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Japan

Until the Fukushima accident, Japan had 55 operating nuclear reactors as well as enrichment and reprocessing plants which had suffered a series of deadly accidents at its nuclear facilities resulting in the deaths of workers and releases of radioactivity into the environment and surrounding communities. Since the Fukushima disaster, there is growing opposition against re-opening those reactors closed for maintenance.

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Thursday
Aug292013

"The buck stops at the prime minister's desk" re: the worsening Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis

In an op-ed published in the Japan Times, Andrew DeWit, a professor in the School of Policy Studies, Rikkyo University, and Dr. Christopher Hobson, a research fellow at the Institute for Sustainability and Peace, United Nations University, Tokyo, argue that "the buck stops at the prime minister’s desk" in regards to the worsening crisis at Fukushima Daiichi. They urge Japanese Prime Minister Abe to take control over the decommissioning, to try to deal with the 300 tons per day of radioactively contaminated water flowing into the ocean, as well as the impending, high-risk removal of hundreds of tons of irradiated nuclear fuel from the precarious Unit 4 storage pool.

Tuesday
Aug272013

EcoReview Fukushima Daiichi Update with Fairewind's Arnie Gundersen

Arnie Gundersen is featured on EcoReview’s panel of experts to discuss Fukushima Daiichi.  Host Tom Harvey poses the question, what has, is and will likely will happen and what options there are to remedy this cataclysmic event? Other featured experts include David Pu’u, CDO of Blue Ocean Sciences, Eddie Leung, CEO of Secured Environment, and Dr. Andrea Neal, CEO of the Ocean Lovers Collective.

Tuesday
Aug272013

Japan Industry Minister: no more radioactive "whack-a-mole" at Fukushima Daiichi

Japan's Industry Minister (in red hard hat) points at leaking tank farm for highly radioactive water storageAs reported by CNN, Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry, Toshimitsu Motegi, has said:

"Countermeasures led by Tepco to stop the contaminated water leaks have been like a "whack-a-mole" arcade game. From now on, the government is going to step forward."

Motegi made the remarks after donning a radiation protection suit and respirator, and touring the tank farm (photo, above left) where highly radioactive water leaks have been detected and/or admitted to in recent days and weeks.

Motegi's remarks echo earlier ones of his boss, Japanese Prime Minister Abe, who has declared that the Japanese national government will step up, given Tokyo Electric Power Company's clear failures.

Monday
Aug262013

Nuclear Engineer: Estimated 276 quadrillion Bq of Cs-137 entered Fukushima basements — Triple Chernobyl total release — A portion “has already made its way to aquifer, whence it can easily flow into sea”

As reported at ENENews:

Title: The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013
Authors: Mycle Schneider, Antony Froggatt
Date Published: July 2013

Mr. [Toru] Ebisawa, who had served NAIIC as an expert reactor engineer, estimated the amount of radioactivity that had seeped into the water that fills the basement of the reactor buildings (Unit-1, -2 and -3, as of 20 November 2012) as follows [footnote 292]:

  • Cesium-137: 276 PBq (i.e. 40 percent of the reactor core inventory) [...]

[...] about 2.5 to 3.3 times, depending on the estimate, the total amount released into the environment from the Chernobyl accident.

[...] In June 2013, it was revealed that the groundwater sampled from a monitoring well adjacent to the Unit-2 turbine building is contaminated with strontium and tritium, so the highly radioactive water that filled the unit basement has already made its way to the aquifer, whence it can easily flow into the sea. [...]

[Footnote 292] Toru Ebisawa, 2013, Bulletin of the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, 465: 12. J. Kanda gives an earlier estimate of 160 PBq, as of May 2011, Ocean Policy Research Foundation, Kaiyo Hakusho 2012 [annual report in Japanese], p. 45. Seizando-Shoten Publishing, 2012.

UPDATE: Study: Fukushima released 100 quadrillion becquerels of cesium into atmosphere... In just ONE day -- About equal to Chernobyl's total release

Download the report here

Thursday
Aug222013

TEPCO: 10 trillion becquerels of strontium may have leaked into ocean

As reported by the Asahi Shimbun:

Tokyo Electric Power Co. calculated that up to 10 trillion becquerels of radioactive strontium and 20 trillion becquerels of cesium 137 were in contaminated water from the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that flowed into the sea since the outset of the disaster.

TEPCO released the results of calculations on Aug. 21. The figures for both radioactive elements are more than 100 times the managed emissions of 220 billion becquerels over the course of one year of normal operations at the nuclear plant.

However, TEPCO officials said the calculated estimates were still below the central government's standards.

Based on the concentration of radioactive materials found in seawater within the port by the nuclear plant, estimates were made that between 3 billion and 10 billion becquerels of strontium flowed into the ocean daily, while between 4 billion and 20 billion becquerels of cesium 137 flowed into the ocean.

On the assumption that contaminated water mixed with groundwater and flowed into the ocean from May 2011, soon after the nuclear crisis unfolded, the estimates represent the maximum amounts of strontium and cesium that might have flowed into the ocean.

The plant was wrecked by the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.