Archive for September, 2013

The Minimum Latent Period for Thyroid Cancer according to the literature pre 311

September 30, 2013

those who disagree with Yamashita 2013 : https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/…/45/2/45_2_203/_pdf Free Full Text.

Childhood thyroid cancer: comparison of Japan and Belarus.
Shirahige Y, Ito M, Ashizawa K, Motomura T, Yokoyama N, Namba H, Fukata S, Yokozawa T, Ishikawa N, Mimura T, Yamashita S, Sekine I, Kuma K, Ito K, Nagataki S.
Source

First Department of Internal Medicine, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, Japan.

Endocr J. 1998 Apr;45(2):203-9. 2. http://www.smhf.or.jp/data01/chernobyl_decade.pdf
Chernobyl A Decade – Proceedings of the Fifth Chernobyl Sasakawa Medical Cooperation Symposium, Kiev, Ukraine, 14-15 October 1996 (International Congress S.)
Shunichi Yamashita (Edited by), Yoshisada Shibata (Edited by)

3. http://www.rri.kyoto-u.ac.jp/…/kr79/kr79pdf/Malko2.pdf

Chernobyl Radiation-induced Thyroid Cancers in Belarus
Mikhail V. MALKO
Joint Institute of Power and Nuclear Research, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus Krasin Str. 99, Minsk, Sosny, 220109, Republic
of Belarus: mvmalko@malkom.belpak.minsk.by QUOTE: ” absence of marked latency period is another feature of radiation-induced thyroid cancers caused in Belarus as a result of this accident. “ 4 Minimum Latency & Types or Categories of Cancer” John Howard, M.D., Administrator World Trade Center Health Program, 9.11 Monitoring and Treatment, Revision: May 1, 2013, http://www.cdc.gov/wtc/pdfs/wtchpminlatcancer2013-05-01.pdf states that the latent period for Thyroid cancer is :
“2.5 years, based on low estimates used for lifetime risk modeling of low-level ionizing radiation studies”, pdf page 1. 5. Latency Period of Thyroid Neoplasia After Radiation Exposure
Shoichi Kikuchi, MD, PhD, Nancy D. Perrier, MD, Philip Ituarte, PhD, MPH, Allan E. Siperstein, MD, Quan-Yang Duh, MD, and Orlo H. Clark, MD

From the From Department of Surgery, UCSF Affiliated Hospitals, San Francisco, California.

“Latency Period of Benign and Malignant Thyroid Tumors

Although some sporadic tumors unrelated to radiation may be included among our patients, the shortest latency period for both benign and malignant tumors was 1 year as occurred in 3 patients, whereas the longest time was 69 and 58 years, respectively (Fig. 1).” As published in Journal List nAnn Surg v.239(4); Apr 2004 PMC1356259, available full text at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1356259/

All of these reports contradict Fukushima Medical University 2013 and Yamashita 2013.

THE MINIMUM LATENT PERIOD FOR THYROID CANCER HAS BEEN REPORTED IN PEER REVIEWED MEDICAL JOURNALS AS BEING LESS THAN THE 4-5 YEARS CLAIMED BY FUKUSHIMA MEDICAL UNIVERSITY AND DR YAMASHITA 2013.

There is apparent self interest in quoting a longer minimum latent period in Japan by nuclear authorities and nuclear funded medicos in that country. In my opinion.

Fishing resumes off Japan’s nuclear-hit Fukushima region 25/09 14:38 CET

September 25, 2013

http://www.euronews.com/2013/09/25/fishing-resumes-off-japan-s-nuclear-hit-fukushima-region/

Fishing resumes off Japan’s nuclear-hit Fukushima region

25/09 14:38 CET

Fears over radioactive water have prevented any trawlers setting sail in recent weeks but now offshore test-fishing has resumed in Japan’s nuclear-hit Fukushima region.

Amid ongoing concerns about contamination, there are strict limits on the species that can be caught and only areas more than 50 kilometres out to sea from the stricken power plant can be fished, at a depth of over 150 metres.

“We would like to share the city’s good fish with many consumers,” said one ship’s captain. “We are set to go forward no matter what rumours are being spread.”

With radiation amounts said to be negligible once fish disperse into the vast Pacific, Japan is hoping this mission will also send a positive sign further afield – now that Tokyo has successfully bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

Japan agrees to foreign help with Fukushima

September 25, 2013

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2013/s3855960.htm

ABC radio Australia

Japan agrees to foreign help with Fukushima

Mark Willacy reported this story on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 12:40:00

PETER LLOYD: To nuclear issues of another kind now, and Japan has finally accepted international help to sort out the mess at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

It’s agreed to let the French help decommission and dismantle it.

Our Tokyo correspondent Mark Willacy says it’s a climb-down that signals how little success Japan has had stopping the spread of contaminant since the earthquake two and a half years ago.

MARK WILLACY: Well there are a couple of factors, Peter. Firstly, there’s been a lot of international attention and consternation, as you’d imagine, about these leaks at the Fukushima nuclear plant. We have the seepage of about 300 tonnes of contaminated groundwater into the sea every day.

We’ve also been told that there was a leak of 300,000 litres of highly radioactive water from a storage tank at the site. And that some of that water could have gone into the ocean. That’s according to the operator TEPCO.

So there’s not just concern about that in Japan, but there’s also concern in neighbouring countries such as South Korea and China. So there’s a sense that Japan needs outside help, particularly to stem this flow of groundwater under the plant.

But secondly, there was the pledge by Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe earlier this month that the situation at Fukushima was “under control”. And that pledge was made to an international audience and was aimed particularly at the International Olympic Committee. And of course we now know that hours later, Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Games.

So there’s a feeling in the government here in Tokyo that TEPCO needs help to get the plant and its problems in order. And to do that, may finally mean accepting international help and international technology.

PETER LLOYD: What sort of know-how do the French bring to the table? What do we know about the agreement they’ve made?

MARK WILLACY: We don’t know a lot about the agreement. We do know that the Japanese prime minister, Mr Abe, did meet on the sidelines of the United Nations meeting in New York with the French president Francois Hollande. And that this agreement was struck. We don’t know much more than that. We don’t know how the French will help. But we do know that France is one of the world’s leaders in nuclear technologies. We know that the French nuclear firm Areva designed a radiation filtration system that was used for months at the Fukushima plant.

So it seems French help may now extend beyond that but it appears the detail has yet to be fleshed out.

PETER LLOYD: Right. And the French aren’t the only ones. The Russians are on the sidelines offering help too.

MARK WILLACY: That’s right. In fact the Russians offered to help more than two years ago, but that offer of help was never taken up. Russia’s state-owned Rosatom sent Japan a sample of what it said was a special absorbent to help clean up contaminated water but the sample just wasn’t used by the Japanese.

The Russians have said all along that pumping in water to cool the melted reactors was always going to cause more problems than in was worth. That it was just going to create more radioactive water. And in fact we now know that’s what TEPCO is grappling with at the site. So the Russians did offer this absorbent technology but as I say it was never used by the Japanese.

However, the Russians are now reporting a more positive attitude in Tokyo towards accepting their help. After all, Moscow has pointed out in the past that there’s no such thing as a national nuclear accident. They are all international accidents. And after Chernobyl, the Russians would know.

PETER LLOYD: Is there, for the Japanese, a loss of face in this kind of climb-down?

MARK WILLACY: Well there’s certainly been this sense in Japan that they can handle it themselves. In fact not only can they handle it themselves but they left all the running to TEPCO, the company was held at fault by many for this accident. So yes, there has been that sense of isolationism here about, look, we don’t need outside help.

But then we saw the government step in and say to TEPCO, look, we need to play a bigger role in helping you with this. And I suppose now the government has said well to do that we’ll need international help. So maybe there would be a loss of face.

But I think it goes beyond that, and especially with Japan having the Olympics in a few years time, there could be more international scrutiny about the safety issues at Fukushima which means that they may need to accept more international help to assuage those concerns.

PETER LLOYD: Mark Willacy is the ABC’s North Asia correspondent.

Japan Acted Too Slowly On Fukushima Cleanup

September 25, 2013

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/24/gregory-jaczko-fukushima_n_3983242.html?utm_hp_ref=world

Japan Acted Too Slowly On Fukushima Cleanup, Says Gregory Jaczko, Former U.S. Nuclear Watchdog

By MARI YAMAGUCHI 09/24/13 07:59 AM ET EDT AP

TOKYO — A former U.S. nuclear regulatory chief said Tuesday that leaks of contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima plant had been known since early in the crisis and have worsened because Japan acted too slowly.

Gregory Jaczko said that U.S. and Japanese officials knew leaks would occur when massive amounts of water were used to cool molten reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant after a major earthquake and tsunami hit in March 2011.

Jaczko said he was surprised how long it took Japan to start tackling the problem.

“It’s been known for a long time that this would be an issue,” he told a news conference in Tokyo. “My biggest surprise is to some extent how it’s been allowed to deteriorate, a little bit, and how it’s almost become a surprise again that there are contamination problems, that there is leakage out into the sea.”

When the plant was in critical condition with three reactor cores melted and in dire need of cooling water, Jaczko said, Japanese and U.S. officials disputed how much water should be put in because of the imminent leaks of radiation contaminated water and measures needed to contain that problem.

He said the Japanese government was concerned that the flooding those reactor vessels and reactor buildings with cooling water “would lead to greater leakage of ground water,” whereas the NRC emphasized the need to keep reactors cool and under control to minimize airborne contamination.

But the “focus was lost” on the need to keep addressing the radioactive water problem, apparently delaying action on mitigating the problem, said Jaczko, who was in Japan at the invitation of an anti-nuclear citizen’s group. He resigned as chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission last year.

Japanese officials confirmed for first time in July that contaminated ground water has been leaking into the Pacific from soon after the accident.

Leaders of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, which was in power during the crisis, acknowledged last week that a plan to build an underground wall to surround the reactor and turbine buildings to block contaminated water leaks from the area was put off after plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. resisted the plan, citing financial reasons.

Only the construction of the steel seawall to prevent the leaks into the sea has since begun, set for completion next year.

Democratic lawmaker Sumio Mabuchi, who was special assistant to the prime minister during the crisis, told a party meeting last Wednesday that in June 2011 TEPCO promised to build an underground wall but asked that a public announcement not be made to avoid “public confusion” over the huge additional cost burden on the struggling utility.

A TEPCO internal memo, dated June 13, 2011, and obtained Tuesday by the Associated Press, acknowledges the need to build an underground boundary, possibly made of clay-soil slurry mix, around the No. 1-4 reactor and turbine basements to stop contaminants from leaking into groundwater and eventually flowing into the sea.

The plan was submitted to the government after the first massive leak of highly toxic water from the No. 2 reactor basement in April 2011 “in order not to further contaminate the sea,” the memo said, promising to start construction of the wall as soon as it obtained government permission.

Japan Acted Too Slowly On Fukushima Cleanup, Says Gregory Jaczko, Former U.S. Nuclear Watchdog

By MARI YAMAGUCHI 09/24/13 07:59 AM ET EDT AP
Share on Google+
japan fukushima cleanup
102
78
5
110
Get World Newsletters:
Subscribe
Follow:
Japan, Gregory Jaczko Fukushima, Fukushima, Fukushima Cleanup, Fukushima Disaster, Fukushima Leaks, Fukushima Nuclear Crisis, Fukushima Radiation, Gregory Jaczko, Japan Fukushima Cleanup, World News

TOKYO — A former U.S. nuclear regulatory chief said Tuesday that leaks of contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima plant had been known since early in the crisis and have worsened because Japan acted too slowly.

Gregory Jaczko said that U.S. and Japanese officials knew leaks would occur when massive amounts of water were used to cool molten reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant after a major earthquake and tsunami hit in March 2011.

Jaczko said he was surprised how long it took Japan to start tackling the problem.

“It’s been known for a long time that this would be an issue,” he told a news conference in Tokyo. “My biggest surprise is to some extent how it’s been allowed to deteriorate, a little bit, and how it’s almost become a surprise again that there are contamination problems, that there is leakage out into the sea.”

When the plant was in critical condition with three reactor cores melted and in dire need of cooling water, Jaczko said, Japanese and U.S. officials disputed how much water should be put in because of the imminent leaks of radiation contaminated water and measures needed to contain that problem.

He said the Japanese government was concerned that the flooding those reactor vessels and reactor buildings with cooling water “would lead to greater leakage of ground water,” whereas the NRC emphasized the need to keep reactors cool and under control to minimize airborne contamination.

But the “focus was lost” on the need to keep addressing the radioactive water problem, apparently delaying action on mitigating the problem, said Jaczko, who was in Japan at the invitation of an anti-nuclear citizen’s group. He resigned as chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission last year.

Japanese officials confirmed for first time in July that contaminated ground water has been leaking into the Pacific from soon after the accident.

Leaders of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, which was in power during the crisis, acknowledged last week that a plan to build an underground wall to surround the reactor and turbine buildings to block contaminated water leaks from the area was put off after plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. resisted the plan, citing financial reasons.

Only the construction of the steel seawall to prevent the leaks into the sea has since begun, set for completion next year.

Democratic lawmaker Sumio Mabuchi, who was special assistant to the prime minister during the crisis, told a party meeting last Wednesday that in June 2011 TEPCO promised to build an underground wall but asked that a public announcement not be made to avoid “public confusion” over the huge additional cost burden on the struggling utility.

A TEPCO internal memo, dated June 13, 2011, and obtained Tuesday by the Associated Press, acknowledges the need to build an underground boundary, possibly made of clay-soil slurry mix, around the No. 1-4 reactor and turbine basements to stop contaminants from leaking into groundwater and eventually flowing into the sea.

The plan was submitted to the government after the first massive leak of highly toxic water from the No. 2 reactor basement in April 2011 “in order not to further contaminate the sea,” the memo said, promising to start construction of the wall as soon as it obtained government permission.

The memo noted that the cost of the wall could go as high as 100 billion yen ($1 billion), saying the company was concerned about unclear government funding prospects. TEPCO was nationalized in July 2012.

In a statement earlier this month, TEPCO cited technical complexity in designing the wall, as well as high radiation levels near the reactor area as reasons for not building the wall.

Public criticism of TEPCO and the government for their handling of the crisis remains high, especially after the recent string of underground water leaks into the ocean and from storage tanks holding contaminated water used to cool the reactors.

The government is funding the development of more advanced water treatment equipment to make the contaminated water clean enough to be released into the sea and paying for a costly ice wall to surround the reactor and turbine buildings to prevent further contamination of outside groundwater.

Doubt over Fukushima safety claims

September 25, 2013

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-25/doubt-over-fukushima-safety-claims/4979554

ABC TV Australia

Doubt over Fukushima safety claims

Updated Wed 25 Sep 2013, 9:06am AEST

The former chief nuclear regulator in the United States has delivered a damning verdict on the ability of Japanese authorities to stop contaminated groundwater from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant flowing into the sea. Asked about comments by the Japanese prime minister that the situation at Fukushima was under control, Gregory Jaczko replied that the surging groundwater ‘was beyond human control’. Speaking to foreign journalists in Tokyo, Dr Jaczko warned that a planned underground ice wall around the site would also fail to stop the water becoming contaminated.
Mark Willacy

Fukushima clean-up may be doomed

September 25, 2013

www.irishtimes.com/news/world/asia-pacific/fukushima-clean-up-may-be-doomed-1.1537702

Irish Times David McNeill Tue, Sep 24, 2013, 01:00
Fukushima clean-up may be doomed
Critics say Japan’s government is engaged in a vast, duplicitious and fruitless campaign

Across much of Fukushima’s rolling green countryside they descend on homes like antibodies around a virus, men wielding low-tech tools against a very modern enemy: radiation. Power hoses, shovels and mechanical diggers are used to scour toxins that rained down from the sky 30 months ago. The job is exhausting, expensive and, say some, doomed to failure.

Today, a sweating four-man crew wearing surgical masks and boiler suits clean the home of Hiroshi Saito (71) and his wife Terue (68). Their aim is to bring average radiation at this home down to 1.5 microsieverts an hour, still several times what it was before the incident but safe enough, perhaps, for Saito’s seven grandchildren to visit. “My youngest grandchild has never been here,” he says.

For a few days in March 2011, after explosions at the Daiichi nuclear plant roughly 25km (15.5 miles) to the south, rain and snow laced with radiation fell across this area, contaminating thousands of acres of rich farming land and forests.

More than 160,000 people closest to the plant were ordered to evacuate. The Saitos’ home fell a few kilometres outside the 20km compulsory evacuation zone but, like thousands of others, they left voluntarily.

Invisible poison
When they returned two weeks later their two-storey country house appeared undamaged, but it was covered in an invisible poison only detectable with beeping Geiger counters.

Nobody knows for certain how dangerous the radiation is. Japan’s central government refined its policy in December 2011, defining evacuation zones as “areas where cumulative dose levels might reach 20 millisieverts per year”, the typical worldwide limit for nuclear power plant engineers.

The worst radiation is supposed to be confined to the 20km exclusion zone, but it spread unevenly: less than 5km (three miles) north of the Daiichi plant, our Geiger counter shows less than five millisieverts a year; 40km (25 miles) northwest, in parts of Iitate village, it is well over 120 millisieverts.

Those 160,000 refugees have not returned and are scattered throughout Japan. The nuclear diaspora is swelled by thousands of voluntary refugees. Local governments are spending millions of dollars to persuade them back.

The price tag for cleaning a heavily mountainous and wooded area roughly the same size as Co Wicklow (2,000sq km) has government heads spinning. In August, experts from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology put the total cost of decontamination at $50 billion (€37 billion). The Japan Centre for Economic Research, a Tokyo-based think tank, says the final tally for the Fukushima clean-up will be $600 billion.

The Saitos’ home falls within the boundaries of Minamisoma, a city that has not recovered from the disaster. Most of its 71,000 population fled voluntarily from the Daiichi incident 20km south. A third have yet to return.

“We’ve worked hard to make our city livable again,” says Minamisoma mayor Katsunobu Sakurai. “But everything we’ve done could be for nothing unless the problems at the plant are fixed.”

Fighting radiation is now one of Minamisoma’s few growth industries. The city has set up a permanent office to co-ordinate decontamination with a budget this year alone of $230 million. Since last September, a crew of 650 men has laboured around the local streets and countryside, cleaning schools, homes and farms.

By the end of the year, the operation will employ almost 1,000 people – a large chunk of the town’s remaining able-bodied workforce.

Disputed figures
Radiation levels in most areas of Fukushima have dropped by about 40 per cent since the disaster began, according to government estimates, but those figures are widely disbelieved.

Official monitoring posts almost invariably give lower readings than hand-held Geiger counters, the result of a deliberate strategy of misinformation, say critics. “They remove the ground under the posts, pour some clean sand, lay down concrete, plus a metal plate, and put the monitoring post on top,” says Nobuyoshi Ito, a farmer who opted to stay behind in the heavily contaminated village of Iitate. “The device ends up 1.5m from the ground.”

Critics say toxins wash down from the mountains and forests after the decontamination crews leave, bringing radiation levels back up – though seldom to previous levels.

Local governments are desperate for evacuees to return and must decide on what basis evacuation orders will be lifted. If they unilaterally declare their areas safe, evacuees could be forced to choose between returning home and losing vital monthly compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), operator of the ruined Daiichi complex.

For the refugees, a worrying precedent has been set in the municipality of Date, which lies outside the most contaminated areas. In December 2012, the local government lifted a “special evacuation” order imposed on 129 households, arguing that radiation doses had fallen below 20 millisieverts per year. Three months later the residents lost the $1,000 a month they were receiving from Tepco.

Still, local leaders say they believe the decontamination will work. “Field tests have demonstrated we can bring levels down to five millisieverts per year and that is our objective,” says Iitate mayor Norio Kanno.

He accepts that some residents might refuse to return until exposure falls further – the limit recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection is one millisievert per year. But he insists nobody will be excluded from any relocation plan. “In the end, we need to reach a consensus as a community.”

Toxic waste
The Fukushima clean-up faces another, perhaps insurmountable problem: securing sites to store contaminated soil, leaves and sludge. Many landowners baulk at hosting “interim” dumps – for three years – until the government builds a midterm storage facility.

Local governments across Japan have refused to accept the toxic waste, meaning it will probably stay in Fukushima for good. The waste is stored under blue tarpaulins across much of the prefecture, sometimes close to schools and homes.

At Hitoshi Saito’s home, the decontamination crew have finished a 10-day shift, power-hosing his roof, digging drains and removing 5cm of topsoil from his land. The cleanup has cut radiation by about half, but in the trees a few metres behind his house, the reading is 2.1 microsieverts. “Unless you do something about those trees, all your work is useless,” he berates an official from the city.

The crew may have to return sometime, he speculates. “Whatever happens, we will never have what we had before. It’s clear that my grandchildren will never come here again.”

Crown Prince, Princess visit disaster evacuees in Fukushima

September 22, 2013

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/09/22/national/crown-prince-princess-visit-disaster-evacuees-in-fukushima/#.Uj93MM6Le1E

Japan Times

KORIYAMA, FUKUSHIMA PREF. – Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako took a day trip to Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, on Sunday to visit people who lost their homes in March 2011 because of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.

The couple last visited Fukushima in July 2011, but made a trip last month to neighboring Miyagi Prefecture to speak with the evacuees.

In Koriyama, the couple were greeted by around 50 of the 80 people who got stuck in temporary housing after fleeing Futaba, one of the two towns that host the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Crown Prince Naruhito expressed sympathy to Kisa Horikawa, 76, a quake survivor who lost her husband about three months ago.

Crown Princess Masako told another evacuee, “Please, be careful about your health.”

The couple also visited a facility that gauges radiation in food, and dropped by Pep Kids Koriyama, an indoor playground where around 240 children and parents were present.

Fukushima Prefecture runs the radiation measuring facility to help the farmers, who have been damaged by fears their produce is tainted with radioactive fallout from the three core meltdowns at the plant.

On Friday, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess met with Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, and were briefed about the situation at the plant, including the ongoing leaks of radiation-contaminated water.

Future of Japan depends on stopping Fukushima leaks, PM tells workers

September 22, 2013

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/19/future-japan-fukushima-leaks-pm

Future of Japan depends on stopping Fukushima leaks, PM tells workers

Shinzo Abe visits stricken site amid rising doubts about plant operator’s ability to conduct cleanup operation alone

The Guardian

Justin McCurry in Tokyo
theguardian.com, Thursday 19 September 2013 21.15 AEST

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has told workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that “the future of Japan” depends on their ongoing struggle to contain leaks of highly radioactive water at the site.

Abe’s brief visit to the stricken plant on Thursday – his second since he became prime minister last December – comes weeks after he reassured the world that the situation at the facility was under control, amid reports that large quantities of contaminated water were seeping into the Pacific ocean.

Abe’s reassurances are thought to have helped Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics, but were later challenged by a senior official at the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco].

On Thursday, Abe and his entourage, dressed in protective suits, masks and helmets, heard Tepco officials explain how they planned to prevent additional leaks from tanks that have been hastily built to store water that becomes contaminated after it comes into contact with melted nuclear fuel in damaged reactor basements.

He also visited a water decontamination facility and a chemical dam being built along the coastline to contain leaks of groundwater into the Pacific ocean.

The visit was designed to calm fears at home and overseas about safety at the plant, amid rising doubts about Tepco’s ability to conduct the cleanup operation alone.

This week it emerged that US experts had urged Japanese authorities to take immediate steps to prevent groundwater contamination two years ago, but their advice been ignored.

Tepco reportedly lobbied against the proposed construction of a barrier – a measure that will now be taken with government funding – because it feared the high cost would spook investors and push the firm closer to insolvency.

Charles Casto, a representative of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said discussions about a barrier had begun within weeks of the meltdown.

“It was obvious to us that there was great deal of groundwater intrusion into the plant, and we shared that with the Japanese government,” he told Reuters. “At the time, they didn’t believe there was a significant amount of groundwater getting into the plant.”

Abe told some of the thousands of workers at the plant that the government would continue to support the utility during a long potentially hazardous decommissioning operation that is expected to last four decades.

“The future of Japan is on your shoulders,” he said during a visit to the plant’s command centre. “The government will step forward and take concrete measures. I am counting on you to do your best.”

Later, he said he had told Tepco officials, including the firm’s president, Naomi Hirose, to decommission reactors 5 and 6, which were not in operation when the plant was wrecked by a powerful earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011.

Hirose said Tepco, which is hoping to restart some nuclear reactors to help repair its tattered finances, would make a decision on the two reactors by the end of the year. Reactors 1 to 4 have already been earmarked for decommissioning.

Abe stood by his recent claim, made before members of the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires earlier this month, that contaminated water had been prevented from flowing beyond the plant’s harbour, and that the water crisis was under control.

“One of the main purposes of this visit was to see the situation for myself, having made those remarks on how the contaminated water is being been handled,” he said, adding that the government believed the water issue would be resolved by the time the Games are held in 2020.

“As I stated in Buenos Aires, I am convinced that the contaminated water leaks have been confined to an area of 0.3 sq km within the cove next to the plant.

“In light of that, I will work hard to counter rumours questioning the safety of the Fukushima plant.”

Earlier this week, however, Kazuhiko Yamashita, a senior Tepco official, said the water leaks were not under control.

“Predictable risks are under control, but what cannot be predicted is happening,” Japanese media quoted Yamashita as telling opposition MPs.

“We believe that the current conditions show that [the radioactive water problem] is not under control.”

Abe, accompanied by Tepco officials, was shown a water treatment facility that can remove radioactive materials from contaminated water. The equipment failed during an earlier a trial run and is now under repair. The plant’s manager, Akira Ono, said it would be tested again later this year.

Abe later inspected a water tank that last month leaked 300 tonnes of water, sending radiation levels in the immediate vicinity soaring.

Ono said 90 Tepco workers were patrolling the plant’s 1,000 water tanks four times a day, adding that gauges would soon be installed to monitor water levels in the tanks.

Tepco hopes to replace suspect tanks with more reliable welded versions by the end of the year, he added.

Hydrology of Fukushima – ABC TV Aust. ATSUNAO MARUI, GROUNDWATER SCIENTIST

September 22, 2013

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2013/s3852675.htm

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Broadcast: 19/09/2013
Reporter: Mark Willacy

Transcript
LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has visited the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

His visit came amid rising concerns over the leaking of contaminated water into the sea after an adviser to TEPCO, the plant’s operator, admitted the problem was not under control.

To make matters worse, there’s been a serious leak of highly radioactive water from one of the hundreds of storage tanks now filling the site.

It all raises questions about the competence of TEPCO and the Japanese Government in handling this crisis.

The ABC’s Tokyo correspondent Mark Willacy reports.

MARK WILLACY, REPORTER: It’s 2.30 in the morning and Fumio Suzuki is preparing to cast off in his boat, The Eversu. In Japanese folklore, Eversu is the god of fishermen, but in this post-Fukushima world, Suzuki’s protector has seemingly forsaken him, replaced by the demon of TEPCO.

FUMIO SUZUKI, FUKUSHIMA FISHERMAN (voiceover translation): I think TEPCO has been telling lies from the start, since the nuclear plant exploded. TEPCO tell us there are no problems, but then there are problems. We cannot trust them or the Government.

MARK WILLACY: With at least 300 tonnes of contaminated groundwater flowing from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea every day, fishing in these waters has once again been banned.

The Eversu is just one of two boats allowed out to fish today and whatever they catch will be sent off for radioactive contamination testing.

Well we’ve been motoring out to sea for a couple of hours now and as you can see dawn is just breaking and it’s quite a beautiful sight, although just 30 kilometres up the coast is the leaking remains of the Fukushima nuclear plant. Now for generations of fishermen who’ve been coming out to these fishing grounds, it means that their livelihoods are now over because they just cannot go out to sea to catch anything worth selling anymore.

With the nets set and the sun rising over a glassy Pacific, all Fumio Suzuki can do now is wait and wonder.

The problem for these fishermen is that TEPCO is seemingly powerless to stop the contamination reaching the sea and that’s not the only crisis. On site are about 1,000 hastily-built tanks, some containing highly radioactive water that’s being used to cool the melted reactors. Already, one has sprung a serious leak, causing the most severe accidents since the meltdowns two and a half years ago.

KAZUNARI YOSHIMURA, WATER STORAGE SPECIALIST (voiceover translation): There are 340,000 tonnes of contaminated water inside the tanks. TEPCO rushed to build the tanks out of steel, but with the salt and all the radiation, they corrode quite quickly. The rubber seals are also vulnerable to radiation and they decay fast.

MARK WILLACY: At the time of the leak, only two inspectors were checking 900 tanks at any one time, so this highly radioactive leak went unnoticed for a month.

In this video, an inspector from Japan’s nuclear watchdog asks a TEPCO official if the company has been keeping records of tank inspections and radiation readings. “No,” replies the TEPCO official.

KAZUNARI YOSHIMURA (voiceover translation): It’s a matter of course that you install water gauges on tanks like this, so it’s a mystery why TEPCO didn’t install gauges so that they could easily tell how much water was inside and if there had been a leak. It’s absurd.

MARK WILLACY: Atsunao Marui is one of Japan’s top groundwater scientists and a member of a panel set up by TEPCO and the Government to try to find ways of managing Fukushima’s growing reservoir of radioactive water. He says putting the nuclear plant on this stretch of coast in the first place was inviting disaster.

ATSUNAO MARUI, GROUNDWATER SCIENTIST (voiceover translation): A river used to flow right where the turbine and reactor buildings are now standing, so the groundwater is flowing very fast through there and it’s spreading the contamination. The company should have known this could happen.

MARK WILLACY: But there are warnings the worst is yet to come because it’s believed that deep beneath the nuclear plant is a massive underground pool of contaminated water which is slowly making its way towards the sea.

And now there are warnings from the head of Japan’s nuclear watchdog that because room is fast running out, treated water may have to be dumped into the Pacific.

Back out to sea, off the Fukushima nuclear plant, Fumio Suzuki is hauling in his nets. These waters are where two currents mix and they’re rich in marine life.

Soon the haul of sea brim, squid, sardines and flatfish on the deck. Suzuki and his father begin sorting it, making it easier for the scientists back on land to analyse the contamination by species.

Well once, a haul like this would have earned Suzuki San about $600, but of course these fish are not going to market. We’re heading straight back into port where they’ll be sorted and put on a truck and taken directly to a laboratory whereof course they’ll be tested for radioactive contamination from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

It’s been two and a half years since the disaster at Fukushima, but for Fumio Suzuki, there’s no end in sight. And the situation could get worse if TEPCO gets its wish to dump some of its growing volume of radioactive water into the Pacific.

FUMIO SUZUKI (voiceover translation): I totally oppose any dumping. If they release more radioactive water into the ocean, the sea off Fukushima is finished.

LEIGH SALES: Mark Willacy reporting.

See also : https://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/video-of-the-construction-of-fukushima-diiachi-npp/ Constructing Fukushima.

https://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/tepco-defines-the-groundwater-flow-through-and-under-the-fukushima-reactors/

https://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/cold-shutdown-leaky-reactors-changed-ground-water-flow-and-leaky-tanks/

https://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/hydrology-and-flow-accumulation-near-fukushima-daiichi-pp/

https://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/the-geology-of-fukushima-porous-ground-lowered-10-metres-built-over-an-aquifer-with-a-fault-line-present-with-basements-below-sea-level/

https://nuclearhistory.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/fuk-rainfall.jpg

Fukushima town (Namie) protests PM’s claim

September 21, 2013

A Japanese town abandoned after the Fukushima nuclear accident has protested Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s global promise that the situation of the crippled plant was ‘under control’.

The town assembly of Namie, half of which sits within the 20-kilometre zone around the nuclear plant, unanimously adopted a statement of protest against Abe’s remarks on Friday, saying his comments went against facts on the ground, the Asahi and the Mainichi papers said on Saturday.

The statement said about 300 tons of contaminated water is estimated to be leaking from the plant every day, which is ‘a serious situation’, and that toxic water is ‘far from being controlled or blocked completely,’ the Mainichi quoted the statement as saying.

‘Members of the town cannot help feeling furious at the government and TEPCO which neglected Fukushima,’ the statement reportedly said, referring to Tokyo Electric Power, the company that runs the plant.

Representatives of Namie town were not immediately available for comment at the weekend.

When the 2011 tsunami crashed into Japan, Fukushima’s cooling systems were knocked out, causing three reactors to melt down and spew radioactive particles into the air, soil and sea. Namie’s entire population of 21,000 was forced to flee.

But speaking to Olympic chiefs in Buenos Aires just ahead of a decision to award the Games to Tokyo, Abe said of the plant: ‘Let me assure you, the situation is under control.’

Some critics and experts say Abe’s gloss on the disaster is bordering on the dishonest – a senior TEPCO executive flatly contradicted the PM earlier this month.

About 300 tons of mildly contaminated groundwater is entering the ocean every day having passed under the reactors, TEPCO says.

Abe visited the plant on Thursday, part of a campaign aimed at reassuring the world about the state of the power station, more than two-and-a-half years after it was battered by the huge tsunami.

Sky News, Updated: 20:34, Saturday September 21, 2013

http://www.skynews.com.au/world/article.aspx?id=908190