Fukushima Accident Updates (Blog)

Your most reliable source of objective Fukushima News... summaries of news reports in Japan's Press on Fukushima Daiichi, often mis-stated as a nuclear disaster.

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September 23, 2022

  • Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority is 10 years old. It was formed in September 2012, after the questionable policies of its predecessor were found to be lacking following the 2011 F. Daiichi accident. It upgraded Japan's nuclear safety standards, purported to be the most stringent in the world. Since NRA screenings began in July, 2013, only ten have been allowed to operate. Several of those are now idled based of a requirement to have remote operating capability, in response to national anxiety over terrorists. Current NRA chief Toyoshi Fuketa warns that there can never be a revival of the so-called “safety myth” allegedly behind the Fukushima accident. He is concerned that Tokyo might eventually resurrect the “myth” if it lets its guard down. Although the government says it wants to accelerate restarts and build new nukes, Fuketa says it must happen by maintaining strict regulations. Prime Minister Kishida wants nine currently idled nukes restarted by the end of the year. There is little doubt that the post-Fukushima regulatory system has delayed reactor restarts. The standards now in place are supposed protect nukes during natural disasters. Though called for by electric power companies, the drawn out screening process will not be relaxed. NRA Chair Fuketa confirms We cannot hope to shorten the screening period significantly.” Fuketa will resign later this month, to be replaced by colleague and nuclear fuel expert Shinsuke Yamanaka.https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022091900172 - https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220921_28/ - https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/politics/politics-government/20220919-59147/

  • Add Micronesia to the list of deniers over the release of F. Daiichi wastewater. Micronesia's President David Panuelo made the asseveration to the United Nations. He said the country has the “gravest concern” about such a release,"We cannot close our eyes to the unimaginable threats of nuclear contamination, marine pollution, and eventual destruction of the Blue Pacific Continent. The impacts of this decision are both trans-boundary and inter-generational in nature. As Micronesia’s head of state, I cannot allow the destruction of our ocean resources that support the livelihood of our people."https://japantoday.com/category/national/at-u.n.-micronesia-denounces-japan-plan-to-release-fukushima-water-into-pacific1

  • The Yomiuri Shimbun says 40% of Japan's nuke operators lack actual experience. The Yomiuri is the country's #1 news outlet. In most cases, it is because of the prolonged nuclear moratorium on nukes and strict post Fukushima regulations. To overcome these things, power companies use simulators and/or send operators to operating nuclear power plants for training to prepare them for the day their own units can be restarted. One operator says, I cannot gain (experience)just by reading manuals. I want to take part in the restart of (my) plant with confidence.” Another says, Operators must have actual experience to perceive any abnormalities instantly.” Of the seven utilities now under safety review, only 37% of their operators have actually operated nukes. https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/business/companies/20220918-59196/

  • France returns reprocessed nuke fuel (MOX) to Japan. MOX is the acronym for Mixed Oxide because it is a combination of 92% Uranium and 8% recycled Plutonium separated from used nuke fuel. The usual environmental naysayers say the shipping of the material is exceedingly treacherous. Greenpeace says "Transporting such dangerous materials from a nuclear proliferation point of view is completely irresponsible." The shipment will arrive in November, amid the usual antinuclear pomp and circumstance. https://japantoday.com/category/national/france-sends-latest-nuclear-shipment-to-japan

September 16, 2022

  • Tepco posts its status report on testing marine organisms for biological effects from F. Daiichi wastewater. It is called a “rearing test”. Tepco explains, “In order to alleviate people’s concerns and to cultivate peace of mind, we will rear marine organisms in tanks of seawater containing ALPS treated water and compare them with organisms reared in normal seawater and report the results carefully in an easy-to-understand manner.” They are now beginning “preparation stage 2”, moving from mock-ups to actual rearing tanks. The first species tested is Flounder. They will also eventually test seaweed and Abalone. https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/hd/decommission/information/newsrelease/reference/pdf/2022/reference_20220913_01-e.pdf

  • Tokyo's Economy Ministry wants to promote “clean energy”, including new nukes. The goal is to “decarbonize” the electric power supply. The system will be paid for by consumer electricity fees. Currently, power providers pay into a fund to ensure a stable supply of electricity with existing units. The new program will cover construction of new units, including nuclear. The concept is supported by Prime Minister Kishida. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14720336

September 9, 2022

  • Tepco opens construction of the F. Daiichi wastewater release tunnel to the News media. Work began in early August, first boring down 16 meters below the surface, end then horizontally out to sea. The tunnel begins near the quay wall of units number 5 & 6. Work has progressed at at rate of 5 to 6 meters per4 day. Unfortunately, the article with video still makes it sound like the damaged fuel remains molten, which is entirely incorrect. Regardless, it seems the only issue with starting the release is Tepco and Tokyo gaining local public understanding, which is a bit of a pipe dream – opposed public will never admit to understanding while they are consumed by radiophobia and fear essentially harmless Tritium! https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220906_24/

  • Fukushima Minpo posts the latest news on reopening part of Futaba to repopulation. A symbolic event occurred on August 29th to mark the reopening, Event organizer Kazuharu Fukuda said, "At long last, we are able to make a fresh start toward reconstruction in a visible manner." Futaba mayor Shiro Izawa said that he hopes "this opportunity being given today will move us forward step by step." Governor Masao Uchibori added, "This is a result of everyone in this town working together for reconstruction and revival of their hometown while cherishing a strong desire to make it exist by all means." http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1123

  • Construction of the Oma nuclear plant in Aomori is further delayed. If and when completed, it will be the world's first nuke using only MOX (Mixed Oxide) fuel. MOX is recycled nuclear fuel, containing both Uranium and Plutonium. J-Power official Osamu Hagiwara said the screening of the plant, including its anti-quake measures, is taking time. Plant operation is now expected in 2030. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220909_31 

September 2, 2022

  • Submersion for F. Daiichi #3 corium removal? Maybe! It would require turning the reactor building into a leak-proof, water-filled structure. If Tokyo chooses this method, it would provide at least two critical benefits. First, water is a great radiation shield, which would keep workers from over-exposure during the removal procedure. Secondly, debris removal could be effected from the top of the reactor vessel and greatly simplify things. The concept has no real-world track record, but it is a possibility.  https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/09/7822a9ad9e56-new-submersion-method-in-consideration-for-fukushima-debris-cleanup.html

  • Part of Futaba is officially reopened. On Monday the 29th, a celebration for residents was held at JR Futaba railway station. Resident Fukuda Kazuharu said that the lifting is the first visible step forward for the town. He said he wants to revitalize Futaba, not for the sake of the town but rather for himself. Mayor Izawa Shiro said that only a few residents might return at first, but the number will increase day by day. However, the Asahi Shimbun says the reopening is a virtual failure. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220830_11/ - https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14706619

  • Tokyo mulls over a new fund to protect Fukushima fishermen. This will be in addition to hundreds of millions in funding already promised.  A written proposal says (in part), that the government will “introduce measures continuously to realize sustainable fishing operations through the use of a fund.” The government will also continue to consider local resident's protests. The plan also calls on the government to have TEPCO to draw up compensation standards for each region and industry by year-end. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220830_22/ - https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/society/general-news/20220831-55123/

  • Japan's ruling party urges upgraded decontamination work in Fukushima's difficult to return zones. The Liberal Democratic Party has proposals for rebuilding the areas affected by the 2011 natural disasters and nuclear accident. The lawmakers are focusing on the F. Daiichi co-host towns of Okuma and Futaba.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220829_05/

  • Mihama #3 is restarted. Restart of the 826 megawatt BWR has been delayed by several recent problems. The restart will go a long way toward restart of Kansai Electric's Takahama units #1 and #2, next year. The three units all have surpassed their initial 40 year licensing. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022083000786

August 26, 2022

August 19, 2022

  • The new Industry Minister,Yasutoshi Nishimura, visits F. Daiichi. He seems to think the main problem is the ongoing challenge to the release of wastewater containing “trace” levels of Tritium. While at F. Daiichi, he said, "I will give my best in gaining understanding on safety (of the discharge plan) and preventing reputational damage" to local businesses. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/08/fc4793599f8f-japans-industry-minister-inspects-crippled-fukushima-nuclear-plant.html

  • Industry MinisterNishimura says idled nukes need to be restarted soon. Why? Because Japan needs “a stable electric power supply from next summer and onward.” He added one caveat, "We are not thinking about building new nuclear plants or expanding or rebuilding existing plants as of now." https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022081300293

  • Local support for a Hamaoka nuke restart takes a sharp upswing. This is the result of a polling of three nearby cities, Kakegawa, Makinohara, and Kikugawa. Nuclear-skittish Kakegawa Mayor Takashi Kubota said, “More young people today have little knowledge of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which explains the higher ratio of supportive individuals. The outcome was also no doubt influenced by rising energy prices and Chubu Electric’s campaign to foster greater understanding over the issue of a restart.” The majority of residents in all three cities have opposed restarts since 2011, but now there are more in favor than against. He added that “the plan for reactor restarts has yet to gain the full approval of residents.” https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14687320

August 12, 2022

  • Fukushima is skeptical that the wastewater release next year will actually happen. Governor Masao Uchibori says the negative speculation is because "...you cannot say sufficient understanding has been obtained from prefectural residents and the nation's general public." He added that Tepco and Tokyo need to raise (Tepco) employees' awareness, because a series of troubles have happened in the decommissioning process that continue to cause anxiety among people in the prefecture. Many members of the public seem to expect perfection! Tokyo and Tepco have said they "will not dispose of (contaminated water) in any manner without the understanding of the parties concerned." But forging this understanding has made little progress, with opposition still very strong, particularly among local fishermen. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1118

  • There should be enough wastewater tank capacity until well after the first scheduled discharges happen. This is based on the somewhat reduced rate of buildup over the past two years which has been reduced 20 tons per day. The reduced inflow is because of fixing roofs over the four damaged units at F. Daiichi. The only caveat is unexpectedly high future rainfalls. Regardless, Tokyo wants the daily buildup of 140 tons per day to be dropped down to less than 100 tons per day. https://japantoday.com/category/national/focus-respite-for-japan-as-radioactive-water-accumulation-slows-in-fukushima

  • A senior Canadian official says nuclear energy is “cool”. Matthew Mairinger, is on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Nuclear Association. He was recently in Japan and gave extended answers to many questions posed by the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum. The questions and his responses can be found here... https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/events/6099

August 5, 2022

    • Tepco started to build F. Daiichi wastewater release facilities on Thursday. The event was posted on all Japanese news outlets, as well as Tepco's News website. This occurred two days after local authorities approved the plan for building it. (next bullet) Specifically, Tepco will make a a tunnel for operating an underground tunneling machine and install pipes to transfer the treated water to the several new facilities before actual discharge about 1 kilometer off shore. In these facilities, the ALPS-purged liquids will be severely diluted so that the main residual radioisotope (Tritium) will be way below Japan's drinking water standard, as has been posted numerous times over the past few years. Tepco's Akira Ono said, “We are aware of various views on reputational impact and safety concerns (of the release) and we'll keep explaining thoroughly to stakeholders.” Of course, the largely antinuclear Japanese Press, led by the Mainichi Shimbun and infamous antinuke reporter Mari Yamaguchi, continues to focus on purely hypothetical notions like the health effects of long term exposure to Tritium are “still unknown”.

      https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220803_36/ - https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/hd/decommission/information/newsrelease/reference/pdf/2022/reference_20220804_01-e.pdf (includes photos of the work) https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220804/p2g/00m/0na/016000c - https://japantoday.com/category/national/construction-begins-at-fukushima-plant-for-water-release

    • Tepco gets local approval for wastewater release construction on Tuesday. Governor Masao Uchibori and the two host town mayors of Okuma and Futaba announced the decision. The amount of tritium in the diluted water will be 40-times less than the drinking water concentration established by the World Health Organization.Uchibori said opinions vary about the plan and it does not have full public support, largely because the local fisheries stubbornly oppose a release to the sea. They say the move will further exacerbate already-negative public opinion. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14686406 - https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220802_41/

    • A water leak further delays the restart of Mihama Unit #3. It was found during a regular inspection for commercial operation. The leak occurred in the unit's auxiliary building and was completely contained. Thus, there was zero environmental impact. Kansai Electric says they do not know how long of a delay there will be because ther cause of the leak has yet to be determined. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14686289

July 29, 2022

  • The United Nations says the accident at F. Daiichi caused no adverse health effects. This is the conclusion of the prestigious United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR). It comes as the result of the close examination of more than 500 scientific papers and investigations into the subject. Past committee chair Dr. Gillian Hirth says, “future cancer rates that could be inferred from radiation exposure from this accident are unlikely to be discernible.” She added that child thyroid cancer increases were due to “extensive, ultra sensitive screening.” After the report's release, meetings were held with residents, scientists, and students in Fukushima City, Minamisoma, Naraha, and Tokyo. This was only reported on the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum website. Why this important finding was not posted throughout Japan's new Media is a mystery! https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/news/6071

  • 15% of Futaba will have its evacuation order lifted on August 30th. This will be the third “difficult to return” locale to have the order rescinded. Regardless, 85% of the town will continue to be subject to the Tokyo-mandated evacuation order. It was also announced that these restrictions will be terminated for Tomioka, Namie, and Iitate next spring. The extent of the lifting will be limited to those areas that were designated as reconstruction and revitalization zones. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220726/p2g/00m/0na/046000c

  • Tepco posts a preliminary progress report on its marine rearing trials. Basically, the organism's are being bred in tritium-laced seawater to see what happens. The trials will probably result in no discernible effects because Tritium is essentially harmless due to its exceedingly weak Beta radiation emission. Tepco says “tritium is not concentrated in the living bodies and that the concentration of tritium in live bodies do not exceed that of the rearing environment.” Regardless, the testing program will be run to hopefully alleviate radiophobic concerns of the fishing industry and from neighboring countries. Full scale testing in ALPS treated water mixed with seawater, to tritium concentrations expected with next year's first releases, will begin in September. The testing will be done on flounder and abalone, as well as seaweed. https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/hd/decommission/information/newsrelease/reference/pdf/2022/reference_20220721_01-e.pdf

  • Indonesia removes all import restrictions on Japanese food imports. Indonesia had required radiation-free certificates for imports of meat, vegetables and other food products. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022072700554

July 22, 2022

  • Japan's nuclear regulator approves the F. Daiichi water release plan. The “treated” wastewater is currently stored in massive tanks on the plant site. Before release to the sea, all radioisotopes except Tritium will be stripped away, down to nearly nothing. Tritium will be at 40 times less than Japanese standards. Although harmless, the release is going to occur despite the groundless “concerns” of local fishermen over the negative effect of baseless rumors. The mandatory public comment period produced nothing of substance that could stop the release. China tried to muddle the mix by stating that the plans are “extremely irresponsible” of Japan. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220722_23/ - https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/07/67af4b80215a-nuclear-regulator-approves-treated-fukushima-water-release-plan.html - https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220722/p2g/00m/0na/050000c

  • Nearly half of Japan supports nuke restarts. A Jiji Press survey found that more than 48% want the restarts. Only about 28% were opposed. The reason for the sudden shift in opinion was not stated in the article. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022072100800

  • Even with nuke restarts, Japan is mired in a power crunch. As a result, old, idled fossil fueled plants will probably be restarted to off-set the shortage. There are six nukes currently operating, and four more are about ready for power resumption. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022072000439

  • Takahama unit #3 will resume operation on July 26th. The unit has been down because of Steam Generator tubes were found to be damaged. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14674753

  • Ohi unit #4 was restarted on July 15th. But, the 1,180 megawatt nuke will not officially begin commercial (financially profitable) operation until August 15th . The plant has been shut down for a regularly-scheduled refueling. The outage extension was due to a Nuclear Regulation Authority-mandated emergency response facility to be completed. In addition, the NRA has approved the draft review for restart of Tepco's Kashiwazaki Kariwa units 6&7. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/news/6064

  • A Fukushima beach closed since 2011 has reopened. It happened last Saturday. The is the first beach reopened in an area previously under a Tokyo-mandated evacuation order. The Naraha beach is 20-25 kilometers south of F. Daiichi. Before the tsunami-caused nuke accident, the beach attracted some 30,000 visitors a year, largely due to surfers. Many facilities at the location were destroyed by the tsunami. The Naraha evacuation order was lifted in 2015, but rebuilding beach facilities has delayed the reopening. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022071600302 - https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220716/p2a/00m/0na/023000c

July 15, 2022

  • Young people are trying to revive Futaba. The town was ordered to be evacuated by Tokyo, soon after the nuke accident in 2011. Now, college students from across Japan are doing whatever they can to bring back the town, hoping to attract tourists and sustainable businesses. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220711/p2g/00m/0na/035000c

  • Another evacuation order for Futaba Town will be relaxed as early as next month. This lifting will cover about 2 square miles around the town rail station. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220714_35/

  • The Tokyo District Court condemns Tepco's corporate culture, prior to the nuke accident. It said the company should have exercised safety awareness that is strictly required of a nuclear plant operator. Instead. The company focused on schmoozing federal regulators to try and keep costs under control. The ruling states that the executives were naive and, fundamentally lacked an awareness of the need for safety and a sense of responsibility that is asked of executives of an operator of a nuclear plant.” Then they overstated the case, saying that a nuke accident “could lead to the collapse of our nation because the damage would extend over a wide land area and cause enormous damage to the entire population.” It added that former VP Sakae Muto's inaction prior to the tsunami was “unforgivable”. Because of this and other points of alleged wrongdoing, the court found that the accident itself was avoidable... in contradiction to the recent supreme court conclusion! https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220713_46/ - https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14669884 - https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/society/crime-courts/20220714-44746/

  • PM Fumio Kishida say nine nuclear units will go on line by winter. This is because of anticipated power shortages. He says, “We are aiming to put as many nuclear reactors as possible online. We will have up to nine reactors operating this winter to secure enough sources of energy to cover about 10 percent of Japan’s overall power consumption.” In addition, consumers are strongly urged to conserve. All nine were brought online at least once after passing the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s screening for restart. Four were in operation as of July 14. Industry Minister Hagiuda added that up 10 fossil-fueled units could also be restarted. https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14670899

July 8, 2022

  • Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan for the cowardly assassination of former PM Shinzo Abe! The perpetrator says his reasons were non-political. https://japannews.yomiuri.co.jp/society/crime-courts/20220708-43512/

  • Japanese PM Fumio Kishida promotes nuke restarts. Last Sunday, he said,"We'll utilize nuclear power to the fullest extent possible." His firm statement comes amid a summer power shortage that could be mitigated by nuke restarts. Until his desire can be effected, he said the shortage will be addressed with fossil-fueled plants and hydro units. Opposition party leader Ichiro Matsui agreed with Kishida, "We hope to have nuclear plants restarted in order to address energy shortages and soaring electricity rates." https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2022070400042

  • A rad-waste storage tank in Aomori Prefecture has cooling interrupted. The operator of the Rokkasho Village station said it lost the function for about eight hours. There is about 2,600 liters of highly radioactive water in it. The reason was a valve had closed for reasons yet to be understood. The Aomori Prefecture government sent officials to the facility to look for the reason. The liquid's temperature raised about eight degrees Celsius during the outage. None of the liquid leaked from the tank. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220703_13/

  • (late entry) A Skeptical Inquirer article examines more than a decade of Fukushima disinformation. It asserts, “The event’s memory is shaped mainly by unsubstantiated horror stories that have decisively influenced nuclear power debates.” After a comprehensive overview of the past decade of rampant misinformation in the news, it concludes, “The actual consequences pale against the background of the more severe destruction and casualty figures of the natural disaster. Fukushima was not the global catastrophe it is often made out to be.” It adds, “The data strongly suggest that measures in Germany (and, in retrospect, Japan) were not appropriate... decisions (should be) based on science and facts rather than following popular narratives.” It should be noted that our Hiroshima Syndrome site and E-book “Kimin:Japan's Forgotten People” are included in the references. https://skepticalinquirer.org/2021/06/ten-years-of-fukushima-disinformation/?fbclid=IwAR3XoPSZkS570bTgqoInPjfv9Bx6ywMRnEPhtsJD0DDgEKGiMGtX6qII_pE

Next -  https://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-134-6-10-2022-7-1-2022.html