Fukushima 130... 5/7/2021-6/25/2021

June 25, 2021

  • Namie flower growers prepare to make Olympic “victory bouquets”. They will be given to medalists as a commemorative gift. One farmer said, "We are preparing (our flowers) so that we can accept orders at a moment's notice. I'm looking forward to seeing athletes raise (their bouquets above their heads at the Tokyo Games)." https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021062300889

  • Tepco begins the process of decommissioning F. Daini. Located some 20 kilometers south of F. Daiichi, the four-unit station has been closed since the 3/11/11 quake and tsunami. All four suffered little damage, save for flooding due to the tsunami. Severe political and local pressure forced Tepco to to close the station permanently. The Nuclear Regulation Authority approved Tepco’s decommissioning plan on April 28. The company also got prior consent to the plan from Fukushima Prefecture as well as co-host Tomioka and Naraha towns on June 16. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14379413

  • Mihama Unit #3 was restarted Wednesday, June 23rd. It is the first Japanese nuke to begin operation beyond Japan's largely arbitrary 40 year licensing limit. Kansai Electric Power Company personnel began the slow process of withdrawing control rods on Wednesday. The unit passed the NRA screening process on in 2016, but did not get approval from Fukui Prefecture until this past April. Criticality was achieved Thursday and initial operation is expected next Tuesday. Kepco President Takashi Morimoto said, "We'll proceed with the work as we give the highest priority to safety." Official Shin Hosaka of the Industry Ministry (METI) has said it’s “essential” for nuclear plants to operate longer than 40 years in order to achieve zero net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. This makes 10 nukes restarted since the 2011 quake and tsunami. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210623_12/ – https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021062300623 - https://www.vice.com/en/article/xgxank/japan-nuclear-power-climate-change?fbclid=IwAR2aiIejL-_8WGYk53iH2UgcR_bqcpnhrCTC50XgYTH9WISF2KVfDUnb6vA

  • Antinuclear officials are alarmed at the restart of Mihama #3. Tatsujiro Suzuki, formerly of the Japan's Atomic Energy Commission, has misgivings over how approval for the restart was obtained. He says there was a lack of transparency and that local approval was obtained because of financial subsidies. Suzuki added the trite, often used complaint, "It looks like the industry and the government have not learned the lessons of Fukushima." A subsidy of $23 million was committed to local communities before the Fukui governor signed off on the restart. Suzuki also complained, "The (20 year) extensions were supposed to be under exceptional circumstances but that doesn't look so exceptional." He conveniently ignored that Mihama #3 has not operated for more than 10 years, and has not “aged” during that period. https://japantoday.com/category/national/as-japan-reboots-44-year-old-nuclear-reactor-experts-sound-alarm

  • Shimane Unit #2 is gets preliminary approval for restart by the NRA. It is the fifth Boiling Water Reactor to pass the strict regulatory screenings now being enforced in Japan. Full official approval after a mandatory 30 day comment period. Chugoku Electric plans to finish seismic upgrades for the unit by the end of fiscal 2021. It remains uncertain when approval by local communities might occur. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2021062300641

June 18, 2021

  • IRIS releases a 10th anniversary video on the 3/11/11 disaster. It has been 10 years since the magnitude 9.1 earthquake and resulting tsunami hit Japan, on March 11, 2011. Scientific lessons learned and described here include: 1. Tsunami geology can extend the earthquake record by millennia. 2. Earthquake Early Warning can mitigate damage and save lives, but the 2011earthquake revealed limitations of a system using only seismometers. 3. Adding Global Positioning System observations of earthquake ground motion improves accuracy of earthquake early warning, and is essential to tsunami warnings. Remarkably, there is nothing concerning the F. Daiichi accident! IRIS is a consortium of more than 120 American universities dedicated to the operation of science facilities for the acquisition, management, and distribution of seismological data. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcSI8fBZsY0

  • A Tokyo research group on F. Daiichi wastewater release meets in Miyagi Prefecture. Representatives from prefectural industrial organizations and municipalities gave their opinions, along with Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai, who chaired the conference. Mr. Murai said, “Although activities have been completed in many of the affected areas as far as physical matters are concerned—particularly the restoration of infrastructure—more work must be done over the medium-range to long-range future on less tangible matters: namely, providing mental health care for affected people, forging communities in new places after relocation, giving support to rejuvenate industries, and so forth.” A Miyagi Fisheries official objected to the offshore release of the treated water. Fisheries Chair Haruhiko Terasawa explained the public fears and rumors concerning the future release, and asked for firm planning to deflect the rumors. METI State Minister Ejima responded to calls for developing ma Tritium removal technology, saying, “As of now, there is no effective means, but technology advances daily. We are prepared for further reviews at any time.” https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/working-group-on-offshore-release-of-treated-water-meets-in-miyagi/

  • Tokyo looks into a new policy to handle the radioactive slurry from ALPS. ALPS is the acronym for Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) at F. Daiichi. The action was caused by the recent revelation that 31 of the approximately 3,000 high integrity containers (HICs) for slurry storage exhibit radiation radiation levels that exceed the upper limit of 5,000 kilo-grays per year, and there will be 56 such HICs in another two years or so. The number will continue to rise for the foreseeable future as long as contaminated water continues to be produced at the nuke station. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/nra-considers-policy-on-treating-slurry-from-alps-with-local-understanding-essential/

  • The Mainichi Shimbun posts yet another scare-mongering article. It says the F. Daiichi wastewater will be released before Tritium test results are made public. Tepco says the report is technically correct, but the dilution of the wastewater before release, dropping the radioactivity to many times less than Japan's ridiculously-low limit for Tritium at 1,500 Becquerels per liter, makes a high-level release highly unlikely. This troubles local officials, with Okuma's Reiko Hachisuka saying, "If possible, I'd like them to release the water after checking their concentration levels." Fukushima official Kiyoshi Takasaka made a more reasonable comment, "I can understand the plan set out by TEPCO to a certain extent. I'd like them to monitor the amount of seawater used in dilution at all times and ensure that there is no malfunction in the seawater pumps." https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210612/p2a/00m/0sc/010000c

  • Long-dormant Mihama unit #3 to be restarted next week. It will the first restart for a unit that has exceeded Japan's arbitrary, but binding, 40 years licensing limit. Kansai Electric Co. is proceeding with pre-startup preparations. It is important to note that the unit has only operated for 30 years due to Tokyo's post 3/11/11 moratorium, but has no bearing on the 40-year operating limit. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210617_27/

  • Workers at Nippon Steel Co. are exposed to radiation doses above Japan's legal limits. Some received exposures of several dozen times the 50 milliSieverts per year limit. Nippon Steel says the factory produces iron plates for automobiles. It says the employees were inspecting the X-ray device to measure the thickness of the coating on the plates' surfaces. The Labor Ministry says the device mistakenly kept emitting X-rays during the inspection. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210611_30/

June 11, 2021

  • Tepco plans to build facilities to test treated wastewater before release to the sea. The plan includes groups of “sample tanks” with capacity of about 30,000m³ (tons). The tanks will be in three subgroups of 10,000 tons for three purposes: receiving, measuring and evaluation, and release. In addition, Tokyo has promised “New technological trends will be carefully and continuously monitored. If a viable technology emerges, it will be implemented as rapidly as practicable.” This might possibly mean that if a better method of disposal happens, it will be implemented. Tepco has a”called” for a new Tritium separation technology, along with an unnamed third party. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/tepco-to-develop-sample-tanks-at-fukushima-daiichi-to-prepare-for-offshore-release-of-treated-water/

  • Radioactive waste storage containers at F. Daiichi exceed their regulatory lifetime. 31 plastic cylinders are subject to replacement, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority. There are about 3,000 such containers on site. They contain the used radioisotopic removal sediments from the ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) treatment system.    https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210608/p2a/00m/0bu/008000c

  • The Japan Electrical Manufacturers' Association (JEMA) wants clarity for nukes in Japan's national energy strategy. Not only to provide large-scale carbon-free electrical generation, but also use of small modular reactors (SMRs) and HTGRs (Hi Temperature Gas Cooled Reactors) where appropriate. JEMA says a specific level of nuclear contribution should be established.   https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/jema-proposes-that-nuclear-power-be-maintained-at-a-certain-scale/

  • Tokyo's IHI Corporation says it will invest in NuScale's SMR technology. NuScale is developing a demonstration reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory, with a service target of 2029. The US NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) approved the design in August, 2020. With its experience as a nuclear equipment manufacturer, IHI feels that SMRs can be “a promising solution to realizing a carbon-free society.” https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/ihi-to-participate-in-nuscales-smr-project/

  • A new 3/11/11 museum opens in Miyagi Prefecture. It is intended to show the lessons learned concerning the March, 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster. One of the most severely-hit prefectures on that date, the facility will have exhibits concerning the catastrophe. A contained theater for visitors has videos of the quake and tsunami, and plays recordings of people's testimonies. Admission is free.   https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210607_08/

  • A government group to address unfounded rumors meets in Fukushima. Inter-Ministerial Council to Address Countermeasures for Unfounded Fears and Rumors met to hear local opinions on the issue, primarily concerning the recently announced future release of wastewaters containing Tritium, and essentially harmless radioactive isotope of hydrogen. Locals want the government to act responsibly and present a firm framework for damage compensation. Economy Minister Kiyoshi Ejima kicked off the meeting by saying, “The government seeks and values fresh voices from the worksites. Relevant ministries and agencies will tackle each issue raised. The voices we hear will be reflected in new measures to be implemented.” Fukushima Deputy Governor Masaaki Suzuki added, “People in Fukushima are increasingly anxious that the results of their efforts over the past decade for reconstruction and the elimination of unfounded fears and rumors will soon go down the drain.” He wants Fukushima products to be sold at competitive prices, a stable workforce, and affected businesses run without concern for the future. The president of the Fukushima Federation of Fisheries Markets said they are the “world’s safest and most secure wholesalers.” He also added that a severe distribution situation is faced by Fukushima marine products and “The bottleneck of the issue is in the minds of consumers.” He wants Tokyo to fully understand the “unfounded fears and rumors.” https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/hears-local-concerns-about-unfounded-fears-and-rumors-on-offshore-release-of-treated-water/

  • More regulatory problems emerge at Tepco's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa station. This time, fire-prevention material applications at 76 locations in unit #7 is not finished. This contradicts the company's January 13th statement that safety work at the unit had been completed. This will probably further delay the unit's restart. Masaya Kitta, head of Tepco’s Niigata regional headquarters, said. “We are truly sorry for causing anxiety among local residents.”  http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14370854

June 4, 2021

  • Singapore has lifted its remaining restrictions on Fukushima foods.Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga about the decision earlier this week. 14 countries continue partial or full restrictions, including the United States.  https://japantoday.com/category/politics/singapore-lifts-import-restrictions-on-food-from-japan's-fukushima

  • Japan's Atomic Industrial Forum posts the facts about Fukushima's wastewater issue. Included topics are the latest progress on F. Daiichi's water treatment, the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), Tritium and its theoretical impact on people, the trace radionuclides the remain after making one pass through ALPS, and information concerning the release of the wastewater to the sea. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/information-about-fukushima-daiichi-npps-water-treatment/

  • Tokyo discusses measures to mitigate Fukushima's reputational damage. It is anticipated that the essentially harmless release of the wastewaters will hurt the prefecture's fishing industry. Fukushima Vice Governor Suzuki Masaaki said all seafood produced in Fukushima should be traded at appropriate prices so that the industry can continue to be competitive. Some meeting participants complained that the decision to release the waters was hasty. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210531_28/

  • Japan's Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC) says its members should use nukes to become carbon neutral. The groups says that by maximizing nuclear energy, Japan can reach its goal by 2050. The intermediate goal is to have Japan at least 20% nuclear by 2030. To reach this goal, the restart of existing nuclear power plants, improved availability factors, and long-term operations (extended lifetimes) must occur. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/fepc-declares-for-zero-emissions/

May 21, 2021

  • Tepco is investigating into where it should release its wastewater. There seem to be two options. One is using shoreline outlets near F. Daiichi units #5 & #6. The other is installing an undersea pipeline to make the release occur out to sea. Tepco will solicit the opinions of local officials and fishermen, then make a proposal to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA). https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210516_08/
  • The NRA plans a system to measure thyroid exposure to residents near a nuclear accident. Japan's nuclear emergency response guidelines will soon be under review, and revisions will likely include thyroid monitoring for those under age 18 at the time of the accident, as well as pregnant women. It is believed these are the two demographics most susceptible to radiation-related thyroid disorders. Of particular concern are areas with levels in the 500 microsievert per hour range (50 millirems/hr) and places where there will be experiencing prolonged exposure of 20 mSv/hr or more. This action is due to the feeling that monitoring after the March, 2011 accident at F. Daiichi was inadequate. https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0007405020
  • Last week, Kansai Electric Co. announced plans to restart three nuke units beyond Japan's 40 year licensing limit. They are Takahama units #1 and #2, and Mihama unit #3. The NRA has posted regulatory mandates in support of the now-60 year limit. In addition to periodic inspections approximately once a year, the units are subject to safety and reliability reviews every ten years. Operators are also required to conduct technological aging evaluations of important safety-related equipment and structures when a nuke reaches thirty years of operations, and every ten years thereafter. At 40 years, a special inspection is required to check the soundness of the reactor vessel, containment, and related concrete structures. Fuel loading for the Mihama unit began May 20th, with plans to complete the fuel bundle installation on Sunday, May 23rd. The other two units are delayed because newly-required anti-terrorist facilities have yet to be finished. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/takahama-1-and-2-and-mihama-3-npps-move-to-sixty-year-operation/ -– https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210520_29/

May 14, 2021

  • 70% of Fukushima residents feel national understanding of F. Daiichi wastewater is poor. A recent joint poll by Fukushima-Minpo Co. and Fukushima Television Broadcasting Co. uncovered the issue. In addition, 81% of those who do not favor Prime Minister Suga's government feel public understanding has "not deepened at all" or "not much deepened". Only about 5% say national understanding has “deepened very well”! On April 15 Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori said that he does "not see the current situation as showing sufficient (public) understanding at present," blaming insufficient government efforts. On April 30th, four influential prefectural organizations issued a joint statement taking Tokyo to task for not providing sufficient explanation to people in the prefecture and emphasizing they "can in no way accept" the planned release to the ocean. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=1056

  • Ibaraki Prefecture says the evacuation plans for Tokai nuclear station are based on inaccurate, simplified information. The prefectural government is supposed to “secure” evacuation centers based on a 2 square meter per person basis. The Mainichi Shimbun says Ibaraki approved the plans without this happening. Allegedly, the proposed evacuation centers are short of space to the tune of 40,000 square meters because Ibaraki overestimated maximum capacities. This shortfall was supposedly discovered in 2014, but was not revealed until the data was recently released after the News outlet won a Freedom of Information claim. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210511/p2a/00m/0na/017000c

  • Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information (SARI) post an interesting fact about F. Daiichi's wastewater. The issue revolves around the Tritium in the waters that is is essentially impossible to remove. Sari posts that the total amount of Tritium in Fukushima's wastewater tanks is equal to 2 days of the naturally produced Tritium from cosmic rays hitting Nitrogen atoms as they pass through Earth's atmosphere. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=10226158576500140&set=gm.10159312076409154

  • Colleague Rod Adams charges that fossil fuel interests fund the antinuclear movement. He writes, “...the tight linkage between ‘environmental groups’ and ‘antinuclear groups’ can be traced directly to the need for the oil and gas industry to discourage the use of nuclear energy.” He further asserts this has been done surreptitiously for the sole purpose of profit.“Oil would be worth a lot less if more of the world’s energy needs were provided by atomic fission,” Adams writes, “If oil was worth less, it would make no economic sense to press it out of shale rocks in North Dakota, drill for it deep under the Gulf of Mexico, or try to extract it from the challenging environment of the Arctic Ocean.” https://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2016/07/13/are-fossil-fuel-interests-bankrolling-the-anti-nuclear-energy-movement/?sh=1f8ba6af7453

May 7, 2021

  • Japan's defense Ministry feared a U. S. military takeover with its response to the F. Daiichi accident. The American rescue and relief action, called Operation Tomodachi, is now considered an example of a trans-Pacific alliance. But, many in Tokyo at the time weren't sure the operation would in Japan's interest. Former chief of the Joint Staff Ryoichi Oriki says, "The Japanese Self Defense Force is a symbol of sovereignty. We wanted to avoid a relationship in which the United States would take control and Japan would only follow (the United States)." Another Joint Staff leader, Koichi Isobe, was also hesitant, "We were beginning to feel we could work well with U.S. forces in Japan so (the formation of the joint support force) was quite surprising." America wasn't sure about what they could have or should have done because of the lack of information coming out of Tokyo. One senior official commented, "There was a sense of bewilderment that the United States had given up leaving it up to Japan because information-sharing was not done accordingly." There was concern that the SDF would be placed under U. S. Military control, supposedly to protect Americans in Japan. Though nothing of the sort happened, the concern in Tokyo was very real. https://japantoday.com/category/national/japan-was-wary-of-u.s.-military-taking-control-over-fukushima-crisis

  • Oxford asks how to get the public to understand the lack of health effects posed by Tritium. The degree of over-reaction in Japan to the future release of F. Daiichi wastewater shows the extrapolating the health effects is widely considered to be possibly flawed. Use of academic evidence showing the low probability of health effects has not worked. Oxford hopes its scientific skill will help. The article's description gives a clear and detailed explanation about potential health effects triggered by tritium based on reliable scientific evidence in a way that is understandable to the public. It says, “We believe that the present review will be helpful to both scientists and the general public.” Aside – Good luck, with that. - End aside. https://academic.oup.com/jrr/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jrr/rrab029/6256015?fbclid=IwAR2QbP139AShJs3HnjaXdvbXOBY5-Ly_vczfWEF4AX1RVrYDv_LCrW7uEZw

  • A strong quake hit the Tohoku region last Saturday. It measured 6.8 Richter Scale, centered about 51 kilometers below the sea surface just off the Miyagi Prefecture's coastline, causing violent shaking in Fukushima. The temblor was felt as far away as Tokyo. Three persons were injured. F. Daiichi and F. Daini both had no resulting abnormalities. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/05/0d9fdcf68831-update2-m66-quake-shakes-northeastern-japan-no-tsunami-alert-issued.html –https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20210501_14/

  • Radioactive material spills from a rusted F. Daiichi storage container. This was not from one of the thousand-odd wastewater tanks. Rather, it came from a contaminated waste crate. The gel-like, sticky, blackish material about 3 feet long and a foot wide was found outside one of the boxes. Workers concluded that rainwater likely became contaminated after coming in contact with the chunk. When the water flowed into a ditch, it set off an alarm. The container has ~450 bags of water-absorbing sheets, hoses and cloths that were used during the turbulent period after the nuke accident in March 2011. There are more than 85,000 such containers in existence. 270 steel containers were being moved to a different location at the plant. One had become rusty and had a hole at the bottom. The container emits detectable radiation, but at a level below the “highly radioactive” threshold. Tepco says they will reduce the volume by burning, shredding, and reuse. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14343306

  • The Asahi Shimbun takes Fukui's governor to task over nuke restarts. He seems to have ignored his prior demand for storing radioactive waste outside the prefecture before approving the resumptions. He announced his approval of Takahama and Mihama restarts on April 28th, with no mention of his position against them. He said, “Kansai Electric has indicated it was prepared and the central government has also taken the initiative in dealing with the issue. I believe a certain set of conditions have been met.” Clearly, Japan's second largest newspaper doesn't like it one bit. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14340146

  • Chernobyl children show no genetic damage. Researchers say there's no evidence of genetic damage in the children of parents who were exposed to radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl nuke accident. 

Next - https://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-129-3-12-2021-3-26-2021.html