*NPT and nuclear security risks exposed by secret plutonium shipment: NGOs — PanOrient News

Read PanOrient News’ well-researched article on the recent transport of 331 kg of weapons-grade plutonium from the port of the Japanese Tokai nuclear station in Ibaraki prefecture to be dumped at the Department of Energy Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina, which plutonium will be added to SRS’s existing plutonium stockpile of 13 tons.

Interim storage schedule set for contaminated soil — The Yomiuri Shimbun

” The Environment Ministry has compiled its first project schedule for the interim storage of soil and other matter contaminated by the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, sources said.

The ministry estimates that by fiscal 2020, it will have acquired between 640 and 1,150 hectares of land, which could store 5 million to 12.5 million cubic meters of contaminated soil.

This is the first concrete schedule the government has created. It is expected to be presented to local government officials at a Sunday meeting in Fukushima Prefecture.

If things go as planned, the government would acquire 40 percent to 70 percent of the land expected to be needed, which could store from 20 percent to slightly over 50 percent of the contaminated soil. However, it is unclear whether things will proceed as planned.

There is currently estimated to be about 10 million cubic meters of contaminated soil in Fukushima Prefecture, which could eventually rise to 22 million cubic meters.

The national government wants to purchase about 1,600 hectares straddling the municipalities of Okuma and Futaba in the prefecture as an interim storage facility.

However, as of the end of February only 18.5 hectares, or about 1 percent of the land, had been acquired.

Still, about 960 of the 2,365 landowners have given approval for the government to conduct surveys to estimate compensation. A ministry official said, “The pace of purchases is expected to pick up.”

If between 100 and 460 hectares are acquired every year starting in fiscal 2016, the ministry’s estimate of 640 to 1,150 hectares would be reached by the end of fiscal 2020.

As land is acquired, more contaminated soil can be brought to the interim storage facility.

The ministry estimates that if 2 million to 6 million cubic meters are brought to the facility in fiscal 2020, that would bring the total amount to 5 million to 12.5 million cubic meters by the end of that fiscal year. ”


Fukushima Daiichi waste incinerator starts up — World Nuclear News

” A facility for incinerating miscellaneous solid low-level waste has begun operating at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. The incinerator will be used for disposing of items such as used protective clothing and construction waste.

The miscellaneous solid waste incineration facility houses two incineration lines, each comprising a rotary kiln incineration system and a series of exhaust filters. The two lines share a common exhaust stack. Ash generated in the incinerators is stored in sealed drums for final disposal. Each incineration line has the capacity to process 300 kilograms of waste per hour. The facility can operate around the clock.

Construction of the facility began in May 2013 and was completed last November. It was built by Kobelco, part of Kobe Steel Group, under contract from Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco). Cold testing of the facility – in which non-contaminated waste was burned – was carried out between 25 November and the end of December. This was followed last month by hot testing – in which actual contaminated waste was incinerated.

Tepco announced today that the facility had now started full operation.

It is designed to burn solid wastes such as used personal protective equipment (including gloves and overalls), construction materials (rags, wood, packing materials, paper, etc), as well as waste oil and spent resins.

Tepco said, “The waste materials can’t be taken off the site, so incinerating it and then storing the ash in sealed containers has been found to be the safest and most efficient way to reduce its volume.” It noted that the facility was fitted with filters to prevent the dispersal of radioactivity in the air. “The amount of radioactive materials in the exhaust gas will be measured on a regular basis to prevent any impact on the surrounding environment,” the company said.

The facility is intended to reduce the volume of the radioactive waste “to one several tenth or less”, Tepco said.

Three existing low-level waste incinerators on the Fukushima Daiichi site – with a combined capacity of handling over eight tonnes of waste per day – are not in operation as they are now being used to store and process radioactive water instead. ”

by World Nuclear News


The Fukushima accident has not served as a wake-up call in Japan — Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

” The Japanese government insists that nuclear safety has been enhanced after the Fukushima accident due to the enforcement of new regulatory standards, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has referred to as the world’s best, and the new nuclear safety regulatory regime. However, the government has yet to confront the intrinsic risks of nuclear power and continues to avoid discussing its distorted policy of promoting nuclear power.

For many years, Japan was the only country without a safety goal for its nuclear power sector. After the Fukushima accident, the country did finally set a safety goal: “The amount of radioactive materials released to the environment in a severe accident must be less than 100 tera-becquerel.” On the contrary, the amount of a large-scale release is not a criterion in the United States. Instead, the country has established that nuclear power use should not lead to a significant increase in social risk, and that radiation-induced cancer mortality risk should not exceed 0.1 percent of the total of all cancer mortality risks. The Japanese government is purposely not providing specific descriptions of the life-threatening risks of nuclear energy, in order to avoid public backlash.

Also, local governments that have agreed to let nuclear power plants be located in their jurisdiction can receive large subsidies from the government, based on a nuclear power plant’s operating performance. Although most of the nuclear power plants are shut down at present, the Japanese government has continued to give subsidies. By changing the subsidy system, the national government has maintained local governments’ economic dependency, as if continuing to give them drugs to keep them hooked. In other words, local governments which receive subsidies cannot afford to break away from the nuclear power, even if they fear it.

Ironically, right here in Japan, the Fukushima accident has not served as a “wake-up call” that makes the government or the nuclear industry pay attention to nuclear risks. “

by Tadahiro Katsuta, Associate professor, Meiji University

Fukushima survivors recall calamity — The Hindu

” Five years after the nuclear disaster of Fukushima Daiichi, survivors recalled the calamity and said that countries must be cautious in setting up nuclear power plants.

Emiko Fujioka, Secretary General of Fukushima Beacon for Global Citizens Network, along with two other residents of Fukushima, had come to the city to highlight the magnitude of the meltdown.

“The meltdown was the result of the negligence of the government, who should have considered all safety precautions while setting up the plant,” said Masami Yoshizawa, a cattle rancher pointing to photographs where over lakhs of men, women and children had to flee the city through the mountains.

“Even the mountains are now contaminated and you cannot enter inside,” he said. 164,224 people were evacuated from Fukushima one year after the disaster and 101,282 more left in four years. Members of 80 families among those that stayed back, committed suicide.

“A family of three who used to grow apples committed suicide a year after the accident, as they couldn’t leave behind the life they built here,” said Mizuho Sugeno, an organic farmer and president of Seeds of Hope.

“Our fields have become toxic and our cattle have died. We have been subjected to radiation in our bodies and go for check-ups to ensure it is minimal,” said Masami. “It’s every country’s responsibility to take steps to ensure the safety of their citizens,” she said. “