[English translation of 11 April Tokyo Shimbun article.]
Ohi Incompatible with Proposed New Standards —- Sea Walls and Work Stations
On 10 April, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority issued the draft of the new regulatory standards for nuclear power plants. The regulations are to take effect in July. Numerous facilities such an sea walls to protect from the largest estimated tsunami and development of work stations that can withstand earthquakes and radiation are being required. However, Ohi Nuclear Power Plant of Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) (Ohi town, Fukui prefecture), the only nuclear power plant currently in operation, fails to meet many of the requirements at the time the new standards come into force. Questions remain as to how NRA commissioners will evaluate this situation. (Ayumu OMURA)
New regulatory criteria and Ohi NPP
|Measures required by the enactment of new regulation in July 2013
||Present status of Ohi NPP
|Sea walls that can withstand the largest tsunami conceivable.
||Existing sea walls are being raised, but the tsunami estimate assessment is yet to be made.
|3-dimensional deciphering of subsurface structure
||Yet to be considered.
|Adequate assessment of potential impacts of natural hazards such as volcano and tornado.
||Yet to be considered.
|Multiplexing of important piping around the reactor
|Independent separation of two external power supplies.
||Scheduled to be completed in December.
|Protection of the sea-water pumps against tsunami.
||Scheduled to be completed in June.
|Installation of work center that can withstand earthquakes and is protected from radioactivity.
||Scheduled to be completed in fiscal 2015.
|Provision of communication equipment usable in the event of power failure.
April 22, 2013
The Washington Post
A U.N. nuclear watchdog team said Japan may need longer than the projected 40 years to decommission its tsunami-crippled nuclear plant and urged its operator to improve plant stability.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency team, Juan Carlos Lentijo, said Monday that damage at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant is so complex that it is impossible to predict how long the cleanup may last.
“As for the duration of the decommissioning project, this is something that you can define in your plans. But in my view, it will be nearly impossible to ensure the time for decommissioning such a complex facility in less than 30-40 years as it is currently established in the roadmap,” Lentijo said.
April 24, 2013
Kyodo via The Japan Times
U.S. officials and experts have expressed strong reservations about the plan to operate a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Aomori to recover fissionable plutonium while most of the nation’s reactors remain shuttered, a Japan Atomic Energy Commission member said.
“It was an unprecedentedly severe reaction,” Tatsujiro Suzuki, the commission’s vice chairman, said Monday of U.S. officials’ comments during his trip there earlier this month.
“I think this is because the Liberal Democratic Party stands firm to uphold a policy of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel, and also because plans to operate the reprocessing plant are moving forward,” Suzuki said.
April 20, 2013
For a few days last year it looked as if Japan would phase out nuclear energy entirely. After an earthquake and tsunami created a creeping nuclear catastrophe two years ago the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) said it would get the country out of nuclear energy by 2040. Although it quickly backtracked, almost all of Japan’s 50 commercial reactors are still lying idle.
In February this year, Shinzo Abe, leader of the then incoming Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), said the new government would restart reactors after they passed a forthcoming set of new safety tests. The country’s “nuclear village”, a cosy bunch from industry and government, cheered. But now the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi plant is starting to alarm the public once more. On April 15th the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a UN body, flew in to investigate a series of dangerous incidents.
The Japan Times
By Yuri Kageyama
Their demand: The right to live free of radiation. The plaintiffs who started the legal battle: 14 children.
The Sendai High Court is expected to rule soon on this unusual lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of the children by their parents and antinuclear activists in June 2011 in the district court in the city of Fukushima, about 60 km west of the crippled nuclear plant.
The lawsuit argues that Koriyama, a city of 330,000, should evacuate its children to an area where radiation levels are no higher than natural background levels in the rest of Japan, or about 1 millisievert annual exposure.
April 10, 2013
The New York Times
By Hiroko Tabuchi
More than two years after multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, a series of recent mishaps — including a blackout set off by a dead rat and the discovery of leaks of thousands of gallons of radioactive water — have underscored just how vulnerable the plant remains.
Increasingly, experts are arguing that the plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, cannot be trusted to lead what is expected to be decades of cleanup and the decommissioning of the plant’s reactors without putting the public, and the environment, at risk.
At the same time, the country’s new nuclear regulator remains woefully understaffed. It announced Wednesday that it would send a ninth official to the site — to monitor the work of about 3,000 laborers.
Shunichi Yamashita was in the United States on March 11, 2013, giving a keynote address at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. http://www.ncrponline.org/
The video of the address was transcribed, word for word as much as possible, so that it might be translated into Japanese.
The original English transcript is published below for those interested in knowing what Yamashita said. The image of each slide is followed by what he said about it.
10th Annual Warren K. Sinclair Keynote Address: Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident and Comprehensive Health Risk Management
Shunichi Yamashita, M.D., Ph.D.
Video for Yamashita’s lecture at the March 11 NCRP annual meeting:
For slides with transcript click here
April 3, 2013
Truth Out, The Asia Pacific Journal
By Anders Pape Møller and Timothy A. Mousseau
Twenty nuclear accidents at the official International Nuclear Event Scale of 4 to 7 have occurred between 1952 and 2011 (Lelieveld et al. 2012). The risk of another major accident during the next 50 years is high and it has been estimated that some 30 million people could be directly affected by such an accident (Lelieveld et al. 2012). The highest risks occur around major metropolises such as New York, Washington, Atlanta, Toronto, Western Europe, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Tokyo and Osaka. The lessons that have emerged from Chernobyl and Fukushima reveal a range of serious questions that must be answered appropriately, above all for the sake of citizens, but also for the credibility of the nuclear industry, and for framing the ongoing debate over energy alternatives. Because recent models suggest that more than half of released radioactive material from a nuclear disaster would be transported more than 1000 km from the site of release (Lelieveld et al. 2012), these questions are important even for citizens in distant countries. It is in this spirit that we have produced a list of unpleasant questions that have been a cause of concern since we first started conducting research at Chernobyl in 1992, and have grown in urgency since conducting research at Fukushima beginning in 2011.
Question 1: Why are nuclear reactors frequently clustered making problems much greater in case of emergencies? How to get to the other reactors if one melts down completely? Nuclear reactors are clustered with pairs, quadruplets or even planned clusters with six reactors located at a single site….
Title: The ambient gamma dose-rate and the inventory of fission products estimations with the soil samples collected at Canadian embassy in Tokyo during Fukushima nuclear accident
Source: Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Author: Weihua Zhang, Judah Friese, Kurt Ungar
Date: April 2013, Volume 296, Issue 1, pp 69-73
“The results have demonstrated that the significant volatile fission
products carried with aerosol were deposited on the ground by wet or
dry precipitation within 300 km around Fukushima plant. The actinide
data suggests that there was not a measurable amount of nuclear fuel
from Fukushima reactors present in this distance”
In this study, soil samples were collected at Canadian embassy in Tokyo (about 300 km from Fukushima) on 23 March and 23 May of 2011 for purposes of estimating concentrations of radionuclides in fallout, the total fallout inventory, the depth distribution of radionuclide of interest and the elevated ambient gamma dose-rate at this limited location. Some fission products and actinides were analyzed using gamma-ray spectrometry, alpha spectrometry and liquid scintillation counting. The elevated activity concentration levels of 131I, 132I, 134Cs, 137Cs, 136Cs, 132Te, 129mTe, 129Te, 140Ba and 140La were measured by the gamma-ray spectrometer in the first sample collected on 23 March. Two months after the accident, the 134Cs and 137Cs became only detectable nuclides. A mass relaxation depth of 3.0 g/cm2 was determined by the activities on the depth distribution of 137Cs in a soil core. The total fallout inventory was thus calculated as 225 kBq/m2 on March sampling date and 25 kBq/m2 on May sampling date.
The New York Academy of Medicine, New York City, NY
A unique, two-day symposium at which an international panel of leading medical and biological scientists, nuclear engineers, and policy experts will make presentations on and discuss the bio-medical and ecological consequences of the Fukushima disaster, will be held at The New York Academy of Medicine on March 11-12, 2013, the second anniversary of the accident. The public is welcome.
A project of The Helen Caldicott Foundation, the symposium is being co-sponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Live Stream link: http://www.totalwebcasting.com/view/?id=hcf