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Toko Electrical Construction is building a 10MW solar project in eastern Japan’s nuclear exclusion zone via Recharge

Construction will wrap up on 14 hectares of unused farmland in the village of Iitate, Fukushima prefecture, in March 2016, a spokesperson for the Tokyo-based electrical contractor tells Recharge.

Iitate was evacuated in April 2011, in the wake of the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The area remains uninhabited, the Toko Electrical spokesperson said.

Regional lender Toho Bank has arranged a ¥4.07bn ($34.4m) syndicated loan for the project.

Toko Electrical has also invested ¥50m, while the local authorities have contributed an additional ¥40m.

Toko Electrical will handle EPC duties, while Mitsubishi Electric will supply the PV modules, according to The Nikkei newspaper.

Once completed, the electricity from the plant will be sold to regional utility Tohoku Electric Power. Some of the revenue from the project will be used to support the reconstruction of the area.

The Toko Electrical spokesperson acknowledged that radiation levels are high in the Iitate area, but said that conditions remain safe enough for workers to build the project.

A long stretch of the Fukushima coastline — extending from just south of the city of Minamisoma to the area north of the city of Iwaki — remains uninhabited due to high radiation levels at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

A number of companies have built or are currently developing PV projects on tainted, unused land throughout the region, but Toko Electrical’s installation will be one of the biggest solar plants in the area.
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社説:安倍政治を問う…原発再稼働 脱依存の道が見えない via 毎日新聞

(抜粋)

◇民意くむ姿勢なく

もし、本気で「原発に依存しない社会」をめざすなら、その道筋をきちんと示した上で、電源構成を含めた目標を持ち、総合的に政策を打っていくのが政治の役割だ。個々の原発の再稼働の可否も、脱依存政策の大きな枠組みの中で判断していくのが筋だろう。

にもかかわらず、安倍政権はそれを怠ってきた。ここから透けてみえるのは、原発再稼働の既成事実を積み重ねることで、なるべく多くの原発を動かしたいという思惑だ。

実際、九州電力川内(せんだい)原発についても、新しい規制基準への合格だけをよりどころに再稼働を進めようとしている。避難計画の実効性や、周 辺自治体の住民の納得は、置き去りにされたままだ。毎日新聞が9月に実施した世論調査では6割近くの人が再稼働に反対しているが、そうした民意への配慮も ない。これでは、「規制基準を厳しくしたから放射能の大量放出は起きない」という新たな安全神話を許してしまう。

脱依存政策に不熱心であることの副作用は、電力会社による再生可能エネルギーの接続保留問題にもつながっている。再生エネは、脱原発依存に加え、 新たな産業の創出にも、地域振興にも結びつく。それなのに、最大限導入するための政策を徹底してこなかったためにチャンスを逃すとすれば、大きな失策だ。

原発立地自治体への交付金制度など、これまで原発推進を前提に構築されてきたさまざまな社会制度の見直しも、ほとんど進んでいない。老朽原発の廃炉を進めやすくする制度は検討されているが、全体としてまだまだ不十分で、これも脱原発依存を妨げている。

さらに大きな問題は、原発政策の決定の仕方が事故前と変わらず、国民の合意を取りつける姿勢も見えないことだ。

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福島を忘れるな 首相、復興支援策に言及なく アベノミクスに冷たい視線 via 福島民報

(抜粋)

大熊町から避難した住民が暮らす会津若松市の仮設住宅。無職星野明さん(79)は、妻伴子さん(78)と衆院解散の様子を映すテレビを見詰め、2年前の安 倍晋三首相(当時・自民党総裁)の言葉を思い出した。衆院選公示日に福島の地で「福島の復興なしに日本の未来はない」と第一声を放った。復興に向けたリー ダーシップに期待したが、災害公営住宅の建設延期など復興が進んだ実感はない。
夕方の解散会見で安倍首相は国民に「(景気が低迷していた)2年 前を思い出してほしい」と訴え、アベノミクスの是非を問うため解散を宣言した。しかし、復興に向けた言葉はなかった。「安倍さんこそ2年前を思い出すべ き。この時期に金の掛かる選挙をするのは疑問」。明さんは衆院選で復興策がさらに滞るのを不安視した。

いわき市南台の仮設住宅で暮らす双葉町の無職田中イクさん(75)は「選挙をして一体、何が変わるのか。野党もドタバタしていて頼りない」と遅々として進まない復興に納得がいかない表情を見せた。

原発事故発生後、県内の漁業関係者は本操業の再開を目指し、相双、いわき両地区で試験操業を続けている。

相馬市では相馬双葉漁協松川浦支所で年明けからの小型船による試験操業の打ち合わせが行われていた。「心が折れそうになっても頑張っている本県の漁業者を 忘れてほしくない」。漁業安達利郎さん(64)は被災地の現状を訴える。「原発の廃炉作業を安全に迅速に進めてもらわなければ、福島の漁業は厳しいまま だ」と切実な思いを口にした。

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Japan’s 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster still fracturing families via Los Angeles Times

When the massive magnitude 9 earthquake rumbled through Fukushima prefecture in March 2011, it swelled the seas and shook the earth. But long after the ground stopped trembling, the disaster has continued to fracture families like that of Yoshinobu Segawa.

With radiation from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant still a concern, Segawa, 52, a middle school art teacher, and his wife, Yuki, 39, decided that keeping their children in Fukushima was too risky. So they found a new home 140 miles away, in Saitama prefecture.

But Segawa had been employed here for 25 years and switching jobs wouldn’t be easy. To get a position elsewhere, he said, he’d have to take an employment test. “I’m getting old and I’m not sure I would fit in as a teacher in Saitama or Tokyo,” he said, “although I’m good enough for Fukushima.”

So for the last 2½ years, Segawa’s wife and their children — ages 6, 4 and 3 — have been in Saitama. Every other week, Segawa makes the trip to see them. In October, the couple had a fourth child, who was born prematurely. The boy has heart problems that doctors say will require two surgeries.

The couple can’t help but wonder whether being in Fukushima may have some connection. “It doesn’t feel good,” said Segawa, who is on paternity leave until March.

Three and a half years after the Fukushima disaster, many families like the Segawas remain stressed and divided. Other couples have divorced, and suicides related to the nuclear disaster also appear to be on the rise, said Tokyo-based lawyer Kenichiro Kawasaki of the Save Fukushima Children Lawyers’ Network.

[...]

Naomi Nagasawa, 29, divorced her husband five months after the disaster. “Our divorce isn’t directly connected to the disaster, but our values differed on radiation and we argued a lot,” she said, adding that she had deeper concerns than her spouse did. “I have several acquaintances who have also divorced.”

Now Nagasawa is raising her 4-year-old son, Sora, in an area where radioactivity remains a worry, but she hopes to be able to move away next year. She keeps Sora inside most of the time and has enrolled him in a nursery school that drives youngsters more than 30 miles away to Yamagata prefecture daily to play outdoors.

“I wanted my child to play in nature,” Nagasawa said.

Sora’s teacher, Taeko Henmi, said the transportation costs were covered by private donations and government subsidies.

Just how cautious one should be about outdoor exposure, food, water and other issues is a source of friction among residents of Fukushima these days.

[...]

There is good reason for mothers to be worried about the local water supply, he said, because it is not screened for such radioactive particles as strontium.

One parent taking advantage of Tsuboi’s efforts is Akie Arakawa, 37, mother of 7- and 10 year-olds.

“I don’t want my kids to drink tap water,” she said.

Many residents feel such parents are being overly anxious. Hiroyuki Kobori, manager at a local supermarket, said most locals were worried about radioactive particles in their food immediately after the disaster and didn’t buy local produce. But nowadays, most have returned to buying Fukushima-grown produce, reassured by government testing that has found it to be safe.

[...]

A 2013 World Health Organization report predicted there would be an uptick of thyroid cancer, breast cancer and leukemia in Fukushima prefecture in coming years.

Masamichi Nishio, honorary director of the Hokkaido Cancer Center, agreed, saying the government has not sufficiently warned the public of possible health effects from exposure to radioactivity.

Toshihide Tsuda, a professor of epidemiology at Okayama University, said cancers could be prevented by limiting exposure time in areas with high radiation rates.

And he strongly agrees with Nishio.

“I find it problematic the Japanese public hasn’t been properly informed by the government to this date because [low levels of radioactive particles] can trigger cancer,” he said.

Read more at Japan’s 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster still fracturing families 

 

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組織罰の可能性探る勉強会 尼崎JR脱線事故遺族らが発足 via 神戸新聞

尼崎JR脱線事故の遺族らが20日、大阪市内で会見し、加害企業などの刑事責任を問う方策を探る「組織罰を考える勉強会」を3月1日に発足させると発表し た。事故をめぐり、JR西日本の歴代社長計4人が刑事裁判で罪を問われたが、無罪判決が続いた。遺族らは司法に限界を感じ、会の結成を決めた。専門家の協 力で理解を深め、事故の再発防止に向けた新たな「歯止め」の実現を目指す。

(略)

半年をめどに、組織罰の実情▽制度化に向けた課題‐などを大学教授らから学ぶ。東京電力福島第1原発事故の被災者らとも連携し、「法制化が必要」との結論に至れば、早ければ1年後にも、具体的に行動する会に移行するという。

大森さんは「再発防止には組織の罪を問う制度が必要」と強調。「被害者が声を上げることで新しい流れにつなげたい」と話した。

全文は組織罰の可能性探る勉強会 尼崎JR脱線事故遺族らが発足 

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「特例ビザ」で東北に中国人観光客を。上海、大連の「観光セミナー商談会」が盛況 via ハーパー・ビジネス・オンライン

「宮城、東北の魅力をアピールして中国人観光客を呼び込みたい」――

 今年8月時点で来日した中国人旅行者がすでに昨年一年間を上回るほど賑わっている。まさに「政冷経熱」を彷彿とさせる状況だ。政冷経熱は胡錦濤前国家主席が作ったという言葉だが、多くの日本人がイメージする中国人=反日と少し現実は違うのかもしれない
[...]
 観光庁の宿白旅行統計調査によると、震災の年に大きく落ち込んだ中国人観光客数は、東京や全国的には、戻りつつあるようだが、宮城、岩手、福島といった東北3県の回復は遅れている。そこで日本政府は、被災した東北3県への観光支援として、震災直後の2011年7月から「東北三県数次査証」を開始した。東北三県数次査証とは、中国人向け個人観光ビザで、宮城、岩手、福島のいずれかの県に1泊以上することを条件に取得でき、滞在期間最大90日、3年間有効で何度でも日本へ入出国できる個人向けマルチビザを提供する制度である。同制度は、沖縄県でも実施されている。

 この制度を存分に生かして観光誘致へつなげるのが東北3県の狙いだ。宮城県経済商工観光部の三浦さんに話を聞いてみると、「上海より大連のほうが反響が大きく昨年以上の手応えを感じています。宮城での人気観光地は松島で、他にも温泉と健康診断や治療をセットにした医療ツーリズムも人気を集めています」と話してくれた。続けて、放射能の風評被害は感じるかと尋ねると、「今ではほとんど感じませんし、質問されることも少なくなっています」と笑顔で答えてくれた。

もっと読む。

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Labour seeks probe of Hinkley Point C nuclear project via The Financial Times

Labour has called for the proposed nuclear power station at Hinkley Point to be referred to the Whitehall auditor to examine whether the £24.5bn project will offer the best possible deal for taxpayers.
Tom Greatrex, shadow energy minister, said the National Audit Office should scrutinise a 35-year subsidy deal to ensure that it represents value for money.
The NAO is loath to carry out a report ahead of the project’s final sign-off for fear that it could “adversely impact” on any agreement, but Mr Greatrex urged it to carry out the exercise immediately.
The fate of Hinkley Point C in Somerset is crucial to Britain’s energy supply because it is expected to generate 7 per cent of the country’s electricity once it is completed by 2023 at the earliest. This autumn the project received the go-ahead from Brussels after clearing a state aid inquiry.
EDF, the French government-backed company building the reactor, will own half of the project but has not yet secured all of its co-investors.
It was announced in October 2013 that two Chinese state entities – China General Nuclear Power Corporation and China National Nuclear Corporation – would take a stake of about 35 per cent while Areva, the engineering group, would take 10 per cent.
At the same time EDF is still seeking another investor and is talking to sovereign wealth funds, Saudi Electric and at least one large financial institution.
The investment deal was supposed to be finalised by last summer, but the timing has slipped to early next year, with officials blaming the lengthy Brussels inquiry.
Shares in Areva fell sharply this week after the state-controlled nuclear company suspended its financial targets for the next two years and said it was reviewing its funding plans. The group blamed continuing delays to its Finnish reactor project, the later than expected restart of Japanese reactors and a sluggish broader nuclear market.
That has prompted speculation that Areva’s woes could jeopardise its commitment to Hinkley Point C.

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高線量下での作業、課題検討を via 新潟日報

県は20日、原子力規制委員会に対し、原発事故で環境中に放射性物質が漏れ出た場合に備え、高い放射線量下での作業に関する課題への対策を急ぐよう要望した。

 県の坂井康一危機管理監が規制委を訪れ、放射線防護や原子力防災の担当者らが応対した。面会は非公開で行われた。

 要望書では、事故時に敷地外でも線量が上がる地域が出る中、民間業者や自治体職員がインフラ復旧、避難誘導などに当たることが想定されると指摘。将来も健康への影響が出ないように被ばく線量の限度を定める法整備のほか、指揮系統や責任の所在、賠償の在り方などを明確にするよう求めた。

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Fire at Dounreay led to release of radioactivity via BBC

A fire in part of Dounreay’s Prototype Fast Reactor (PFR) facility last month led to an “unauthorised release” of radioactivity into the environment.

Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) said “procedural non-compliances and behavioural practices” by staff led to the incident on 7 October.

DSRL said trace amounts of tritium were released and did not pose a risk to the public.

No-one at the plant was hurt in the early morning incident.

The Caithness site’s fire brigade extinguished the blaze in the PFR’s sodium tank farm within 30 minutes.

[...]

What is tritium?

Tritium is a radioactive isotope of the element hydrogen.

It is produced naturally in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, but is also produced by nuclear weapons explosions and commercially in civilian reactors.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, tritium is used to illuminate exit signs in buildings, aircraft gauges and dials on wristwatches.

The Scottish Environment Protect Agency allows DSRL to discharge specified amounts of a gaseous waste called krypton-85 into the atmosphere.

Kr-85 is found in some types of light bulbs.

Levels of the gas increased in 2012 compared to 2011 due to work to decommission Dounreay’s fast reactor and prototype fast reactor.

Since then, radioactivity in the environment around Dounreay has been found in low and ever decreasing concentrations, according DSRL.

line

The reactor ceased operating in 1994 and is more than halfway through a process of being decommissioned.

More than 1,500 tonnes of sodium, a material used when the reactor was in operation, has been safely destroyed so far.

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Bungling Nuclear Safety Fire at Kori Nuclear Power Plant Goes Undetected for Over an Hour via Business Korea

Employees couldn’t hear audio alarm, couldn’t see visual alarm

A fire occurred in the nuclear fuel storage facilities of the Kori Nuclear Power Plant located in Kijang County, Busan City, but none of the workers was aware of it for over an hour.

According to the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Corporation, the fire occurred at 4:26 p.m., Nov. 11, at Kori Power Plant Unit 4, burning up a waste dryer along with some gloves and towels. It is assumed that the dryer overheated and started the fire while drying wet gloves.

An employee, while looking around the site, detected smoke at 5:38 p.m. and extinguished the fire after 14 minutes. “One of the two smoke detectors is designed to be mute, and the other one sounded an alarm but the employees could not hear it,” the corporation explained. The alarm was displayed in the main control center but the employees did not see or hear anything.

The slow response to the fire is troubling, since the facility trained to fight them just this summer.

This past June, the Kori Nuclear Power Plant ran a fire drill in the headquarters building to train its employees on early fire extinguishing skills and test the disaster manual. About 300 employees, firemen, and security guards at Kori Nuclear power plant participated in the drill by following the announcements, catching the fire in the early stages with fire extinguishers and fire hydrants, and test-driving the fire trucks.

Power Plant Attempts to Cover Up Reactor Shutdown

But this fire is only the latest incident at the Kori Nuclear Power Station this year.

Continue reading at Bungling Nuclear Safety Fire at Kori Nuclear Power Plant Goes Undetected for Over an Hour

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