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Nuclear disaster evacuees voice doubts about LDP recovery plan via The Mainichi

Evacuees of the Fukushima nuclear disaster have voiced skepticism over a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) plan to lift evacuation recommendations for all but the most heavily contaminated areas by March 2017, questioning whether decontamination will have advanced sufficiently by then.

The plan would lift evacuation recommendations for all areas except those with the most severe designation by March 2017. Compensation for emotional stress of 100,000 yen per month per resident would continue to be paid across the board until one year after that.

Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, could have its evacuation recommendation lifted as early as this summer. Under the current system, compensation to its residents would end next summer, but if the LDP plan is adopted, compensation would be extended for as long as a year and a half.

[…]

Another evacuee, Fumitaka Kanazawa, 58, fled with his family from the town of Namie to the city of Fukushima.

“Will the evacuation recommendation really be lifted by March 2017?” he asked doubtfully.

Under the decontamination plan for Namie, removal of radioactive materials is scheduled to be completed by March 2017, but that is three years behind the initial schedule.

“They probably timed the lifting of evacuation recommendations and the end of compensation payments to lessen the financial burden on Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO),” he says.

The LDP plan states that “for the two years through the end of next fiscal year, the national government will guide TEPCO into providing proper compensation” for businesses and industries affected by the nuclear disaster. For the period after that, however, it only states, “We will react appropriately according to individual circumstances.”

Read more at Nuclear disaster evacuees voice doubts about LDP recovery plan

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被ばく影響 世界に伝える 旧警戒区域で生きる牛たち via 東京新聞

 東京電力福島第一原発の旧警戒区域で被ばくしながら生き続けている牛がいる。家畜としての価値はなくなったが、「殺すには忍びない」と飼育農家の 人々が、避難先から通って世話を続けてきた。そんな牛たちを研究材料として活用するプロジェクトが進行中だ。低レベルの放射線が長期的に動物に与える影響 を調べたデータは世界に類がないという。研究は、人災の犠牲になった牛に生きる役割を与える道でもある。研究グループに同行して、旧警戒区域に入った。

 研究グループは「原発事故被災動物と環境研究会」。岩手大、北里大、東北大などの研究者に獣医師などが加わって二〇一二年九月に設立された。

 今月十七日早朝、大熊町の牧場に向かった。約五ヘクタールの牧場は新緑に包まれていた。柵の中で五十頭の黒毛和牛が草をはんでいる。その向こうに屋根瓦が崩落した無人の家屋群が立っている。

 福島第一原発から五・六キロ。空間線量は毎時一〇マイクロシーベルト。なぜ、こんな場所に今も牧場があるのか。

一一年三月十二日、牧場主の池田光秀さん(53)、美喜子さん(57)夫妻は、「原発が危ない」と聞かされて避難した。牛には「これが最後だよ」とエサをやって泣いた。

 ところが半年後、規制が緩くなり一時帰宅すると、牛たちは生きていた。自力で柵を破り、野草を食べていたのだという。最初は警戒したが、エサをや ると事故前のように寄ってきた。「かわいいもんさ」と池田さん。以来、一時帰宅の頻度が増え、今は毎日、避難先の広野町から夫婦でやってくる。

(略)

池田さんの牛は繁殖も販売も禁止されている。しかも農林水産省が決めた規則で、被ばくした牧草はエサとして与えられない。年間一千万円にも及ぶエサ代がのしかかる。休業補償や賠償があるとはいえ火の車だ。

 同じような農家は、今も旧警戒区域の中に十軒ほどはあり、牛は五百六十頭もいる。

池田牧場では、岡田啓司・岩手大准教授らを中心に牛のデータ採集が行われた。麻酔をかけた上で、皮膚の一部を切り取った。事故後、牛の体表に白斑が出る現 象があり、放射線との関連を調べるために病理検査をする。また、血液や毛なども採取した。DNA損傷の有無など調べるという。牛の首に小型線量計のガラス バッジも装着した。

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China warned over ‘insane’ plans for new nuclear power plants via The Guardian

He Zuoxiu, a leading Chinese scientist, says the country is not investing enough in safety controls after lifting of post-Fukushima disaster reactor ban

China’s plans for a rapid expansion of nuclear power plants are “insane” because the country is not investing enough in safety controls, a leading Chinese scientist has warned.

Proposals to build plants inland, as China ends a moratorium on new generators imposed after the Fukushima disaster in March 2011, are particularly risky, the physicist He Zuoxiu said, because if there was an accident it could contaminate rivers that hundreds of millions of people rely on for water and taint groundwater supplies to vast swathes of important farmlands.

China halted the approval of new reactors in 2011 in order to review its safety standards, but gave the go-ahead in March for two units, part of an attempt to surpass Japan’s nuclear-generating capacity by 2020 and become the world’s biggest user of nuclear power a decade later.

Barack Obama recently announced plans to renew a nuclear cooperation deal with Beijing that would allow it to buy more US-designed reactors, and potentially pursue the technology to reprocess plutonium from spent fuel.

[…]

“There are currently two voices on nuclear energy in China. One prioritises safety while the other prioritises development,” He [Zuoxiu] told the Guardian in an interview at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

He spoke of risks including “corruption, poor management abilities and decision-making capabilities”. He said: “They want to build 58 (gigawatts of nuclear generating capacity) by 2020 and eventually 120 to 200. This is insane.”
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He’s challenge to the nuclear plans is particularly powerful because of his scientific credentials and a long history of taking a pro-government stance on controversial issues, from the 1950s destruction of Beijing’s city walls to the crackdown in the 1990s on the religious group Falun Gong.

He would like to see China stop its expansion once the plants that have been approved or are now under construction are finished, and then gain a few decades experience of running them safely before expanding again. Almost all the country’s working reactors started up after 2000.

[…]

One of He’s biggest concerns is the proposal to meet the aggressive expansion plans by building nuclear plants inland. Three provinces have already chosen locations for plants and started preliminary work, and several more have been proposed.

China is short of water, and areas with enough water to cool a plant in daily operations or an emergency are densely populated. He [Zuoxiu] said: “They say they could build the plants in deserts, but the problem is there isn’t any water in the deserts.”

If plants are built near cities and farmland, any accident would put millions of people at risk from immediate fallout and long-term contamination similar to the radioactive leaks at Fukushima.

“If they build plants in places with a lot of water, the consequences of a nuclear leakage would be extremely grave,” He said. “I wouldn’t oppose it if they can guarantee it is 100% safe, but no one can guarantee this.

“To be honest, as I’m already 88, it won’t affect me much whether or not nuclear plants are safe. But I am concerned about the welfare of our children and think we shouldn’t just evaluate the profitability of new projects.”

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六ヶ所村・核燃料再処理施設 〜 原子力規制委員会と日本原燃のどちらが信用できるのか? via Huffington Post

今月16日付け東奥日報では、同15日に行われた原子力規制委員会(第56回核燃料施設等の新規制基準適合性に係る審査会合)の様子が報じられている。

この審査会合は、日本原燃・六ケ所再処理工場(青森県六ケ所村)に対するもので、再処理施設などへの「火山の影響評価」が議題。ここでの「火山」とは、噴火時に火砕流が工場敷地近くに到達する恐れのある十和田と八甲田の二つ。

記事によると、原燃と規制委の主張の概要はそれぞれ次のようなもの。

◎原燃担当者:十和田火山は「大規模噴火が起きるとしても数万年先」、八甲田火山は「長期的には活動が終息に向かっている」との見方を示した。

◎規制委の石渡明委員:「長期的には一定の割合でマグマが噴いているように見える。研究者の(見解の)引用ならいいが、根拠があまりないなら言わない方がいい」と指摘。

結局、規制委(とその事務局である原子力規制庁)は、原燃の判断根拠が不十分だとして、地殻変動などに関するデータの追加提出を求めた。

(略)
これらのことから察するに、”根拠があろうがなかろうが、研究者の言うことは信用するが、事業者の言うことは信用しない”というのが規制委・規制庁の方針 なのではないだろうか?有識者会合のメンバーである”・・教授”など、権威のある人の意見は正しいが、事業者の意見が正しくない、ということなのだろう か?

ところが、そもそも地震・津波や火山噴火に係る審査については、事業者が調査したデータを基に議論が行われている。はなっから事業者を信用しないのであれば、地震・津波や火山噴火に関するデータは、規制委・規制庁が準備すべきではないのか?

規制委の組織理念にある「何ものにもとらわれず、科学的・技術的な見地から、 独立して意思決定を行う」というを、規制委・規制庁自身が完全に履き違えていると思うのは、筆者だけではないだろう。

規 制する側(規制委・規制庁)と規制される側(事業者)が対等な立場で、真に科学的・技術的な議論を交わし合うことが原子力に係る安全性の向上に資するとい ことを、規制委・規制庁は再認識すべきである。そして、それを最も理解しなければならないは、規制委の人事権を握っている安倍首相自身である。

全文は六ヶ所村・核燃料再処理施設 〜 原子力規制委員会と日本原燃のどちらが信用できるのか?

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South Australians debate the role of nuclear fuel in the state’s future via ABC

South Australia is home to the country’s largest deposits of uranium, and now a royal commission is investigating how the state could use the nuclear fuel source in the future.

The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission has recently wrapped up a number of community consultations in the outback, regional town and metropolitan Adelaide.

It is tasked with looking into four areas, mining and exploration, manufacturing and processing, electricity generation and waste disposal and storage.

A number of community meetings have been run across all of South Australia’s regions and in Adelaide, giving residents a chance to questions the Royal Commissioner, former South Australia governors Kevin Scarce.

Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands communities have raised a number of issues with the Commission already.

[…]

The nuclear testing conducted at Maralinga in the late 1950s and early 1960s has left many aboriginal communities deeply sceptical of the industry.

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Fukushima leak ‘could cause hydrogen explosion’ at nuclear plant via The Telegraph

Warnings of risk of hydrogen explosion due to build up of gases in containers leaking radioactive water at Japan’s disaster-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant

Leaking containers at Japan’s embattled Fukushima nuclear power plant are at risk of possible hydrogen explosions, experts have claimed.

Almost 10 per cent of recently inspected containers holding contaminated water at the nuclear plant in northeast Japan were found to be leaking radioactive water.

The leakages, discovered during inspections by Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), the operators of the plant, were thought to be caused by a build-up of hydrogen and other gases due to radiation contamination.

The discovery was reported to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), which raised concerns surrounding the potential hazards of accumulated hydrogen building up in the containers.

“If the concentration level is high, a spark caused by static electricity could cause a container to explore,” one NRA official told the Asahi Shimbun.

Tepco officials made the discovery while inspecting 278 of the plant’s 1,307 containers and found that 26 – close to ten per cent – had a leakage or overspill from their lids.

[…]

“We think the possibility of an occurrence of hydrogen explosion from these storage facilities is extremely low, since there is no fire origin, or anything that generates static electricity nearby,” Mayumi Yoshida, a spokeswoman for Tepco, told the Telegraph.

Outlining measures to fix the problem, she added: “For temporary measures, we have been removing the leaked water, installing absorption materials, monitoring by patrol, keeping water level inside those facilities lower than set and keeping equipment which may generate fire away.

“In the long term, we’re going to lower the water level of current facilities so as to prevent further leakages.”

The plant, currently embroiled in a complex decades-long process of decommissioning, has been plagued by problems since it was damaged in the earthquake and tsunami four years ago.

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Idaho’s big battle over a small amount of spent nuclear fuel via Nuclear Street

What got things started is that nuclear scientists at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) want to bring two bundles of 25 spent fuel rods to the facility to test them for research purposes. This request has run afoul of a settlement agreement for cleanup of nuclear waste at the site inked by former Idaho governor Phil Batt.  It includes a provision to remove all spent fuel from the state by 2035. Implicit in the 1995 agreement is that the Idaho site will never again be used by the Department of Energy (DOE) as an interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel.

Currently, the site holds spent fuel from the failed Three Mile Island reactor, from Peach Bottom, and a large but unknown inventory of classified spent fuel from the US Navy’s nuclear powered ships and submarines. All of it must be gone by 2035, presumably to a permanent geologic repository like Yucca Mountain. Thanks to US Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), Yucca Mountain never opened stranding the spent fuel in Idaho.

At risk in Idaho is the potential for radioactive residuals to seep into the Snake River aquifer which is an enormous state-wide groundwater source of irrigation water for the state’s potato crop. Farmers have for decades feared that the Department of Energy’s use of the INL as a nuclear waste dump would french-fry their crop right on the vine. While these fears have long since been set to rest, due to progress with the cleanup effort, dark suspicions remain about the government’s intentions. The plan to bring new spent fuel to Idaho, even for R&D purposes, has triggered the ghosts of these old fears to once again haunt the political landscape.

The result is that former Governor Batt, a republican, and former Governor Cecil Andrus, a democrat, have teamed up to oppose DOE’s plan to bring the two shipments of civilian spent fuel to Idaho. They see it as a camel’s nose under the tent, a first step in making the remote R&D site, located 50 miles west of Idaho Falls, ID, an interim storage facility for all of the nation’s spent fuel.  Were that to happen it would likely be in operation for at least 100 years or longer taking in as much as 100 million tonnes of spent nuclear fuel. This is not an outcome either man wants having established as their respective political legacies a plan for exactly the opposite intended outcome. Both men say the plan to bring the spent fuel to the INL violates the 1995 agreement.

Read more at Idaho’s big battle over a small amount of spent nuclear fuel

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#lohudreacts: Indian Point still stirs fervor via Lohud

[…]

The wave of reader comments on lohud.com and on Facebook since a May 9 transformer explosion and oil spill suggest that the tenor of the Indian Point debate has changed little since.

“This was written in response the the question: Should we close Indian Point?” reader Eric Gendell commented on an opinion poll about the plants. “Anyone who trusts nuclear energy is a moron.”

Jon Langberg, on the other hand, writes that shutting down a safe, well-monitered and environmentally friendly facility “is the essence of pure stupidity.”

That poll went up on lohud.com four days after the explosion and asked about readers’ confidence in the plants’ safety. Most of our polls get a few hundred votes; this one got more than 7,500. A majority, 53 percent, said they worried about the plants; 41 percent said they were confident.

The non-scientific poll was meant to gauge reader sentiment and encourage debate. An IP address analysis, however, showed that one-fourth or more of the 7,500-plus responses came from one location: Entergy Corp, 700 S. Louisiana St., Little Rock, Arkansas.

[…]

Poll results

After the recent blast, how confident are you in Indian Point’s safety, Entergy’s transparency or the workability of the evacuation plan?

53% As worried as ever. There’s no way to evacuate if the worst happens, and who knows what Entergy’s not telling us?

41% Fully confident, as ever. The blast illustrated that the reactors are well-protected and that Entergy knows how to respond in an emergency.

4% I wasn’t worried before, but I am now. Maybe we should go slow on this relicensing.

2% I never think about Indian Point. I’m sure it’s safe. And if it’s not, there’s not much I can do.

Read more at #lohudreacts: Indian Point still stirs fervor

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川内原発、初の審査終了へ=保安規定27日にも認可-規制委 via 時事ドットコム

 原発再稼働の前提となる新規制基準への適合性審査で、原子力規制委員会は25日、九州電力川内原発1、2号機(鹿児島県)の保安規定変更認可について、 27日の定例会合で審議することを決めた。

(略)

2013年7月に始まった新基準に基づく審査で、川内原発が正式に「合格第 1号」となる。

ただ、再稼働には現在行われている使用前検査を終える必要があり、九電は7月下旬に1号機、9月下旬に2号機の再稼働を目指し、作業を続ける。

全文は川内原発、初の審査終了へ=保安規定27日にも認可-規制委

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高浜原発近く 14~16世紀津波 古文書記録と一致 via 東京新聞

福井県の高浜原発近くの地層から、十四~十六世紀ごろの津波の痕跡とみられる堆積物が見つかった。古文書に記 載がある天正地震(一五八六年)の時期と重なる。福井大などの研究チームが、千葉市で二十四日から開かれる日本地球惑星科学連合大会で発表する。原発再稼 働の是非をめぐる論議に一石を投じそうだ。

 若狭湾沿岸では、これまで、関西電力などが行った調査で敦賀半島の「猪ケ池(いのがいけ)」の地層から痕跡が見つかっている。年代は約五千三百~五千六百年前とされ、今回とは大きく異なる。

 チームは、海岸から三百~六百メートル離れた高浜町の水田に試掘溝を掘るなどして、厚さ数センチから十数センチの砂層を見つけた。砂粒が海岸で見 られるように丸っこい上、貝殻片やウニのトゲなど海の生物の遺骸が含まれており、津波による堆積物の可能性が高いと結論づけた。放射性炭素を使って年代を 推定した。

(略)

 調査地点から約七キロ北西には関西電力高浜原発がある。関電は、再稼働に向けて最大六・七メートルの津波を想定し、高さ八メートルの防潮堤を設けており、「研究の詳細を承知していないので、何も言うことはできない」としている。

 天正地震は、近畿・中部地方に大きな被害を与え、ポルトガル人宣教師ルイス・フロイスが著した「日本史」などに、若狭湾沿岸に大津波が押し寄せたとの記述が見つかっている。震源がどこかは定説がない。

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