A Nuclear Power Plant Leaked Contaminated Water in Minnesota. Here’s What We Know via NPR

Minnesota officials are monitoring the cleanup of a 400,000 gallon leak of contaminated water from a nuclear power plant in the city of Monticello run by the energy giant Xcel Energy. Officials said there is no danger from the leak.

The leak was detected nearly four months ago and reported to state and federal regulators. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission posted a notice publicly at the time, but the company and state agencies did not notify the general public until last week.

“Xcel Energy took swift action to contain the leak to the plant site, which poses no health and safety risk to the local community or the environment,” the company announced in a statement on Thursday. Ongoing monitoring has confirmed that the leak “is fully contained on-site and has not been detected beyond the facility or in any local drinking water,” the company said.

Xcel confirmed the leak of water containing tritium in November 2022 and notified officials the same day, according to the company’s announcement. Officials attributed the leak to a water pipe running between two buildings at the plant site. The amount of contaminated water that leaked out is enough to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool about 60% full.


“Many operating nuclear plants have had some level of tritium leakage at some point during their operations,” Nygard said.

Michael Rafferty, a spokesperson for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, told NPR the agency waited to get more information before announcing it to the public.

“Minnesota state agencies are deeply committed to our role in protecting human health and the environment and take seriously our responsibility to promptly inform the public when a situation presents any sort of current or imminent risk,” Rafferty said. “The situation at Xcel Energy’s Monticello site did not — and still does not — present an imminent threat to residents’ health.”

Officials with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson for the NRC, Victoria Mitlyng, told a local news station that the public’s concern was “very understandable,” and emphasized that “the public in Minnesota, the people, the community near the plant, was not and is not in danger.”

What is tritium?

Tritium is a naturally occurring form of hydrogen that emits a weak form of radiation, which can’t travel far in air or penetrate skin, according to the NRC.

Tritium is also a byproduct of producing electricity in nuclear power plants, and the dose of tritium that comes from nuclear power plants is much lower than exposures from radiation present in the natural environment, according to the NRC. Xcel said the tritium levels in the leaked water were below NRC safety thresholds.

“Everyone is exposed to small amounts of tritium every day, because it occurs naturally in the environment and the foods we eat,” according to an NRC fact sheet.

Any radiation exposure can pose some health risk, including increased occurrence of cancer. The risks of exposure are linear, meaning lower levels of radiation pose lower risk.

Eating or drinking food or water with tritium in it is the most common way it enters the body. It can also be absorbed through the skin. About half of it leaves the body within 10 days after exposure.

The cleanup will take months

Xcel says it has recovered about 25% of the tritium-contaminated water that leaked, and recovery efforts will continue over the course of the next year.

“While this leak does not pose a risk to the public or the environment, we take this very seriously and are working to safely address the situation,” Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy–Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, said in the company’s statement. “We continue to gather and treat all potentially affected water while regularly monitoring nearby groundwater sources.”

To contain the leak, the water is being diverted to a treatment system inside the plant, which prevents water from leaving the plant. Xcel said it also inspected all of its piping to ensure this wasn’t also happening elsewhere in the facility.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said Xcel is considering building above ground storage tanks or installing a retention pond to store the water containing tritium that has been recovered, as well as considering treatment, reuse and disposal options. Minnesota regulators will review any options the company selects, MPCA said.

“Our top priority is protecting residents and the environment, and the MPCA is working closely with other state agencies to oversee Xcel Energy’s monitoring data and cleanup activities,” said Kirk Koudelka, MPCA assistant commissioner for land and strategic initiatives. “We are working to ensure this cleanup is concluded as thoroughly as possible with minimal or no risk to drinking water supplies.”

Read more.

Posted in *English | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

 事故後12年の原発政策 根拠薄弱な方針転換だ

via 佐賀新聞














Posted in *日本語 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

<社説>新たな津波想定/命を守る行動捉え直す契機に via 神戸新聞

















Posted in *日本語 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

これが復興の目玉? 謎だらけの「福島国際研究機構」 モデルは「核礼賛の地」、軍事転用可能な研究も via 東京新聞


























Posted in *日本語 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

 3・11から12年 つながりが生きる力に via 東京新聞




















Posted in *日本語 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant Disconnected via Aljazeera

After another blackout at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) in Ukraine, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog has appealed for a protection zone, saying he was “astonished by the complacency” of the organisation he leads, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Russian forces pounded several Ukrainian cities while people slept on Thursday, killing at least six civilians, knocking out electricity, and forcing Europe’s largest nuclear plant off the grid for a sixth time since Moscow’s invasion began last year.

The last time all power was lost at the site was on November 23, 2022, Rafael Grossi told the IAEA board of directors in a meeting on Thursday.

“What are we doing to prevent this [from] happening? We are the IAEA, we are meant to care about nuclear safety,” he said.

“Each time we are rolling a dice. And if we allow this to continue time after time then one day our luck will run out.”


Grossi has long tried to get both sides to strike a deal, pledging they would not fire at or from the plant and heavy weapons would be removed.


In his statement to the IAEA board, Grossi stressed: “This is the sixth time – let me say it again sixth time – that ZNPP has lost all off-site power and has had to operate in this emergency mode. Let me remind you – this is the largest nuclear power station in Europe. What are we doing? How can we sit here in this room this morning and allow this to happen? This cannot go on.”


Read more.

Posted in *English | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Fiji on very high alert after Japan’s plan to release more than 1.3 million tonnes of radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean via Fijivillage

By Vijay Narayan

A question that has been asked is, if the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) treated water is so safe, why not re-use it in Japan for alternative purposes – in manufacturing and agriculture for instance.

Acting Prime Minister, Manoa Kamikamica has made this comment after Japan’s plan to release more than 1.3 million tonnes of radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean over around four decades.

Kamikamica says as outgoing Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Fiji stands with the decision of the Forum Leaders in Nadi last week that our position about the planned release of ALPS-treated water by the Government of Japan be guided by science and data.

He says the planned release by Japan will have trans-boundary impacts across the Pacific Ocean and it is important that we reach a shared understanding on the implications of this release before we move ahead.

Kamikamica says just yesterday, we commemorated once again the day dedicated to the memories of victims and survivors of nuclear testing and waste.


He says the plans by Japan are therefore keeping Fiji on very high alert.

Kamikamica says we have learned our lesson the hard way, and we cannot leave the same legacy for current and future generations.

Kamikamica says as a Pacific Islands Forum, they have established an independent panel of scientific experts to advise them on this complex issue and to review the data and information that is informing Japan’s position on this matter.

He says in simple terms, the independent panel of experts have not been able to reach the same conclusion as the Japanese Government and the IAEA, based on the data and information that has been shared with them.

Kamikamica also says soon after chairing the Forum Leaders Special Retreat in Nadi, Prime Minister Rabuka left to attend this week’s Oceans Conference in Panama.

He says we live in the Pacific Ocean, and we are a ‘family of the ocean.”

Read more at Fiji on very high alert after Japan’s plan to release more than 1.3 million tonnes of radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean via Fijivillage

Posted in *English | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima at 12 via Nuclear Hotseat

NH #611: SPECIAL – Fukushima at 12: Voices from Japan – On the Ground w/Beverly Findlay Kaneko

Nuclear Hotseat

Nuclear Hotseat

NH #611: SPECIAL – Fukushima at 12: Voices from Japan – On the Ground w/Beverly Findlay Kaneko

Nuclear Hotseat

Nuclear Hotseat

NH #611: SPECIAL – Fukushima at 12: Voices from Japan – On the Ground w/Beverly Findlay

CLICK HERE to download This Week’s Episode #611

Fukushima 12th Anniversary: Voices from Japan, On the Ground w/Beverly Findlay-Kaneko

This Week’s Special Featured Interview:

Beverly Findlay-Kaneko provides an “on-the-ground in Japan” report on the current situation faced by people living with the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Beverly lived in Yokohama, Japan, for 20 years until March 2011, after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and the start of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.  She worked at Yokohama National University and The Japan Times.  Beverly has a Master’s degree in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and speaks Japanese fluently. She is the producer behind our Voices from Japan series and this year is the Voice from Japan.

I spoke with Beverly Findlay-Kaneko on February 27, 2023.

Links from the interview:

  • Hokkaido Nuclear Waste opposition article – Asahi Shimbun
  • Yonomori Denim – Sho Kobayashi’s business attempting to help rebuild Tomioka in northeast Japan. You can follow them on Instagram@yonomori_denim . And here’s a QR code, for those who understand how to use one:


Posted in *English | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima plant head: Too early to predict decommissioning via The Mainichi


“Going forward, we have to face unconceivably difficult work such as retrieving the melted debris” from inside the reactors, said Ono, who heads the plant and is president of Fukushima Daiichi Decontamination & Decommissioning Engineering Co.

Earlier this year, a remote-controlled underwater vehicle successfully collected a tiny sample from inside one of the three melted reactors — only a spoonful of about 880 tons of highly radioactive melted fuel and other debris that must be safely removed and stored.

The status of the debris in the primary containment chambers of the Unit 1, 2 and 3 reactors remains largely unknown, Ono said.

Removal of melted debris is set to start in Unit 2 sometime after September this year following a nearly two-year delay. The removal of spent fuel in the Unit 1 reactor’s cooling pool is set to begin in 2027 after a 10-year delay because of the need to dismantle parts of the building damaged by hydrogen explosions.

The plant should be ready for workers to finally concentrate on removing the melted debris from the reactors after all spent fuel is taken out of the cooling pools by 2031, Ono said.

The government is maintaining its original goal of completing the plant’s decommissioning by 2051. But some experts say removing all of the melted fuel debris by then is impossible and suggest a Chernobyl-style entombment of the plant, an option that could help reduce health risks while the plant’s radioactivity gradually decreases.

“I still consider this goal as a major guidepost,” Ono said. “We can’t say what will happen in 30 years. We can’t say, but roughly imagining the next 30 years, I believe that it is necessary to carefully and precisely build up the current plan in order to safely, steadily and quickly proceed with the decommissioning.”

Before that, however, the biggest issue is the disposal of large amounts of treated but still radioactive water from the plant, he said.

Water used to cool the three damaged reactors has leaked into the basements of the reactor buildings and has been collected and stored in about 1,000 tanks that cover much of the plant’s grounds.

The government and TEPCO say the tanks must be removed so facilities can be built for the plant’s decommissioning. The tanks are expected to reach their capacity of 1.37 million tons later this year.

Most of the radioactivity can be removed from the water during treatment, but tritium cannot be separated, and low levels of some other radionuclides also remain. The government and TEPCO say they will ensure the water’s radioactivity is far below legal limits and will dilute it with large amounts of seawater before its planned discharge into the ocean.

Local fishing communities have fiercely objected to the plan, saying their already damaged business will suffer more because of the negative image caused by the water release. Neighboring countries, including China and South Korea, and Pacific Island nations have also raised safety concerns.

TEPCO plans to finish construction of the facilities needed for the water discharge in the spring and then receive safety approval from nuclear regulators. A final inspection and report by an International Atomic Energy Agency mission are expected before the release begins.

The operator still needs to work on an “easy to understand” explanation and scientific evidence to help people understand the release, Ono said.

“The decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi itself is based on the understanding and trust of everyone in society,” he said.

Read more.

Posted in *English | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

“I started prioritizing treatment over my dreams for the future”: Public testimony of a young woman diagnosed with thyroid cancer after Fukushima disaster via CNIC


The first oral arguments were heard on March 26, 2022, at the Tokyo District Court. The following is the public testimony of one plaintiff, a young woman in her 20s, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was in high school. She describes the sobering trajectory of her life after diagnosis, from traumatic surgery and treatment to interrupted dreams of college graduation and employment. A recording of her testimony (in Japanese) can be heard on the website of Our Planet TV here.

Translated by Elicia Cousins

“It was my middle school graduation ceremony that day. “This is it, isn’t it!” My friends and I sat around chatting and taking lots of pictures with our digital cameras. I think it was snowing a bit at that time.

When the earthquake hit, I was video chatting with another friend about the graduation ceremony. At first, we casually noted that an earthquake was happening, but then the shaking suddenly got stronger and a ballpoint pen fell onto my head from somewhere. “Oh no!” (Yabai!) I heard someone say, and the call dropped.

My house is going to get crushed, I thought. The shaking continued for what felt like a hellishly long time.

I became aware of the nuclear accident when the actual explosion happened. I heard a rumor that radiation would turn the sky pink, but because that didn’t happen, I didn’t develop a sense of crisis.

March 16 was the day that that high school entrance exam results were posted. The trains were stopped because of the earthquake, so I heard the results at my middle school instead. I walked to school, and after seeing the results, I stood outside talking to my friend for a long time before walking back home again. I had no idea that radiation levels were very high that day.

My thyroid cancer was detected through the prefectural health survey.

I still have a very clear memory of the moment I found out. That day, I was wearing new clothes and sandals. My mom drove me to the examination.

There were several doctors involved in the examination process. Did the exam take a long time? Or was it quick? Now I’m not so sure. I can’t be certain, but I think that the moment the doctor took the ultrasound scan of my neck, their face clouded a bit. The examination was extensive.

People who had been called up after me were already finished with their exams. “You’re the only one who took longer,” my mom said. “Maybe you have cancer,” she joked as we left the venue. In that moment, I never suspected that I’d need a more detailed follow-up examination.[…]

The night before the surgery, I couldn’t sleep at all. I was filled with worry, and even though I felt like crying, there were no tears. But I thought, if this is what it will take to heal… so I went ahead with the surgery.

Things were way worse after the surgery.

When I came to, I felt fatigued and feverish. The anesthesia didn’t work well for me, I often threw up in the middle of the night, and I felt sick and nauseous. To this day, I can clearly remember how excruciating that experience was. I sometimes have nightmares about the surgery, hospitalization, and treatment.

After the surgery, my voice was gone, and I could hardly speak for three months.

I ended up enrolling at a university in a neighboring prefecture rather than my top choice school in Tokyo, partly because my family was worried about my illness. But I couldn’t even go to that school for very long, because my thyroid cancer came back.

The recurrence was detected at the very first health checkup I had after enrolling in college, and I had no choice but to quit. I hadn’t healed after allAnd the cancer has even metastasized to my lungs. The feelings were unbearable. I didn’t heal. I didn’t know where to channel my emotions. This time, I really might not be able to live much longer, I thought.

Since I now knew how difficult surgery was, I became depressed thinking about having to go through it all over again. The second surgery ended up taking longer than expected, and because the cancer had metastasized to my lymph nodes quite a bit, the cut on my neck got bigger.

Once again, the anesthesia didn’t sit well with me and I threw up in the middle of the night. Having to suction phlegm out of my chest was particularly painful. After the second surgery I lost all sensation around my clavicle, and it still feels strange whenever I touch that area.

I’ve had people say some shockingly heartless things about my surgical scars. Like when someone asked if they were the result of a suicide attempt. People have said things that never would have crossed my mind. These surgical scars will never go away. Now I always pick clothing that will cover them up.

After the surgery, I had to get isotope treatment for the lesions caused by the lung metastasis. This is a treatment where you take concentrated radioactive iodine pills in order to expose the cancer cells to radiation.

I did outpatient treatment for the first and second round. For this treatment, since you’re ingesting radioactive iodine, you end up becoming an exposure risk to the people around you. After I got my dosage at the hospital I’d go home and isolate myself, but I was worried about exposing my family to radiation. I drank the iodine twice, but the cancer didn’t go away.

For the third round I needed to take a larger amount of iodine, so I had to stay at the hospital. My room at the hospital was at the end of a long, white hallway and through several doors. There were yellow and red signs pasted everywhere, warning of radiation. It was a hazardous area despite being inside a hospital. As for the room itself, you can only bring in previously approved items. That’s because anything you bring in becomes contaminated.

Nurses don’t come into that hospital room. The doctor just comes in once a day to do an examination. I felt bad that the doctor had to come in knowing that they’d be exposed to radiation. I didn’t want anyone to have to sacrifice themselves because of me.

Two or three doctors came into my room with the medicine. The medicine was in a cylindrical plastic case.

Drinking the medicine was a race with time. One doctor took the white capsule out with tweezers, placed it in a paper cup, and handed it to me.

They then immediately left the room, closing the lead door behind them and then instructing me through the speakerphone to drink the medicine. I quickly gulped down the medicine with some water.

After I swallowed, they checked the inside of my mouth through the door. They then held a radiation-monitoring device over my stomach to confirm that the capsule got there, and then I was instructed to lay down on the bed. The doctor then told me over the speakerphone to change the orientation of my body every 15 minutes.

As for food, I was first shown a meal on the TV screen in order to make sure that I could eat all of it without leaving anything on my plate. They didn’t want to give me any more than I could eat, so as to minimize the amount of contaminated waste.

That night, a wave of nausea suddenly came over me. I felt so sick. The feeling wouldn’t go away so I panicked and pressed the button to call the nurse, but the nurse didn’t come. I thought I’d better not throw up on the bed, so I rushed to the bathroom.

When I later told the nurse that I’d thrown up, they just prescribed some anti-nausea medicine. By then it was already past 2am, and I couldn’t sleep very well.

The next day onward, I completely lost my appetite, and I usually had them bring me just medicine and not meals. I threw up once or twice on the second day too.

Until then, I’d almost never thrown up in my life. I ended up bursting a blood vessel in my eye because of the strain of throwing up, and my eye became bright red. Through the door, the nurse checked my condition, and prescribed some eye drops.

I felt sick for the rest of the time I spent in that room. I was just waiting for the time to pass.

In that room, there was a square radiation monitoring device attached to the wall near the ceiling. It looked like an air conditioner. On the bottom right of the device was a display window that would show the radiation measurement. When I stepped closer to it, the number would shoot up, and when I stepped away the number would go down again.

I spent three days like this, and finally it became time to leave. I had to throw away everything I’d been wearing, like my pajamas, into a garbage can made of lead. I changed into the clothes I’d stored in a locker, opened the lead door, and walked with the nurse down the long hallway and through multiple doors.

After this treatment, one of the side effects I had to deal with was that I couldn’t produce saliva normally. It became difficult to swallow food with a low water content, and my sense of taste changed.

That hospitalization experience was the harshest yet. I don’t want to have to go through it again.

I went through such a painful experience, and yet the treatment didn’t work that well. It didn’t do what it was supposed to, and I ended up feeling like it was all a waste. Before, I was motivated to get treatment with the assumption that it would cure me. Now, I just think, I hope this treatment at least slows down the progression of my illness.

After becoming ill, I’ve started prioritizing cancer treatment over my dreams for the future. Because of treatment, I’ve given up on everything—college, the studies I’d been focusing on in order to pursue the career I wanted, and even going to concerts I’d been so excited for.


Read more.

Posted in *English | Tagged , | Leave a comment