuke plant evacuation drill is successful. 400 volunteer Ikata residents tested the plans to gather at Misaki Port on the peninsula (Cape Sada) to await maritime evacuation. All of the volunteers arrived at the nearby assembly point within an hour of the start of the drill. Actual ferrying of the people to Oita Prefecture across the Sato Inland Sea was successfully tested last November.  Ikata unit #3 restarted August 12th, and has been running at full power for nearly three weeks. http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016090400123

  • The NRA posts its decision on burial of high-level nuclear waste. The Nuclear regulation Authority says radioactive debris resulting from nuclear unit decommissioning must be buried at least 70 meters deep for 100,000 years. Conclusive data shows that used nuclear fuel bundles decay to below naturally occurring Uranium levels in about 500 years…not 100 centuries. Thus, the decision follows the NRA’s typically over-reactive and absurdly conservative socio-political agenda, catering to the Press at-large and millions of Japanese experiencing extreme radiophobia; believing that even the most miniscule level of radioactivity is a certifiable death threat. The NRA has radioactive wastes divided into four categories, depending on radiation levels; extremely high, high (L1), comparatively low (L2) and extremely low (L3). The NRA decision applies to L1 material, which is largely used nuclear fuel bundles that are not recycled. The nuclear utilities will be responsible for managing the disposal for 300-400 years, and Tokyo for the remainder of the 100,000 year period.  http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609020034.html

  • Some 1,300 of Japan’s antinukes gather in Niigata Prefecture to protest the governor’s decision to not seek re-election. Governor Izumida has continually asserted that the causes of the Fukushima accident must be verified before he would ever allow resumption of operations, openly ignoring the numerous studies that have already occurred since 2011. The antinuclear stalwarts want Governor Hirohiko Izumida to rescind his decision to not run for re-election. They feel he is the “last bastion” against restart of two Kashiwazaki-Kariwa units. As with all national elections since March, 2011, the antinukes want to make their nuclear-critical agenda the no.1 issue. The organizing committee’s formal declaration says, “We will make the issue of the nuclear power plant the biggest point of contention,” and they will “not allow candidates” to conceal the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa restart issue. The only apparent candidate is not overtly antinuclear, and anyone who is not blatantly antinuclear is labeled a pro-nuke in Japan. Nagaoka mayor Tamio Mori is the candidate, and says, “I will strictly examine it [the K-K restart] based on protecting the security and safety of people in the prefecture.” But, this is not fanatic nuclear-phobes attending the gathering. A Niigata City resident made this obvious by saying, “It will be a problem for me if there are no candidates I can vote for based on my thoughts against the reactor restarts. I want a political situation in which we can choose a candidate [who is antinuclear].” The Nuclear Regulation Authority is currently screening the restart. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609040026.html

 

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