Blog Archive

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Fisheries ‘shocked’ at silence over water leak at wrecked Fukushima No. 1 plant




Fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture slammed Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Wednesday after it emerged that water containing cesium and other radioactive isotopes has been draining into the Pacific near the Fukushima No. 1 plant and that Tepco did nothing to prevent it despite learning of the leak last May.

“I don’t understand why (Tepco) kept silent even though they knew about it. Fishery operators are absolutely shocked,” Masakazu Yabuki, chief of the Iwaki fisheries cooperative, said at a meeting with Tepco officials.

Local fishermen have already given Tepco approval to dump groundwater into the ocean before it becomes tainted, to reduce the volume of water stored in tanks at the site. The operator is now doing this, pumping water from wells, monitoring it and piping it into the ocean.

The latest incident threatens to delay a second round of approval that Tepco wants the fishermen to provide.

The utility admitted Tuesday it failed to disclose leaks of rainwater containing radioactive substances from a drainage ditch at the stricken plant even though it was aware of high radiation in the water last spring.

The ditch receives runoff from the roof of the No. 2 reactor building, which is highly contaminated with radioactive substances such as cesium.

Tepco has said it recorded 29,400 becquerels of radioactive cesium per liter in water pooled on the rooftop.

The water also contained 52,000 becquerels of beta-ray-emitting radioactive substances such as strontium-90. It also detected some 1,050 becquerels of radioactive cesium and 1,500 becquerels of beta ray-emitting radioactive materials per liter near an outlet leading to the sea.

Tepco said there is no major change in the concentration of radioactive substances in seawater it sampled about 1 km from the drainage outlet.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Tepco reported water contaminated with high levels of radiation was flowing into the ocean at the plant’s port through another drainage ditch.

Yuji Moriyama, a Tepco spokesman said the utility did not disclose the information because there is no evidence of environmental impact.

“We were aware that the levels of radioactive materials around the drainage ditch were higher than other places,” Moriyama said, adding that they have been investigating the sources of contamination since last spring.

Source: Japan Times
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/02/25/national/tepco-admits-failed-disclose-cesium-tainted-water-leaks-since-april/#.VO4-Cy4bKKG

Fukushima cleanup fails to convince as just 10 to 20% of evacuees seek return


February 25, 2015

Less than one-fifth of evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear disaster say they want to return to their homes, despite government efforts to speed up reconstruction in areas with lower radiation levels.

The finding came from a survey by the Reconstruction Agency conducted between August and October last year that covered about 7,100 evacuee households in Namie; 2,400 in Futaba; 4,000 in Okuma; and 5,600 in Tomioka.

Between 51 percent and 60 percent of the households responded to the poll, including those living outside Fukushima Prefecture.

The four towns, all situated near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, are divided into three zones based on annual radiation dosage levels: “difficult-to-return zones” with 50 millisieverts or more; “no-residence zones” between 20 and 50 millisieverts; and “zones being prepared for lifting of evacuation order,” with 20 millisieverts or less.

The central government has placed priority on decontaminating and reconstructing infrastructure in the latter zones to enable residents to return to their homes.

However, the survey showed that just 19.4 percent of evacuee households from “zones being prepared for lifting of evacuation order” in Namie wanted to return, while 14.7 percent of those in the zones in Tomioka felt the same.

Among evacuees from no-residence zones, 16.6 percent of households from Namie and 11.1 percent from Tomioka said they plan to return home when they are allowed.

Among those evacuated from difficult-to-return zones, 17.5 percent of households from Namie and 11.8 percent from Tomioka said they hope to resettle in their homes some day.

About 80 percent of all households in Namie and 70 percent of those in Tomioka are from no-residence zones and "zones being prepared for lifting of evacuation order."

Still, even if the government lifts the evacuation order for these areas, only a handful of evacuees are likely to return, which would crimp revitalization plans for the towns.

Meanwhile, 32.4 percent of households evacuated from no-residence zones in Okuma, which cohosts the crippled plant with Futaba, said they want to return home.

The higher figure reflects preferential construction by the central government and town office of key facilities to promote the town's reconstruction, spurring hope among residents to return.

Decontamination work and restoration of a local highway route are also nearing an end in Okuma.
However, just 3 percent of Okuma residents are from no-residence zones, while the rest are from difficult-to-return zones.

Source: Asahi Shimbun
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201502250050

Tepco covered-up an ongoing leak into the sea since last year April 2014


 February 24, 2015

Tepco admits that it failed to disclose a leak since last year April 2014.
Unit 2′s roof and downspouts have been draining directly out to sea since the disaster. Water found on unit 2′s roofs was highly radioactive with 52,000 bq/liter on one roof

TEPCO did attempt to manage this by throwing down bags of zeolite at the downspout entrance and again at the drainage canal exits. Plans submitted to IRID for a drainage canal filter system called for a much more sophisticated system that would have forced any water leaving these drainage canals through a series of filters.

Zeolite bags were also placed around the entrance to the downspouts on the building roofs. Radiation readings in the downspout water was significantly lower than the water on the roof. A filter that forces all outgoing water through the filter media would have at least worked to more effectively filter water.

Source: Tepco
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2015/images/handouts_150224_01-e.pdf

German Language Reports on continuing Contamination

German News organizations are also reporting on the continuing contamination reported in entry More Water Woes Tainted water leaking into sea from roof of Fukushima plant.

This is an international issue; German Reports confirm TEPCO "tepid" and slow in resolving leaks of highly radioactive water from the roof of the plant:
Alarm after the release of Radioactive Water:
Fukushima aktuell: Alarm nach Austritt von radioaktivem Wasser: [http://www.spreadnews.de/fukushima-aktuell-alarm-nach-austritt-von-radioaktivem-wasser/1145262/] by Jens Prol
Report notes TEPCO has known of problem since last April
Fukushima aktuell: Radioaktives Wasser sorgt weiterhin für Probleme: [http://www.spreadnews.de/fukushima-aktuell-radioaktives-wasser-sorgt-weiterhin-fuer-probleme/1145294/] by Jens Prol
These reports tell that the
a; the Fukushima plant is still releasing highly radioactive contaminants into the ocean. and
b; the authorities at Fukushima are making a pretense of fixing problems.

More Water Woes Tainted water leaking into sea from roof of Fukushima plant

[snip]
TOKYO —
The operator of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant said on Tuesday it had found a pool of highly contaminated water on the roof of a plant building and that it had probably leaked into the sea through a gutter when it rained.
The finding comes four years after a massive earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc’s Fukushima reactors, and 1-1/2 years after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assured the International Olympic Committee that radiation leaks at the plant were “under control”.
TEPCO said it has been aware since last spring that radiation levels in water running in one of the plant gutters rise when it rains but had confirmed the source of the contamination only on Tuesday.
[end snip]
more JT:

Sunday, 22 February 2015

7,230,000 Bq/m3 of all β nuclide leaked from drain to the sea / “Contamination level suddenly jumped up”


On 2/22/2015, Tepco announced the radiation level suddenly jumped up in the plant area drain to let it flow to the sea.
According to Tepco, 2 radiation monitors detected the rapid increase of all β nuclide density (to include Strontium-90) around 10:00AM.
The indicated radiation level was 5,050,000 〜 5,630,000 Bq/m3.
It made Tepco check the potential leakage of the contaminated water tanks upstream and contaminated water transferring system, but they did not shut down the drain outlet for nearly 3 hours for some reason.
Extremely high level of all β nuclide was detected from seawater near the outlet, which was 3,000,000 Bq/m3. The contaminated water flowed to the sea.

The highest density detected by the monitor was 7,230,000 Bq/m3, which was 10 〜 100 times much as usual.

After all, Tepco found no leakage from contaminated water related facility upstream. There is a possibility that highly contaminated groundwater moved and flowed to the drain.
Currently they are collecting the water from drain by vacuum truck.

http://www.tepco.co.jp/cc/press/2015/1248294_6818.html
http://www.tepco.co.jp/cc/press/2015/1248296_6818.html
http://www.tepco.co.jp/cc/press/2015/1248297_6818.html
http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/fukushima-np/roadmap/images/l140616_04-j.pdf

Source: Fukushima Diary
http://fukushima-diary.com/2015/02/7230000-bqm3-%CE%B2-nuclide-leaked-drain-sea-contamination-level-suddenly-jumped/

Strontium-90 levels spike alarmingly at Fukushima No. 1 plant




The Nuclear Regulation Authority said Sunday that an alarm went off at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant signaling high radioactivity levels in drainage ditches.

According to the NRA and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., the first alarm sounded at around 10 a.m., and another alarm 10 minutes later indicated much higher levels. Officials said contaminated water may have been discharged into the ditches.

The levels of beta ray-emitting substances, such as strontium-90, measured 5,050 to 7,230 becquerels per liter of water between 10:20 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. Tepco requires radioactivity levels of groundwater at the plant discharged into the sea to remain below 5 becquerels.

Since the drainage ditches are connected to the port of the No. 1 plant, the NRA has instructed Tepco to shut the gates there, officials said.

Tepco confirmed that no leaks from tanks containing radioactive water were found, but said it was investing further.

Source: Japan Times
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/02/22/national/strontium-90-levels-spike-alarmingly-at-fukushima-no-1-plant/#.VOoTGy4bKKG

Fukushima radioactive contamination sets off alarm



The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it has detected high levels of radioactive substances in a drainage channel on the plant's premises on Sunday. The Tokyo Electric Power Company is investigating the cause.

TEPCO says the plant's alarm system went off around 10 AM. It showed a rise in radioactivity in the channel that leads to a nearby port.

Measurements showed that levels of beta-ray emitting substances, which are not detected under normal circumstances, had risen to up to 7,230 Becquerels per liter.

The figure is 10 times higher than when rain causes the level to rise temporarily.

The utility suspects that contaminated water in the channel may have leaked into the port.

It has suspended all operations to transfer contaminated water and closed a gate of the channel by the port.

The drainage channel used to be connected to a section of coast beyond the port. TEPCO rerouted it after a series of leaks in 2013.

The company says the water level in a tank that contains contaminated water remains unchanged, showing no signs of leakage, and drain valves that keep water from leaking near the tanks remain closed.

The utility is investigating the cause of the rise of radioactivity in the channel.
Source: NHK
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150222_18.html

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Saturday, 21 February 2015

Inside Fukushima: ABC tours crippled power plant as Japan prepares to restart nuclear industry Video


[snip]

Inside Fukushima: ABC tours crippled power plant as Japan prepares to restart nuclear industry

Video

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-18/japan-prepares-to-restart-their-nuclear-power-program/6142528




....
Entry to closed areas would lead to instant death
Reactors 1, 2 and 3 were strictly off limits, and looking from about 500 metres away the area was clearly deserted, with cars and equipment abandoned.
Removing the molten fuel from these reactors will be an enormous challenge as workers cannot enter because it would lead to instant death.
Mr Matsui admitted they did not know the extent of the problems.
“We do not know [the] exact situation in detail,” he said.
“Fuel has been melted down but nobody has seen it … We need to develop robotic technology with help from around the world to know the real situation.”
The only way TEPCO can control the meltdowns in 1, 2 and 3 is to pump water in to cool them, but the water becomes highly radioactive and mixes with the massive amount of groundwater that flows into the reactors from the surrounding hills.
This is TEPCO’s most urgent problem – every day it has to deal with more than 500,000 litres of radioactive water.
Standing in a high position, the whole 3.5-kilometre site could be seen filling up with massive storage tanks.
The looming crisis is lack of space and where to put the water, and TEPCO is scrambling for solutions.
Officials want to build an ice wall around the crippled reactors to stop the groundwater entering, but that is untested technology.
Locals distrust TEPCO, say future is ‘hopeless’
.....


[end snip]

read more:

http://nuclear-news.net/2015/02/20/australian-reporter-tours-crumbling-fukushima-nuclera-plant/

Thursday, 19 February 2015

A Troubling Spike, Infant Deaths in Alaska: a Fukushima Effect?

February 19, 2015
by JANETTE D. SHERMAN, MD and JOSEPH MANGANO, MPH
A recent article from the Anchorage Alaska Dispatch News on 02-14-15, “Rash of sleep-related infant deaths troubles health officials” bears consideration.
Many of the infant deaths are attributed to babies sleeping with parents, alcohol abuse, poor parenting, etc. Notably, the article stated: “Almost of the families who suffered a recent baby death were low income.” But, has infant care and poverty varied that much in the past decade?
Infant mortality in Alaska has been falling for years, however 122 infants died in 2012-2013, compared to 85 deaths two years before.
Research of causes of this highly unexpected increase is needed, and consideration should be given to the arrival of radioactive fallout from Fukushima after the 2011 meltdown. Radiation levels were highest in Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific west coast .
Since we know the un-born and young are at greater risk from exposure to nuclear radiation, effects that have been documented since the Marshall Islands nuclear tests, x-rays of pregnant women, and the Chernobyl catastrophe of 1986.
According to the CDC, infant (<1 year) deaths in Alaska have been falling steadily, but increaseds after 2011:
2010-2011    390.82 per 100,000 births(86 deaths)
2012-2013    533.66 per 100,000 births (122 deaths)
This is a 37% increase in the rate per 100,000
Few data exist, but CDC did collect gross beta in air (picocuries per cubic meter).  The period March 15 to April 30 in 2011 was the peak period when Fukushima fallout entered the environment.
For Anchorage AK, the levels are:
March 15 to April 30, 2010 (14 measurements) .0029 pCi/m3
March 15 to April 30, 2011 (13 measurements) .0113 pCi/m3
Dividing .0113 / .0029 and you get a ratio 3.86 times higher in 2011.
The 2011/2010 ratio for the rest of the year was 0.79 (2010 was actually higher than 2011).
Gross beta isn’t the most precise measure, but it is indicative of other isotopes that are documented from Fukushima.
After Chernobyl, and significantly, in Belarus, data confirmed elevated Cs-137 levels and adverse effects upon the blood, blood vessels and hearts of children.  This research, by Bandashevsky demonstrated the link between Cs-137 and heart damage in Belarus’ children and in laboratory animals, and earned him a prison sentence.
We know that high and continuing levels of isotopes, including Cs-137 are being released from the damaged Fukushima plants.  Cs-137, like potassium becomes deposited in soft tissue.
As for the infant deaths in Alaska, we hope that careful and complete autopsies were performed on the dead children, and that levels of radioisotopes be measured in humans and wildlife.

Japanese media reports IAEA urged to dump contaminated water into ocean but no such statement made in real


February 19
Japanese media is misleading the Japanese citizens to accept the discharge of contaminated water to the Pacific as a request of an international organization.

On 2/17/2015, IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) completed third review of Japan’s plans to decommission Fukushima plant.

NHK and other major Japanese media covered the press conference by Juan Carlos Lentijo, leader of IAEA inspection team and reported that he strongly recommended to consider discharging contaminated water into the Pacific.
They read the increasing contaminated water storage is stopping the decommissioning plan, they are running out of the storage place.

However on the website of IAEA, they actually state only “The IAEA team considered the current practice of storing contaminated water a temporary measure and highlighted the need for a more sustainable solution. “, which does not mention “discharge”. In the statement they highly evaluated “the improvement and expansion of systems to clean contaminated water”, “the installation of new, improved tanks to store contaminated water” and “the operation of an underground water bypass system”, which have been implemented since 2013.

None of the Japanese media released the unedited press conference video without interpreted subtitle.

http://ai.2ch.sc/test/read.cgi/newsplus/1424236682/
https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/pressreleases/iaea-team-completed-third-review-japans-plans-decommission-fukushima

Source: Fukushima Diary
http://fukushima-diary.com/2015/02/japanese-media-reports-iaea-urged-dump-contaminated-water-ocean-statement-made-real/

Walking atop an underground battle


February 19, 2015
FUKUSHIMA -- The mass of machinery that engineers hope can stem the relentless flow of water into the gutted Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant impresses by its sheer size as well as its ambitious aim.
     Huge 55cm-diameter ducts snake out from the roof of the refrigeration plant that forms the heart of this beast, which Tokyo Electric Power Co. showed the media for the first time Wednesday. When it starts beating, a minus 30 C solution of calcium chloride will course through them at 2 meters per second.
     This refrigerant will circulate through more than 1,500 buried pipes encircling four of the plant's six reactor buildings. If all goes according to plan, a "frozen earth" wall will form, stopping the influx of groundwater that now leaks back out as streams of radioactive contamination.
     The refrigeration plant houses 30 units, each with a capacity of about 70 tons of refrigeration, defined as the heat reduction needed to freeze a ton of 0 C water in 24 hours. To put this in perspective, a Tepco guide described it as the freezing capacity of two tuna-fishing ships.
     While the system entails 3.5km of ductwork, it will operate by the same principle as a household fridge. After absorbing heat from the soil and re-emerging from the ground, the refrigerant, now warmed up to minus 20-something, will be cooled back down to the right temperature with CFCs. All 30 units will go on full blast until the soil congeals, after which about half will be turned off, Tepco said.
     Only about 15% of the equipment is in place. Tepco plans to start freezing the ground on the inland side, which is about 90% finished, before closing the circle on the coastal side.
     Tepco had initially aimed to complete the installation by the end of March. But a fatal accident brought everything to halt for roughly two weeks while the company performed safety checks. Work resumed Feb. 3 but is running two to four weeks behind schedule.
     "We're putting safety before our schedule," Fukushima Daiichi manager Akira Ono said.
     Roughly half of the workers at the plant call Fukushima Prefecture home. For them, staying safe is not only about protecting themselves, but also about sparing their disaster-ravaged communities any more pain.
     Snow fell at the plant on the day of the media tour. Gloves were little help against the biting cold, and the goggles shielding our eyes from radiation kept fogging up. For the 6,000-plus workers a day who toil at the ruined plant, such grim conditions have become a fact of life.
Source: Nikkei Asian Review
http://asia.nikkei.com/Japan-Update/Walking-atop-an-underground-battle

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Inspectors urge Japan to dump water from Fukushima plant into ocean


February 17, 2015

Nearly four years after Japan’s massive March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the country has made “significant progress” toward stabilizing and decommissioning the ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, international nuclear inspectors said Tuesday.

However, the nearly 160 million gallons of contaminated water stored on-site pose massive logistical challenges, and examiners strongly urged Japan to consider controlled discharges of the liquid into the Pacific Ocean once it is treated.

The situation at the crippled plant remains “very complex” and “the benefits [of discharges] could be very, very huge” said Juan Carlos Lentijo, who led the team of 15 inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency on a nine-day mission that follows surveys in April and November 2013.

Japanese officials have been reluctant to take such a step at the plant 160 miles northeast of Tokyo, fearing it might further antagonize local fishermen and other residents affected by the initial accident and its aftermath.

In the past year, Japan has succeeded in removing spent and fresh fuel from one reactor, Unit 4, and reduced the inflow of groundwater into the facility. It has also taken steps to clarify which entities are responsible for particular jobs, the IAEA team noted.
But about 80,000 gallons of groundwater continue to enter the plant per day, and building and maintaining storage tanks is increasingly taxing for the 7,000 workers toiling at the site, Lentijo’s team noted. In January, a laborer in his 50s who was inspecting an empty, 33-foot-tall storage tank fell into the vessel and died.

In wake of that accident, Japan’s nuclear regulator called on plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. to move toward discharges of treated water.

About half of the water stored on-site has been treated to remove most radioactive contaminants, the IAEA team noted, though current technology does not allow for the easy removal of tritium, an isotope of hydrogen.

Unlike other contaminants, which are suspended or dissolved in water, tritium actually modifies the water molecules and therefore is difficult to separate out.

Still, tritium is considered one of the least hazardous radioactive materials produced by nuclear power plants, and Lentijo said “controlled discharges are a normal practice in the industry.”
“Most of the nuclear power plants are discharging treated water,” he said at a news conference in Tokyo. “This is accomplished with negligible impact on the environment and the safety of the people.”

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has solicited demonstration projects from several companies for technology that might effectively treat the tritiated water. Orange County-based Kurion said it was awarded a $10-million grant in November for a pilot programs of its technology in Japan to see if it would be effective at Fukushima.

Among its other recommendations, the IAEA team encouraged Japan to narrow down the number of options being considered for the overall decommissioning plan and to reinforce “safety leadership and safety culture” systems.

A final report from the IAEA team is expected in late March.

Source: Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-iaea-japan-water-fukushima-plant-20150217-story.html

Radiation spike at Daiichi Unit 1 discharge canal

  1. A significant spike in contaminated water levels at Fukushima Daiichi in the unit 1 discharge canal was reported today.
  2. The only new work began between the 14th and 18th is the concreting of the unit 4 seawater piping trench.
  3. Readings between Feb 14th and Feb 18th saw a considerable jump beyond normal fluctuations for these two locations.
Source: Tepco
http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/index-j.html

4th Anniversary (draft) Fukushima letter to send to you local Japanese Consulate "For the Fukushima 4th Anniversary, letters to be addressed to PM Shinzo Abe, to all the Japanese Embassies and Consulates throughout the world:



This is a combination of a sample letter with the proper addressing to the PM and Consul, with proper signature.

Keep in mind that the letter should all fit on one page.

Mr.Shinzo Abe

Prime Minister

Mr. GreyBlue

Consul General, Boston

March 11,2015

Your Honor,

1. The NRA has authorized Tepco to dump all the contaminated water from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear Power Station into the Pacific Ocean. This will cause incalculable harm to marine and human life. The government must take a firm stand and forbid such destructive irresponsibility. We are aware that there are perfectly affordable and realizable options to store the contaminated water on or off site until effective water-purification measures or long term storage can be implemented. The costs of this action are far less than those that will be incurred from polluting the Pacific Ocean and its ecologies. Further, the Japanese government could suffer significant international opprobrium from such actions.

2. Families and children are being forced to live in contaminated areas in northeastern Japan. The International Radiation Protection recommends that no one live in contamination above 1 millisievert per year, but now children must live where the ambient radiation is up to 20 millisieverts per year. The government must compensate anyone or any family who wishes to

relocate from an area with ambient radiation exceeding 1 millisievert per year, and stop decontamination practices of highly-contaminated areas and use those funds for compensation. The government must focus on rebuilding lives, and not international reputation by seeking to return to the way it was before . 3. Please begin a robust food monitoring program for all Japanese citizens and restore realistic limits (5 bq/kg) on allowable radiation exposures, especially for Japanese children. 4. Stop the incineration of radioactive rubble and waste throughout Japan, a practice that does not destroy the radioactivity but rather disperses it into the air, incinerator ash and other solid waste. 5. The Cancer Registry Act, passed together with the Special Secrets Law, controls the information about cancer and non-cancer related cases. Public access to information concerning the effects on public health from radiation exposures from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident is strictly limited. Does the government think it can pretend that there's been no impact at all? This law must be changed. The government can still require that all cancer cases are reported to the registry, but doctors and media must be free to disseminate all such information, excluding patients' personal details, as they wish. 6. The new Secrets Protection Act makes it a criminal offense for journalists to “improperly investigate” anything designated as a secret, but what is “secret” is only vaguely defined. Neither the public nor journalists have proper guidelines to determine what is classified as secret! We are concerned that this law will be used to control information about radiation releases and conditions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station. The law must be changed to ensure full public access to all radiation and civilian nuclear-related information, or be repealed. 7. Protect independence, transparency and neutrality of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, direct appointments should not be made, and staff should not have any connection with the nuclear industry. 8. Please keep all nuclear power plants shut down. They must be decommissioned. 9. Please do not export nuclear plants to other countries. Government and Industry have been promoting the export of nuclear plants, concluding agreements with Turkey and United Arab Emirates recently. Without having fully resolved problems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, this is highly irresponsible.

10. Many advance industrial countries all over the world such as Germany finding that wind and solar power is more economical, safer, and cleaner than nuclear, are stopping nuclear choosing to develop renewable energy.

Mr JohnSmith

Paris,France"

Thursday, 12 February 2015

1,000 homes being torn down after decontamination


NHK has learned that at least 1,000 homes in Fukushima Prefecture will be demolished -- even after they have been cleaned of radioactive fallout from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident.

Local officials say that's a waste of time and money. They call on the government to run the decontamination work more efficiently.

NHK polled officials from 9 Fukushima municipalities where demolition is under way. Each municipality remains partly or completely evacuated.

Officials from 3 towns said about 1,080 houses are to be torn down despite being decontaminated as requested by residents. Naraha Town reports the largest number, around 870.

Officials say leaking rain and animal intrusions are damaging the homes while residents remain evacuated. They also say many evacuees have given up on returning and found new homes instead.

The government pays for both decontamination and demolition programs in evacuation areas. The Environment Ministry says decontamination takes about 2 weeks and costs about 8,300 dollars on average.

An official says the ministry tried to speed up decontamination work at local governments' requests. He says the ministry will now pursue efficiency as well.

Source: NHK
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150212_30.html

Fukushima child tests positive for thyroid cancer in second survey




A child in Fukushima Prefecture has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the latest health survey to assess the impact of the triple core meltdown that tainted the region with radiation in 2011.

Seven others in the survey of 385,000 children in Fukushima Prefecture are also suspected of having thyroid cancer but have not received a definitive diagnosis, a prefectural committee said. The survey began in April 2014, three years after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

The child diagnosed and the seven others tested negative in the first survey, which covered all 370,000 children in the prefecture who were 18 or younger at the time of the disaster. Those born a year after the meltdowns were not included.

“Despite the new results, I don’t think we need to change our previous view” that they were not affected by the radiation, said Hokuto Hoshi, who heads the panel.

In the first survey, 86 children were confirmed as having thyroid cancer and 23 were suspected of having it.

In both surveys, the thyroid glands were first scanned with ultrasound to measure the size and shape of any lumps, and assigned four grades of severity. Those children assigned the two highest grades were then given blood tests and cell biopsies.

The child confirmed to have thyroid cancer and the seven suspected of having it were between 6 and 17 at the time of the accident, according to Fukushima Medical University, which conducted the survey.

Source! Japan Times
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/02/12/national/fukushima-child-tests-positive-for-thyroid-cancer-in-second-survey/#.VN1SPy4bKKG

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Elementary particle 'X-Ray' for Fukushima reactors


Fukushima ice wall plan delayed by 2 weeks


February 9, 2015

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says a plan to fill in underground tunnels at the defunct facility will be delayed by 2 weeks.

TEPCO officials announced the new schedule at a meeting with the Nuclear Regulation Authority, or NRA, on Monday. The new timetable will start late this month.

TEPCO had initially planned to remove highly-radioactive water from the tunnels after building an ice wall to stop the water from leaking out of reactor buildings.

The workers poured cement into the tunnels while draining contaminated water. But blocking the water was not successful as it continued to flow through the buildings.

The officials said in the new plan, they will fill in areas where unblocked tunnels and reactor buildings join to stop the tainted water from seeping out.

NRA regulators mostly approved the plan. They will continue to probe what else is necessary to do.

The setback for water blocking effort is likely to affect the plan to build the ice wall.

TEPCO officials say the plan is already 2 weeks to a month behind schedule due to a fatal accident at the plant.

They say they do not yet know how the latest delay will affect the whole decommissioning project. They are still studying the next steps they need to take.
Source: NHK
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150210_04.html

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Robotic snake set to examine innards of melted Fukushima reactor


Feb 7, 2015

A snakelike robot designed to examine the interior of one of the three meltdown-hit reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is ready to begin its expedition.
Assessing the damage in the reactors is a crucial step in decommissioning the poorly protected plant, which was crippled by core meltdowns triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Remote-controlled robots are essential for the job because the radiation in the reactors chambers is so high it would kill any person who got close.

Using information gathered by the robot, Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant operator, plans to repair the damaged chambers enough so they can be filled with water in preparation to remove the melted radioactive debris, an operation planned to begin in about a decade.

The 60-cm-long robot, developed by electronics giant Hitachi and its nuclear affiliate Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, was demonstrated this week at a Hitachi-GE facility northeast of Tokyo. It is expected to enter the No. 1 reactor as early as April, officials said.

It has a lamp at the front and is designed to crawl like a snake through a 10-cm-wide pipe into the containment vessel. From there it must dangle and descend onto a platform just below the reactor core’s bottom, an area known as the pedestal.

There, the robot is to transform into a U-shaped crawler and capture live images and temperature and radiation levels and transmit them to a control station outside the building.

Expectations for the robot probe are high after earlier efforts at assessment met with limited success.
“Depending on how much data we can collect from this area, I believe (the probe) will give us a clearer vision for future decommissioning,” Hitachi-GE engineer Yoshitomo Takahashi said.

After its exploratory trip, which will make the robot extremely radioactive, technicians plan to store it in a shielded box. They have no plans to reuse it.

Different robots must be designed for each reactor, since each is slightly different.

According to computer simulations, all of the fuel rods in unit 1 probably melted and pooled at the bottom of the containment chamber, but there had been no way of confirming that until now.

A brief fiberscope observation conducted in 2012 produced images that were scratchy and of limited use.

To assess the debris at the bottom of the damaged reactor chambers, which are usually filled with water, an amphibious robot is being developed for deployment next year.

The damage from the melted fuel burned holes in the reactors, thwarting efforts to fill them with cooling water. As a result, water must be pumped into them continuously, producing an endless stream of radiation-contaminated water that is hampering the plant’s cleanup process.

Source: Japan Times
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/02/07/national/robotic-probe-set-examine-inside-melted-fukushima-reactor/#.VNfNgi4bLD1

Skeptical Fukushima residents monitoring radiation levels in their communities

Members of Fukushima Saisei no Kai (Resurrection of Fukushima) drive through Iitate village to measure radiation levels on Jan. 28.


February 08, 2015
On a recent day in late January, a minicar departed from the Iitate village office in Fukushima Prefecture with stickers attached that said, "We are driving slowly because we are measuring radiation levels."

The vehicle, operated by Fukushima Saisei no Kai (Resurrection of Fukushima), a local residents' nonprofit organization, is equipped with GPS and radiation measurement equipment, allowing it to record locations and airborne radiation levels.
"Although the level has decreased considerably from immediately after the Fukushima nuclear accident, it is still high," said Mitsukazu Sugiura, 65, the driver of the vehicle, on Jan. 28.

Distrust of the central government, a need to know to make future plans and a desire to maintain ties with neighbors have led to groups of residents around Fukushima Prefecture taking the initiative to monitor radiation levels on their own.

All of Iitate village, which is divided into 20 districts, has been designated as an evacuation zone.
While the village government measures radiation levels at two locations in each district, it has also commissioned Fukushima Saisei no Kai to conduct more detailed measurements.

The organization's vehicle is driven by village residents who commute from where they have evacuated to, such as Minami-Soma or Fukushima cities.
Twice a month in each district, group members conduct measurements along almost all areas along roads where residents lived.

Average radiation levels for each 100-meter-square area have been posted on the group's website.
The near-term goal of the Iitate village government is to encourage residents to return with the planned lifting in March 2016 of the evacuation order. However, residents cannot erase concerns about radiation effects on their health as well as questions about the possibility of resuming agriculture.

Local farmer Muneo Kanno, 64, established Fukushima Saisei no Kai three months after the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant along with scientists and friends. Kanno felt that scientific data would be needed to decide whether to return to Iitate and resume farming.
"In order to tie it with the resurrection of the community, it will be important to have local residents directly involved," he said.

Residents of the Okubo-Yosouchi district in central Iitate began measuring radiation levels near their homes and in the farm fields from 2013. The catalyst was the monthly meetings that were held for the 14 households in the hamlet that had gone their separate ways after the evacuation order was issued.
At those meetings, residents were curious about the radiation levels. However, some said the central government could not be trusted, so they decided they had to check for themselves what the radiation levels were.

Immediately after the nuclear accident, the residents were slow to evacuate because they were not informed by the central government about the estimated spread of radioactive materials.
Masuo Nagasho, 67, a former village government employee, suggested residents conduct their own measurements.

"The attraction of the village was the people," he said. "What I most regretted was the destruction of ties between people and the life of the community that had led before to working together for festivals and rice planting."

In 2014, the monitoring effort spread to the entire district, which has about 70 households. The measurement has provided the perfect opportunity for residents to maintain their neighborly ties by having lunch together. The meals are provided by a local women's group.


TARGETING WATERS OFF NUCLEAR PLANT

Another citizens' group, Umilabo, has been monitoring radiation levels off the coast of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant since November 2013.

One member, Riken Komatsu, 35, works at a fishcake manufacturing plant in Iwaki. He was born and grew up in the area, but when customers asked about the safety of the fish being used, he could only pass along data collected by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the Fukushima No. 1 plant operator, and the Fukushima prefectural government.
"I wanted to go out into the ocean and pass along data I was certain about," Komatsu said.
He and other fishing enthusiasts began the project to collect soil from the seabed and fish, which were taken to the local aquarium for measurement of the amount of radioactive materials they contained.

In November 2014, 10 flatfish were caught about 1.5 kilometers off the coast from the nuclear power plant. Radioactive materials tend to accumulate in flatfish because it lives near the seabed. Although radioactive cesium was detected in five of the 10 flatfish, the concentration was less than half of the standard in the Food Sanitation Law of 100 becquerels or less per kilogram.
There has been no detection of radioactive materials for almost all of the fish born after the nuclear accident.

In the Oguni neighborhood of Date city's Ryozenmachi district, a resident's group began taking airborne radiation level measurements from six months after the nuclear accident. Data for each 100-meter-square area were listed on a map, and the information has been updated annually since.
"The radiation has no color or smell, but the map has enabled us to see it," said Soyo Sato, 66, who heads the group.

The neighborhood has a mix of households that were designated for evacuation because of high radiation levels as well as those that were not so designated. Residents who were exempt from the designation used the data on the map to argue that there was very little difference in radiation levels with areas designated for evacuation.
That led to a settlement with TEPCO for compensation levels that were close to those offered to residents living in the designated areas.

Hideki Ishii, a project associate professor of landscape architecture at Fukushima University, has provided support for self-monitoring efforts.
"When residents see the actual data for their community that they collected, they will think more seriously about whether people can live there and if the compensation levels offered are appropriate," Ishii said. "It also fosters the ability to not only think about the current situation, but also the future."

Source: Asahi Shimbun
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201502080025



About the Evacuate-Fukushima-Now battle cry, from a chronological perspective.


February 8, 2015

Someone somewhere commented:
"The Evacuate-Fukushima-Now battle cry hasn’t been thought out too well because it fails to recognize the moral questions that arise when non-victims speak for the victims—thinking that it is their job to rescue people who have decided to stay and haven’t asked for help."

I wish to answer here to that partial judgment. Erroneous because that judgment was made much afterwards completely out of its historical chronological perspective:

The Evacuate Fukushima Now battle cry at the start of the Fukushima catastrophe was well justified and absolutely right in itself.

It was very soon countered by the Japanese government orchestrating a gigantic campaign about « decontamination » thru all the media, constructed and directed by government contracted big advertising-PR companies, playing very well on all the « furuisato » (hometown attachment) feelings of the Fukushima people ; their attachment to their lands, to their own history, to their own Fukushima dialect and cultural traditions, to their family ties etc., brainwashing the people that after a possible-to-be-made-decontamination program paid by government everyone everything would go back to the life of before, normal as before.
 
Due to that government huge mediatic campaign to control the situation, to keep the people to stay, promising them full decontamination, lying to them continuously that everything in Daiichi was under control, just a very local technical problem to resolve, they cut in the bud any possible evacuation idea.

The Government well-orchestrated mediatic campaign knew very well how to play on the Furuisato feelings of most the Fukushima people to manipulate them, resulting in the majority of people in Fukushima willingly participating in the brainwashing and PR campaign. The support Fukushima campaign came from the bottom up as much as from the government.
It is the same in every contaminated community: the deniers always outnumber those who understand the danger and want out. They get intimidated, bullied and silenced. All one can do is leave at one's own expense.

To not forget that the majority of those Fukushima people did not have the financial means on their own to abandon everything behind to attempt to evacuate adventurously with their whole family in another prefecture, and that the government did all it could to deter them from evacuating, the people losing any possible damage claims if evacuating out of the prefecture, their properties devalued, their house credits still to be paid.

Due to all this the Evacuate Fukushima battle cry became very soon an empty battle cry, the Japanese anti-nuclear movement itself abandoned it very early to the benefit of the other battle-cries of « Kodomo wo Mamore » (protect the children), «Genpatsu Iranai » (we don't need nuclear) and « Saikado hantai » (We are against the restart of nuclear plants).

The « Evacuate Fukushima Now » battle-cry was absolutely right, it was so damn right that the Japanese government spent millions on a mediatic campaign to cut it in the bud, to defeat that idea, to keep the people from evacuating, to make them stay by all means living with radiation, in contaminated environment. To after 4 years push now the evacuees of the 20kms evacuated zone to return to live in high radiation.






Thursday, 5 February 2015

Not just Fukushima, Pilgrim Nuclear plant still open long after planned life

The Cape Cod Times reports:

" the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth is off line due to several equipment malfunctions following an emergency shutdown (known as a “scram”) during the blizzard of Jan. 27. The initial shutdown is thought to be due to a loss of offsite power to the plant resulting from the storm." [http://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20150204/OPINION/150209824/101019/json]

But the issue is that with an ailing Power Plant like the Pilgrim plant, there is always an unnerving "rest of the story:"

"The station experienced several equipment issues in the course of cooling down following the scram. These included the station diesel air compressor which failed to start, a safety relief valve that could not be operated manually from the control room, and the failure of a gland seal motor that provides high-pressure coolant injection. This does not inspire confidence." [cape cod times]

Dr. James Garb reports:

“Inspectors determined that corrective actions identified to improve performance in this area have not been effective. Ultimately, inspectors determined that your actions in total did not provide the assurance level required to meet inspection objectives and represent a significant weakness.” [cape cod times]

The inspectors were saying in their technical speak that the plant is in bad shape and their fix efforts were not doing the trick. The plant has multiple systems in fail or near fail mode. Dr. Garb concludes:

“If the NRC is concerned, we should be concerned as well. Pilgrim is in our back yard. As everyone knows, a disaster at Pilgrim would leave Cape Cod residents with no viable evacuation option. The handwriting on the wall could not be clearer. How many of these events will we tolerate before a situation occurs at the plant that can’t be contained? Pilgrim should be closed now before a perfect storm of an aging, failing plant, poor maintenance of critical systems, and a deficient safety culture result in a serious radiation leak that could alter life on Cape Cod for generations to come.” [cape cod times]

There are dozens of plants in the same condition around the country. They are ticking time bombs. They all need to be shut down or at the minimum completely refurbished. A failure of containment means a Fukushima style meltdown, and places like Pilgrim are old and at the point where maintenance requires pretty much everything be replaced. They are like a 1960 Buick someone has been driving on the road for the past 65 years and using chewing gum and duct tape to fix. In some cases they are older than 1960.

You may want to read the referenced article at: http://www.capecodtimes.com/article/20150204/OPINION/150209824/101019/json

The following poem is editorial and metaphorical about what happens if nothing is done:

"The Pilgrim's Rock melted down.
It sank it's molten teeth deep in the ground.
Then came the pilgrims looking for a place to stay.
But it was too hot for them to want to anyway.
No turkey, no edible potatoes, no cranberry sauce.
They picked up their Anchor and sailed away"

Tepco starts to fill Unit 3 trench with concrete



February 5, 2015 

Unit 3 trench filling work situation

This effort to concrete in the unit 3 trench had not been previously announced and the area had not had any unusually high levels of contamination compared to other areas.

TEPCO concreted the unit 3 trench in some unannounced work at Fukushima Daiichi.

Today's chedule from 10:00 AM to 13:42PM they unloaded 100m3 of concrete into the Unit 3 trench.
Source: Tepco
http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2015/images/handouts_150205_01-j.pdf

Sendai Nuclear plant restart delayed again


The restart of a nuclear power plant in southwestern Japan may not come until May at the earliest, due to a procedural reason.

In September, 2 reactors at the plant in Satsuma Sendai City in Kagoshima Prefecture became the first in Japan to meet new, tougher government regulations introduced after the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima. Later, the governor of Kagoshima gave consent to Kyushu Electric Power Company to restart them.

The utility still needs approval from the Nuclear Regulation Authority for technical documents. It told the authority on Thursday that preparing them will take 2 or 3 months longer than expected because the authority says many revisions are needed.

One of the documents explains in detail facility designs for the plant's Number 1 reactor. The company originally planned to submit it in December. It now says it will take until the end of February, due to the need to provide more detailed data and explanations on earthquake resistance.

The utility says it will submit by the end of March a separate document describing designs for facilities that are shared with the Number 2 reactor.

The restart may not come until May or later, possibly the summer, pending the regulator's approval of the documents and onsite inspections.

All of Japan's commercial nuclear reactors remain offline.
Source: NHK
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150205_29.html

Analysis of Japanese Radionuclide Monitoring Data of Food Before and After the Fukushima Nuclear Accident

February 4, 2015
  1. The study reviewed foods testing for cesium 137 contamination and also strontium 90 contamination.
  2. Official assumptions had been than there was a set ratio of cesium 137 to strontium 90 across all foods.
  3. This is even more problematic as testing for actual strontium 90 in foods is done less often due to the complexity of the testing method.
  4. What was found is that over time the ratio of strontium 90 in foods had increased.
  5. A new study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology looked at governmental food testing in Japan.
In an unprecedented food monitoring campaign for radionuclides, the Japanese government took action to secure food safety after the Fukushima nuclear accident (11 March 2011). In this paper we analyze a part of the immense data set, in particular radiocesium contaminations in food from the first year after the accident. Activity concentrations in vegetables peaked immediately after the campaign had commenced, but they decreased quickly, so that by early summer 2011 only few samples exceeded the regulatory limits. Later, accumulating mushrooms and dried produce led to several exceedances of the limits again. Monitoring of meat started with significant delay, especially outside Fukushima prefecture. After a buildup period, contamination levels of meat peaked by July 2011 (beef). Levels then decreased quickly, but peaked again in September 2011, which was primarily due to boar meat (a known accumulator of radiocesium). Pre-Fukushima 137Cs and 90Sr levels (resulting from atmospheric nuclear explosions) in food were typically lower than 0.5 Bq/kg, whereby meat was typically higher in 137Cs, and vegetarian produce was usually higher in 90Sr. The correlation of background radiostrontium and radiocesium indicated that the regulatory assumption after the Fukushima accident of a maximum activity of 90Sr being 10% of the respective 137Cs concentrations may soon be at risk, as the 90Sr/137Cs ratio increases with time. This should be taken into account for the current Japanese food policy as the current regulation will soon underestimate the 90Sr content of Japanese foods.

Source: Environmental Science & Technology
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es5057648

Last December’s fallout in Futaba increased 3.7 × as December of 2013


February 4, 2015
According to NRA (Nuclear Regulation Authority), Last December’s fallout level of Cs-134/137 increased 3.7 times much as December 2013 in Fukushima.
From their report “Readings of environmental radioactivity level by prefecture” released on 1/30/2015, the fallout level in Futaba county was 6,200 MBq/km2・month in December of 2014.
It was 1,657 MBq/km2・month in December of 2013.
The readings of other areas in Fukushima prefecture are not reported.
NRA hasn’t made any announcement on this rapid increase in fallout level.

http://radioactivity.nsr.go.jp/en/contents/10000/9394/24/195_20150130.pdf
http://radioactivity.nsr.go.jp/ja/contents/9000/8745/24/195_20140131.pdf

Source: Fukushima Diary
http://fukushima-diary.com/2015/02/last-decembers-fallout-futaba-increased-3-7-x-december-2013/

VIDEO: Cancer epidemic underway in Fukushima — Rates up 6,000% says head of cancer research center

Fukushima resident Chieko Shiina, supporter of the Fukushima Collaborative Clinic (translated by Carole Hisasue), Jan 24, 2015

  • At 8:00 — Already, 85 children have had surgeries for thyroid cancer, there are 112-113 children who are suspected of having cancer. When children get cancers it progresses very quickly. The former person in charge of health, Yamashita Shunichi, said it would be only a 1 in a million chance of children getting any kind of cancer because of radiation. But he was lying. Right now, it’s like 1 in 3,000 — it’s an epidemic The head of the National Cancer Research Center estimated right now in Fukushima the rate of cancer has gone up 61 times. And yet the gov’t and also the hospitals related to the gov’t are saying this is not because of radiation… How long does the gov’t think that we’ll be silent about this? In light of this epidemic, my anger will never die down. And then to think about the parents of the small children – how worried they must be.
  • At 12:00 — It’s not only children. There are many things happening to adults as well. Increased rates of thyroid cancer, heart attacks, leukemia, cataracts – many, many health problems, where they are wondering… there’s something definitely wrong.
  • At 16:00 — I can’t forgive the gov’t, they’re murderers. This is definitely a holocaust.
  • At 20:00Media won’t report on it. Everything’s just being swept under the rug.
  • At 26:00 — A TV program called ‘Hodo Station’… they went to Fukushima City to interview people and they also came to my clinic… The director that made this program also made a follow up show and contacted one of the interviewees telling her, ‘We’ll be airing it soon.’ But before it was aired, it was taken off the program. This director died. This director apparently told one of the interviewees, ‘If you do hear that I died, please believe that it was not a suicide, no matter what you might hear.’ There is no truth in the media in Japan today. There are all sorts of these mysterious events happening that are still unexplained and uninvestigated.
  • At 43:00 — Even today the gov’t is insisting the rise in pediatric thyroid cancer rates are not due to the accident…Why are they being so insistent? It’s because the moment they admit the reality of what’s going on, then they obviously can’t restart any of the nuclear plants and must change their entire nuclear policy.
Carole Hisasue, translator (at 1:15:00): It’s disappeared from the media, it’s disappeared from people’s consciousness. There’s this big culture of denial going on outside of Fukushima. They want to pretend like it never happened. I can’t talk to my own family about radiation contamination… They don’t want to hear it. They go, ‘You don’t understand because you don’t have to live here, we have to live here.’… It’s like ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’… just trying to ignore it and pretend life is the way it was before 3/11. It’s frightening, it’s very very frightening[My sister-in-law] is completely brainwashed by the gov’t who says, ‘Oh no, it’s fine, fine, fine’… she believes it, even though her son suffers from a lot of nosebleeds — and I think that’s a serious problem. If I mention it to her, or even to my own mother, they get very offended. They go, ‘Oh no, no. He’s always been like that. It’s nothing to do with radiation.’ Talk about denial, it just hurts my heart.

Sources:  
Youtube: Report From Fukushima And The Abe Government Expansion And Export Of Nuclear Plants 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10weYriSSP8
Enenews: Cancer epidemic underway in Fukushima — Rates up 6,000% says head of cancer research center — “This is definitely a holocaust… everything’s being swept under the rug” — “Very, very frightening… my family members are brainwashed”
http://enenews.com/video-cancer-epidemic-underway-fukushima-6000-increase-estimated-head-cancer-research-center-definitely-holocaust-everything-being-swept-rug-very-very-frightening-family-members-brainwashed-g


4000 errors in inspection records at Onagawa plant


Tohoku Electric Power Company says it has found more than 4,000 improper entries in its inspection records about one of the reactors at its Onagawa nuclear power plant.

The initial inspection was held to check a wide range of facilities at the plant's No. 2 reactor after the great earthquake that hit northeastern Japan. The operator is hoping to restart the reactor about 100 kilometers north of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant.

But Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority pointed out last year that Tohoku Electric's inspection was lax and the firm was re-examining the inspection records on the No. 2 reactor.

Company officials said at a news conference on Wednesday that the utility has scrutinized all the inspection records for the reactor since August 2011.

They said in some cases workers entered "no problem" for parts that didn't exist, citing the example of monitoring equipment for a valve which was not there.

In other cases, incorrect product types and serial numbers were left untouched. They say there were 4,188 errors in total.

Managing Director Takao Watanabe apologized to people in the region for causing concern, although he asserted the improper entries will not lead to any safety problems.

The company says it will also check the inspection records for the No.1 and No. 3 reactors.
Source: NHK
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150204_51.html
 

Tectonic stress levels off northeastern Japan back to pre-disaster state


February 04, 2015
Pressure exerted by tectonic plate movement off Tohoku that triggered the 2011 earthquake and tsunami has returned to pre-disaster levels, seismologists say.
“Large earthquakes might occur more randomly distributed in time than conventionally expected,” said Bogdan Enescu, an associate professor at the University of Tsukuba.
Researchers from the university and Switzerland-based Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule analyzed seismic data collected by the Japan Meteorological Agency since 1998.
As part of the study, the team calculated b-values, a ratio comparing the occurrence of small earthquakes in a specific area with larger ones.
Because the b-values decline to under 1 when the frequency of large quakes increases, they assumed values of less than 1 are indicative of high plate stress in the areas being studied.
Although readings in the region at the center of the 2011 earthquake hovered around 0.8 to 0.9 from 1998 until 2005, the b-values dropped to around 0.6 to 0.7 in mid-2005. Those figures then surged to 1 or higher after the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011.
But the b-values started to decline again around 2013, and returned to around 0.8 by the fall of 2014--almost the same level registered prior to the magnitude-9.0 quake.
“Observing b-values could be useful in improving the accuracy of massive earthquake forecasting,” said Enescu.
The findings were published in the British scientific journal Nature Geoscience on Feb. 3.
Source; Asahi Shimbun
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/quake_tsunami/AJ201502040069