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Fukushima Commentary (blog)



Op-Ed on whether or not the Fukushima accident is ongoing and has the potential for world-wide apocalyptic disaster. In addition, a regular hosting of the Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers.

"Fukushima : The First Five Days"...a book taken from the records kept by the operating staff at Fukushima Daiichi during the first crucial days of the crisis. It is now available at all E-book outlets. For the PDF and bundle... (click here)

"Kimin: Japan's Forgotten People" - A book about the untold story of Japan's 300,000 tsunami refugees, ignored by the world's news media. For availability... (click here)

  Please make a summer donation.

August 20, 2016

Does the Asahi Shimbun Comprehend the F. Daiichi Ice Wall’s Purpose?

On Friday, August 19, 2016, the NRA said the F. Daiichi “ice wall” is failing. (1) Nuclear Regulation Authority panel member Yoshinori Kitsutaka explained, “The plan to block groundwater with a frozen wall of earth is failing. They need to come up with another solution, even if they keep going forward with the plan.”

The Asahi Shimbun alleges that the report of failure is because the amount of groundwater flow on the ocean-side of the wall remains constant. The Asahi fails to understand that the ice wall is only supposed to change flows inside, not outside the wall. This should be self-evident by reading the first bullet on the cover page of Tepco’s weekly report on the thermal status of the wall, “The purpose of the Landside Impermeable Wall construction lies not in freezing soil to form an underground wall but in keeping groundwater from flowing into the reactor/turbine buildings and preventing new contaminated water from being generated.” (2)

The Asahi’s materially-incorrect assertion is analogous to someone building a tall fence to keep deer out of their garden, but calling it a failure because the number of deer seen outside the fence has not changed! The F. Daiichi “ice wall” is designed to keep the groundwater inside the fence from flowing outward and possibly contaminating fresh groundwater flowing from the mountains to the sea. Thus, it makes no rational sense to assume that the NRA’s judgment of “failure” is because groundwater flows outside the ice wall have not changed.

So, where did the Asahi get this incorrect idea from? Is it merely an inability to correctly decipher Tepco’s statement of purpose posted with each and every weekly report? That seems unlikely, to say the least. Surely the staff at the Asahi can read and comprehend! Or, is the Asahi continuing its aversion to statements posted out of the Tepco Press room? Perhaps, but the data being used by the newspaper to make its “failure” rationale is entirely coming from Tepco! In this case, the Asahi would be accepting the data but rejecting Tepco’s statement of purpose, which would be contradictory. This would also suggest a most egregious form of cherry-picking.

The only remaining option is that the Asahi has garnered the incorrect notion from the NRA! If this is the case, we are faced with a far worse situation. The NRA is supposed to have sufficient engineering and technical expertise to regulate with expert capability. But, if it promotes this sort of misinformational speculation - and proffers it as fact - then we have a regulatory failure!

The reason for our critical questioning of the Asahi is that it has the second-largest, circulation of all newspapers in Japan (12 million), exceeded only by the Yomiuri Shimbun (14 million). The Asahi is read by at least 10% of Japan’s adult population, thus it is an important source of information in the minds of a significant number of Japan’s citizens. That this news outlet provide its readership with correct information, seems essential. Utterly false reporting should be avoided like the plague! It doesn’t matter where the untrue information came from. The Asahi is historically an antinuclear bastion, without question. But, an on-going pursuit of the nuclear-critical persuasion, which flies in the face of truth, is unforgivable! The people of Japan deserve better.

References:
1 - http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201608190060.html  
2 – https://www4.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2016/images/handouts_160812_01-e.pdf

July 30,2016

It’s Official: F. Daiichi Unit #2 was not a Melt-Through

On July 28, 2016, Tepco posted a detailed handout showing Unit #2’s previously-molten fuel (corium) is re-solidified and remains inside the reactor vessel (RPV). This conclusion was drawn as a result of muon imaging, with a dark “shadow” covering the interior of the RPV’s bottom head. (1) One obvious deduction is drawn by the Asahi Shimbun, which says that past speculations of a unit #2 melt-through are probably incorrect. (2) It says, “The latest finding negates past studies that have suggested that most of the nuclear fuel inside the reactor had melted through the vessel.”  Unfortunately, the Asahi has been the only news outlet in Japan to make such a flat statement. Could the Asahi be incorrect?

On page four of the handout, we can see that most, if not all of the corium remains in the bottom head of the RPV. The image also shows that some of the damaged fuel is still in the core area, where it was located before the March, 2011, tsunami-spawned nuclear calamity. If we compare the unit #2 core barrel image with the March 19, 2015, image of unit #1, we see a drastic difference. (3) Unit #1’s core barrel showed brightly, indicating full meltdown and core relocation. The core was no longer there. However, the unit #2 image does not have a nearly as bright core barrel appearance. In fact, it is quite possible that a small-but-significant fraction of the original core remains in its original location. In fact, Tepco admits that at least 20 tons of material remains. Based on the relative density of the shadowing in the unit #2 core barrel region, with literally no brightness to indicate complete degradation from top to bottom, it is entirely possible that the maximum estimation of fuel (50 tons) remains in the core barrel region.

Where do these numbers come from?

Page six of the handout states that of the 210 tons of fuel and support structures that originally comprised the undamaged core, 20-50 tons remain in the core barrel area and “about 160 tons” is collected in the RPV’s bottom head. The inherently limited resolution with muon imaging compels an approximation of the respective masses. The 20-50 tons estimation leaves the door open for continuing speculation that as much as 14% of the core might possibly have worked its way through the bottom head and re-solidified on the base-mat beneath the RPV.

At this point we might ask… why leave the door of worst-case speculation open? If there had been any significant melt-through of the bottom head - and as much as 30 tons is pretty significant – the molten condition of the corium would possibly have cascaded through the breach. That there is a substantial pooling in the bottom head strongly suggests that if there were any melting-through, it must have been a mass much less than 30 tons. In fact, it suggests the possibility that there was no melt-through at all.

So why is Tepco leaving the door open for partial melt-through speculations?

Tepco has long-succumbed to Press and political pressure to accommodate worst-case scenario speculations. This is one time its “conservative” reporting has shown them to be timid and unwilling to draw a firm conclusion that flies in the face of their previous computer-based speculations. For more than three years, Tepco and the Nuclear Regulation Authority have made status reports that entirely cater to worst-case speculation, no matter how thin the evidence for such conjecture might be. In the case of the unit #2 muon image, worst case assumption ought to be rejected.

It is time for Tepco and the NRA to assert themselves and draw a conclusion that is most likely. When compelling evidence emerges that literally demands rejection of the low-probability worst-case scenario, there should be no room left for the worst-case scenario to perpetuate!

The Fukushima Daiichi Unit #2 muon scanning image virtually demands that we conclude that there was no compromise in the lower RPV head. It is likely that none of the corium, while still molten, made its way through the head or any of the penetrating control rod drive mechanisms (CRDM). To conclude otherwise make no sense to this reporter!

July 6, 2016

No Melt-through at F. Daiichi Unit #2 Suggests the Same with Unit #3

It can no longer be said that no-one knows where any of the F. Daiichi melted fuel is located. On June 30th, NHK World reported that the corium (formerly molten and re-solidified fuel core) for unit #2 is in the reactor’s (RPV) bottom head. (1) High-tech muon imaging for unit #2 included the bottom head, which was not possible with the earlier imaging for unit #1. NHK reports the still-in-process image now shows a “large, black shadow” inside the 8-inch thick steel bottom head of unit #2, strongly indicating that the corium was contained. No melt-through, if you will.
 
When the unit #1 imaging was reported, it made major headlines across Japan and many popular news outlets world-wide. This was because the image showed, not surprisingly, that the entire unit #1 core was gone. Where it ended up is still a matter of debate, though it is this reporter’s opinion that much, if not most of the corium remains pooled inside the unit #1 RPV bottom head. Unfortunately, the geometry of the scan for unit #1 could not include the bottom head of the RPV. So, the “nobody knows where it is” rhetoric was part-and-parcel to all news reports, continuing the uncertainty and doubt concepts historically common to reporting about nuclear power plants.
 
The new unit #2 discovery was reported by only one news outlet…NHK World. It is nowhere else to be found, neither inside nor outside Japan. We can be reasonably sure that if the unit #2 muon image showed the bottom head to be empty, it would have made headlines everywhere; especially in the Japanese press. But, with the exception of NHK World, the discovery of the contained corium hasn’t seen the journalistic light of day!
 
Finding the re-solidified mass in the bottom head of unit #2 literally dashes the “nobody knows” speculations to ashes. We can be assured that we know where the unit #2 fuel core ended up, at the very least. Further, the unit #2 discovery suggests that unit #3’s corium is also cooled and pooled inside its RPV bottom head.
 
Here’s why…
 
According to operator records, Unit #2 fuel uncovery began at approx. 4:30pm on March 14, and remained in a deteriorating condition until 7:54pm. Operator records for unit #3 say fuel uncovery began at 4:15am on March 13, and recovery started at 9:25am. Even though unit #3’s core appears to have been uncovered for about 100 minutes more than with unit #2, it seems unlikely that unit #3 would have experienced complete melt-through of the bottom head. On the other hand, unit #1’s fuel core was probably uncovered for more than 10 hours. Also, with core uncovery beginning about six hours after automatic shutdown (SCRAM), unit #1 had a higher decay heat rate than both units #2 and #3. Thus, the unit #1 notion of bottom head melt-through remains possible.
 
Finding the fuel core of unit #2 remaining inside its RPV, verifies one of this reporter’s assertions late in 2012. (See – “Fukushima Melt-throughs: Fact or Fiction”) I said that there was no way that unit #2 experienced a bottom head melt-through, and likely the same for unit #3. My 2012 prediction that unit #2 suffered a partial meltdown similar to Three Mile Island now seems incorrect. Unit #2 appears to have experienced a full meltdown. The same probably occurred with unit #3, but with no melt-through.
 
The point is that any further speculation of bottom head melt-through for F. Daiichi unit #2 must be ignored. The Muon imaging proves that it did not happen. Further, speculation of a unit #3 bottom head melt-through must be considered questionable.
 
Finding the mass of re-solidified corium with the Muon scan of unit #2 is the most significant news to come out of F. Daiichi this year. But, there has been an utter lack of Press attention given to the locating of unit #2’s corium. It clearly demonstrates that the only “newsworthy” information is that which keeps Fukushima fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) alive. Once again, some “good news” concerning F. Daiichi is intentionally ignored by the world’s news media.

1. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160630_07/

July 3, 2016

316thCarnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week, we have postings by Nick Thompson, Rod Adams, Dr. Jim Conca, Dan Yurman, and Brian Wang.

Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… The earliest Asian conception of empty space can be found in the Tao Te Ching.

Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include… More opinion on the 2025 closure of Diablo Canyon, whether or not proxy campaigns against nuclear energy are funded by non-nuclear competitors, the possible impact of “Brexit” on nukes, Uranium in seawater is 100% renewable, and the latest big news on the fusion front.

*              *              *

From Nick Thompson at Thompson Energy.com

When nuclear is closed in California, what takes its place?

https://thompson.energy/2016/06/29/when-nuclear-is-closed-in-california-what-takes-its-place/ 

 

From Rod Adams at Atomic Insights and Forbes Magazine (2) –

Corporate environmental contributions: Greenwashing or worse? (Atomic Insights)

http://atomicinsights.com/corporate-environmental-contributions-greenwashing-worse/

(and)

How Will Brexit Affect UK Nuclear Energy? Variety Of Views (Forbes)

 http://www.forbes.com/sites/rodadams/2016/06/25/how-will-brexit-affect-uk-nuclear-energy-variety-of-views/#e2a55c119c9e

 

From Dr. Jim Conca at Forbes Magazine -

Uranium Seawater Extraction Makes Nuclear Power Completely Renewable

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2016/07/01/uranium-seawater-extraction-makes-nuclear-power-completely-renewable/#2411465446e2

 

From Dan Yurman at Neutron Bytes (2) -

What about nuclear energy in UK after Brexit?

 https://neutronbytes.com/2016/07/02/what-about-nuclear-energy-in-uk-after-brexit/

(and)

Renewables cannot replace the power of Diablo Canyon

 https://neutronbytes.com/2016/07/02/renewables-cannot-replace-the-power-of-diablo-canyon/ 

 

From Brian Wang at Next Big Future (2) –

LPP Fusion can consistently achieve the ion energy to ignite hydrogen boron in an average shot

. http://nextbigfuture.com/2016/06/lpp-fusion-can-consistently-achieve-ion.html

(and)

Third Generation Laser Uranium Enrichment Technology is likely over 5 times more energy efficient and more compact than the best centrifuges

 http://nextbigfuture.com/2016/06/third-generation-laser-uranium.html

*                      *                      *

Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) answer for this week… Fact…probably!

The Tao Te Ching is credited to Lao Tze (i.e. Tzu) about 400 BCE. In Chapter 11, we find what is understood as perhaps the first notion of inner space. http://www.wussu.com/laotzu/laotzu11.html -- https://mydescentintomadness.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/tao-te-ching-verse-11/   However, at about the same time, Buddhism’s Dvadasanikaya Sastra was written down (408 BCE). It says that the greatest wisdom is found in emptiness (sunyata). http://www.buddhanet.net/cbp2_f6.htm

May 22, 2016

310thCarnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week, we have postings by Dr. Jim Conca, Rod Adams, Dr. Gail Marcus, Steve Alpin, Dan Yurman, John Dobken, and Meredith Angwin.

Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… The Fukushima nuclear accident occurred the same year as the 50th anniversary of the world’s first nuclear-powered satellite being launched.

Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include… Australia as a global nuke waste repository, natural gas is the energy source actually replacing nuclear, the economic challenges facing nukes, why mixed oxide fuel is so expensive, and a brief history of the antinuclear persuasion.

*              *              *

From Dr. Jim Conca at Forbes Magazine (3) -

Australia Should Cash In On A Single Global Nuclear Repository

www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca

Natural Gas, Not Renewable, Is Replacing Nuclear Power

www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca

Children Win Another Climate Change Legal Case In Mass Supreme Court

www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca

 

From Rod Adams at Forbes Magazine

(Note; Rod has become a new contributor to Forbes. This gives the nuclear blogging community another voice at Forbes, in addition to Dr. Jim Conca.)

Addressing Economic Challenges Facing Nuclear Power Plants

 http://www.forbes.com/sites/rodadams/2016/05/20/addressing-economic-challenges-facing-nuclear-power-plants/#14f4651f1378

 

…and from his home website, Atomic Insights -

How Did the MOX Project Get So Expensive?

 http://atomicinsights.com/mox-project-get-expensive/

 

From Dr. Gail Marcus at Nuke Power Talk

Positive Signs for Nuclear Power: Views from ANS Officers

http://nukepowertalk.blogspot.com/2016/05/positive-signs-for-nuclear-power.html

 

From Steve Alpin at Canadian Energy Issues

Ideology, altruism, and money: a brief history of the anti-nuclear movement

http://canadianenergyissues.com/2016/05/08/i-want-a-divorce-nuclear-energy-and-security-were-a-long-tortured-marriage-in-name-only/

 

From Dan Yurman at Neutron Bytes -

Surrender at Ft. Calhoun

https://neutronbytes.com/2016/05/21/surrender-at-ft-calhoun/

 

From John Dobken at Northwest Clean Energy

It's about value (and the future)

https://northwestcleanenergy.com/2016/05/19/its-about-value-and-the-future/

 

From Meredith Angwin at Yes Vermont Yankee (2) –

Cesium in the biosphere: Guest post by Stewart Faber

http://yesvy.blogspot.com/2016/05/cs-in-biosphere-guest-post-by-stewart.html#.V0CPjjZfD3E

(and)

Payments on the Grid: What Every Citizen Should Know

 http://yesvy.blogspot.com/2016/05/payments-on-grid-what-every-citizen.html#.V0CQ3jZfD3E

*                      *                      *

Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) answer for this week… Fact.

On June 29, 1961, the Transit 4A satellite became the first test flight of a nuclear power source developed for use in spacecraft. The drum-shaped satellite weighing about 175 pounds was launched by a Thor-DM21 Able-Star rocket. The U.S. Navy's Bureau of Naval Weapons used Transit 4A as one of four navigational satellites used by ships and aircraft. It was a primary tool in regular updating of the navigation systems on Polaris missile submarines. Transit 4A used Plutonium-238 isotopic decay as the source of heat, which was converted to electricity by an array of thermocouples. http://www.space.com/12118-space-nuclear-power-50-years-transit-4a.html

Transit 4A remains in orbit and its path can be tracked at http://www.n2yo.com/?s=116

April 17, 2016

305thCarnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week, we have postings by Dr. Gail Marcus, Dan Yurman, Rod Adams, Brian Wang, and Meredith Angwin.

Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… Democritus, the ancient Greek natural philosopher, was the first to theorize the concept of the atom.

Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include… confusing correlation with causation, roadmap for SMR operation at INL, metallic fuels for LWRs, EMC2 Fusion’s advances in “Wiffle Ball” plasma, and a course on what may be hidden in the electric bill.

*              *              *

From Dr. Gail Marcus’ Nuke Power Talk

Drawing the Right Conclusions

 http://nukepowertalk.blogspot.com/2016/04/energy-economics-and-correlation-versus.html

 

From Dan Yurman’s Neutron Bytes

NuScale announces roadmap for SMR operation at Idaho site by 2024

https://neutronbytes.com/2016/04/15/nuscale-announces-roadmap-to-smr-operation-at-idaho-site-by-2024/

 

From Rod Adams’ Atomic Insights

Lightbridge metallic alloy fuel provides upgrade path for LWRs

http://atomicinsights.com/lightbridge-metallic-alloy-fuel-provides-upgrade-path-lwrs/

 

From Brian Wang’s Next Big Future (2) –

2013 Independent Review declares EMC2 Fusion's progress to be most significant advances made in plasma physics and magnetic fusion over the past 50 years

http://nextbigfuture.com/2016/04/2013-independent-review-of-emc2-fusions.html 

(and)

World Energy Mix in 2035 will have more nuclear because China will build it

http://nextbigfuture.com/2016/04/world-energy-mix-in-2035-will-have-more.html

From Meredith Angwin’s Yes Vermont Yankee

The Grid: My Course at OSHER Dartmouth

http://yesvy.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-grid-my-course-at-dartmouth-osher.html#.VxPa-Dam73E

*                      *                      *

Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) answer for this week… Fiction.

Democritus is often credited with the first promulgation of atomic theory, but he attributed the notion to his predecessor, Leucippus. Leucippus supposedly wrote The Big Cosmology, which has been lost to history. However, Democritus’ Little Cosmology (also lost) was referenced by Aristotle, who opposed atomic theory and the notion of space being empty. Aristotle tells us that Democritus got his idea from Leucippus and defined the atom as the irreducible minimum quantity of matter, each type of atom differing only in shape. To Democritus, space was infinite in extent and atoms infinite in number. His only attributable statement to have survived is, "Nothing occurs at random, but everything happens for a reason and by necessity." https://www.scribd.com/doc/26307868/Democritus-Biography

March 11, 2016

Fukushima at Five Years:

Rampant Radiophobia Ham-strings Japan

Oxford Dictionaries defines radiophobia as “Fear of real or imagined danger from radiation or radioactivity.” The Free Dictionary defines it as “Morbid fear of radiation, as from x-rays or nuclear energy” and/or “An abnormal fear of x-rays and radiation.” All About Counseling.com says, “When faced with the a threat of radiation, which may just be a perceived threat and not an actually dangerous situation… a radiophobic person may begin to avoid unfamiliar places and new social situations which can damage physical and mental health, damage existing social relationships, and prevent a person from making any new meaningful relationships.”

While most of these effects are common to most Japanese who suffer radiophobia, a small minority are socially and politically active; taking part in protest demonstrations and pressuring elected officials to no end. Others are quite litigious - prone to go to law to settle disputes – and have the personal wealth to file expensive lawsuits.

Rampant radiophobia infects millions of Japanese citizens, and it is allowed to fester virtually unabated. Its impact has reached the point of abject national catastrophe. Recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami has been severely crippled, not only because of radiation that is detectible, but also due to the conceptual possibility of radiation existing in miniscule concentrations that even the most sensitive technology cannot identify.

What follows are several stark examples of how severe the problem has become…examples that only exist because of a population that has never been provided even a minimal education on the subject. Decades of social rumor-mongering, unabashed rejection of science, and espoused distrust of official information sources by numerous internet sites, have combined to create and nurture Japan’s radiophobia epidemic.

*          *          *

1. The continual build-up of purified waste waters at Fukushima Daiichi.

Since March 2011, almost 800,000 tons of contaminated water has built up at F. Daiichi. All waters are run through highly efficient, multi-level filtration systems and stored in large tanks that populate nearly all available space at F. Daiichi. The water in the vast majority of the tanks – more than 97% - has been stripped of all radio-isotopes except one: Tritium – the radioactive isotope of hydrogen. The purification systems remove what is dissolved or suspended in the water. Tritium cannot be removed from the stored waters because it is part of the water itself. Tepco cannot discharge the purified waters because of the detectible levels of Tritium they contain, and for no other reason.

Tritium is about as harmless as it gets. The lowest radioactive concentration to have actually caused a negative health effect was 37 million Becquerels per liter. (see our Background Information on Tritium page) Japan’s drinking water limit for Tritium is 60,000 Bq/l. The Tritium levels in the purified water tanks at F. Daiichi vary, but those with the highest concentration are in the 600,000 Becquerels per liter range. But, these waters would not be released into a river, stream, or aquifer. Rather, it would all be dumped into the Pacific Ocean. Not only would the concentrations be diluted to the extreme, but even if they were not, nary a microbe would be harmed.

2. Negative impacts on the Fukushima fishing industry

The main, if not the only reason that nearly 800,000 tons of purified water languishes in giant tanks at F. Daiichi is to prevent unfounded rumors from further harming Fukushima’s fishing industry. Prior to the nuke accident, the market for Fukushima seafood was robust. It came to a screeching halt five years ago. However, testing over the past two years has shown that Fukushima’s marketed fish are either not radioactive, or way below Japan’s strict standard for open sale.  

Yet, the market for the Prefecture’s seafood has remained depressed, mostly due to rumors about radiation that linger in the consumer demographic. The government’s survey on consumer opinions in 2015 revealed that almost 20% of those in Tokyo refused to buy anything caught in Fukushima Prefecture. It doesn’t matter that only 0.046% of all the fish caught off the coast of Fukushima in 2015 had a radioactive cesium level exceeding Japan’s limit of 100 Becquerels per kilogram. It doesn’t matter that all fish are diligently scanned for contamination by the most sensitive detection technology money can buy, and those above the limit are discarded. To the radiophobic consumer, merely the possibility of contamination causes unconditional rejection.

If Tepco dumped even the smallest amount of the purified, albeit tritiated water into the sea, there is little doubt that the Fukushima fishing business would experience a further significant financial downturn.

Those who shun Fukushima seafood surely include those who are the first to moan over the perceived suffering of the prefecture’s residents. They want their cake and eat it, too. Hypocrisy personified, to be sure!

3. Minimal return of mandated and voluntary evacuees

Attempts to repopulate the Fukushima evacuation zone have been disappointing, to say the least.  Lifting residency restrictions has not witnessed a mass return to former heath and home. Case in point - Naraha. The town stretches between 11 and 20 kilometers south of F. Daiichi, and experienced the mildest deposition of airborne contamination in the entire zone. None of the town’s radiation levels never reached the 20 millisievert per year criterion for evacuation, as evidenced by the earliest Tokyo helicopter-based estimates between 2011 and 2012. Nahara’s mandated depopulation was entirely due to then-PM Naoto Kan’s arbitrary evacuation radius of 20km, issued on March 12, 2011.

Arbitrary? Without a doubt! The government’s guideline for evacuation was out to 10 kilometers; not twenty. Kan doubled it for reasons that have yet to come to light, and probably never will.

By early 2015, Naraha had been fully decontaminated and Tokyo began an overly-cautious, step-by-step reopening of the town. Radiation exposures due to Fukushima were barely distinguishable from natural background levels, so all restrictions were lifted six months ago. Of the town’s pre-accident population of 7,000, only a little over 500 have returned home as of this month! Another 3,000 or so say they plan on eventually returning, but are holding back because of lingering concerns of radiation exposure… radiophobia!

Sadly, Naraha example is representative of what has happened with all locations that have had their evacuation orders lifted. Tokyo’s recovery agency reports that less than 10% of all Fukushima evacuees allowed to go home, have actually done it. It is also estimated that 50% of all people who will ever be allowed to go home will exploit the opportunity. The typical given reason is fear of low level radiation exposure. Evacuation orders will be dropped for all or parts of nine more communities by April 1, 2017. But, it is unlikely that more than ten percent of the tens of thousands of evacuees that will be able to go home, will do it quickly. Probably, half of the former populations will never return. Radiophobia will strike again.

To add to the mess, about 30,000 of the original 85,000 “voluntary” evacuees remain estranged from their homes. None were ordered to abandon their homes…they just did it because of radiophobia. It is good that a much higher percentage of voluntaries have gone home than mandated evacuees, but they should never have fled for a prolonged period, in the first place! To the voluntaries, the entirely hypothetical risk of low level radiation exposure was more important than staying in their homes, and for many to never return at all! That’s not just fear… it’s abject terror!

It should be noted that an independent study out of Britain concludes that the prolonged evacuation was never justified. (Fukushima Update; March 10, 2016) Head researcher, Professor Phillip Thomas, said “We judged that no one should have been relocated in Fukushima and it could be argued this was a kneejerk reaction. It did more harm than good. An awful lot of disruption has been caused.”

Did more harm than good? That’s putting it mildly. It has been an unbridled, completely avoidable disaster that caused the subsequent unnecessary deaths of at least 1,000 innocent Japanese. All because of a megalomaniacal Prime Minister’s radiophobic nightmares…

4. Avoidance of a decision on rural decontamination materials

The decontamination of no less than eight prefectures, other than Fukushima, has resulted in millions of cubic meter bags of these materials. They have been piling up in “temporary” storage locations for a long time…some for more than four years. Tokyo wants to move them to central locations in each prefecture, and return the storage sites to the owners. But, radiophobia-infected fanatics in the prefectures block preliminary effort on the part of the government at every turn. Human chains have stopped Tokyo’s preliminary siting teams from running environmental surveys to assess the relative appropriateness of the designated test locations.

There is no doubt that everyone in the affected prefectures wants the bags disposed of. But, hypothetical fears of the remote possibility of an innocuous, but detectible leak, have stopped due process in its tracks. It’s NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard!) at its ugliest. And the bottom line reason is fear of radiation. To be more accurate, fear of the remote possibility of radiation.

Several times in 2015, Tokyo sent teams of qualified researchers out to test the geological and environmental factors surrounding locations designated as merely possible central storage sites. In each case, radiophobia victim have blocked the teams from accessing the sites! Why? Because it is possible that one of the sites might end up being selected as the temporary location for the mildly radioactive bags!

In other words…everyone wants the widely-scattered bags put somewhere, but the radiophobic demographic of Japan won’t let it happen. Irresponsible? To be sure. But, severe radiophobia makes people act in an irresponsible fashion! This should not be called “irrational”, however. Actually… it makes perfect sense. Severe radiophobics are in mortal fear for their lives! Whether or not it is a fear based on reality, is not the point. They literally lose their water at the mere mention of the possibility, no matter how unlikely. It is as rational as being arachnophobic (fear of spiders)… of which I will admit to being one. Regardless…I am completely aware of my phobic predisposition relative to the tiny eight-legged creatures, and quell my fears accordingly. However, those who suffer radiophobia in Japan have no idea that they are monumentally over-reacting!

Now…here’s the fact that makes it even more sorrowful – 68% of all bagged radioactive rural waste is no longer “hot” enough to qualify as radioactive waste! (Fukushima Update; February 4 & 18, 2016) Radioactive decay results in constant lowering of the activity itself. The major portion of the stuff can now be legally buried in landfills, like all other garbage. But, it is not happening! Tokyo is “investigating” what to do with the no-longer above-limit stuff. Oh, they could just do the right thing, of course. But, that would risk the unbridled, news media broadcasting of the outrage displayed by the radiophobic activists who want to protect themselves from the possibility of exposure. Politicians are averse to inciting socio-political outrage that will be necessarily broadcast by Japan’s admittedly-antinuclear Press. We’re talking about votes, folks. Let reality be damned!

How serious are the political impacts of this aspect of radiophobia? In November, a poll of Honshu Island prefectures revealed that thirteen unconditionally refused to host a low level waste repository, eight responded “negatively”, 24 said they were not sure, and two said they will “carefully consider the possibility. Four said they would never even discuss it. One of the four was Fukui; surprising because the prefecture has more nuke units than any other. Another, Kochi, volunteered to be a repository of sorts in 2007, but local fanatic opposition has completely changed their tune. All four flat refusal prefectures said it was because of the damage that radiation rumors would do to their economy. Radiation rumors hurting an economy happened in Fukushima, and it could happen anywhere else.

The politically damaging impact of radiophobia forced Tokyo to throw in the towel on siting a waste repository. Late in November, the government dropped all plans for attempting to have preliminary site environmental studies run. The Environment Ministry said they want to meet with local mayors of the possible repository sites, but as yet nothing has happened. Trying to fight through the political impediments created by radiophobia is too problematic to be considered.

Only one prefecture has decided to do the right thing and open a central storage location. Surprisingly, it is Fukushima…the last place anyone not following this ongoing soap opera would ever guess. (Fukushima Update; December 3, 2015) Governor Uchibori announced the approval of the site, immediately adjacent to the F. Daiichi property boundary. There are about 650,000 bags of mildly radioactive rural decontamination materials in the prefecture, so at least a small portion of it is being handled responsibly. However, no other prefecture in Japan has the cohunes to do the same. Why? Because radiophobia is an “equal opportunity” affliction. It’s not only the public at-large…it also includes their elected officials.

5. Blocking restarts of nukes to prevent being exposed to radiation

There is no reasonable doubt that the restart of most currently-idled Japanese nukes is critical to the recovery of Japan’s greatly-weakened economy. However, the fanatic efforts of Japanese radiophobics have greatly inhibited this important aspect of economic recovery. Why? Because of the hypothetical risk of possibly getting innocuous levels of radiation on them.

That was not a sarcastic, disrespectful comment! This is what the individuals and their lawyers behind the court order to shutter Takahama unit #3, are actually saying!

The injunction was rendered by court in a prefecture that does not host any nukes; Shiga. It is an injunction against the operation of the Takahama units in neighboring Fukui Prefecture. Takahama unit #3 was operating at full power, and had been declared commercial for nearly two weeks. It was forced to be shut down 24 hours ago. The Otsu District Court rendered the estoppel order despite all prefectural and local bodies in Fukui Prefecture giving the plant the go-ahead to operate….despite passing what are espoused to be the world’s toughest safety standards.

Local residents of Shiga Prefecture had filed a complaint with the Otsu court, and the court fully supported them. The most striking of the reasons for the resident’s filing is that Takahama might expose them to radiation. Not dangerous levels, or even levels of hypothetical harm. Not an inevitability, or even a likely possibility. Just radiation - period. One gleeful Shiga resident said the Takahama unit operation disregarded the pains felt by people in Fukushima. A Fukushima resident supported the notion by saying, “The ruling is good in preventing others from experiencing the same distress as we have."

Their pain is not from Fukushima itself. Rather, their pain is the mental and physical suffering caused by an inordinate fear of the most ubiquitous phenomena known to exist, emitted by all food, water, and atmospheres in the universe … low-level radiation!

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Radiophobia is one of the three main causes of the Hiroshima Syndrome. In Japan, it is unquestionably the primary cause. It has stopped Fukushima Prefecture’s recovery in its tracks, dealt Japan’s economy a punch below the belt, and caused its politicians to reject the best for Japan in favor of avoiding the loss of votes. The only reason for radiophobia’s existence is ignorance. Ignorance can only be resolved through a decided effort to educate. Unfortunately, Japan’s government has no apparent desire to educate on the subject. They would rather coddle than inform, and in the process irresponsibly exacerbate the national epidemic known as radiophobia.

March 6, 2016

302nd Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week, we have postings by Dr. Jim Conca, Oscar Archer, Bill Sacks, Dr. Gail Marcus, Meredith Angwin, and Rod Adams.

Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… The Tokyo government ordered 160,000 people to evacuate from around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident site in 2011.

Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include… Nuclear plants should be licensed for 80 years, counter-balancing Fukushima fear-mongering, why solar is dependent on nuclear, nuclear combats air pollution, and much more.

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From Dr. Jim Conca of Forbes

Nuclear Plants Running For 80 Years Trump Renewables and Gas

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2016/02/23/80-year-nuclear-plants-trump-renewables-and-gas/#4d97177278b4

 

From Oscar Archer’s Actinide Age

Fukushima Fear-mongering: The Party’s Over

 http://actinideage.com/2016/03/03/fukushima-fear-mongering-the-partys-over/

 

From Bill Sacks, posted in the Santa Cruz Green Valley News

Solar Energy: It’s dependent on nuclear energy

http://www.gvnews.com/opinion/in-my-view-solar-energy-it-s-dependent-on-nuclear/article_4f03c81c-e01a-11e5-a2ad-bb71a2b7b98d.html

 

From Dr. Gail Marcus’ Nuke Power Talk -

Combatting Air Pollution:  A Role for Nuclear Power

 http://nukepowertalk.blogspot.com/2016/02/combatting-air-pollution.html

 

From Meredith Angwin (2)

In the Northwest Clean Energy Blog…

Columbia in NRC's Highest Performance Category

http://northwestcleanenergy.com/2016/03/04/columbia-in-nrcs-highest-performance-category/

(and)

In Meredith’s Yes Vermont Yankee

Dry Cask Update and SAFSTOR Matters video

http://yesvy.blogspot.com/2016/02/dry-cask-update-and-safstor-matters.html#.VttQMjZdL3F

 

From Rod Adams’ Atomic Insights -

Mark Z. Jacobson is proud that his models disagree with IPCC (and almost everyone else)

http://atomicinsights.com/jacobson-quotes-low-end-of-unreliables-price-estimates/

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Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) answer for this week… Fiction.

Eleven municipalities’ were affected by the Tokyo-ordered evacuation around Fukushima Daiichi in the spring of 2011. The total population of the communities, at the time, was 113,000. However, four of the communities had but a portion of their population actually ordered to leave. The official number of Tokyo-ordered evacuees was about 75,000; each subsequently qualifying for $7,500 per month in compensation. The 160,000 number often posted by the popular Press includes the 85,000 who fled voluntarily from outside the Tokyo-mandated evacuation zone. http://www.iddri.org/Publications/Collections/Analyses/STUDY0513_RH_DEVAST%20report.pdf