Hmm, so, the citizens did not ask for nuclear power, and now that there is an enormous catastrophe, the citizens will be asked to pay for it? For decades/centuries to come in the form of higher electricity rates? Simply because the company that set up these poisonous behemoths CANNOT GET INSURANCE?
DUMP NUCLEAR ENERGY NOW.
= + = + =
Insurers discuss scrapping liability coverage for Fukushima plant
BY MAKOTO ODA SENIOR STAFF WRITER
Steam rises from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on March 15. (Tokyo Electric Power Co.)
Nonlife insurers are leaning toward ending liability coverage for the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which would complicate compensation payments if another emergency unfolds and render the plant’s reactors “illegal.”
“The insurance contracts are targeted at nuclear reactors that are operating normally and are not leaking out radioactive substances,” said a senior official at a major nonlife insurer. “It will be difficult to renew the contract under the current circumstances.”
The contract with Tokyo Electric Power Co. for the stricken Fukushima No. 1 plant expires in January.
Private contracts by nonlife insurers are designed to cover compensation for nuclear accidents that are not caused by natural disasters. If the contract is discontinued, the Fukushima facility will become Japan’s first nuclear power plant to go uninsured against such accidents.
The Law on Compensation for Nuclear Damage defines two frameworks to help operators of nuclear facilities pay compensation to people affected by accidents at those sites.
One framework, which provides government compensation, applies to accidents caused by earthquakes, tsunami and other natural disasters. The Fukushima No. 1 plant crisis, triggered by the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, falls under this category.
The second framework, involving private insurance, applies to general accidents that are not caused by natural disasters. This framework was used after the criticality accident in 1999 at JCO Co.’s nuclear fuel processing plant in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, which killed two workers.
In both frameworks, payments can cover up to 120 billion yen ($1.6 billion) per nuclear plant. Electric power companies, in principle, pay the remainder of the burden.
For the Fukushima accident, the maximum limit is well short of the estimated trillions of yen needed to cover all damage compensation claims. The government on Sept. 12 set up the Nuclear Damage Compensation Facilitation Corp., which will extend loans to TEPCO to help it pay victims of the accident.
Private insurance contracts are undertaken by the Japan Atomic Energy Insurance Pool, set up by 23 nonlife insurers, and are renewed every year. The Insurance Pool is expected to decide by the end of this year on whether it will renew the contract for the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
Nonlife insurers are already showing a negative stance toward renewing the contract because the abnormal state of the reactors has heightened the risk of future accidents caused by systems glitches or human error.
The Insurance Pool has concluded reinsurance contracts with overseas insurers, which would cover part of the insurance money it would have to pay. Because of the latest accident, however, the reinsurers may no longer want to continue these policies, sources said.
If the Fukushima plant is not covered by liability insurance, TEPCO would face enormous difficulties in compensating people affected by another accident caused by mistakes or glitches. In that case, TEPCO would likely have to increase electricity fees.
TEPCO plans to decommission the Fukushima No. 1 plant’s No. 1 through No. 4 reactors, but that process is expected to take decades to complete. No decision has been made on the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors, whose operations remain suspended.
The Law on Compensation for Nuclear Damage states that a nuclear facility operator must not operate reactors unless it has secured a means for nuclear damage compensation. The reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, if uninsured, will become “illegal reactors” unless they are decommissioned.
To avoid such a scenario, TEPCO has to set aside a deposit equal to the maximum amount of insurance money or the government must create a new framework for government compensation for general accidents. The government has not started discussions on this issue.
A nonlife insurance industry source pointed out the flaws in the damage compensation framework.
“The Law on Compensation for Nuclear Damage does not envisage the case where a nuclear plant hit by an accident, like Fukushima No. 1, remains in existence for decades,” the source said.
= + = + = + =
Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011
Just as I thought. TEPCO will ditch the Kurion-AREVA combo that has had numerous problems from the beginning and will rely solely on Toshiba (and IHI and US’s Shaw)’s SARRY for highly contaminated water treatment. Toshiba’s SARRY has had its share of problems but not as many as the Kurion-AREVA duo.
The latest trouble at the water treatment system: the density of radioactive materials, reduced after Kurion’s treament, shot up again after AREVA’s treatment.
From Mainichi Shinbun (9/15/2011):
TEPCO announced on September 15 that there was a trouble in the reactor cooling system that circulates water treated in the contaminated water treatment system. The density of radioactive materials that decreased after the treatment with Kurion’s system increased after the treatment with AREVA’s system. It is possible that highly radioactive sludge in AREVA’s system leaked. TEPCO is investigating the cause. Currently, AREVA’s system is stopped, and the treatment is done by Kurion’s system alone.
TEPCO looked at the treatment performance of both systems and found that Kurion’s system had reduced the density of radioactive materials from several million becquerels/cubic centimeter to several hundred becquerels/cubic centimeter. However, when that treated water was further processed in AREVA’s system, the density shot up to several hundred thousand becquerels/cubic centimeter.
TEPCO plans to stop using Kurion-AREVA system starting October, and use Toshiba’s SARRY exclusively for contaminated water treatment. SARRY has had a relatively small number of failures compared to Kurion’s or AREVA’s system.
TEPCO was working on both Kurion’s and AREVA’s system from September 13, replacing a pump at Kurion’s and a stirrer in the coagulation settling unit at AREVA’s. Maybe that had something to do with the problem. Maybe not. TEPCO is not very forthcoming, as you may have noticed over the past 6 months.
= + = + = + =
September 16th, 2011 | Add a Comment
This article came out through US news services yesterday frequently quoting a nuclear expert who is claiming newer commercial nuclear power plants are safer or superior to plants like Fukushima. Richard Meserve, the expert in the article claims because Fukushima was built in the 1970′s and that newer plant designs would be much safer. The bulk of the US power plants were built in the 60′s and 70′s just like Fukushima. The word for word line about newer plants being safer is a standard line from the commercial nuclear power industry. The article cites’s Meserve’s credentials as being a former NRC head and as a consultant to the IAEA. After some research it is clear that this doesn’t even scratch the surface of Meserve’s real allegiances or who who signs his substantial paychecks.
Meserve worked for Covington & Burling, a legal and lobbyist firm in Washington DC before is term at the NRC and continues to work there now. Covington & Burling include commercial nuclear power companies among their lines of business for the lobbying and legal services. Meserve also works for PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) the huge west coast utility company that owns Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. He is frequently quoted as being the President of Carnegie Institution of Washington, PG&E owns this institution and lists Meserve on their corporate board of directors. Meserve’s total compensation just from PG&E in 2009 was over $172,000.
Meserve also works for UniStar Nuclear on their advisory board. UniStar Nuclear and Constellation Energy are owned by EDF/Areva, the gigantic French nuclear conglomerate. UniStar Nuclear was formed for the specific purpose of promoting the French EPR reactor design. Constellation Energy is partially owned by EDF and is in the process of being bought out by nuclear giant Excelon. Areva has a less than stellar reputation in the world, just ask Niger.
Meserve is also a director for Luminent Energy, a power company that owns Comanche Peak nuclear plant. All of these well paid connections Meserve has trump his claimed record of only working for the NRC and IAEA. He alsopaid for and authored a special supplement piece on behalf of the nuclear industry in the Washington Post in an attempt to lobby Congress for more financing for nuclear power plant construction.
The newer design Meserve is being paid to promote in the article is the French EPR that his employers want to build in the US. We recently published an article about the EPR reactor design that has been plagued with design and technical failures. These kinds of articles are becoming a pervasive problem in the US media. People are frequently quoted as experts without their true allegiances and motivations even mentioned, giving the public a distorted sense of the commercial nuclear power situation.
September 10th, 2011 | Add a Comment
We documented in mid-August that the melted reactor fuel (corium) may have relocated and could be leaving the unit 1 reactor building.
Now Hiroaki Koide of Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute alsostates this theory is the likely scenario at unit 1.
“At the No. 1 reactor, there’s a chance that melted fuel has burned through the bottom of the pressure vessel, the containment vessel and the floor of the reactor building, and has sunk into the ground. From there, radioactive materials may be seeping into the ocean and groundwater.”
Koide also expresses concerns about the ongoing watering tactic at units 2 and 3, that it could lead to steam explosions if the melted fuel reheats itself and moves into an area full of water. There is also the same risk if the fuel at unit 1 manages to find groundwater. He doesn’t mention why unit 1 is again so different from units 2 and 3. The main known difference is unit 1 has an older design that includes a smaller containment vessel.
Koide also expresses concern for the flow of contaminated water out of the site and the lack of a clear plan to deal with all the radioactive waste being created both at the plant and all over Japan as people attempt to decontaminate.
= + = + = + =
Design by Green Action Japan.
Download PDF at http://fukushima.greenaction-japan.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/flyer_united-nations-stop.pdf
Please share and print.
= + = + = + =
In May and July,Greenpeace conducted measurement of seafood.
The result shows all the samples taken from around Fukushima contains more radiation than national “safety limit.”
Now that fishermen are starting bottom trawling in Ibaraki,Greenpeace conducted another measurement around in Miyagi,Fukushima,and Ibaraki.
As the result,all the kinds of seafood turned out to be polluted by Cesium 134 and 137.
They did not check strontium this time.
I expect the contamination to spread and become worse in the future.
Don’t eat seafood.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2011
Well, it sure looked pretty, a field of sunflowers, but if the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is to be believed, it did not do much more than looking pretty, and creating radioactive sunflowers that’ll have to be somehow safety disposed as nuclear waste.
Sunflower seeds were planted in many, many areas within the 20-kilometer radius exclusion zone. Who is going to dispose these nuclear waste, and how?
From Asahi Shinbun (9/14/2011):
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced the result of its study in Fukushima Prefecture on the effectiveness of various method of decontamination of the farmland that have been contaminated with radioactive materials. While it was confirmed that scraping off the surface soil was effective, planting sunflowers to absorb radioactive cesium proved to be hardly effective at all.
The Ministry has been experimenting on the decontamination methods since late May, using 6 locations in Iitate-mura and Kawamata-machi, which are close to Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.
Of different methods to scrape off the surface soil, the most effective was scraping about 3 centimeters with the shallow-rooted grass. This method decreased radioactive cesium by 97%. Scraping the soil alone about 4 centimeters achieved 75% reduction. If the surface soil was treated with solidifying agent before being scraped, the reduction was 82%.
Filling the rice paddies with water, then tilling and stirring the soil and draining the water reduced radioactive cesium by 36%. Digging the field 30 to 60 centimeter deep and burying the surface soil was also effective in reducing the radiation level in half.
On the other hand, the amount of cesium that sunflowers absorbed from the soil was only one-2000th of the density of radioactive cesium in the soil. The Ministry concluded that “there is no other candidate that has higher absorption ratio. Practically speaking, sunflowers are not effective in decontamination”.
Based on the result, the Ministry disclosed its ideas of decontamination based on the density of radioactive materials in the soil.
The farmland whose radioactive materials in the soil would exceed 5,000 becquerels/kg (limit above which the planting of rice is prohibited) is estimated to be 8,300 hectares [about 20,500 acres]. From the result of the experiments, in case of the farmland whose radioactive material density exceeds 10,000 becquerels/kg, it may be difficult to reduce the level down below 5,000 becquerels/kg unless the surface soil is removed. Between 5,000 and 10,000 becquerels/kg, there may not be other choices but removing the surface soil.
If the surface soil is removed in 8,300 hectares, the amount of contaminated soil generated would exceed 3 million tonnes. The Ministry says it hopes to develop a technology to remove cesium from the soil so that the soil can be put back in the field. (reported by Keiichiro Inoue)
What about plutonium and strontium? Cobalt-60?
Isn’t removing the surface soil what Russia/Ukraine/Beralus have done and to very little effect? The fresh supply of radioactive cesium and other nuclides come down from the mountains. What about decontaminating the mountains?
I wouldn’t call Iitate-mura and Kawamata-machi “close to Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant”. They are more than 35 kilometers away. The reporter should have said “close enough for the government researchers to go anywhere near the plant”.
By the way, as one refugee from Iitate-mura strongly hints in his tweets, Iitate-mura’s political leaders seem in excellent terms with the national government and government-connected contractors keen on getting “decon” jobs. After all, 200 billion yen (US$2.6 billion) is to be spent on this village of 6,000 people alone so that the villagers can come home in 2 years.