The growing number of tanks storing radioactive water at the Fukushima No. 1 plant can be seen in February.
November 14, 2018
The growing number of tanks storing radioactive water at the Fukushima No. 1 plant can be seen in February.
A team of nuclear experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency urged Japan this week to reach a decision quickly on what to do with treated water that contains low toxicity radioactive tritium, which is accumulating at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
“We advised the Japanese government that … (a) decision should be taken very rapidly for the disposition path for water which is stored in these tanks,” said Christophe Xerri, leader of the 13-member team, on Tuesday following a nine-day review of progress on scrapping the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
The facility was damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
“There is space limitation, so some solution has to be decided and implemented,” Xerri said, adding that the volume of treated water containing tritium in tanks is expected to reach the planned capacity within the “coming three to four years.”
As of last Thursday around 970,000 tons of tritium-containing water was stored on the premises of the plant, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.
The government has studied options for the tritium-containing water, including releasing it into the sea, as it is regarded as not harmful to humans.
The tainted water has been stored in tanks after being produced as a byproduct of cooling the plant’s reactors, which suffered core meltdowns following the 2011 disaster.
But local fishermen and residents have expressed concern about discharging the water, fearing the potential impact on food.
“Controlled discharge to the sea is something which is applied in many nuclear facilities, so it’s not something which is new,” Xerri said.
“Our review was not to advise the Japanese government on one solution or another one,” he added.
“It is up to the Japanese government to decide — in engaging with stakeholders, of course — on the option Japan wants to implement,” he said.
Toyoshi Fuketa, who heads the Nuclear Regulation Authority, has described discharging the water into the sea as the “only” solution.
Tepco has been running the Advanced Liquid Processing System, said to be capable of removing almost all radioactive materials from the toxic water except tritium.
It was the fourth such review conducted by a team of experts from the Vienna-based agency, following two in 2013 and one in 2015.
The IAEA will issue its final report by the end of January 2019.
Xerri said his team was impressed by the progress that has been made at the plant since the previous review, including the full operation of a frozen soil wall around the reactors that has reduced the volume of groundwater that enters the reactor buildings.
But he acknowledged many challenges in the decommissioning process, which is set to take “30 to 40 years or even more,” including the removal of melted fuel from the reactors — seen as the hardest part.
When asked about the possibility of discarding the fuel — the location and volume of which remaining within the reactors is yet to be grasped due to high levels of radiation — Xerri said, “We don’t have enough information to tell you yes or no.”
“Efforts to scrap the nuclear plant “extremely difficult” an understatement for yet impossible.
This is an admission . After 6 years wasted in lies and obfuscation, they finally admit that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is not resolved, far from being resolved, that they can’t handle it on their own, and need all the help they can get from the international community to find solutions to contain this major nuclear disaster.
International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano has called for international cooperation in the decommissioning of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex.
“It is important to gather as much knowledge as possible from around the world and engage in the (decommissioning) with the cooperation of the global community,” Amano said at a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday, calling efforts to scrap the nuclear plant “extremely difficult.”
While reiterating his agency’s support for dealing with the Fukushima plant, he said getting the international community to work together will serve as a good “reference” in the event other countries carry out their own decommissioning work.
The Fukushima crisis, the world’s worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, resulted in meltdowns at three reactors after a powerful earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
Decommissioning the crippled reactors is expected to take 30 to 40 years and the total cost has been estimated by the Japan Center for Economic Research, a private think tank, at ¥11 trillion ($98.9 billion), while a government panel estimated the total cost at ¥8 trillion.
Amano also expressed concern over the threat to regional security posed by North Korea’s repeated nuclear tests and missile launches, saying the IAEA was ready to immediately send inspectors to North Korea, even for a brief period.
In 2009, North Korea kicked out the IAEA’s monitoring staff from its Yongbyon nuclear facility. Last year alone, North Korea conducted two nuclear tests and test-fired more than 20 ballistic missiles.
By Pierre Fetet, translation Hervé Courtois
Difficult to be innovative on the subject of Fukushima. Would we have already said everything for the last six years that the catastrophe is going on?
Well, no, with the film of Linda Bendali, “From Paris to Fukushima, the secrets of a catastrophe”, the subject of the attitude of nuclear France in March 2011 had never been approached from this angle: while Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan faced with nuclear fire became anti-nuclear, the Fillon government launched the heavy artillery to counter any vehemence of debate on this subject in France.
For the french Minister of Industry, Eric Besson, it was an just incident. Nicolas Sarkozy invited himself to Japan while he was not expected, to promote nuclear in the midst of the atomic crisis. And France pretended to help Japan by sending unusable or outdated products.
Therefore a good documentary pointing both Japanese and French dysfunctions that we can see in replay here again a few days. http://pluzz.francetv.fr/videos/cellule_de_crise_,153344813.html
And a good synthesis by Arnaud Vaulerin there. http://www.liberation.fr/planete/2017/02/12/fukushima-la-bataille-de-la-france-au-nom-de-l-atome_1547304
At the beginning of the documentary, Tepco, champion of the lie and the unspoken is expressed by the voice of his spokesman Yuichi Okamura: “We never imagined that such an accident could happen. From the statistics, we calculated that the tsunami should not exceed 5 meters. Our forecasts were exceeded. “
He is then contradicted by the film director. I very much thank Linda Bendali for insisting that the report of the parliamentary inquiry commission on Fukushima gave as first conclusion that the Fukushima disaster was of human origin. Because few people understand the sequence of events and it is too often heard that “the Fukushima disaster was caused by the tsunami”.
The IRSN is always taken as an example and looks after its image. Normal, it is the official reference body. Yet I have already taken this institute several times in flagrante delicto of lie: Assurance that the evacuees would return within three months in 2011, http://fukushima.over-blog.fr/article-le-nouveau-pellerin-est-arrive-71748502.html
Assurance that there was no discharge of strontium and plutonium into Japan, http://www.fukushima-blog.com/2016/05/pourquoi-l-irsn-ment.html
Assurance that a nuclear power plant cannot explode in France … http://www.fukushima-blog.com/2016/05/pourquoi-l-irsn-ment.html
Thierry Charles even recently claimed to know where the corium is, even though Tepco itself does not know … http://www.lefigaro.fr/sciences/2017/02/10/01008-20170210ARTFIG00213–fukushima-tepco-evalue-peu-a-peu-l-ampleur-des-degats.php
In the documentary, the narrator assures that “IRSN is the first organization in the world to announce that the molten core has escaped from its confinement”. Indeed, listening to Jacques Repussard we get the impression that his institute communicated on this subject in March 2011.
However, six months after the catastrophe began, the IRSN still was writing: “It remains unclear whether molten fuel could be relocated to the bottom of the enclosure and in what quantity. “ (Communiqué of 25 August 2011) http://www.irsn.fr/FR/connaissances/Installations_nucleaires/Les-accidents-nucleaires/accident-fukushima-2011/crise-2011/impact-japon/Documents/IRSN_Seisme-Japon_25082011.pdf
No seriously. The first organization that announced the me of the three cores is Tepco, on 24 May 2011. And the IRSN announced it the next day. Previously, IRSN never wrote anything else, for reactors 1, 2 and 3, that “The injection of fresh water continues. The flow rate of the water injection is adjusted in order to ensure the cooling of the core, which remains partially depleted. “
In 2011, the first person who dared to break the omerta of the nuclear lobby is Mishio Ishikawa, founder of Japan Nuclear Technology Institute (JANTI): During a Japanese TV show on April 29, 2011, he stated that the hearts of Fukushima Daiichi reactors 1, 2 and 3 were 100% melted. http://www.fukushima-blog.com/article-les-coeurs-des-reacteurs-1-2-et-3-de-fukushima-dai-ichi-auraient-fondu-a-100-73003947.html
That’s the story, that’s how it happened. IRSN never said that before anyone. The IRSN respected the omerta on the total meltdown of the three hearts like all the actors of the nuclear world and obediently waited for Tepco to announce the reality to acquiesce, no matter what Jacques Repussard is saying now six years later.
– Naoto Kan went to the Fukushima Daiichi plant in full crisis and greatly disturbed the ongoing management of the ongoing crisis. Director Masao Yoshida was asked to explain and explain what he was doing, wasting precious time on those who tried to solve problems one by one (It was just before the explosions of No. 2 and No. 4!). The documentary suggests that Masao Yoshida was going to leave the nuclear plant with all the workers, and that through Kan’s intervention they were forced to stay. It’s not true. Tepco may have intended to leave the ship, but the plant’s director denied any plan to abandon the site.
– The documentary shows Naoto Kan kneeling before Nicolas Sarkozy. Politeness or industrial pressures? It is not known why he did not dare to counter the French nuclear VRP.
– Naoto Kan will remain for all inhabitants of evacuated areas the one who decided to raise the standard from 1 to 20 mSv / year. On the one hand, he was ready to evacuate Tokyo, but on the other he made a whole region irradiated with a very high radiation rate. Something is bizarre in these contradictory attitudes.
Pierre Pellerin, even disappeared, is still doing damages … Between the two parts of the documentary, Frédéric Boisset, editor-in-chief of Brainworks Press, presents the story of Chernobyl in this way: “In 1986, the radioactive cloud spread throughout Europe. The authorities do not have the technical means to measure the fallout, to give instructions to the French. Can we eat fruit and vegetables? Should we caulk indoors? It was to avoid this type of failure that this institute was created [the IRSN]. “
But this is not an interview taken on the spot, it is a carefully prepared text before the recording. Frédéric Boisset therefore pretends without blushing that the SCPRI of 1986, the ancestor of the IRSN, did not have the means to alert the French of the dangers of radioactivity! What an enormity! In Germany, they had the means to prohibit the sale of spinach and salads, to confine the students inside but not in France. Frédéric Boisset refeeds us the story of the Chernobyl radioactive plume that stops at the border? It is unbelievable that still in 2017 a journalist perpetuates the disinformation lie that began in 1986.
However, the IRSN, worthy successor of SCPRI, made this statement on March 15, 2011, the day when the radioactive cloud of Fukushima arrived in Tokyo: “A slight increase in ambient radioactivity in Tokyo is noted by a few measures. This elevation is not significant in terms of radiological impact. “ Pierre Pellerin would not have said better! At the same time, Olivier Isnard, an IRSN expert sent to Tokyo, advocated caulking the premises of the French embassy. Fortunately, Philippe Faure, the French ambassador to Japan, communicated to his expatriates at 10 am: “Stay in your houses, making sure to caulk them to the maximum, this effectively protects against the low-intensity radioactive elements that could pass through Tokyo. ” But at 8 pm, he changed his tone and resumed the official speech dictated by the IRSN: “The situation remains at this time quite safe in Tokyo. A very slight increase in radioactivity was recorded. It represents no danger for human health. “ 100 Bq / m3 would pose no health hazard for a radioactive cloud coming directly from a nuclear reactor? I am feeling not any more safe than in 1986 unfortunately.
One last deception. The IRSN has purposedly mistranslated the words of Masao Yoshida, director of the Fukushima Daiichi power station. Immediately after the explosion of Unit 3, the latter, distraught, called the headquarters to inform them of the situation. Tepco released this recording and the IRSN broadcasted it in a video in 2013. I do not know Japanese but I have Japanese friends who have assured me of the translation of his words. I give you both versions, that of my friends and that of the IRSN. The people knowing japanese will be able to check for themselves.
The Japanese TV version : https://youtu.be/OWCLXjEdwJM
The IRNS version : https://youtu.be/tjEHCGUx9JQ
The documentary gives another version: “HQ, HQ, it’s terrible! This is very serious ! “Yes, here HQ.” “It seems there was an explosion on reactor 3, which looks like a hydrogen explosion.” Who recommended this text to journalists? Even though Yoshida himself said “suijôki” (steam) and not “suiso” (hydrogen). The IRSN’s translation therefore censures the hypothesis put forward by the director of the nuclear plant: the steam explosion. This is normal, it is the official version of the Japanese government and the IRSN can not go against it.
The steam explosion is a taboo issue among nuclear communicators. Experts talk about it to each other, carry out studies about it, write theses about it, but never talk about it to the public because the subject of a nuclear power plant explosion is too anxiogenic. If we ever learned that a steam explosion had arrived in Fukushima, it would undermine the image of nuclear power worldwide.
In France, the political-industrial lobby has axed its communication on the control of hydrogen: All French power plants have hydrogen recombiners to avoid hydrogen explosions. But against an steam explosion, nothing can be done. When the containment vessel is full of water and the corium at 3000 ° C falls in it, it’s boom, whether in Japan or in France, whether it be a boiling water reactor or a pressurized water reactor.
Nearly four years after Japan’s massive March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the country has made “significant progress” toward stabilizing and decommissioning the ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, international nuclear inspectors said Tuesday.
However, the nearly 160 million gallons of contaminated water stored on-site pose massive logistical challenges, and examiners strongly urged Japan to consider controlled discharges of the liquid into the Pacific Ocean once it is treated.
The situation at the crippled plant remains “very complex” and “the benefits [of discharges] could be very, very huge” said Juan Carlos Lentijo, who led the team of 15 inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency on a nine-day mission that follows surveys in April and November 2013.
Japanese officials have been reluctant to take such a step at the plant 160 miles northeast of Tokyo, fearing it might further antagonize local fishermen and other residents affected by the initial accident and its aftermath.
In the past year, Japan has succeeded in removing spent and fresh fuel from one reactor, Unit 4, and reduced the inflow of groundwater into the facility. It has also taken steps to clarify which entities are responsible for particular jobs, the IAEA team noted.
But about 80,000 gallons of groundwater continue to enter the plant per day, and building and maintaining storage tanks is increasingly taxing for the 7,000 workers toiling at the site, Lentijo’s team noted. In January, a laborer in his 50s who was inspecting an empty, 33-foot-tall storage tank fell into the vessel and died.
In wake of that accident, Japan’s nuclear regulator called on plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. to move toward discharges of treated water.
About half of the water stored on-site has been treated to remove most radioactive contaminants, the IAEA team noted, though current technology does not allow for the easy removal of tritium, an isotope of hydrogen.
Unlike other contaminants, which are suspended or dissolved in water, tritium actually modifies the water molecules and therefore is difficult to separate out.
Still, tritium is considered one of the least hazardous radioactive materials produced by nuclear power plants, and Lentijo said “controlled discharges are a normal practice in the industry.”
“Most of the nuclear power plants are discharging treated water,” he said at a news conference in Tokyo. “This is accomplished with negligible impact on the environment and the safety of the people.”
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has solicited demonstration projects from several companies for technology that might effectively treat the tritiated water. Orange County-based Kurion said it was awarded a $10-million grant in November for a pilot programs of its technology in Japan to see if it would be effective at Fukushima.
Among its other recommendations, the IAEA team encouraged Japan to narrow down the number of options being considered for the overall decommissioning plan and to reinforce “safety leadership and safety culture” systems.
A final report from the IAEA team is expected in late March.
Source: Los Angeles Times