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French nuclear waste will triple after decommissioning: agency via Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) – The amount of nuclear waste stored in France will triple once all its nuclear installations have been decommissioned, which will boost the need for storage facilities, French nuclear waste agency Andra said.

In a report released on Wednesday, Andra estimated that final nuclear waste volumes will eventually reach 4.3 million cubic meters, up from 1.46 million at the end of 2013 and an estimated 2.5 million in 2030.

That is based on an average lifespan of 50 years for utility EDF’s 58 nuclear reactors and including a new reactor under construction in Flamanville.
[…]
Andra, which publishes a nuclear waste inventory every three years, expects its low-level waste facility in Morvilliers, in the Aube region, would fill up between 2020 and 2025.

“We want to warn that the storage centers are filling up and that we need to optimize waste management because storage facilities are a rare resource,” Andra executive Michele Tallec told Reuters.

Volumes of highly radioactive, long-life waste – which represent just 0.2 percent of the volume but 98 percent of the radioactivity – should rise from 3,200 cubic meters at the end of 2013 to about 10,000 cubic meters when all France’s nuclear plants reach their end of life.

This waste is scheduled to be buried in the controversial deep-storage site in Bure, in eastern France, which already has a test facility but has not received any nuclear waste.

[…]

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Tepco seeks foreign seal of approval to restart nuclear plant via The Japan Times

Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s invitation to the world’s top nuclear agency to review the safety of its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa facility signals the utility’s desire to win international backing to resume operations at the world’s largest atomic power plant.

Kashiwazaki is Tepco’s best bet of returning to nuclear power generation, after the plant was shuttered along with the rest of Japan’s nuclear capacity following the unprecedented meltdowns at the company’s Fukushima No. 1 plant in 2011.

Firing up its reactors would boost Tepco’s profit by as much as ¥32 billion a month, according to Tepco spokesman Tatsuhiro Yamagishi.

“They want a foreign seal of approval,” said Robert Dujarric, a director at the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies of Temple University in Tokyo. “No one trusts what Tepco says. The only way they can convince Japanese residents that this is not risky is to get a foreign institution to certify them being acceptable.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency began its 11-day evaluation on Tuesday and will report its findings to Japan’s watchdog, the Nuclear Regulation Authority, which has the final say on a plant’s safety. A restart would still need local government approval, which presents difficulties as the region’s governor remains a vociferous critic of Tepco.

[…]
“Of course Tepco would like them to come online,” Tom O’Sullivan, founder of Tokyo-based energy consultant Mathyos, said by email. However, “I have normally categorized it as a plant that is extremely unlikely to come online. There is huge local opposition.”

Hirohiko Izumida, three-term governor of Niigata Prefecture where the plant is located, has said restarting Kashiwazaki shouldn’t even be considered until Tepco’s safety record and handling of Fukushima are properly reviewed.
[…]
The IAEA said its primary focus will be assessing the plant’s internal operations. Three months after its review, the agency will send its report to Tepco, the NRA and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The review will not replace Japan’s regulatory process, said Peter Tarren, the IAEA’s team leader at Kashiwazaki. “Decisions about restarts of the plant are not the authority of the IAEA,” he said.

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美浜断層「活動性なし」 検証会合で追認、確定へ 原子力規制委 via 産経ニュース

(抜粋)

関電は美浜3号機について、再稼働に向けた新規制基準の審査を申請しており、活断層問題がクリアしたことで、本格審査に入る。ただ美浜は来年11月末で運転制限となる「40年」を迎えるため、運転延長するための審査に残された時間は少ない。

評価書案は断層に活動性がない理由として、「(大昔にできた)粘土鉱物脈が壊されていない」ことなどを挙げ、活断層の目安となる「13万~12万年前(後期更新世)以降に活動したデータがないと結論付けた。

美浜敷地内には9本の断層があり、一部は3号機の重要施設を通っている。敷地の東側約1キロには活断層の「白木(しらき)-丹生(にゅう)断層」があり、連動して動く可能性が指摘されていた。

活断層調査は6原発で行われており、これまで日本原子力発電敦賀(福井県)、東北電力東通(青森県)、北陸電力志賀(石川県)の3原発で活断層の疑いが指摘されている。

全文は美浜断層「活動性なし」 検証会合で追認、確定へ 原子力規制委

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福島原発:原子力被災者700万~チェルノブイリと同規模 via OurPlanet.tv

東京電力福島第一原発事故に伴う「原子力被災者」とは誰なのかー。
その人数規模はー。

「チェルノブイリ被害調査・救援」女性ネットワークのは2日、福島第一原発事故の「原子力被災者」について、チェルノブイリと同じ条件で試算すると、 705万人にのぼると発表した。政府が2019年3月までに居住制限区域の避難解除を行うとの方針に抗議する記者会見の中で明らかにした。

「チェルノブイリ被害調査・救援」女性ネットワークの吉田由布子さんによると、土壌汚染が37,000Bq/m2以上(1mSv/Y)の地域を「被災地 域」として指定しているチェルノブイリと同様の定義で、福島原発事故の被災者を試算すると、年間1ミリシーベルト以上の被曝を受けている「原子力被災者」 は705万人にのぼる。

試算方法は、事故1年目に年間1ミリシーベルト以上だったために、環境省から「汚染状況重点調査地域」に指定された104の自治体と避難区域12自治体と 福島第一原発の作業員人数を合算したもの。チェルノブイリ原発事故の場合は、事故後早い時期に30キロ圏内で作業をした除染作業員やバス運転手、警察や軍 隊など全ての人を「被災者」としているが、福島原発事故では、そうした定義もしていない。

(略)

「毎時1マイクロシーベルトは近寄っては行けない地域と規定されている。また1マイクロシーベルト以下の場所も、なるべく滞在時間を身近くしべきと書かれている。なぜ20ミリを正当化できる根拠は全くない」と主張した。

チェルノブイリでは、事故3年目にソ連共産党機関紙の「プラウダ」が汚染地図を公表。当初は年間5ミリシーベルト、一生で35ミリシーベルトを安全基準と してた。しかし、ウクライナやベラルーシの各共和国から「非人道的だ」との意見が相次ぎ、年間1ミリ生涯70年で70ミリという基準を設定。避難したい人 は避難できる「避難の権利」ゾーンが設定された。

これに対し、福島原発事故では、事故直後に決めた年間20ミリシーベルトが今なお継続されている。年間20ミリシーベルトは70年間の生涯線量にすると1400ミリシーベルト。

全文は福島原発:原子力被災者700万~チェルノブイリと同規模

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Forest Fire Blazes in Chernobyl off-Limits Zone via ABC News

[…]

It was unclear if the blaze has hit parts of the zone heavily contaminated by radiation from the 1986 reactor explosion and fire, although authorities said the flames swept through about 130 hectares (half a square mile).

Russian news agency Tass on Tuesday quoted Ukrainian official Yuri Antipov, in charge of the exclusion zone, as saying the fire started Monday evening and was brought under control by late morning on Tuesday.

A 30-kilometer (20-mile) zone around the plant is off-limits to most people except for workers constructing a new shelter to cover the destroyed reactor’s building, and to visitors on short trips. The explosion and fire left some sections of the zone heavily contaminated, while other parts were less damaged.

Radiation levels in the areas have not changed, Victoria Ruban, a Kiev representative of the Ukrainian State Service, was quoted as saying.

This is the second fire in the off-limits zone in three months. The forest fire in April swept through 400 hectares and was described as the first fire in the area in more than two decades.

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Space Particles Are Helping Map the Inside of Fukushima via Wired

[…]

But the days of butt-achey industrial inspection could be numbered, because a group of scientists at Los Alamos National Lab (you know, the atomic bomb place?) have figured out how to see through just about anything—including the radioactive disaster zone inside the Fukushima reactor core—using subatomic particles from outer space.

“Any industrial process is subject to flow-accelerated corrosion,” says Matt Durham, lead author of a new paper detailing the process, called muon tomography. Inside a pipe, whichever side that’s in contact with a fluid tends to get eaten up. The difficulty of disassembling a pipe for inspection means that comprehensive checks rarely happen. But using muons, “you don’t have to tear it apart,” says Durham. “You just have to zap it from the outside.”

Except Durham’s method doesn’t really do any zapping. The muon detector doesn’t emit anything. Instead, it just logs naturally-occurring muons as they enter and exit the pipe in question. Radioactive particles like these are everywhere in the universe. These ones start as particles called pions, which fly around in outer space until they enter the Earth’s atmosphere and decay into muons.

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台湾の「日の丸原発」建設を凍結 世論高まり受け 来年1月の総統選後には「建設中止」の可能性も via 産経ニュース

 台湾公営の台湾電力が台北郊外で計画していた第4原発の建設が1日、正式に凍結された。完成間近だったが、反原発世論の高まりを受けて昨年4月に政府が建設凍結を決め、各機器に劣化防止措置を施す作業を続けていた。

来年1月の総統選で政権交代の可能性が出ている野党、民主進歩党の蔡英文主席は同原発の建設中止を求めており、運転に向けた作業が再開するめどは立たな い。

(略)

第4原発は原子炉など主要部分を日本メーカーが輸出し「日の丸原発」と呼ばれる。1998年に着工後、工事トラブルが相次ぎ、建設は2000年に一時中断した。(共同)

全文は 台湾の「日の丸原発」建設を凍結 世論高まり受け 来年1月の総統選後には「建設中止」の可能性も

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徹底解説!廃炉が遅れる真の理由(上) 作業員事故死、下がらぬ放射線量 via 産経ニュース

 政府と東京電力は6月、福島第1原発の廃炉に向けた中長期ロードマップ(工程表)を2年ぶりに改定した。原子炉建屋にある燃料貯蔵プールからの燃料取り出しを最長3年遅らせるなど、後ろ向きの内容が目立ち、故郷への帰還を願う福島の住民にマイナスのイメージを与えたかもしれない。事故から4年以上たっても、なぜしっかりとした廃炉工程が定まらないのか。なぜ今になって工程を遅らせなければならなかったのか。その真の理由を探った。(原子力取材班)
[…]
平成23年12月に策定された工程表の改定は、25年6月以来2年ぶり3回目。今回の改定に際し、広瀬社長が「安全の配慮」に言及しなければならなかったほど、これまでは「スピード重視」が優先し、安全への配慮が十分だったかは疑問視される。

 ただ、福島の住民に早く安心感を持ってもらうためには、廃炉を早期に達成する目標は致し方ない部分もあったことも否めない。

 ところが、スピード重視は作業員の負担にもなっていた。

 今年1月には、第1原発構内でタンク(高さ約10メートル)の設置作業中に、作業員=当時(55)=が落下し死亡した。第2原発でも機材に頭を挟まれ作業員=同(48)=が死亡したため、原発での全作業をいったん中止。工程を守ることに固執して、逆に工程の遅れを招いた。
[…]
第1原発での作業員は当初3000人程度だったが、汚染水を入れるタンクの増設などで急増し、現在は約7000人が働く。

 現場の環境変化により、どこにどういったリスクがあるかを見極め、工程を遅らせるのは当然である。
「。。。」それは3号機の燃料貯蔵プールからの燃料取り出しだ。建屋上部にあるプールには燃料が566体あり、それを撤去することはリスクの大幅低減となる。

 3号機は23年3月の事故時に、水素爆発で建屋が大破した。建屋上部にはがれきが積み上がり、その撤去作業に時間がかかっている。

 特に、建屋の除染が難航し、放射線量が思ったより下がらないことが工程にブレーキをかけた。このため燃料取り出しは従来の工程より約30カ月遅らせて29年度からとした。
[…]
1号機にある392体の燃料、2号機にある615体の燃料の取り出しについても、線量低減など追加の安全対策を反映し、開始時期を29年度から32年度に変更している。

 1号機ではいま、建屋カバーの本格的解体工事に着手している。昨年7月に解体を始める計画だったが、3号機でがれきを撤去した際に放射性物質が飛散した問題があり大幅に遅れていた。

 飛散防止剤を散布しながら、建屋の周囲に防風シートを設置し、放射性物質濃度の24時間監視を図るなど、地元の不安を招かないように万全な体制を敷いている。

 原子力規制委員会の田中俊一委員長は会見で、「リスク低減の中でも、燃料をできるだけ早く速やかに地上に降ろすことはかなり最優先事項になっている。3号機のリスクがやはり大きい。まだまだ先の見通しが得られた状況ではないと思う」との見解を述べた。

もっと読む。

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Land prices rise in 10 prefectures, but overall trend is down via The Japan Times

[…]Rising prices were attributable to increasing investment in real estate, mainly by foreign investors, due to the yen’s depreciation and low interest rates under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies amid a gradual economic recovery.

Of the country’s 47 prefectures, the sharpest rise was 2.5 percent in Miyagi, followed by 2.3 percent in Fukushima, where reconstruction was underway after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Tokyo came next, with 2.1 percent.
[…]

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Researchers pin down risks of low-dose radiation via Nature

Large study of nuclear workers shows that even tiny doses slightly boost risk of leukaemia.

For decades, researchers have been trying to quantify the risks of very low doses of ionizing radiation — the kind that might be received from a medical scan, or from living within a few tens of kilometres of the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan. So small are the effects on health — if they exist at all — that they seem barely possible to detect. A landmark international study has now provided the strongest support yet for the idea that long-term exposure to low-dose radiation increases the risk of leukaemia, although the rise is only minuscule (K. Leuraud et al. Lancet Haematol. http://doi.org/5s4; 2015).

The finding will not change existing guidelines on exposure limits for workers in the nuclear and medical industries, because those policies already assume that each additional exposure to low-dose radiation brings with it a slight increase in risk of cancer. But it scuppers the popular idea that there might be a threshold dose below which radiation is harmless — and provides scientists with some hard numbers to quantify the risks of everyday exposures.

[…]

Radiation risks

Ionizing radiation — the kind that can pull electrons from atoms and molecules and break DNA bonds — has long been known to raise the risks of cancer; the higher the accumulated dose, the greater the damage. But it has proved extremely difficult to determine whether this relationship holds at low doses, because any increase in risk is so small that to detect it requires studies of large numbers of people for whom the dose received is known. A study of more than 300,000 nuclear-industry workers in France, the United States and the United Kingdom, all of whom wore dosimeter badges, has provided exactly these data. A consortium of researchers coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, examined causes of death in the workers (one-fifth of whom had died by the time of the study) and correlated this with exposure records, some of which went back 60 years.

The workers received on average just 1.1 millisieverts (mSv) per year above background radiation, which itself is about 2–3 mSv per year from sources such as cosmic rays and radon. The study confirmed that the risk of leukaemia does rise proportionately with higher doses, but also showed that this linear relationship is present at extremely low levels of radiation. (Other blood cancers also tended to rise with radiation doses, but the associations were not statistically significant.) The results were published on 21 June.

[…]

The data also challenge an ICRP assumption that accumulated low-dose exposure gives a lower risk of leukaemia than does a single exposure to the same total dose (based on the idea that the body has time to recover if the assault comes in tiny, spread-out doses). But such details are unlikely to change the overall ICRP recommendations, which are deliberately conservative, says Thomas Jung, from Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection in Munich.

[…]

Epidemiological studies suggest that radiation exposure has health effects beyond cancer. The IARC-led consortium is now looking at the effect on solid cancers, and also on diseases such as heart attack and stroke. Other studies are under way to study the long-term impact of low-dose radiation on different cohorts. One, the Epi-CT study, is recruiting one million people from nine European countries who had CT scans as children; its analysis will be complete by 2017. In another, the Helmholtz Center Munich is analysing heart tissue from workers who died in the Mayak uranium mines in the South Urals, Russia.

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