Saturday, 1 August 2015

A European Site for Alternative News

News is Global, according to certain New Agencies.

We may at times consider that there are certain groups require their own version of the same topics.

An honest example is the current plethora of news via CNN, of the advancements in the African Territories. 

For those that are interested in the European News, there is a new Radio broadcasting service that mentions all of the current, and informative news. 

With a team of only two, they bring forward political, environmental and engaging interviews of timely worth.

Exceptional coverage, of the most timely events. 

I endorse both their coverage of Fukushima, and other Globally effective events.



Friday, 31 July 2015

EDITORIAL: Trials of ex-TEPCO bigwigs a chance to take fresh look at disaster

The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is hit by tsunami on March 11, 2011. 


Three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. will stand trial over their criminal responsibility for the 2011 disaster at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
For the second time, the Tokyo No. 5 Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution has rejected an earlier decision by prosecutors not to indict the three, setting the stage for the forced prosecution of these three individuals.
They will be accused of professional negligence resulting in the deaths of people who were in hospitals when the disaster happened and other tragedies.
A report issued by the Diet’s Fukushima nuclear accident investigation committee states, “It is clear that the accident was a man-made disaster.”
But no government officials or TEPCO employees have been punished, either politically or administratively. In other words, no one has been held accountable for the nation's worst nuclear accident.
Many Japanese citizens still feel that justice has not been meted out with regard to that harrowing disaster. Many are also concerned that a similar accident may occur again if nobody is held responsible for what happened in 2011.
A second decision by the independent judicial panel of citizens to demand the criminal prosecution of the three former TEPCO executives should be viewed as indicative of the disturbing and disquieting feelings among many citizens.
The system of forced indictment through the judgment of citizens was introduced in 2009, along with the “saiban-in” citizen judge system. Until that time, public prosecutors monopolized the power to decide whether to indict a suspect. The new system is intended to ensure that public opinion is reflected in the process of criminal prosecution, at least to a certain degree.
In reversing public prosecutors’ decision not to indict the suspects on grounds that there is no compelling case for holding them liable for negligence, the panel of citizens made a grave decision to force trials of the three individuals.
The court should, of course, consider carefully and fairly whether the former TEPCO executives should be held liable for the misfortunes of disaster victims from the viewpoint of evidence submitted.
At the same time, one question that needs to be asked is how TEPCO implemented measures to protect the nuclear plant from a possible tsunami and ensure the plant’s safety.
Collectively, the trials will offer a great opportunity to take a fresh look into the accident from a perspective that is different from those of the investigation committees set up by the government and the Diet.
There have not been many opportunities for people to talk about the disaster in public. But the three former TEPCO executives will probably be given opportunities to speak in the courtroom. The court can also order submission of specific pieces of evidence.
Future public debate on issues concerning nuclear power generation will benefit greatly if the trials uncover unknown facts in the process, such as chronological changes in the utility’s decisions concerning safety measures for its nuclear power plants and the ways the government and other public organizations influenced the company’s policy.
The nation’s judiciary has a long history of handing down rulings related to nuclear power generation. But in most of the past cases concerning the construction and operations of nuclear power plants, the courts ruled against opposing local residents.
The question is whether all these court rulings in favor of nuclear power were influenced in any way by the perception that there is no way to stop the expansion of electricity production with atomic energy based on the government’s energy policy.
The judiciary’s attitude to nuclear power generation has also been called into question by the accident.
In considering the criminal liabilities related to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which has caused an unprecedented scale of damage, are the traditional criteria, like “specific predictability,” sufficiently effective?
The trials should prompt the judicial community to have more in-depth debate on this question.
We strongly hope the trials will be conducted in a way that lives up to people’s confidence in the judicial system.
Source: Asahi Shimbun
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/views/editorial/AJ201508010028




Japanese Government Slick Propaganda to Minimize the Fukushima Situation in the eyes of the UN

After reading that article, I believe that this kid will be a tool for the the Japanese Government, which will be using that kid testimony to minimize the desperate extent of the situation in Fukushima, to justify its non evacuation of many people, the financially forced return of the previoulsly evacuees to go back to live in contaminated villages and to promote an illusory criminal reconstruction in the eyes of the world at the UN....She has been coached to that effect.....At least that is the impression this article gives me....

 I must add that to use a victim, a youth, as agent for their propaganda, is pretty slick, sly and devious, on the Japanese government part...

 Poor kid, she is being manipulated without even be aware of it....Sad, disgusting...

"... it is not the entire area of Fukushima Prefecture, but only some regions that people cannot live in. Most of Fukushima is safe to live in."
Unless:

1. The wind blows
2. It rains
3. You eat the food
4. You breathe
"...there is a lot of good news about Fukushima too." Do tell!!!
Then, come back in 20 years and let us know which cancer(s) you have faced, if you have had a child with birth defects...at 16, it is so very easy to manipulate you. You want to go 'home'...it just isn't there anymore.

 

 Ayumi Kikuchi, left, practices the speech she will give at a United Nations event with her English teacher, Fumi Arimura, in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on July 23. She attends the relocated Futaba High School, now operating in the city of Iwaki.

 

Fukushima high school evacuee to share experiences at United Nations

IWAKI, Fukushima Prefecture--A high school student who thought she was only temporarily fleeing her home during the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and remains an evacuee to this day, will address an event at the United Nations headquarters this month.
Ayumi Kikuchi, 16, a former resident of Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, located near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that suffered a triple meltdown, was asked by school officials to give the speech in New York City.
A nonprofit organization that deals with the issues of human rights, health and the environment contacted the prefectural Futaba High School, which now operates out of the nearby city of Iwaki. It invited a student from the prefecture to come and share their experiences of having lived through those trying events and the aftermath.
"At that time, I was a sixth-grader in my elementary school, and we were going to graduate in a few days," Kikuchi says in her speech. "My home was 4 kilometers from the plant. At that time, I didn't understand why we had to leave our home, and I thought we could come back home soon."
However, she has been forced to live in various shelters over the years, including the Saitama Super Arena and one set up at the former Kisai High School in Kazo, Saitama Prefecture.
"I wondered what's going to happen to us (at the time)," she said. She remembered watching the events unfold on the news.
"I went back to my home only once after the accident," she wrote. "There were many houses left collapsed and roads still had cracks. Nothing seemed to have changed since the disaster. However, the inside of my house was totally different from what I remembered because of animal excreta and rain leaking in."
The high school student said she hopes to one day work for the local government to help restore her town to what it once was.
Her school, which has a history of more than 90 years, will close after her class graduates. Four other relocated high schools are also scheduled to close.
"Many graduates are feeling very sorry and regretting that their old school is forced to close even though the school or the students have done nothing wrong themselves," Kikuchi says in her speech.
In her message, Kikuchi will call on people to help one another in times of disaster. She also plans to ask people to share and pass on the memories that result from such devastating events.
"I want people to know about Fukushima's situation accurately," she wrote. "People in other countries may think that Fukushima is uninhabitable and may wonder why people don't flee from Fukushima. In fact, however, it is not the entire area of Fukushima Prefecture, but only some regions that people cannot live in. Most of Fukushima is safe to live in. Also, various movements toward reconstruction have been made, and there is a lot of good news about Fukushima too."
Fumi Arimura, an English teacher at Kikuchi’s school, helped her write her 10-minute speech. Kikuchi leaves for the United States on Aug. 2.
Source: Asahi Shimbun

 

  

Judicial review panel votes to indict ex-Tepco execs

(Left to right) Former Tepco Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former vice presidents Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro. 


 
Three former top executives at Tokyo Electric Power Co. are set to be hauled into court over their alleged responsibility for the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.
The Tokyo No. 5 Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution voted Friday that Tsunehisa Katsumata, chairman of Tepco at the time of the disaster, and two former vice presidents, Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro, should be indicted for professional negligence resulting in death and injury.
The announcement by the panel of citizens came more than four years after the massive tsunami of March 11, 2011, knocked out the critical cooling functions at Tepco’s Fukushima No. 1 plant, leading to three of the six reactors there melting down.
Prosecutors have twice previously decided not to seek such indictments, saying Tepco could not have expected such a massive tsunami to hit the nuclear plant and cripple its critical safety systems.
But on Friday the committee overrode the prosecutors’ decisions for a second time, which will lead to a compulsory indictment of the three Tepco executives. They were all responsible for major disaster prevention planning.
Holding a news conference at the Tokyo District Court, representatives of a group of Fukushima residents and others who have filed criminal complaints against the executives said they were elated.
“I want (the Tepco executives) to tell the truth” during the upcoming trials, said Ruiko Muto.
Muto said many elderly people who evacuated from the radiation-contaminated areas have since died in shelters away from their hometowns, while numerous people still living in Fukushima are being exposed to radiation via contaminated materials from the heavily damaged plant.
Muto said many people outside the prefecture have the impression that the nuclear crisis is over.
“If who should be held responsible is not made clear, (the dead) victims won’t rest in peace,” she added.
Before the catastrophe, Tepco had conducted simulations and concluded that critical facilities at Fukushima No. 1 would be flooded and critically damaged if a major earthquake struck off the Tohoku coast and tsunami of more than 10 meters in height hit the plant.
But prosecutors concluded that it was impossible for Tepco to predict such gigantic tsunami would actually hit the plant, as opinions from quake experts were not established regarding the possibility of such a powerful quake.
The judicial review committee said the Tepco executives were obliged to prepare for a worst-case scenario even if the possibility of such a disaster was considered very small.
The simulations provided a good indication that a major crisis was possible, but the three neglected their obligation to prepare for such an eventuality, the committee concluded in a 30-page document explaining its decision.
The panel pointed out that 44 patients who were forced to evacuate from a hospital located 4.5 km from Fukushima No. 1 died after their health conditions deteriorated because of the move. The committee alleged that their deaths were caused by the meltdown crisis.
Meanwhile, no health damage has so far been confirmed to have been caused by radiation from contaminated materials released from the plant.
The committee said one person who was exposed to radiation from contaminated materials has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, but a causal link with the meltdown disaster has not been established.
The central government is preparing to allow the reactivation of some commercial reactors suspended in the wake of the Fukushima crisis.
Muto said she hopes the findings in the upcoming trials will prompt a change in the national nuclear policy and lead to the abolition of all nuclear power plants.
Source: Japan Times

Nuclear watchdog proposes raising maximum radiation dose to 250 millisieverts

Nuclear plant workers in Japan will be allowed to be exposed to more than twice the current level of radiation in emergency situations, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s Radiation Council.
The radiation exposure limit will be raised from the current 100 millisieverts to 250 millisieverts in emergencies, the radiation council announced in a report released July 30.
The higher level is still only half of the accepted international safety level of 500 millisieverts set by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, an influential independent organization that provides guidelines on radiation protection, for rescue workers in emergency situations at nuclear facilities.
The new cap will be activated from April 2016 after revisions to the nuclear reactor regulatory law and the Industrial Safety and Health Law.
The limit was temporarily raised to 250 millisieverts by the radiation council following the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
The decision was quickly made by the council members through e-mail discussions as the 100 millisieverts limit could have caused a shortage of workers tackling the emergency at the plant. Later, the limit was returned to 100 millisieverts.
Under the revised law, the exposure limit for plant workers will be immediately raised to 250 millisieverts when certain conditions arise, including the risk of radioactive materials leaking from the facility into the surrounding area.
The workers affected will include employees of utility companies and their contractors, inspection officers from the Secretariat of the NRA and other on-field workers.
Of the 174 workers who were exposed to radiation doses more than 100 millisieverts following the Fukushima accident, six were exposed to 250 millisieverts or more.
The radiation council decided that workers are protected if they wear masks and other gear even when exposed to 250 millisieverts. The health damage from acute radiation poisoning below that limit is negligible, it said.
The council’s report calls for nuclear plant operators to carefully explain to workers tackling emergency situations about their tasks and obtain their consent to work in such an environment.
It also requests utility companies to conduct proper training of workers, while one of the council members also called on them to conduct follow-up medical checks to detect cancer and other illnesses.
The report also acknowledges that nuclear plant workers could be required to engage in tasks that cause them to be exposed to more than 250 millisieverts in acute emergency situations.
At Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, which the company aims to restart in August, workers will carry out their tasks with an exposure limit of 100 millisieverts until the maximum limit is raised to 250 millisieverts.
A plant worker who has worked at nuclear facilities for 20 years said he suspects that workers from subcontractors will agree to work under the raised limit.
“The cancer checkups and other measures also sound to me as stopgap efforts to ease our anxiety,” he said.
Source: Asahi Shimbun

Three former TEPCO executives to stand trial - Residents hail indictment decision

video



Three former TEPCO executives to stand trial

Three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company will face mandatory indictment over the March 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Nobody has been held criminally responsible so far for Japan's worst nuclear accident.

The prosecution inquest panel of randomly-selected citizens voted for the indictment on Friday, disagreeing for a 2nd time with prosecutors who had dismissed the complaint filed against the officials. The prosecutors said the officials could not have predicted a quake and tsunami on the scale of the March 11th disasters.

The decision leads to the mandatory indictment of former TEPCO chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former vice presidents Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro for professional negligence resulting in death and injury.

Court-appointed lawyers will act as prosecutors in the trial.

In its decision, the panel said TEPCO should have taken measures to protect the plant from tsunami and flood-triggered serious accidents after it had made a projection of a 15.7-meter tsunami hitting the plant.

The panel said TEPCO could have foreseen that in a worst-case scenario, flooding would result in a massive release of radioactive substances or other severe situations. The panel said that if TEPCO had taken appropriate precautions, a serious accident like the one in March 2011 could have been avoided.

Prosecutors in 2013 dismissed the initial complaints filed by Fukushima residents and others against more than 30 former TEPCO officials for failing to take precautions against major quakes and tsunami.

The case was taken up for reconsideration by the inquest panel, which decided in July last year that the three officials should be indicted.

But prosecutors dismissed the case again in January, sending it back to the inquest panel. 

Source: NHK 


video


 

Residents hail indictment decision

The leader of the residents, Ruiko Muto, has praised the panel's decision.

Muto said she believes a court will determine who was responsible for the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and give a fair judgment.

She said that 110,000 people are still unable to return to their homes. She added that having the former executives face a criminal trial will help prevent a recurrence and create a society in which people can live in peace.

The residents' lawyer, Hiroyuki Kawai, also said that if the former officials had escaped indictment, the real cause of the accident would have been covered up forever.
He expressed hope that the trial will find out more about what caused the nuclear accident.

TEPCO declined to comment on the decision or the criminal complaint that led to it.

But it said in a statement that it wants to renew its heartfelt apology to the people of Fukushima and many others for causing trouble and concern.

The firm said it will do its utmost for compensation, plant decommissioning and decontamination, based on the principle of seeking reconstruction of Fukushima. It added that it is fully resolved to improving the safety of nuclear power plants. 

Source: NHK 
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150731_80.html


Robot probe into No.2 reactor may be delayed

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it may have to postpone plans to send a robot probe into the plant's No.2 reactor due to difficult preparations.

Tokyo Electric Power Company was planning to send a robot into the containment vessel of the No.2 reactor in August. The purpose is to capture video images of molten nuclear fuel for the first time.

The utility assumes the fuel penetrated the reactor core and is inside the containment vessel.

The plan involved using a pipe sticking out of the container as an entry point for the robot. But some concrete blocks are blocking the way and need to be removed.

Workers found that the remote-controlled machinery they wanted to use to remove the blocks cannot operate in some areas of the reactor building due to an eroded floor and other reasons.

TEPCO says it is now considering using chemicals to clear the blocks or developing new machinery to remove the blocks.

Due to these reasons, the utility says the probe may be postponed from August until December or later, in the worst case. 

Source: NHK 
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150731_06.html

Fukushima plant tunnels clear of radioactive water

video




The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it has finished removing highly radioactive water from underground tunnels linked to the reactor buildings.

More than 10,000 tons of highly contaminated water flowed into the tunnels outside the buildings for reactors No.2 and 3. Experts feared that the water might seep into the sea.

The concern led the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, to try and block any more tainted water from entering the tunnels.

The firm has been filling the tunnels with cement to pump out contaminated water since November.

It finished draining the No.2 reactor building's tunnels late last month. The company says it also completed similar work on the tunnels connected to the No.3 reactor building on Thursday.

The firm will continue the work to fill the tunnels with cement until sometime late next month.

The utility initially attempted to freeze radioactive water in sections where the tunnels connect to the reactor buildings. But this did not work.

The government and TEPCO had placed top priority on addressing the highly radioactive water in the tunnels due to a fear that it might badly pollute the sea near the plant. The latest achievement will significantly reduce that risk. 

Source: NHK 
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150731_01.html

Fukushima Unit 3 Seawater Trench Concreting Completed




TEPCO announced that they have completed the concreting of the unit 3 seawater piping trench system. Two vertical shafts are being filled currently to complete the last of this project.

Source: Tepco
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2015/images/handouts_150730_01-e.pdf

Thursday, 30 July 2015

« Welcome to Fukushima » a documentary film by Alain de Halleux

video

An excerpt of the documentary


I have a friend, from Belgium, Alain de Halleux, he is a movie maker. He is quite famous among the french speaking community because many years ago he made an excellent documentary on Chernobyl (in french).
3 years ago, he went to Japan and also to Fukushima, stayed a few months, and shot a documentary titled "Welcome to Fukushima".
That documentary is excellent, because:
1. He is not an amateur cameraman but a professional cameraman
2. He interviewed many people evacuees and non-evacuees, so it brings very well the human angle.
3. This is definitely THE BEST documentary I have seen about Fukushima.
Unfortunately that documentary at present has only been distributed in Japan and in European French speaking countries: Belgium, France, Switzerland. It is in Japanese with French subtitles.
I am thinking that this excellent movie should reach the english-speaking countries, so I am now enquiring to some of my contacts, how to find a way to have this documentary distributed in an english-version (to be made) either on TV channels or on a tour.
I want to find a way to make this movie reach many, it is a unique eye opener on Fukushima, this if well distributed, reaching many people, could help awake many, and make a real difference, all the other documentaries I saw about Fukushima do not have the kind of punch that this one has...
He is also very active in renewable energy....helping a wind energy citizen cooperative in Southern Belgium....
He is also now working on a new documentary, about Taro Yamamoto and his fight against nuclear as an independent elected parlement deputy in Japan, Taro Yamamoto being a key figure in the antinuclear movement in Japan....
If any one of you has any suggestion, or contact to help this documentary to be distributed to a larger public in an english version, please send me an email. Thank you.
herve.courtois@yahoo.com

EDITORIAL: Reflections on 2 years without nuclear power ahead of planned restarts

Japan has survived without atomic energy for almost two years since all of the country’s nuclear power reactors were taken offline in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
The country rode out summers and winters, despite surges in electricity demand for air-conditioning and heating purposes, with no major blackouts.
The triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which threatened the very survival of the Japanese state, has yet to be brought under control.
Opinion polls show that more than half of the general public is opposed to restarting nuclear reactors. The public's desire to keep the reactors offline, even at the cost of inconvenience, is due to the fact that people have learned how dreadful atomic energy can be.
However, the Abe administration is seeking a return to nuclear power. It is preparing to restart Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture in August, and aims eventually to have atomic energy account for 20 percent or more of Japan’s electricity mix in the future.
We oppose any return to nuclear power that comes without serious debate. Japan should make utmost efforts to avoid restarts, while at the same time taking care that doing so will not place an onerous burden on people’s living standards. Our energy needs should be centered on renewable energy sources rather than nuclear power as the primary source of electricity.
POWER DEMAND ALREADY COVERED
The Asahi Shimbun published a series of editorials in 2011 calling for a society free of nuclear power.
We stated that all of Japan’s nuclear reactors should be decommissioned, hopefully in 20 to 30 years, with priority given to aged reactors and high-risk reactors. The reactors to be kept alive should be selected on a “safety first” basis and limited to those necessary from the viewpoint of supply and demand.
We also stated that Japan should do its best to develop and spread the use of renewable energy sources while simultaneously pursuing measures for power saving and energy conservation. Thermal power generation could be strengthened as a stopgap measure, although steps should be sought in the long term so that a departure from nuclear energy does not contribute to global warming.
We also said Japan should push forward with power industry reform to encourage new entrants into the market while moving toward a decentralized energy society where wisdom and consumer choice play a greater role.
Our basic ideas remain the same. But the situation has changed over the last four years.
The most dramatic development is that the amount of electricity generated by nuclear reactors is now zero.
Nuclear reactors were up and running across Japan four years ago. They were subsequently taken offline one after another for regular inspections. Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture was reactivated temporarily, but no single nuclear reactor has been brought back online since September 2013.
Despite concerns that were raised, no serious power shortages occurred. Emergency power sources were raked up to stave off a crisis on some occasions, but there has always been sufficient supply to cover demand, partly because the practice of saving power has taken root in the public mind, and partly also because capacities were enhanced at thermal power plants and regional utilities cooperated in supplying power to each other.
But it is too early to say that we have a solid foundation for keeping the number of active nuclear reactors at zero.
The clustered siting of power plants, whereby electricity is sent from large-scale power stations to faraway areas with heavy power consumption areas, has remained unchanged after the nuclear disaster. Systemic vulnerability is still an issue. And there is always the danger of unforeseen circumstances unfolding if a key thermal power plant were to malfunction during peak power demand.
SYSTEMIC VULNERABILITY PERSISTS
The current situation, where thermal power accounts for 90 percent of Japan’s electricity, could hardly be called sustainable. As long as Japan relies on imports for its energy sources, the country will remain permanently exposed to the risk of variations in foreign exchange rates and prices.
We are also left to reflect on the extent to which the general public and the Japanese economy could tolerate additional increases in electricity rates. We have to avoid letting rate hikes, without detailed studies, have a serious impact on people’s living standards and general economic activity.
The risk of a serious impact on people’s lives has yet to be reduced to zero. Given the situation, it is difficult to totally rule out the option of restarting nuclear reactors as a last resort.
However, decisions on restarting individual nuclear reactors must be made with extreme care.
What kind of disadvantage could be averted by activating a particular nuclear reactor? Will a nuclear restart still be necessary after power demand has been covered by a mutual supply of electricity over broad areas? Persuasive explanations should be available from viewpoints such as these.
The nuclear reactor in question must be safe enough from the viewpoint of its geographical location. Means must also be available to allow residents of adjacent areas to evacuate in an emergency. These are obvious preconditions for a nuclear restart.
The fact that we have got along without nuclear power has correspondingly heightened the hurdles for a restart.
Japan, under these circumstances, must develop renewable energy sources as quickly as possible and pursue a shift to a distributed system of electric power. Indispensable to that end are policy initiatives for guiding a switch to the new direction.
The central government should set a pathway for reform and focus its resources on upgrades on the power grid, disposal of nuclear waste and other efforts. There should also be organizational arrangement for pursuing the decommissioning of nuclear reactors, assistance to local governments that will lose revenue from the nuclear plants they host, and transitional measures for business operators associated with nuclear power generation.
FUKUSHIMA DISASTER THE STARTING POINT
The Abe administration, however, is heading in the opposite direction.
It initially said it would reduce Japan’s dependence on nuclear energy as much as possible, but then changed course to maintaining nuclear plants, and left it all up to the Nuclear Regulation Authority to make all decisions on the safety of nuclear reactors ahead of any go-aheads for restarts.
The NRA is tasked only with screening procedures to ensure the safe operation of nuclear power plants. It is not in any way responsible for the entire policy.
The administration told local governments hosting nuclear plants that the central government will be responsible, but what precisely this entails remains to be seen. A mountain of unanswered questions remain about the Sendai nuclear plant, such as measures to ensure the safety of local residents and measures against potential volcanic eruptions.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster should be the starting point for reflecting on the issue of nuclear power generation.
We should think about ways to make the most of the fact that no nuclear reactor is active now.
Source : Asahi Shimbun
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/views/editorial/AJ201507300035

Discharge Canal Contamination Rising in Fukushima Daiichi

Tepco reports that contamination levels in the unit 1 discharge canal has been rising significantly....


*Cesium 137 was at 91,000 bq/liter Beta radiation was at 110,000 bq/liter Both readings taken July 24th.
*Cesium 137 was at 79,000 bq/liter Beta radiation was at 94,000 bq/liter Both readings taken July 22th.

*Cesium 137 was at 28,000 bq/liter Beta radiation was at 36,000 bq/liter Both readings taken July 15th.

*Cesium 137 was at 29,000 bq/liter Beta radiation was at 37,000 bq/liter Both readings taken July 13th.

*Cesium 137 was at 20,000 bq/liter Beta radiation was at 26,000 bq/liter Both readings taken July 10th.

Tepco also admitted that subdrain pit #16 has seen a rise in contamination since May

Why either of these locations are now rising does not yet have a definitive cause. Work to concrete in the sea front trenches at the plant could be pushing contaminated water to take other routes. The freezing in progress of the frozen wall could be having an impact on the migration of contaminated water.

Removal of debris in reactor 3 spent fuel storage to start

video 



Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Sunday will start the removal of a fuel exchanger inside the Number 3 reactor building. The 20-ton device fell into the fuel pool during the 2011 disaster.

The device has since been a major obstacle for workers at Tokyo Electric Power Company in the start of removal of extremely radioactive rubble left in the storage pool. 566 fuel rods remain inside the spent fuel pool.

Workers cannot directly take part in the process as the site is highly radioactive. The work will require 2 remote-controlled cranes that will lift and remove the device, which is some 14 meters long.

The work poses a challenge as spent fuel may suffer damage if the device falls back into the pool during removal.

Workers accidentally dropped a 400-kilogram device into the pool last August. Though none of the rods suffered damage, removal was postponed for 4 months.

TEPCO has been preparing for the removal by developing equipment tailored to grip the device. Cushions have also been placed on top of the fuel rods.

TEPCO officials say all other work to decommission the plant will be suspended while the removal takes place as a hydrogen explosion in 2011 left the pool without a roof.

Source : NHK
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150730_05.html

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Fukushima buildings sinking — Structures decaying, getting more unstable




Tepco handout (pdf), summary translation by Fukushima Diary, Jul 21, 2015 (emphasis added): Tepco announced Fukushima plant area has irregularly sunk since 311… The report reads Reactor 1 turbine building sank by 730 mm [2.40 ft], Reactor 2 by 725 mm, Reactor 3 by 710 mm, Reactor 4 by 712 mm.
IAEA Headquarters (pdf), 2015: We know that the buildings will decay and become less stable… there is the dilemma of 1) gathering more information… and 2) acting earlier and maybe not having enough information to make good decisions.
IAEA Nuclear Energy Series (pdf), 2014: The impact of the salt on the corrosion of structural materials had to be assessed and measures taken accordingly to retain integrity.
Lake Barrett, Tepco adviser (pdf): Reactor building structure has likely been degraded… Explosions Weaken RB Structure… Aftershock May Cause Building Failure — Issues: … Aftershock Structural Integrity… — Safety Challenges: … Containment Degradation
US National Research Council, 2014: Substantial structural damage occurred… particularly Units 3 and 4… The explosions [were] extremely destructive. The complex structure of the lower part of the reactor buildings is well suited to cause flame accelerationIronically, having a strong structure with multiple compartments can greatly enhance the damagethis result, although not intuitive, is now well established.
Kazuhiro Suzuki, IRID managing director (pdf), 2014: Estimation of structural strength decline by sea water inflow; Evaluating device/structural integrity and remaining life…
Sugiura Machine Design Office: We obtained results [using a] flying robot. We already have started to work on plant deterioration investigation with major manufacturer.
IRID 2014 Annual Symposium (pdf):
  • p. 94: Assessing structural integrity of RPV/PCV… data on corrosion rate will be collected… to evaluate aseismatic strength, taking into consideration long-term wall thinning by corrosion… stainless steel [components] may already be cracked
  • p. 95: Overall structural integrityBuilding behavior analysis (building damage simulation)… Influence of corrosion [and] high-temperature strength deterioration
  • p. 98: Structural integrity of PCV structures… Corrosion wall thinning… Estimated thinning of Unit 1 dry well [and] suppression chamber… Generated stress… of the suppression chamber support structures was higher [than allowable]reinforcement (such as burying the torus chamber with cement materials, etc.) will be studied
  • p. 99: Structural integrity of RPV pedestalinfluences of corrosion by molten fuel debris are not taken into account and further study is needed
Shunichi Suzuki, TEPCO, IRID 2014 Annual Symposium:
  • Part 6: “One more important point I need to cite is to assure the stability of the site… because of the presence of the ocean water, corrosion could take placepreventative measures against the corrosion need to be taken.
  • Part 85-87: “Next is assessing structural integrity of RPV and PCV [and] get qualitative data of corrosion rate. There is sea water injected so corrosion may gradually proceed… To be prepared against future possible earthquakes we have to evaluate whether this is tolerant or not… We must consider corrosion.”
  • Part 91: “PCV [integrity] is generally alright, but in some parts — for instance the column support of the suppression chamber — it [doesn't meet standards].”
  • Part 92: “This is the pedestal of RPV… The molten debris may be causing corrosion.” 
 Source:
Status of R&D Projects Related to Debris Fuel emoval
http://www.svpcloud.jp/systems/st/contents/01193rly/

Tepco's Quarterly Profit Triples Subsidized by The Japanese Govement at the Expenses of the Taxpayers

Hey Tepco. You have made steady profits since 2012 when the Taxpayers bailed you out. How about you spend that money and DO something about your 3 melting reactors? Or give it to the hundreds of thousands of people whos lives you have totally destroyed.
No. That would be the proper thing to do. Can't have that. 

Tepco is making steady profits since 2012 while still receiving money from the Japanese Government, shouldered by the Japanese Taxpayers:

 

Japan approves increase in Fukushima compensation to $57 billion

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan on Tuesday approved an increase in compensation payments for the Fukushima crisis to 7.07 trillion yen ($57.18 billion), as tens of thousands of evacuees remain in temporary housing more than four years after the disaster.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), the operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station, will receive 950 billion yen more in public funds on top of the 6.125 trillion agreed earlier, the utility and the government said.
Source: http://news.yahoo.com/japan-approves-increase-fukushima-compensation-57-billion-093113854--finance.html

Tepco’s Quarterly Profit Triples as Fuel Prices Plunge

Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the wrecked Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, said first-quarter operating profit tripled as a drop in fuel prices helped cut costs.
Tepco, as Japan’s biggest utility is known, posted an operating profit of 228.3 billion yen ($1.85 billion) for the three months ended June 30, compared with 70.7 billion yen a year ago, the company said in a statement Wednesday.
The company benefited from a more than 45 percent plunge in liquefied natural gas prices after crude oil fell to a record low. More than a third of Tepco’s power generation capacity comes from LNG, compared with 14 percent from oil and 8 percent from coal.
Factoring in the impact of a weaker yen, the plunge in oil prices alone boosted current profit by 276 billion yen, Tepco said.
“With the drop in the price of crude and a minimization of costs, the operating profit is in the black for the second year in a row,” the company said in the statement.

Fuel Spending

Tepco spent 35 percent less on LNG purchases in the first quarter, while consumption of the fuel fell by 5 percent. The company’s spending on crude oil rose by 7.5 percent, while its use was up 25 percent, the company said.
The utility’s purchases of coal rose 4.9 percent to 1.75 million metric tons, resulting in a 3.9 percent increase in spending on the fuel.
Indonesia was Tepco’s largest crude supplier last year, while Australia was the top coal provider.
Total sales dipped 1.1 percent to 1.55 trillion yen as the company generated 6 percent less capacity in the quarter.
Japan’s power consumption dropped 1.8 percent in the quarter from a year earlier, the fifth straight quarterly decline, to 189 terawatt hours, according to industry figures. That’s the lowest quarterly use since 2000.
With Tepco struggling to win approval to restart its nuclear reactors, the drop in fuel costs provides relief.
In June, the price of LNG imported into Japan dropped to $7.60 per million British thermal units, the lowest level in two years. Power utilities with a high ratio of LNG will see an increase in profits, Syusaku Nishikawa, an analyst at Daiwa Securities Co., said by e-mail.
Tepco’s first-quarter net income was 203.3 billion yen, compared with a net loss of 173 billion yen a year ago. The company’s net income is influenced by costs related to the payout to those affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident more than four years ago.
Source:  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-29/tepco-s-first-quarter-profit-triples-as-fuel-prices-cut-costs


Intensive Focus on Profits Amplifies Financial and Operational Risks

The nuclear complex is organized around money and the seduction of absolute power over matter. The profit motive seems greater today than the latter organizing principle, as illustrated by relentless pressures on profitability at Toshiba, a company that includes nuclear engineering in its portfolio:


Toshiba execs, staff say they were under pressure to achieve high profits http://mainichi.jp/english/english/features/news/20150722p2a00m0na011000c.html

Current and former executives and high-ranking employees at the Toshiba group say its various divisions had been under enormous pressure from top board members to achieve unreasonably high profit goals, forcing them to pad their profits.

"I never want to go back to such a life," said a man, who once served as president of a subsidiary of Toshiba Corp. that is under fire for padding profits through accounting irregularities....

A report released by a third-party panel that investigated the profit overstating scandal describes in detail how Tanaka and other top-ranking executives set unreasonably high profit goals -- called a "challenge" -- for each division and subsidiary and forced those responsible to pad their profits through accounting irregularities....

The crisis at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant that broke out in March 2011 also contributed to Toshiba executives' excessive pursuit of profits.

Toshiba's nuclear plant division, which executives regarded as a key division that would grow steadily, suffered a setback following the outbreak of the disaster. "We had thought that the division's future would be rosy but it began to take a thorny path," a high-ranking official of Tohiba says.
Majia here: The relentless pursuit of profit (i.e., greed) infuses the entire nuclear industry.

Today, aging nuclear plants are being "up rated" and having their lives extended far beyond design specifications so that utilities and government do not have to face the problems and prohibitive costs of nuclear decommissioning.
Risks from accidents, particularly from uprating (U.S. is increasing nuclear power through uprating.( see Alan Zarembo and Ben Welsh, Los Angeles Times April 17, 2011,http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/17/local/la-me-uprates-20110418).
Tiny uprates have long been common. But nuclear watchdogs and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's own safety advisory panel have expressed concern over larger boosts — some by up to 20% — that the NRC began approving in 1998. Twenty of the nation's 104 reactors have undergone these "extended power uprates."

...In an uprated reactor, more neutrons bombard the core, increasing stress on its steel shell. Core temperatures are higher, lengthening the time to cool it during a shutdown. Water and steam flow at higher pressures, increasing corrosion of pipes, valves and other parts...

"This trend is, in principle, detrimental to the stability characteristics of the reactor, inasmuch as it increases the probability of instability events and increases the severity of such events, if they were to occur," the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, which is mandated by Congress to advise the NRC, has warned.
Majia here: Aging nuclear plants are routinely spewing tritium into the environment:
‘75% of nuke sites leaking tritium, AP report finds Half have parts exceeding drinking water standard’, Http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2011/jun/26/75-of-nuke-sites-leaking-tritium-ap-report-finds/?print=1
Nuclear accidents are far more likely than past predictions and human greed is increasing the likelihood of accidents every day.
Source: Majia's Blog
http://majiasblog.blogspot.fr/2015/07/intensive-focus-on-profits-amplifies.html

Tepco started removing the cover of Reactor 1 building



According to Tepco, they started removing the main part of cover of Reactor 1 on 7/28/2015.
They announced that there was no significant change in dust monitoring data and radiation monitoring post readings.
The former Fukushima worker “Happy11311″ commented on Twitter that the high level of contamination might be retained on the ground floor with rain after they take the cover away.





Sources:
http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2015/images/handouts_150728_07-j.pdf
http://photo.tepco.co.jp/date/2015/201507-j/150728-01j.html
https://twitter. com/Happy11311/status/625634149794123776
http://fukushima-diary.com/2015/07/photo-tepco-started-removing-the-cover-of-reactor-1-building/

Taiwan FDA cracks down on import from Fukushima

Taiwan has announced that those companies that falsified origin labels to bypass importation regulations on Japanese foods will be banned from future importation. They could also face $100,000 USD fines for their law violations.

It was also mentioned by the same source that Hong Kong is currently one of the largest importers of Japanese food products
.
Source: Food Navigator Asia
http://www.foodnavigator-asia.com/Policy/Taiwan-FDA-cracks-down-on-imports-from-Fukushima

Removal starts of protective shroud over reactor at Fukushima No. 1

Tepco on Tuesday began dismantling the temporary shroud covering the wrecked reactor 1 building at the Fukushima No 1 nuclear plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. installed the cover in October 2011 to keep radioactive materials from dispersing.

Workers used a crane Tuesday to remove one of the six panels that form the shroud’s roof. Each panel is about 7 meters wide and about 42 meters long.

As the panel came off, the upper part of the reactor building could be seen for the first time since December, when part of the cover was temporarily removed. The building’s exterior was shattered in a hydrogen explosion in March 2011, in the first few days of the crisis.

Tepco plans to complete removing the shroud in fiscal 2016 and to clear debris and install equipment for the sensitive process of removing the 392 spent fuel assemblies currently lying in the building’s storage pool. That procedure is expected to begin in fiscal 2020.

Takao Kikori, a senior nuclear safety official in the Fukushima Prefectural Government, called for care to be taken in the dismantling work to ensure the safety of local people.

The utility plans to remove the second panel in early August or later and complete the removal of all six panels by the end of this year. Later it will remove the side panels and install windbreaker sheets ahead of clearing the debris.

The cover was installed as an emergency measure to keep radioactive dust from scattering. Tepco initially planned to dismantle it in fiscal 2013 or 2014 but was forced to delay the work to take additional dust control and other measures.

Source: Japan Times
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/28/national/removal-starts-protective-shroud-reactor-fukushima-no-1/#.VbelrPmFSM9

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

About the Fukushima's Evacuees Situation


 

Fukushima has a population of a little above 2 millions people.
Out of f which 118,862 have evacuated : 73,077 within the prefecture, 45,735 outside the prefecture, and current adresses unknown 50,


Four years after an earthquake and tsunami touched off the nuclear meltdown, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pressing to lift evacuation orders by March 2017 and cut off compensation to victims of the disaster by 2018. The move would allow—and some say force—tens of thousands of refugees to go back to their homes.
The pro-nuclear prime minister says that the move, proposed in June, is aimed at speeding up Fukushima's "reconstruction."



Under the national government guidelines, residents in government-ordered evacuation zones and "specific spots recommended for evacuation," where radiation dosage is regionally high, are entitled to 100,000 yen each a month under TEPCO's compensation for mental distress.
According to a partial estimate - there is no total public estimate of the cost of Fukushima disaster so far - but a partial estimate says it’s about $100 billion. Sixty percent of that has been spent for compensation measures. So compensating people for their loss of land and jobs is very expensive to the government and since the government has bailed out the company that ran the Fukushima reactors it’s basically now the government that is liable.
Tokyo's preparing to declare some parts of the evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, a safe place to live. Tokyo wants people back in the area as a matter of reducing the overall cost of the disaster, However environmentalists warn many areas still show radiation levels 20 times the globally accepted limit.



I don’t think it is possible to clean up in the real sense of the word, meaning that you take away the added radioactivity that has been contaminating the soil, the roofs, everything. It’s impossible. So what you can do is you can reduce the radioactive contamination in some of the areas. You can take off soil; you can decontaminate what has been done by water sprayed. But keep in mind that 80 percent of Japan is mountains and in this area as well there is a lot of mountains, there is a lot of dense forest, there is absolutely no way even to slightly decontaminate that region. So you will not have a stable situation of contamination but it will move all the time and a new radiation will wash down from the mountains and forests into the other lands.


A number of opinion polls, surveys have shown that the percentage that is decided to go back might be around a fifth of all people evacuated, many people are still undecided and about half decided not to go back. People have to imagine - besides the radiation situation - what are they going back to. We should not forget that many of the homes in Japan are made of wood and they are basically in extremely bad shape and would have to be completely redone. There is not much to go back to and on top of it there is the radiation issue. There is also the issue of going back to their homes but what about their neighbors, what about collectivity, what about the services? So there are all kinds of other social issues besides the pure health issue.


Prime Minister Abe would like the people of Japan to believe that they are decontaminating vast areas of Fukushima to levels safe enough for people to live in. The reality is that this is a policy doomed to failure. The forests of Fukushima prefecture (80% of the land) are a vast stock of radioactivity that will remain both a direct hazard and source of potential recontamination for hundreds of years. It’s impossible to decontaminate.


The elimination of compensation would effectively force people back into an environment that is dangerous for their health.
Stripping nuclear victims of their already inadequate compensation, which may force them to have to return to unsafe, highly radioactive areas for financial reasons, amounts to economic coercion. Let’s be clear: this is a political decision by the Abe Government, not one based on science, data, or public health.



Residents across Japan have staged protests and filed lawsuits to block nuclear restarts, and polls show that, in the aftermath of the 2011 disaster, a clear majority of the Japanese public opposes nuclear power. In addition, surveys reveal low public confidence in the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Co.—the company behind the Fukushima Daiichi plant that continues to release radiation into the ecosystem.
Despite public opposition, Abe is aggressively pursuing a return to nuclear power. Earlier this month, Abe's Liberal Democratic Party revealed that it aims to have 20 percent of the country's electricity supplied by nuclear power by 2030. 



Over four years after the triple reactor core meltdowns and exploded containment buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the majority of the Japanese public has remained opposed to any nuclear restart. The country has been completely nuclear-free for nearly two years, thanks in large part to significant public opposition, in spite of the massive pressure from nuclear utilities and the Abe government on local city governments.
However, these utilities are massively powerful and the Abe government is wholly in bed with them.


In an effort to reduce public opposition, Abe has been pushing forward the pro-nuclear agenda to 'normalize' a nuclear disaster. If the public can be convinced that less than five years after the worst nuclear disaster in a generation, citizens can go home and return to life the way it was before the disaster – with no additional health risks – then that is a powerful argument against the majority of Japanese citizens who oppose  nuclear reactor restarts.
The effort to minimize the impact of the disaster on the nuclear industry has been aided by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an agency charged with the promotion of nuclear energy in its charter. The IAEA has sought to downplay the radiological risks to the population since the early days in 2011.  In fact, it produced two documents that can be said to have laid the foundation and justification for Abe’s current policy of de facto forced resettlement.
The reality is this myth making requires that the people of Fukushima prefecture be the sacrificial lambs for the nuclear industry. This is not only wholly unjust, but is a violation of their human rights.



After all, this is not the confusion that ensues after a nuclear disaster. This is a thought-out plan of forcing people back into their heavily contaminated former homes, no matter what the cost – both in wasteful, ineffective decontamination of these areas and in human health risks.
Compounding the gross injustice of the Abe Government’s forced resettlement policy, by focusing on creating a myth of a return to normalcy – and therefore investing vast amounts in expensive and futile decontamination – it is therefore utterly neglecting the contaminated areas that were never evacuated. Rather than addressing this urgent need to reduce the radiation risks to these populations, whom are currently living in contaminated areas, the government is more interested in deceiving the public in Japan and globally by creating illusions.


What is clear is that the damage done to the people of Fukushima prefecture, and especially Iitate, is irreversible and irreparable. Their entire communities and way of life were destroyed by the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, with no prospect for a safe return in the foreseeable future.
To keep the victims of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in limbo, many crammed into tiny temporary housing cubicles, for nearly five years is inhumane. To force these citizens back into such heavily contaminated areas via the economic leverage the Government holds over them is a gross iniquity. And for the International Atomic Energy Agency to assist the Japanese Government in the propaganda war being waged on Fukushima victims not only undermines whatever credibility it may have, but amounts to it being an accomplice in a crime against the people of Japan.

Sources:
Fukushima nuclear disaster: ‘Radiation will wash down from mountains, forests into other lands’
http://www.rt.com/op-edge/310595-fukushima-nuclear-radiation-area/#.VbFcSy3oBmA.facebook
20 μSv/h still detected in Fukushima city
http://fukushima-diary.com/2015/07/video-20-%CE%BCsvh-still-detected-in-fukushima-city/

Revenir ou pas, le dilemme des évacués de Fukushima
http://www.liberation.fr/monde/2015/07/21/revenir-ou-pas-le-dilemme-des-evacues-de-fukushima_1351224

Japan Accused of Coercing Fukushima Refugees to Return to Unsafe Homes
Greenpeace: "The forests of Iitate are a vast stock of radioactivity that will remain both a direct hazard and source of potential recontamination for hundreds of years. It’s impossible to decontaminate."
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/07/21/japan-accused-coercing-fukushima-refugees-return-unsafe-homes

Japanese Government – aided by the IAEA – puts nuclear victims at risk with forced resettlement scheme
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/nuclear-reaction/Fukushima-nuclear-victims-forced-resettlement-Iitate/blog/53584/

Press Release: Greenpeace investigation exposes failure of Fukushima decontamination program
http://www.greenpeace.org/japan/ja/news/press/2015/pr20150721/20150721-Press-Release-Greenpeace-investigation-exposes-failure-of-Fukushima-decontamination-program-/