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27 août 2015 4 27 /08 /août /2015 21:27

August 27, 2015

Sendai nuclear plant resumes output increase


Aug. 27, 2015 - Updated 13:53 UTC+2


The operator of Japan's only restarted nuclear power plant has resumed increasing power output one week after equipment trouble forced it to suspend the ramp-up.

Kyushu Electric Power Company suspended the output increase last Thursday after a problem was found with one of the No. 1 reactor's condensers at the Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan.

The utility said seawater leaked from damaged intake pipes into the condenser. The company stopped increasing the output while it inspected the equipment and fixed the problem.

The utility had restarted the reactor just 9 days earlier, on August 11th. It was generating power at 75 percent of capacity at the time of the suspension.

The condenser turns steam that drives the turbine back into water. Neither the steam nor the water is radioactive.

The utility said on Thursday that it had completed its inspections and fixed the problem by the previous day, and that nothing else amiss had been found. The company started increasing energy output again in the morning, and it had reached 95 percent by the evening.

However, the utility might miss its target to go back into commercial operation by early September.

The reactor was the first to go back online under the new regulations introduced after the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011.


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27 août 2015 4 27 /08 /août /2015 21:22

U.N. confab on nuclear disarmament held in Hiroshima

August 26, 2015

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) -- Some 80 government officials and experts from around the world gathered in Hiroshima on Wednesday to discuss nuclear disarmament, following up on discussions at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference earlier in the year.

Hiroshima, which this year marked the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing, is hosting the 25th United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues. The meeting has been held annually in Japan since 1989.

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said in his opening remark, "I would like people to give thought to the horror of nuclear weapons as an absolute evil and to the preciousness of maintaining peace."

In a statement read at the conference, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said discussions at the Hiroshima meeting will be important for efforts toward the 2015-2020 NPT review cycle.

"I look forward to the active exchange of views from a wide range of perspectives from countries around the world," Kishida said in the statement.

The conference provides "an informal setting for frank and open discussion on critical issues of disarmament and security," according to the United Nations.

The conference continues through Friday.

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27 août 2015 4 27 /08 /août /2015 21:21

August 26, 2015





U.S. refused to treat former POW atomic bomb survivor


VICTORIA, British Columbia -- A former Dutch soldier held by Japan as a prisoner of war in Nagasaki during World War II had appealed to U.S. authorities to treat him for what he believed were the residual effects of exposure to the atomic bomb dropped on the city by the U.S. on Aug. 9, 1945, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

Rudi Hoenson, 92, was being held at the Fukuoka No. 14 POW Camp when the atomic bomb was dropped some 1.7 kilometers away. Dutch researchers located his name on a roster of POWs who had been held at the encampment, and in a follow-up investigation, the Mainichi discovered that Hoenson had immigrated to Victoria, B.C., Canada, and was still living there.

Exchanges between scientists regarding Hoenson's case were found in the archives of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, the founding organization of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC), which researched the effects of radiation from atomic bombs on humans.

In a letter he sent to a doctor in New York in July 1950, Hoenson wrote that he suffered weight loss, fatigue, eye pain, and bleeding from the gums, which were symptoms found in atomic bomb survivors. Suspecting that he, too, had been exposed to radiation from the bomb, Hoenson sought to be treated as a member of a military that fought alongside the U.S.

Consulted by the doctor who received the note, senior officials at the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council did not respond favorably. Records indicated one as saying, "Mr. Hoenson's symptomatology, as outlined by himself, does not suggest residual radiation disease." Others, meanwhile, doubted Hoenson's claim of illness itself, writing, "the POWs at Nagasaki were at such distance from the hypocenter that residual radiation effects seemed unlikely," and "We believed that he might be using this as an excuse to get into the U.S.A."

Along with his fellow POWs, Hoenson, who was at the camp when the bomb was dropped, subsequently went through the city center to evacuate, and was also put to work clearing away dead bodies, he told the Mainichi. He also said that his urine was "the color of black coffee with a reddish tint" on the morning after the bombing, and that he lost hair. In 1950, there was little information available about the residual effects of atomic bomb exposure, and although Hoenson consulted doctors in the Netherlands, he was unable to receive effective treatment. The fatigue and lethargy experienced by atomic bomb survivors was reported early on in Japan, and was later named "genbaku burabura byo," or "atomic bomb lethargy sickness;" its symptoms almost completely match those Hoenson experienced. However, whether such symptoms were caused by radiation has not been verified.

The Japanese government's relief measures for atomic bomb survivors in Japan were introduced in 1957. Today, atomic bomb survivors who live abroad are also eligible for Japanese government certification of their exposure to the bomb, for which Hoenson has not applied. While he says he has no intention of seeking compensation from the U.S., he maintains that he stayed near the hypocenter for days after the bombing, and cannot think of any other reason for his poor health. "We did not know about radiation then," he says, but "now I know (my health issues) were due to radiation."

Experts say that while prisoners of war from the Allied Powers are known to have been killed or injured in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, this is the first time that documents confirming that a former prisoner had sought treatment for aftereffects from the U.S. have been found.


Former Dutch soldier and POW opens up about atomic bomb experience


VICTORIA, British Columbia -- Surprised by the discovery that letters he wrote decades ago about his poor health had been kept in U.S. archives, and confronted with the reality of his advanced age, local philanthropist Rudi Hoenson has opened up about his long-kept secret: that he survived the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

A former Dutch soldier who immigrated to Canada in 1951 and eventually became a successful entrepreneur, Hoenson, now 92, had been forthcoming about his experience as a prisoner of war in World War II. But he had avoided speaking about surviving the atomic bombing of Nagasaki for fear people would think he was "showing off." After suffering a minor stroke a few months ago, however, he decided it was time to tell younger generations about his experience, albeit 70 years after it took place, he told the Mainichi Shimbun in Victoria.

Hoenson was taken captive by the Imperial Japanese Army on the Indonesian island of Java in March 1942, and was transported to the Fukuoka No. 14 POW Camp in the city of Nagasaki in April 1943. There, he was forced to work as a welder at a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard. He was heavily monitored and brutally beaten by military police. Over 70 prisoners died of pneumonia the first winter at the shipyard since they were hardly allowed any breaks, and were only given low-quality rain gear despite it being windy and wet, Hoenson said.

On Aug. 9, 1945, at 11:02 a.m., Hoenson, who was standing near the camp, collapsed from the blast of the atomic bomb. Because he'd been in the shadow of a smoke stack, however, he sustained no major injuries. Three prisoners who'd been right in front of him, meanwhile, were not so lucky -- their clothes went up in flames, and they suffered burns all over their bodies.

As he tried to escape the blazing fire all around him, Hoenson saw Japanese women and children with their clothes charred and their faces and bodies torn apart. That night, he slept with a gravely injured friend in his arms. Later, he and his fellow prisoners were ordered to clear away the dead bodies. "We pulled some (bodies) out (from the debris) but had to be very careful not to pull too hard or we would end up with an arm or a leg," Hoenson explained.

According to the Nagasaki Municipal Government and other authorities, eight prisoners from the Fukuoka No. 14 POW Camp died from the atomic bomb blast. Hoenson recalled, however, that by the time the U.S. military liberated the prisoners in mid-September, some 20 had died of their wounds.

The health symptoms Hoenson developed after returning home closely resembled those of people who had radiation sickness from the atomic bomb. Doctors in the Netherlands were never able to pinpoint the cause of his health issues, however, and Hoenson's hope of receiving cutting-edge treatment in the U.S. never came true. Eventually, he recovered.

Still, he and his wife, whom he met in Canada, decided not to have children. "At the time, there was much talk about babies being born deformed with no arms or legs," he said.

The atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki by the U.S. military indiscriminately killed many civilians, as well as prisoners of war from the Allied Powers. Hoenson believes, however, that if the atomic bombs had not been dropped on Japan and its cities had been subjected to more conventional bombings, the likes of which were seen in Tokyo, there would have been even more casualties. "I agree with the decision to drop the A-bomb ... even if it had killed me," Hoenson said. Still, as someone with first-hand experience of what happened on Aug. 9, 1945, he added, "I hope nobody ever uses it again."



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26 août 2015 3 26 /08 /août /2015 20:38

August 25, 2015


1st algae-based oil producing facility in Fukushima set up in devastated region



MINAMI-SOMA, Fukushima Prefecture--An experimental facility to produce oil from algae was constructed on former farmland that was abandoned after the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck the region.

“The new plant embodies local efforts toward a local energy production and consumption policy in areas hit by the tsunami,” Minami-Soma Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai said recently. “I expect operations at the facility will lead to more job opportunities in the region.”

The Algae Industry Incubation Consortium, operator of the large-size biomass plant, which is headed by Isao Inoue, a professor emeritus of the University of Tsukuba, will compile a commercialization plan for its algae-based technology by the end of the fiscal year.

The Minami-Soma city government bought abandoned fields in coastal areas, and provided the consortium with 1.2 hectares of land, where the joint firm constructed various facilities, such as pools to cultivate Scenedesmus and other native algae, using state subsidies.

The consortium plans to mass-produce algae there by adding nitrogen and phosphorus as nutrients, as well as carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, to the culture fluid, and then stirring it with paddle wheels.

The operator will study the profitability of the oil generating technology after conducting experiments to convert algae into crude oil through exposing the organisms to high temperatures and high pressure.

During the three-year period until the end of this fiscal year, it plans to spend a total of 1.1 billion yen (9.16 million) for the oil producing facility. The biomass plant is the first such facility in Fukushima Prefecture.

The production efficiency for algae-derived oil is higher than that for other biomass fuel. In addition, algae are typically not edible, so there is no risk that use of algae for generating oil will lead to food shortages, unlike corn.


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26 août 2015 3 26 /08 /août /2015 20:36

August 25, 2015

Panel blames TEPCO’s negligence for delay in information disclosure


By HIROMI KUMAI/ Staff Writer

An outside panel of experts accused Tokyo Electric Power Co. of not living up to its responsibility to promptly release all available data on the contaminated water leaks at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The third-party panel said that up until February this year, plant operator TEPCO had been negligent in releasing information about radioactive water leaks, although it had data confirming the leaks.

Contaminated water had been confirmed leaking into the ocean every time it rained since TEPCO started monitoring the radioactive levels in drainage systems in April 2014.

When leaks of contaminated water into the plant’s harbor first came into light in summer 2013, the utility pledged to promptly report the radiation levels whenever it obtained monitoring data.

But workers at the plant had not been informed of the policy nor were they assigned specific tasks related to the policy.

The panel’s report concluded that TEPCO showed a tendency to prioritize responding to recurrent troubles at the plant over actually implementing effective countermeasures.

“There is an organizational culture at the company for officials to avoid clarifying where responsibility lies and implementing planned countermeasures,” the report said.

After its shoddy record of reporting information on radiation levels drew fire, TEPCO retraced past data and made it available to the public. It has disclosed all monitoring data on radioactive materials at the plant since Aug. 20.



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26 août 2015 3 26 /08 /août /2015 20:32

August 26, 2015

Nuclear regulator designates 5 treatment centers


Aug. 26, 2015 - Updated 13:53 UTC+2

Japan's nuclear regulator has designated 5 medical institutions as treatment centers for people exposed to heavy doses of radiation in the event of an accident at a nuclear plant.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority released its revised disaster preparedness guidelines on Wednesday. The new rules reflect lessons learned from the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Prefectures within 30 kilometers of a nuclear plant are now required to designate one to 3 medical institutions as base hospitals.

In addition, 5 institutions were chosen to take charge of serious radiation exposure cases if the base hospitals are unable to. The 5 institutions are in Chiba, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Fukushima and Aomori prefectures.

The guidelines also stipulate that if an accident is severe, the 5 institutions and the base hospitals will work together to send medical teams to affected areas.

The government's previous plan called for medical institutions around nuclear plants to provide treatment. This plan assumed that only a few plant workers would be affected by a nuclear accident.

Many evacuees potentially exposed to radiation in the Fukushima Daiichi disaster did not receive adequate medical attention through the system.



Japan revises guideline on medical care in nuclear emergency


TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday revised a guideline on measures against nuclear emergency to boost the country's medical preparedness for nuclear disaster, reflecting lessons learned from the Fukushima meltdowns triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

The regulator aims to build a medical service network to that end across the country over the next three years or so by obliging local municipalities hosting nuclear plants to designate one or more hospitals as medical institutions that can provide emergency treatment for radiation exposure.

The disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi complex, which resulted in the massive leakage of radioactive materials, exposed the vulnerability of hospitals and medical networks in the event of a nuclear emergency, with many evacuees not given proper treatment.

The regulator designated a total of five university hospitals and research institutions, including Fukushima Medical University and Hiroshima University, as facilities for treatment of a large number of people exposed to high levels of radiation, who could not be treated within the framework of local medical networks.

Under the revised guideline, the regulator also calls for strengthening advanced education on radiation treatment for medical staffers, while organizing teams -- comprising doctors, nurses and nuclear experts -- which will be dispatched to support local hospitals in the event of a nuclear emergency.

On Aug. 11, a nuclear reactor located on the southwestern Japanese main island of Kyushu came back online, becoming the first reactor in Japan to be reactivated under the post-Fukushima, upgraded safety regulations.

The government seeks to reactivate the remaining idled reactors that have cleared the regulator's safety screening, but strong safety concerns over the use of nuclear power remain among the public.




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26 août 2015 3 26 /08 /août /2015 16:48

 August 26, 2015

Former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry calls for abolition of nuclear weapons


HIROSHIMA -- Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry called for the abolition of nuclear weapons in an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun on Aug. 25 during a visit to Hiroshima, where the atomic bomb was dropped 70 years ago.

"The bombing of Hiroshima probably saved millions of lives, both Americans and Japanese, because the alternative that we had planned was the invasion of mainland Japan," Perry said, but added, "There's no discounting the fact that a bomb this destructive is an affront to humanity, and we should find a way of eliminating it."

Perry, 87, characterized the use of nuclear weapons as "inhumane," and argued, "There's no circumstance, I think, which would justify a nuclear war."

"Hiroshima is a symbol of that," he said.

In 2007, Perry, along with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and two others, published an article calling for "a world free of nuclear weapons," which is said to have influenced President Barack Obama's policy toward nuclear weapons.

Asked about the state of international society today, Perry said progress was made for several years after the article was released in 2007, but then things took a negative turn. "We are in danger of more (nuclear) proliferation ... I think the situation today is more dangerous now than it was then."

Perry said that many steps need to be taken toward reducing the nuclear threat, but that bringing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) into force as soon as possible is the most important. Neither the U.S. nor China has ratified the CTBT.

As for a possible visit to Hiroshima by President Obama during his stay in Japan for the Ise-Shima Summit next May, Perry was hopeful. "I think it's an opportunity for him to make a very powerful message."

As a panelist at the opening session of the 25th annual United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues in Hiroshima on Aug. 26, Perry pointed out that nuclear weapons went unused during the Cold War due to a combination of management and luck. The reason nuclear disarmament has failed to gain momentum, he explained, is because many people did not know the horrors of nuclear weapons. More people should visit Hiroshima, he said.


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26 août 2015 3 26 /08 /août /2015 16:47

August 25, 2015

Declaration calls for early ratification of treaty banning nuclear weapons testing


HIROSHIMA – A group of internationally recognized experts and eminent personalities promoting a global ban on nuclear weapons testing stressed the need to achieve the early ratification of a related treaty as it wrapped up its two-day meeting in Hiroshima on Tuesday.

In the Hiroshima Declaration, named after the city, which suffered the U.S. atomic bombing at the end of World War II, the Group of Eminent Persons for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty called the treaty “one of the most essential practical measures for nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.”

Among the 10 attendees of the group’s meeting, which is the fourth of its kind and held for the first time in Japan, were former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry and former British Secretary of State for Defense Des Browne.

The declaration also touched on the request of atomic bomb survivors who have asked world leaders to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which was also devastated by the U.S. atomic bombing in 1945, to deepen their understanding of the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons.

Turning to North Korea, which has conducted nuclear tests three times in the past, the group called on Pyongyang to “join international community’s efforts toward nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation by refraining from conducting any further nuclear tests.”

The CTBT, which aims to establish a verifiable global ban on all types of nuclear explosive tests, has been signed by 183 countries and ratified by 164.

However to enter into force, it must be signed and ratified by the 44 countries with nuclear capabilities. Eight of those states — the United States, China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, North Korea, India and Pakistan — have yet to ratify the CTBT.

In the declaration, the Group of Eminent Persons, established in 2013, urged the eight states “to urgently sign and ratify the treaty, without waiting for other states to do so.”

It also said that members agreed that “there is an urgency to unite the international community in support of preventing the proliferation and further development of nuclear weapons with the aim of their total elimination.”

On the sidelines of the gathering, Perry, Browne and other group members visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum showcasing the devastation in the city after an atomic bomb was dropped for the first time in human history 70 years ago.

A 78-year-old survivor, Keiko Ogura, told the members she believes they have the power to change the world with the abolition of nuclear weapons. She was 8 years old at the time of the bombing and was about 2.4 kilometers away from the epicenter.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were devastated by the atomic bombings of Aug. 6 and Aug. 9, 1945, respectively, with around 210,000 people estimated to have died by the end of that year.

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26 août 2015 3 26 /08 /août /2015 16:43

August 25, 2015 

New nuclear fuel bank a welcome development
by Gareth Evans

CANBERRA – One of the many things the world has learned from the Iran nuclear saga is that its leaders made a mistake, when negotiating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in the 1960s, in not doing anything to constrain uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing. This failure apparently stemmed from the belief — long since proven wrong, certainly in the case of uranium — that the only states ever likely to possess that technical capability already possessed nuclear weapons, or (like Germany) were totally committed never to acquire them.

As a result, any member state can argue for its “inalienable right” under the NPT to pursue any stage of the nuclear fuel cycle. Although any such right extends only to activities for “peaceful purposes,” the loophole is gaping. Any technically capable state — and there are now dozens of them — can build uranium enrichment facilities with the official purpose of producing fuel for nuclear power or research reactors, but which are nonetheless inherently capable of producing the much higher-grade fuel needed for nuclear weapons.

It is not for nothing that such facilities have been described as “bomb starter kits,” and that Iran’s progress down that path — whether deliberately designed to give it a latent weapons breakout capability or not — has spooked so many others in the international community. That is why there was so much pressure to produce the deal now on the table, which dramatically limits Iran’s enrichment capability.

While renegotiating the NPT itself to close the enrichment loophole seems for now a lost cause, there are other ways to address this proliferation risk. One of the most important, and long-advocated, strategies is to demonstrate to countries that rely on nuclear power, or are planning to develop it, that they do not need their own uranium-enrichment program to ensure their fuel supply’s security.

Concern about fuel-supply security has always been Iran’s main publicly stated justification for acquiring its enrichment capability — a justification that its critics assert was manufactured simply to conceal a covert weapons agenda. Whether or not that is the case, all current and would-be nuclear power producers are entitled to be anxious about having an absolutely assured fuel supply, given the major economic and social consequences they would face in the event of a disruption.

Yes, until now, the commercial nuclear-fuel market has worked well: no power reactor has had to shut down because of fuel-supply disruptions. But the cut-off of the supply of other energy resources (notably Russia’s disruption of natural-gas supplies to Ukraine and, by extension, to Western Europe) has raised legitimate concerns about whether this could happen with nuclear fuel.

Although the issue has been much debated, until now there has been only modest progress in developing fuel-supply assurance arrangements that would meet this concern. Russia, with the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), maintains a sizable reserve of low-enriched uranium (LEU) at its international center in Angarsk; but, in the current security environment, there has been understandable international reluctance to rely on it. The United Kingdom has proposed a supply guarantee of its own, though it has so far attracted little attention.

Now, in an important new development, to be officially launched this month (on Aug. 27), Kazakhstan is establishing a major new international fuel bank, which it will operate on behalf of the IAEA. The new facility should once and for all remove the main excuse that has been advanced, sincerely or not, for building and maintaining homegrown enrichment capability.

Scheduled to commence operations in 2017, the Kazakh fuel bank will store up to 90 tons of LEU, sufficient to refuel three typical power-producing light water reactors. While Kazakhstan will physically operate the bank, the uranium will be owned and controlled by the IAEA, and made available to non-nuclear-weapon states if, for any reason, they cannot secure the LEU they need from the commercial market.

Provided the state in question is in compliance with its comprehensive non-proliferation safeguards agreement with the IAEA, it can draw the required fuel from the bank and transfer it to a fuel fabricator to make fuel assemblies for the reactors involved.

The Kazakh fuel bank has very wide and high-level international backing, helped by the country’s credentials. A former nuclear test-site state, Kazakhstan willingly gave up the nuclear weapons on its territory when the opportunity arose with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and it has been a strong and consistent advocate of nuclear arms control and disarmament ever since.

The bank has been funded by voluntary contributions, including $50 million from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a U.S.-based NGO, $49 million from the U.S. government, up to $25 million from the European Union, $10 million each from Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, and $5 million from Norway.

Aside from the Iran deal, good news on nuclear weapons has been sparse in recent years. The new Kazakh fuel bank is a significant step toward achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. Those who have worked to establish it deserve the world’s gratitude.

Gareth Evans was Australia’s foreign minister 1988-1996, co-chaired the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament 2009, co-authored “Nuclear Weapons: The State of Play 2015,” and convenes the Asia Pacific Leadership Network on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament. © Project Syndicate, 2015

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25 août 2015 2 25 /08 /août /2015 18:29
Fishermen agree to dump radioactive water into sea

August 25, 2015

Agreement reached on decontaminated water disposal

Fishers in Japan's northeastern prefecture of Fukushima have formally allowed the release of decontaminated groundwater from around buildings of nuclear reactors into the sea.

The release is aimed at reducing production of heavily contaminated water in the basements of the buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Groundwater flowing into the buildings is producing 300 tons of highly radioactive water daily, resulting in a huge number of storage tanks at the plant.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, and the government have been asking the fishers to allow the release to keep the water from flowing into the buildings and becoming heavily tainted.

TEPCO plans to use 41 wells already dug around the buildings to pump up the water and lower the levels of radioactive substances to between one-one-thousandth and one-ten-thousandth of their original amounts before releasing it.

The operator, the government and an independent institution plan to check so that only water below allowed levels is discharged.

On Tuesday, the local federation of fisheries cooperatives approved the plan on condition that the release rules are strictly followed and that compensation is paid for any damage due to harmful rumors.

Federation chairman Tetsu Nozaki said the approval was decided unanimously, but that some members were dissatisfied. He added that the plan is needed for steadily decommissioning the plant, and that he wants TEPCO and the government to keep their word.

The firm's Fukushima headquarters chief Yoshiyuki Ishizaki said the plan is a big step forward in the decommissioning process as well as tackling the problem of contaminated water. He said fishermen told him that the plan could lead to rebuilding of Fukushima's fishing industry, and that he will keep their remarks in mind.

TEPCO plans to start releasing the water soon.



Fishermen OK TEPCO's plan to dump Fukushima plant water into sea


FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) -- Fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture approved on Tuesday a plan by Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pump up contaminated groundwater continuously flowing into the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station and dump it into the ocean after removing almost all radioactive materials from it.

The plan is one of TEPCO's key measures aimed at curbing the amount of toxic water buildup at the complex. Local fishermen had long opposed the plan amid concern over pollution of the ocean and marine products.

"I don't know if it's acceptable for all fishery operators, but stable work of decommissioning (of the Fukushima plant) is necessary for the revival of Fukushima's fishery industry," Tetsu Nozaki, chairman of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations, told reporters after a board meeting.

He also called on TEPCO to make sure it will only discharge water which does not contain radioactive materials exceeding the legally allowable limit.

The amount of toxic water is piling up every day, as untainted groundwater is seeping into the reactor buildings and mixing with radioactive water generated in the process of cooling the reactors that suffered meltdowns in the nuclear crisis triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

By pumping up water through drainage wells and dumping it into the ocean after treatment, TEPCO said it will be able to halve some 300 tons of contaminated water being generated each day.

In exchange for approving the plan, the Fukushima fisherman's association demanded on Aug. 11 that the government and TEPCO continue paying compensation for the fishermen as long as the nuclear plant causes damage to their business, among other requirements.

On Tuesday, the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations also gave the green light for the release of treated water into the sea.

TEPCO has been struggling to resolve the problem of toxic water buildup at the plant for more than four years after the nuclear crisis, with radiation leakages into the environment still occurring regularly at the complex.

The company is also behind schedule on a project to build a huge underground ice wall, another key measure to prevent radioactive water from further increasing at the site.

August 25, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)


Fishermen OK Tepco’s plan to dump Fukushima plant water into sea



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