Day 207 Hey Henry, how’s Sally doin’? Need another bucket?

Radioactive waste piles up at Fukushima nuclear plant as disposal method remains in limbo

Workers at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant stand around the radioactive water decontamination system
Workers at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant stand around the radioactive water decontamination system “Sally” in this photo provided by TEPCO.

Three months after the start of full-scale water circulation system operations at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, high-level radioactive waste has kept piling up amid no clear indications of its final disposal destination.

As of Sept. 27, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) had accumulated about 4,700 drums of radioactive waste after three months of cesium decontamination operations initially using U.S. and French equipment which was later joined by Toshiba Corp.’s “Sally” system in August.

Since the start of October, TEPCO has conducted the plant’s water circulation operations using the Sally system alone while relegating its U.S. and French counterparts built by Kurion Inc. and Areva SA, respectively, to backups.

The Kurion and Sally systems are designed to purify decontaminated water through an absorption unit called a “vessel” that contains zeolites. The vessel is changed every few days and the used vessels become radioactive waste.

Areva’s water treatment system filters contaminated water by having sand absorb radioactive materials and precipitate with the help of chemicals. But the treatment produces highly polluted sludge.

According to TEPCO, radioactive waste as of Sept. 27 included 210 Kurion-made vessels (a total of about 307 cubic meters) with each vessel measuring 0.9 meters in diameter and 2.3 meters in height and 581 cubic meters of sludge via the Areva unit.

In this June 1, 2011 file photo released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), workers inspect equipment inside the cesium absorption tower, part of the radioactive water processing facilities at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture. (AP Photo/TEPCO)

In this June 1, 2011 file photo released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), workers inspect equipment inside the cesium absorption tower, part of the radioactive water processing facilities at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture. (AP Photo/TEPCO)

The radioactive waste has been kept at a temporary storage site on the premises of the Fukushima plant, which was heavily damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and subsequent hydrogen explosions and meltdowns. But TEPCO has been unable to fully grasp the details such as the types and the concentration of nuclear materials.

Professor Akio Koyama at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute says, “The density of high-level decontaminated water is believed to be a maximum 10 billion becquerels per liter, but if it is condensed to polluted sludge and zeolites, its density sometimes increases by 10,000 times. The density cannot be dealt with through conventional systems.”

(Mainichi Japan) October 3, 2011

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Japan Tohoku earthquake and tsunami : CATDAT 41 report (October 2, 2011).

http://earthquake-report.com/2011/10/02/japan-tohoku-earthquake-and-tsunami-catdat-41-report-october-2-2011/

Summary of population densities, building types, building losses (destroyed/partially destroyed, etc.), GDP per capita, socio-economic loss estimates, deaths and missing. Quite comprehensive.

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58 percent oppose higher income and corporate taxes for quake restoration: poll

Many rooms remain unoccupied Aug. 16 in temporary housing set up in Aizuwakamatsu for residents who have evacuated from Okuma, where Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s stricken nuclear power plant is located. (Mainichi)

Many rooms remain unoccupied Aug. 16 in temporary housing set up in Aizuwakamatsu for residents who have evacuated from Okuma, where Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s stricken nuclear power plant is located. (Mainichi)

Fifty-eight percent of respondents to a Mainichi poll have voiced opposition to increasing income tax or corporate tax to provide funds for the recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

Overall, 39 percent of respondents in the nationwide poll conducted on Oct. 1 and 2 supported a tax increase, but the figures varied depending on political affiliation. Among supporters of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), for example, 56 percent were for a tax increase while 43 percent were against. However, among supporters of New Komeito, 75 percent were against an increase.

A total of 50 percent of respondents were opposed to raising the consumption tax to fund social security programs such as public pension programs, while 48 percent supported such a measure.

In light of the public hesitancy to accept a tax increase, it is likely that the government will come under increasing pressure to cut annual expenditure and boost non-tax revenues.

The survey also asked respondents whether they supported restarting nuclear reactors whose operations have been suspended — a move proposed by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on condition that the safety of the reactors is confirmed and consent is obtained from local bodies. A total of 50 percent said they approved of the idea while 47 percent were against it.

Altogether, 59 percent of respondents said they appreciated the Noda administration’s move toward increased utilization of government bureaucrats — a departure from the line of previous DPJ administrations — while 38 percent said they approved of the move.

Seventy-seven percent gave credit to the administration’s call for the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito to join in policy debate on issues including the third supplementary budget for fiscal 2011.

Rubble piles up at a temporary disposal site in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. (Mainichi)

Rubble piles up at a temporary disposal site in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. (Mainichi)

At the same time, 73 percent said they thought the Noda administration would bring no change to the speed of restoration and recovery from the March 11 quake and tsunami. A total of 18 percent said they believed restoration and recovery would speed up, while 7 percent said they thought it would slow down.

The approval rating for the Noda Cabinet was 50 percent, down 6 points from the previous poll in September, while the disapproval rating was 22 percent.

Overall, public support for the DPJ stood at 16 percent, below the 18 percent support marked by the LDP. A total of 49 percent said they did not support any particular political party.

(Mainichi Japan) October 3, 2011

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Filed under “We were responsible for building 6 nuclear reactors at the Daiichi site. Oops….”

TEPCO forecast 10-meter tsunami

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/03_21.html

Government documents show that the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant predicted in 2008 that a tsunami over 10 meters high could hit the plant, which was only designed to withstand tsunami of 5.7 meters. But it failed to report this to the government until just before the March 11th disaster.

At the request of NHK, the government on Monday released a simulation report by Tokyo Electric Power Company.

TEPCO had predicted that waves between 8.4 and 10.2 meters high could hit all 6 reactors at the plant in the event of an earthquake similar to one that devastated the area in 1896.
But the prediction was not conveyed to the government’s nuclear safety agency until March 7th, just 4 days before the plant was crippled by tsunami.

In the report, TEPCO also said it would begin examining the plant’s tsunami-resistance measures in April of this year. It said it planned to deal appropriately with the matter by around October of 2012, when academics were expected to review their tsunami evaluations.

TEPCO official Junichi Matsumoto says the company did not feel the need to take prompt action on the estimates, which were still tentative calculations in the research stage.

But a Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency official says it is regrettable that TEPCO did not start work on its tsunami measures right after it made the estimate 3 years ago. He said TEPCO should have called on experts to discuss its calculations in public.

Monday, October 03, 2011 16:46 +0900 (JST)

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Latest from Arnie Gundersen at:

Nuclear Oversight Lacking Worldwide

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2 comments
  1. Anonymous said:

    Yeah, burn it. That’s the way to go. And then HOPE [“that they hope will release a lower concentration of radioactive ash.”] there’s not as much radiation floating around in the air to recontaminate everything….. Good thinking.

    Hope… as is “I hope the quake won’t be a 7” and “I hope the tsunami won’t be over 10 meters” and…. fill in the blank.

  2. julia said:

    saw this today
    Radioactive ash causes Kashiwa incinerators to shut down

    National Oct. 04, 2011 – 03:15PM JST ( 5 )

    CHIBA —

    Authorities in Kashiwa City, Chiba Prefecture, said Tuesday that levels of radioactive cesium found in ash from garbage disposal facilities can no longer be contained and stored, causing garbage incineration plants to be temporarily shut down.

    In July, the Kashiwa municipal government detected 365 to 70,800 becquerels of cesium per kilogram in radiation checks conducted at two incineration plants and one final disposal facility. Since then, Kashiwa had been storing ash containing 8,000 becquerels per kilogram or more of radioactive materials in temporary storage, based on Environment Ministry guidelines that forbid the dumping of contaminated ash in landfills. Authorities say it is Japan’s first plant closure due to radioactivity.

    According to a Fuji TV report, authorities plan to burn the remaining garbage at newer and more efficient plants that they hope will release a lower concentration of radioactive ash. The city plans to demand financial compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Company for the extra costs involved.

    Japan Today

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