Former F. Daiichi plant manager Masao Yoshida’s upcoming video will detail his view on the “full abandonment” issue. The video is scheduled for public release on August 11, but the Press has seen it in advance. In the video, Yoshida makes his obligatory apologies to the people of Fukushima, but later addresses whether or not Tepco ever wanted to abandon the power complex at the height of the crisis. He said that immediately following the unit #1 hydrogen explosion, works “rushed to” the site. Names of all arrivals were documented, as well as the names of those who left. Yoshida wanted to know who “remained at the site until the last minute to fight.” He later adds, “Basically, I was thinking how to stabilize the power plant. I thought no one engaged in cooling the reactors could leave. I never said a word about withdrawal to the head office.” He admits that his worst fears occurred when the unit #3 exploded with flying debris to hitting their command center (TSC), but even then there was no intent on his part to order abandonment. (Japan Times)
- The science ministry says the intentional withholding of radiation spread during the early days was justified. Today, they announced the SPEEDI forecasts “cannot be regarded as simulations of the real situations.” They explained the predicted spread of radioactivity data compiled by SPEEDI was “calculated based on assumptions” and could not be trusted. (Kyodo News) comment – The evacuations mandated around F. Daiichi were also based on assumptions, but that didn’t stop the government from forcing twice as many people from their homes than was actually needed.
- Full-scale decontamination of Tamura City by the government has begun. This is the first state-sponsored decontamination work inside the old no-go zones. However, a minority of vocal residents say this is essentially a “rush job”. They further oppose building a high-efficiency incinerator to speed up the disposal of material and greatly reduce its volume. Why? Because they fear radiation exposure. The proposed incinerator will exhaust gasses with no detectable cesium levels. But, opponents say the cesium will be concentrated in the ash and pose an unacceptable danger. Tamura is one of the communities where the return of residents is deemed possible by the end of the year. (Mainichi Shimbun)
- The next three nukes proposed to restart (but not this summer) have been announced. They are Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata plant, Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s Tomari plant and Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant. The Hokkaido plant is seen to be the most crucial because of the region’s typically cold, harsh winters. Without a Tomari retart, the region could experience a 400 MWe shortfall forcing rolling blackouts. Hokkaido Electric says discussions with local officials are scheduled to begin in September. The electrical projection was run by the company at the request of the prefectural government. However, it seems that Shikoku’s Ikata #3 will be the next plant to undergo restart discussions because its “stress test” analysis has been approved by Tokyo. Ehime governor Tokihiro Nakamura wants the restart delayed until the proposed nuclear regulatory commission is in place, and has been critical of the political delays in making it happen. However, he is aware of potential power problems if Ikata #3 is not restarted, “If a thermal power plant is halted due to trouble, the negative impact on the economy and people’s lives in the prefecture would be enormous.” Whether the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture is restarted will have a significant impact on Tepco’s financial situation. Without a restart, thermal plant and replacement power costs could cripple the company’s already fragile economic situation. However, Niigata governor Hirohiko Izumida doesn’t care, “It’s impossible to discuss the restart before the cause of the Fukushima accident is clear.” (Yomiuri Shimbun)
- The Tokyo government has proposed that Shunichi Tanaka, an expert in radiation physics, be appointed to head the new nuclear regulatory authority. His credentials are essentially impeccable. It should be noted that Tanaka is a resident of Fukushima and has considerable experience with decontamination efforts. The government also presented four other candidates — Kenzo Oshima, (former ambassador to the United Nations), Kunihiko Shimazaki, (Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction), Kayoko Nakamura (Japan Radioisotope Association), and Toyoshi Fuketa (Japan Atomic Energy Agency). (Kyodo News)
- Disaster Minister Goshi Hosono has gone on record as supporting all of former PM kan’s actions during the nuclear crisis. In a closed-door interview last November, Hosono said, “Suppose a prime minister other than Prime Minister Kan was pressed to make decisions there at that time, I have no idea who could be a prime minister capable of making (proper) decisions.” On Kan’s meddlesome flight to F. Daiichi on March 12, Hosono reported, “The decision led to Mr. Kan’s mental strength to carry the fate of the country and make decisions without sleeping for several days.” Concerning the site abandonment issue, he had thought the power company sounded out the government about the “complete withdrawal.” Hosono then added, “I hesitated to tell them to stay there. I had no idea what decision I should make”, indicating Kan was right in his making the order to not abandon F. Daiichi. He then expressed his sense of distrust in the utility, saying, “I was stunned at the possibility of TEPCO suppressing the Prime Minister’s Office’s intentions.” (Mainichi Shimbun)