Fukushima Accident Updates (Blog)

Your most reliable source of objective Fukushima News. No "spins"...just summaries of news reports in Japan's Press, which calls the Fukushima accident a nuclear disaster. Posts are made every week or two on Fridays

There are three regularly-updated pages on this site concerning popular Fukushima issues; Fukushima Evacuee Compensation Payments (updated monthly), Fukushima Child Thyroid Cancer s and  Fukushima Radiation on North America’s West Coast? 

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February 15, 2019

  • Tepco finds that much of the meltdown debris in unit #2 can probably be removed for analysis. On Wednesday, the company’s new robotic investigation probe first entered the Reactor Building. Its telescoping arm was then extended through a PCV penetration pipe, and subsequently into the pedestal, under the damaged Reactor Pressure Vessel. At the end of the probe was an investigation unit consisting of a camera, light, radiation monitor, and pincer-like grips. The pincers could grip the pebble-like debris, in most cases, and move them to another position. Although Tepco first announced that contact with the corium pieces was made at six locations, the posted video shows that 10 places were examined. Gravel relocation was successful in all but three cases. Three times, the pieces were too large and/or too heavy for the tongs to move, resembling solidified lava. Tepco spokesman Katsuyoshi Oyama said, "As we have found that we can move (some deposits), we proved that extracting fuel debris is possible. But for objects that cannot be grasped, we need to develop new equipment." None of the moveable materials were extracted from the inner pedestal, but it is planned to happen in the near future. One very positive outcome is that the start date for initial debris removal has not been changed, scheduled for 2021. One revelation is that some 237 tons of corium is believed to remain inside the unit #2 RPV, and about 880 tons total remain inside the three damaged units. NHK world has posted the seven minute video of the excursion taken by the investigation unit’s camera. It must be noted that the Japan News posting (Yomiuri Shimbun) contains a very misleading statement, “At one location, the deposit had solidified and could not be moved.” Actually, all of the material was solidified, and the piece in question was too large and too heavy (more than 2 kg) for the probe to handle. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/tepco-makes-contact-with-debris-at-fukushima-daiichi-2/ -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190214_38/ -- https://www7.tepco.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/handouts_190213_01_e-1.pdf  -- http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0005544134 -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190214/p2g/00m/0na/002000c
  • Tepco will begin dismantling the exhaust gas stacks at F. Daiichi #1 and #2 in May. The original schedule was for the onset to occur in March. The stack’s pillars have fractured and deformed above the 66 meter mark. Thus, the upper half of each 120-meter pillar will have to come off. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/dismantling-of-exhaust-stack-at-fukushima-daiichi-1-and-2-to-start-in-may/
  • Kyushu Electric decides to decommission Genkai unit #2. The 559 MWe Pressurized Water Reactor began operation in 1981 and could have continued until 2041 under Japan’s largely-arbitrary 60 year licensing limit. The main issue was not the unit’s age, relatively low output capacity, or the licensing limitation. Rather, the existing plant site is too small to accommodate the newly-mandated counter-terrorism facility. Unit #2 has been off-line since January 2011 due to Tokyo’s de-facto nuclear moratorium following the accident at Fukushima Daiichi. It will be the 11th Japanese unit to be decommissioned as the result of Japan’s new, more stringent nuclear safety requirements. Units #3 and #4 were restarted last year and each currently produce 1180 MWe of pollution-free electricity. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190213_35/ -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190213/p2g/00m/0na/050000c
  • Kansai Electric Company delays safety improvement completion dates. The affected units are Takahama #1 & #2, and Mihama #3. All three units have cleared their required post-Fukushima safety examinations, and have also been granted 20-year licensing extensions. The 9 and 10 month extensions for the Takahama units to verify sufficient room for equipment and materials needed to effect the enhancements. The Mihama #3 delay is due to additional reinforcement of the spent fuel pool. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/kansai-ep-reviews-and-pushes-back-completion-dates-for-safety-improvement-work-at-three-npps-granted-extended-lifetimes/

February 8, 2019

  • Tepco plans to begin another fuel debris retrieval test next Wednesday. A new robotic probe will be inserted into the F. Daiichi unit #2 pedestal, under the damaged reactor vessel, to examine what is thought to be fuel debris, mixed with other component pieces. The probe has a telescoping arm that can be extended 15 meters with a pincer-like tip that will touch and pinch the material on the floor of the pedestal. If moveable, some of the debris could be moved to a new location, showing that collection and retrieval is possible. The first samples are expected to be taken beginning next October. Even if the material cannot be moved, the information gained by the test will prove invaluable.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190208_01/
  • Chugoku Electric Company is investigating into the use of artificial intelligence to detect signs of problems in and around nuclear reactors. The system is intended to help solve a current shortage of experienced operators, as a result of the de-facto nuclear moratorium following the accident at F. Daiichi in 2011. Some 3,500 data points will be technologically monitored to detect abnormalities with pressure, temperature, equipment vibrations, and the such. The data points are being selected based on the roughly 4,000 trouble reports that have been posted from Japanese nukes. The system is intended to enhance operator awareness, and not take operational control away from experienced operators. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190203_06/
  • A spill of radioactive substances occurred at a facility north of Tokyo. The incident was at Nuclear Fuel Cycle Engineering Laboratories in Tokai Village, Ibaraki Prefecture. The facility was previously used to produce nuclear fuel and is currently being decommissioned. None of the facility workers were contaminated and no off-site airborne radioactivity was detected. It seems the spill occurred when a container was removed from a sealed glove-box in order to wrap it in plastic bags. It is felt that the first bag had a hole in it. Preventative measures are being re-evaluated by the JAEA. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190131_37/ -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190208_30/
  • Fukushima’s governor promotes the prefecture’s food in Hong Kong. The City-State imposed restrictions on the import of Fukushima products in 2011, which (for all intents and purposes) remains in-place. Masao Uchibori is the first Fukushima governor to visit Hong Kong since the 2011 2011 quake/tsunami disaster and subsequent nuclear accident. He met with Japanese food industry association officials and a Hong Kong official in charge of import regulations. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2019012600103
  • Tepco posts the latest results of internal contamination of nine fish caught inside the F. Daiichi break wall during the month of December. While eight of the fish tested contained various levels of Cesium isotope 137, five showed no Cs-134 – the “fingerprint” isotope for Fukushima contamination. One of the two sea bass taken within the break wall showed no detectible Cs-137 or Cs-134. https://www7.tepco.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/handouts_190128_04-e.pdf
  • The on-line sale of depleted Uranium and yellowcake raises a kerfuffle in Japan. It appears the material was bought through an internet auction. The material was confiscated by Tokyo Metropolitan Police and sent to the Japan Atomic Energy Commission for verification. The JAEA sys it is “very likely” depleted (less than 0.7% U-235) Uranium and yellowcake. Japanese law disallows sale of nuclear source material without a license, punishable by either a $10,000 fine or a one year prison sentence. The seller of the several grams of material agreed to voluntary questioning and said the stuff was procured legally from an overseas website. The concern is that a substantial quantity of the material could be used to fabricate a “dirty” bomb. Professor Mitsuru Fukuda of the Nihon University said that with a dirty bomb detonation "People's concerns would rise and economic activities could stop. Even a tiny amount of material with low radioactivity could have a major impact on society." While the transacted material tests as being radioactive, the specific radio-isotope has yet to be determined. Nuclear expert Masaaki Iwaki says the suspect materials should be clearly identified, but appear to be substantially low in radiation compared with U-235. He added that ingestion of the suspect material is unlikely to damage human health. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190131/p2a/00m/0na/001000c -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190131_08/ -- https://japantoday.com/category/crime/police-questioning-people-involved-in-online-uranium-sale-in-japan -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190131_19/

January 24, 2019

(No update was posted on January 17th  because of a dearth of Fukushima information over the prior seven days)

  • A leak of tritiated waste water at F. Daiichi draws very little Japanese Press coverage. A storage tank filled with waste water stripped of all contamination except Tritium has lost about 300 tons over the past two years. Water from a then-unknown source was discovered in an underground tunnel on January 10th. Officials have since traced the source to a storage tank, the level of which has dropped about 1.7 meters (~300 tons) since November 2016. Water in the tank has an activity of 120,000 Becquerels per liter, which is double the national limit for release to the environment. The leak was so slow that the four-times-daily level measurements failed to detect it. Water in the tunnel is well-below the Tritium-based limit. It is surprising that this has only been reported by NHK World since any and all contaminated leaks since the 2011 nuke accident have garnered considerable press coverage, no matter how small they were. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190124_02/
  • Fukushima City students have been developing dishes using Fukushima produce to promote prefectural recovery. The project began on December 16th, but this is the first press reporting on it. It is hoped the children learn about local agriculture in order to make plans to assist Fukushima’s recovery. Project director Kimio Suzuki says, “I am convinced that the experiences of thinking about and taking actions to better their hometown will serve as a driving force for these children in the future.” One student reports, “I now understand the thoroughness of the (city and prefecture’s) decontamination and inspection processes. I am amazed by the different efforts done up until this point.” http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=934
  • A Fukushima village farmer resumes raw milk shipments. Farmer Tetsuji Sakuma said, "We want it to grow to an industry that supports our village by delivering safe and secure fresh milk to consumers. We would like to encourage dairy farmers in the disaster-affected areas." Since having to abandon his herd in 2011, he has questioned whether or not he did the right thing. Reopening operations has helped him to deal with his regrets. Sakuma Dairy in Katsurao village is first in its community, and the third inside the Tokyo-mandated evacuation zone, to restart operations. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=932
  • Was an eleven year-old girl thyroid-contaminated at-or-above the national limit before being evacuated from Futaba in 2011? The National Institute of Radiological sciences says it was possible. The thyroid exposure limit is 100 Becquerels. The NIRS says it was told about the possibility some two months after the F. Daiichi accident, but did not act on it because the monitoring equipment was not trustworthy. The girl was playing outside when the atmospheric releases began. No other child has been reported to have an absorbed exposure of more than 35 Becquerels, but the Japanese Press feels compelled to post coverage on any-and-all child thyroid contamination possibilities, no matter how unlikely. Allegedly, a Fukushima technician scanned her neck area on March 17, 2011, and detected 50,000-70,000 counts per minute. However, no documentation can be found to support the allegation. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190122_02/ --  http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201901220056.html

January 11, 2019

(No update was posted on January 3rd because of a dearth of Fukushima information over the prior seven days)

  • Nuke accident exposures for Date City were underestimated, but remain well-below Japan’s upper limit. The national standard for exposure is one millisievert per year. Although the estimates for some locations in Date were actually three times the original estimate of 18 mSv over a 70 year period (0.257 mSv/yr), the revised estimates are still below the upper limit. Ryugo Hayano, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, authored the original estimate in a July, 2017 report, but realized his mistake on January 8th, saying it was unintentional. The 2017 report stated, “Even if residents lived in the most contaminated area of Date for 70 years, the median of the doses would not exceed 18 millisieverts.” After revising the assumed exposure, Hayano said, “Even after the error was fixed, I believe the average of annual doses will be within the 1-millisievert mark.” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201901090057.html
  • Tepco considers building a 1,000 MWe offshore wind-power plant. The company needs to recover financially from the F. Daiichi accident and subsequent Tokyo-mandated personal and property compensations for the 75,000 forced evacuees. (See the latest on compensation at http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-evacuee-compensation-payments.html) It is expected that 200 2-MWe, fixed-bottom units will be securely fastened to the seabed. The cost will be at least $9.2 billion USD. The financial incentive is the national feed-in tariff system, guaranteeing profitability even though the power output is dependent on the ever-changing winds. The off-shore location is preferred because the wind speeds are more reliable than those on-shores. Tepco intends to begin construction in 2019. World-wide, off-shore wind generation has a capacity-factor between 35% and 40%. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0005462061
  • Why hasn’t Japan’s Press reported on the wastewater stripped of residual Strontium? The latest F. Daiichi wastewater posting shows that more than 120,000 tons are stored in the “Strontium-treated water storage tank”. This means that it has been run through the primary multi-nuclide removal process (ALPS), and then sent through ALPS a second time as well as the Strontium removal system. There is no mention of the concentration of residual Strontium remaining in the tanks, but since it has been run twice-through ALPS and at least once-through the Strontium-removal beds, there should be little or none of the controversial isotope remaining. More information on this needs to be posted! https://www7.tepco.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/handouts_190109_02-e.pdf

December 28, 2018

  • Fukushima alcohol beverage exports set an all-time record in 2017. The prefecture shipped 296,000 liters that year. The total value of $3.67 million is up 16% from last year, and has increased by a factor of 3.2 since 2012, which was the first year that the Fukushima Trade Promotion Council monitored the exports. The United States is the main buyer of the alcohol products at 40%, followed by France at ~18% and South Korea at ~13%. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=929
  • Cows that remained in the F. Daiichi “no-go” zone after the nuke accident are still a concern. Some 430 cattle have remained in the zone since the government ordered them to be culled in 2011. There were more than 3,500 animals within the 20km radius at the time of the accident. Those not culled were entirely the result of owners refusing to comply with the Tokyo mandate. Blood and urine tests since then show no genetic abnormalities, and that they are all in “perfect health.” The government has refused to let the cows be moved outside the defunct no-go zone to prevent their meat from being marketed. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2018/12/c7bfef30a12a-focus-farmers-struggle-to-keep-cows-left-behind-near-fukushima-plant.html
  • Court-appointed lawyers demand five-year prison terms for three former Tepco executives. Former chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, vice president Ichiro Takekuro, and vice president Sakae Muto have all plead not guilty to charges of professional negligence concerning the March 2011 nuclear accident at F. Daiichi. The court-appointed lawyers say the defendants were told two to three years before the accident that a massive tsunami could hit the nuclear plant, and that the defendants are responsible because they didn't do anything to prevent the accident from occurring. The defendants say that even if the preventative measures had been taken, the accident would have occurred anyway. Allegedly the deaths of 44 people, including patients forced to evacuate from a hospital, as well as injuries suffered by 13 people would not have happened if the measures had been implemented. Tokyo prosecutors have twice decided the executives are not culpable, but subsequent public hearings have caused the prolonged proceedings. The lead prosecuting lawyer said, “They failed to do what they should have done, continued to operate the nuclear plant and caused the deaths of many people.”  The former TEPCO executives were indicted by the acting prosecutors in 2016, after a prosecution inquest panel reversed the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office's decision not to file criminal charges against them. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181226_22/ -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20181226/p2a/00m/0na/032000c -- https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2018/12/27e0bf6c32c8-5-year-jail-terms-sought-for-ex-tepco-execs-over-nuclear-crisis.html -- https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2018122601435
  • The Kansai Economic Federation (Kankeiren) says nuclear energy should be maximized to mitigate global warming. The Kankeiren says nuclear power should be optimized as a zero-emission power source on the premise of ensured safety, as demonstrated by the Kansai Electric Company plants have shown since 1970. They add that the business world can “share state-of-the-art technology, contributing its utmost to global measures against climate change toward the realization of a low-carbon society.” https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/kansai-economic-federation-releases-written-opinion-on-energy-and-environmental-policy-urging-maximum-use-of-nuclear-energy/
  • Japanese utilities consider using a type of nuclear fuel that generates power for a longer time than varieties in current use. One reason is to slow down the rate at which spent fuel pools are being filled. This newer fuel is being used outside Japan, including plants in the United States. Currently, the bundles are used in Boiling Water Reactor vessels, but can also be used by other reactor types. Japanese officials are carefully studying the possibility. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181227_01/

December 21, 2018

  • Safe Fukushima foods are offered to foreign ambassadors in Tokyo. The December 7th event was first offered in March 2015 to dispel reputation damage caused by the 2011 disaster, promote Fukushima specialties, and boost local tourism. Foreign Minister Taro Kono & Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori headlined the event. Kono said he hopes to “have very safe Fukushima farm produce accepted into foreign markets properly through joint efforts of the Foreign Ministry and overseas diplomatic posts.” Tables were decorated with potted anthuriums, a foliage plant grown as a specialty in the town of Kawamata and regarded as a symbol of post-disaster reconstruction. Uchibori said, “The floral language of anthuriums is passion. With all of my passion, I will exert every possible effort for rehabilitation together with those people who share care for Fukushima.” http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=925
  • F. Daiichi host town of Futaba wants to allow daytime access as soon as 2020. Specifically, the rebuilt town center. Technically, only the undamaged units #5 & #6 are located in Futaba, but community access is restricted due to Japan’s scientifically unrealistic radiation limits for human habitation. It is further hoped that the return of the evacuees forced to abandon their homes by Tokyo mandate in 2011 will be allowed back in 2022. The forced evacuation of many town locations was because they were estimated to have exposures greater than 50 millisieverts per year, though actual levels were later found to be less than 20 mSv/yr and are now below 5 mSv/yr. It should be recalled that 50 mSv/yr is typical for the black sand beaches of South America and Kerala, India, and have no damaging impact on the indigenous human populations. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/12/13/national/town-hosts-disaster-hit-fukushima-nuclear-plant-aims-allow-daytime-access-special-zone-2020/#.XB0BeKMUl9A 
  • Japanese colleague Shizuyo Sutou reports that A-bomb radiation actually resulted in longer life-span and reduced cancer rates. Shizuyo says, “People around the world have been taught for decades (since the bombings) that ionizing radiation is limitlessly hazardous…”  On the other hand, conclusive scientific evidence shows that ionizing radiation “is not always hazardous, (and) low dose radiation sometimes stimulates our (beneficial) defense mechanisms.” Hiroshima/Nagasaki (H/N) survivor data since 1945 shows that, on the average, lifespan was extended and cancer mortality was reduced. https://radiationeffects.org/low-dose-radiation-from-a-bombs-elongated-life-span-and-reduced-cancer-mortality-relative-to-un-irradiated-individuals-sutou/?fbclid=IwAR2tkgmp1w5ZFmovNhS0t843ajZQKmL4SYHla1B-gJkSdedPXjmdQtXall0 
  • The descendants of H/N survivors continue to pressure Tokyo to further relax criteria for alleged radiation-induced illnesses. Their unending goal is to get more and more public funds, even though lawsuits have continually been denied by Japan’s courts. A monthly allowance for descendants of actual H/N survivors has been insufficient to quell the complaining. The Minister of Health says he will do what he can to improve the situation by hearing survivor opinions. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181220_38/
  • Japan’s Supreme Court orders Tepco to compensate the family of a voluntary Fukushima evacuee who became clinically depressed. The court's First Petty Bench confirmed an Osaka High Court ruling of October 2017 that recognized the man had developed depression due to the evacuation and became unable to work. This is the first time that a voluntary evacuee has been granted additional compensation. He family will receive about $145,000. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20181218/p2a/00m/0na/021000c 
  • Japan’s Press continues to tacitly promote radiophobia based (this time) on distribution of iodine tablets. Post-Fukushima standards require local governments to give Iodine tablets to anyone living within 5 kilometers of a nuke station. The press maintains that 42% of those so-designated have yet to receive the tablets. It turns out that most of the residents live within 5 km of nukes that have not been restarted, such as Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, Hamaoka, and Onagawa! Local governments complain that holding pre-distribution briefings for residents is problematic because few doctors will take part and local authorities find the meetings to be unduly burdensome.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181214_04/

December 14, 2018

  • Despite the Monju Fast Breeder being decommissioned, Japan progresses toward fast reactors. The Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) has created a working group for development of the technology through interviews with domestic experts, along with foreign representatives in related fields. ANRE plans to accomplish the feat in four stages: experimental, prototype, demonstration, and commercial. That experience, along with Japan’s existing “Joyo” experimental reactor, will further technical knowledge that could have manifested if the Monju project would have been successful. Japan’s current fast reactor plan states, “The operation of FRs on a practical scale is expected to begin sometime in the mid-century at an appropriate juncture, based on such factors as technological maturity, finances, and operational experience.” It is hoped that the a choice based on existing international fast reactors will be decided upon by 2024. The most recent ANRE deliberations were held on December 8th, helping to resolve issues that have emerged during the failed Monju experience. Japanese official Ikuo Morinaka says, “Having reflected on the [March 2011] accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants, we will always look at safety with a critical eye.” The ANRE subcommittee is actively pursuing fast reactor development in accordance with the nation’s most recent Strategic Energy Plan. Meanwhile, decommissioning of the Monju prototype fast breeder reactor is at the stage of processing irradiated fuel assemblies for storage in the Spent Fuel Pond. At this point, 54 of the 530 bundles have been transferred.  https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/anres-working-group-produces-strategic-road-map-for-fast-reactor-development/ -- https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/anre-nuclear-energy-subcommittee-resumes-deliberations-toward-resolving-issues-based-on-fifth-strategic-energy-plan/ -- https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/decommissioning-fbr-monju-processing-of-fuel-assemblies-is-underway/

December 6, 2018

  • The Fukushima government opens a rice wine shop in New York. It was opened on Saturday in Manhattan. The shop offers 50 brands from eleven brewers. Fukushima sake has done very well in Japanese competitions, but radiophobic concerns have kept the product from performing well in the marketplace. Yasuji Miyamura , head of the prefectural government’s tourism and exchange bureau, said, “We would like to send out information to New Yorkers about the attractiveness of Fukushima-brewed sake.” One customer said he likes Japanese sake, but the Fukushima brand was the best. The shop will be open until March.   https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181202_27/ -- http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=924
  • People from Fukushima living in Europe start a campaign to quell rumors about the prefecture’s foods. The European Union continues its import restrictions on some Fukushima products and the ex-patriots want it to end. The campaign began with an event held in Belgium’s Japan Embassy in November, focusing mostly on sake brands. Other events will be held by the group in the future. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2018120300533
  • Colleague Dr. Wade Allison has published a new book entitled “When Fear Kills: The Case for Nuclear Energy”. He has posted his lecture on the choice between carbon combustion and nuclear for energy production. In addition, the visuals used during the lecture have been posted. He stresses that micromanagement and the over-regulation in radiation protection have caused serious public medical and mental health problems. This has resulted in what he calls social paralysis, which can only be resolved with an intense program of public education.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSmEPsRaQV0&fbclid=IwAR0tmfQHW3_9K5BrimRcqgcjL9PzlvV0HqsBJArNp-C_rWly5wenYMT4H3Q
  • The former mayor of Minamisoma voiced anger during testimony for a Fukushima lawsuit. Ex-Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai testified before the Fukushima District Court in a lawsuit filed by 151 residents. He said he felt “bitter and angry” when he found that Tokyo had provided evacuation transportation for some Fukushima communities, but not Minamisoma. He further cited the fact that many of the plaintiffs in the case are reluctant to return home because the F. Daiichi decommissioning has not been completed and they are afraid another accident will cause them to flee again. The plaintiffs seek nearly $33 million in damages. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20181205/p2g/00m/0dm/069000c

November 29, 2018

  • Tepco’s new Decommissioning Archive Center is shown to the news media. Though not to officially open until tomorrow (Friday), the Press was invited in for an early visit on Wednesday. The first floor is devoted to decommissioning, and the second floor focuses on the accident and staff response. An existing facility in Tomioka Town was converted into the museum-like format. Museum head Yasushi Shimazu said displays will be as timely as possible, in cooperation with the decommissioning team. He hopes many people will visit the center. The center is free to all members of the public. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181128_38/
  • Nuclide analysis of fish caught near the F. Daiichi port entrance shows only one species containing Fukushima accident Cesium. Specifically, detectable Cesium isotope 134. The other fish analyzed had only Cs-137, which is residual from post-WWII atmospheric nuke weapon’s tests, or none of that isotope detectable. The one fish of concern (i.e. detectible Cs-134) was the Black Sea Bream. https://www7.tepco.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/handouts_181127_03-e.pdf
  • Sunday evening, 60 Minutes aired “Meet the Robots Looking for Fuel after Fukushima’s Daiichi Nuclear Disaster”. After the obligatory elaborations about the accident being compared to Chernobyl and the strong impression that no-one knows where the fuel from the three melt-down RPVs is located, the coverage of the robots being used and under development was most interesting. In addition, the expert opinion provided by American Lake Barrett was most welcome. He did his best to assure 60 Minute’s Lesley Stahl that the re-solidified corium was safely inside each of the three containment buildings, but she made no effort to acknowledge this. Her use of alarmist hyperbole was regular, but not at all surprising! https://www.cbsnews.com/news/meet-the-robots-looking-for-fuel-after-fukushima-daiichi-nuclear-disaster-60-minutes/?fbclid=IwAR1vzQen0iBqvFsHzfh6qc4H59G5kIj5RwpwgdmKBCwc9wbgIXtm_OcLtyg
  • The head of the International Olympic Committee visited Fukushima on Saturday. Thomas Bach’s primary interest was Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium which will host both baseball and softball games during the 2020 Olympics. He visited Fukushima along with PM Shinzo Abe. Bach was impressed with the progress of reconstruction and how sports have been important to the psychological recovery of survivors of the 2011 disaster. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181125_04/
  • China removes the rice import ban for Niigata Prefecture. The action occurred today. Nine import bans of rice from other prefectures remain in place. This is specific to rice and no other products bans imposed on the prefecture. This raises hopes that other Chinese bans are in the offing. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2018112900642 -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201811290055.html
  • While Fukushima farmers acknowledge a need to better publicize food safety, Taiwan decides to maintain its un-necessary ban on Fukushima food imports. The Taiwanese decision was due to a public referendum on Saturday. Nearly six million citizens of Taiwan voted “yes” on the ban, which made it a binding national imperative. The ban also covers the prefectures of Ibaraki, Chiba, Tochigi and Gunma. It must be enforced for two years. Meanwhile, farmers and fishermen in Fukushima responded that their effort to convince the world of their product’s safety needs to be stepped up. Farmer Masao Koizumi said, "All we can do is to work harder until people understand that our products are safe. When people see the inspection readings, they will know that there is no threat of radioactive materials." Fisheries official Tetsu Nozaki said, "We are disappointed, but we just need to make sure that we keep communicating the safety of our products."   https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2018112500256 -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20181125/p2g/00m/0dm/049000c
  • Tokyo and Tepco are burdened with another Fukushima accident lawsuit! After spending more than $30 billion dollars in personal indemnification, paying more than $400,000 to each man, woman, and child among the 75,000 Tokyo-mandated evacuees, plus another ~$1,000 per month to them for mental anguish, Tepco has had enough! The company has refused to pay an additional ~$500 per month to the residents of Namie Town who feel they should be given even more! There were about 19,000 pre-accident residents in Namie. Some 15,000 of them filed a petition to get the additional $500 per month in 2013. Tepco has challenged the petition ever since saying it could open the floodgates for the rest of the evacuees to demand the same! The evacuation order was lifted in March 2017 for nearly all of the inhabited areas of Namie, but only a minority of the evacuees has returned home. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201811280053.html -- https://www7.tepco.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/hd-jisseki181122-e.pdf -- http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-evacuee-compensation-payments.html

November 22, 2018

  • Japanese experts say that one of the big reasons for reluctance to return to Fukushima homes remains radiation anxiety. In a formal letter to the editor to The Journal of Radiation Research, four experts relate the current radiological situation with Tomioka Town. The community’s evacuation order was lifted on April 1, 2017. By March 2018, only 4.2 % of the former residents had returned home, despite decontamination efforts having reduced exposure levels to near natural background. The authors state, “Many factors may be associated with residents’ hesitation to return, such as insufficient recovery of infrastructure, commercial facilities and educational institutions, delayed reconstruction of residential houses, residents establishing their lives elsewhere (mostly in urban areas), and insufficient employment opportunities in Tomioka. But anxiety about radiation exposure remains one of the biggest reasons why residents hesitate to return to Tomioka.” https://academic.oup.com/jrr/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jrr/rry082/5161159
  • Japan’s largest news outlet supports the latest IAEA position on F. Daiichi waste water disposal. The Yomiuri Shimbun states, “A review team of the International Atomic Energy Agency has compiled a preliminary summary report that urges a quick decision on the disposal method for the massive volume of water being stored at the power plant… The IAEA team hit the nail on the head with its concern that getting stuck on this problem could slow down the entire decommissioning process.” While the IAEA team made no formal recommendation as to which of five disposal options should be implemented, the team leader pointed out that ocean release is a common practice all over the world. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0005357348
  • While detectible Fukushima radiocesium levels continue to slowly rise off the Canadian coast, the concentrations nothing to worry about. Fukushima InFORM’s Dr. Jonathan Kellogg writes, “Fukushima radiation continues to increase along the coast of British Columbia, yet remains well below levels known to be a considerable ecological and health risk.” He stresses that understanding the uncommon numbers reported may seem alarming to some because the current levels are 500% above pre-Fukushima concentrations, but “This is a true statement, but it is misleading without context.” This is because the levels are more than a 1,000 times lower than Canada’s drinking water standard! https://fukushimainform.ca/2018/11/20/monitoring-fukushima-radiation-arrival-on-the-bc-coast-through-may-2018/?fbclid=IwAR0ARrcJK0XbvgcAoSw6JrBcjANXCLqwGQhZq6uDKt-AL7689m3EBgCuEm4
  • Colleague Dr. Jerry Cutler publishes that there is an exposure threshold of 0.7 Gray (70 Rad) for Leukemia. He bases his conclusion on numerous published sources, but the most important for Japan is the data concerning Hiroshima-Nagasaki survivors. Dr. Cutler writes, “A threshold for radiogenic leukemia is apparent at an ‘equivalent’ dose of about 0.7 Grays (~700 millisieverts) in ‘absorbed’ dose units…” We at the Hiroshima Syndrome have seen nothing concerning this good news for the Japanese public-at-large in any news outlet, anywhere! https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1559325818811537

November 15, 2018

  • The latest numbers for Fukushima accident personal and property indemnification can be found here… http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-evacuee-compensation-payments.html
  • Another Japanese high court rejects an antinuclear lawsuit to stop Ikata unit #3 operation. This time it is the Takamatsu High Court; the third rejection in series. Last July, the Matsuyama High Court shot down a similar request, and the Hiroshima High Court did the same in September. The unit restarted on October 27th and is in pre-commercial operation. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181115_22/
  • Tepco plans to test for the amount of corium remaining in the three damaged reactors next year. The first test will begin in January and end sometime in March. The plan is to drop cooling water flow to the core, one unit at a time. Once the cooling is a 50%, the company will study how fast the vessel temperature increases. The first test will be for unit #2. After the 50% test, full cooling will be restored. Then in March, a total cut-off of cooling will be effected for seven hours to see if temperature increases agree with computer models. https://japantoday.com/category/national/TEPCO-plans-tests-to-see-how-much-melted-uranium-fuel-has-cooled-in-damaged-reactors
  • The IAEA tells Japan to move quickly to stop the ever-growing buildup of waste water at F. Daiichi. A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency visited this month to examine the state of decommissioning. They cited progress, including the successful reduction of groundwater in-flow. However, team leader Christophe Xerri said "We advise the Japanese government that now a decision should be taken very rapidly. We take note that at the moment the Japanese government has 5 options. And it is up to the Japanese government to decide, in engaging with the stakeholders, of course, on the option Japan wants to implement.” https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181114_01/
  • Fukushima has held a two day event in Tokyo to tout its home-grown produce. The product included rice, vegetables, and apples. Other specialties were provided, such as grilled beef skewers, a fried noodle dish, and a traditional potato stew. The event was organized by more than 100 companies that support the prefecture’s recovery. Group official Hiroyoshi Koizumi said lingering safety concerns continue to have a negative impact, thus he hoped the event will diminish harmful misconceptions about Fukushima products. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181110_17/
  • Fukushima marathons promote prefectural reconstruction. For example in Tomioka, where the evacuation order was lifted in the spring of 2017, marathon participation doubled to nearly 1,300. This occurred despite an approaching typhoon. 10K runner Junji Fujikawa said, "The warm cheers of the spectators and the sense of excitement made it feel like the area hadn't been affected by a disaster." Most runners were current or former Tomioka residents, but about 200 were from outside the prefecture. "Runners also value their experience as tourists and there are people who want to go (to Fukushima) because it was hit by the disaster," Waseda University professor Munehiko Harada said, "Runners also value their experience as tourists and there are people who want to go (to Fukushima) because it was hit by the disaster." https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2018/11/c92fccddb210-fukushima-marathons-drawing-runners-supporting-areas-reconstruction.html
  • Minamisoma tree-planting will be expanded to all of Fukushima Prefecture. The inaugural festival was held on November 4th. 3,000 people participated from within and outside the prefecture planted about 27,000 trees and promised further restoration of greenery-covered prefectural land. Governor Masao Uchibori said he wants to develop forest building into a movement throughout the prefecture. He told participants to "put your energies into the planting of forests so that the growth of trees and children will overlap with post-disaster reconstruction." Minamisoma Mayor Kazuo Momma said that "the saplings into which the participants put their thoughts and prayers will grow into a forest of comfort for the spirits of victims (and lay) the groundwork for our future." http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=920

November 8, 2018

  • Tepco has posted a “virtual tour” of the Fukushima Daiichi decommissioning site. It takes you from the main gate and around the various parts of the station, including the damaged units. We can also tour the areas covered in wastewater tanks, and undamaged unit #5. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/insidefukushimadaiichi/index-e.html#/route1
  • The newly re-elected governor of Fukushima Prefecture visited F. Daiichi on November 6th. Photos of the visit have been posted by Tepco. https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2018-e/201811-e/181101-01e.html
  • The analytical results of radionuclide concentrations of fish and shellfish within the 20km radius of F. Daiichi show that only five of the 57 specimens have detectible internal Cesium-137, and no detectible Cesium-134. The Cs-137 levels are consistent with levels resulting from post-WWII atmospheric nuclear weapons testing. All Cs-134 from weapons testing has long-since decayed away. https://www7.tepco.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/handouts_181030_02-e.pdf
  • The Japan Hormesis Council’s lecture series will begin November 27th in Tokyo. The prospectus announcing the event is now available in Japanese. We have provided a link to the translation here. The goal of the Council is to spread correct knowledge about radiation. http://www.microsofttranslator.com/bv.aspx?from=&to=en&ref=IE8Activity&rr=HE&a=http%3a%2f%2fs-radiation.info%2f%3fp%3d536%26fbclid%3dIwAR3cyqOqZYKAWjotpLljWRSFiqz5HErRqz88UpgevuxliFkgdJdVWFul5cM
  • An automobile maintenance worker at F. Daiichi is recognized to have died due to over-work. The man died on October 27th after working more than 100 overtime hours over the month. He had worked at F. Daiichi since 2012. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2018110500586
  • A tsunami evacuation drill was held in the city of Sendai. The city’s Minamigamo District was completely submerged by the March, 2011 tsunami. 7,000 residents participated in the drill. The drill was productive. Several problems were discovered, including parked cars blocking key evacuation routes. Community leader Kazuo Matsuoka says they will continue holding drills to make sure everyone will be safe. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181105_24/
  • Tokai unit #2 is approved for operation beyond Japan’s essentially arbitrary 40 year nuke operating limit. Tokai #2 is an 1100 MWe Boiling Water Reactor system with the same design as F. Daiichi’s units #1 through #4. It is located more than 110 kilometers from central Tokyo and the nuke nearest the capital city. The main issue challenging restart is that nearly 1 million Japanese live within the 30km evacuation zone, and at least one local mayor says safe evacuation of that many people is not possible. Regardless, the Nuclear Regulation Authority says Tokai #2 meets all post-Fukushima safety requirements, and that the effects of aging pose no problems for the 20-year licensing extension. The required upgrades and tsunami protection are estimated to cost $1.54 billion. 2w0 activists protested the approval outside NRA headquarters in Tokyo. They presented a petition against restart to the NRA containing 15,000 signatures. Activist leader Makoto Yanagida said it's a very sad day because the unit is close to Tokyo, many people will not be able to live in the city in the event of a major accident.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181107_21/ -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201811070061.html -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20181107_47/


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