Mercredi 16 avril 2014 3 16 /04 /Avr /2014 17:41

 April 16, 2014


Estimated radiation doses of Fukushima returnees withheld for half a year 



The government withheld findings on estimated radiation exposure for Fukushima returnees for six months, even though levels exceeded the long-term target of 1 millisievert a year at more than half of surveyed locations.

Individual radiation doses were estimated to be beyond 1 millisievert per year, or 0.23 microsievert an hour, at 24 of all the 43 surveyed sites, including ones in the Miyakoji district in Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture, The Asahi Shimbun learned April 15.

The revelation comes just two weeks after the central government lifted the evacuation order for the district on April 1.

Last July, the Cabinet Office’s working team in charge of assisting the lives of nuclear disaster victims asked the National Institute of Radiological Sciences and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency to measure air dose rates and estimate individual radiation doses at 43 locations.

The survey covered seven types of living spaces, including private residences, farmland and schools, in the prefecture’s three municipalities of Tamura, Kawauchi and Iitate.

The government’s decontamination work aims at bringing radiation levels in contaminated areas to within 20 millisieverts a year before it gives the go-ahead for residents to return.

It also intends to bring readings to 1 millisievert or less eventually. The International Commission on Radiological Protection says a reading of up to 20 millisieverts is acceptable in areas where cleanup is under way.

The central government has also proposed to distribute devices that measure individual radiation to returned evacuees, so residents can monitor their radiation doses on their own.

But some evacuees from areas affected by the Fukushima No. 1 plant nuclear accident, which was triggered by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, worry about the possibility they may be exposed to high radiation doses after returning to their homes.

For this reason, the government decided to study correlations between air dose rates and individual radiation doses around the crippled facility to prove that the amount of radiation to which residents will be exposed is sufficiently low, even when air dose rates are relatively high.

The National Institute of Radiological Sciences and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency last fall measured radiation levels at several dozens of spots at each of the 43 sites in the three municipalities. They found that individual radiation doses are typically 30 percent lower than air dose rates.

The government-affiliated bodies also discovered that average air dose rates exceeded 0.23 microsievert per hour at 27 of the 43 sites, while they estimated individual radiation doses at over 0.23 microsievert an hour at 24 locations.

In mid-October, the two agencies compiled a midterm report and submitted it to the government. But the Cabinet Office’s working team did not disclose the report until the evacuation order for the Miyakoji district was lifted. According to a member of the team, this was because the finding “has no direct relationship with lifting the evacuation orders.”

Although the government held numerous meetings with Miyakoji residents to discuss lifting the evacuation order, it never presented the survey results, nor did it even refer to the existence of the data.

The government only presented an outline of the results to the three municipalities earlier in April.

Asked to disclose the findings, the government released the survey results to The Asahi Shimbun and posted the midterm report on the website of the industry ministry.

The working team said it planned to reveal the survey’s findings and analysis of the data on April 18 after fine-tuning its final report. But the team changed its mind because The Asahi Shimbun’s request to disclose the findings made it realize that public interest in the survey was greater than expected.

(This article was written by Shinichi Sekine and Miki Aoki.)

Par fukushima-is-still-news - Publié dans : Health effects of radiation - Communauté : Fukushima blogs
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Mercredi 16 avril 2014 3 16 /04 /Avr /2014 16:07

 April 2014

Radioactive water overflows at treatment facility


The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says another setback has hit a key system used to decontaminate highly-radioactive water.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company says water used to wash contaminated equipment overflowed from a storage facility on Wednesday.

TEPCO says workers discovered the problem while washing a tank used for filtering radioactive substances from water. The tank is on one of the 3 separate lines of the Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS.

The utility says more than 1,000 liters of water overflowed and are now within a barrier inside the ALPS building.

The firm says the water contains 3.8 million becquerels of beta ray emitting materials such as strontium and 6,700 becquerels of cesium 137.

The company says no workers have been exposed to radiation from overflow.

It is checking the concentration of radioactive substances in the water and investigating the cause of the accident.

Only 1 of the three 3 lines in the decontamination facility is in service following a problem last month, when the system's performance dropped sharply.

ALPS is the main facility at the plant used to decontaminate water, and can remove almost all radioactive substances. Test operations started last year, and full-fledged use was scheduled to begin this month.

However, the system has experienced various technical difficulties, forcing it to be shut down frequently.

Apr. 16, 2014 - Updated 11:06 UTC


Par fukushima-is-still-news - Publié dans : Daiichi Nuclear Plant - Communauté : Fukushima blogs
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Mercredi 16 avril 2014 3 16 /04 /Avr /2014 16:05

 April 16, 2014

TEPCO ordered to act on contaminated water problem 


Japan's nuclear regulator has ordered the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to strengthen safety measures for handling contaminated water. The Tokyo Electric Power Company announced a mishandling incident at the plant and the regulator wants to prevent a reoccurrence.

Workers at the plant inject water into damaged reactors to cool melted fuel. The water becomes highly radioactive in the process, and is supposed to be held in storage buildings before being sent to a decontaminating facility.

On Monday TEPCO learned that more than 200,000 liters of highly contaminated water was mistaken pumped to the basement of a building in the compound. The company says 4 pumps for emergency use directed the water.

Nuclear Regulation Authority Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa called for stronger measures at a regular meeting of the group on Wednesday. He suggested steps such as setting up security cameras and locking the pumps' switch boxes.

The regulator ordered the utility to come up with preventative measures and report them at an experts' panel scheduled for Friday.

TEPCO has yet to determine who turned on the pumps and how the incident came about. The regulator has also asked to be briefed on the results of TEPCO's investigation.



April 15, 2014

TEPCO pressed to probe contaminated water problem 


The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is under pressure to find out why more than 200 tons of highly contaminated water was mistakenly pumped to a wrong building at the compound.

Water injected to cool the melted nuclear fuel becomes highly contaminated. The water is then sent to storage buildings before it is sent on to a processing facility.

Workers noticed the problem last Friday when water levels had dropped at a storage building that was supposed to be receiving the contaminated flow.

Tokyo Electric Power Company has blamed 4 pumps for misdirecting the water to a building not intended for storage. The pumps were supposed to be out of use.

TEPCO officials said on Monday that they did not know whether the 4 pumps were deliberately switched on, and that they may interview workers if necessary.

The officials have said little about the problem, including why an investigation began a day after the water level abnormality was found.

Local authorities have criticized the utility for its failure to pinpoint the causes of a series of troubles at the disabled plant.

In February, more than 100 tons of contaminated water leaked from a tank due to a deliberately opened valve. TEPCO officials have interviewed about 100 workers, but have yet to find out exactly what occurred.

Apr. 15, 2014 - Updated 03:31 UTC

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Mercredi 16 avril 2014 3 16 /04 /Avr /2014 16:03

April 13, 2014

Tokyo 2020 Olympics should be celebration of end to atomic arms, says U.S. activist 


The Tokyo 2020 Olympics should be transformed into a festival celebrating an end to nuclear weapons worldwide, says Steven Leeper, former chair of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation and current Hiroshima Jogakuin University visiting professor.

Leeper, 66, has even released a book on that goal, titled, "2020-nen Tokyo Olympic: Nihon ga sekai o sukuu -- kaku nakusu best scenario" (The Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Japan saves the world -- a best-case scenario for the abolishment of nuclear weapons).

Originally from the United States -- a nuclear superpower -- Leeper told the Mainichi that former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton and current President Barack Obama have all wanted to rid the world of atomic weapons. However, he says, the influence of the nuclear weapons industry on Congress has meant that dream has never been transformed into reality.

Leeper said that Japan, as the only nation to have been subjected to nuclear attack, is the ideal leader in the campaign to rid the world of nuclear arms, likening the country's position to that of victims of drunk driving accidents and their families in the campaign to wipe out drinking and driving.

He also pointed out that nuclear materials don't just take the form of weapons, but also nuclear waste from reactors, adding that the number of people abroad worried about contamination from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster is likely a lot higher than most Japanese suspect.

Leeper furthermore said that countries maintain nuclear reactors at least in part as an insurance policy, in case they find themselves in a confrontation with a nuclear power and want to build a bomb to boost their power. Therefore, he said, the effort to abolish atomic weapons is directly connected to abandoning nuclear power.

April 13, 2014(Mainichi Japan)


Par fukushima-is-still-news - Publié dans : nuclear future - Communauté : Fukushima blogs
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Mercredi 16 avril 2014 3 16 /04 /Avr /2014 16:01

April 15, 2014

Former PMs to launch group for renewable energy


Former Japanese prime ministers Morihiro Hosokawa and Junichiro Koizumi are moving to launch an organization toward ending Japan's reliance on nuclear power.

Hosokawa ran for Tokyo governor in February with a pledge to work for that goal, but finished third. Koizumi supported him in the campaign.

Sources say a meeting to launch the general incorporated organization next month is to be held in Tokyo on May 7th.

They say the group will promote the use of renewable energy sources to end nuclear power generation in Japan.

They add that it is expected to oppose restarting of nuclear reactors in Japan and its export of nuclear plant technology. The organization may also support candidates in local elections next year.

All of Japan's 48 reactors at 16 commercial nuclear power plants are offline.

Apr. 15, 2014 - Updated 09:07 UTC


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