Tour brings foreigners to areas devastated by nuclear accident

The strategy of the organizers of these “Tours” participate fully to the Japanese government aim, without realizing it, to make believe that the “radioactivity” there is not dangerous.  Oh, there, what a world.
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February 17, 2019
“There is growing interest among foreign tourists for a tour in English to former evacuation zones in the northeastern Japan prefecture of Fukushima where a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 triggered a nuclear disaster.
“More people are becoming interested in going on the tour that can deepen their knowledge,” explains an official at the Japan National Tourism Organization.
The tourism company Knot World Co. based in Tokyo designed this particular tour from a desire to encourage more people to “hear the local voices and see the area’s damage and recovery” after the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
Since the tour’s launch in February last year, some 200 people from 23 countries have participated, according to the company.
Fukushima Prefecture says 96,000 foreign tourists stayed at hotels and inns in the prefecture in 2017, which is four times the number in 2011. In February this year, an organization that promotes the prefecture’s products and tourism launched a three-day tour with English translation in areas including Naraha, another town in the vicinity of the crippled nuclear plant, to aid recovery.
However, there are numerous issues that need to be resolved regarding tours catering to foreigners such as training tour guides and providing information in various languages.
Various thoughts are voiced in Fukushima Prefecture such as, “We would really like the tourists to come not out of casual interest but to truly learn the issue,” and, “Please also turn your attention to the fact that our lives before the accident has not returned,” local officials said.”

 

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TEPCO sat by idly on reports of fires, glitches at nuclear plants

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Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant
February 14, 2019
Tokyo Electric Power Co. ignored reports on fires and other problems from its nuclear power plants and didn’t even bother to share the information in-house or consider precautionary measures, the nuclear watchdog revealed.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority decided Feb. 13 it will investigate the failure by TEPCO’s headquarters to tackle the problems reported by its three facilities: the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture and the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear plants, both in Fukushima Prefecture.
A TEPCO official said that the company put off tackling the problems because the deadline for dealing with such matters “was not clearly stated.”
NRA safety inspectors visited the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant from November through December last year.
They found that the division at company headquarters in charge of dealing with safety issues and sharing that information neglected reports of four problems that had occurred at the plant.
They cited 17 cases at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant; five cases at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and seven problems at the headquarters itself.

Japanese, Navajo share views when it comes to their livestock

I did travel to the U.S. to attend the International Uranium Film Festival in Window Rock, Arizona, capital of the Navajo nation. The Navajo land located between four states, has been highly contaminated by the uranium mining industry for the past 70 years, their cattle, sheeps, and their life deeply affected. Death omnipresent in every family, unaccounted number of deaths, the Navjo lives not a high priority to a discriminating U.S. Federal Government.
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By Marley Shebala, Dec 3, 2018
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. РJapanese cattle farmers may live more than 5,680 miles from the Navajo Nation, but they are connected to the Din̩ people by their fierce love for their livestock.
In the film, “Nuclear Cat tle,” a middle-age Japanese couple recall with a flood of tears the day that they were forced to drive past their cattle and flee for their lives from their cattle farm and home that they built because of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
The husband, who was speaking Japanese, said, “When we were leaving, I couldn’t stop crying. I told them (the cows) I was sorry.”
On March 11, 2011, a major earthquake and tsunami caused Japan’s worst nuclear accident, which involved the disabling of the power supply and cooling of three-Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors that melted three nuclear cores in the first three days, forced the evacuation of about 160,000 people, and the death of about 19,000 residents living along the northeast coast of Japan.
‘Nuclear Cattle’
“Nuclear Cattle,” focused on how the deadly aftermath of the disaster impacted cattle, including those owned by the Japanese couple and other Japanese farmers.
There are massive numbers of carcasses of cows that were left tied to stalls in barns. The few cows that are still alive are emaciated and lying on the ground slowly dying. But then the film shows herds of cattle wandering around evacuated residential areas and towns.
The Japanese couple, who have returned to their cattle farm, which is still contaminated by radiation, look at their surviving cattle and remember the day the Japanese government ordered all the cattle farmers to kill their cows that survived. The husband says, “I feel alive when I come home.”
The wife of another Japanese couple that has also returned to their contaminated farm and home to save their cattle, says her husband told her he would not mind if he dies at home with his cattle.
Surviving cattle
A worker on another cattle farm, which became a haven for surviving cows and is called Farm of Hope, says he returned to his work station without the owners because he could not allow the cows that survived the disaster to die from starvation and dehydration.
He also says that even through the Japanese government tells the farmers that their cows are financially worthless, he Dana Eldridge attends the International Uranium Film Festival at the Navajo Nation Muse um in Window Rock, Arizona, Thursday. Alma E. Hernandez/Independent
Government revenues
Courtois said the nuclear plants generate revenues for the government, which has also pushed the government to hire a public relations firm to spin lies after lies to their people about the safety of nuclear energy.
He said the government reported to their people that the cattle farmers and other residential areas were being successfully decontaminated by scraping off the surface of the land, bagging the earth and depositing at one of extremely dangerous contaminated cattle farms, which is surrounded by lush green forests and within view of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company.
But, Courtois said, the government and T.E.P.Co. withhold information about how the radiation has seeped lower into the earth and how they cannot scrape the top soil from the forest areas, which means that when it rains, the runoff re-contaminates the surface.
“Nuclear Cattle” was one of several films shown for free at the Navajo Nation Museum as part of the 2018 International Uranium Film Festival, which started Thursday and ends Saturday night. But if you missed the film festival at the museum, you have a chance to attend the one-day festival at the Native American Cultural Center at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, Sunday.

Unit 2 of Genkai NPP will be decommissioned.

Unit 3 and 4 of Genkai are still operating.
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Kyushu Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it will scrap No. 2 reactor at its Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture, seen in the forefront left of this photo taken in January
Feb 13, 2019
FUKUOKA – Kyushu Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it has decided to scrap its aging No. 2 reactor at its Genkai nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture.
The utility abandoned a plan to restart the unit, which has an output of 559 megawatts, in the face of the huge costs involved in enhancing the safety of the reactor that is already near the end of its 40-year operating life.
The reactor, which started operating in March 1981, has been idled since a routine checkup shortly before the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster that triggered the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
The Genkai plant consists of four units. The utility already decided in 2015 to scrap its aging No. 1 unit, which had the same output capacity as the No. 2 reactor. Decommissioning work at the No. 1 reactor started in July 2017 and is expected to continue through fiscal 2043.
There have been a number of operational problems at the Genkai power plant. In May last year, pumps installed to control the circulation of cooling water at the No. 4 unit suffered malfunctions, following a steam leak from a pipe at the No. 3 reactor just a week after it was reactivated in March.
Some local residents have sought to stop operation of the Nos. 3 and 4 units with a temporary injunction, with doubts about the safety measures taken and citing the risk of volcanic eruptions in the region. Their case is pending at the Fukuoka High Court.

Fukushima Daiichi: probe touched suspected fuel debris in reactor#2

Images have been released of the reddish-brown amorphous mass. But its level of radioactivity is still unknown, which means that TEPCO has not even reached the earliest stage of its reactor decommissioning process.
I am acutely reminded again of the magnitude of this irreversible mess.
The technology we are left with is an out-of-control monster. And so long as nuclear power plants remain in operation, there is no guarantee that the same nightmare will not recur–even as we speak.
TEPCO: Probe touched suspected fuel debris
February 13, 2019
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says a probe made direct contact with substances believed to be fuel debris at one of the plant’s reactors.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, conducted its first contact survey of suspected fuel debris at the Number 2 reactor on Wednesday.
TEPCO has already confirmed the existence of deposits believed to be a mixture of molten nuclear fuel and structural parts at the bottom of the reactor’s containment vessel.
In Wednesday’s survey, a pole that can extend to 15 meters was sent under the reactor, and the probe was lowered from the end of the pole.
TEPCO plans to take out a small amount of the deposits with a different device in the latter half of the next fiscal year to use them as samples for study.
Officials say the probe was able to touch the deposits without any major trouble.
This is a key survey for devising a way to remove radioactive deposits.
They say they looked into the deposits’ hardness and whether they can be moved.
1st contact made with melted nuclear fuel at Fukushima plant
February 14, 2019
“The probe lifted pebble-like nuclear fuel debris and structural parts up to 8 cm in diameter at five spots in the 2,500-square-cm area that was investigated. It failed to pick up debris at one spot.
TEPCO said the probe could not lift clay-like debris likely because it had adhered to the bottom of the containment vessel.
The probe also touched nuclear fuel debris lying at several spots on the lattice-shaped scaffold for workers directly below the reactor’s pressure vessel.
The previous investigation of the No. 2 reactor in 2017 located melted fuel debris on the scaffold. But a robot deployed for a further investigation broke down on its way to the debris.
In a survey last year, the utility used the rod-like probe to take images of the inside of the reactor.
TEPCO is expected to remove a small amount of nuclear fuel debris in the second half of fiscal 2019 as part of preparations for full-scale retrieval.”

 

 

TEPCO firmly at fault for balking at payouts to disaster victims

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Tomoaki Kobayakawa, left, president of Tokyo Electric Power Co., meets with Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori in June 2018.
February 9, 2019
The proposals rejected by TEPCO call for larger payments than the amounts suggested in the guidelines set by the Dispute Reconciliation Committee for Nuclear Damage Compensation, a committee within the education and science ministry.
The dispute resolution center, established to facilitate compensation payments to people who have suffered damage from the Fukushima accident, has successfully mediated more than 18,000 settlement agreements, but the institution is now facing a brick wall.
The utility has refused to accept many ADR deals proposed by the Nuclear Damage Compensation Dispute Resolution Center in response to collective requests from groups of residents in areas around the Fukushima No.
It has promised to pay compensation to all victims “down to the last one,” ensure “swift and considerate” payments and “respect” settlement proposals made by the dispute resolution center.
The center was established by the government in 2011 to help settle compensation disputes between TEPCO and victims of the nuclear accident.
Nearly eight years have passed since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, yet many victims seeking compensation for damages from Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled nuclear plant, face uncertainty as the talks are getting nowhere.
Read more:

IAEA Urges Patience For Fukushima Nuclear Cleanup

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February 8th, 2019
 
“Despite these achievements, many challenges remain to be tackled in the decommissioning process, and ensuring safety in this complex situation requires sustained daily attention.” The new report follows up on original analysis presented to Japanese authorities in November and finds that the “risk reduction strategy is being implemented at a pace commensurate with the challenges of the site-specific situation.” That being said, however, “the IAEA Review Team continues to identify water management as critical to the sustainability of decommissioning activities” and has urged for a decision for the disposition of contaminated water to “be taken urgently engaging all stakeholders.” Specifically, the IAEA Review Team determined that it is necessary to determine an end-game for the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) sooner rather than later, considering that “the volume of ALPS treated water [is] expected to reach the planned tank capacity of 1.37 million [metres-cubed] within the coming three to four years, and considering current site facility plan for space allocations, and that further treatment and control of the stored water before disposition would be needed for implementation of any of the five solutions considered by the Japanese Government.” (For more on TEPCO’s contaminated water treatment, see here.) Further, but regarding the retrieval and end-game of radioactive fuel debris, the report’s authors state that “there should be a clear implementation plan defined to safely manage the retrieved material” and that “TEPCO should ensure that appropriate containers and storage capacity are available before starting the fuel debris retrieval.” There is therefore need for immediate decisionmaking but long-term patience and goals in place to thoroughly address the large amount of radioactive and contaminated waste.