+ = + = + = + = + = +
And the world says, “You’re Welcome,
Odaiji ni (take care of yourselves).
+ = + = + = + = + = +
Fukushima I Nuke Plant: 220 Tonnes, not 45, of Strontium-Contaminated Water?
If you look at the photos released so far by TEPCO (see my posts here and here) while being told only 45 tonnes of treated water leaked from the evaporative condensation apparatus (desalination) at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant and that only 150 liters (about 40 gallons) of it leaked into the ocean, and wonder “45 tonnes? 150 liters? The numbers look too low”, you may be right.
The amount of water leaked from the apparatus may be 220 tonnes, not 45 tonnes as widely reported. In this case, one of the first reports by Asahi Shinbun (print/digital print version) may have gotten it right. 45 tonnes just inside the building that houses this apparatus.
Let’s do some recalculations. 150 liters of the treated water that have leaked into the ocean, according to TEPCO, had 26,000,000,000 becquerels (26 billion becquerels) of radioactive materials (cesium, strontium, etc.). If 750 liters leaked instead (using the ratio of 220 tonnes to 45 tonnes), 130 billion becquerels. If one tonne (1000 liters) leaked, about 173 billion becquerels.
The first news of an event in this nuclear disaster has often proven to be right, just like the March 12 announcement by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency that there may have been a core meltdown at Fukushima. (That spokesman was replaced the next day of course.)
Read the entire article at:
Volcanologist Hayakawa Yukio’s Academic Freedom Threatened by Gunma University’s President
See below articles by Satoko Oka Norimatsu, owner of this blog for how government and TEPCO manipulated information on the radiation effects of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis.
The International Forum on Globalization has published the most concise, useful, readable, and damning denunciation of nuclear technology I’ve seen. And it’s available for free as a PDF right here: Nuclear Roulette: The Case Against a “Nuclear Renaissance”
Nuclear energy suffers from the following drawbacks:
The energy put into mining, processing, and shipping uranium, plant construction, operation, and decommissioning is roughly equal to the energy a nuclear plant can produce in its lifetime. In other words, nuclear energy does not add any net energy.
Not counted in that calculation is the energy needed to store nuclear waste for hundreds of thousands of years.
Also not counted is any mitigation of the relatively routine damage done to the environment, including human health, at each stage of the process. We are giving our children cancer at an astonishing pace, through each stage from mining to operation, and through additional steps including the use of depleted uranium weapons.
Also not counted is the cost of attempting to ensure that nuclear energy states do not become nuclear weapon states (or non-state actors).
The holy “marketplace” will not create or sustain a single nuclear plant. The good ol’ tax payers are on the tab to eat the financial losses and cover the costs of major disasters. The meltdown of a single reactor in the U.S. (many of them built by GE in the same manner as the Fukushima plant in Japan) could irradiate an area the size of Pennsylvania.
Nuclear disasters are covered up (corporate newspapers still regularly claim nobody died at Three Mile Island) and near misses not discussed, in part because GE owns NBC while until 2000 Westinghouse owned CBS.
Nuclear is far less efficient when all factors are considered than other available energy sources, including wind, solar, wave, hydroelectric, and geothermal. Looking good in comparison with coal is a qualification that can still kill us.
Here in Virginia the government has just reopened a nuclear plant on a fault where it was damaged and shut down by an earthquake in August. Earhquakes have been increasing in frequency dramatically, thereby increasing the danger of nuclear catastrophe.
Also here in Virginia the government is trying to charge people for producing electricity from solar and trying to lift a ban on uranium mining, with catastrophy not just risked but almost guaranteed.
It doesn’t have to go this way. These choices are not driven by necessity, but by greed, corruption, and recklessness.
Share the above linked PDF with everyone you can. It’s laid out like an argument and would make perfect preparation for a debate on nuclear energy. The author, Gar Smith, deserves huge credit. Please put it to good use.
David Swanson is the author of “When the World Outlawed War,” “War Is A Lie” and “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org
Gov’t to put troubled TEPCO under its control with infusion of 1 trillion yen
The government is set to provide Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) with an infusion of 1 trillion yen in public funds to place the utility plagued by the Fukushima nuclear crisis under its control, government sources said.
In return for the public funds, the government intends to replace a majority of the current members of its board led by Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata.
The action is in response to fears that the power supplier would otherwise fall into capital deficit, a situation in which its debts surpass its assets, in fiscal 2012 because its response to the nuclear crisis will cost it massive amounts of money.
A panel of Cabinet ministers working on the reform of TEPCO and the electric power industry as a whole, chaired by Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura, will officially propose the planned infusion of public funds early next year.
TEPCO has been strongly urging the government to grant it permission to raise its electric power bills and resume operations at nuclear power plants suspended for trouble or regular inspections.
However, the government is reluctant to do so because “it’s no easy task to win public understanding because a consumption tax hike is under discussion.”
From the viewpoint of ensuring a stable supply of electric power, the government intends to take the opportunity of the infusion of public funds to take the initiative in reforming TEPCO’s management instead of liquidating the utility.
TEPCO is estimated to suffer about 576.3 billion yen in net losses in the current business year ending in March 2012, while its net assets will decrease more than 50 percent from the year earlier to 708.8 billion yen by the end of this business year.
Furthermore, the company will be required to recapitalize itself as its capital adequacy ratio has dropped to the 6 percent level. However, it will likely be difficult to raise funds on financial markets because the rating of its corporate bonds has significantly declined.
The government has already extended 890 billion yen in financial assistance to TEPCO via the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund to help the utility pay damages to those affected by the nuclear crisis. However, the utility is strictly prohibited from diverting any of the money to purposes other than compensation payments.
It is believed certain that the company would fall into a capital deficit in the business year ending March 2013 without recapitalization since it will shoulder the heavy financial burden of decontaminating areas tainted with radioactive substances from the crippled nuclear plant and decommissioning the crippled nuclear reactors.
A subcommittee within the Cabinet Office’s Japan Atomic Energy Commission compiled a report on Dec. 7, detailing a roadmap to decommissioning and dismantling the crippled reactors at the Fukushima plant.
A government third-party committee estimates that it will cost TEPCO approximately 1.15 trillion yen to decommission and dismantle the crippled No. 1 to 4 reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. The amount is expected to sharply increase if the plant’s No. 5 and 6 reactors that remain intact are also done away with.
In spring, the government estimated that it will need to provide TEPCO with an infusion of up to 2 trillion yen in public funds. One government source says it now needs to inject at least 1 trillion yen into the utility judging from the company’s financial situation.
The government will inject public funds into TEPCO by having the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund buy preferential shares to be issued by the utility.
TEPCO is allowed by its internal regulations to issue up to 1.8 billion shares, but has already issued approximately 1.6 billion shares. To provide TEPCO with an infusion of sufficient public funds, the company will be required to revise its internal rules at a shareholder meeting to issue more shares than the current upper limit.
If additional shares are issued, however, the value of shares that TEPCO shareholders currently own will likely decrease.
Preferential shares to be issued by TEPCO will likely be exchangeable for ordinary shares that allow their holders to vote in shareholder meetings. The holders of preferential shares are given priority in the allocation of remaining assets if the company is liquidated as well as in dividend payments, but their right to vote in shareholder meetings is restricted. Financially troubled companies that need to rehabilitate themselves typically issue preferential shares as a means to recapitalize themselves.
(Mainichi Japan) December 8, 2011
Three Mile Island lessons could help resolve Fukushima nuke disaster
Lessons learned from the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster in the United States are playing a serious role in the handling of the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, according to a Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) scientist.
“We are putting the experience we gained from the Three Mile Island accident in 1979 to use,” Fumihisa Nagase, who heads the agency’s nuclear fuel safety research group, told the Mainichi. The JAEA is the only organization in Japan that has samples of melted fuel from the Three Mile Island nuclear station in Pennsylvania. Using the samples, Nagase and his team will increase research on how to dispose of the melted fuel at the Fukushima plant.
The fuel from Three Mile Island arrived in Japan in 1991 through an international research project run by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Roughly 60 small pieces of fuel, sealed in an aluminum container and weighing about 2.8 kilograms, now sit in a 15-meter-deep pool at the JAEA headquarters in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture.
The uranium fuel got mixed together with the zirconium oxide of its casing during the meltdown, and the pieces now look like chunks of hardened lava. Research on the pieces had been concentrated on gathering data on their exact composition and shape, and Nagase says the data will help develop tools to cut and collect the dangerous material in dealing with the Fukushima fuel.
In the Three Mile Island disaster, about 62 metric tons or 45 percent of the fuel in one reactor melted down. Of that, some 20 tons pooled at the bottom of the pressure vessel in a layer as thick as a meter. Workers didn’t enter the pressure vessel until a year after the accident, and the fuel removal operation wasn’t finished until 1990.
The Chernobyl disaster of 1986 was a different sort of accident altogether. There, most of the fuel was blown out of the reactor, so the entire reactor building was encased in a concrete “sarcophagus.”
In the Fukushima No. 1 disaster, there was no core explosion. However, the situation at the plant is far more serious than it was at Three Mile Island, as the pressure vessels of the Fukushima No. 1-3 reactors were destroyed. What’s worse, the melted fuel in the No. 1 reactor began to eat into the concrete floor of the containment vessel. Furthermore, the Three Mile Island meltdown was just one reactor. At Fukushima, three reactors melted down, while the No. 4 reactor — in shutdown mode for regular maintenance at the time of the March 11 disaster — was also severely damaged.
“I don’t think all the reactors can be decommissioned simultaneously,” says Yuichi Hayase, a member of an expert committee on the Fukushima disaster and an advisor to plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.
Meanwhile Roger Shaw, former director of radiation protection at the Three Mile Island plant, has warned those handling the Fukushima disaster to expect the unexpected. Shaw told the Mainichi that in 1979, when Three Mile Island workers got a camera into the pressure vessel, they couldn’t see anything because so many microbes had bred inside. He furthermore said that resolving the Fukushima crisis will be many times more difficult that the disaster he dealt with, adding that an unbelievable amount of effort and the best knowledge in the world would be needed.
(Mainichi Japan) December 8, 2011
TEPCO mulling release of low-level radioactive water in sea
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday it is considering releasing into the Pacific Ocean low-level radioactive water now stored in tanks at the premises of its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as storage capacity may run short by next March.
The plant operator known as TEPCO said the water would be released only after it clears the country’s legal concentration limit of radioactive substances, including cesium and strontium, but a fisheries group immediately expressed strong concerns.
TEPCO boss part of utility group in shady deal on publication of radiation books
The education ministry commissioned a group managed by top executives of utility firms to produce supplementary books on radiation for elementary, junior and senior high school students even after the outbreak of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, it has been learned.
The Japan Atomic Energy Relations Organization (JAERO) won a contract from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to produce supplementary books on radiation for school children before the outbreak of the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear complex on March 11. But the ministry did not change its decision to ask JAERO to produce the educational materials even after the nuclear disaster.
Toshio Nishizawa, president of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), and other top executives of utility firms are JAERO’s board members. Critics say the selection of the group as a subcontractor for the contract is not appropriate in light of the situation gripped by the ongoing nuclear crisis in Fukushima.
Read the entire article at:
Still touting the party line…
Long and tough road ahead for work to decommission Fukushima nuclear reactors
It is expected to take more than 30 years to decommission crippled reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, and workers tasked with the difficult mission would have to venture into “uncharted territory” filled with hundreds of metric tons of highly radioactive nuclear fuel, experts say.
After the expert committee of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) compiled a report on procedures to decommission the No. 1 to 4 reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant on Dec. 7, the actual work is expected to move into high gear after the turn of the year. As in the case of the 1979 Three Mile Island accident, the workers would try to remove melted nuclear fuel after shielding radiation with water, a technique called a “water tomb.” But the work would have to be done in a “territory where humans have not stepped into before,” said a senior official of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the troubled Fukushima nuclear power station. The work is so difficult that it is expected to take more than 30 years to finish decommissioning the reactors.
The key part of the decommissioning work is to remove a total of 1,496 fuel rods from the No. 1 to 3 nuclear reactors and 3,108 fuel rods from nuclear fuel pools of the No. 1 to 4 reactors. The government and TEPCO are expected to start decommissioning the reactors early in the New Year after unveiling detailed plans around Dec. 16 that the nuclear plant has been brought under control by achieving a stable state called a ”cold shutdown.”
Read the entire article at:
Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Suppression Chambers of Reactors 1 and 3 May Be Also Broken
Not just the Suppression Chamber of Reactor 2, as even TEPCO admits is broken from unknown causes.
From Nihon Television News 24 (12/7/2011):
Analysis of the hydrogen explosions at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident has revealed the possibility that the Suppression Chambers of Reactors 1 and 3 are damaged.
Professor Takashi Tsuruda of Akita Prefectural University reported in a symposium [Combustion Symposium] held in Yokohama City on December 7. According to the analysis by Professor Tsuruda, something that appears to be saturated steam that contains fission products is observed to escape from the reactor building after the explosions of Reactor 1 and Reactor 3. From this, Professor Tsuruda has concluded that the Suppression Chambers [for these reactors] are likely to have been damaged by the hydrogen explosions.
Professor Tsuruda says, “The water in the Suppression Chambers is the most likely source of this much water.”
He says a simulation experiment would be necessary to further examine the explosions.
From his profile, Professor Tsuruda’s specialty is reaction chemistry, and the study of combustion in particular.
First Japanese in space becomes Fukushima evacuee
By ATSUSHI TAKAHASHI / Staff Writer
Japan’s first man in space is now roaming the Earth as an evacuee, having lost everything, after abandoning his farm in Fukushima Prefecture because of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
“I used my retirement pay to buy the farmland and build a house,” said Toyohiro Akiyama, 69. “I feel as though a robber has taken everything from me.”
Akiyama was a journalist with Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc., when he flew on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft in 1990. After retiring from the TV network, Akiyama moved to Fukushima 16 years ago because he was attracted by the abundant nature in the prefecture.
However, that pastoral lifestyle was turned upside down by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
On March 12, the day after the quake and tsunami, Akiyama packed a suitcase and fled his home in Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture, about 32 kilometers from the Fukushima No. 1 plant. As he drove in his truck, the radiation detection device that was hanging from his neck sounded an alarm.
“I bought the device for emergencies, but I never thought the day would come when it would be of help,” Akiyama said.
While working for TBS, Akiyama served as chief of the Washington bureau. He stayed aboard the Mir space station in 1990 for one week, giving live reports each day to the nation. Five years later, he took early retirement and moved to the farm along the Abukuma mountain range.
He created a rice farm and also cultivated mushrooms that became his main source of income.
Using his truck on March 12, Akiyama first fled to a hot springs inn in the outskirts of Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, about 50 kilometers away. In the course of learning about organic farming, Akiyama made many friends and with their help he subsequently moved to Gunma and Nagano prefectures before settling at a rented house along the mountains in Fujioka, Gunma Prefecture.
Although his home in Tamura is slightly beyond the evacuation zone established by the central government, Akiyama said, “I cannot trust the central government’s argument that it is therefore safe.”
In October, he returned to see what happened to his home. A friend who lives nearby told him that cesium had been detected in the rice. Akiyama did not know what to say to his friend, who had continued with organic farming in order to produce safe rice, even though the cesium level was below government standards.
Having lost everything, Akiyama now feels that the anger he feels about the Fukushima nuclear accident is what keeps him going.
“The nuclear accident contaminated the expansive forests of Abukuma and spread radioactive materials into the Earth’s atmosphere and waters,” Akiyama said.
This autumn, he received an offer to teach at the Kyoto University of Art and Design. He plans to move to Kyoto Prefecture next year.
“I want to start from zero again and grow bamboo shoots,” he said. “But Wakasa Bay is close by,” Akiyama said referring to the region in neighboring Fukui Prefecture where several nuclear facilities, including the Oi and Mihama nuclear power plants, are clustered. “In today’s Japan, no matter where you go there is always a nuclear plant nearby.”
Akiyama wrote a book, which went on sale from Dec. 7, about his experience evacuating from his Fukushima farm.By ATSUSHI TAKAHASHI / Staff Writer
Japan Split on Hope for Vast Radiation Cleanup
Workers replaced soil as part of a decontamination effort at Soma agricultural high school in Fukushima.
Published: December 6, 2011
Ko Sasaki for The New York Times
Mitsue Ikeda said she would never go home, especially after a medical exam showed that her 8-year-old son, Yuma, had ingested cesium.
Its traditional wooden homes have begun to sag and collapse since they were abandoned in March by residents fleeing the nuclear plant on the edge of town that began spiraling toward disaster. Roofs possibly damaged by the earth’s shaking have let rain seep in, starting the rot that is eating at the houses from the inside.
Read the entire article at:
Citizens File Suit to Halt Southern Japan N-Power Plant
Matsuyama, Ehime Pref., Dec. 8 (Jiji Press)–A group of local residents filed a suit on Thursday seeking a halt to all three reactors at Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s <9507> Ikata nuclear power plant in southern Japan.
The plant is not strong enough to withstand a massive earthquake, according to a petition by the 300-member group made up mostly of people from Ehime Prefecture and its neighbor, Kochi Prefecture.
The suit, filed with Matsuyama District Court, is the fourth one filed against nuclear power plants since the nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 power plant began in March, according to the group’s lawyers.
In the previous three cases, two targeted Chubu Electric Power Co.’s <9502> Hamaoka plant in central Japan and one was against Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s <9509> Tomari plant in the northernmost region.
According to the petition, the Ikata plant sits close to one of the largest faults in Japan.
Tokyo ‘not doing enough’ for Fukushima: Greenpeace
THE HAGUE —
Fukushima’s residents are being left to their fate and not enough is being done to protect them against radiation nine months after Japan’s tsunami, environment group Greenpeace said Wednesday.
The Dutch-based group lashed Tokyo after a probe by one of its nuclear experts, who called for the evacuation of pregnant women and children from Fukushima City, some 60 kilometers from the Fukushima nuclear plant.
“The inhabitants of Fukushima are being left to their fate,” Greenpeace radiation expert Ike Teuling said in a press release, issued from Amsterdam.
Greenpeace said Teuling conducted an investigation around Fukushima City over the last few days and found the area still “seriously contaminated with radioactivity.”
“Japan’s authorities are doing too little to protect residents of Fukushima City against radiation,” it said with Teuling adding: “The Japanese government has to at least evacuate pregnant women as well as children until their living area has been properly cleaned.”
Teuling said tests showed “radioactive hotspots” with radiation “hundred times higher than the background radiation.”
But residents in contaminated suburbs were being told to clean their own homes and to bury radioactive material in their gardens, Greenpeace said.
“It is totally irresponsible to leave dangerous decontamination to residents or make them wait for months in a radioactive environment without them in the meantime having the right to evacuation,” added Teuling.
Large areas around the Fukushima plant have been left contaminated with radiation since the tsunami of March 11 knocked out its cooling systems and sent reactors into meltdown.
The world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl has not directly claimed any lives, but has left tens of thousands of people displaced and rendered whole towns uninhabitable, possibly for decades.
© 2011 AFP