News Roundup for July 16, 2012 (artwork to the left by Misato Yugi)
Nuclear Industry Updates & Failures
The area near Fukushima Daiichi measures 106 mSv rather than the 9mSv TEPCO reported: http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/07/ex-journalist-takashi-uesugi-goes.html
Buried in documents TEPCO shows areas of the plant exceeding 300 mSv/h. Note that the red areas near units 3 & 4 are on the sea side and near units 1 & 2 are facing the land side. Much of the blast & debris of unit 3 flew or fell towards the sea side. Unit 2’s knock out panel faces the land side and various experts are thinking unit 2 had a large radiation release. http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/07/radiation-levels-inside-fukushima-i.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
TEPCO’s new chairman admitted it may be difficult to restart their reactors at Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant. Restarting those reactors has been a key part of TEPCO’s survival plan. The reactors at Kashiwazaki Kariwa were unable to pass the government stress tests, tests many have decried as being nothing but show in the first place. The new chairman also uttered an almost unthinkable statement, that there is still consideration to restart units 5 & 6 at Fukushima Daiichi. The government’s new energy policy, currently the subject of public input meetings will play a big role in TEPCO’s future efforts to restart the reactors or scrap them.
TEPCO plans to remove two unused fuel assemblies from unit 4’s spent fuel pool to move them to the common pool for inspection. They want to look at the degradation to the cladding to get an idea of the state of the used fuel.
Hokkaido Electric Power is bringing up the blackout boogeyman as they look towards winter power demand. They claim the combination of a thermal plant shutdown and limited ability to transport power from Honshu could result in blackouts. The Tomari nuclear plant in Hokkaido is also one of the plants the government wants to restart soon. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nb20120710a2.html
While boring holes to test for fault line issues at the Tsuruga nuclear plant in Fukui workers drilled through the seawater intake pipes.
The Yomiuri is declaring the possibility of more reactor restarts to be low. They cite the change over to the new nuclear agency and that the Diet will need to appoint a chairmen in the midst of political chaos in the Diet. http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T120710003814.htm
Yomiuri also claims more blackouts could happen even with both units at Oi restarted. http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T120710004095.htm
Meanwhile as Oi was restarting KEPCO shut down 8 thermal power plants that had considerably more power capacity than the 2 units at Oi. So much for power shortages. KEPCO cited “oversupply” and a union issue as reasons for shutting down the plants. http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/07/kepco-stopped-8-thermal-power-plants-for-the-oversupply-of-electricity-to-restart-ohi-nuclear-plant/#.UABFQITfsYA.twitter
Oi unit 4 experienced even more problems over the weekend with a pressure issue in a primary coolant tank and the failure of an emergency diesel generator. Both critical systems of the plant.
20 senior officials of a Korean nuclear power company have been arrested for corruption. http://enformable.com/2012/07/over-20-senior-officials-from-korea-hydro-nuclear-power-arrested-for-corruption/
TEPCO has officially pulled out of their involvement with the Vietnam nuclear power plant project. http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20120628p2a00m0na010000c.html
The Japan Atomic Energy Committee was holding off record secret meetings, now some lawyers are saying this violated the National Public Service Act. A Tokyo lawyer has filed a criminal complaint. http://mainichi.jp/select/news/20120711k0000m040135000c.html
The People vs. The Nuclear Mafia
A ranking official of Tohoku Electric Power Co. managed to get himself a slot on a public panel to discuss citizens views on Japan’s nuclear future. When ordinary citizens were supposed to give their input to the government on what the future use of nuclear should be this Tohoku official presented the company position on the issue. Since a limited number of people were allowed to speak this outraged many at the meeting with one saying “The choice of speakers may have been manipulated.” http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2012/07/169724.html
Not only did a Tohoku Power executive make it into the panel, two people from Tokyo were selected to speak at the public panel in Sendai. An advertising agency was hired to set up the public meetings. A marketing companies participation is quite suspect. Hosono tried to get the meeting back on track accompanied by two scowling body guards.
It was also reported via twitter that there was a power company plant in another public meeting in Nagoya included a number of “plants” of employees of Chubu electric that were shilling for nuclear power. http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/07/some-citizens-got-wiser-on-july-13.html
Maybe there are some hints of hope in Japan, the government intends to create a $628 billion USD green energy market. Part of that is the new feed in tariff to support solar power. http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2190401/report-japan-aims-to-deliver-usd628bn-green-energy-market
The Japanese government released a renewable energy map this week showing where the country has potential for wind, solar and other renewables.
There is also consideration for deregulating the power industry in Japan to boost competition. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201207140029
Fukushima Prefecture has announced a plan to focus on renewable energy production with agriculture largely damaged by the nuclear disaster.
Germany has managed to cut their greenhouse gasses even with shutting many nuclear plants.
This solar powered community in Germany generates 4x the energy it consumes. http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/1IaOUo/inhabitat.com/sonnenschiff-solar-city-produces-4x-the-energy-it-needs/
Friday protests continued with large numbers. The Tokyo PD put up metal barricades and prevented people from gathering near the prime minister’s residence. That didn’t stop protests that just spread further into the district. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201207140056
A huge all day rally & event in a Tokyo park drew 170,000 people against nuclear power. http://www.47news.jp/CN/201207/CN2012071601001665.html
Foreign media is gradually picking up on the growing protests in Japan
Kevin Meyerson points out something many in the west have questioned. Japan’s lack of energy efficiency building codes. 70% of Japan’s electricity is used for buildings. Decent energy efficient building codes could save 80% of that. http://kevinmeyerson.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/japans-astonishing-lack-of-building-energy-standards/
The Ongoing Impact A number of children in Fukushima prefecture are showing with cesium contamination in their urine. Those that had contamination showed with between .1 to17. bq/kg indicating internal exposure is still a problem for children in the region. http://www.olivenews.net/news_30/newsdisp.php?n=129425
Stronium 90 has been found to be evenly distributed up to 1000km out to sea. The amount of stronium 90 compared to cesium was 17-62% where it should be .1%. Maps and readings in the link. http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/05/strontium-90-spread-over-1000km-evenly-in-pacific-ocean/
A beach about 30km south of Fukushima Daiichi, in Iwaki has reopened to the public. http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T120524004295.htm
German researchers estimated that cesium concentrations in the ocean will reach the US coast line in 3 years and would be estimated at about 10-20 bq/kg.
Japan plans to test rice at 40,000 locations in 2012. Still no word what they are doing with the over limit rice. http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/07/japan-times-government-to-conduct-radiation-tests-on-rice-at-40000-locations-in-2012/
Older evacuees are experiencing a marked increase in dementia. http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20120714-00000059-jij-soci
The stress of being an evacuee has also had a considerable toll on older residents. 91% of those who died due to stress factors of being evacuated were over age 70.
Traces of cesium 134 from Fukushima are showing up in sand in Palo Alto California. http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/UCBAirSampling/FoodChain#sand
MEXT took radiation readings near Namie on March 13th 2011. These readings were given to the government headquarters but nobody ever passed the information on to the mayor of Namie. People stayed in Namie during the worst of the fallout because they were not made aware of the risks. http://www.minyu-net.com/news/news/0711/news8.html
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