Fukushima fishermen fight release of tainted water as tritium standoff continues

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On Feb. 25, against a clear sky, fishing boats bearing colorful banners used to signal a rich haul returned to their home port of Ukedo in the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture. Cheers erupted as the boats, which had taken refuge in Minamisoma in the wake of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear crisis, made their way home for the first time in six years.

The Soma-Futaba fishing cooperative will soon resume fishing for konago (young lancefish), after the heads of fishing co-ops in the prefecture approved the start of experimental fishing operations 10 to 20 km from the meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 power plant, run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.

Despite the steady recovery moves, however, local fishermen are not optimistic because their industry still faces “concern” that radioactive fish could tarnish their reputation.

Fukushima No. 1 currently has 950,000 tons of radioactive water in storage that has been desalinated and filtered to remove some of the radioactive elements, but the volume is increasing at a pace of 150,000 tons a year.

Of the 950,000 tons, 750,000 were further treated with the Advanced Liquid Processing System, to remove most of the remaining isotopes. But even ALPS cannot remove tritium, and this has the fishing industry concerned that water tainted with tritium could ultimately be released into the ocean.

The debate over what to do about the tainted water has turned into a standoff. The central government set up a committee in September to discuss disposal and studied five options, including ocean release, underground burial and air release. But the committee could not agree on any of them because all had the potential to damage the reputation of Fukushima’s seafood.

Hiroshige Seko, head of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has jurisdiction over the issue but appears reluctant to bring the debate to a rapid conclusion.

We have not decided on the schedule, including when to conclude (the debate),” he said in a recent interview with the Fukushima Minpo.

Tritium is a common byproduct of normal nuclear power plant operations. Its release into the ocean is permitted worldwide as long as the concentration doesn’t exceed certain levels. In Japan, the legal threshold for tritium release is 60,000 becquerels per 1 liter.

Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, has said “there is no solution than ocean release” for the tritium generated at Fukushima No. 1, noting that if the concentration is within legal limits, the government should go ahead with the release. Officials at related international institutions have expressed similar views.

But the prefectural association of fishing cooperatives remains opposed, worried that an ocean release could further damage the image of Fukushima’s fish and seafood.

A fisherman from Onahama in the city of Iwaki said, “The move could lead to a loss of trust in the prefecture’s seafood, which the fishermen have worked hard to build.”

On the other hand, if the disposal debate goes unresolved, the amount of tainted water at Fukushima No. 1 will continue to rise and delay the decommissioning of the plant.

Tepco has said it “will decide (on the fate of the water) in a responsible manner by watching the government debate and weighing the opinions of local residents.”

The fishery industry is watching how the central government balances the two jobs of revitalizing the industry and handling tritium-tainted water — and how it can thoroughly explain the decision in ways people both in Japan and abroad can understand, without leaving it entirely up to Tepco.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/19/national/fukushima-fishermen-fight-release-tainted-water-tritium-standoff-continues/#.WM7nfKKmnIU

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Radioactive water leaks from storage tank at Fukushima plant

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The latest contaminated water leak at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant occurred at a flange-type storage tank, whose seams are connected by bolts.

Up to 32 liters of radioactive water leaked from a storage tank at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, but the contaminated liquid has been contained, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Oct. 6.

The leaked water is currently within barriers surrounding the tank that are designed to block the flow of fluids, TEPCO, the plant’s operator, said.

The liquid contained water that had been treated to remove radioactive strontium and other substances, as well as highly contaminated water from the bottom of the tank that was stored shortly after the nuclear accident started in 2011.

A radioactivity level of 590,000 becquerels of beta ray-emitting materials was detected per liter of the leaked water.

The water seeped out of a tank with bolted seams on its sides, which are more prone to leaks than those with welded walls.

TEPCO continues to use the bolted containers despite the risk because production of welded tanks cannot keep pace with the buildup of contaminated water, mainly from groundwater entering the damaged reactor buildings, at the nuclear plant.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201610070036.html

Storage tank leaks at Fukushima Daiichi plant

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Workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have found a leak of highly radioactive water from a waste water tank.

Its operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, says the water likely leaked from a seam of the tank.

The leaked water was spotted on Wednesday on the side of one of an array of steel tanks holding contaminated water that is continuously generated at the site.

TEPCO’s analysis found 590,000 becquerel per liter of beta-emitting radioactive materials in the water.

Tokyo Electric estimates that 32 liters of such highly radioactive water had trickled out, mixed with rainwater, and remained within a barrier around the tank.

Workers moved water in the tank to another one to lower the water level enough to halt the leak.

The leaking cylindrical tank is made by splicing steel plates with bolts. But they have had waste water leaks in the past from seams.

The operator has been replacing these leak-prone tanks with new seamless ones. But the increasing volume of waste water makes it difficult for the utility to completely do away with the old ones.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161007_02/

Contaminated Water Tanks Without Fondation Bolts at Fukushima Daiichi

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More than 1000 contaminated water tanks at Fukushima Daiichi, some do not have fondation bolts.

Even with a moderate earthquake of seismic intensity 4 there is a risk that those contaminated water tanks collapse.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission of Japan has published on their website the seismic statement submitted by TEPCO about those tanks without fondation bolts. Their quake-resistance standard is 0.3G lower.

http://www.nsr.go.jp/data/000107385.pdf

The photograph below clearly shows the tank without fondation bolts.

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Seismic intensity 4 and typhoons could cause the collapse of those contaminated water tanks. In case of tanks collapsing, a large amount of contaminated water would of course flow into the Pacific Ocean.

More than 1,100 water storage tanks at Fukushima plant … and counting

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Storage tanks to contain radioactive contaminated water continue being constructed at Fukushima

February 13, 2016 By Satoru Semba

The construction of large steel tanks on the site around Fukushima nuclear power plant to store highly contaminated water running through the nuclear site continues. There is a planned further construction of 20 more steel containers which are expected to store 30,000 tons of contaminated water. In addition to the steel tanks that are being constructed with no end in site, there are more than 9 million large black vinyl bags piling up in neat rows around the site filled with radioactive contaminated soil that has been scraped off the surface around the nuclear plant. Heavy rain during September, 2015 around the area of Fukushima caused flooding and swept more than 700 of these bags containing Fukushima-contaminated soil and grass into local rivers. Many of these bags are still unaccounted for with some spilling their radioactive content into the water system.

OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–From the air, the rows of different colored water storage tanks at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant resemble a giant integrated circuit board.

As the fifth anniversary approaches of the earthquake and tsunami disaster that unleashed the nuclear catastrophe, the stricken facility is fast running out of space to position the tanks holding highly contaminated radioactive water.

As of Feb. 12, there were 1,106 massive water tanks on the premises.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the plant, constructed the tanks to store radiation-contaminated water that has been accumulating at the plant since the disaster unfolded in March 2011.

The utility plans to construct 20 more water storage tanks to accommodate 30,000 tons of water that is expected to be generated in the remaining months of 2016.

As the tanks occupy much of the parking lots, green spaces and vacant areas, TEPCO has no choice but to build new tanks in the narrow alleys between the huge containers.

The accumulation of contaminated water has been a persistent problem at the plant, which is only in the very early stages of decommissioning, a process that will take 30 to 40 years.

https://welovecarbondioxide.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/storage-tanks-to-contain-radioactive-contaminated-water-continue-being-constructed-at-fukushima/

More than 1,100 water storage tanks at Fukushima plant … and counting

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OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–From the air, the rows of different colored water storage tanks at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant resemble a giant integrated circuit board.
As the fifth anniversary approaches of the earthquake and tsunami disaster that unleashed the nuclear catastrophe, the stricken facility is fast running out of space to position the tanks holding highly contaminated radioactive water.
As of Feb. 12, there were 1,106 massive water tanks on the premises.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the plant, constructed the tanks to store radiation-contaminated water that has been accumulating at the plant since the disaster unfolded in March 2011.
The utility plans to construct 20 more water storage tanks to accommodate 30,000 tons of water that is expected to be generated in the remaining months of 2016.
As the tanks occupy much of the parking lots, green spaces and vacant areas, TEPCO has no choice but to build new tanks in the narrow alleys between the huge containers.
The accumulation of contaminated water has been a persistent problem at the plant, which is only in the very early stages of decommissioning, a process that will take 30 to 40 years.
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201602130025

Radioactive water leaking from Fukushima tank

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Sep. 4, 2014 
 The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has reported yet another leak of highly radioactive water from its storage tanks.

Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Company say workers found a leak from piping connecting two tanks around noon on Thursday.

The officials say a drop of water was leaking from a valve every few seconds. They found what looked like a crack in it.

The tanks hold contaminated water that was used to cool melted nuclear fuel. Cesium had been removed from the water.

The officials say the piping was covered with sheets as an emergency measure. The water in the two tanks is being transferred to other tanks.

The officials say there is no danger of the water seeping into the ground or out to other areas. That’s because the storage tanks are surrounded by concrete barriers about 60 centimeters high, and the floors within the barriers are covered with resin.

The utility is stepping up efforts to prevent leaks following a series of similar incidents. About 300 tons of highly radioactive water leaked from a tank in August last year.

The firm is increasing patrols and installing water gauges and alarms to tanks.

 
Source: NHK
 http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclear.html