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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.

Read more at Forest Fire Blazes in Chernobyl off-Limits Zone

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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.

Read more at Space Particles Are Helping Map the Inside of Fukushima

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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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群馬ゴルフ場の風評被害認めず 原発事故でなく「自粛」要因 東京地裁 via iza

群馬県高崎市でゴルフ場を経営する会社が、福島第1原発事故の風評被害で利用客が減ったとして、東京電力に約4400万円の損害賠償を求めた訴訟の判決で、東京地裁は1日、風評被害を認めず、請求を棄却した。

水野有子裁判長は、平成23年の客の減少について、東日本大震災後の自粛ムードやガソリン不足などがあったとし、「原発事故が原因とはいえない」と指摘した。

続きは群馬ゴルフ場の風評被害認めず 原発事故でなく「自粛」要因 東京地裁

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7/31 どうする?!核のゴミ - 最終処分と合意形成を考える日独シンポジウム – via eシフト

ドイツ・緑の党のベアベル・ヘーン氏の来日にあわせ、核廃棄物の最終処分問題に関する日独シンポジウムを開催します。

日本では、高レベル放射性廃棄物(再処理したあとの核のゴミ)の最終処分地選定について、これまでの「自治体が名乗りをあげる」方式から国が候補地を選定する方式への転換が、2015年5月22日に閣議決定され、各地で国主催の「意見交換会」が開催されたところです。

一方ドイツでは、当初から最終処分場の候補地と考えられてきたゴアレーベンが、地層の安定性と住民・市民社会の反対とによって2013年に白紙撤回され、2014年、連邦議会のもとに「最終処分場委員会」がつくられてあらたな議論が始まったところです。
委員会には、政治家だけでなく労働組合、宗教団体、環境保護団体などの市民代表を含む33人が参加し、すべての議論に透明性をもたせながら合意形成をはかろうとしています。

(略)

日時: 2015年7月31日(金) 18:45~20:45
場所: 日比谷図書文化館 コンベンションホール(B1F)
http://hibiyal.jp/hibiya/access.html

プログラム(予定):
1. 「日本の高レベル廃棄物処分問題の経緯」  原子力市民委員会第2部会より
2. 「ドイツ・白紙からの最終処分場選定」  ベアベル・ヘーン氏
3. パネルディスカッション「核廃棄物最終処分:合意形成のあり方を考える」
・コーディネーター: 茅野恒秀(原子力市民委員会第2部会)
・現地から   調整中
・「ドイツ・処分場委員会に参画する環境団体」  吉田明子(FoE Japan)
・「若者世代が考える(もっといいタイトルあれば)」  西島香織(A SEED JAPAN)
・ベアベル・ヘーン氏
・原子力市民委員会第2部会

資料代: 800円
申し込み: こちらからお申し込みください。

主催: 核のゴミ最終処分と合意形成を考える日独シンポジウム実行委員会
共催: 原子力市民委員会、eシフト、緑の党グリーンズ・ジャパン、A SEED JAPAN、FoE Japan

詳細は7/31 どうする?!核のゴミ - 最終処分と合意形成を考える日独シンポジウム –

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TEPCO told to pay 27 million yen to family of Fukushima evacuee who killed himself via the Asahi Shimbun

FUKUSHIMA–Tokyo Electric Power Co. has been ordered to pay 27 million yen ($219,500) in compensation to the bereaved family of a male evacuee who committed suicide after being displaced due to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Presiding Judge Naoyuki Shiomi of the Fukushima District Court ruled on June 30 that the main reason Kiichi Isozaki, 67, from Namie, near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, killed himself was “stress related to the nuclear accident.”

It was the second time a court in Japan has deemed that the Fukushima accident was responsible for an evacuee’s suicide.

Shiomi ruled that Isozaki lost the “foundation of his life” when he had to evacuate from his hometown, where he had spent most of his life and enjoyed fishing and home gardening after retirement.

The judge concluded that the prolonged evacuation and economic insecurity about his future added to his anxiety and triggered depression.

Isozaki’s 66-year-old wife, Eiko, and two other family members sued the utility, demanding 87 million yen in compensation.

[…]
The central issue of the lawsuit was whether his suicide was related to the nuclear accident.

“Isozaki committed suicide after developing depression while evacuating from the area of the nuclear accident,” one of the family members testified in court.

But TEPCO claimed, “Isozaki was already suffering anxiety and stress since he had diabetes.”

In the first compensation judgment, the utility was ordered to pay about 49 million yen to the family of an evacuee from Kawamata who killed herself in July 2011. The ruling was made by the same court last August.

The evacuee, 58, had set herself ablaze while on a visit back to her home.

On that occasion the utility decided not to appeal the ruling, and senior TEPCO officials apologized to the family of the deceased.

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France Loses Enthusiasm for Nuclear Power via Scientific American

Nuclear’s share of electricty will drop from 75 percent to 50 percent by 2025 due to loss of know-how and requirements for more renewable sources
[…]
However, in fulfillment of a campaign promise, President François Hollande’s government is aiming to pass legislation in July that will cement a nuclear energy drawdown, bringing nuclear’s share of generation to 50 percent by 2025 in an effort to diversify France’s energy production as the country adopts new targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The move is a drastic shift for one of France’s iconic industries.

“Nuclear was sort of proof of the greatness of France,” said Bernard Laponche, a French energy consultant who helped develop France’s first generation of nuclear reactors. “It became a source of national pride, and there was never a strict separation between civilian and military affairs.”
[…]
On the other end of the supply chain, the French decided to recycle their nuclear waste, drastically cutting down on disposal requirements. A family of four over 20 years would generate a 35-millimeter film canister’s worth of nuclear waste.

The French government now holds 90 percent of shares in Areva, the firm that builds nuclear reactors, and 85 percent of Electricité de France (EDF), the utility that operates them.

For a time, the strategy paid off for France, helping make it the second largest economy in the European Union, behind Germany.

[…]
And while France has reduced nuclear waste, it hasn’t eliminated the need to dispose of it. No country with nuclear power has a viable underground repository for waste, and proposed sites in France face public opposition, despite more widespread support for nuclear power.

On the other hand, France is the second largest renewable energy producer and consumer in Europe. Wavering solar and wind power don’t play well with baseload nuclear plants that prefer to run at full blast, so the French must find a way to cope with this imbalance if they are to meet the European Union’s directive to generate 20 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2020.

[…]
The French energy agency ADEME recently issued a report finding that it is technically and economically feasible for France to switch to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, though distributed renewable energy is a direct threat to the nuclear utility’s business model.

[…]

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