Fukushima 126... 6/26/2020-9/18/2020

September 18, 2020

  • Tepco to build an even higher anti-tsunami “seawall” at F. Daiichi. Currently, an eleven meter seawall is being built south of unit #4, and a 12.8 meter high wall has already been finished beyond that point. However, an April projection of the worst case tsunami that could be generated by an off-shore Japan Trench earthquake indicates that waves as high as 14.1 maters might ensue. As a result, Tepco has committed to another seawall 0of 16 meters in height. In addition, work is underway to block all possible openings in the site’s reactor buildings that might be compromised by the massive tsunami. Further, mobile power supply vehicles have been deployed to higher ground, well above where the worst case tsunami might reach. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200914_30/
  • Tepco has posted photos of secondary wastewater treatment technology at F. Daiichi. The new treatment system will be in addition to the ALPS equipment that strips more than 99% of the 62 types of radioactive isotopes in the wastewater, other than biologically-innocuous Tritium. The new system will strip away any residuals that remain above Japan’s rigorous standards for release after passing through the existing ALPS technology. ALPS is the acronym for Advanced Liquid Processing System. ALPS is in addition to the KURIAN and SARRY system that remove most of the radioactive Cesium and Strontium isotopes. https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2020-e/202009-e/200915-01e.html -- https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/decommision/planaction/alps/index-e.html#:~:text=Multiple%20facilities%20including%20Multi-nuclide%20Removal%20Facility%20%28Advanced%20Liquid,removes%20most%20of%20the%20radioactive%20materials%20except%20Tritium.
  • The Atomic Energy Society of Japan reports on the value of nuclear energy to deal with environmental issues. The AESJ acknowledges that nuclear technology is already an important option for sustained global development. However, the new report further examines the extension of nuclear plant licensing to sixty years, and no new plants being built. A second possibility looks at all existing plants being maintained until at least 2050. In the second case, the need to build solar, offshore wind, and onshore wind generating stations would be greatly reduced. Regardless of which option is utilized, use of nuclear energy plants will necessarily ease CO2 emissions in an economic fashion. Finally the report calls for building new nukes to replace older ones to keep the listed advantages viable long after 2050. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/new-report-released-on-nuclear-powers-role-in-dealing-with-environment-issues/
  • Hitachi will pull out of its part in building a new nuke in Wales. Hitachi had warned that they might have to withdraw unless the British government increased its support for the $28 billion project. But, negotiations with the UK have made little progress, partially due to the coronavirus pandemic, so the company had to literally pull the plug. Hitachi's decision means that no Japanese company will be involved in the construction of a nuclear plant outside Japan. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200916_39/ -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13732505

September 11, 2020

  • A second Hokkaido community seeks to be home of Japan’s first high level waste facility. Kamoenai Village seeks to apply for stage one of the formal selection process; a literature survey. The town of Suttsu, also in Hokkaido, was the first municipality to want stage one literature. The Kamoenai chamber of commerce has submitted a petition for Tokyo’s consideration. The Village assembly will discuss the chamber’s request during its next session, which begins September 15thhttps://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2020091100551
  • Futaba’s "Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum" is opened to the Press. The museum displays videos, records, and some 150 exhibits, so that future generations might be reminded of what happened. The building stands three stories high and encompasses 5,300 m2 of floor space. As might be expected, most of the focus is on the nuclear accident caused by the March, 2011 tsunami that flooded units #1 through #4, and the chaotic evacuation that ensued.  The Futaba evacuation order was lifted for some parts of the town in March, including the site designated for the museum.  http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1024 -- https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006780100
  • A Mainichi Shimbun article falsely says that Futaba remains off-limits to human habitation. It states, “Futaba is the only municipality left in the area near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station where people can't live due to the meltdowns.” It clearly ignores the partial lifting of the evacuation restriction in March, and the opening of the “Disaster” museum (above)!   https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200910/p2a/00m/0na/014000c
  • Nearly 10% of the evacuees who lived nearest F. Daiichi have died. More than 26,500 people resided in seven communities within 20 kilometers of the plant site before March 11, 2011. The government mandated that all should flee, without exception. Over the near-decade since, their homes have remained empty since they are located inside their respective no-go zones. To date, 895 people from Okuma Town have died, 792 from Futaba Town, 576 from Namie Town, 362 from Tomioka Town, 32 from Iitate Village, 12 from Katsurao Village, and one from Minamisoma City. Tokyo says all remaining no-go zones should be rescinded in 2-3 years.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200909_06/
  • Japan’s disgraced ex-Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, is trying to revive his political career. A new opposition party has been formed out of a few smaller ones, in the hope of taking advantage of the void left by the impending resignation of Shinzo Abe. Naoto Kan and his successor as P.M., Yoshihiko Noda, say they will join the new party. Both were bell weathers of the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan that was voted out of power in 2012. The new party is to be headed by Yukio Edano, who was Kan’s official spokesperson before he was forced to resign. Edano says the new party will strengthen "public support" and be on the side of ordinary people. A debate in the Diet is anticipated. Edano says, “If (Suga) avoids a full-fledged debate and if the lower house is dissolved, we will squarely accept (the challenge) and be the choice of the people."48% of the Diet lawmakers say they will vote for the current majority candidates in the next election, but only 16% say they will support the new party candidates. It is expected that the new PM will be Yoshihide Suga, who is currently Abe’s Chief Cabinet Secretary. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/09/0e9b4dc23e45-urgent-yukio-edano -named-as-chief-of-japans-new-main-opposition-party.html

September 4, 2020

  • A relatively strong Fukui earthquake causes no problems with nuclear plants in the vicinity. The quake measured 5.0 on Japan’s seismicity scale, which tops out at magnitude 7. It was centered in Fukui prefecture and has had 13 reported injuries, none of which were life-threatening. The prefecture has not had a quake of this magnitude since March, 1963. Because the epicenter was well-inland, no tsunmi was expected. Nothing abnormal occurred at any of the nuke plants in the region; they are the Mihama, Takahama, and Oi stations. There is no direct correlation between Japan’s Seismicity and Richter Scales: the Japanese scale measures ground movement, while the Richter Scale measures a total energy release.  https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2020090400654 -- https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/09/5705cabdb7e0-11-hurt-after-m50-quake-in-central-japan.html
  • Futaba farmers work to confirm the safety of vegetables grown in the municipality. The first crops taken from three plots in the Morotake district this year will be tested for radioactive isotope concentration. If all isotopes are below the limits set by Tokyo, it is hoped the government will allow the produce to be sold. On April 27, members of the District maintenance and management committee planted seedlings of komatsuna greens, spinach, cabbage, broccoli and turnips. If things go as planned, the mature produce will be harvested, beginning next month. If radioactive Cesium concentrations are below 100 Becquerels per kilogram, the town will request that Tokyo lift shipping restrictions. The head of the committee said, “We hope for good results, but farmers have aged after living for such a long time as evacuees, so it is difficult to foresee the future of the town’s agriculture.” The same experiment was run last fall, but had to be curtailed because the crops were destroyed by a typhoon. https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006762970
  • JAIF works to mitigate overlapping environmental and pandemic crises.  An international platform for dealing with the problems includes nuclear energy a major contributor. A prestigious panel created the platform. It included President Shiro Arai of Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, CEO Maria G. Korsnick of the U.S. Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), Director General Yves Desbazeille of Foratom, Chief Executive Tom Greatrex of the UK Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), and President John Gorman of the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA). An on-line link, chaired by Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, occurred Thursday, September 3rd, to share information on activities of mitigation already in-place. The various nuclear industries of the committee member nations were asked to join in making a joint video message to be shared around the world. Minister Koizumi outlines the two major purposes of the meeting: (1) sharing information on the crises, and (2) proceeding with measures relative to climate change, rather than letting the issue stall due to the pandemic. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/jaif-issues-joint-video-message-with-foreign-counterparts/
  • The NRA approves the safety measures for a temporary used nuclear fuel storage facility. The Nuclear Regulation Authority issued its preliminary assessment on Wednesday. The facility is being built by Tepco and the Japan Atomic Power Company, and is located near Mutsu City, Aomori Prefecture. The application was submitted in 2014, but some key estimates for seismicity had to be upgraded before approval could be granted. Now, public opinions will be solicited over the next 30 days. The facility will be operated by the Recyclable-Fuel Storage Co., under the joint ownership of Tepco and Japco. The facility will accept fuel that has been run through the Rokkasho reprocessing facility. The structure is designed to store 3,000 tons of reprocessed fuel, beginning in 2021. Kyushu and Shikoku Power Companies plan to build storage facilities at some currently undisclosed future date. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200902_25/ -- https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2020090200412

August 28, 2020

  • Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will resign due to health issues. He stressed it was “gut wrenching” to have to leave with so much unfinished business, not the least of which is the COVID19 pandemic. During his announcement today, he said, “It is gut-wrenching to have to leave my job before accomplishing my goals. While I go through treatment and my physical condition is not perfect, I can’t allow myself to make a wrong political decision and fail to obtain results. I have decided that I should not continue in the position of prime minister since I can no longer confidently respond to the public’s trust.” Abe has fought with ulcerative colitis since his teens, and it has recurred rather severely. He has been hospitalized with the disease twice in August. He will continue as Prime Minister until his successor is “in place”. He has not endorsed anyone to be the next Prime Minister. (This is the lead report with all Japanese and international news outlets. The following links are what we feel are the most representative of the lot.) https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200829_01/ -- https://news.yahoo.com/reports-abe-expresses-intent-step-053207690.html -- https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006762916 -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200828/p2g/00m/0na/092000c
  • Evacuation orders for some Fukushima “difficult to return” areas will be modified. The Nuclear Regulation Authority says residents may enter areas outside the specified disaster reconstruction and revitalization base zones, under certain conditions. The primary condition is that area radiation levels will not produce exposures in excess of 20 millisieverts (2 REM) per year. In addition, adequate infrastructure must exist to support temporary visits, contamination is below specified exposure levels, and government consultations with local residents have been performed. In areas where decontamination has not happened, residents cannot resettle regardless of exposure levels. The lifting of unconditional evacuation orders for these areas is planned for 2023. Further, all returning citizens must be given personal dosimeters and receive training on reducing radiation exposure. This move was requested by the village Iitate, and the NRA approved it! The NRA says the new repopulation conditions are “in essence the same” as the pre-existing conditions. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200827/p2a/00m/0na/005000c
  • Elementary and junior high students at the time of the mandated Fukushima evacuations return to reclaim their past. After nearly ten years, several now-young-adults re-enter Futaba schools and reminisce. One said, "I'm looking forward to telling my friends who were unable to come this time about today's experience." Another added, "We would like to use this visit as a stepping stone to the next phase of reconstruction for the town and school education." Since reopening the schools to visits ,more than 120 have taken advantage of the opportunity. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1022 -- https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2020082200422
  • Fukui Prefecture held a nuclear accident drill to prepare for circumstances caused by the COVID19 pandemic. This was the first multi-municipality drill involving pandemic considerations. Residents took part in drill simultaneously for the Oi and Takahama nuclear stations. Those practicing evacuation by bus were seated according to national standards for social distancing, while National Self-Defense personal indoctrinated them on how to minimize airborne droplet infections. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2020082700493
  • Suttsu Town’s interest in hosting Japan’s high level waste facility is stimulating national interest. The Minister of the Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), Hiroshi Kajiyama, expressed his recognition for the community to take this unpopular position. There will be   three stages in the process: (1) literature survey (about two years), (2) preliminary investigation (about four years), and (3) detailed investigation (about fourteen years). At the end of each stage, results are to be released and local opinions will be heard, before going on to the next stage. If there are any objections to going further, the process is to be suspended. Almost immediately with the announcement, Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki voiced his negative concerns, to which the ministry will respond at the appropriate time. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/meti-minister-kajiyama-stresses-importance-of-realizing-hlw-final-disposal/ -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/videos/20200827153001721/
  • The Rokkasho fuel reprocessing (recycling) facility experiences yet another delay. Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited President Masuda Naohiro reported it to Aomori Governor Mimura Shingo on Friday, August 21st. Masuda said the delay is necessary to ensure safety against tornados and appropriate assessment of that work. The facility is now expected to begin operations in fiscal 2022. Critics have complained about on-site management and maintenance due to the numerous delays in the schedule. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200821_25/

August 21, 2020

  • Sunflowers are blooming on a vacant Namie farm. A largely rural municipality, much of Namie’s farmland has languished because owners have not returned. Seeds were given to some of the evacuees last year, and planted on one of the abandoned farms. They have grown and are in full bloom. Sato Shigeyoshi, leader of a local farmers' union, says few farmers have returned to Namie, but seeing the sunflowers has him overcome with emotion. The town was evacuated by Tokyo mandate in 2011, but the living restriction was lifted in 2017. A minority of former residents have returned. Namie had 21,000 residents prior to the 2011 evacuation, but only 1,328 have repopulated. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200819_13/
  • A European research team finds Fukushima’s particulate Plutonium. The meltdowns and subsequent explosions at F. Daiichi undoubtedly released tiny amounts of Plutonium into then environment. However, no one has been able to find any of it… until now. An international group of scientists have discovered that the Pu was embedded inside Cesium-rich particles emitted during the accident. The plutonium was not part of the isotopic matrix of fuel bundles when they were installed in the reactor cores, but operation of the reactors generated Plutonium due to the Uranium-238 absorbing neutrons. The amount of the Pu is “incredibly tiny”, so the impact on the environment is entirely hypothetical and a subject of scientific debate. Team leader Dr. Satoshi Utsunomiya of Kyushu University says, "These results strongly suggest that the nano-scale heterogeneity that is common in normal nuclear fuels is still present in the fuel debris that remains inside the site's damaged reactors. This is important information as it tells us about the extent / severity of the melt-down. Further, this is important information for the eventual decommissioning of the damaged reactors and the long-term management of their wastes." Professor Bernd Grambow from Nantes/France added, "while the Pu released from the damaged reactors is low compared to that of Cs; the investigation provides crucial information for studying the associated health impact." Utsunomiya thinks the study of the accident’s environmental impact is far from over. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200714101238.htm
  • A group of United Kingdom scientists say that the 2011 Fukushima evacuation was unnecessary and caused more than a thousand needless deaths during the exodus. Team member Professor Phillip Thomas asks “I’ve often met with the reaction that we should make sure accidents don’t happen. And that’s fine. But accidents do happen, they have happened — and what do you do then?” After three years of study, he and his team concluded that as much as ten times too many people were evacuated and no one should have been told to leave because of radiation exposure! Further, “The presumption that long term relocations are a good policy tool needs re-evaluating.” Numerous other surprising conclusions are drawn so we strongly suggest everyone read it. https://medium.com/generation-atomic/for-the-first-time-world-learns-truth-about-risk-of-nuclear-6b7e97d435df
  • Japan’s largest newspaper calls for “cool heads” concerning disposal of nuclear waste. While used nuclear fuel can be recycled, a small percentage of it is considered actual waste… useless by today’s standards. Japan wants to store the waste isotopes in metal canisters, buried in deep, stable geology. However, choosing a site causes severe opposition from local citizens. The Yomiuri Shimbun dubs this a “debacle” that must not be repeated, and calls for the government to hold dialogue with local residents to quell unfounded concerns. https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006749678

August 14, 2020

  • 50% of the used fuel bundles have been removed from the F. Daiichi unit #3 SFP. Removal from the Spent Fuel Pool began last April and has been a slow, tedious task. The main issue is some of the bundles have damaged/deformed hoisting handles. The damage was probably due to heavy material falling into the pool caused by the March, 2011 hydrogen explosion. The process has been temporarily halted several times in order to improve procedures to accommodate hoisting the assemblies with damaged/deformed handles. The 284th bundle was removed on August 3rdwhich marked the 50% removal milestone. Tepco estimates the full removal of the bundles, and their transfer to the on-site storage facility, will be completed by the end of fiscal year 2020. https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/hd/decommission/information/newsrelease/reference/pdf/2020/reference_20200803_01-e.pdf  
  • A town in Hokkaido could be the home of Japan’s first high level waste facility. Suttsu Town is located in northernmost Hokkaido, the most northern Island prefecture in Japan. Industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said, "We're receiving inquiries from several municipalities" might accept a literature survey, the first step in the process. While the possibility exists, local residents’ groups are expected to be in opposition due to safety concerns. But, Suttsu Mayor Haruo Kataoka is optimistic. Population has been on a slow, steady decline and the repository could stem the tide. “When I think about the future of our town, where the population has been shrinking, there is a need for financial resources to promote industry.” Concerning the possibility of local dissidence, he says, “I am prepared for whatever form of bashing I may encounter.” Tokyo will grant more than $9 million annually during the two year literature survey, and a follow-up period of nearly four years for physical evaluation of the site. The second phase is conditional depending on the outcome of the first. The government posted a map of the locations in Japan possibly suitable for the repository in 2017, and Suttsu is classified in the highest of four levels of suitability. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2020081300969 --http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13635457
  • Tepco’s March 24th response to Tokyo’s subcommittee report on the disposal of wastewater containing radioactive isotopes has been posted in English. The 979 tanks filled with the “treated” wastewater contain more than 1.2 million tons with an average Tritium (Radioactive Hydrogen) concentration of 730,000 Becquerels per liter. While two disposal methods are postulated, dilution and release to the Pacific Ocean seems to be preferred. Nearly 1.1 million tons have been run through ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) which removes 62 varieties of isotopes other than Tritium. ALPS cannot remove the Tritium, however. Although Tritium has been shown to be effectively harmless, even in nigh-gargantuan concentrations, it is the isotope of most concern. (Please see our Background Information on Tritium - https://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/background-information-on-tritium.html) 70% of the ALPS-treated water contains small amounts of isotopes in excess of Japan’s highly-restrictive release limits, the one of most concern is Sr-90. This volume is to be run through a second ALPS facility to bring the concentration of Sr-90 (and the other isotopes) below the required limits. When the fully treated water is ready for discharge, it will be diluted to bring the Tritium concentration 1000 times below Japan’s drinking water standard and released to the sea. In addition to Tepco’s March 24th posting, on a detailed listing of the radioisotopic concentrations for each tank is now available.   https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/decommission/progress/watertreatment/images/200324.pdf -- https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/decommission/progress/watertreatment/index-e.html -- https://www4.tepco.co.jp/en/sp/decommission/progress/watertreatment/images/tankarea_en.pdf -- https://science.sciencemag.org/content/369/6504/621?fbclid=IwAR1HVaCB2nYHwQ8TOJ-JWl0C_1p_E_8LWd1IwH6LAqjNzbDD6dIF4BOSrd0

July 31, 2020

  • A “Youth Pilot Program” has opened in Fukushima City. The first lessons were taught this past week at Fukushima Sky Park in the prefecture’s capital city. Three high school students from other prefectures took part in the three day instruction period. They will take training monthly until August, 2021. One of the students said, "I would like to learn the basics of flight through the training here and become a pilot who inspires people.” Their teacher, Yoshihide Muroya, said, "It is important to establish a pilot-fostering environment. I hope they will take advantage of the training program to lead the aviation industry in the future." http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1017
  • A gas explosion destroys a Koriyama restaurant. One man died and eighteen other people were injured. The blast occurred on Thursday morning. The restaurant has been closed for renovation during the COVID19 pandemic. The renovation was all but completed and the restaurant was due to reopen today, July 31. The restaurant was totally destroyed with only its steel frame left standing. Damage to surrounding homes and businesses are what caused the 18 injured persons. President of the Colowide restaurant chain said, “We sincerely apologize for causing a serious accident." Firefighters found six propane gas cylinders, three of which showed signs of leakage. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/07/edb3c5b9746f-urgent-at-least-10-injured-in-fukushima-explosion-gas-leak-suspected.html
  • Japan’s NRA affirms the safety of the Rokkasho nuclear fuel recycling facility. On Wednesday, the Nuclear Regulation Authority unanimously concluded that the nuclear fuel reprocessing plant meets current all current safety standards for starting operations. Owner Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. still needs approval of remaining construction before actually starting then plant. In addition, approval for operation needs to be garnered from local officials. The output of the process will be Mixed Oxide fuel (MOX) containing left-over U-235 plus plutonium-239 from spent (used) fuel bundles. The NRA adopted a draft assessment on safety in May, and then solicited public opinions. More than 750 such opinions were received, many of which voiced concerns about hypothetical radioactive material leaks. The NRA said that safety measures already in place meet or exceed Japan’s post-Fukushima regulations. The facility is expected to begin operation in 2022. Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa said, “The examination had been suspended at one point due to quality management issues. It then took quite a long time to obtain common understanding.” The facility’s completion date has changed more than 20 times since 2013. A dissenting local lawyer’s group insists that regulatory approval was biased from the outset. On the other hand, local industry officials are pleased with the NRA’s decision. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200729_20/ -- https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2020072900581 -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200729_29/ -- https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/nra-permits-jnfl-to-alter-rokkasho-reprocessing-plant-its-having-complied-with-new-regulatory-standards/  --http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13591351
  • Some subcontractors hired for reconstruction in the Tohoku region have illicitly spent some of the taxpayer money. $1.51 million of public funds are now in question. Four construction companies accepted financial gifts from designated subcontractors, out of the more than $10 billion designated for reconstruction in the region. Subcontractors pooled the excess money into questionable slush funds. The slush funds were discovered by the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau. The Bureau ordered two contractors to pay penalties for tax evasion. Tax authorities in Osaka and Sendai are leading the investigation. Since 2011, more than $100 billion in taxpayer money has been spent on infrastructure projects to build roads, embankments and housing in the disaster-hit region, more than half of which has been spent on rebuilding communities damaged pursuant to the nuclear accident. The Tohoku Region stretches from Fukushima Prefecture to the northern tip of Aomori Prefecture. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13581931
  • The Tokyo Cabinet Office wants to remove the term “advisory” from formal evacuation orders. It is hoped this will transmit the seriousness of the situation in a clearer fashion. The agency hopes to have a draft revision for the basic law on disaster response by this fall and submit the draft to parliament next year. Tokyo has come under fire for not making evacuation commands clear and unmistakable, allegedly resulting in needless public harm. The basic law on evacuations was established in 1961. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2020072700428
  • Japan’s Environment Minister wants to stop state assistance for the overseas export of coal plant technology. Minister Shinjiro Koizumi said the government is placing stricter conditions on funding thermal (coal) plant technology so that “in principle such support would not be conducted.” Koizumi believes this action will end the export of coal plant technology. He emphasized the importance of reducing Japan’s dependence on fossil fuels such as petroleum and coal. Koizumi is an avid supporter of the production of energy from solar and wind. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13576760
  • The Asahi Shimbun reports the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists doomsday clock is now set closer to midnight than it was after WWII! The reasons for resetting the clock so close to the doomsday hour were shared by former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry and Ploughshares Policy Director Tom Collina. The main reason is the downsizing of nuclear warheads in the U.S. and Russia, making it appear that nuclear holocaust would be less destructive than in the past.  They add mental and/or stability problems of the leaders of nuclear weapon states, such President Trump’s impulsiveness and penchant for mood swings, exacerbate the situation. Also mentioned was the possibility of computer error.  Finally, the two experts say that the COVID19 pandemic is weakening national economies, and increased deficit spending might cause funds earmarked for nuclear weapon’s safety to be shifted elsewhere. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13584989
  • Though not specifically Fukushima news, it should be noted that Kyodo News says despite the existence of escalating tension between the two superpowers, China supports President Trump’s re-election! Why? A Chinese government source says it is because Trump’s re-election would further divide the world leaders and erode America’s international credibility, thus opening a window of opportunity to expand China’s burgeoning dominance on the world stage. Also, Chinese President Xi Jinping believes the republicans are "easier to deal with" than the Democrats. This is a most surprising turn considering this recent hostile closure of consulates in both countries and bickering between Washington and Beijing about whether or not China was negligent in telling the world about COVID19. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/07/08719863bcd0-focus-china-hopes-for-trumps-reelection-despite-escalating-tensions.html

                                                July 24, 2020                                                     

There were no Fukushima or reasonably related updates in either the Japanese or international Press over the past week. We assume the dearth of Fukushima reporting is due to the COVID19 pandemic’s effect in Japan, which has caused a major slow-down in recovery efforts at F. Daiichi. We will continue our diligent daily investigations, nonetheless!

Stay safe, everyone!

July 17, 2020

  • There is a “boom” in new hotel construction around F. Daiichi! The reason is to accommodate people involved with reconstruction, for now, and new businesses in the future. Hotels with more than 100 rooms have opened along the coast in Hirono, Naraha, and Tomioka. Another opened in Namie this week. The town’s evacuation order was lifted in 2017, and about 1,400 people have returned. Yet another is expected to open in Futaba in the Fall. Kota Kawasaki, an associate professor at Fukushima University, says, "Competition among hotels will increase from now on," he said. "Each hotel will have to devise more strategic management skills to stay in business” because to the coronavirus. The F. Daiichi worker population has been lowered due to COVID19 restrictions. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13541099
  • New TV commercials by the J-pop group TOKIO are promoting Fukushima products. They began airing just this week in Fukushima and Tokyo. It is hoped the ads will further dispel paranoiac rumors. Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori said, "Through these wonderful commercials, we would like to share with everyone in Japan the great qualities of the prefecture's agricultural, forest and fishery products, as well as the pride of the producers here." https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200714/p2g/00m/0et/065000c
  • A “world-class” BMX park opens in Shinchi. BMX freestyle competition has been added to the future Tokyo Olympics Shinchi is the northernmost Fukushima coastal town in, on the border with Miyagi Prefecture. It was devastated by the March 2011 tsunami, with 116 confirmed deaths.. The park contains Japan’s largest BMX training course – Shinchi Pump Track. At the opening ceremony, Shinchi Mayor Takeshi Ohori said “Continuing the memory of citizens who lived here, we hope this place will change into one that is lively and brings people together.” https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006667871
  • A new national park will straddle Futaba and Namie. It will be a memorial to victims of the 2011 catastrophe. A cylindrical indoor facility will be erected atop an elevated part of the park to display local reconstruction efforts. The 16.5 meter rise in the land will reflect the peak of the devastating tsunami and be called a "hill for the memory and repose of souls." Also, a new bridge will be built over the Maeda River to link with the Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum in Futaba. It is hoped that part of the park will open in the fall along with the new museum. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1015
  • About 50 Fukushima residents hold a “Don’t Dunp” (sic) rally in Koriyama. A local group of young adults want plans to release tritium laced wastewaters to be curtailed. Why? Because detrimental rumors about the prefecture may occur if the wastewater is improperly disposed. Group representative Sato Taiga said a recent survey revealed that most respondents are ignorant of about the issue. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200713_04/
  • Is low dose radiation exposure (LDRT) a possible treatment for COVID19-induced pneumonia? Dr. SMJ Mortazavi says it is! He argues that the use of LDRT has long been shown to induce anti-inflammatory responses to pneumonia. However since March, 2020, LDRT has been introduced as a mitigating therapy for COVID19-induced pneumonia in Iran, America, Canada, Spain, Germany, and France, with significant efficacy. Dr. Mortazavi adds that the beneficial responses begin to occur within hours, without the disadvantages afforded by anti-viral drugs. https://aapm.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/mp.14367 (Dr. Mortazavi is afellow member of Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information - SARI) 

July 10, 2020

  • A UN rapporteur says the F. Daiichi waste water disposal question is a human rights issue. Rapporteurs have criticized Japan for its radiological criteria concerning resettlement, and the alleged exploitation of migrant workers and the poor for decontamination efforts. Now comes another questionable concern specific to the release of the essentially harmless Tritium-laced water stored in more than a thousand sealed tanks on the plant site. Mr. Baskut Tuncak unabashedly raises the false specter of the 1945 atomic bombings in Japan, showing his radiophobic infection of the Hiroshima Syndrome! He calls the scientifically acceptable, slow, innocuous release of the waters to the sea “…a terrible blow to the livelihood of local fishermen. Regardless of the health and environmental risks, the reputational damage would be irreparable, an invisible and permanent scar upon local seafood.” The level of ignorance displayed by Tuncak is clearly on display! Further, he falsely accuses Tokyo of ignoring the concerns of the communities of Fukushima and disrespecting their human rights. He calls the possible release of the waters “transboundary environmental harm” which is steeped in the all-too-typical radiophobic appeal of “scientific uncertainty of the health and environmental impacts of exposure to low-level radiation”!  Those who follow our “Fukushima Accident Updates” can easily grasp the absurdity in Tuncak’s words! https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/07/1145e5b3970f-opinion-fukushima-nuclear-waste-decision-also-a-human-rights-issue.html
  • In parallel with the above, 17 Fukushima assemblies call Tokyo’s response to the wastewater disposal issue “inadequate” and “insufficient”. They oppose the release of the waters to the sea, out of fear of damage to the reputation of the fishing industry. Fukushima Minpo surveyed all 59 Fukushima assemblies and found that 17 purport this opinion. It seems that all 17 dissident groups acknowledge the scientifically innocuous nature of the liquid and wish to continue the needless, wasteful status quo. The Tokyo government has essentially committed to the ocean release in 2022when the available space for tanks at F. Daiichi will run out. The Municipal assemblies that oppose the disposal of the waters are Aizuwakamatsu, Iwaki, Kitakata, Soma, Nihonmatsu, Koori, Kawamata, Minamiaizu, Aizubange, Yugawa, Kaneyama, Nishigo, Ishikawa, Miharu, Namie, Shinchi, and Iitate. It should be noted that another 13 assemblies are deliberating on the issue. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1013
  • Japan’s NRA demands Tepco must clarify the nuke safety duties of the company president. The Nuclear Regulation Authority had asked the company to formally stipulate safety policies in its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa security rulebook, about three years ago. On Thursday, Tepco said they would include a clause requiring that the president be quickly informed of any risk with the potential to lead to an accident, whether or not the risk could be confirmed. It added that records of the event be maintained for five years. However, the NRA feels the storage period is too short. And that the president’s responsibilities need specificity. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200710_08/

July 3, 2020

  • Japan considers 80-year operating licenses beginning to occur in the United States. Japan’s Atomic Industrial Forum conducts an annual international survey of nuke plants on a variety of topics. This year, the JAIF survey asks about America’s decision to license for 80 years of operation. Many decades ago, the Americans issued 40 year licenses, which were based on the demonstrated operating experiences with fossil-fueled generating units. Japan did essentially the same thing when it began its program in 1954. While the American regulatory system has acknowledged the much less corrosive and thereby less deteriorative operating environment of nukes versus fossil fuels and extended operating lifetimes accordingly, Japan refrained from following suit. This is largely due to the Fukushima accident coupled with the national penchant for radiophobia. Japan has provided for 20 year extensions if strict regulatory mandates are met, which has resulted in early retirement of perfectly sound units below 600 MWe. Now, JAIF is starting a national inquiry into the idea of adding on another 20 year extension. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/existing-npps-to-enter-age-of-80-year-operations-jaif-annual-survey-says/
  • A Tokyo University team gives the Japanese Press a failing grade for its Fukushima accident coverage. Kaori Hayashi led an investigation of 8 Japanese newspapers and 6 broadcasting networks by interviewing their newsroom executives. He was assisted by Nobuyuki Okumura of Musashi University, Koji Igarashi of Otsuma Women’s University, and Atsushi Tanaka of Tokyo University, the combination of which is called the “Disaster and Media Research Group”. They base their findings on the degree to which the Press reported what the government and industry sources shared with them, and did not seek out other sources for verification. It is well understood that the Prime Minister Naoto Kan regime and Tepco spokespersons were quite often less than expeditious in relaying information, and often presented incorrect material that was eventually found to have come from the Tokyo government. The paper also takes the Press to task for not having reporters who were familiar with nuclear technology because most were “negative to the idea of training reporters to specialize in nuclear science, nuclear plant safety measures, or radiation exposure… Only the newspaper Asahi Shimbun and public broadcaster NHK had correspondents specialized in   nuclear energy prior to the 2011disaster.” While all reporters were familiar with earthquakes and tsunamis, most of the news media was ignorant of nuclear technology and could not assess whether or not the information they were getting from provided sources was “adequate and appropriate. (Thus) the media failed to communicate information that people needed, so that they could take decisions and actions to protect themselves, their families, and assets.” In addition, reporters were unprepared to effectively confront neither Tepco nor the Tokyo government in order to disclose correct information in a timely manner.  The research group claims it has made the first comprehensive study of the “resources and preparations of mainstream media” in Japan at the time of the quake, tsunami, and nuclear accident of March, 2011. https://www.academia.edu/41372220/Japans_media_fails_its_watchdog_role_Lessons_learned_and_unlearned_from_the_2011_earthquake_and_the_Fukushima_disaster?email_work_card=minimal-title
  • A small portion of Iitate Village may be reopened before decontamination is completed. The Village wants 186 hectares of an 1100 hectare difficult-to-return zone (no go zone) to have its restrictions lifted in 2022 or 2023 in order to turn the land into parks. If approved, the designated area must be fully decontaminated, while the other 900+ hectares in the no-go zone remains contaminated. Approval by the Nuclear Regulation Authority is being sought by the Village. https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006642470
  • 90% on Japan’s outdated and largely inefficient coal-fired electric plants will be shut down by 2030. Tokyo wants to replace the lost capacity with solar and wind electric generation, combined with restarting the nukes now shuttered, but planned to resume operation by then. This means that some 100 of Japan’s 114 coal-fired units will have finite lifetimes. A government panel will be created to amend laws, ordinances, and industrial systems so that the coal plants can be closed without upsetting the Japanese grid. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200703_20/ -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20200702/p2g/00m/0na/075000c -- https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006649282 
  • Though not specific to Fukushima, it should be noted that an “unexpected radiation spike has been detected over Europe”. The article stresses that while detectible and probably the result of a release from a nuclear power plant, "The levels measured are so low that they pose no danger to people or the environment." This should be compared (contrasted?) with typical radiophobic reporting common to the Japanese Press, which continually suggests that radiation is toxic to humans, no matter how miniscule the exposure might be! https://www.sciencealert.com/unexpected-radiation-spike-detected-over-europe-authorities-say?fbclid=IwAR2rofMGpo7foKh4-gTj51QLaTERh7oUjL8IHzt8ItruhOVQALsvpE5FSQs

June 26, 2020

There were no Fukushima or reasonably-related updates from this past week due to a dearth of such material in both the Japanese and International Press. We will continue our daily investigation, nonetheless!

June 19, 2020

  • Tepco posts a final overview of last week’s covering of the F. Daiichi Unit #2 SFP. The Spent Fuel Pool’s protective barrier is a bag, of sorts, that was spread over the open pool on Monday, June 8th. On June 10th, it was inflated, and the next day an injection of mortar was successfully undertaken. The following Tepco posting depicts the different stages of the bag’s installation and inflation.  https://www.tepco.co.jp/en/hd/decommission/information/newsrelease/reference/pdf/2020/reference_20200611_02-e.pdf
  • Tokyo plans on creating an international education and research center in the Hamadori, Fukushima, coastal region. The facility will focus on the 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear accident. It is hoped this will stimulate the repopulation of communities that experienced Tokyo-mandated evacuation. Since evacuation orders were lifted, less than 20% of the pre-calamity population has returned. The model for the project is the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST). The Hamadori facility will be a hub for regional revitalization while mitigating problems common to all of Japan such as population decline, a shortage of farmers, and global warming. Reconstruction Minister Kazunori Tanaka said, “ We will develop the hub as a base for nurturing human resources in partnership with many universities in a manner leading to the establishment of a new university and other institutions." The number of researchers and staff should be about 600 with an annual budget is estimated at just under $100 million. Partial opening is planned for the spring of 2023.  https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006604899 -- http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1010
  • Kansai Electric Co. (Kepco) sues former executives to try and recover local trust. The trust issue is critical because three of the company’s nukes (Takahama #1 & #2 and Mihama #3) need local approval in order to restart. Five former executives accepted about $3.6 million in “gifts” from a lobbyist; the former deputy mayor of the Town of Takahama. The company has investigated the situation and judges that the five executives are the culpable parties and should pay severe financial penalties to show that Kepco means business. The suit is expected to total out at about $20 million.  https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006619286

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