Wow, eye of Typhoon #Faxai is directly over Tokyo Bay. Northern eyewall is right in Tokyo. JMA estimated minimum pressure at 17Z was 955mb.
https://twitter.com/AlexJLamers/status/ ... 6733550592
Japan may start dumping radioactive Fukushima water into Pacific
Eight years after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered a catastrophic meltdown, the Japanese government have announced that they will have to dump contaminated water from the plant back into the Pacific Ocean.
Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada announced in a televised press conference that the only solution for the waste was to "release it into the ocean and dilute it".
"There are no other options," he said.
Since the meltdown, tens of thousands of tons of water have been used by the plant's operator Tokyo Electric to cool the nuclear fuel cores.
Once used, that water has been put into storage but space is now running out.
Tanks containing contaminated water that has been treated at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Photo / AP
Although Tokyo Electric has attempted to remove radioactive material from the water, which is held in hundreds of tanks at the site.
A recent study by Hiroshi Miyano from the Atomic Energy Society of Japan said it could take 17 years to discharge the treated water after it has been diluted to levels that meet safety standards.
Other officials hurried to clarify the government's position, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga telling media that a decision had not been made on how to deal with the waste water.
"There is no fact that the method of disposal of contaminated water has been decided. The government would like to make a decision after making thorough discussion," he said.
The magnitude 9.0 earthquake in 2011 was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world.
The earthquake and subsequent tsunami killed more than 15,000 people and caused extensive damage to infrastructure across Japan.
In this photo taken on Friday, March 11, 2011, a tsunami floods over the breakwater protecting the coastal city of Miyako. Photo / AP
Concerns have been raised in the past about the disaster's effects on the global ecosystem, with a study launched in 2014 into whether migratory muttonbirds had been left radioactive by the meltdown.
The birds winter off the coast of Japan and fears were raised that they might contaminate their New Zealand breeding sites.
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/a ... d=12266694
Fukushima disaster: Nuclear executives found not guilty
Tsunehisa Katsumata (L), Ichiro Takekuro (C) and Sakae Muto (R) at the court on 19 SeptemberGetty Images/Composite
Tsunehisa Katsumata (L), Ichiro Takekuro and Sakae Muto are found not guilty
More than eight years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, a Japanese court has cleared three former executives of the firm operating the plant of professional negligence.
It was the only criminal case to arise out of the disaster, which was the worst since Chernobyl in 1986.
In 2011 a plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) was hit by a tsunami causing a triple meltdown.
More than 470,000 people were evacuated from their homes as a result.
Nearly 18,500 died or are missing from the wider disaster.
The three former executives - ex-chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 79, and vice-presidents Sakae Muto, 69 and Ichiro Takekuro, 73 - were indicted for failing to implement tsunami countermeasures leading to the deaths of 44 people.
Though no-one died directly in the nuclear meltdown, more than 40 hospital patients died after having to be rushed out of the evacuation zone.
Thirteen people were also injured in hydrogen explosions at the plant.
The road to clean energy
Fukushima's long road to recovery
Japan may have to spill radioactive water into sea
In the much-anticipated verdict, a Tokyo court found all three men not guilty of professional negligence resulting in death and injury.
They were facing five years in prison if convicted.
The prosecution argued that as far back as 2002, the bosses had been warned that a large tsunami of more than 15 metres could hit the plant, but had chosen to ignore the evidence - and had not increased their defences.
Dozens of protesters had gathered outside the Tokyo court ahead of the ruling.
"If we don't hear guilty verdicts, our years-long efforts to bring this to court will not have been rewarded," Saki Okawara, who travelled from the Fukushima region to hear the ruling told AFP.
"And Japanese society's culture of no-one taking responsibility will continue."
Eight years on from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, people are being allowed to return to Okuma
Prosecutors had twice declined to press criminal charges against the former executives, saying there was little chance of success.
But a judicial panel ruled against them and they were forced to prosecute. The trial began in June 2017.
The accident led to a complete shutdown of all nuclear reactors in the country. Despite widespread anti-nuclear sentiment, several reactors have since resumed operations after passing special safety checks.
Tepco is facing various legal cases seeking compensation over the disaster, after several workers developed illnesses after cleaning up the Fukushima plant.
Prosecutors appeal TEPCO acquittal in Fukushima case
Capuchin Oct. 1 09:35 am JST 13 Comments
Prosecutors in the only criminal trial involving the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown appealed Monday against the acquittal of three former Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) executives.
The Tokyo District Court on Sept 19 found ex-TEPCO chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and two others not guilty of professional negligence in the disaster and the death of 44 elderly patients who were forcibly evacuated from local hospitals.
The court said a tsunami of the size that hit the plant after an earthquake was unpredictable and the executives weren't required to take additional measures or to stop the reactors under government safety standards at that time. Ensuring absolute safety at nuclear plants was not a government requirement then, it said.
Lawyers representing thousands of disaster-hit residents said the prosecution appealed Monday.
"Many people, especially the residents who were hit by the accident, found the ruling unacceptable," Yuichi Kaido and three other lawyers for the residents said in a statement. They said the lawyers and supporters have collected more than 14,000 signatures calling for the appeal.
A trial date has yet to be set.
The prosecution during the district court trial argued that TEPCO could have prevented the disaster had it told the plant to install safety measures before the tsunami, and demanded five-year prison terms for Katsumata, 79, and his two co-defendants, Sakae Muto, 69, and Ichiro Takekuro, 73.
The three men pleaded not guilty at the trial's opening session in June 2017, saying predicting the tsunami was impossible.
The prosecution has also said the three defendants had access to data and scientific studies that anticipated the possibility of a tsunami exceeding 10 meters (33 feet) that could trigger a loss of power and a severe accident. TEPCO was considering taking measures by 2008 or 2009, but the executives allegedly delayed the idea to avoid additional spending just as TEPCO was repairing another nuclear plant damaged in a 2007 earthquake.
More than eight years after the disaster, the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant has been stabilized and is being decommissioned - a decades-long process that is still in an early stage. TEPCO has spent 9 trillion yen ($83 billion) on compensation related to the disaster. It needs to spend an estimated 8 trillion yen ($74 billion) to decommission the plant and 6 trillion yen ($55 billion) for decontamination.
© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
https://japantoday.com/category/crime/p ... shima-case
The ostriches of Fukushima and what they told us about radiation
An ostrich runs by a bicycle with rusted chain in November 2011 in Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Of all the astonishing sights that unfolded in the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear crisis, the one that took the biscuit was ostriches roaming in one of the towns hosting the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Farmers in the area were forced to abandon their livestock due to mass evacuations ordered after the triple meltdown at the plant, and many departing residents also left their pet dogs and cats to fend for themselves as evacuation shelters would not accept animals.
An area of 20 kilometers radius of the plant was declared off-limits immediately after the accident, and the creatures left behind became feral.
It was not uncommon for later visitors, wearing protective gear because of high radiation levels, to see cattle and pigs wandering through the streets of Futaba and Okuma, the now-empty towns that co-hosted the nuclear power plant.
Masato Kino, now 50 and an economy ministry official in charge of decommissioning and radioactive water issues, returned to the area on Sept. 23, 2011, six months after the magnitude-9.0 earthquake that hit the northeastern Tohoku region, triggered devastating tsunami which in turn knocked out cooling systems at the plant and caused the nuclear crisis.
He was flabbergasted to come across an ostrich peeping into a private home from its yard in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture.
That day, Kino, who at the time also served as an official of the government’s local nuclear accident control headquarters, was accompanying returning evacuees on their visits to tend to family graves.
The ostrich was observed as Kino and three colleagues were driving back.
Although he wondered what the ostrich was doing there, he had the wherewithal to scatter dog food out of the car window for the big bird to tuck into.
Each time Kino came across dogs and cats in the restricted area, he would scatter dog food he had prepared in his car. He saw himself as a “lonely volunteer.”
It later emerged that the bird had escaped from an ostrich park in Okuma, situated 7 km from the Fukushima No. 1 plant. The facility was opened in 2001 by Toshiaki Tomizawa, now 81, a former assemblyman of Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, to draw tourists to the region.
KEEPING OSTRICHES ALIVE
The ostrich park had nine birds when it opened. But the figure quickly rose to 30 and a restaurant was set up on the premises to serve ostrich meat. Soon after that, the nuclear crisis struck.
Following the disaster, Tomizawa moved to Saitama Prefecture to live with his daughter.
When he returned to the park three months later, more than half of the ostriches had died. The remaining 10 or so became feral in the no-entry zone.
Many sightings of the species were reported, drawing complaints from people, who on temporary return visits, were frightened to encounter ostriches near their homes.
Tomizawa trapped six ostriches in late 2011 with help from the farm ministry and other parties.
Farm ministry officials told him to kill them, so Tomizawa contacted ornithologists and other experts to find ways to “make full use of them.”
One of them, Yoshihiro Hayashi, director-general of the National Museum of Nature and Science, who was involved in research on animals affected by the disaster, asked ornithologist Hiroshi Ogawa, an animal husbandry professor at the Tokyo University of Agriculture, for advice.
In response to the offer, Ogawa began examining how the six ostriches trapped in January and May 2012 had absorbed radioactive substances.
It was assumed the feral birds feasted on contaminated plants, bugs and rainwater, so Ogawa tried to see if there was a way of reducing radioactive substances in their bodies by feeding them radiation-free dog food and well water.
Although the ostriches should have been kept in an area where radiation levels were significantly lower, transferring animals from the no-entry zone was prohibited. As a result, they were cared for at Tomizawa’s stable in the restricted area.
The birds displayed a radiation reading of 4.6 microsieverts per hour when the research started in March 2012. To lower the figure, Tomizawa frequented the stable from Saitama Prefecture once every one or two weeks to give them clean food and water.
The six ostriches were finally euthanized and dissected one month, two and a half months, nine and a half months and 14 months after they were caught, respectively, so that changes in radiation levels in their bodies could be analyzed.
The results showed that almost no radioactive substances other than radioactive cesium derived from the Fukushima crisis remained in their bodies, meaning that they were free from strontium and other more dangerous materials.
According to the findings, cesium is more easily absorbed through skeletal muscles than organs. It turned out to be difficult to rid muscle tissue of the substance.
The cesium reading began dropping nine and a half months after the birds were captured, which suggests the radiation level will drop if the animals are kept under low-radiation conditions.
“The research provided insights into internal radiation exposure and drops in the radiation level of wild animals,” Ogawa said.
Tomizawa, who still lives in Saitama Prefecture, described his ostrich park as having “reported successive losses and posing many problems.”
But Tomizawa also has good memories of that time. Because the overseas media gave the escaped ostriches more extensive coverage than in Japan, Tomizawa was treated like a TV celebrity when he visited Indonesia, Australia and elsewhere after the disaster.
“I met many people thanks to the ostriches,” Tomizawa said. “I feel things worked out right in the end.”
OSTRICHES AT NUCLEAR PLANT
Tomizawa decided to open the ostrich park in 2001, two years after Tokto Electric Power Co. began keeping four ostriches at its Fukushima No. 1 plant.
The reasoning behind TEPCO's bizarre move was that the high productivity rate of the bird species resembled that of reactors.
An ostrich reaches adulthood within two years on a meager diet of wheat and corn, yet grows to 2 meters tall and weighs more than 100 kilograms. A female ostrich lays eggs for 40 years, starting from the age of 2.
“This feature is similar to the characteristic of nuclear power plants that can generate a lot of electricity from a small volume of uranium fuel,” reads a promotional pamphlet issued by plant operator TEPCO around that time.
As ostriches are called Strauss in German, TEPCO said it wanted the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to be nicknamed “Strauss power plant” in the document.
However, those efforts appear to have fallen flat as few TEPCO officials were aware of the nickname.
TEPCO hired a veterinarian to look after the ostriches, but as the species is ill-tempered it was decided that the three ostriches still alive should be sent to Tomizawa to look after.
While a TEPCO public relations official said the utility could not offer a detailed explanation as to when and why the utility stopped keeping the birds “due to an absence of relevant documents,” at least one thing can be said about the project: what it touted as “highly productive” turned out--just like the nuclear power plant--to be difficult to deal with.
Group launches petition to appeal acquittal of ex-TEPCO execs over Fukushima disaster
September 30, 2019
People sign a petition to urge lawyers to file an appeal against the Sept. 19 ruling that acquitted three former Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Holdings Inc. executives of professional negligence causing death or injury over the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, at Koriyama Station in Fukushima Prefecture on Sept. 29, 2019. (Mainichi/Mina Isogai)
KORIYAMA, Fukushima -- A group supporting a criminal accusation over the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident launched a petition to have lawyers, who served as prosecutors in the trial of former Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Holdings Inc. executives, file an appeal against the Sept. 19 ruling.
The Tokyo District Court acquitted three former TEPCO executives, who were forcibly indicted, of professional negligence causing death or injury over the nuclear meltdowns at the utility's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
On Sept. 29, members of the support group collected signatures near the west exit of Koriyama Station in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Koriyama, northeast Japan. Many people including parents accompanied by children and youngsters signed the petition after stopping to listen to the group's argument.
The group also launched an online petition on Sept. 21, and says it has already gathered over 10,000 signatures.
"Though just 57 people were identified as victims in the trial, we keep in mind that all Fukushima Prefecture residents are victims. We urge that the judicial branch as an independent organization exercise the right judgment in consideration of the victims," said Kazuyoshi Sato, 66, head of the group.
On Sept. 27, lawyers representing victims submitted a statement deeming the Sept. 19 ruling factually erroneous and demanded lawyers, who served as prosecutors, file an appeal.
The support group will gather signatures until Oct. 2 and submit the petition as "the voice of Fukushima Prefecture residents" to the prosecutors.
(Japanese original by Mina Isogai, Fukushima Bureau)
https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20 ... na/016000c
Photos Reveal Emotional Look Inside the Abandoned Fukushima Exclusion Zone
By Jessica Stewart on October 8, 2019
In 2011, a disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant forever transformed life in the surrounding area of Japan. Spurred by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, it was the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Nearly a decade after the tragic incident, Polish photographer Natalia Sobańska made the journey to this place, which was once so full of life. During her time in the Fukushima Exclusion Zone, she captured haunting images of a city frozen time.
The deaths of thousands are connected to the incident. While only one fatality was attributed to radiation, over 2,000 people died due to long-term deterioration caused by the evacuation. Many more continue to suffer from the loss of their homes, businesses, and communities. For Sobańska, who specializes in photographing abandoned spaces, her visit was the chance to fulfill her curiosity about what became of the area post-disaster.
While Sobańska was keen to see the effects of the disaster, the emotional impact of what she viewed was something she hadn’t been prepared for. “I imagined abandoned places there—not trashed, only decayed and rotten,” she told My Modern Met. “But when I saw it with my own eyes, I saw the true scale of this tragedy. Thousands of people died, more lost everything. It was more devastating than I imagined it.”
The twelve-mile radius around the power plant has remained an evacuation zone, with workers slowly continuing cleanup work. Though she was grateful for the opportunity to document this unique environment, the sad reminders of the nuclear tragedy were overwhelming. After two days, she and the rest of the group left the exclusion zone but were forever changed by the experience.
Polish photographer Natalia Sobańska spent two days photographing the Fukushima Exclusion Zone.
Sobańska’s haunting photographs give a shocking look at how life was interrupted in the 12-mile evacuation zone.
It was an emotion visit for the photographer, who specializes in documenting abandoned places.
“People know what happened there. I also knew before I went, but to know and to see are two different things.”
https://mymodernmet.com/fukushima-photo ... -sobanska/
First Circuit Readies Blow for Fukushima Victims Suing GE
THOMAS F. HARRISONOctober 8, 2019
The Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant in Tomiokamachi, Fukushima Prefecture, is seen on Aug. 10, 2006. (Kyodo News via AP, File)
BOSTON (CN) – Victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster struggled Tuesday to make their case for the First Circuit to revive a lawsuit against the plant’s U.S.-based designer, General Electric Co.
“I’m having great difficulty seeing” why the case should go forward, U.S. Circuit Judge William Kayatta Jr. flatly said, interrupting the plaintiffs’ attorney, Earl M. Forte, almost as soon as he started speaking.
An attorney with the Philadelphia office of Eckert Seamans, Forte seeks compensation for more than 150,000 Japanese individuals and businesses who were “economically devastated and literally ruined” in March 2011 when an earthquake and tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing an explosion and a massive release of radiation.
The plaintiffs, led by Shinya Imamura, claim that GE was responsible for the plant’s maintenance, in addition to having designed it, and were negligent in choosing a site for the plant with a “long-recorded history of very large earthquakes and tsunamis.”
Chief U.S. District Judge Patti Saris dismissed the suit in April, concluding that an adequate remedy for the plaintiffs’ injuries exists in Japan. They now seek a reversal from the First Circuit in Boston.
Though Japan adopted a compensation system after the Fukushima disaster in which affected people and businesses could bring claims against TEPCO, short for the Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plaintiffs claim that they have no adequate remedy for their claims against GE since the law in Japan entitles them only to sue TEPCO.
But Kayatta, an Obama appointee, said he didn’t see why this mattered. “I see no argument that the loss can’t be adequately compensated for in Japan,” he said. “If you can recover your loss in full, how can you say that’s not an adequate remedy?”
U.S. Circuit Judge Juan Torruella, at age 86 the senior judge on the three-judge panel, raised another problem: Even if the case could be tried in the U.S., he said, an American court might still have to apply Japanese law – in which case the suit would end up getting thrown out anyway.
Forte responded that it wasn’t clear whether American or Japanese law would apply, and the plaintiffs should be allowed to proceed to trial and find out.
But U.S. Circuit Judge Sandra Lynch, a Clinton appointee, peppered Forte with questions trying to pin him down on why the TEPCO remedy wasn’t adequate.
“If we could be fully compensated” in Japan, Forte insisted, “we wouldn’t be here.”
But Lynch said that wasn’t a good enough answer, and wanted to know what specific types of damages were available in the U.S. but not from TEPCO.
“You have to have something other than simply pressuring GE into a settlement – some form of damages,” Lynch stated, added that it wasn’t enough simply to claim that “the Japanese amounts are too low.”
Forte struggled to come up with an answer, finally replying that the TEPCO system is “opaque” and that there are few public records showing what plaintiffs in Japan actually receive.
Arnold & Porter attorney David Weiner argued the case for GE. The judges mostly listened quietly to his arguments and asked him only a few questions on minor points.
The court gave no indication as to when it would issue a ruling.
Japan’s government ultimately plans to make about $121 billion available for the TEPCO compensation fund. As of this past February, TEPCO had paid out about $79 billion in claims.
https://www.courthousenews.com/first-ci ... -suing-ge/
BY CRISTINA TUSER
OCT 11, 2019
SOUTH KOREA BRINGS FUKUSHIMA WASTEWATER ISSUE TO LONDON CONVENTION MEETING
The South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) raised the danger of Japan’s contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant as an international issue at a meeting to the London Convention.
Japan’s contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant
South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) deemed the danger of Japan’s contaminated water from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant as an international issue at a meeting to the London Convention.
The London Convention controls pollution of the seas and oceans by dumping and covers the deliberate disposal of wastes and other matter into the world's waters, according to the U.S. EPA. The discharged water will have a direct influence on the marine life and ecosystem in its territorial waters and eventually the people in Korea, according to the Korea Times.
As of Aug. 22, approximately 1.1 million tons of contaminated water is being stored in 977 tanks at the decommissioned power plant in Fukushima, which was destroyed by the 2011 earthquake and ensuing tsunami.
The Japanese government said recently it will only build more facilities through 2020, which will bring the total stored volume to 1.37 million tons, according to Science Page News. The storage facilities are projected to be filled by August 2020, which suggests that there will be no more tanks to hold the 170 tons of radiation-contaminated water created daily.
“If [Japan] does release contaminated water from the plant into the ocean, this could have an impact on the global oceanic environment and be in violation of the aims of the London Protocol,” said Song Myeong-dal, MOF ocean environment policy officer and senior South Korean representative. “In order to find a method of contaminated nuclear power plant water handling that the international community can be confident is safe, I think this matter should be discussed on an ongoing basis by the consultative meeting of contracted parties to the London Convention and Protocol.”
In response, a representative of the Japanese government said that the matter was not something to be discussed by the consultative meeting and that the international community would be kept informed about the process, reported the Hankyoreh.
"There is another option to deal with radioactive water. Japan can keep it in the tanks until the radiation level becomes low enough. But this takes time and money. It will take about 300 years until it is okay to discharge the water," said Kim Ik-jung, a former medical professor and member of the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission to the Korea Times.
South Korea plans to continue to raise the wastewater issue to the international community until Japan comes up with a safe and acceptable solution, according to the Hankyoreh.
https://www.wwdmag.com/waste-treatment- ... convention
At Fukushima plant, a million-tonne headache: radioactive water
Staff measure radiation levels around the storage tanks of radiation-contaminated water at the tsunami-crippled Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan
In the grounds of the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant sits a million-tonne headache for the plant's operators and Japan's government: tank after tank of water contaminated with radioactive elements.
What to do with the enormous amount of water, which grows by around 150 tonnes a day, is a thorny question, with controversy surrounding a long-standing proposal to discharge it into the sea, after extensive decontamination.
The water comes from several different sources: some is used for cooling at the plant, which suffered a meltdown after it was hit by a tsunami triggered by a massive earthquake in March 2011.
Groundwater that seeps into the plant daily, along with rainwater, add to the problem.
A thousand, towering tanks have now replaced many of the cherry trees that once dotted the plant's ground.
Each can hold 1,200 tonnes, and most of them are already full.
"We will build more on the site until the end of 2020, and we think all the tanks will be full by around the summer of 2022," said Junichi Matsumoto, an official with the unit of plant operator TEPCO in charge of dismantling the site.
TEPCO has been struggling with the problem for years, taking various measures to limit the amount of groundwater entering the site.
There is also an extensive pumping and filtration system, that each day brings up tonnes of newly contaminated water and filters out as many of the radioactive elements as possible.
- Highly radioactive -
The hangar where the decontamination system runs is designated "Zone Y" -- a danger zone requiring special protections.
All those entering must wear elaborate protection: a full body suit, three layers of socks, three layers of gloves, a double cap topped by a helmet, a vest with a pocket carrying a dosimeter, a full-face respirator mask and special shoes.
Most of the outfit has to burned after use.
"The machinery filters contain radionuclides, so you have to be very protected here, just like with the buildings where the reactors are," explained TEPCO risk communicator Katsutoshi Oyama.
TEPCO has been filtering newly contaminated water for years, but much of it needs to go through the process again because early versions of the filtration process did not fully remove some dangerous radioactive elements, including strontium 90.
The current process is more effective, removing or reducing around 60 radionuclides to levels accepted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for water being discharged.
But there is one that remains, which cannot be removed with the current technology: tritium.
Tritium is naturally present in the environment, and has also been discharged in its artificial form into the environment by the nuclear industry around the world.
There is little evidence that it causes harm to humans except in very high concentrations and the IAEA argues that properly filtered Fukushima water could be diluted with seawater and then safely released into the ocean without causing environmental problems.
- 'Absolutely against it' -
But those assurances are of little comfort to many in the region, particularly Fukushima's fishing industry which, like local farmers, has suffered from the outside perception that food from the region is unsafe.
Kyoichi Kamiyama, director of the radioactivity research department at the regional government's Fisheries and Marine Science Research Centre, points out that local fishermen are still struggling eight years after the disaster.
"Discharging into the ocean? I'm absolutely against it," he told AFP.
At the national government level, the view is more sanguine.
"We want to study how to minimise the damage (from a potential discharge) to the region's reputation and Fukushima products," an Industry Ministry official said.
The government is sensitive to fears that people inside Japan and further afield will view any discharge as sending radioactive waste into the sea.
No decisions are likely in the near-term, with the country sensitive to the international spotlight that will fall on Japan as it hosts the Olympic Games next year.
Environmentalists are also resolutely opposed to any discharge into the sea, and Greenpeace argues that TEPCO cannot trusted to properly decontaminate the water.
The solution, said Greenpeace senior nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie, "ultimately can only be long-term storage and processing."
Distribution and origin of highly radioactive microparticles in Fukushima revealed
by Riitta-Leena Inki, University of Helsinki
Distribution and origin of highly radioactive microparticles in Fukushima revealed
Figure showing the number of cesium-rich microparticles per gram of soil, and the fraction of total soil cesium radioactivity associated with the microparticles, for a range of samples collected around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Credit: FDNPP
A large quantity of radioactivity was released into the environment during the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. The released radioactivity included small, poorly soluble, cesium-rich microparticles. The microparticles have a very high radioactivity per unit mass (~1011 Bq/g), but their distribution, number, source, and movement in the environment has remained poorly understood. This lack of information has made it hard to predict the potential impact of the radioactive microparticles.
However, a study just published in the scientific journal Chemosphere, involving scientists from Japan, Finland, France, and the U.S., addresses these issues. The team, led by Dr. Satoshi Utsunomiya, Ryohei Ikehara, and Kazuya Morooka (Kyushu University), developed a method in 2018 that allows scientists to quantify the amount of cesium-rich microparticles in soil and sediment samples.
They have now applied the method to a wide range of soil samples taken from within, and outside, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear exclusion zone, and this has allowed them to publish the first quantitative map of cesium-rich microparticle distribution in parts of Fukushima region.
Distribution and origin of highly radioactive microparticles in Fukushima revealed
Team members (Satoshi Utsunomiya and Ryohei Ikehara) completing a radiation survey in the now overgrown Fukushima nuclear exclusion zone. Credit: Satoshi Utsunomiya
Three regions of interest within 60 km from the Fukushima Daiichi site
Dr. Utsunomiya says, "Using our method, we have determined the number and amount of cesium-rich microparticles in surface soils from a wide range of locations up to 60 km from the Fukushima Daiichi site. Our work reveals three regions of particular interest. In two regions to the northwest of the damaged nuclear reactors, the number of cesium-rich microparticles per gram of soil ranged between 22 and 101, and the amount of total soil cesium radioactivity associated with the microparticles ranged from 15–37 percent. In another region to the southwest of the nuclear reactors, 1–8 cesium-rich microparticles were found per gram of soil, and these microparticles accounted for 27–80 percent of the total soil cesium radioactivity."
Prof. Gareth Law (University of Helsinki), a co-author of the study, says that the paper "reports regions where the cesium-rich microparticles are surprisingly abundant and account for a large amount of soil radioactivity. This data, and application of our technique to a wider range of samples could help inform clean-up efforts." Utsunomiya also added that the work "provides important understanding on cesium-rich microparticle dispersion dynamics, which can be used to assess risks and environmental impacts in inhabited regions."
The authors found that the cesium-rich microparticle distribution was consistent with the trajectories of the major radioactivity plumes released from the Fukushima Daiichi site during the late afternoon of March 14, 2011, to the late afternoon of March 15, 2011. This may indicate that microparticles only formed during this short period. Utsunomiya adds: "based on the distribution and known sequence of events during the accident, our data suggests that reactor unit 3 was the most plausible source of the cesium-rich microparticles at the beginning of the release period."
https://phys.org/news/2019-10-highly-ra ... ealed.html
NUCLEARPublished 2 days ago
Typhoon Hagibis swept away Fukushima nuclear decontamination waste bags into river
Travis Fedschun By Travis Fedschun
Deadly Japan typhoon being called the worst storm to hit the country in decades
Rescue efforts are underway in Japan after deadly Typhoon Hagibis creates widespread flooding and damage; Benjamin Hall reports.
The historic rainfall from Typhoon Hagibis that spawned widespread devastating flooding over the weekend in Japan caused several bags that had decontaminated waste from the Fukushima nuclear disaster to be swept into a river, according to officials.
Hagibis hit Japan on Saturday with historic rainfall that caused rivers to overflow and left thousands of homes flooded, damaged or without power. More than 200 rivers overflowed, and more than 50 of those now have damaged embankments.
The Tamura City government told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper the bags filled with grass, leaves, and wood debris collected during decontamination efforts were being stored temporarily at the site. Workers discovered around 9:20 p.m. on Saturday that a number of bags had been swept into the Furumichi River after the facility was flooded by the typhoon's heavy rains.
A total of 2,667 bags were stored at the containment site, which did not have any sheets placed over them for protection from the heavy wind and rain from the storm, according to the newspaper.
TYPHOON HAGIBIS: JAPANESE OUTRAGE AFTER HOMELESS PEOPLE TURNED AWAY FROM SHELTER
Officials told Japanese broadcaster NHK that workers found six bags shortly after, with all their contents intact.
Plastic bags containing greenery collected during decontamination efforts after the 2011 Japanese nuclear disaster were washed down a river during Typhoon Hagibis.
Plastic bags containing greenery collected during decontamination efforts after the 2011 Japanese nuclear disaster were washed down a river during Typhoon Hagibis. (REUTERS/Toru Hana)
While six bags were retrieved, officials cautioned that some may have gone downstream. A photo obtained by Asahi Shimbun showed some of the bags washed into the nearby river.
Asahi Shimbun AJW
Bags of #debris from #Fukushima #disaster swept away in #typhoon：The Asahi Shimbun #radioactive http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201910140036.html …
Bags of debris from Fukushima disaster swept away in typhoon：The Asahi Shimbun
TAMURA, Fukushima Prefecture--Bulk bags filled with greenery collected during decontamination effort
1:58 AM - Oct 14, 2019
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Decontamination workers have used large plastic bags to clean up radioactive debris from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Japan's government collected about 30 million tons of radioactive debris after the March 2011 nuclear disaster.
The country's Ministry of the Environment told the Kyodo News agency there was no change in the measurement results of radiation in the temporary storage area or downstream of the river.
The agency added that “the concentration of radioactive materials is relatively low and has little impact on the environment."
TYPHOON HAGIBIS KILLS DOZENS IN JAPAN, FLOODS BULLET TRAINS AS MASSIVE SEARCH LAUNCHED
Japan's government said Wednesday that the death toll for the typhoon has climbed to 63, with another 11 presumed dead. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that another eight people were missing in typhoon-hit areas in central and northern Japan.
Driftwood is piled around a bridge after Typhoon Hagibis hits the town in Marumori, Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019.
Driftwood is piled around a bridge after Typhoon Hagibis hits the town in Marumori, Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (Kyodo News via AP)
At least 200 people were injured, 30 of them seriously, according to Suga. There are still 12,000 homes without power and more than 116,000 households without fresh water.
Suga said the government will spend $6.5 million from special reserves in the budget to cover food and other necessities primarily for evacuees. The full extent of damage from the typhoon is still unknown, and the government is open to further spending, if necessary, Suga said.
Rescuers search for missing persons at the site of a landslide triggered by Typhoon Hagibis, in Marumori town, Miyagi prefecture, Japan Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019.
Rescuers search for missing persons at the site of a landslide triggered by Typhoon Hagibis, in Marumori town, Miyagi prefecture, Japan Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (Kota Endo/Kyodo News via AP)
Rescue work in hard-hit areas in Nagano and Fukushima is gradually shifting to cleanup as receding floodwaters revealed more damage.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
https://www.foxnews.com/world/typhoon-h ... bags-river
Scientists Develop New Way to Study Microparticles from Fukushima
A team of intentional scientists developed a method to study the microparticles still in the environment after the Fukushima nuclear accident.
Scientists Develop New Way to Study Microparticles from Fukushima
The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident resulted in a large quantity of radioactivity microparticles that were disbursed into the environment. Understanding the number of these microparticles, the source and movement in the environment had been difficult since the accident in 2011.
Now scientists from Japan, Finland, France and the U.S. led by Dr. Satoshi Utsunomiya, Ryohei Ikehara, and Kazuya Morooka of Kyushu University developed a way to quantify the number of radioactive microparticles in the soil and sediment samples. The method was developed in 2018 and the scientists have now found a way to apply it to a range of soil samples from within and outside of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear exclusion zone. The research was published in the journal Chemosphere.
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Scientists able to determine cesium-rich microparticles in a wide range of locations
"Using our method, we have determined the number and amount of cesium-rich microparticles in surface soils from a wide range of locations up to 60 km from the Fukushima Daiichi site," said Dr. Utsunomiya in a press release highlighting the work. "Our work reveals three regions of particular interest. In two regions to the northwest of the damaged nuclear reactors, the number of cesium-rich microparticles per gram of soil ranged between 22 and 101, and the amount of total soil cesium radioactivity associated with the microparticles ranged from 15-37%. In another region to the southwest of the nuclear reactors, 1-8 cesium-rich microparticles were found per gram of soil, and these microparticles accounted for 27-80% of the total soil cesium radioactivity."
The scientists found that the cesium-rich microparticles were distributed in the same trajectories of the plumes released at the site. That could indicate that microparticles formed only during that short period from the late afternoon of 14 March 2011 to the late afternoon of 15 March 2011.
The scientists said the data and the method they developed could help inform clean up efforts that are still ongoing eight years later. The work "provides important understanding on cesium-rich microparticle dispersion dynamics, which can be used to assess risks and environmental impacts in inhabited regions," said Utsunomiya in the press release.
https://interestingengineering.com/scie ... -fukushima
How Japan still struggles with the Fukushima nuclear waste
A file picture shows reactor units atop storage tanks for radioactive water at the Daiichi power plant in Fukushima. More than 8 years after a tsunami disaster, authorities are still grappling with the nuclear waste issue. Photo: Reuters
A file picture shows reactor units atop storage tanks for radioactive water at the Daiichi power plant in Fukushima. More than 8 years after a tsunami disaster, authorities are still grappling with the nuclear waste issue. Photo: Reuters
Kenji CheungOct 28, 2019 6:49pm
It’s been more than eight years since the nuclear disaster occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan.
Yet even to this day, the Japanese government is struggling with the issue of nuclear cleanup, waste disposal and storage. To say the least, the threat is still very much there.
Earlier this month, Typhoon Hagibis swept across the Kanto region of Honshu, leading to deadly floods and landslides across the area.
The Asahi Shimbun reported that a temporary repository where some 2,667 bags of highly radioactive nuclear cleanup waste collected from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were stored was completely flooded.
As a result, a nightmare became a reality: a batch of the bags got washed into a nearby river about 100 meters away from the storage facility. And the environmental ramifications could be disastrous and far-reaching.
In fact it wasn’t the first time highly radioactive nuclear waste from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was accidentally exposed to the environment.
Back in 2015, heavy rain in Honshu washed almost 400 bags of nuclear cleanup waste into a river. Among them, 163 were broken while 80 were unaccounted for.
Apparently, the Japanese government hasn’t learned any lesson from the accident four years ago, and allowed it to happen once again.
To make matters worse, many local workers who handled the bags were cutting corners, and didn’t tie them tightly, not to mention that most of the bags, which totaled over 10 million in 2015, were only piled outdoors, unlike other nuclear waste handling plants which generally have facilities to store or cover the nuclear waste inside.
According to Japanese media reports, most of the bags containing the nuclear cleanup waste from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have not been handled properly. This suggests that the Japanese government and the subcontractors were negligent on the nuclear issue.
It may be a matter of time before the waste poses a huge threat to the environment again.
Given the fact that environmental damage caused by nuclear waste contamination can be both catastrophic and limitless, it is of utmost importance for mankind to learn the lesson of history and not to repeat the mistakes of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct 18
Translation by Alan Lee
http://www.ejinsight.com/20191028-how-j ... ear-waste/
Dozens of bags of radioactive waste still missing in Fukushima three weeks after intense typhoon
TAMURA, FUKUSHIMA PREF. –
Bags containing radioactive waste are seen in Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture, in this photo taken Oct. 14 after Typhoon Hagibis struck the region earlier in the month. | KYODO
Dozens of bags containing waste polluted with radioactive substances are still missing in Fukushima Prefecture, three weeks after they were swept away from storage areas in floods triggered by Typhoon Hagibis.
Of the 90 bags originally lost, 36 remain missing. The Environment Ministry, prefectural officials and others are conducting extensive searches but so far they have not had much luck.
In many municipalities in the prefecture, a lot of radioactive waste, including soil, was generated through decontamination work after the 2011 nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant. Numerous bags containing the waste are kept outdoors in temporary storage areas around the prefecture.
Heavy rains from the 19th typhoon of the year flooded storage space in many locations, sweeping away 44 bags in Kawauchi, 30 in Tamura, 15 in Nihonmatsu and one in Iitate.
By the end of October, 50 bags had been recovered. The contents had leaked from half of them. “We had far heavier rains than we expected. We did not cover bags of radioactive waste,” said an official of the Tamura Municipal Government.
The ministry and other organizations have mobilized 20 to 30 workers to look for the missing bags, wading into rivers when necessary and using drones to search areas that cannot physically be entered.
An aerial survey was conducted by helicopter on Oct. 23. On Friday, 29 workers searched the Furumichi River and areas along it in Tamura. Four bags were collected, but their contents had been lost.
“There has been no confirmation of any environmental impact due to the loss of the bags,” a ministry official said.
“We’ll continue searching in cooperation with local municipalities.”
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/ ... cIaVC2ZMWo
Citizens’ group in Fukushima puts out radiation map in English
By SHINICHI SEKINE/ Staff Writer
FUKUSHIMA—A citizens’ group here has released an English radiation-level map for eastern Japan created with input from 4,000 volunteers in response to requests from abroad ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
“We want people outside Japan to understand the reality of radioactive contamination following the nuclear accident,” said Nahoko Nakamura, a representative of Minna-No Data Site (Everyone's Data Site), which published the map.
The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant experienced a triple meltdown in March 2011 after a tsunami knocked out its cooling systems during the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Titled “Citizens’ Radiation Data Map of Japan,” the 16-page booklet summarizes the content of the original Japanese map, released in November last year. It also shows projected declines in radiation levels by 2041.
The Japanese version was based on results of land contamination surveys conducted over three years at the request of Everyone's Data Site.
About 4,000 volunteers took soil samples at 3,400 locations in 17 prefectures in eastern Japan, including Fukushima and Tokyo, and measured radiation levels. The map was compiled with advice from experts.
The group raised 6.23 million yen ($57,500) from 1,288 individuals through a crowdfunding campaign. So far, 15,000 copies have been sold.
Nakamura said the group decided to produce an English version after it received inquiries about the Japanese map from researchers and others overseas in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics.
Everyone's Data Site spent about four months creating the English map, working through e-mail and online chats with five volunteer translators overseas, including an American and a Canadian.
The English edition sells for 500 yen, excluding tax. For more information, contact Everyone's Data Site at (email@example.com).
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