Tepco may need to dump Fukushima water into sea, UN says — Bloomberg Business

” Tokyo Electric Power Co. should consider discharging water contaminated by the Fukushima Daiichi reactor meltdowns into the Pacific Ocean, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

More than four years after the nuclear power-plant disaster in Japan, the United Nations agency renewed pressure for an alternative to holding the tainted water in tanks and offered to help monitor for offshore radiation.

“The IAEA team believes it is necessary to find a sustainable solution to the problem of managing contaminated water,” the Vienna-based agency said in a report. “This would require considering all options, including the possible resumption of controlled discharges into the sea.’

Tepco officials are still using water to cool molten nuclear fuel from the reactors and while on-site tanks were installed to hold 800,000 cubic meters of effluent, engineers have battled leaks and groundwater contamination. The assessment, published Thursday, was based on visits by an IAEA team in February and April.

The IAEA also said it would send scientists to collect water and sediment samples off the Fukushima coastline to improve data reliability.

‘‘TEPCO is advised to perform an assessment of the potential radiological impact to the population and the environment arising from the release of water containing tritium and any other residual radionuclides to the sea in order to evaluate the radiological significance,’’ the agency said. ‘‘The IAEA team recognizes the need to also consider socioeconomic conditions.’’

Fishermen Protest

Previous releases of Fukushima contamination into the Pacific have drawn protests by Japanese fishermen and environmental groups. Fish caught off the coast of Fukushima have been subject to testing for radiation before being sold.

Contamination from Fukushima has been measured off the western coasts of the U.S. and Canada, signaling the need for more monitoring, according to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the largest private non-profit research group looking at the world’s oceans.

Though contamination levels off the North American coast are ‘‘extremely low,’’ oceans need to be monitored ‘‘after what is certainly the largest accidental release of radioactive contaminants to the oceans in history,’’ Ken Buesseler, a marine chemist at Woods Hole, said last month. ”


Tepco starts removing cover for Fukushima reactor — NHK World via Fukushima Update

” via NHK World / May 15, 2015 / The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant began work on Friday morning to dismantle the cover of the No.1 reactor building.

The cover was installed after the March 2011 nuclear accident to prevent radioactive dust from dispersing. The reactor experienced a hydrogen explosion at the time of accident.

Tokyo Electric Power Company plans to remove the cover in order to clear away radioactive debris on the upper part of the building and remove spent nuclear fuel still stored inside. It is part of an effort to decommission the reactor.

For about one week, workers will spray chemicals over the debris inside the cover by using a remote-controlled crane to prevent radioactive dust from spreading.

They will proceed with the work to remove the cover over the period of about one year. Company officials say they will enhance monitoring of radiation levels during the procedure.

TEPCO says a preliminary test last year showed no scattering of radioactive materials when dismantling the cover.

The utility initially planned to start dismantling the cover on the No.1 reactor building in July of last year. But the work was delayed after the removal of debris from the No. 3 reactor in 2013 caused radioactive dust to spread, sparking fear among local residents. The death of workers at the plant also affected the plan. ”

Fukushima Update source

NHK World video source

Experts say faults under Japan nuclear plant may be active — Kyodo News

” Geological experts on a panel under the Nuclear Regulation Authority said Wednesday that faults running beneath a nuclear plant in central Japan may be active, clouding the prospects for resumption of its operations.

Four outside experts of the five-member panel told a meeting it is possible the fault running right under the No. 1 reactor at Hokuriku Electric Power Co.’s two-unit plant in Shika, Ishikawa Prefecture, is active.

If the regulator finalizes the judgment based on the panel’s opinion, the utility would have no option but permanently shutting down that unit. …”