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Does Tepco own a radioactive marshland in Oze national park it can not sell?

July 12, 2014
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Op Ed by Arclight2011

Published on 7 July 2014

At the early stages of the Fukushima nuclear disaster I wondered if the Oze National park had been contaminated from nuclear fallout.Chris busby had tested car air filtersfrom Tokyo and found high levels of radioactive particles and he alsotested a filter from an apartment in Tokyo and found high levels of radioactive lead (Pb).

A Japanese scientist was refused permission to check for radionuclides in the environment and had to leave his university position and then tested for contamination and found high levels of radionuclides in the forest in the mountains.

The map below shows a radionuclide dispersion different from the IAEA/UNSCEAR version in that it shows a wide dispersion that finds its way into the mountains nearly as far as Tokyo.


Radiation fallout map of Japan
(image by backyardworld)

Image source ; http://backyardworld.wordpress.com/maps/A recent finding posted by Iori at Fukushima Diary asks why is the level of contamination in Tokyo drinking water as high as Fukushima and even higher than Myiagi prefecture (that is nearer than Tokyo)? A reason might be that the reservoirs that supply Tokyo are contaminated from the higher levels of contaminates washed down from the mountains and or through the rivers from the marshes at Oze National Park, these past 3 years.

 

If we look at the waters that feed the marshland in Oze National Park that is south of the Fukushima Daichi nuclear site, we might wonder if the waters that feed Oze National Park might also be suffering from contamination.

There are no known studies of this area that have been made public. However, an article published in Japan in July 2011 states that in a spa near to the mountain range an atmospheric reading showed that the contamination was as much as 50 percent of the contamination found in Fukushima city (0.45 mcSv/h at the spa).

TEPCO own some 70 percent of this unique wildlife area and were asked to sell it to compensate the people of Fukushima but that Yukio Edano, a government minister, was reported to ask TEPCO to not sell it. This is odd as the area had been losing visitors for many years before the disaster and therefore TEPCO were not showing themselves to be good stewards of the land anyway. In fact, an OECD report from 1999 said that conflicts between the private sector (TEPCO and the Oze Forest Management Co. owned by Tepco and runs 5 lodges in Oze, four of which are in the Special Protection Zone against other park organisers’ wishes) and the environment agency and conservation NGOs caused difficulties that would be easier to deal with if the environment agency had overall say in the running of Oze National park.

The fact that TEPCO only provide 200 million yen a year to the overall 1.4 billion yen a year running costs (600 million yen of which comes from the government and 400 million yen from NGOs). A sluice gate that provided water from the park helps to feed the Tone River, which is used for irrigation and which dams have been constructed on its headwaters to produce hydroelectricity and to form reservoirs to supply water to the Keihin Industrial Zone. This river meets the pacific just north of Tokyo near the heavily contaminated area of Chiba.

The questions really are “why has TEPCO not sold its shares in the national park? Is it because the area is contaminated and this might be found out by the new owners? Why is the government saying Tepco should not sell it if the OECD report says that it would be more simple not to have the ownership shared with a private company?

Also the aquifer that feeds the lower marshland is connected to the same aquifer that the nuclear-disaster site is situated on. So TEPCO would want control of this large area to cover up any cross-contamination from the nuclear site?

The contaminated ground water at Daichi is above another layer of groundwater that is deeper. The water at the lower level was found to have less pressure than the water above that which is contaminated. So that means that the lower layer of ground water has been contaminated over the last 3 years and that contaminated water may be making its way slowly towards the Oze national park marshlands that TEPCO owns.

The idea of the ice wall is to possibly lower the pressure of the upper layer under the nuclear reactors and slow down the process. Although it is reported that TEPCO have started the ice wall it seems that this means that they are drilling holes for sensors and the freezing process is not yet begun. I can find no report that the freezing of the water has started. So this means that the heavily contaminated high pressure water is still mixing with the lower-pressure deeper layer and likely traveling outwards from there.

 

 

A Japanese government report from 1993 shows that this whole area was affected by industry using this ground water to supply its factories and nuclear plants. This caused a vast subsidence all along the coast and on the Fukushima plain. Needless to say, TEPCO needs to be very careful how they manage these layers of ground water because it covers a vast area. And this was likely the reason for the need for a sluice gate to replace the ground-water restrictions brought in after the ground-subsidence issues reported above.

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Fukushima Has Nine Days to Prevent “Unsafe” Overheating

July 8, 2014

Leakage of radioactive water from a plastic tank (yellow) at TEPCO's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. (photo: AFP/TEPCO)
Leakage of radioactive water from a plastic tank (yellow) at TEPCO’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. (photo: AFP/TEPCO)

By RT

07 July 14

 

ukushima operator TEPCO has been forced to switch off the cooling system at mothballed Reactor Unit 5, after it was discovered that it had been leaking water. In nine days, if the system is not repaired, temperatures will exceed dangerous levels.

Engineers have discovered that 1,300 liters of water leaked from a cooling system intended to stabilize the temperature of the spent fuel at the Reactor Unit 5, which was offline but loaded with fuel rods when the plant was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The source of the leak was a 3 mm-diameter hole near a flow valve, a statement published by the Japanese energy giant on Sunday asserts. However it is unclear from company data if the location of the opening has been discovered, or whether it was calculated with flow measurements.

At the time when the cooling system was switched off at around 12pm on Sunday, the temperature in the pool in which the rods are submerged was 23C but started increasing by 0.193 degrees per hour, TEPCO says.

If no new cold water is pumped in at such rate it will reach the dangerous threshold of 65C by the midpoint of the month in roughly 9 days.

Such temperatures, which have not been routinely seen at the plant since the failing of the cooling system in the immediate aftermath, would increase the possibility of dangerous reactions and further radiation leaks in the plant.

TEPCO however says that currently, there have been no abnormal readings anywhere in the plant.

ince TEPCO is using seawater for many of its cooling needs at the power plant, it has previously encountered heightened levels of corrosion, in sensitive equipment. The cooling system at various reactors has also been beset by calamities – from rats short circuiting the control panel and forcing a blackout, to an employee “accidentally” switching it off, though all were resolved before rod pools overheated.

At the same time, TEPCO is struggling to deal with ever-increasing volumes of contaminated water which is being stored in hundreds of tanks at the facility and frequently leaking and contaminating the soil beneath it. And the much publicized plan to stop contaminated water from leaking into the sea by building an ‘ice-wall’ and freezing soil and water around the facility is not working as well as Japanese officials had hoped.

SEE ALSO: Typhoon Described as “Once In Decades Storm” Is Barreling Toward Japan

 

Fukushima FUBAR – Still Bad, Still Getting Worse

June 23, 2014

Members of the media and Tokyo Electric Power Co employees walk past storage tanks for radioactive water in the H4 area at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan. (photo: AFP/Tomohiro Ohsumi)
Members of the media and Tokyo Electric Power Co employees walk past storage tanks for radioactive water in the H4 area at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan. (photo: AFP/Tomohiro Ohsumi)

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

22 June 14

 

ust because meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear site aren’t much in the news of late, it’s not safe to assume they’re under control. They’re not. The 2011 accident continues uninterrupted, beyond control, beyond reliable measurement, beyond honest reporting in most media, and beyond any hope of being significantly mitigated for years and probably decades to come. That’s the best case. Alternatively, radiation levels are rising, especially for Tritium and Plutonium, and much of it goes right into the ocean. Either way, officials in Japan and the U.S.have responded by arbitrarily raising the officially “safe” level of radiation exposure.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) released an 8-page report June 11, based on what it shows was very limited sampling, taken three months (in 2011) and 32 months (in 2013) after the meltdowns. Distributed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the report lacks any useful detail for an exposed public, and its main conclusion is opaque on human safety:

Air dose rates in both “Road and its adjacent area” and “Vacant land lot” have decreased more rapidly than we expected considering the physical half-life of radionuclide in 32 months after the accident.

Who’ll stop the rain? Or the groundwater? Or fuel pool coolant?

Recently the Tokyo Electric Company (TEPCO), responsible for the nuclear site, has acknowledged that rain is a problem. TEPCO has thousands of storage tanks filled with radioactive groundwater collected from the site, but rain adds to the water in the tanks and becomes part of the total volume of radioactive water on site and flowing out. TEPCO has suggested a variety of ways of putting a cover, a roof, or a tent over the tanks to keep the rain out. But TEPCO hasn’t done it yet.

The Fukushima nuclear power plants have been shut down for more than three years, but the nuclear fuel is not yet stabilized and the site leaks radioactivity constantly, but at a varying, often unknown rate. The Fukushima disaster is unprecedented in scale, complexity, and consequence. Fukushima’s continuing release of radioactivity long since passed the scale of Chernobyl in 1986. Fukushima releases are now estimated at three times the Russian accident, but with no end in sight for Japan.

There’s no end in sight for Ukraine, either, where the Chernobyl accident may be better contained than Fukushima, but Chernobyl won’t be over till it’s over, either. Reasonably enough, Japan and Ukraine have been working together to launch satellites that will monitor their respective nuclear disasters. A Ukrainian-designed rocket carrying two Japanese-developed satellites is scheduled to launch into orbit from Russia’s Ural space station on June 26. The rocket will be carrying 33 small satellites from 17 countries.

The satellites from Ukraine and Japan are intended to maintain a continuous record of conditions at and around the two nuclear disasters. How governments use and/or share this data remains to be seen. As one Tokyo University professor involved in the project expressed concern over government accountability, “I hope that the data will help Japan and Ukrainecorrectly acknowledge the impact on the environment near the two plants.” [Emphasis added.]

“I’ve been involved in this Fukushima volunteer for 3 years. Blood splashes out of the skin suddenly, and quite often. This is the reality.”

A Fukushima decontamination volunteer posted that comment on Twitter. (There the translation is rougher: “Voluntary activities [scary internal radiation threat: Fukushima from the third year. This reality that one day, often happen to be suddenly spewing blood from the skin.”) The anecdotal suffering of people affected by Fukushima and the years of inadequate official response goes largely unreported, except by a few like Mochizuki Cheshire Iori, who has maintained his Fukushima Diary since immediately after the meltdowns. He recently reported a massive spike of Cesium in Yaiti City, midway between Fukushima and Tokyo.

Fukushima Diary also posted a report of elevated radiation levels in Tokyo in February 2014. These are anecdotal reports, but there have been other reports of radiation in Tokyo. Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen reported personally measuring material in Tokyo in December 2012 that was hot enough to be classified as radioactive waste in the U.S. Japan did nothing about it. There is apparently no consistent, official monitoring of radiation in Tokyo. If there were, and the measurements were high, that might threaten the Olympics scheduled for Tokyo in 2020.

The official Japanese position, expressed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the International Olympic Committee in September 2013, goes like this: “Let me assure you the situation [in Fukushima] is under control. It has never done and will never do any damage to Tokyo.”

Public policy, based on average exposures and estimated “safe” levels, is not all that concerned with personal safety, not even for Olympic athletes. Beat the averages and, officially, there’s no damage. But if you, personally, win the bad lottery and ingest a random“hot particle,” you may have a problem, about which most governments don’t much care.

“We have yet to form the ice stopper because we can’t make the temperature low enough to freeze water,” a TEPCO spokesman said.

To control the flow fresh of water into the Fukushima site, where it gets irradiated by the melted reactor cores before it flows on out to the Pacific, TEPCO’s plans (reports vary) included building a gigantic, underground ice wall to keep the fresh water out. Another reported plan was to build a gigantic, underground ice wall to keep the radioactive water in. A third plan was to build a gigantic, underground ice wall all the way around the contaminated site, keeping the outside water out (except rain) and the inside water in.

TEPCO tried and failed to freeze about 11,000 tons of radioactive water (about 2.6 million gallons) in place in trenches underneath two of the destroyed reactor buildings.

TEPCO also continuously adds to the radioactive water build-up with the water it must pump into the site to keep the melted reactor cores and fuel pools cool enough that they don’t go critical again and spew more radiation.

So far the ice wall plans, which would take a decade or more to complete if all went well, are already behind schedule and not really working out. On June 18, Al Jazeera summed it up in a story under the headline: “FUKUSHIMA ‘ICE WALL’ LOOKING MORE LIKE A DIRT SLURPEE.”

The next day, TEPCO issued a news release saying the earlier media reports, also based on a TEPCO news release, were wrong. TEPCO said the media had confused two different projects, both being carried out by Kajima Corp.: (1) the effort to freeze the ground around Fukushima and (2) the failed attempt to freeze water under only part of Fukushima.

The nuclear-industrial complex is a global power

In recent years, we’ve heard predictions of a global “nuclear renaissance,” which has yet to materialize despite heavy government subsidy of nuclear power in the U.S. and elsewhere. In 2002, by official count, the world had 444 “operating nuclear reactors,” now that number is less than 400. And even that total, a decline of 10%, is an inflated mirage created by the IAEA, which counts Japan’s 48 reactors as “in operation,” even though they are all shut down or inoperable, thanks to the Fukushima meltdowns.

Another nuclear industry promotional organization, the World Nuclear Association, continues to promise “The Nuclear Renaissance,” arguing that:

With 70 reactors being built around the world today, another 160 or more planned to come online during the next 10 years, and hundreds more further back in the pipeline, the global nuclear industry is clearly going forward strongly. Negative responses to the Fukushima accident, notably in Europe, do not change this overall picture. Countries with established programmes are seeking to replace old reactors as well as expand capacity…. Most (over 80%) of the expansion in this century is likely to be in countries already using nuclear power.

American, Japanese, and other governments around the world have long been in thrall to the nuclear industry. Currently the commercial nuclear industry is dominated by three Western-Japanese conglomerates: the French Areva with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and two American companies, General Electric and Westinghouse, with Hitachi and Toshiba, respectively.

The human cost of Fukushima doesn’t come out of their bottom lines, and most governments will also shirk paying for it as much as possible.

TEPCO sends mixed message about how safe Fukushima is

A Fukushima report from VICE (published May 26) notes that the Japanese government continues to try to keep information secret as much as it can. A former Japanese legislator says his government tried to conceal measurements of radioactive Cesium at Fukushima that were 168 times higher than the level at Hiroshima after the 1945 A-bomb attack. The government keeps telling the public that everything is OK.

The 13-minute video covers some of the more familiar Fukushima horrors: radiation poisoning and increasing thyroid cancers; the government allowing the sale of highly radioactive food; inadequate official measurement of Fukushima radiation levels; and the lethal effect of feeding radioactive leaves from Fukushima plants to healthy butterflies. There is a scene of TEPCO officials refusing to talk on camera beyond a short, bland reassurance that everything is OK. There is a TEPCO worker (his identity concealed) who says the equipment at Fukushima is deteriorating and the cooling systems might fail. And there is a dissonant sequence showing a government official wearing no protective clothing leading the camera crew (in protective clothing) inside the Fukushima site – until TEPCO workers (in protective clothing) chase them all away because it’s too dangerous.

When U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy visited the Fukushima ruins, she was unidentifiable under her protective clothing, as was her son with her. Ambassador Kennedy reportedly said that the U.S. would help “in any way that it can,” which could mean no way.

In June, the governor of Fukushima Prefecture was asking the Tokyo Olympics committee to have the 2020 Olympics torch relay run along a road only 2 kilometers from the Fukushima meltdowns that caused more than 100,000 people to be evacuated, most of whom cannot return. The governor is also lobbying for an Olympics training camp 20 km from the meltdowns, in buildings that presently house workers hired by TEPCO to carry out the decommissioning and decontamination that even TEPCO expects to take decades.

Meanwhile there are some things that don’t change: the Fukushima cores are still melting down, earthquakes still happen in the neighborhood (most recently June 16), and President Obama is still pushing to build more nukes.


William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

Plan to build ice wall around Fukushima plant hits snag

June 18, 2014

TOKYO —

The operator of Japan’s battered Fukushima nuclear power plant said Tuesday it was having trouble with the early stages of an ice wall being built under broken reactors to contain radioactive water.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has begun digging the trenches for a huge network of pipes pipes under the plant through which it intends to pass refrigerant.

This will freeze the soil and form a physical barrier that is intended to prevent clean groundwater flowing down mountainsides from mixing with contaminated water underneath the leaking reactors.

TEPCO said Tuesday a smaller, inner ice wall whose pipes it sank earlier to contain the already-contaminated water was proving difficult.

“We have yet to form the ice stopper because we can’t make the temperature low enough to freeze water,” a TEPCO spokesman said.

“We are behind schedule but have already taken additional measures, including putting in more pipes, so that we can remove contaminated water from the trench starting next month.”

The coolant being used in the operation is an aqueous solution of calcium chloride, which is cooled to -30 degrees Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit).

The idea of freezing a section of the ground, which was proposed for Fukushima last year, has previously been used in the construction of tunnels near watercourses.

However, scientists point out that it has not been done on this scale before nor for the proposed length of time.

Coping with the huge—and growing—amount of water at the tsunami-damaged plant is proving to be one of the biggest challenges for TEPCO, as it tries to clean up the mess after the worst nuclear disaster in a generation, in which three reactors went into meltdown.

As well as all the water used to keep broken reactors cool, the utility must also deal with water that makes its way along subterranean watercourses from mountainsides to the sea.

Full decommissioning of the plant at Fukushima is expected to take several decades. An area around the plant remains out of bounds, and experts warn that some settlements may have to be abandoned because of high levels of radiation.

© 2014 AFP

TEPCO may have to evacuate Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant

March 29, 2014

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nsnbc , – Radiation levels at the boundary of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have risen to the eightfold of the government set standards of 1 millisievert per year, reports TEPCO. Additional monitoring devices have been installed in towns and villages in the affected region. Water decontamination shall reduce the amount of stored, X-ray emitting water. Should any of the tanks burst during an earthquake, TEPCO would have to evacuate the workers and it is uncertain if they could return, said a German nuclear engineer.

Click on image to enlarge

On 10 January, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) held a meeting to discuss possible countermeasures for a southern area which long has been a source of problems, reports the Japanese dailyAsahi Shimbun.

The newspaper quotes TEPCO officials as saying that a level of eight millisieverts per year was estimated as of December, near an area with many storage tanks containing highly radioactive water.

TEPCO reports that the main factor behind the increase in radiation levels was X-rays from the storage tanks. Beta rays, released from radioactive strontium and other substances in the water reacted with iron and other elements in the storage tank containers to generate the X-rays, said TEPCO officials.

Highly contaminated water on the surface and permeating the underground has beenrunning into the Pacific Ocean since the disaster struck the nuclear facility in 2011.

Contamination of the Pacific Ocean water has according to statements by independent observers and scientists already led to a catastrophic collapse of Pacific Ocean ecosystems and private individuals reported localized, highly elevated radiation levels in the United States, Canadian and Mexican West Coast. It was only in 2013, two years after the disaster struck, that TEPCO reported that some 300 tons of contaminated water are running into the Pacific ocean per day.

Immediately after the disaster in 2011, TEPCO ordered flange storage tanks as an emergency solution, because the production of welded tanks would have taken longer time. The flange tanks, which are constructed of metal elements which are bolted together and sealed with rubber fittings are not fit for the corrosive ocean environment and risk bursting in the event of an earthquake. TEPCO continues, until today, to store water in ever more of the (cheaper) flange tanks and never ordered double hull, welded tanks which would be a much safer option.

TEPCO is attempting to neutralize the stored water, using a system known as Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS). The ALPS consists of 14 steel cylinders with filter systems of varying permeability. The end product is meant to be a slurry containing radioactive particles and “relatively” low radioactive water, which TEPCO ultimately plans to pump into the Pacific Ocean.

Depleted Uranium Damages

With regards to the final storage of the highly radioactive slurry, which is stored in steel containers, the reality is that there is none. So far, there has not been found any final disposal solution for any of the radioactive waste that has been produced over the last 60 + years, anywhere,although some of it is being disposed of in the form of depleted uranium munitions and with disastrous humanitarian consequences.

The Japanese government’s decommissioning plan for the Fukushima Daiichi power plant outlines that radiation levels at the boundaries of the crippled nuclear facility should not exceed one millisievert per year to minimize the impact of radiation outside the plant.

In response to the recent reports of radiation levels of eight millisieverts, the NRA has decided to set up an additional 400 monitoring devices in 12 cities, towns and villages around the power plant, including the evacuation zone.

JAPAN_Radioactivity_forestThe results of a study on the accumulation of radioactivity in Japanese forests, published in December, showed that the levels of the radioactive isotope cesium in forests, in a radius of 120 km around the power plant have almost doubled within one year.

The monitoring results from the previously installed and the newly added monitoring stations in the region around the power plant are available via the NRA’s website at http://radioactivity.nsr.go.jp/en/ .

The reliability of the published results, however, is questioned by many, referring to the fact that both TEPCO and the Japanese government have been withholding and censoring information to the public since 2011.

nsnbc international has spoken with a German nuclear engineer who has been working at nuclear research reactors for the better part of two decades. On condition of anonymity, fearing professional repercussions, the expert said that TEPCO is in a race against time.

Japan_Quake_map

Earthquakes of a magnitude of five on the Richter scale are a common, if not daily then a weekly occurrence in the region around Japan, and the likelihood of an earthquake above the magnitude of seven on the Richter scale in Japan within a one year period is estimated to be above seventy percent, said the German nuclear engineer who has been monitoring the situation in Fukushima closely since 2011.

The engineer stressed, that most of the flange tanks, containing the highly contaminated water, are located uphill from the reactors where the spent fuel rod removal and cleanup operation proceeds, adding, let alone the fact that building four could collapse; If any, of the storage tanks undergoes a catastrophic failure during an earthquake, TEPCO would have to evacuate the facility and it is unlikely that the fuel rod removal operation, or for that sake the controlling of the water levels in the spent fuel pool could continue.

Ch/L – nsnbc 11.01.2014

Read our extensive coverage of the situation in Fukushima, Japan, and related issues in nsnbc international. 

About the Author

 – nsnbc international is a daily, international online newspaper, established on 25 February 2013. nsnbc international is independent from corporate, state or foundation funding and independent with regards to political parties. nsnbc international is free to read and free to subscribe to, because the need for daily news, analysis and opinion, and the need for independent media is universal. The decision to make nsnbc international freely available was made so all, also those in countries with the lowest incomes, and those inflicted by poverty can access our daily newspaper. To keep it this way however, we depend on your donation if you are in a position to donate a modest amount whenever you can or on a regular basis. Besides articles from nsnbc’s regular contributors and staff writers, including it’s editor and founder, Christof Lehmann, it features selected articles from other contributors through its cooperation with media partners such as Global Research, The 4th Media, Aydinlik Daily, AltThaiNews Network and others.

Water decontamination system halted at Fukushima plant

March 19, 2014

NATIONAL MAR. 19, 2014 – 04:20PM JST ( 15 )

Water decontamination system halted at Fukushima plantMedia and TEPCO employees visit the suppression chamber area in the basement of the Number 5 reactor building at the Fukushima power plant on March 10, 2014AFP

TOKYO —

The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said Wednesday it has temporarily shut down a decontamination system that scrubs radiation-tainted water used to cool damaged reactors.

Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said it had discovered a defect in its Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) and switched it off on Tuesday for repairs.

It is not the first time the utility has shut down the system, which has been hit by a series of glitches since trial operations began a year ago.

“We don’t know yet when we can resume operating the system as we have not detected the cause of the defect yet,” a TEPCO spokeswoman told AFP. “But we still have room to store toxic water so there is no immediate concern.”

TEPCO is struggling to handle a huge—and growing—volume of contaminated water at the tsunami-damaged plant. There are about 436,000 cubic meters of contaminated water stored at the site in about 1,200 purpose-built tanks.

Many experts say that at some point the water will have to be released into the sea after being scoured of the most harmful contaminants. They say it will pose a negligible risk to marine life or people, but local fishermen and neighboring countries are fiercely opposed.

© 2014 AFP

Fukushima nuclear plant workers rally against TEPCO

March 15, 2014

NATIONAL MAR. 15, 2014 – 06:25AM JST ( 20 )

Fukushima nuclear plant workers rally against TEPCOFukushima nuclear workers and their supporters shout slogans outside the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) on Friday.AFP

TOKYO —

Fukushima nuclear plant workers rallied outside the headquarters of operator Tokyo Electric Power on Friday, complaining they were forced to work for meager pay in dangerous conditions.

The group of about 100 demonstrators shouted and pumped their fists in the air as they railed against being cheated by contractors hired to find recruits to clean up the shattered site and surrounding area.

“Workers at the Fukushima plant have been forced to do unreasonable tasks with no decent safety measures,” said one man in his 30s, who declined to give his name.

He said he was laid off after several months in the job due to heavy radiation exposure.

“Workers are forced to handle contaminated water in such grim working conditions, where any human being should not be put to work,” he said.

“They tend to make easy mistakes under the pressure, but it’s not they who are at fault—it’s the conditions that force them to do terrible tasks.”

Three years since a towering wall of water plunged the Fukushima nuclear plant into darkness on March 11, 2011 and sent reactors into meltdown, plant workers have yet to even start dismantling the crippled reactors.

The decommissioning process is expected to stretch over decades.

Several thousand employees at the plant are locked in a daily—and dangerous—scramble to keep the site as safe as possible, making myriad repairs and building tanks for the vast amounts of water contaminated after being used to cool reactors.

The country’s 50 atomic reactors have been shuttered in the wake of the worst nuclear accident in a generation.

On Thursday, Japan moved closer to restarting a pair of reactors in the southern part of the country, with the nuclear regulator saying it would conduct safety checks.

But winning the backing of local officials and an atomic-weary population will be a major hurdle to re-starting the plants.

On Friday, demonstrators also rallied outside the office of Maeda Corp, one of the contractors hired to run clean-up operations at the plant and in surrounding areas.

Questions have swirled about the working conditions created by the web of Fukushima contractors and sub-contractors.

Some demonstrators said they received far less pay than promised as various layers of bosses docked money for supplying meals, transportation and other expenses.

They also said many had not received a 10,000 yen daily premium for decontamination work.

“Most people are working for small pay without getting the special compensation,” said a 51-year-old man, who said he was doing clean-up work near the plant.

Maeda Corp did not immediately respond to a request for comment about working conditions in the stricken area.

© 2014 AFP

 

Japan Physician: Parents should evacuate children from Tokyo; Danger from Fukushima radiation — “The threat has seemed to be spreading” — “I’ve seen a lot of patients badly affected”

February 15, 2014

Latest Headlines from ENENews

 

Professor on PBS: “Consolidated mass” of radioactive water “moving in unison” across Pacific to West Coast — Study: Fukushima nuclear material stays “confined to a narrow band” in ocean — “Very little dispersion” (MAP & AUDIO)

Posted: 14 Feb 2014 08:03 PM PST

 

Japan Physician: Parents should evacuate children from Tokyo; Danger from Fukushima radiation — “The threat has seemed to be spreading” — “I’ve seen a lot of patients badly affected”

Posted: 14 Feb 2014 03:33 PM PST

 

Study: Fukushima airborne plumes “caused significant deposition of radioactivity over North America” — Especially for West Coast and eastern U.S. — Around 13% of all radioactive iodine released into atmosphere was deposited over USA and Canada (MAP)

Posted: 14 Feb 2014 10:03 AM PST

 

Officials: ‘Hot’ materials with 7 billion Bq/kg of cesium found 15 km from Fukushima plant — “Most likely” came from Unit 3 — Over 7,500 Bq/kg of Plutonium and Americium (PHOTOS)

Posted: 14 Feb 2014 06:26 AM PST

Revealed: TEPCO hid dangerous Fukushima radiation levels for months

February 15, 2014

Published time: February 13, 2014 15:37

AFP Photo / Kimimasa MayamaAFP Photo / Kimimasa Mayama

Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) is again in the midst of controversy for failing to timely report on record radiation levels at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. It is now blasted for holding back strontium measurements since September.

TEPCO on Wednesday revealed that it detected 5 million becquerels per liter of radioactive Strontium-90 in a groundwater sample taken some 25 meters from the ocean as early as last September, Reuters reports. The legal limit for releasing strontium into the ocean is just 30 becquerels per liter.

Although the reading was alarmingly five times the levels taken at the same spot two months prior to that, TEPCO decided not to immediately report it to the country’s nuclear watchdog. That is despite Strontium-90 being considered twice as harmful to people as Cesium-137, which was also released in large quantities during the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011 caused by powerful earthquake and tsunami.

According to a TEPCO spokesman cited by Reuters, the decision was due to“uncertainty about the reliability and accuracy of the September strontium reading,” which prompted the plant’s operator to reexamine the data.

However, Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) officials say no data came up until now despite repeated demands to TEPCO.

“We did not hear about this figure when they detected it last September. We have been repeatedly pushing TEPCO to release strontium data since November. It should not take them this long to release this information,” Shinji Kinjo, head of the NRA taskforce on contaminated water issues at Fukushima, told the agency.

Top NRA officials, including the watchdog’s chairman, have lashed out at TEPCO for “lacking a fundamental understanding of measuring and handling radiation”while responding to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

“This is not an appropriate way to deal with the desire of the public [for transparency] and in particular, the regulator, which is now very closely regulating issues related to public health, the environment and so on,” Martin Schulz, a senior research fellow at the Fujitsu Research Institute, has said.

On Thursday, fears of new leaks surfaced in Japanese media, as Asahi Shimbun reported two cracks in a concrete floor of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 facility near radioactive water storage tanks. Some contaminated water from the melting snow may have seeped into the ground through the cracks stretching for 12 and 8 meters, TEPCO said.

Earlier last year, TEPCO came under criticism for letting radioactive water leak from a tank at Fukushima and also concealing the fact for some time.

Days before Tokyo won its bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games last September, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claimed that contaminated water at Fukushima was “under control” and vowed to provide some $500 million to help contain it.

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Comment: Data withheld after Abe’s safety assurance and Tokyo Gubernatorial Election?

 

Radioactive cesium levels “never seen before” at Fukushima — New record as amount in groundwater nearly doubles in 24 hours — Officials admit ‘may be new leak’ — IAEA urges ‘resumption’ of dumping contaminated water in ocean; ‘All options’ need to be on table (VIDEO)

February 14, 2014

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