1 novembre 2014 6 01 /11 /novembre /2014 17:39

November 1, 2014

NRA rebuts claim that Fukushima cleanup affected faraway rice paddies



Japan's nuclear watchdog disputed the farm ministry's assertion that radioactive substances churned up by debris removal work at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant contaminated distant rice paddies last year.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority announced at a commissioners' meeting Oct. 31 its estimate that 110 billion becquerels of radioactive materials spread as a result of cleanup at the No. 3 reactor building on Aug. 19, 2013.

This figure is lower than the 130 billion to 260 billion becquerels estimated by the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., in August.

Radiation readings rose significantly during debris removal that day, with radioactive substances found to have contaminated plant workers about 500 meters from the reactor building.

However, NRA Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa emphasized, "The affected area of the fallout was within the nuclear plant compound."

"While it is difficult to simulate the spread of radioactive substances (outside the plant), it is unlikely that the debris cleanup caused the contamination (of the rice paddies)," Fuketa said.

The nuclear facility was ravaged by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami, triggering a triple meltdown.

The NRA arrived at the figure of 110 billion becquerels by analyzing radiation levels recorded at monitoring posts north-northwest of the plant on the day in question.

Radioactive fallout on this scale constitutes a Level 0 incident on the International Atomic Energy Agency's International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale.

Earlier, the farm ministry pointed to the possibility that radiation from the plant had spread to rice paddies in Minami-Soma more than 20 kilometers away, and called on TEPCO to take preventive measures in its debris removal work.

During the NRA meeting, some experts noted that despite the NRA's estimate, it is unlikely that factors other than debris cleanup at the plant could have caused such high levels of radioactive fallout at the rice farms.

“From a broader perspective, the Fukushima No. 1 plant is responsible for the contamination," one participant said.

October 31, 2014

NRA: Fukushima debris didn't taint rice paddies


Oct. 31, 2014 - Updated 11:27 UTC+1

A member of Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority says it's highly unlikely that radioactive particles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant contaminated rice fields some 20 kilometers away.

Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa spoke at the authority's meeting on Friday. Radioactive substances were found in the paddies after workers removed debris from the plant's Number 3 reactor building in August last year.

The authority said the removal work released dust particles with 110 billion becquerels of radiation.

The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, said the particles had relatively large diameters of several micrometers.

Fuketa indicated that given the level of radiation, the particles had an environmental impact only in the plant compound. He suggested that the contamination may have come from river and ground water.

The authority is considering whether to make projections on how far radioactive particles will spread during debris removal and how they will affect rice fi

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1 novembre 2014 6 01 /11 /novembre /2014 17:37

October 31, 2014

IAEA to send experts to analyze seawater


Oct. 31, 2014 - Updated 21:39 UTC+1

The International Atomic Energy Agency will send two marine experts to Japan to report their analysis of the sea water off the coast of the defunct Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Experts from the IAEA affiliated Environment Laboratories in Monaco collected the samples in September to examine the effects of radioactive materials on the ocean's ecosystem.

The laboratory's director David Osborn and another expert will visit Japan from November 4th to the 7th.

The IAEA has been advising Japan to disclose comparative analysis of the results of more than one institution to enhance transparency and ease concerns of neighboring countries.

The two experts also plan to compare water analysis results from Japanese and IAEA laboratories to assess the accuracy of Japanese data.

The IAEA will take new samples off the coast near the Fukushima plant on November 5th.

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Published by fukushima-is-still-news - dans radioactive fallout and waste Nuke safety
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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 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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28 octobre 2014 2 28 /10 /octobre /2014 20:49

Fukushima cesium levels fluctuating


Oct. 28, 2014 - Updated 04:49 UTC+1

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says the levels of radioactive cesium in the compound's groundwater at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant fluctuated greatly last week.

TEPCO detected the highest concentration of cesium in samples of water taken from 2 monitoring wells near a reactor building on Wednesday.

One well had 428,000 becquerels of cesium per liter of water, while the other contained 458,000 becquerels.

But only 2 days later, the reading in the first well had dropped to 5,200 becquerels, or one-eightieth of the level detected on Wednesday. The concentration in the other well stood at 470 becquerels, or about one-one-thousandth of the previous quantity.

TEPCO says these wells are connected underground with other wells that are highly contaminated. So the operator believes cesium poured into them with this month's heavy rains and then flowed out with the underground water.

The utility says this problem cannot be fundamentally solved because the area around the wells thought to be the source of the contamination has extremely high radiation levels and cannot be decontaminated.

The 2 wells are among those from which tainted groundwater is pumped and discharged into the sea after being decontaminated.

But TEPCO has suspended the operation and is considering whether to resume the work.

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25 octobre 2014 6 25 /10 /octobre /2014 08:15

October 25, 2014

High levels of radiation found at Fukushima plant



Oct. 25, 2014 - Updated 05:12 UTC+2

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it has found high levels of radioactive cesium in groundwater in the compound.

Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Company say water taken on Wednesday from a monitoring well contained 460,000 becquerels of cesium per liter. Water from another well contained 424,000 becquerels.

The wells are several meters west of the No. 2 reactor building. There are about 40 around the reactor buildings.

Officials say the levels are 800 to 900 times the previous peak level of 500 becquerels per liter.

TEPCO officials say they don't know what caused the rise. They speculate a recent typhoon may be to blame.

They have stopped pumping water from the 2 wells to conduct an investigation.

TEPCO began pumping up groundwater from the wells on a trial basis in August. They started full-scale operations last week.

The utility plans to treat the tainted groundwater and discharge it into the ocean to deal with the buildup of contaminated water.

But local people strongly oppose the plan. TEPCO has yet to discharge water into the ocean.


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24 octobre 2014 5 24 /10 /octobre /2014 20:17

October 24, 2014

Residents delay search for radioactive waste site


Oct. 24, 2014 - Updated 11:02 UTC+2

Japan's Environment Ministry has suspended inspections of 3 sites under consideration for a radioactive waste disposal facility due to local opposition at 1 of the locations.

The ministry planned to start field surveys on Friday at 3 state-owned sites in Miyagi Prefecture to find a place for a permanent storage facility for contaminated waste stemming from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.

But about 40 opponents of the survey in the town of Kami, including Mayor Hirobumi Inomata, were waiting for ministry officials at the site.

Inomata asked them to stop the survey, saying that State Minister Yasuhiro Ozato had earlier said he took the request seriously.

The officials called off the survey for the day.

Officials at the 2 other sites under consideration also called off planned surveys Friday morning. Those other sites are in the city of Kurihara and town of Taiwa.

A senior official at the ministry's Tohoku regional office said current circumstances make it difficult to go ahead with the surveys. He added he will consult with the ministry about what to do.

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21 octobre 2014 2 21 /10 /octobre /2014 19:50



New Tools for Decontamination**

Workers at Japan's crippled nuclear plant have been showing off new tools to tackle a growing problem. They added equipment to decontaminate more of the water that's accumulating on the Fukushima Daiichi site. And they let the media see how they'll use it.
NHK WORLD's Mitsuko Nishikawa has the details.

Decontamination - New tools

This is a new unit of ALPS, the Advanced Liquid Processing System.
It's designed to remove most radioactive substances. Officials with Tokyo Electric Power Company say it can treat 750 tons of water every day.

Workers switched on their first ALPS unit in March last year. They've had to deal with a string of breakdowns. They showed the media their second unit.
They're also building a third with higher performance.

Decontamination - New tools

The extra units are essential. Three hundred tons of groundwater flows into the reactor buildings every day and gets contaminated. Workers store that water in tanks. They need to process about 360,000 tons.

"We're using a variety of equipment to try to decontaminate the water quickly."
Akira Ono / Chief, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant

Workers also showed off another new tool. It decontaminates groundwater pumped up from wells around the reactor buildings and discharges it into the ocean.

Over 40 wells surround the four reactor buildings. Workers stopped pumping up groundwater after the nuclear accident in 2011 because they found it contained radioactive substances.

Decontamination - New tools
Decontamination - New tools

They started testing the decontamination system this August. They say it cuts most radioactive substances to a level too low to detect.

Company representatives explained the system's capabilities to local fishermen, but couldn't ease all their concerns

"For all of us in the fishing community, it's very important that the decommissioning of the reactors proceed smoothly. TEPCO officials must let us know more about the situation."
Tetsu Nozaki / Chairman, Fukushima fisheries federation

Decontamination - New tools

Experts say decommissioning the plant will take 40 years. And the radioactive water is one of the biggest hurdles. Company executives say they'll keep making that water as clean as they can with help from the government.

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15 octobre 2014 3 15 /10 /octobre /2014 22:39

October 15, 2014

Government having trouble locating landowners of planned radioactive waste site



The Environment Ministry has completed briefings for landowners of a site to store radioactive waste from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, but attendance at the meetings was less than half the landholders.

A total of 901 property owners of the construction site, located in the towns of Okuma and Futaba near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, attended the 12 meetings hosted by the ministry. Those that participated are believed to account for less than half of the total number who hold land titles to the site.

Ministry officials said many of the landowners evacuated as the March 2011 nuclear disaster unfurled and have yet to be found or contacted, which is just one of the obstacles the government’s purchasing plan has to overcome.

The site also includes land whose ownership remains unclear due to the death of the previous owners.

Dozens of workers at the ministry’s Fukushima Office for Environmental Restoration have tried to locate all current landholders. The office has managed to only send briefing-session invitations to 1,269 people among owners of 2,365 land plots.

While ministry officials said they will continue trying to locate all of the current property owners, they also said they will consider seeking to have family courts appoint interim administrators for the properties.

Many of those who did attend the briefing sessions also reportedly voiced their dissatisfaction with the government’s plan to buy up the land. A woman in her 60s from Okuma, who took part in a meeting in Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, said she felt the amount of compensation offered by the government was “too little,” given the fact that many people from the two towns have been forced to live as refugees.

During a news conference on Oct. 14, Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki said the ministry will create a system to dispatch officials when land owners come forward with questions.

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14 octobre 2014 2 14 /10 /octobre /2014 23:29

Briefing on Fukushima waste storage plan completed


Oct. 14, 2014 - Updated 05:20 UTC+2

The Japanese government has completed a series of briefings on its plan to build intermediate storage facilities in Fukushima Prefecture.

The government plans to buy up land in Futaba and Okuma Towns that host the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to house facilities to store radioactive soil and other waste.

The series of 12 sessions for landowners in the 2 towns began in September after the Fukushima prefectural government accepted the construction of the storage facilities.

About 240 people took part in the final session held behind closed doors in Iwaki City on Sunday.

Participants said Environment Ministry officials gave them an outline of compensation plans for their land.

Some of them complained about the offered price, saying it's not enough to rebuild their lives elsewhere.
But the officials said it's hard to revise the planned purchase prices.

Some participants said the officials seemed to care little about the feelings of those who will lose their land.

The government wants to win the understanding of the landowners, and start shipping contaminated waste to the storage facilities in January.

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