Japan’s Meteorological Agency has issued a heatstroke warning. The early summer heat wave and atmospheric conditions over the Pacific indicate this will be a “hotter than normal” summer. The number of heat-related medical patients reported between July 9 and July 15 were 2,483, compared to 979 the previous week. (News on Japan) As the temperature rises in Japan, some good news comes out of Tepco. They announced the third of a triple-unit gas turbine power system has begun operation. The first two were started on June 29 and July 12, respectively. Total electrical output for the three is 804 MWe. (TEPCO press release) This, combined with the expected full-power output from Oi unit #4 at some point this weekend, should help avert power shortages as the summer begins to bake the island nation.
- The first fuel bundles have been removed from F. Daiichi unit #4 spent fuel pool. The first was removed on Wednesday and second fuel bundle was removed Thursday. They have been inspected for any possible corrosion or damage from being cooled with seawater, with no follow-up report of finding any. The bundles were slid into plastic protective sleeves and placed inside a “transport vessel” for storage. (Yomiuri Shimbun) In addition, Tepco has released pictures of the removal of the first bundle… http://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2012/201207-e/120719_01e.html
- The Hamaoka nuclear power station on Tokyo Bay has held a power blackout drill, simulating what happened to Fukushima Daiichi on 3/11/11. The Hamaoka nukes were the first to be ordered shut down by former PM Naoto Kan in May, 2011, because of fear of an earthquake and tsunami similar to the one on 3/11/11 which might happen within the next 30 years. The drill dealt with emergency actions during the first two hours of such a natural calamity. Some 4,000 people took part in the exercise. (Japan Times)
- Although the extreme earthquake of 3/11/11 did not seem to have damaged F. Daiichi, the government is stepping up quake analysis for Japan’s nukes, nonetheless. One nuke of most concern is the Shika nuclear facility in Ishikawa Prefecture. A 900 meter-long crack in the bedrock under the property has been recently discovered. It is not known whether it is seismic or merely a geologic anomaly that cannot cause or contribute to a quake. Another crack was also discovered near the Oi nuclear power complex, and whether or not it is seismic is not known. As a result, NISA has ordered a full analysis because the cracks were unknown when the plants were designed and built. Expert opinions on the crack near Oi were heard on Tuesday, which were generally in favor of the “non-seismic” conclusion. However, NISA ordered Kepco (the Oi owners) to run a full evaluation “just in case”. (Yomiuri Shimbun)
- Fukushima University plans on opening a research center to study the long-tern effects of radioactive contamination. It is hoped the center will be fully operational early next year. The research center will be supported by Hiroshima University, Nagasaki University, University of Tsukubam (Ibaraki Prefecture), and the National Institute of Radiological Sciences. International support will come from a state university in Belarus. University vice president Takayuki Takahashi said, “Environmental radiation research will be a long battle.” The center will study the movement of substances through the environment, the migration of the materials through the food chain, and “environmental regeneration”. (Japan Times) comment – Environmental regeneration? What regeneration? There is no evidence for any actual environmental damage due to the Fukushima accident. With no damage, how can there be regeneration? All the actual damage was due to the massive tsunami. Why not a study center on regeneration of tsunami damage?
- America’s National Academy of Sciences has established a committee to study the F. Daiichi accident. Representatives of the American nuclear power industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission took part in the first meeting on Thursday. Both groups said they have taken steps to insure against the possibility of a prolonged full station blackout, like the one that occurred at Fukushima. Because overconfidence was at least partly to blame for the Japanese crisis, everyone agreed to take steps to insure it would not happen in the United States. On other issue to be addressed was the negative effect of government meddling during the critical stages of the accident. The committee wants to insure that a similar situation never happens with American plants (NHK World)