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Originally posted by Purplechive
Unit 2: Another Temp Gauge Kaput
Unit 2 Graph:
- Purple Chive
VESSEL WALL ABOVE BOTTOM HEAD （TE-2-3-69H3）：48.8℃ (9/9 11:00 現在)
The first sequential study of cesium concentration on the sea floor off Ibaraki Prefecture has found the level of the radioactive element in coastal areas dropped to about a quarter about 13 kilometers off shore.
The study by researchers from the University of Tokyo's Institute of Industrial Science and others measured the level of radioactive cesium, believed to have leaked from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant hit by the March 2011 accident, in a sequential manner on ocean floors starting from coastal areas off Ibaraki and Fukushima prefectures, the researchers said.
So far, cesium levels have been measured sporadically at spots ranging from several kilometers to dozens of kilometers from the shore. But capturing changing levels in sequence is hoped to pave the way for understanding variations in distribution patterns due to typhoons and sea currents as well as discovering hot spots with excessively high levels of radioactive cesium.
"It will be a tool to study how radioactive materials that have accumulated on ocean floors would affect sea creatures," said Tamaki Ura, professor at the university. "Measures cannot be drafted without the data. The government should conduct the research systemically," he said.
Ura and colleagues carried out the research in mid-August off the cities of Kitaibaraki in Ibaraki Prefecture and Iwaki in Fukushima Prefecture. The team took measurement by dragging a measuring device by boat after submerging it to a depth of 85-140 meters.
In waters off Kitaibaraki, the level of radioactive cesium that stood at about 200 becquerels per kilogram near the shore shrank to a quarter 13 km offshore.
Copyright 2012 Kyodo News
The Japanese government took a hands-off stance on Thursday over remarks by Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto that the nation's nuclear power plants are a deterrent against foreign attack.
His remarks, made before he assumed the current post, "have nothing to do with the (view of the) government," top government spokesman Osamu Fujimura told a news conference, noting that Morimoto presented his "personal opinion."
Morimoto was well known as a TV commentator on security and foreign policy issues before becoming Japan's first nonparliamentarian defense chief since World War II in June.
The controversy stems from comments made by Morimoto during a public forum on Jan. 25, when he reportedly said nuclear plants in Japan are "taken by neighboring countries as having very great defensive deterrent functions," according to minutes of the discussion made available to Kyodo News.
Fujimura, the chief Cabinet secretary, said the government "absolutely does not" consider the plants as having the potential for nuclear weapons development.
The issue of operating nuclear plants has become a sensitive topic in Japan in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant crisis last year.
Morimoto has told Kyodo News that as a member of the Cabinet, he will stick to the government's policy of retaining the three non-nuclear principles -- not possessing, producing or allowing for the presence of nuclear weapons.
Copyright 2012 Kyodo News
(Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), the operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, has bowed to pressure from the media and government and decided to release more video footage of staff trying to contain the March 2011 crisis.
The footage to be released may shed light on how Tepco dealt with the No. 4 unit's spent fuel pool, the source of most concern at the U.S. nuclear regulator because it was the sole unit to hold all fuel rods without a solid containment.
It may also answer questions about the deliberate release of radioactive water into the sea by Tepco in early April -- more than two weeks after the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the crisis. Neighboring countries, including South Korea and China, denounced the release.
"We consider the first month of the disaster as a period of emergency," Tepco said in a statement late on Thursday about the extra footage. It was not clear when it would release the film covering events between March 16 and April 11.
Tepco had released 150 hours of footage covering the first five days after the March 11 quake to media only, prompting criticism that the company was not coming clean on the early days when the situation at the plant almost spun out of control.
Tepco had previously acknowledged in 2007 that it covered up safety lapses for years.
(Reporting by Risa Maeda; Editing by Ron Popeski)
The government said Thursday that it will seek 81.7 billion yen for its new nuclear regulatory body in the budget for the next fiscal year from April, including funds to conduct research on measures to deal with severe nuclear accidents.
The budget request is up 33.2 billion yen from the requested amount for fiscal 2012, when the new body was initially expected to be established. The new organization will be launched later this month as a key step in overhauling Japan's nuclear regulatory system in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi atomic power plant disaster.
"Using this budget, we want to deal with the Fukushima nuclear accident and seek to establish the strictest nuclear regulations in the world," nuclear disaster minister Goshi Hosono said.
The government apparently feels the need to increase its knowledge of accidents that could result in serious damage to the reactor core. Before the nuclear crisis that followed the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, in which three reactors experienced meltdowns, regulators had thought such accidents were unlikely to occur and left it up to utilities whether to take countermeasures.
In the latest budget request for the new regulatory body, the government requests funding for developing a computer program that would enable the state to judge whether countermeasures against accidents compiled by the utilities are appropriate.
The government also seeks spending on studies on the degree of danger posed by active faults in areas where nuclear power plants are located, and funding for enhancing security against nuclear terrorism.
The new nuclear regulatory body will replace the existing Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, criticized for lacking teeth because it is under the umbrella of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry that has been promoting nuclear power.
The new organization will be placed under the Environment Ministry, but its independence will be guaranteed legally by giving it a status akin to the country's antimonopoly watchdog, the Japan Fair Trade Commission.
Copyright 2012 Kyodo News
The government's task force revised on Monday its basic disaster prevention plan, strengthening measures to cope with nuclear accidents following last year's earthquake and tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The revised plan, adopted by the Central Disaster Management Council headed by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, clarifies procedures to release data on the dispersal of radioactive materials in the event of a nuclear accident.
The government came under criticism that the delay in releasing data from the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information, or SPEEDI, may have resulted in the unnecessary radiation exposure of people who later evacuated from their homes around the plant.
Measures concerning nuclear disasters were thoroughly reviewed for the first time since 2000 following a critical accident at a nuclear fuel processing firm in Tokaimura, Ibaraki Prefecture, the previous year.
Noda said at the council meeting it is important to strengthen antidisaster measures promptly to prepare for such a major quake centering in the Nankai Trough off central and western Japan.
Copyright 2012 Kyodo News
The government lifted its numerical power-saving targets Friday for areas served by three utilities in western and southwestern Japan, after the country was able to ride out the summer peak demand season for the second straight year in the face of supply constraints.
While only two of 50 commercial reactors in Japan were in operation this summer following last year's Fukushima nuclear disaster, power-saving efforts at home and by companies have become more common. The supply was also stable as utilities have shared more electricity between them and companies have increased the use of in-house power generation facilities.
The reactivation of two reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi plant in Fukui Prefecture has also helped ease power supply constraints to some extent, but views are divided on whether the Kansai region would have suffered a power shortage had they not been brought back online, as suggested by the government.
The government this summer asked households and businesses in seven utilities' service areas to voluntarily cut consumption of electricity by setting numerical targets from the 2010 levels on weekdays to prevent a blackout.
The government removed power-saving targets for Kansai Electric, Shikoku Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. at 8 p.m. Friday. The targets have already been lifted for areas served by Hokuriku Electric Power Co., Chubu Electric Power Co. and Chugoku Electric Power Co.
For the service areas of the six utilities, power usage in peak hours fell 5 to 11 percent on average from the 2010 summer levels.
The government had been prepared to implement rolling blackouts in areas served by Kansai Electric and three other utilities where power supply is deemed especially tight, but they turned out to be unnecessary.
If peak demand in July and August is compared with the 2010 summer levels, by using calculations based on days with the same temperature, power usage fell about 11 percent in the Kansai region, which was better than the 10 percent government-set reduction goal.
Speaking at a news conference, Kansai Electric President Makoto Yagi thanked households and businesses for their cooperation.
"It was a very high hurdle. But our customers made tremendous efforts," Yagi said.
Power usage fell 9.5 percent in Kyushu and 8.6 percent in Shikoku, compared with the 10 percent and 5 percent reduction targets.
In the Chubu, Hokuriku and Chugoku regions, where 5 percent power saving was requested, usage fell between 5 to 6 percent.
For Hokkaido, northern Japan, the government will keep asking people and businesses to cut usage by 7 percent from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, through Sept. 14 as scheduled.
Without numerical targets, the government will continue to ask people in Japan, excluding Okinawa Prefecture which is served by a utility that does not have a nuclear power plant, to conserve electricity through Sept. 28.
Copyright 2012 Kyodo News
The Japanese government has decided to postpone setting a new energy policy, originally planned for Monday, due to difficulties in forming a consensus, government sources said Sunday.
The decision comes after business circles opposed a proposal made Thursday by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, which stated a goal of ending nuclear plant operation in the 2030s and asked the government to reflect it in the new policy.
It might take some time before deciding on the policy due to conflicting opinions within the government on whether to indicate a specific time frame for ending nuclear power generation. Some DPJ members also want to avoid making the issue a focal point in the DPJ leadership election scheduled on Sept. 21.
Japan has been exploring ways to reduce the proportion of total electricity generated by nuclear power following the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
In devising the new energy policy, the government proposed to the public three options for nuclear energy's share of total power generation in 2030 -- zero percent, 15 percent and 20 to 25 percent -- compared with 26 percent in 2010.
Copyright 2012 Kyodo News
Tokyo Electric Power Co. will set up an expert panel to examine the nuclear crisis at its Fukushima Daiichi power plant and enhance the security of its nuclear plants, sources close to the issue said Sunday.
The panel will consist of key domestic and foreign figures, including former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Dale Klein and management consultant Kenichi Omae, according to the sources.
By choosing the members from outside the so-called "nuclear power village," a close-knit community of academics, bureaucrats and utility officials with vested interests in promoting atomic power, the utility apparently aims to regain public confidence before its planned resumption of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture next April.
Based on the panel's debates, Tokyo Electric will have its own taskforce of around 30 members, including President Naomi Hirose, compile proposals for reform of the company's nuclear operations.
On the resumption of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida has said it should be discussed after the cause of the Fukushima nuclear accident is determined.
In the face of the negative stance of the governor, Hirose expressed readiness last month to set up a permanent in-house organization to examine the accident and promote security measures.
Copyright 2012 Kyodo News
An international flight departed Fukushima Airport for Shanghai on Monday for the first time since Fukushima Prefecture was hit by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters in March last year.
Around 140 passengers, including Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato, boarded the chartered plane operated by China Eastern Airlines.
Before the triple disaster, China Eastern Airlines operated two flights between Fukushima and Shanghai per week while South Korean carrier Asiana Airlines had three flights between Fukushima and Seoul, but both routes were suspended.
The 140 passengers comprised 120 tourists and a 20-member team led by Sato to stage tourism campaigns for Fukushima in Shanghai and Beijing.
Copyright 2012 Kyodo News
Key details of how the accident at Japan’s Fukushima I nuclear plant played out have yet to be determined and may not be known for five years or more, when important parts of the plant are safer to enter, officials with the Japanese and US nuclear industries told a US National Academies review committee Thursday.
A committee of the National Academies is conducting the study, which is mandated by Congress, on behalf of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The committee held its second data-gathering session Thursday in Washington.
Yasunori Yamanaka, manager of Tepco’s nuclear safety engineering group, said following the meeting that one of the key pieces of information that will be learned in the coming years is the location and condition of the core of nuclear fuel in the three reactors that experienced meltdowns. Tepco believes the uranium fuel of unit 1 at Fukushima I almost entirely melted its way through the bottom of the thick steel reactor vessel and poured to the floor of the containment structure, eating through a portion of the concrete floor of that area.
The company plans to use cameras and other surveillance equipment to determine how much of the core of units 2 and 3 remain in the reactor, Yamanaka said. The company believes almost half of the fuel in those units, which maintained core cooling longer, melted, he said. It may take more than five years before Tepco can determine whether the fuel in those units remains in the bottom of the reactor vessel or also fell to the containment floor, Yamanaka said.
Officials at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, looking to save TVA ratepayers money, want to study the use of reprocessed weapons-grade plutonium as fuel in its Limestone County reactors.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is the only power company considering the plutonium-based mixed-oxide fuel, or MOX. TVA entered into an agreement with the Energy Department to study the feasibility of using the fuel at Browns Ferry and at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, near Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.
“TVA has made no decision to use mixed-oxide fuel at any of our reactors,” TVA spokesman Ray Golden said last week.
TVA would only agree to use the material, Golden said, if MOX is “environmentally and operationally safe, licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and economically beneficial to TVA’s customers.”
A public hearing will be held Thursday on the plant’s proposal, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Aerospace Building at Calhoun Community College. The formal hearing, which includes a presentation by the Energy Department, will begin at 6:30.
A recent U.S. Department of Energy study concluded that, with safeguards, MOX would not be more dangerous to the public than conventional fuel.
The Energy Department has spent billions on an unfinished facility to convert plutonium to MOX in South Carolina, even though no nuclear plants have committed to using the fuel.
The conversion process makes MOX far more expensive to produce than the low-enriched uranium fuel Browns Ferry was designed to use. It could nonetheless benefit TVA because of federal incentives if TVA agrees to use MOX.
Golden said TVA has not negotiated an incentive contract, so the extent of the economic benefit to TVA ratepayers is unknown.
Edwin Lyman, a senior staff scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C., said MOX would be dangerous at any plant, and especially at Browns Ferry.
“MOX fuel decreases the safety of boiling water reactors,” the type used at Browns Ferry, Lyman said. “It makes the reactors harder to control. MOX fuel, in an accident, could behave worse than uranium fuel.”
The Browns Ferry reactors are the same type used at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan, which suffered meltdowns last year after an earthquake-triggered tsunami. A 12-mile evacuation zone remains in effect around the Japan reactors, one of which used a form of MOX fuel. TVA has implemented several modifications to reduce the risk of a similar incident at Browns Ferry, which is 11 miles northwest of downtown Decatur.
Because MOX is a mixture of two elements — uranium and plutonium — it does not blend evenly, Lyman said.
“You tend to get clusters of plutonium forming hot spots,” Lyman said. “That increases the risk of various types of accidents. It’s more dangerous.”
Lyman said the radiation released in the event of an accident would be more toxic because of the plutonium.
He disputes an Energy Department study indicating MOX fuel would be about as safe as conventional uranium fuel.
The idea behind using MOX for fuel was to prevent nuclear proliferation, Lyman said. Two decades ago, Russia had a weak central government, and U.S. officials feared its plutonium stockpiles were vulnerable to theft by rogue states or terrorists. In treaties, the two countries agreed to reduce their surplus weapons-grade nuclear material by recycling it into forms that were less attractive to terrorists.
The preferred U.S. method for reducing its stockpile was to convert the plutonium into MOX for use in reactors.
“MOX is a cure that’s worse than the disease,” said Lyman, because transport and storage at facilities such as Browns Ferry make it more accessible to terrorists.
Referencing a Nuclear Regulatory Commission report issued Thursday, Lyman said recent problems at Browns Ferry make it especially unsuitable for MOX.
“All three Browns Ferry units are in the category of degraded performance,” Lyman said. “Unit 1 is in the worst category. It’s the only one in the country in that category.”
What: The Energy Department will hold a public hearing on the use of plutonium-based mixed-oxide fuel at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant.
When: Thursday. An open house will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by a presentation at 6:30.
Where: Aerospace Building at Calhoun Community College, 6250 U.S. 31 North in Tanner.
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A Chinese carrier flew from Fukushima Airport to Shanghai on Monday, the first such flight since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear crisis in Fukushima Prefecture.
About 140 Japanese passengers boarded the chartered China Eastern Airlines flight, including a 22-member delegation from the prefecture and some 120 tourists taking part in a five-day tour of Shanghai, organized by a Japanese travel agency.
"I would like to accurately convey the present situation of Fukushima to the Chinese government and airlines and call for an early revival of regular flights," said Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato, who heads the delegation.
Prior to the suspension of international flights to and from Fukushima Airport, China Eastern Airlines ran two weekly Fukushima-Shanghai flights and South Korea's Asiana Airlines operated three weekly Fukushima-Seoul flights.
Regular domestic flights to and from the airport have already been resumed, linking it to Sapporo and Osaka.
Copyright 2012 Kyodo News
Originally posted by Aircooled
Purple, I was in the forest today and no mesquitos, even though we've had normal rain the last month. Maybe the 2 month drought knocked out the eggs?