Archives de janvier 2012

U.N. experts OK Japan’s nuclear ‘stress tests’

Tokyo (CNN) — U.N. nuclear experts gave a thumbs-up to Japan’s planned « stress tests » for its remaining nuclear power plants Tuesday but left Japanese authorities to decide whether the plants themselves are safe.

A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency spent the past week studying the nuclear safety reviews Tokyo ordered after last year’s meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

They also toured the Ohi plant on Japan’s west coast, the first to have completed the government’s regimen tests aimed at predicting how the facilities would cope with natural disasters.

 

The IAEA team recommended Japanese regulators improve communication with the residents around the plants and address plans for dealing with severe accidents more comprehensively in the wake of the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

Nuclear power provided about a third of Japan’s electricity before the Fukushima Daiichi accident, which was triggered by the historic earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March. The disaster triggered a widespread rethinking of the industry, and all but three of Japan’s 17 nuclear plants have been taken offline since then.

The three operating reactors at Fukushima Daiichi suffered meltdowns when the tsunami knocked out coolant systems at the plant, about 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

About 110,000 people remain displaced from homes as far away as 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the plant, and a government report in January criticized both the plant’s owner and the Japanese government for their handling of the accident.

Poorly trained plant operators misread a key backup system and waited too long to start pumping water into the units, the commission set up to probe the disaster concluded.

It found neither plant owner Tokyo Electric Power nor government regulators prepared for the chance that a tsunami could trigger a nuclear disaster and criticized both for giving the public only vague, delayed information as the crisis unfolded.

 

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/01/31/world/asia/japan-nuclear/index.html

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Fukushima diary

Around in Tokyo, we observe plants are blooming out of their seasonal cycle.

Morning glory is blooming. It blooms from July to August annually.

Four-o’clock is blooming. It blooms from June to September annually.

Sun flower is blooming too. It blooms August annually.

It’s not just one.

On the other hand, evergreen is withering.

Trees wither before coloring.

At a flower park. 3 of 30 gerberas were deformed.

 

http://fukushima-diary.com/2011/11/seasonal-cycle-of-plants-is-broken/

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TEPCO PRESS RELEASE


Press Release (Jan 29,2012)
Status of TEPCO’s Facilities and its services after the Tohoku-Chihou-Taiheiyou-Oki Earthquake (as of 11:30 am, January 29)
Due to the Tohoku-Chihou-Taiheiyou-Oki Earthquake which occurred on March
11, 2011, TEPCO's facilities including our nuclear power stations have
been severely damaged. We deeply apologize for the anxiety and
inconvenience caused.
With regard to the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, on
April 17, 2011, we have compiled the roadmap towards restoration from the
accident and on July 19 we accomplished the Step1 target "Radiation dose
is in steady decline". Then on December 16 we confirmed the accomplishment
of the Step 2 target "Release of radioactive materials is under control
and radiation doses are being significantly held down".
In addition, on December 21, 2011, we have compiled the "Mid-to-long-Term
Roadmap toward the Decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power
Units 1-4, TEPCO".
In addition to the maintenance of the plant's stable condition, we will
implement Mid-to-Long Term countermeasures towards the decommissioning of
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Units 1-4 to enable evacuees to return to
their homes as soon as possible and reduce the anxiety of the people in
Fukushima and the whole nation as soon as possible.

Below is the status of TEPCO's major facilities.

*The updates are underlined.

[Nuclear Power Station] 

· Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station: Unit 1 to 3: shut down due to
  the earthquake:
  (Units 1 to 4: shutdown due to the earthquake)

- At 10:12 pm on January 28, we started transferring accumulated water
  from the basement floor of the turbine building of Unit 2 to the
  Centralized Radiation Waste Treatment Facility (Miscellaneous Solid
  Waste Volume Reduction Treatment Building [High Temperature Incinerator
  Building] and the process main building). At 8:21 am of January 29 we
  have stopped this transfer.
- At 10:06 pm on January 28, we started transferring accumulated water
  from the basement floor of the turbine building of Unit 3 to the
  Centralized Radiation Waste Treatment Facility (Miscellaneous Solid
  Waste Volume Reduction Treatment Building [High Temperature Incinerator
  Building] and the process main building). At 8:18 am of January 29 we
  have stopped this transfer.
- At 10:00 am on January 28, we started transferring accumulated water
  from the basement floor of the turbine building of Unit 6 to the
  temporary tank. At 4:00 pm of the same day we have stopped this transfer.
- At 8:49 am on January 29, since a gradual decline was confirmed in the
  amount of treatment at the second Cesium adsorption apparatus (sally),
  we temporarily stopped this facility in order to conduct reverse wash of
  the filter.
- At 9:37 am on January 29, due to switching in the water piping system of
  the reactor water injection pump on the hill, we adjusted water
  injection from the feed water system to the reactor of Unit 1 from
  approx. 4.5 m3/h to approx. 5.5 m3/h, and the injection from the reactor
  core spray system from approx. 2.0 m3/h to 1.0m3/h.
- At 10:00 am on January 29, since we confirmed decrease in water
  injection to the reactor of Unit 3 we adjusted water injection from the
  reactor core spray system from approx. 1.5 m3/h to 2.0m3/h. (water
  injection from the feed water system is maintained at approx. 7.1 m3/h.)
- At 9:50 am of January 29, one of our employees, during adjustment works
  of the water flow to the feed water spray system, found a water leak
  from near the flow rate detector of the emergency reactor injection pump
  on the hill (C) which is now at standby. We shut down the valve at the
  leakage point and at 9:55 am confirmed that the water leak has stopped
  (amount of leakage under examination). The leakage point is on the hill
  (at the front of the main office building) and there are traces that
  show that a certain amount of water has flowed into the drain, and we
  are examining whether this water has flowed into the ocean or not. The
  surface radioactivity concentration near the leakage point is as the
  same level as the atmosphere around (radioactivity concentration near
  the evaporative concentration apparatus is below measurable limit in all
  three major nuclides (sampled on 20 December 2011)
  : I-131: 1.6X10-2Bq/cm3, Cs-134:2.9X10-2Bq/cm3, Cs-137:3.3X10-2Bq/cm3,
  and 6.0X10-1Bq/cm3 for all beta nuclides (sampled on 29 November 2011)).
  Water injection to the reactor is maintained by the ordinary reactor
  injection pump on the hill (A) and (C).
- Around 9:35am on 29 January 2012, an alarm on a system failure (Unit 4
  SFP backup cooling system) was given in Unit 4 spent fuel pool backup
  cooling system. According to the site investigation, a pump (A)
  to circulate cooling water of a secondary system had been stopped and
  the water circulation was stopped accordingly (Fuel pool temperature at
  the time of the alarm: 21°C). After the event, we discovered cooling
  water leakage from A2 line of air-fin cooler unit (A1-A4 lines) of the A
  system of the secondary system. We confirmed that the water leakage was
  stopped by closing valve of the Unit A2 line. The cooling water is from
  a filtrate tank for fire extinction and doesn't contain radioactive
  materials. The stopped secondary pump (A) was restarted at 11:14am and
  water cooling of the spent fuel pool was restarted accordingly (Fuel
  pool temperature at the time of cooling restart: 21°C)

· Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station:
  (Units 1 to 4: shutdown due to the earthquake)

· Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Station: Units 6: under normal
  operation
  (Units 1 to 5 and 7: outage due to regular inspections)

[Thermal Power Station]
· Power supply has returned to normal and facilities damaged by the
  earthquake are now being handled in a timely manner.

[Hydro Power Station]
· Power supply has returned to normal and facilities damaged by the
  earthquake are now being handled in a timely manner.

[Impacts on Transmission Facilities]
· Power supply has returned to normal and facilities damaged by the
  earthquake are now being handled in a timely manner.

[Impacts on Power Supply and Demand Balance]
This winter, there will be some minus factors such as the regular
inspection of Unit 5 at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station. On the
other hand, there will be several plus factors such as the recovery of the
common thermal power stations which suffered the earthquake. As a result,
we expect to secure 54.6 GW (at the end of January), 53.7 GW (at the end
of February) supply power. 
Compared to the maximum demand in the last winter, which is 51.5 GW, we
will have 2.2 - 3.1 GW generation reserve margin.

We expect to maintain stable power supply this winter, however, as there
remains possibilities of unplanned shutdowns at our power stations and
growth in the demand according to the rapid change in the temperature, we
would like to ask your reasonable effort to save electricity.

We will continue to make our efforts to maintain stable operation and
maintenance of the power facilities in order to "prevent in principle"
the planned blackouts and secure power supply.

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/12012902-e.html

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U.N. nuclear agency to set up Fukushima office

TOKYO —

The head of the U.N.‘s nuclear watchdog said the agency will open a branch office in Fukushima to monitor efforts to contain the world’s worst atomic energy accident since Chernobyl, a report said Saturday.

The government has struggled with public trust over the nuclear energy issue since the March 11 disaster and had asked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to open an office, which will help share information on the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

“We have told the Japanese government that the IAEA stands ready to cooperate,” the agency’s chief Yukiya Amano told Kyodo News on Saturday in the Swiss resort of Davos, where the World Economic Forum meeting is being held.

“While the headquarters in Vienna will continue to deal with issues related to the decontamination and disposal of spent nuclear fuels, we’ll be able to have close contact (with people in Fukushima by opening a local office).”

The IAEA intends to open the office by the end of this year, he added.

Tokyo wants an international seal of approval for the energy-hungry country’s nuclear industry to bolster its faltering efforts at reassuring the public it is safe to resume atomic operations.

The vast majority of Japan’s 54 commercial nuclear reactors are offline because popular opposition has prevented them being restarted in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The disaster, triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, contaminated the environment and forced tens of thousands of residents around the Fukushima nuclear site, in northeast Japan, to evacuate their homes.

Many still do not know if or when they will be able to return.

Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, whose parliamentary constituency is in Fukushima, told residents last week that he was pushing for an office after requests from local leaders.

 

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/u-n-nuclear-agency-to-set-up-fukushima-office

 

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JAPAN WANTS UN ATOMIC AGENCY IN FUKUSHIMA

Japan is asking the UN’s nuclear agency to set up a permanent office in Fukushima to monitor its efforts to contain the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

The International Atomic Energy Agency was « carefully considering » the request, said James Lyons, who is leading a team of IAEA experts reviewing Japan’s safety tests for idled reactors.

Tokyo wants an international seal of approval for the energy-hungry country’s nuclear industry to bolster its faltering efforts at reassuring the public it is safe to resume atomic operations.

The vast majority of Japan’s 54 commercial nuclear reactors are offline because popular opposition is preventing their being restarted in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The disaster, triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, contaminated the environment and forced tens of thousands of residents around the Fukushima nuclear site, in northeast Japan, to evacuate their homes

nuclear disasters

Many still do not know if or when they will be able to return.

Utility companies say Japan will experience severe power shortages if nuclear electricity production is not re-started.

« We are making contact with the International Atomic Energy Agency to see what’s possible after we received requests from Fukushima that it hoped IAEA will have a permanent presence in the area, » a Japanese diplomat told AFP, under customary condition of anonymity.

Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, whose parliamentary constituency is in Fukushima, told residents on Sunday that he was making the push after requests from local leaders.

« We are calling on IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano for the international agency’s constant presence, » he said in a speech, according to Jiji Press.at

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The announcement coincided with a visit by a 10-member team of IAEA experts led by Lyons, the agency’s director of nuclear installation safety.

« That’s a very important request that we received and it’s something that is going to take careful consideration by the IAEA, » Lyons told Japanese reporters. « That consideration is underway now. »

At the request of the Japanese government, his team will review the methodology of Japan’s « stress test » before Tokyo approves any nuclear reactor re-starts.

The Vienna-based IAEA has offices around the world — including in Tokyo — but it does not normally have permanent bases to monitor commercial reactor sites.

Tokyo has struggled with public trust on the nuclear issue since the disaster.

It appeared to have suffered a further setback on Monday when it was revealed the body set up to manage the unfolding atomic catastrophe at Fukushima kept no records of its meetings.

Wide Angle: Japan in Crisis

The government’s nuclear disaster task force, headed by then prime minister Naoto Kan and including all of his ministers, has no minutes of the meetings that approved the evacuation of people living near the crippled reactors.

The Cabinet Office, in charge of keeping all public records, said it has told the agency to study what it can do to create a written record of the decision-making processes.

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WATCH: Fukushima birds unable to fly — Allow humans to approach… as do sickened Alaska seals

Birds unable to fly

A video posted by a resident somewhere in Fukushima Prefecture in June last year shows two birds in his/her front garden unable or unwilling to fly even when approached by a human. […]

it was posted at GeorgeBowWow’s blog on December 23, 2011 (his blog is in Japanese only).

GeorgeBowWow thinks the birds may be affected by radiation.

The bird (bulbul) in the beginning of the video dropped from the persimmon tree, MAYODORA writes in the Youtube description of the video.

MAYODORA says he/she measured radiation on the bird with his/her survey meter and it was rather high.

Read More: http://enenews.com/fukushima-birds-unable-fly-allow-humans-approach-like-sickened-alaska-seals-video

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Fukushima meltdowns set nuclear energy debate on its ear

The Fukushima nuclear crisis changed the national debate over energy policy almost overnight.

 

News photo
Power quest: Industry minister Yukio Edano greets members of a government panel tasked with forging the national energy policy on Nov. 3 in Tokyo. KYODO PHOTO

 

By shattering the government’s long-pitched safety myth about nuclear power, the crisis dramatically raised public awareness about energy use and sparked strong antinuclear sentiment.

And as the government gropes for a new long-term energy strategy, intense debate both at the political and public level is expected to take place over whether Japan should end its reliance on atomic power just as Germany has vowed to do.

« Energy policy discussions within the government are no longer just about nuclear power, » said Tetsunari Iida, executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies and a long-time foe of nuclear power.

Before March 11, the government and media had generally ignored the voices of alternative energy advocates, he said. But the disaster poisoned the favorable environment for the pronuclear bureaucracy and all of the nation’s reactors may find themselves idle in the coming months — at least temporarily — if politicians fail to ease Japan’s boiling anitinuclear sentiment.

As of Dec. 25, only six of the nation’s 54 reactors were running. But even these will be halted by spring for scheduled inspections, bringing electricity supplies to dangerous lows.

Even if the reactors pass their inspections, the government may have a hard time restarting them because doing so requires the consent of the municipal and regional governments hosting them. This is something local-level politicians are now very sensitive about because the risk of voter backlash is much higher in the wake of Fukushima.

Media polls also suggest that voters have become more amenable to the long-term goal of ridding the nation of its atomic plants.

A June 11-12 Asahi Shimbun poll found that 74 percent of 1,980 respondents answered « yes » to whether Japan should gradually decommission all 54 reactors and become nuclear-free.

The Fukushima-ignited sentiment has prompted the government to start toning down the nuclear-focused energy plan aired in June 2010.

The original plan called for raising Japan’s nuclear power ratio to 53 percent of all energy sources from 30 percent now by building 14 new reactors by 2030.

Last May, then Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced that he planned to scrap the 2010 energy policy and declared at the Group of Eight summit in France that Japan would boost its dependence on natural renewable energy sources to 20 percent from 10 percent.

Kan’s shift away from atomic power drove home to the pronuclear bureaucrats at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry that they would need to drop their goal of building new nuclear plants by 2030, recalled Banri Kaieda, who served as the chief of METI from last January until September. The powerful trade ministry has been the main promoter of nuclear power for decades.

Ironically, Japan’s pledge to fight global warming by cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels had been a strong tailwind for pronuclear forces in the bureaucracy.

« Before March 11, I myself had thought nuclear power is essential because the government had made a pledge under Prime Minister Hatoyama to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent, » Kaieda said, referring to Kan’s predecessor.

But the March 11 crisis changed everything and forced METI to explore more ways to develop renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal power.

The ministry launched an advisory committee of experts in October whose recommendations will be reflected in the new energy plan.

« The current Cabinet is bent on reducing dependence on nuclear energy as much as possible. Whether it will be zero is going to be a big point of debate, » METI Minister Yukio Edano told members of the panel Dec. 12.

Kaieda, however, still feels the ministry officials are resisting the total abolishment of nuclear power as advocated by many antinuclear activists in light of the Fukushima disaster.

Iida of ISEP, who is a member of the advisory committee, is also concerned. He suspects more than half of the 25 members of the METI-chosen and -appointed members are nuclear experts and pronuclear scholars.

« There are people who still shamelessly stress that nuclear power is important, and those people are part of the core of the decision-making process » for energy policy, Iida said.

He is of the opinion that Japan should aim to eventually become nuclear-free by focusing on energy conservation and renewable energy sources.

Japan has made progress since March 11 to promote renewable energy, Iida said.

The Diet in July passed a bill that the Kan Cabinet submitted that requires utilities to buy excess electricity from private power generation systems, including corporate and individual.

Under the new law, the government sets the purchase prices of the excess power. European countries have similar arrangements that have been greatly effective in promoting renewable energy for power generation, Iida said.

Satoru Tanaka, chairman of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan and another advisory committee member, also said Japan should increase use of renewable energy, given the seriousness of the Fukushima crisis and the shift in public sentiment away from nuclear power.

But Japan should keep a certain amount of its nuclear power plants running and continue nurturing young researchers and engineers in the field to ensure there remain plenty of skilled workers in the field, Tanaka stressed. Japan will still have to safely operate those reactors not facing immediate decommissioning for decades to come before they are all out of the picture, he said.

One thing both pronuclear and antinuclear activists agree on is that there is virtually no chance any new reactors will be built in the foreseeable future.

But the nation also has a long way to go to decommission all the nuclear plants and boost the use of renewable energy sources.

Kaieda said both sides should end to their long-standing, all-or-nothing ideological tactics and engage in constructive dialogue on the nation’s energy future.

« We really should avoid an ideological struggle between the pro and anti sides, » said Kaieda.

 

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120103f1.html

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