News Roundup; Monday June 10, 2013

 

TEPCO admits a math error led to wrong estimate of unit 2 reactor pressure at the height of the meltdowns. This caused them to take inappropriate actions at the reactor due to not realizing the actual conditions. This raises two questions, why are they still calculating such things manually and why were the staff unable to properly process the calculation.

TEPCO admitted that another of the above ground round bolt together tanks was leaking. These tanks only have a 5 year life span but some have already started leaking. Since they hold highly radioactive water repair or replacement is challenging and may require some sort of robotic intervention. Handout in Japanese LeakingRoundTank_handouts_130605_08-j

Japan’s NRA sent inspectors into Unit 1 at Fukushima Daiichi to look for clues to the cooling system failure at that unit. TEPCO has insisted there wasn’t one but doesn’t clearly explain how the unit failed so fast. A report is expected from the NRA by mid-June. TEPCO previously tried to prevent the inspection claiming it was too dark and the radiation was too high.

The Japanese government is considering suing TEPCO over their refusal to pay for decontamination work around Japan. The work is an attempt to remove contamination caused by the reactor disaster. TEPCO is technically liable for these costs but has refused to pay them.

The Monju fast breeder reactor in Japan had the coolant accidentally shut off for 30 minutes. The molten sodium coolant dropped down below the temperature where it stays a liquid. JAEA claims this caused no damage to the reactor systems and didn’t cause a radiation release.

Confusion around the claims process with TEPCO and the mediator may leave some unable to press a claim for compensation as a statute of limitations looms in 2014. Currently the statue of limitations is only waived if the person has asked the mediation office to be involved. About 10,000 people have not began the complicated process to start a claim.

Fukushima farmers protest lack of compensation for their losses in Tokyo. (photo  Masakazu Honda)
Fukushima farmers protest lack of compensation for their losses in Tokyo. (photo Masakazu Honda)

Bloomberg analysts point out that Abenomics, the current PM’s economic plan can not success without cheap nuclear power. That would mean going back to the pre-Fukushima ways of limited regulation and limited voluntary safety by the power companies.

One of the NGO’s working to protect children in Fukushima may have been central in forcing the government to release the data they have collected on thyroid abnormalities and cancers. It was after they finally relented to the NGO’s freedom of information requests that they made the data public.

In the US a TV news crew was confronted by San Onofre nuclear plant security and a state parks police officer that detained them and demanded they destroy footage of the reactor complex. The TV crew was filming on the public beach near the plant and was legally within their rights. Journalist advocate groups jumped to their defense.

Japan SubCulture has an in depth look at a band and a musician that are trying to share understanding of what has happened in Fukushima. The band, The Shingetsu Toka have worked with school children and evacuees as part of their shows and work to try to bring their story to more people. Singer Keni Sato still works at Fukushima Daiichi and talks about what it is like working there day to day.

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