31 octobre 2014 5 31 /10 /octobre /2014 16:52
Removing part of no.1 cover to test antidispersal agents

October 31, 2014

TEPCO removes part of reactor building cover at Fukushima plant

Part of the cover over No. 1 reactor of Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant is removed, revealing massive debris inside the reactor on Oct. 31. (Mainichi)


TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The operator of the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Friday tentatively removed part of the cover shrouding the No.1 reactor building installed in the wake of the 2011 disaster to keep radioactive materials from dispersing.

Dismantling the cover is a first step toward removing spent fuel rods stored in a cooling pool sitting above the reactor, which suffered a meltdown in the disaster, and eventually extracting the melted fuel, Tokyo Electric Power Co said.

A crane removes part of the cover over No. 1 reactor of Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant on Oct. 31. (Mainichi)

On Friday morning, plant workers removed a huge panel using a crane to see whether antidispersal agents, inserted last week to prevent radioactive dust from being scattered, are taking effect. No changes in radiation levels have been observed around the plant so far, the company said.

TEPCO will continue observing for a month to make sure radioactive materials are not dispersing and put the panel back again. The utility plans to begin full-fledged work on dismantling the cover next March.

Once the whole cover is removed, TEPCO hopes to first clean debris covering the upper side of the building resulting from a hydrogen explosion in 2011. The company then plans to begin taking out spent fuel rods from the pool in the first half of 2019 at the earliest, which is to be followed by the challenging work of extracting melted fuel inside the reactor.

The No. 1 reactor building cover was installed in October 2011 as an emergency measure to keep radioactive dust from scattering. TEPCO initially planned to begin preparatory work for removing it by the end of last March, but the company was forced to delay the schedule after local residents voiced concern that the decommissioning work at the plant may have contaminated rice crops in nearby areas.

October 31, 2014(Mainichi Japan)

Part of cover removed from Fukushima reactor bldg.


Oct. 31, 2014 - Updated 03:46 UTC+1

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has removed part of the cover of a reactor building on a trial basis.

The work is aimed at clearing debris as part of preparations for removing nuclear fuel from a spent fuel storage pool. The debris was left by a hydrogen explosion after the 2011 nuclear accident.

Tokyo Electric Power Company began the procedure on Friday morning at the No. 1 reactor building. Using a remote-controlled crane, workers lifted one of the 6 panels of the ceiling, taking about 20 minutes. The procedure is aimed at checking whether any dust is stirred up.

TEPCO plans to remove another panel as early as next week, while monitoring the spread of radioactive materials for about a month.

The utility hopes to begin the full-scale dismantling of the cover in March and start removing the debris in the first half of fiscal 2016.

The dismantling of the cover was initially due to start in July. But the utility delayed the operation following the spread of nuclear materials during the removal of debris at the No. 3 reactor building last year.

TEPCO officials now plan to postpone starting the removal of the spent fuel units by 2 years, to fiscal 2019, and the start of removing melted fuel by 5 years, until 2025.

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30 octobre 2014 4 30 /10 /octobre /2014 21:26


Japan Installs 11 GW of Renewable Energy in Two Years

Solar energy makes up the most additional energy capacity.

Chisaki Watanabe, Bloomberg
septembre 29, 2014 |

Tokyo -- Japan has added 11,090 megawatts of clean energy capacity since July 2012, when it began an incentive program to encourage investment in renewables, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Of the total, Japan has added 10,880 MW of solar capacity through the end of June, according to METI data updated on Sept. 26.

Japan, which has a total population of 127 million, has approved 71,780 MW of renewable energy projects, according to the ministry data. Solar accounts for 96 percent of the approved capacity.

In related new, a unit of General Electric Co. and partners will get a 90 billion yen ($822 million) loan from Japanese banks to build a 231-MW solar power station in western Japan.

GE Energy Financial Services, Toyo Engineering Corp., and Kuni Umi Asset Management Co. will build the 110 billion yen station in Okayama prefecture, the companies said in a statement today.

Construction will start in November and the station will start running in 2019, according to the statement.

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Bank, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. will serve as lead arrangers of the 22 1/2- year syndicated loan, which will also be provided by regional financial institutions.

Yasuyo Yamazaki, the president and chief executive officer of Kuni Umi Asset Management and a key player in the project, said: “In addition to the Setouchi solar project, we developed a mega-solar power plant in Mito-city Ibaraki Prefecture and started the construction of a woodchip biomass fuel power plant in Kawaminami-cho, Miyazaki Prefecture. Now we are planning a wind farm in Nakadomari-cho, Aomori Prefecture. With these projects, we are contributing to the Ideal Region Development with renewable energy.”

Sushil Verma, a managing director and Japan business leader at GE Energy Financial Services, said: “Japan’s favorable regulatory policies make solar power attractive and diversify the country’s power generation sources. For us, the Kuni Umi project expands our international and renewable energy footprints, which already include investment commitments of $1.8 billion in equity and debt in more than one gigawatt of solar power projects worldwide.”

In addition to capital, GE will supply some of the inverters — marking the debut in Japan of the GE 1 MW Brilliance Solar Inverter, which eliminates the need for an intermediate transformer, resulting in higher conversion efficiency and superior grid performance, according to GE.

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30 octobre 2014 4 30 /10 /octobre /2014 20:43

October 30, 2014

TEPCO to postpone nuclear fuel removal at Fukushima No. 1 reactor



A series of delays will push back by years the start of operations to remove spent and melted nuclear fuel from the No. 1 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, sources said.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the central government were expected to announce the new schedule at an Oct. 30 meeting of the team in charge of handling the decommissioning process and the radioactive water accumulating at the plant.

Under the original plan, TEPCO was to start removing spent fuel from the No. 1 reactor building in fiscal 2017 and begin lifting out the melted fuel as early as fiscal 2020.

Under the new schedule, spent fuel removal will start in fiscal 2019, while the melted fuel operations will begin in fiscal 2025, according to the sources.

Shortly after the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima plant, nuclear fuel in the No. 1 reactor melted and an explosion rocked the building.

Currently, 392 fuel assemblies remain in the spent fuel pool in the damaged reactor building.

TEPCO earlier this month began dismantling the canopy that was installed over the No. 1 reactor building to prevent the escape of radioactive materials.

But work on the canopy was delayed. TEPCO is now unable to begin full-scale work on dismantling the canopy until March 2015 because other related operations must be completed first, the sources said.

That delay, in turn, will push back the scheduled completion of debris removal work around the No. 1 reactor building to at least fiscal 2016.

The debris stands in the way of installing additional devices, such as cranes, to remove the nuclear fuel.

TEPCO and the government also intend to review plans to remove the nuclear fuel at the No. 2 reactor building.

The utility is currently surveying the inside of the No. 2 reactor building, but high radiation levels have hindered progress of the investigation.

Debris removal work has been suspended at the other damaged reactor, No. 3, since August, when some equipment accidently fell into the fuel storage pool.

The No. 4 reactor was not operating during the earthquake and tsunami. The removal of spent nuclear fuel from the No. 4 reactor building is expected to be completed by the end of the year as scheduled.

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30 octobre 2014 4 30 /10 /octobre /2014 20:42

October 30, 2014

Anti-nuclear protesters try to fire up corporate workers in Tokyo


By WATARU SEKITA/ Staff Writer

Men and women in business attire thronged the Shinbashi district of Tokyo on Oct. 29 to encourage fellow office workers to protest against moves to restart the Sendai nuclear power plant in southern Japan.

The municipal assembly and the mayor of Satsuma-Sendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, gave the green light a day earlier to restarting the two-reactor Sendai facility operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co. It is the first plant to win such approval under new safety requirements since the nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture in 2011.

Michihiko Senda, a 48-year-old company worker in Tokyo who helped organize the rally, said it was aimed at garnering like-minded white-collar workers who he believes should be thinking about the issue.

A woman aged 46 who took part said: “I have a 5-year-old child and have been worried (about nuclear plants being reactivated) since the disaster. I can't change the situation, but I wanted to at least express my feelings.”

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30 octobre 2014 4 30 /10 /octobre /2014 20:41

October 30, 2014

Completion of spent nuclear fuel plant delayed


Oct. 30, 2014 - Updated 07:46 UTC+1

A Japanese nuclear fuel company has decided to postpone the completion of a facility for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel to March 2016 due to ongoing rigorous government screening.

It is the 22nd time work has been delayed at the facility in the village of Rokkasho in Aomori Prefecture, northeastern Japan. The problem-prone plant has yet to go into operation after more than 20 years of construction work.

The president of Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited, Kenji Kudo, informed Aomori Prefecture Vice Governor Ikuo Sasaki of the latest decision to postpone completion on Thursday.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has been assessing whether the Rokkasho plant meets new standards since January. The more stringent requirements were put in place following the March 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi. It is not clear how long the screening will take.

Reprocessing spent nuclear fuel from power plants is part of the Japanese government's basic energy policy. Plutonium extracted in this process is to be used as fuel at power plants.

But a delay in the completion of the reprocessing plant in Rokkasho is a setback for the government's strategy to recycle nuclear fuel.

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30 octobre 2014 4 30 /10 /octobre /2014 10:14


October 30, 2014

Fuel removal from Fukushima reactor to be delayed



Oct. 30, 2014 - Updated 00:19 UTC+1

The Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company are to revise the timetable for decommissioning the No.1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The current timetable calls for the process of removing spent fuel assemblies from the storage pool to begin in fiscal 2017, and removing melted fuel to begin 3 years later.

Government and TEPCO officials are now planning to delay the start of removing spent fuel units until fiscal 2019, or by 2 years, and the start of removing melted fuel till 2025, or by 5 years.

Radioactive rubble which has accumulated inside the No.1 reactor building is hampering fuel removal efforts.

Workers began dismantling the cover of the building this month to remove the debris.

But full-fledged work to dismantle the cover will not take place until March of next year, already resulting in a delay of more than 6 months.

To remove the spent fuel and melted fuel, separate facilities, such as cranes, must be set up on top of the reactor building. This would take more time.

The current timetable says complete decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi plant with 4 damaged reactors will take 30 to 40 years.

Fukushima Reactor 1 dismantling to be delayed



Staff Report

In the first-ever delay in the plans to dismantle reactor 1 at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the government and the utility have agreed to postpone the removal of fuel rods from the spent-fuel pool by two years from the initial plans, NHK reported Thursday.

The date of extracting the meltedfuel rods from the reactor core, which suffered a meltdown in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, will also be delayed by five years, the network said, without naming the source.

NHK attributed the delays to an unexpectedly time-consuming process of removal, which was to startin 2017 for fuel rods that are intact and in 2020 for melted ones.

In the ongoing plant dismantling process, removal of rubble, a necessary step to get at the spent-fuel pools, has taken longer than expected, with the plan to start full-fledged work to expose the reactor building by removing its covering delayed by half a year from the originally planned start in March.

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29 octobre 2014 3 29 /10 /octobre /2014 14:10

 October 27, 2014

Town submits petition opposing waste facility



Oct. 29, 2014 - Updated 10:17 UTC+1

Residents of Shioya Town, Tochigi Prefecture, have petitioned the Environment Ministry to drop a site in their town from consideration to host a facility for storing radioactive waste.

The site in Shioya, north of Tokyo, is one of five the government wants to build permanent storage facilities on for designated waste. The waste is material from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident that has radiation levels exceeding 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.

The mayor of Shioya and the leader of a group of residents handed their petition to State Minister of the Environment Yasuhiro Ozato at the ministry in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Shioya has a population of about 12,000. But the petition was signed by about 173,000 people from across Japan.

Residents and their supporters claim a permanent storage facility would threaten the town's water supply and accelerate population decline.

State Minister Ozato said he takes the residents' and signatories' concerns seriously. He stressed the importance of smooth communication and exchange of views over those concerns.

The representative of the residents' group said that he expects the State Minister to understand that the signatures show how strongly people feel about the government's plan.

The Environment Ministry plans to hold a meeting of the prefecture's mayors on November 9th to win support for the permanent storage facility.

Shioya is expected to reiterate their opposition to the plan.

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29 octobre 2014 3 29 /10 /octobre /2014 14:09

October 29, 2014

New safety breaches at prototype Monju reactor


Oct. 29, 2014 - Updated 08:38 UTC+1

Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority says the operator of the prototype fast breeder reactor Monju violated safety regulations by failing to repair dozens of surveillance cameras.

The facility in Tsuruga, central Japan, has been idle since a sodium leak accident in 1995. Liquid sodium was used to cool the experimental reactor.

In May last year, the NRA ordered the operator, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, to halt preparations for resuming a test run after about 14,000 pieces of equipment were found to have gone uninspected.

Then last month, 54 of the plant's 180 surveillance cameras set up after the accident were found to have gone unfixed for up to 18 months.

On Wednesday, the regulator criticized the operator for lacking willingness to reform itself.

NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka questioned the agency's stance on safety. He said the authority will continue checking whether conditions at Monju have improved.

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29 octobre 2014 3 29 /10 /octobre /2014 09:58

 October 29, 2014

Radioactive soil stored at Fukushima schools not covered by recent disposal law, has nowhere to go


FUKUSHIMA – Radioactive soil currently stored at schools in Fukushima Prefecture is not supposed to be transferred to radioactive waste storage facilities planned to be built near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Jiji Press learned Tuesday.

because decontamination at schools was carried out before a special law on radioactive contamination took effect in January 2012 and thus the Environment Ministry deems tainted soil collected during the work not covered by the law. The central government undertakes or funds decontamination work.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government is arguing that such discrimination is pointless and has repeatedly called on the ministry to create a system that will allow soil contaminated with fallout from the March 2011 nuclear calamity at the power plant to be shipped from schools to the planned interim storage facilities.

“We want the state government to prepare an environment where children can study safely,” a senior Fukushima municipal official said.

But the ministry has not given a clear response. This reluctance may be partly due to concerns over the cost of shipping soil to the facilities to store tainted soil before being finally disposed of at other locations. The cost is to be borne eventually by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co.

A senior ministry official said it may be unfair to discriminate between radioactive soil collected before and after the law’s effectuation.

In August, the Fukushima Prefectural Government decided to accept the construction of the temporary storage facilities around the nuclear plant.

Hoping to begin radioactive waste shipments to the facilities in January, the central government is working to win the consent of landowners on the construction.


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29 octobre 2014 3 29 /10 /octobre /2014 09:50

October 28, 2014

Kagoshima nuclear plant 1st to be approved for restart after Fukushima crisis



A town in southwest Japan became the first to approve the restart of a nuclear power station on Oct. 28, a step forward in Japan's fraught process of reviving an industry left idled by the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011.

Kagoshima Prefecture's Satsuma-sendai, a town of 100,000 that hosts the two-reactor Kyushu Electric Power Co. plant, is 1,000 km (600 miles) southwest of Tokyo and has long relied on the Sendai nuclear power plant for government subsidies and jobs.

Nineteen of the city's 26 assembly members voted in favor of restarting the plant while four members voted against and three abstained, a city assembly member told Reuters.

The restart of Japan's first reactors to receive clearance to restart under new rules imposed following the Fukushima disaster is unlikely until next year as Kyushu Electric still needs to pass operational safety checks.

All 48 of the country's nuclear reactors were gradually taken offline after the nuclear disaster, the world's worst since Chernobyl in 1986.

An earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima No. 1 plant, 220 km (130 miles) northeast of Tokyo, sparking triple nuclear meltdowns, forcing more than 160,000 residents to flee from nearby towns and contaminating water, food and air.

Japan has been forced to import expensive fossil fuels to replace atomic power, which previously supplied around 30 percent of the country's electricity.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government is pushing to restart nuclear reactors, but has said he will defer to local authorities to approve a policy that is still unpopular with large swaths of the public.

The restart divided communities nearest to the plant, pitting the host township that gets direct benefits from siting reactors against other communities that do not reap the benefits but say they will be equally exposed to radioactive releases in the event of a disaster.

In Ichikikushikino, a town less than five km (three miles) from the Sendai plant, more than half the 30,000 residents signed a petition opposing the restart earlier this year.

In the lead-up to the local vote, officials held town halls in neighboring towns to explain the restart, where some residents complained that the public meetings were restrictive and did not address concerns about evacuation plans.

A fire broke out at Kyushu Electric's other nuclear plant on Oct. 28, according to Japanese media. The fire started in an auxiliary building of the idled nuclear station and was extinguished by plant workers, the agency said. There were no injuries and no release of radioactive materials, it said.

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