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Author Topic: Is Fukushima’s Doomsday Machine About To Blow?  (Read 29509 times)

Yowbarb

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Re: Is Fukushima’s Doomsday Machine About To Blow?
« Reply #135 on: June 27, 2012, 10:27:20 PM »
I will attempt to keep some information going here, since Nigel is not able to be here posting;
working on his projects.
I found one reference source, will post it and what I found tonight,
Barb Townsend
...
http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html/  IAEA Log

Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update Log
Updates of 2 June 2011
Staff Report

Update Resources
Videos:
Work of the IEC: A Briefing for Director General Amano, 14 March 2011:
http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/multimedia/videos/japan/140311/iec/index.html

In Focus: Fukushima Nuclear Accident:
http://www.iaea.org/About/japan-infosheet.html

Fukushima Nuclear Accident: Information Sheet:
http://www.iaea.org/About/japan-infosheet.html

Criteria for Use in Preparedness and Response for a Nuclear or Radiological Emergency:
http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub1467_web.pdf

International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES)
http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Factsheets/English/ines.pdf

IAEA Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC):
http://www-ns.iaea.org/tech-areas/emergency/default.asp?s=1&l=5

International Seismic Safety Centre (ISSC)
http://www-ns.iaea.org/tech-areas/seismic-safety/default.asp?s=2&l=13

Response Assistance Network (RANET)
http://www-ns.iaea.org/tech-areas/emergency/iaea-response-system.asp?s=1&l=13#3

Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA)
http://www.nisa.meti.go.jp/english/index.html

...........................
« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 10:29:45 PM by Yowbarb »

Jimfarmer

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Re: Is Fukushima’s Doomsday Machine About To Blow?
« Reply #136 on: July 12, 2012, 06:06:33 PM »
From http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,27836.0.html

" Mutations in the Tokyo area becoming bizarre. It is obvious that it is matter of time to affect people as well. "

One of several photos:


enlightenme

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Re: Is Fukushima’s Doomsday Machine About To Blow?
« Reply #137 on: July 13, 2012, 04:50:17 AM »
Wow Jim!  That can't be good!

nasc

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Re: Is Fukushima’s Doomsday Machine About To Blow?
« Reply #138 on: October 08, 2012, 04:01:28 AM »
UPDATE

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has released new guidelines for nuclear disasters, including expanding the evacuation zone around nuclear reactors from 10 to 30 km. The move will have a significant impact on local communities, which now need to craft complicated evacuation plans. Previously, only 45 municipalities in 15 prefectures were required to have nuclear emergency plans; now 135 municipalities in 21 prefectures are required to submit them by March 2013. Iodine tablets will also be distributed to anyone living within 50 km of a nuclear reactor. Local officials are complaining that the central government has not shared radiation diffusion simulation data, which makes it impossible to determine where to send people if a nuclear accident occurs.
In addition, many areas lack the infrastructure to conduct such large-scale evacuations. In some towns, roads are inadequate; in others, there are not enough vehicles to quickly evacuate all residents. For example, 930,000 residents live in Ibaraki Prefecture’s Urgent Protective Action Planning Zone (UPZ) near the Tokai #2 Power Station, but the prefecture only owns enough buses to transport 240,000 people. Although some residents could escape in their own cars, roads are inadequate and officials fear complete gridlock in the case of a nuclear crisis. The NRA is also mandating that emergency response centers be no closer than 5 km to a nuclear power plant, and no further than 30 km away. Analysts point out that the increased burden on local communities may make it more difficult for nuclear plant operators, who hope to restart idled reactors, to get permission from municipal officials.
Tanaka continues to insist that although the NRA is responsible for determining safety at the nation’s nuclear power plants, it will not make the final decision about whether or not idled reactors should be restarted. “We are responsible for confirming whether safety standards are met from a scientific and technological standpoint. We will not be involved in [decisions regarding] electricity supply and demand and socioeconomic issues.” He added that determining whether or not the reactors should be restarted “is a major decision that must be made by somebody, and I believe that our safety assessment plays an important role in making that judgment. But to reactivate the reactors, there are various issues to consider, including gaining permission from local residents and municipal officials, and that is beyond the bounds of our authority.”
Tanaka’s position, which he has stated repeatedly, contradicts that of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who said last week that the NRA, not the government, would make the final decision on restarts. Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura echoed that sentiment at a press conference on Wednesday, saying, “As an important source of electricity, a reactor will be utilized when the NRA confirms its safety from an independent standpoint.” On Thursday, Fujimura repeated that stance, saying, “In terms of giving approval, that duty has shifted from the trade minister and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) to the regulatory committee that is now in charge of authorizing [the restarts].”
Fujimura added, however, that even if the NRA deems reactors safe, they may not be restarted unless they are determined necessary for power supply. “The problem of power supply and demand will naturally crop up. The government may decide it is unnecessary to restart reactors,” he said. Forty-eight of Japan’s fifty reactors have been offline since spring, and yet despite grave predictions from the nuclear power industry of widespread blackouts, no power loss occurred, even during peak-use days in August.
The government’s apparent shirking of the final decision has been poorly received by many, including the Mayor of Tomari, Hiroomi Makino, who said, “Any decision on a reactor restart must be made by the government and ultimately by the Prime Minister. I cannot but believe that the government is shunning responsibility by leaving the decision in the NRA’s hands.” The vast majority of the Japanese public opposes restarting the reactors; with elections looming within the next year, many politicians are loath to be seen as responsible for the restarts. However, the business and nuclear communities, worried about profits, continue to place pressure on them.
Other Nuclear Politics in Japan
Municipal leaders and residents in towns surrounding Electric Power Development Company’s (known in Japan as J-Power) proposed Ohma nuclear power plant are protesting resumption of construction there, citing concerns about their safety in the event of a nuclear disaster. Although the government recently announced that it would eradicate nuclear power in the 2030s, and forbid the building of any new reactors, it said that construction already begun at three plants, including the Ohma facility, could continue. Experts have criticized the move, pointing out that if the Ohma plant is allowed to operate for the government-allotted 40 years, it will extend at least a decade past the 2030s eradication goal. The plant was originally scheduled to be completed in November 2014, but the schedule has now been extended by 18 months. A J-Power executive admitted that the utility was taking advantage of the apparent loophole, noting, “We rushed the announcement of the construction resumption to forestall any policy change.”
Meanwhile, the NRA, responding to concerns from seismic experts, who are worried that a major fault beneath the Ohma site may be active, said that it will consider either ordering J-Power to conduct a seismic study of the area, or will do so itself.
The Mayor of nearby Hokodate, Toshiki Kudo, has threatened to file a lawsuit against the Ohma plant, pointing out, “The central government’s go-ahead for the construction is based on the safety myth that prevailed before the Fukushima disaster. Only 90,000 people live within 50 km of the plant in Aomori Prefecture (where the town of Ohma, financially dependent on the proposed plant, has granted its approval for the construction), but 370,000 live in Hokkaido. Those 370,000 people have heard nothing.” In addition, mayors in Kazamaura Village, Hokuto, and Nanae are protesting the construction, noting that no adequate evacuation routes exist. Each of the municipalities lies within 30 km of the plant, in the Urgent Protective Action Planning Zone (UPZ), and would be forced to evacuate should a nuclear accident occur. Nanae Mayor Yasukazu Nakamiya lamented, “They’ve learned nothing from the lessons of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.”
A Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) working group tasked with drafting a new policy outline on nuclear energy said this week that it will end its work, in light of the recently announced government plan to eradicate nuclear power in the 2030s. The group has been drafting such outlines every five years since 1956. Analysts are predicting that the JAEC itself, which was created to promote nuclear power, may eventually be disbanded. (Source: NHK)
As duties are transferred from the now defunct Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) to the newly-created Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), the Nuclear Energy Library, which gave the public access to over 40,000 documents relating to nuclear power, will close. The Library was created in 1997 to create transparency after a leak and subsequent cover-up at the Monju fast-breeder. It was heavily visited in the period following the Fukushima nuclear disaster; many documents there are not available online. Experts are criticizing the decision. Kenji Sumita, former head of the NSC, said, “An access point for ordinary citizens to obtain information about nuclear power should be maintained. The NRA’s response is simply shabby, and to restore confidence in nuclear power, it should be quickly reopened.” Yukiko Miki, head of Information Clearinghouse Japan, agreed: “It’s unforgiveable for the level of information release to fall below the level seen before the Fukushima nuclear accident.”
Officials from Fukushima Prefecture have admitted that they conducted secret meetings with 19 health experts and government officials, discussing the impact of radiation on human health, in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. The meetings were held before official meetings, and participants were instructed not to tell anyone that they had participated. Meeting materials were collected after the meeting so that they could not be removed from the room, and no minutes were kept. A Prefectural official has admitted that it was a mistake, saying, “We can’t argue if we are blamed for holding secret meetings. We regret having such gatherings; we’ll not hold such meetings anymore.”
State of the Fukushima Reactors
TEPCO has finally installed a new thermometer in the crippled #2 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The reactor experienced a meltdown in the days following the Fukushima nuclear disaster; since then, five out of six thermometers in the reactor have broken. If the final thermometer broke, the utility would have no way of knowing if the reactor was overheating and in danger of further meltdown. Although they cannot see inside the reactors, workers believe that the new thermometer is near the bottom of the pressure vessel.
The NRA will declare the Fukushima Daiichi plant a “special nuclear facility” in order to oversee stabilization of the plant, as well as its decommissioning. Currently, the agency has no authority over TEPCO’s plans there. NRA Chair Shunichi Tanaka said this week that the Fukushima plant is still unstable, contradicting earlier government reports that operations there had been stabilized.
This week, TEPCO began removing 764 spent fuel rods from reactor #4 at its Fukushima Daini power plant. The Daini plant is located approximately 11 km from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant, where a triple meltdown occurred after power was lost there after last year’s massive earthquake and tsunami. Although a nuclear emergency was also declared at the Daini plant, workers were able to recover cooling systems and avoid meltdowns at the reactors. The utility is moving the rods to a storage pool on upper floors of the building, and eventually plans to follow suit with reactors #1, #2, and #3, a process that will continue through the end of 2014. (Source: NHK)
Contamination, Including Human Exposure
The JAEC has begun monitoring radiation levels in restricted zones of Fukushima Prefecture via unmanned helicopters. The project, which was requested by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT), marks the first time that radiation has been measured from the air in the no-go zone. The agency will compile a report by the end of the month, including radiation maps of hotspots. Meanwhile, another research team is studying radiation levels in forests and rivers there, in order to determine their effect on human habitats and the ocean. The research will continue for the next 20 years. (Source: NHK)
Researchers from the Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University (NVLU) have begun to study the effects of radiation on Japanese macaques, noting that the similarities between primates and humans may help them determine how radiation could eventually affect people. Shin-ichi Hayama, one of the scientists working on the project, said, “This presents an opportunity to study the impact of low-dose radiation on primates, which are so close to humans, over a more than 20-year period. That could help forecast the impact on humans, as well.”
Evacuation and Repopulation
In spite of efforts by the central government to lift evacuation orders and begin repopulating some areas of Fukushima Prefecture located between 20 and 30 km from the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, a new survey conducted by the Asahi Shimbun shows that only 11% of those who evacuated the prefecture have returned.  Approximately 58,000 people lived there before the crisis erupted, and 48% evacuated in the months following the nuclear meltdowns. The area includes Minami-Soma, Tamura, Kawauchi, Nahara, and Hirono.
Waste Removal and Storage
Joining the chorus of voices opposing the government’s recent decision to build a nuclear waste depository in a national forest in Ibaraki Prefecture, the Tokugawa Museum is protesting the location choice, which is only 3 km from a forest it owns. That forest is home to a mountain villa built in 1886 by the 11th lord of the Mito domain and the brother of the last Tokugawa shogun. The museum plans to have it designated as a national important cultural asset. “We’re worried about all sorts of rumors [about radioactivity] ahead of our plan to have the villa designated an important cultural asset. We’ll strongly oppose construction.”

enlightenme

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Re: Is Fukushima’s Doomsday Machine About To Blow?
« Reply #139 on: October 08, 2012, 04:59:25 AM »
Thanks for the update nasc, very informative!

nasc

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Re: Is Fukushima’s Doomsday Machine About To Blow?
« Reply #140 on: October 10, 2012, 03:07:09 AM »
UPDATE October 10. 2012


Nuclear Politics in Japan
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda visited the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant this week, for the second time since September 2011. Some analysts are questioning whether the visit was a political move, as he prepares for general elections later this year. Noda’s popularity has fallen precipitously in recent months, as public opposition to nuclear power remains widespread. During his visit, Noda, clad in white protective gear, visited the central control room for reactors #1 and #2 as well as reactor #4, where a hydrogen explosion destroyed the roof and left a spent fuel pool, containing 1,535 fuel rods, exposed. TEPCO has since built a cover there, but experts warn that the building, which is bulging, could collapse if another massive earthquake strikes.

Noda also said that he has ordered newly-appointed Environment Minister Hiroyuku Nagahama—who also acts as Nuclear Crisis Minister—to hasten decontamination efforts in Fukushima Prefecture, where many residents are still forbidden from returning to their homes, more than 18 months after the nuclear crisis first began to unfold.
 
In addition, Noda spoke to approximately 200 TEPCO workers at the so-called “J-Village”, a former soccer stadium that is now used as a daily staging area for the plant’s 3,000 workers. For the first time, he met with and thanked eight of the “Fukushima 50”, older workers whose heroic efforts, including using batteries from their own cars to power monitoring equipment, prevented a far more catastrophic disaster. However, six of the eight workers refused to have photographs taken or even to give their names to reporters. TEPCO, who says that the men are afraid their children will be discriminated against because of widespread anger towards the utility, would not allow reporters to give business cards to the men, in case they later changed their minds and decided they would like to share their sides of the story. The workers told of rising fear as the disaster unfolded. One said, “I thought it was over. I thought, ‘This is the end of it all.'" Masatoshi Fukura, a unit leader and one of the few men identified, noted, “Nearly 20 people each in two central control rooms held down the fort without anyone coming to relieve us for 48 hours. All we had to eat was hardtack and water.” Another lamented, “I still feel strongly that we can’t cause anything like this to happen again.”
 
A lawsuit in Kanazawa District Court in Ishikawa Prefecture, charging that Hokuriku Electric’s Shika nuclear power plant is unsafe to operate, has begun. The utility is seeking to have the case dismissed. But residents of Ishikawa and nearby Toyama Prefectures say that a fault line adjacent to the plant is active, and a massive nuclear disaster could occur if a major earthquake hits the plant.

Additional details have surfaced in last week’s admission by Fukushima Prefectural officials, who said that they conducted secret meetings with 19 health experts and government officials, discussing the impact of radiation on human health, in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. The secret gatherings were held before official meetings, and participants were instructed not to tell anyone that they had participated. Now, the Mainichi Daily News is reporting that the officials decided in advance what the research panel should say during public meetings, and advised panelists not to answer any questions regarding data from the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI). The prefecture produced a two-page chart outlining the direction the proceedings should take, along with prearranged conclusions.
 
Yukio Edano, the head of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) said last week that he will not approve a request from the Chugoku Electric Power Company to begin construction at the proposed site of the Kaminoseki power plant in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Japan’s central government recently announced that it would eradicate nuclear power in the 2030s, and would prohibit construction on any new reactors. However, some experts criticized the plan after officials admitted that three power plants currently under construction would be allowed to proceed. If those plants are allowed to run for the government-allotted 40-year period, they would operate at least a decade longer than the 2030s. (Source: NHK)

Meanwhile, residents of Kaminoseki are continuing to protest the proposed plant—as they have been doing every week for the past 30 years. Many protestors are now in their 60s, 70s, and 80s. Chugoku has made concerted efforts to woo the town with monetary boondoggles, including paying tens of millions of yen to build a coastal road. A utility official admitted, “We are doing this because [some] local residents have cooperated with us a great deal in our plan to build the plant.” Another local resident, who works for a construction company associated with the project, pointed out that if Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda loses elections expected to be held later this year, and former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is pro-nuclear, takes office again, the project could very well move forward. “We should be very patient. You never know what will happen if a change of government takes place and Abe becomes Prime Minister again,” he said.

Nuclear Regulation Authority
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) staged its first emergency drill this week, simulating power loss after a massive earthquake at the Rokkasho processing plant in Aomori Prefecture. The drill focused on communication between the plant’s operator and government agencies, including using video links. Yoshihide Kuroki, an NRA official, noted that the drill went well, but admitted that it took more than five hours for him to reach the plant’s emergency response center. (Source: NHK)

Kunihiko Simazaki, a commissioner with the Nuclear Regulation Commission (NRC), announced this week that all nuclear power plants in Japan will be subjected to screening for active earthquake fault lines. Japan forbids operation of nuclear reactors if they sit atop or adjacent to fault lines. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), predecessor of the NRA (which operates under the direction of the NRC), previously determined that six plants would be required to undergo testing after admitting, “the possibility of active faults existing [beneath them] cannot be ruled out.” But Simazaki said that all plants will now be subjected to testing, noting, “We will formulate new safety standards, and will proceed with regulations by applying them to existing nuclear plants. In the future, all nuclear plants will eventually be reviewed [for seismic safety].” The Oi nuclear power plant, where two reactors were restarted this summer despite widespread public opposition, will be examined first, starting late this month. If active fault lines are found, reactors could be forced to shut down.

TEPCO
TEPCO released a 6-hour video to the public this week, compiled from footage of videoconferences conducted in the five days immediately following the Fukushima nuclear disaster 18 months ago. The tapes show major communication challenges as workers at the plant’s emergency headquarters attempted to get guidance from the utility’s headquarters, government regulatory agencies, and the Prime Minister’s office. This summer, TEPCO released only 150 hours worth of footage, collected between March 11 and March 16, 2011, to the media. TEPCO was widely criticized when officials said that reporters could only view the tapes at their offices for a limited period of time, and could make no copies. Many sections of the footage were blurred, and names were obscured; the utility insisted that this was necessary as a result of “privacy concerns.” Media outlets continue to urge TEPCO to release all videos from the days following the nuclear meltdowns, but so far, company officials have refused. The 6-hour video—whose content was entirely chosen and edited by TEPCO itself—is available online here.
Contamination, Including Human Exposure
The Association for Citizens and Scientists Concerned About Internal Radiation Exposures said last week that radiation data it collected in Fukushima Prefecture at approximately 100 monitoring posts established by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) shows that the Ministry may have manipulated data to make contamination levels appear lower than they really are. The group’s readings were between 10 and 30% higher than MEXT readings in some areas, and between 40 and 50% higher when they measured 10 meters away from the official monitoring stations. Katsuma Yagasaki, Professor Emeritus at the University of Ryukus, who is affiliated with the group, said, “We are afraid that the Ministry might have thoroughly decontaminated areas immediately adjacent to the monitoring posts or tinkered with numbers in an attempt to get lower readings.” The Ministry denies such claims.

nasc

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Re: Is Fukushima’s Doomsday Machine About To Blow?
« Reply #141 on: October 14, 2012, 05:24:07 AM »
Update October 14


Nuclear Regulation Authority
Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) announced this week that as part of a comprehensive overhaul of safety standards for nuclear power plants, operators will now be legally required to develop plans to protect reactors from terrorist attacks. The NRA will reportedly submit a draft outline of its proposed new regulations next March, and prepare the standards themselves by July 2013.
In addition, NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said that all plants will be required to pass seismic safety tests. If active fault lines are found beneath a reactor, it could be forced to shut down. Experts have raised questions about seismic safety at Kansai Electric’s two Oi reactors in Fukui Prefecture, which were restarted at the direction of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, in spite of vehement public opposition and weekly anti-nuclear protests that sometimes drew as many as 100,000 demonstrators. Tanaka has criticized the Oi restarts, calling them “political,” but noted, “right now we don’t have the legal basis to make any judgment…we don’t have the legal power to stop the Oi reactors.”
Significantly, Tanaka reiterated that municipalities within 30 km of nuclear reactors will be required to develop emergency procedures and evacuation plans, a directive that will affect over 130 towns and cities and almost five million residents. If those plans are not submitted, reactors will not be allowed to go back online. He admitted that this might be highly challenging in some areas. Previously, only those within 10 km of power plants were required to create evacuation and emergency plans. Tanaka said, “We must clear questions and concerns one by one. Otherwise, we will never regain the public’s trust. No reactor should operate unless the local community has emergency plans that residents can accept.”
But, despite promises to maintain neutrality and independence, the NRA said this week that it will allow the advice of experts who have accepted funding from the nuclear power industry, provided the total amount is less than 500,000 yen ($6,379) per year. Those who have worked within the last three years for operators whose reactors are being examined will not be assigned to advise on those particular reactors and plants.
Nuclear Politics in Japan
Fukushima Prefecture has admitted that no minutes were compiled immediately after a panel of experts studying effects of radiation on local residents met three times in October 2011, in spite of the fact that Japanese law specifically requires such records be kept and released to the public. In April of this year, one of the officials reconstructed minutes from a set of notes after a resident requested them, but they were only a third as long as those from some subsequent meetings, when minutes were submitted on time. In recent weeks, reports surfaced that the Prefecture held secret meetings before each of the public ones, during which experts were advised on what they should and should not say, and were told not to tell anyone else about the closed-door gatherings. Prefectural officials say they are continuing to investigate the issue and will release a report shortly. Yukiko Miki, Director of Information Clearinghouse Japan, sharply criticized the revelation, saying, “Under the freedom of information system, government organizations are supposed to disclose documents that they created if requested to do so. If such bodies are allowed to compile documents after being asked to disclose them, they could create documents to their own advantage. Such an act could damage the public’s confidence in disclosed public information.”
The Shizuoka Prefectural Assembly voted against a public referendum to determine whether Chubu Electric Power Company should be allowed to restart reactors at its Hamaoka plant there. The move comes after citizens’ groups, which recognized widespread opposition, gathered over 160,000 signatures. Governor Heita Kawakatsu signed off on the initiative in August, saying, “I will respect the will of residents and (make efforts) to realize a referendum.” But this week, one of the assembly members implied that the residents’ concern about their own safety was an inadequate reason to hold the referendum, saying that they should not influence Japanese nuclear policy. Meanwhile, recent scientific reports show that the plant is at risk of being struck by a 21-meter tsunami if a massive earthquake occurs. The utility is in the process of building an 18-meter high seawall, which is now a year behind schedule, and insists that this would be adequate protection against the 21-meter wall of water.
Electric Power Development Company (known in Japan as J-Power) has resumed construction at its proposed Ohma nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture, as workers prepare steel sheeting designed to line reactor containment vessels. Although the government recently announced that it would abolish nuclear power in the 2030s, and forbid the building of any new reactors, it said that construction already begun at three plants, including the Ohma facility, could continue. Experts have criticized the move, pointing out that if the Ohma plant is allowed to operate for the government-allotted 40 years, it will extend at least a decade past the 2030s goal. The plant was originally scheduled to be completed in November 2014, but the schedule has now been extended by 18 months. A J-Power executive admitted that the utility was taking advantage of the apparent loophole, noting, “We rushed the announcement of the construction resumption to forestall any policy change.”
The United States National Academy of Sciences will conduct a nuclear safety meeting in Tokyo from November 26 to 28, 2012 in order to study lessons learned from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Participants may conduct on-site investigations of the crippled reactors. The meeting’s goal is to increase safety at US nuclear plants; the Academy plans to produce a report in early 2014.
State of the Fukushima Reactors
For the first time since the nuclear disaster began to unfold, TEPCO has begun to evaluate the containment vessel of reactor #1, which suffered a major meltdown and subsequent hydrogen explosion more than 18 months ago. Testing will continue through Saturday. The utility plans to determine atmospheric radiation levels within the reactor, measure temperatures, and take water samples. On Tuesday, workers used an endoscopic camera to look inside the reactor. Although water levels were higher than the company had previously assumed they would be—2.8 meters from the bottom of the containment vessel—officials admitted that they still have no idea where the melted fuel is located.
In addition, TEPCO said that scaffolding, piping, and other equipment within the reactor is showing rust and signs of corrosion, and a metal rod, an unidentified bolt, and other equipment are strewn about the vessel, probably as a result of the hydrogen explosion. Radiation levels within the vessel are exceedingly high, measuring 11.1 sieverts per hour. That would kill a person within 40 minutes of exposure, although it’s not as high as levels in reactor #2, where levels in March measured 73 sieverts per hour, causing death within a mere seven minutes. Keiji Miyazaki, Professor Emeritus at Osaka University, cautions that TEPCO will not be able to accurately determine the reactor’s condition until its central control drives are studied. Astronomical radiation levels prevent workers from doing so for the time being.
Contamination, Including Human Exposure
Rice shipments from Hirono in Fukushima Prefecture resumed this week, in spite of the fact that farmers were asked to voluntarily refrain from planting rice last year. Two farmers ignored the directive, and between them produced 80 bags of rice. Fukushima officials say that they contain less than the government limit of 100 Bq/kg of radioactive cesium. One of the farmers, Ryohei Niitsuma, said he removed a layer of contaminated topsoil before planting the rice and used fertilizer containing potassium and zeolite in an effort to prevent it from absorbing radiation from the soil. The Fukushima nuclear disaster has had a devastating effect on farming in the region. “The nuclear disaster instantly destroyed our relationships of trust we had built over the years,” he said.
In the meantime, municipal officials from Okuma are harvesting rice from two experimental plots designed to determine the difference in radiation levels after decontamination. One plot was decontaminated by removing 5 cm of soil, and one was left untouched. Contamination levels will be measured to see if they exceed government limits for safe consumption. Kiyoyuki Matsumoto, a town official leading the project, noted, “We cannot imagine when people from this town will be able to return to their homes. It may be several years or several decades from now. But we hope that the result of this experiment will help farmers who want to return to this town and resume their farming in the future.”
Japan Tobacco, Inc. admitted this week that it will cancel orders for 4.5 tons of tobacco it planned to purchase from farmers in Fukushima prefecture, after recent tests show contamination levels of 110.7 Bq/kg of radioactive cesium in tobacco samples gathered there. The company previously said it would not process tobacco that exceeded 100 Bq/kg, the same limit set by the government for general foodstuffs, including beef, rice, seafood, and vegetables. Last year, tobacco farmers in Fukushima Prefecture voluntarily suspended harvests, in the wake of the nuclear disaster at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Waste Removal and Storage
A new survey conducted by public television network NHK reveals that hundreds of thousands of bags of radioactive soil remain on the premises of approximately 1,500 properties from which it was removed, because the government has yet to determine where to store it. More than 18 months after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan has decontaminated just 1.1% of those whose radiation levels are so high that they require it, and of those, contaminated soil remains at approximately one-third. In many cases, it’s protected only by plastic tarps. The government plans to build a waste repository in Futaba, but so far has met with considerable opposition from residents, who are concerned about their own safety.

Yowbarb

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Re: Is Fukushima’s Doomsday Machine About To Blow?
« Reply #142 on: October 18, 2012, 02:48:52 PM »
nasc, thank you for your posts here on the Town Hall.
- Barb Townsend

Yowbarb

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Re: Is Fukushima’s Doomsday Machine About To Blow?
« Reply #143 on: August 07, 2013, 03:48:00 PM »

 

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