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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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Tuesday
Dec272016

NRA: Ice wall effects ‘limited, if any’ at Fukushima nuclear plant

As reported by the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority has concluded that Tokyo Electric Power Company's "ice wall" -- a frozen soil barrier penetrating 100 feet down, and encircling the four devastated reactors at Fukushima -- has largely to entirely failed to prevent groundwater from seeping into shattered basement levels, and mixing with highly radioactive wastewater. This, despite $300 million having been spent on it in the past 3 to 4 years.

There has been skepticism about the proposed ice wall from the start. Now, NRC has advised that the ice wall play at most a secondary role in stemming the flow of groundwater, to prevent its mixing with highly radioactive wastewater. Instead, a redoubling of pre-emptive pumping of groundwater is now proposed as a primary preventive measure.

The amount of highly radioactive wastewater now stored at Fukushima Daiichi is approaching a million tons. Another 1,000-ton storage tank is added every few days. The risk exists that another strong earthquake hitting the site, could cause the hastily-erected, shoddy storage tanks to fail, releasing highly radioactive water into the soil, groundwater, and Pacific Ocean.

Greenpeace wrote an excellent overview, clearly explaining the quantity of radioactive water being generated at Fukushima Daiichi, and where it is going. Entitled "Fukushima Daiichi Radioactive Water Crisis: TEPCO's Discharge Plans of Contaminated Sub-Drain Water into the Pacific Ocean," the briefing was authored by Shaun Burnie of Greenpeace Germany, and is dated September 4, 2015.

Tuesday
Dec272016

TEPCO, investors eye 1st bond sale since Fukushima, sources say

As reported by Reuters, and reprinted by the Asahi Shimbun.

The article neglects to mention that TEPCO (short for Tokyo Electric Power Company) was massively bailed out, compliments of the Japanese government (that is, at taxpayer expense), after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe began on 3/11/11.

Tuesday
Dec272016

Massive cost overruns and long construction delays plunge Toshiba-Westinghouse into "nuclear nightmare"

"Burning money" graphic designed by Gene Case of Avening Angels was featured on The Nation Magazine's cover in 2003, accompanying Christian Parenti's feature article on the nuclear power relapse in the U.S.As reported by Bloomberg, Toshiba-Westinghouse has been plunged into a financial "nuclear nightmare" -- with losses amounting to $4 to 5 billion (yes, with a B!) -- around one-thrid of its stock value -- due to cost overruns mounting into the billions of dollars, and years-long schedule delays, at four new reactor construction sites in the U.S.

Toshiba, a Japanese firm, took over the U.S. nuclear giant Westinghouse in 2006.

The debacle stems from Toshiba-Westinghouse's acquisition of the Chicago Bride & Iron (CBI) new reactor construction firm, in a vain attempt to get control of skyrocketing costs at the Vogtle 3 & 4 reactors construction site in Georgia, and the Summer 2 & 3 reactors construction site in South Carolina.

Toshiba-Westinghouse's AP-1000 (so-called Advanced Passive, 1,100 Megawatt-electric) reactor design was touted as the flagship of the so-called "Nuclear Renaissance" not only in the U.S. but internationally. More.

Monday
Dec262016

Radioactivity hazard greatly complicates and long delays recovery of tsunami victims' remains in Fukushima, Japan

Wednesday
Dec212016

Japan cancels failed $9bn Monju nuclear reactor

As reported by BBC:

Japan is scrapping an experimental reactor which has worked for just 250 days of its 22-year lifespan and cost $9bn (£7.2bn).

The Monju reactor, in western Japan's Fukui city, was designed to burn most of its own spent fuel, eliminating the need to deal with the nuclear waste.

But it suffered its first problems months after it went live, and has not worked properly since.

It would now need billions more for safety upgrades to be restarted.

"We have decided to decommission Monju because restarting it would require significant time and cost," chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

The article goes on to further report:

According to the Japan Times, Monju will cost at least 375bn yen ($3.2bn; £2.6bn) to decommission and will only be fully dismantled by 2047.

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