Fukushima Nuclear News Roundup; April 21, 2014

The new manager of Fukushima Daiichi admitted the string of failures at the plant were embarrassing and that the plant was still not fully under control.

After TEPCO caused contaminated reactor water to flow into the basement of two buildings not used to store highly contaminated water, they now want to make those power switches “tamper proof”. What TEPCO has not mentioned was why there were pumps and piping in place and aligned in a way it would send water to those buildings when they never intended to send reactor water to those buildings.

The Japanese internal affairs office said it would tap “big data” to to convey evacuation information to local governments and residents during a disaster. Two things cited as being sources were weather data and internet sites like Twitter. Part of the plan involved crunching data from social media reporting of the disaster and a possible smart phone app to share the information. During the height of the 3-11 disaster many took to the internet to try to obtain usable information about the nuclear disaster, radiation levels and open escape routes. It is unclear how such an open use of data would work at a time when the government has been cracking down on the free flow of information.

Pakistan may ban edible items from Japan. Scientists told the government to stop all food shipments from Japan three years ago. They may now act to ban all foods to assure no contaminated foods from the region end up in their food supply.

Japan has now replaced 50% of their nuclear capacity through energy efficiency.

Mainichi covers an overlooked problem from the nuclear disaster. Disabled residents of Fukushima have lost many of their support services. From job assistance programs to support services for disabilities. Many are struggling to obtain services they need for daily life.

Nine of the major power utilities in Japan have confirmed they have enough power reserve to make it through another summer without nuclear power.

Babcock & Wilcox will cut at least 211 jobs as their small modular reactor program continues to flounder. The project has been unable to find investors or customers. Along with the layoffs that could grow, B&W will be talking to the US Department of Energy about cost sharing over any future for the project. The DOE has been funding the licensing phase of these reactors. If the project fails to become viable it would leave millions of taxpayer money wasted that B&W will not have to pay back.

The Seabrook and Millstone nuclear plants in the US were found to have seismic risks beyond what they are licensed for. Senators from the region are calling for the NRC to review the licenses with the new higher seismic risk and to order safety upgrades.

France’s oldest nuclear plant, the Fessheim NPP was abruptly shut down after a steam valve to the turbine was accidentally closed. No problems offsite were reported. There has been a considerable effort to shut down the aging plant that sits near a quake zone.

The Sellafield nuclear site in the UK is expected to create a considerable and rather horrible sounding contamination disaster in the future due to climate change.
Britain’s nuclear dump is virtually certain to be eroded by rising sea levels and to contaminate the Cumbrian coast with large amounts of radioactive waste, according to an internal document released by the Environment Agency (EA).”
Since it may not start for a few hundred years the apparently plan is to do nothing.


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