Fukushima 121... 4/26/19-5/10/19

May 10, 2019

  • The new town office for Okuma opens for business. It is located in the Ogawara District where the evacuation order has been lifted. Municipal administration has been operating from Aizu-Wakamatsu, roughly 100 kilometers from Okuma, since the town was forced to become deserted by Tokyo mandate in March, 2011. Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe and 80 officials moved on Tuesday of this week to handle returning local residents and other visitors. The mayor told office workers he wanted to create a safe and secure environment for returning townspeople, "We've reached a new stage of reconstruction. As we aim to improve residents' services and speed up the recovery, I want you all to use this building as the frontline in making Okuma's recovery more than just words." https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190507_25/ -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201905070060.html -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190508/p2a/00m/0na/013000c
  • Japan will use drone technology to monitor area radiation levels around F. Daiichi. Japan’s Atomic Energy Agency has developed the system to measure exposure levels in the remaining no-entry zones near the nuke station. A recent test-run revealed that a 7,000 m2 survey that formerly took half a day using airplane-borne equipment, will now take about 30 minutes. Full implementation is planned to happen by next March. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190510_26/
  • Potassium Iodide tablets will be issued for immediate ingestion for those under the age of 40. The Nuclear Regulation Authority decided to restrict this measure to residents who live within 5 kilometers of a nuclear station, to be ingested if the nuke has an accident and the release of airborne radioactive material is possible. In addition, the measure will include pregnant and/or nursing women, regardless of age. The under-40 restriction conforms to World Health Organization recommendations. WHO suggests that KI ingestion is essentially ineffective for adults over the age of 40. However, The NRA says they will distribute the tablets to those over 40 who formally request it. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190508_36/ -- https://www.who.int/ionizing_radiation/pub_meet/tech_briefings/potassium_iodide/en/
  • Tepco plans to start disassembling half of the units’ #1 & #2 exhaust chimney on May 20th. The chimney was built to release radioactive gasses that accumulated inside the two reactor buildings. However, it was used as such only for unit #2 since the unit #1 hydrogen explosion of March 12, 2019, made a controlled release from that unit moot. The explosion caused fractures in the chimney’s support structures that have remained unrepaired for eight years due to the high radiation levels caused by the residual contamination inside the chimney. Tepco has been planning the removal of the upper half of the 120 meter chimney for years, but needed to come up with a remote-controlled disassembly process because of the ~10 Sievert per hour radiation level measured at its base in 2011. It has decayed down to a current level of about 2 Sieverts/hr, still to high for NRA comfort. The remote-control will be located in a bus about 200 meters from the chimney. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201905100045.html

May 3, 2019

  • The latest Fukushima evacuee compensation figures are posted. http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-evacuee-compensation-payments.html
  • An unregistered key to an F. Daiichi building is discovered missing, violating NRA rules. Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has issued a warning to Tepco because an ensuing investigation found that it took more than a week to uncover the problem. Also, it was found that the key was not registered, along with 9,000 other keys for a padlock on a unit #1 door! Tepco says they are trying to find out why the padlock had so many keys and why one was missing for so long before it was reported. An unlisted key is a violation of NRA rules. The company says that a list of all keys has been created. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190427_10/

April 26, 2019

  • Tepco removes seven unused fuel bundles from the unit #3 Spent Fuel Pool. The remote-control process began on Monday with the bundles placed in a fuel transfer cask. The cask was moved to a fuel storage facility, some 100 meters away, and the bundles inserted into the facility storage rack on Tuesday. The seven relocated bundles, along with those already there from unit #4, will now undergo a required safety check. Because of this, the remaining 45 unused and 514 used (spent) bundles will not begin their transfer until July. The complete process should be finished by the end of March, 2021. Sometime later that year, removal of fuel bundles from units #1 & #2 should begin. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190423_39/ -- https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/04/0a6233fbd8f0-tepco-transfers-some-fuel-from-fukushima-plant-no-3-unit-pool.html -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190423/p2g/00m/0na/060000c
  • The Fukushima J-Village soccer center fully reopens. Located some 20 mile south of F. Daiichi, it was used as a base of operations for recovery for the nuke plant. Prior to the 2011 accident, the facility was used to train Olympic soccer players. The opening of the new local station on the JR Joban railway line marked the completed restoration of the facility for soccer. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0005687777 -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190420_12/
  • Japan’s Para-Cycling Federation moves its base to Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture. The community is just outside the old Fukushima 20 kilometer-wide no-go-zone, to the southwest. The City hosts the Iwaki-Taira Keirin Velodrome which has a stable environment year-round. The JCPF will move into Iwaki in May, to coincide with a seven day training camp May 1-7. The 2020 Paralympics will begin less than 500 days there-after. Para-cycling is an official event at the Tokyo Paralympics. Japan will send about 20 men and women to the games. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=945
  • None of the fish caught within 20 kilometers of F. Daiichi in March contained a detectible level of the Fukushima radiological “fingerprint”, Cesium-134. The four caught inside the station break-wall had higher concentrations of Cesium-137 in them that those taken outside the barrier. But, even the one with the highest Cs-137 concentration was many times less than eight years ago. This was the first posting where all tested fish from inside the break-wall showed no detectible Cs-134. For more than a year, none of those taken outside the break-wall have tested positive for Cs-134.  https://www7.tepco.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/handouts_190423_01-e.pdf -- https://www7.tepco.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/handouts_190423_02-e.pdf
  • Japan asks S. Korea to lift Fukushima food import restrictions, to no avail. Last week, we reported that the restrictions were approved by the World Trade Organization. Subsequently, Tokyo appealed to Seoul to lift the ban because Japan’s radioactive safety standards were more restrictive than WTO standards. However, S. Korea has turned a deaf ear to Japan’s request arguing that the restrictions prioritize the “health and safety” of their citizens. Fukushima Governor Uchibori says that thorough explanations should have eliminated fears and false rumors, but he truly regrets the WTO decision to uphold Korea’s restrictions. The WTO originally ruled that Fukushima-region food restrictions were actually unfair discrimination, but the body reversed that ruling on April 11th. Almost immediately, Tokyo said the latest ruling was not a defeat for Japan because the WTO admits that Japanese food products are scientifically safe and test below the standards set by South Korea. This has been attacked by legal experts from inside and outside of Japan, so the Farm Ministry has rephrased their objection to say the foods being shipped test below all international “numerical” safety standards. The dispute continues. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201904230050.html -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190423/p2g/00m/0na/059000c -- https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/governor-uchibori-of-fukushima-says-that-thorough-explanations-are-the-only-way-to-eliminate-unfounded-fears-and-rumors/
  • Japan’s operating nukes could be shuttered for not meeting the NRA deadlines on anti-terrorism facilities. Once a nuke is approved for restart, the time clock begins ticking on the construction of “specific safety facilities” (i.e. a remote safe shutdown control room in the event of a jetliner crashing into a power plant control room), giving the unit operator five years to build, test, and bring the facility into operation. On April 17th, three company heads of restarted nukes told the Nuclear Regulation Authority that five years is an impossible time frame, and it will actually take more than six years, and perhaps as much as seven and a half years! However, the NRA turned a deaf ear to the utilities and re-affirmed the five year grace period. NRA Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa said that existing facilities followed the new regulatory standards via so-called back-fit measures, and the grace periods are currently firm. However, he added that the agency will discuss the matter promptly at a future public NRA meeting. Regardless, most of Japan’s Press has taken this to mean that all currently operating nukes are necessarily at-risk for being shuttered! https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/electric-utilities-ask-nra-for-understanding-on-extending-grace-period-for-building-anti-terrorism-facilities-at-npps/ -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190424_21/ -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190424/p2g/00m/0dm/067000c -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201904240044.html 


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