Nuclear Hotseat #271: How Radiation in Oceans Contaminates Our Food Supply – Tim Deere-Jones

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This Week’s Featured Interview:

  • Tim Deere-Jones is an independent marine pollution consultant and a specialist in the behavior and fate of marine pollutants in ocean, coastal and estuarine environments. He explains how radiation in the ocean from Fukushima and the UK’s Sellafield nuclear facility have impacted food safety at tremendous distances, as far away as the US West Coast.  A jaw-dropping eye-opening report.  This is an Encore presentation originally presented on Nuclear Hotseat #225 from October 13, 2015.

Numnutz of the Week:

The only thing “super” about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe-Baby showing up dressed as Super Mario at the Rio Olympics is his gall at continuing to lie about the nuclear contamination awaiting anyone who dares to attend the 2020 Tokyo Radioactive NOlympics.  (And that ball he’s holding is pure projection, if not delusion…)

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Listen Here:

Nuclear Hotseat #271: How Radiation in Oceans Contaminates Our Food Supply – Tim Deere-Jones

 

Storm slams northern Japan

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People in northern Japan are dealing with the aftereffects of a powerful storm.
Lionrock ripped through the region devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

It has now moved out to the Sea of Japan and become a low pressure system.

People in Tohoku and the northern island of Hokkaido are dealing with heavy rains, strong winds and rough seas.

Officials also issued mudslide warnings.
They say many parts of the area had one month’s worth of rainfall in just 2 days.

The storm was the first typhoon to strike the Pacific side of Tohoku in recorded history.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160831_05/

Danger alert as Typhoon No. 10 lands in Tohoku

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Violent waves crash against the shore in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, as Typhoon No. 10 approaches the Tohoku region on the morning of Aug. 30.

Powerful Typhoon No. 10 struck the Tohoku region on the afternoon of Aug. 30 as expected.

The Japan Meteorological Agency has issued a warning to residents of potential record rainfall. The potent storm made landfall in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, shortly before 6 p.m. and was moving north-northwest at a speed of 50 kph as of 6 p.m., according to the agency. The atmospheric pressure at the center of the typhoon, known as Typhoon Lionrock outside Japan, was 970 hectopascals.

The sustained wind speed near the center was 108 kph, while gusts can increase up to 162 kph.

The storm is expected to accelerate and keep moving north-northwest, reaching areas northwest of Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture, by nightfall. It will likely cut through the area into the Sea of Japan where it will then be termed an extratropical cyclone.

The northern part of the nation is expected to see heavy rainfall of more than 50 millimeters per hour on Aug. 30-31. With rain in some areas even likely to exceed 80 mm per hour, precipitation in northern Japan over the course of the two days could total the region’s average rainfall for the entire month of August.

Rainfall in the 24 hours until noon on Aug. 31 is expected to reach 250 mm in the Tohoku region and 200 mm in Hokkaido. The typhoon could bring on heavy rains in the region if the clouds are fed by the wet atmosphere located to the east of the nation.

As the intense rain could cause the radioactive groundwater accumulated on the premises of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in coastal Fukushima Prefecture to overflow, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. is pumping more groundwater from the wells at the facility than usual.

The utility said that groundwater levels are still up by about 20 centimeters since Typhoon No. 9, or Typhoon Mindulle, traveled through the Tohoku region on Aug. 22.

No. 10 is the first typhoon to make landfall in the Tohoku region from the Pacific Ocean side since the meteorological agency started keeping track of the storms in 1951.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201608300038.html

 

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Powerful typhoon strikes region of Japan devasted by 2011 tsunami

Hundreds of flights have been grounded and work suspended at damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor.

A powerful typhoon has struck an area in north-eastern Japan devastated by the 2011 tsunami.

More than 100 flights have been grounded and evacuation warning issued for thousands of people as Typhoon Lionrock reached the north-eastern Tohoku region, with wind speeds of up to 126 km recorded on Tuesday evening (30 August).

In 2011, the region was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami, damaging the Fukushima nuclear reactor and leaving more than 18,000 people dead.

More than 170,000 people were subject to evacuation, including 38,000 in Ofunato, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

Approximately 10,000 homes in the northern region were without electricity, with power lines damaged from the winds, AP reported.

The typhoon was predicted to dump about 35 cm (14 inches) of rain on the north-eastern region by Wednesday morning, more than double the average rainfall for August, Reuters reported.

Airlines cancelled hundreds of flights to and from the northern region, while bullet train services to Tohoku and Hokkaido regions were suspended.

At Fukushima, some outdoor decommissioning work was suspended as the storm neared.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/powerful-typhoon-strikes-region-japan-devasted-by-2011-tsunami-1578738

 

Couple built home on top of radioactive soil due to inaccurate city sketch

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Parts of a flexible container bag buried under the couple’s home are seen at the top of this photo taken in Fukushima on Oct. 21, 2015.

FUKUSHIMA — A couple unknowingly built a new home in Fukushima on top of bags containing radioactive soil because they received an inaccurate waste storage sketch created by the Fukushima Municipal Government, it has been learned.

The couple has been unable to remove four flexible container bags of radioactive soil found buried under their home, as doing so could leave their house leaning. They say the city has not apologized.

“Far from admitting responsibility and apologizing, they haven’t even tried to examine the site. They have also been reluctant to release information, and have acted extremely insincerely,” a statement from the pair said.

The couple initially received a Fukushima Municipal Government sketch showing buried waste on a plot of land they purchased, but it contained no dimensions. About 66,000 similar sketches without dimensions have already been distributed, and it is possible that similar incidents could occur in the future as the storage of waste collected in the wake of the meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant becomes prolonged.

In five Fukushima prefectural municipalities, including the city of Fukushima, contaminated soil collected during decontamination work has mostly been stored onsite, while other local bodies have stored it at interim storage facilities. The city of Fukushima is the only one of the five municipalities to have handed landowners waste storage sketches without any dimensions. Those provided by the other four municipalities show dimensions. When land changes hands, the diagrams are normally handed from the previous landowner to the new one.

In November 2013, a man in Fukushima bought a 300-square-meter plot of decontaminated land, and received a “monitoring chart” from the previous landowner with a diagram showing where radioactive soil was buried, along with radiation measurements taken before and after the decontamination. Based on the diagram, the man built a new home, avoiding the northeast of the plot of land where the waste was shown to be buried.

However, when the city came to dig up the buried waste in October 2015, it was found that six flexible container bags with a total capacity of six cubic meters lay under the northeast part of the new home. Four of them could not be removed due to fears of the home being left leaning.

When the man made an official information request for documents on decontamination in May this year, he was given a diagram containing dimensions. This showed that the waste was buried several dozen centimeters closer to the southwest, nearer the center of the plot of land. The man says the actual burial spot was even further toward the center.

A Fukushima Municipal Government official said the purpose of the diagram without dimensions was to display the amount of radiation, and that the burial spot it showed was only a rough indication. The municipal government said the basis of the diagram with dimensions, on the other hand, was different, being used to record the burial spot of waste under the Act on Special Measures Concerning the Handling of Radioactive Pollution.

A city official commented that the decontaminated soil was supposed to be removed quickly and the officials had not expected it to be there until the time a land transaction was made and a home built. The city is considering replacing about 26,000 diagrams that are due to be distributed with ones that show dimensions. It is also considering publicly informing people that the diagrams that have been issued without dimensions are not accurate indications of where waste is buried.

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This photo shows the diagram with dimensions, left, and the one without. The No. 3 marking on the second diagram is where radiation levels were measured.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160829/p2a/00m/0na/011000c

Japan considers scrapping fast-breeder reactor as costs mount

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The government is considering scrapping the troubled Monju fast-breeder reactor after calculating that readying it for restart would cost several hundred billion yen, sources said Monday.

A political decision on decommissioning the reactor is now in sight, with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga joining talks to determine its fate, the sources said.

The facility in Fukui Prefecture has been beset by safety problems and has only been operational for a total of 250 days since it first went critical in 1994.

Decommissioning Monju would deal a serious blow to the nation’s vaunted fuel cycle policy, in which the reactor was designed to play a central role. The plan is to develop a commercial fast-breeder reactor that produces more plutonium than it consumes.

The science ministry has been trying to find a new entity to run the reactor, which is currently operated by the government-backed Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

The ministry was ordered to do this by the Nuclear Regulation Authority in November, after the NRA expressed exasperation with the operator’s consistent failure to make the plant a success.

Nuclear safety has been a hot-button issue in Japan in the wake of the disaster in 2011 at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

The ministry has been consulting a panel of energy experts on whether to keep Monju alive or to scrap it but has failed to identify a new entity to take over management.

In either case, substantial amounts of money are needed. The agency estimated in 2012 that it would cost around ¥300 billion to scrap the reactor in a process lasting over 30 years.

Safety problems included a major fire caused by a sodium leak in 1995.

The total of 250 operational days has come at a cost of more than ¥1 trillion in building and maintenance costs.

If Monju restarts operations, the ministry says its fuel must be replaced. In the event of a restart, new guidelines for fast-breeder reactors must also be created and any related construction will have to reflect these guidelines.

Making the building’s facilities meet the new guidelines will likely cost nearly ¥100 billion, the sources said, adding there would be further expenses for replacing old equipment.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/29/national/japan-considers-scrapping-fast-breeder-reactor-costs-mount/#.V8TSUu1VK1F

Public Cost of Fukushima Cleanup Tops $628 Billion and Is Expected to Climb

Meanwhile, problems still persist at the nuclear plant, most notably with the ‘highly contaminated’ water being stored in tanks at the site

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That includes costs for radioactive decontamination and compensation payments, the Japan Times reported.

The public cost of cleaning up the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster topped ¥4.2 trillion (roughly $628 billion) as of March, and is expected to keep climbing, the Japan Times reported on Sunday.

That includes costs for radioactive decontamination and compensation payments. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) will sell off its shares to eventually pay back the cost of decontamination and waste disposal, but the Environment Ministry expects that the overall price of those activities could exceed what TEPCO would get for its shares.

Meanwhile, the taxpayer burden is expected to increase and TEPCO is asking for additional help from the government.

The Times reports:

The government estimates the proceeds from TEPCO share sale at ¥2.5 trillion, but to generate the estimated gain, the TEPCO stock price needs to trade at around ¥1,050, up sharply from current market levels of some ¥360.

In addition, the Environment Ministry expects that the cumulative total of decontamination and related costs could surpass the estimated share proceeds by the March 2017 end of the current fiscal year.

[….] TEPCO and six other power utilities charged their customers at least ¥327 billion in electricity rate hikes after Japan’s worst-ever nuclear accident. Moreover, consumers paid ¥219.3 billion or more for TEPCO, chiefly to finance the maintenance of equipment to clean up radioactive water at the plant and the operation of call centers to deal with inquiries about compensation payments.

Moreover, as Deutsche Welle noted on Monday, problems still persist at the nuclear plant, most notably with the “highly contaminated” water being stored in tanks at the site.

“There are numerous problems that are all interconnected, but one of the biggest that we are facing at the moment is the highly contaminated water that is being stored in huge steel tanks at the site,” Aileen Mioko-Smith, an anti-nuclear activist with the group Green Action Japan, told DW. “They are running out of space at the site to put these tanks, the water that is being generated on a daily basis means they have to keep constructing more, and the ones that are not welded have a history of leaking.”

“The situation with contaminated water at the site is a ticking time bomb and they don’t seem to know what they can do—other than to construct more tanks,” she said.

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/08/29/public-cost-fukushima-cleanup-tops-628-billion-and-expected-climb

Typhoon No. 10 barrels toward Kanto and Tohoku, Fukushima Daiichi included

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Powerful Typhoon No. 10 is expected to be the first typhoon in at least 65 years to make landfall in the Tohoku region from the Pacific Ocean side on the evening of Aug. 30.

The Japan Meteorological Agency is warning that heavy rains of 80 millimeters or more per hour are expected to fall in some parts of northern Japan, including Tohoku.

The agency is also advising commuters in the Kanto region to take precautions against strong winds and heavy rain on the morning of Aug. 30.

As of noon on Aug. 29, Typhoon No. 10 was advancing in the waters about 340 kilometers southeast of Hachijojima island at a speed of 25 kph. The atmospheric pressure at the center of the typhoon was 945 hectopascals. The maximum wind speed near the center was 162 kph. The maximum momentary wind speed was 216 kph.

Typhoon No. 10 is expected to reach waters about 360 km southeast of Choshi, Chiba Prefecture, in the morning on Aug. 30, although it is expected to slightly weaken by that time.

The typhoon is forecast to make landfall on the Tohoku region later that day and move to the Sea of Japan before dawn on Aug. 31, the agency said.

According to the agency, no typhoons have landed on the Tohoku region from the Pacific Ocean side since statistics became available in 1951.

In the period from Aug. 29 to Aug. 30, the maximum wind speed is expected to be 126 kph in the Tohoku region and 82.8 kph in the Hokkaido and Kanto regions.

The amount of rainfall during the 24-hour period until the morning of Aug. 30 is predicted to be up to 200 mm in the Tohoku and Kanto regions and Yamanashi and Nagano prefectures.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201608290030.html

Fukushima nuclear plant prepares for typhoon

The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is preparing for the powerful Typhoon Lionrock.

Tokyo Electric Power Company says on Monday workers secured electric cables and hoses.

TEPCO says on Tuesday it will suspend work with cranes and other operations at the plant’s port, which could bear the brunt of strong winds and waves. Depending on weather conditions, the firm may also call off outdoor work in other areas.

It says when the most recent typhoon approached last week, heavy rain caused underground water levels to rise and threatened to flush contaminated water into the harbor.

Workers are arranging pumps to draw up more ground water, and setting up additional pumps at wells used to observe water levels.

There were concerns in the past that a downpour brought by a typhoon could cause contaminated rain water to flow through a drainage channel into the ocean.

To address these fears, TEPCO rerouted the drainage system into the plant’s inside port. It also raised the levels of barriers around tanks that store tainted water.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160829_22/

Nearing typhoon halts work at Fukushima Daiichi

Workers at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have suspended some of the decommissioning work and are bracing for rain and winds from a powerful typhoon.

Typhoon Lionrock is expected to make landfall along Japan’s northeastern coast on Tuesday afternoon, passing off Fukushima Prefecture.

Tokyo Electric Power Company says workers secured electric cables and hoses on the plant compound on Monday.

On Tuesday, the operator suspended work at the plant’s port. It also stopped the operation of a crane being used to demolish a temporary cover over one of the reactor buildings. Officials say they are closely watching to make sure the cover is not blown off by the typhoon.

TEPCO says it has also taken measures to prevent contaminated rain water and groundwater from leaking into the ocean.

In past typhoons, it was thought that contaminated rainwater flowed into the ocean through a drainage system. There were also concerns that radioactive groundwater might leak into the ocean as rain could increase the groundwater in the compound.

This time the operator has installed stronger pumps and increased their number.

The utility says as of 11 AM Tuesday, there were no changes in groundwater levels at the plant’s site.

Other measures taken earlier include rerouting the drainage system into the plant’s port instead of directly into the ocean. TEPCO also raised the barriers around tanks that store tainted water.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160830_26/