22 Août 2013
August 22, 2013
FUKUSHIMA (Kyodo) -- A fisheries cooperative in Iwaki city, Fukushima Prefecture that has been voluntarily suspending business since the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, decided Wednesday to postpone a trial operation that had been set for Sept. 5.
The cooperative has yet to set a new date. Masakazu Yabuki, head of the cooperative, told reporters after a meeting that, "We believe that (the decision to postpone the operation) is logical as we hear about issues over the leakage into the ocean of contaminated water day in, day out. We intend to conduct the trial operation if the situation settles down."
The cooperative originally planned to start the test operation in waters off the city from Sept. 5, aiming to ship their goods after checking them for radioactive materials to confirm their safety.
The majority of meeting participants said that starting the operation on Sept. 5 would be difficult after it came to light in July that radioactive water has been spilling into the Pacific Ocean from the nuclear power plant.
Fisheries operations have been voluntarily suspended in the prefecture facing the Pacific following the 2011 accident. In June last year, the Soma Futaba fisheries cooperative started a test operation off the coast of Soma city, north of the crippled plant. Iwaki City is located south of the plant.
August 21, 2013
"It's just one problem after another."
That's what one angry Fukushima Prefecture resident had to say about Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)'s latest accident, a leak of some 300 metric tons of toxic water from a storage tank on the grounds of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The resident isn't the only one frustrated with TEPCO and the utility's apparent inability to catch up with all the problems besetting the nuclear station. Local anger has been on high boil since the discovery earlier this year that ground water badly tainted with radioactive substances was leaking into the Pacific Ocean, delaying the coastal fishery's plans to begin test catches for the first time since the March 2011 meltdowns.
"We want these problems dealt with for what they are, a national emergency," said Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato.
The storage tank, marked with a black arrow, suspected of leaking some 300 tons of toxic water, is seen on the grounds of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture on Aug. 20. (Mainichi)
TEPCO Managing Director Tsunemasa Niitsuma was at an information session in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture -- close to the stricken No. 1 plant -- on Aug. 20 to apologize to the local fishing cooperative for the latest leak. At the top of the agenda for the session was countermeasures TEPCO is taking to stop contaminated groundwater from seeping into the sea. The recently discovered storage tank leak, however, soon horned its way into proceedings.
The some 150 fishing cooperative members on-hand poured criticism onto Niitsuma, including one attendee who said, "All your countermeasures look like nothing but makeshift expedients."
Test catches off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture were scheduled to begin in September this year, but have been postponed indefinitely due to the radioactive groundwater leaks.
Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations Chairman Tetsu Nozaki summed up the general distrust of TEPCO when he wondered if the utility "can really deal with the crisis on its own. This problem ought to be dealt with as a national problem."
After news of the leaking tank broke, Fukushima Prefecture formally demanded that TEPCO investigate the cause of the latest accident and implement countermeasures. The prefecture also held an emergency meeting of department heads concerned with the crisis to deliberate a response.
"We've repeatedly demanded that TEPCO improve its safety management, and this latest incident is very frustrating," Gov. Saito commented.