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24 avril 2015 5 24 /04 /avril /2015 20:35

April 24, 2015

Fukushima reconstruction funds law revised


Apr. 24, 2015 - Updated 07:54 UTC+2


Japan's Diet has enacted a revised law to approve the wider use of funds to speed up recovery work in the areas in Fukushima Prefecture that were affected by the 2011 nuclear disaster.

The Upper House on Friday passed amendments to special legislation on funds for reconstruction projects and economic support in Fukushima.

The revised law allows for spending to build roads and sewer systems in areas that are designated as evacuation zones, in preparation for the return of residents.

The law also gives tax exemptions on up to about 417,000 dollars in income from the sale of property in areas that will house administrative offices and homes.
This is to promote land sales in such key regions.

Tax benefits will be extended to business owners who return home and resume commercial enterprises.
They will be able to write off funds accumulated for capital spending as losses.

Reconstruction minister Wataru Takeshita said he believes the legislation will help speed up the recovery of Fukushima and facilitate the return of residents.


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24 avril 2015 5 24 /04 /avril /2015 20:33

April 24, 2015


Radioactive waste storage site proposed


Apr. 24, 2015 - Updated 13:31 UTC+2

The government has presented Chiba City and Chiba Prefecture with a plan to build a facility to store radioactive waste at a Tokyo Electric Power Company site in Chiba City.

TEPCO is the operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant.

The government plans to build facilities to store radioactive waste in 5 prefectures. This follows the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima Daiichi. The waste has cesium levels of more than 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.

State Minister for the Environment Yasuhiro Ozato on Friday met Chiba Mayor Yasuhiro Kumagai and Chiba Prefectural Governor Kensaku Morita.

Ozato proposed the site in Chiba and asked for their cooperation in studying it. The environment ministry chose the location from a list of about 5,000.

The candidate site is an approximately 34 thousand-square kilometer-field within TEPCO's thermal power plant compound. It's in an industrial zone along Tokyo Bay, and is several kilometers from any residential area.

Mayor Kumagai said he cannot make a quick decision, He added he will consider the proposal carefully, based on the residents' safety and security.

He also asked the ministry to explain the plan to the residents and local assembly.

The ministry had proposed building storage sites in Miyagi and Tochigi Prefectures but met strong local opposition.

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24 avril 2015 5 24 /04 /avril /2015 20:31

April 24, 2015

Likely radiation source found in Tokyo park


Apr. 24, 2015 - Updated 11:51 UTC+2

Small lump source of the radiation?

Officials from Tokyo's Toshima Ward have found the possible source of high levels of radiation at a park.

The officials investigated the park on Friday with experts from the Japan Radioisotope Association. They detected the unusually high levels of radiation on the previous day near playground equipment.

The officials say they measured up to 500 microsieverts of radiation per hour. A person would reach the annual upper limit of radiation exposure by being near the equipment for two hours.

The officials say they dug up an unidentified lump that is smaller than 10 centimeters in size. They add radiation levels dropped after they took it from the ground.

Toshima Ward plans to ask experts to analyze the substance.

Ward official Noboru Ishii says the mound was found in the soil, but that's all they know at this stage.

He notes the local government will make an announcement once experts identify the substance.

The park has been closed.

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24 avril 2015 5 24 /04 /avril /2015 20:30

April 24, 2015

Park in Ikebukuro closed after hot spot detected in playground


An unusually high level of radiation has been detected at a park in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro area, the Toshima Ward Office said Thursday, prompting speculation that hazardous material has been buried there.

The ward office has banned entry to the municipal park, which is right next to Tobu Railway Co.’s Shimoitabashi Station in the Ikebukuro-honcho district and surrounded by residences.

The name of the park is Ikebukuro Honcho Densha no Mieru Koen.

On Thursday afternoon, a radiation level of up to 480 microsieverts per hour was recorded at a spot on the ground near playground equipment, the municipality said.

That is nearly half the permitted annual dose of 1 millisievert and far in excess of the ward’s decontamination standard of 0.23 microsievert.

“Because the area in which we detect radioactivity is very limited, and readings in the surrounding areas are normal, we suspect radioactive materials of some kind are buried there,” Toshima Mayor Yukio Takano said in a statement.

The ward has fenced off the playground equipment and plans to identify the buried material, remove it and decontaminate the polluted area.

A public health center in the ward was expected to offer health consultations starting Friday to those who request them.

A 62-year-old woman who lives nearby said Thursday she is very worried to learn that a hot spot has been confirmed next to her house.

“Many children play in the park daily, so the ward office should explain the situation,” she said, adding that she had heard nothing so far.

Following a report from a resident on Monday, Toshima Ward officials probed the park Wednesday and detected 2.53 microsieverts per hour radiating from an area with playground equipment.

Based on advice from the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the ward surveyed the area again on Thursday and detected 480 microsieverts.

The park, managed by the ward, opened in March 2013. Before then, the site had been used as a parking space for garbage collection vehicles from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

The top soil at the lot was replaced before it was turned into a park, a Toshima Ward official said.


Tokyo park closes after radiation hot spot found


Abnormally high levels of radiation were detected near playground equipment in a park in central Tokyo, but they should not pose a health risk to visitors, a nuclear safety official said.

A radiation dose of 480 microsieverts per hour was recorded in Ikebukuro Honcho Densha no Mieru Koen park in a residential area near Tobu Railway Co.’s Shimo-Itabashi Station on April 23, according to a Toshima Ward official.

Officials suspect radioactive material was buried at the location.

At 480 microsieverts per hour, an individual would have to be exposed for about 40 hours to exceed the government’s threshold for evacuation. The threshold was set at 20 millisieverts per year after the Fukushima nuclear disaster started in 2011.

“The area with elevated levels of radiation is limited, and people do not usually stay there for an extended period of time, so the radiation dose will not have an adverse effect on the health of visitors to the park,” said a Nuclear Regulation Authority Secretariat official who joined the investigation.

The area with the highest level of radiation was detected on the ground surface near playground equipment.

A few meters away near the end of a playground slide, the radiation level declined to 0.07 microsievert per hour, the ward official said.

Toshima Ward officials have fenced off the area around the playground and have temporarily closed the park.


High radiation level detected in Tokyo park


Apr. 24, 2015 - Updated 10:12 UTC+2


A high level of radiation has been detected at a small park in downtown Tokyo.

Up to 480 microsieverts per hour were recorded on the ground near playground equipment at the park in Toshima Ward on Thursday afternoon.

The ward has closed the park for round-the-clock surveillance.

A mother in her 30s who often visits the park with her child said she's surprised and worried about possible health effects.

A public healthcare center in the ward has begun offering health consultations. Some people have asked for thorough information on the radiation level.

A senior official at the center said the area of high radiation is extremely limited, and that she believes playing in the park will not lead to serious health problems.


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24 avril 2015 5 24 /04 /avril /2015 20:29

April 24, 2015

Fukui man takes credit for landing drone on Abe’s official residence




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23 avril 2015 4 23 /04 /avril /2015 20:31
Sign the petition

from Beyond Nuclear :


Sign global ban on uranium, nuclear power and atomic weapons!

A joint statement by the more than 250 participants from five continents at the recent World Uranium Symposium in Quebec City, Canada calls for a ban on every phase of the uranium fuel chain; an end to the use of nuclear power; and the elimination of nuclear weapons.  Please sign the declaration at this link where the full declaration can also be found.

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23 avril 2015 4 23 /04 /avril /2015 20:24

April 21, 2015

Editorial: Japan must set anti-climate change goal without using nuke disaster as excuse


The government is said to be in the final stages of setting a new target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at about 25 percent of current levels by 2030. This translates into a reduction rate from 1990 -- the base year set by the Kyoto Protocol -- of about 10 percent, which is much lower than the reduction goals submitted already by other industrialized nations.

At this rate, it is unclear whether Japan will be able to reach its Cabinet-approved, long-term target of an 80-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The next international negotiations on climate change will be at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris at the end of this year, during which participating states hope to establish a new framework on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the year 2020 onward.

The European Union has already submitted its goal for 2030 of at least a 40 percent reduction from 1990 levels; the United States has also submitted its goal for 2025 as a reduction of 26 to 28 percent compared to 2005 levels. Both these targets are aligned with international goals for industrialized countries to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has run analyses on possible gas reduction volumes for various countries based on reduction measures that are currently implemented, but the targets set by both the E.U. and the U.S. are more ambitious than those figures.

Meanwhile, the reduction rate being finalized by Japan is about the same level as the figure predicted through IEA's analyses. It will be incredibly difficult to reach Japan's long-term targets at this pace, meaning future generations will be forced to bear a greater burden. Indeed, we cannot ignore the disadvantages we face in our anti-climate change efforts partly as a result of our nuclear reactors being stopped. But Japan is the world's fifth-biggest greenhouse-gas emitter. It is our responsibility to set an ambitious reduction target and contribute to global anti-climate change efforts.

We cannot fulfill that responsibility without stepping up efforts to conserve energy and to expand the use of renewable energy.

Exporting Japanese technology to reduce emissions overseas can help on a global scale, but we must not neglect measures within Japan.

Japan's energy-saving measures are world class, but efforts have plateaued. Today, emissions per GDP are lower in Britain and Italy than in Japan. Last month, the Japan Climate Leaders' Partnership (Japan-CLP) -- comprising corporations passionate about anti-climate change efforts -- recommended the implementation of an emission trading scheme based on the thinking that creating an economic structure that focuses on energy and resource conservation would help improve Japan's competitive edge. It's a mindset that responds to the demands of the times in which we live.

Expanding the use of renewable energy can result in the rise of electricity prices, but it can also reduce the cost of procuring fossil fuels. Locally generating and locally consuming renewable energy can help create jobs in regional communities, contributing to the goal of "vitalizing local economies" emphasized by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

According to the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC), the use of one nuclear reactor reduces carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 3.2 million tons annually. However, since Japan generates a total of 1.4 billion tons of greenhouse gases per year, the proportion that nuclear power contributes toward achieving Japan's long-term goals is not that great.

Japan stands at a point now, where it can no longer hide behind the Fukushima nuclear disaster for its passive stance toward anti-climate change measures.

April 21, 2015(Mainichi Japan)

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23 avril 2015 4 23 /04 /avril /2015 20:20

April 23, 2015

Drone found on roof of PM's office may have been controlled from nearby

A small drone with a trace of radiation, which was found on the roof of the prime minister's office on April 22, can be remotely controlled from up to 300 meters away, investigative sources said.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is analyzing images on security cameras around the scene, suspecting that the person who flew the four-propeller drone was within several hundred meters from the prime minister's office at the time of the incident.

The drone is highly likely to be one from the "Phantom" series produced by China-based DJI, the sources said.

Drones in the Phantom series can typically fly at about 15 meters per second and their duration of flying is up to 25 minutes, although there are differences in equipment such as cameras and the distances from which they can be remotely controlled between models, according to DJI's website.

One can operate a model equipped with a camera while viewing video images transmitted from the camera to a smartphone.

Drones can generally be operated while viewing them with the naked eye or by watching images sent from cameras mounted on them or by automatically flying them on a preset course using a global positioning system (GPS).

The drone found on the roof of the prime minister's office is a type that can be remotely controlled by viewing the aircraft with the naked eye or by monitoring video images. The sources said investigators believe that the drone can be operated about 300 meters away.

However, since there are models in the Phantom series that can be operated about one kilometer away, investigators are analyzing the performance of the drone they have confiscated.

The sources said the MPD suspects that someone flew the drone at night so that police officers standing guard around the prime minister's office would not notice the object, noting that if flown in the daytime, officers would have noticed the noise of its propellers. The drone, which was originally white, was painted black.

Following the incident, the MPD has posted additional riot police officers in areas around the prime minister's office and the Diet Building to tighten security, and stepped up its monitoring of suspicious unmanned small flying objects around the areas.

Drone likely landed on prime minister’s office this week; cesium may be from Fukushima No. 1

Kyodo, Bloomberg, JIJI

LAWS, FALL SHORT: PAGE 2 – A drone carrying a small amount of radioactive cesium that was found on the roof of the prime minister’s office may have landed there in the last few days, investigative sources said Thursday, as authorities moved to beef up security and weighed regulating drone flights.

Minister Shinzo Abe used the helipad on the roof on March 22 to fly to Kanagawa Prefecture for a graduation ceremony at the National Defense Academy, the four-propeller drone was not there and no staff members had visited the roof since then, the sources said.

The drone, which measures about 50 cm in diameter, was dry when it was found around 10:20 a.m. on Wednesday, suggesting it had landed after April 20 when it rained in Tokyo.

Sources of radiation found on the drone may be from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the investigators said, which experienced three reactor-core meltdowns after the March 2011 tsunami and earthquake, scattering radioactive material across a large swath of eastern Japan.

The rooftop was not regularly checked by security staff, according to the Metropolitan Police Department, which added that staff at the prime minister’s office discovered the drone on the roof Wednesday morning when they were showing new employees around the office.

Investigators continued to analyze footage of surveillance cameras and interview people as they scrambled to find out when the unmanned aircraft landed on the building and who was responsible.

In a related move, the Japan unit of Chinese technology firm DJI, the maker of the drone in question, announced Thursday that it would change how its drones operate. Because the devices are fed with GPS data, no-fly zones can be set by modifying their programs. Areas around airports are already on the list, and the firm said it will now add the prime minister’s office and the Imperial Palace.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference on Thursday that the government will consider regulating drone flights by creating legislation during the current Diet session.

“We should start from where we can as soon as possible,” the top government spokesman said.

“There is a risk that unmanned aircraft could be used for a terrorist attack at events such as the Olympics or the G-7 summit,” Suga told reporters earlier.

Leaders of the G-7 developed countries are scheduled to meet in Japan next year.

The government will convene a meeting of officials from bodies ranging from the police to the land ministry and industry ministry to examine laws and regulations, he said.

The drone was equipped with what appeared to be a small camera and a smoke flare, and was emblazoned with a radiation symbol. Investigators said they also detected trace amounts of radioactive cesium in a liquid container attached to the device.

The cesium found on the device does not exist in nature, and investigators are looking into the possibility that the radiation from the wrecked Fukushima plant could have been added to the liquid.

“This could potentially lead to more regulations on unmanned aircraft,” said Koichi Nakano, a professor of politics at Sophia University in Tokyo. “Much depends on whether the radioactive material found indicates this was an attack.”

The drone was identified by public broadcaster NHK as a Phantom, an aircraft made by Chinese company SZ DJI Technology Co. — the same type that was flown onto the grounds of the White House in January. After that incident, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke of the need for regulations on the use of small unmanned aircraft by civilians in his country.

At present, Japan regards drones as toys and allows them to fly freely at altitudes of up to 250 meters except near airports.

The government is specifically considering setting up no-fly zones for drones over the prime minister’s office, the Imperial Palace and other important facilities. It is also considering allowing the jamming of radio signals to prevent the control of such devices in the vicinity.

The drone’s discovery on the roof of the prime minister’s office seemed likely to push police to take additional steps beyond the investigation. They had been studying ways to detect unmanned aerial devices approaching important facilities since a drone crashed on the grounds of the White House in January.

On Wednesday, the National Police Agency instructed police departments across the country to enhance the monitoring of airspace above important facilities, such as government buildings, nuclear power plants and airports, police sources said.

The NPA ordered riot police to watch for the approach of drones at such facilities

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23 avril 2015 4 23 /04 /avril /2015 20:18

April 23, 2015

Sendai reactor restart ‘unrealistic,’ regulator says


JIJI, Staff Report

Kyushu Electric Power Co. has been forced to review restart plans for the No. 1 reactor at its Sendai Nuclear Power Plant a day after a court ruling paved the way for the move.

The plant, in Kagoshima Prefecture, was set to be restarted in mid-July, but on Thursday the Nuclear Regulation Authority criticized the company’s planning.

The NRA found the plan, which was presented at a meeting between Kyushu Electric and the NRA, to be too optimistic following some work delays in ongoing final checks on the No. 1 reactor.

“We don’t think the plan is realistic,” Toyoshi Fuketa, commissioner of the NRA, said at the meeting. “It just looks like wishful thinking.”

He added that: “As the checks are important, we want to spend time where we need to.”

Under its existing timetable Kyushu Electric planned to insert nuclear fuel into the reactor in June, reactivate it mid-July and begin commercial operations mid-August.

Japan’s commercial reactors remain offline amid heightened public safety concerns following the triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant in 2011.

The Sendai No. 1 reactor was on track to be the first to be restarted.

“We will reconsider the timetable,” Kyushu Electric Managing Executive Officer Akira Nakamura told reporters after the NRA meeting.

On Wednesday, Kagoshima District Court dismissed a provisional injunction to block the restart of two reactors at the Sendai plant.

It stood in sharp contrast to a decision by the Fukui District Court last week to block the restart of reactors at the Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture over safety concerns.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to reboot reactors to help reduce high energy costs, but opponents are using the courts to block the revival of nuclear power, which is widely unpopular, especially in areas where residents cannot get local governors or mayors to prevent a restart.


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23 avril 2015 4 23 /04 /avril /2015 20:16

April 23, 2015

NRA meeting on Takahama after injunction


Apr. 23, 2015 - Updated 09:43 UTC+2

Japan's nuclear regulators continue to take steps to restart reactors at a plant in central Japan. They say their work is not affected by a recent court decision blocking such a restart.

Nuclear Regulation Agency officials met on Thursday to review progress at the No. 3 and 4 reactors at Kansai Electric's Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture.

The meeting is the first on the reactors since the Fukui District Court issued a provisional injunction on April 14th. The operator cannot restart the reactors unless the court decision is overturned.

In February, inspectors confirmed that the reactors met new regulations introduced after the 2011 Fukushima accident.
Nuclear regulators say the injunction will not affect administrative procedures regarding the reactors.

Kansai Electric officials told the regulators at the meeting that the firm will later explain details of new facilities. They include a quake-resistant seawall and a facility to serve as a base for recovery efforts in the event of an accident. They are necessary for restarting the reactors.

The regulators accepted the utility's explanation.

NRA officials said they will proceed with what screenings and inspections they can while the injunction is in effect.


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