• After nearly three months of analysis, Kansai Electric Company (Kepco) says the geologic anomaly running under the Oi nuclear station is probably not an active seismic fault. Kepco says their “interim” report will be submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Authority today and the final report by the end of this year. The new data shows the anomaly has not moved in the last 130,000 years and there is no evidence that it would move with any active faults in the region. Kepco has paid for the digging and boring operations used to investigate the situation. The same type of investigation was done prior to the start of construction on the first Oi unit, which went into operation in 1979. The new study, mandated by Tokyo, has uncovered nothing to counter the previous evaluation. The seam in the underlying bedrock does not appear to be seismic. Regardless, the NRA plans on running its own investigation beginning on November 2nd. (Mainichi Shimbun; NHK World)
  • It seems stories of Japan going “no-nukes” by the 2030s may have been premature. The Tokyo government is debating whether or not the mid-to-long term goal of abolishing nukes by the 2030s is viable. Because of the debate, the Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Industry has postponed discussion on the specifics needed to make the new policy a reality. It is doubtful that the debate’s deadlock will be broken before the next national congressional election, thus the finalization of Japan’s future energy policy could be delayed until next year. One informed source says the debate is not presently resolvable, “Therefore, the basic outline won’t be concluded this year.” Many in the Diet feel finalizing the energy policy now would be too hasty, cause the debate itself to spiral out of control and result in a rift that could aggravate Japan’s current state of political disorder. The costs of replacing nukes with fossil-fueled plants has already weakened Japan’s economy and threatens to drive the cost of electricity beyond what the public will accept. METI continues to say they are committed to the eventual abolition of nuclear power in Japan, but when and how that will be done remains an open, festering political sore. (Yomiuri Shimbun)
  • The majority Democratic Party of Japan is accused of looking like a “bunch of bungling amateurs” by popular author and journalist Richard Katz. Katz argues that the DPJ’s nuclear policy statements have been “…reversals, and then reversals of the reversals.” He charges the “rollercoaster of reversals” makes no sense and leaves Japan’s energy policy in a state of confusion. This makes it hard for high-electrical-use businesses to decide whether or not to stay in Japan. Further, Katz charges that it alienates the majority of voters who no longer trust nuclear power. He blames it all on Prime Minister Noda, who he believes told the Diet and the public just what they wanted to hear so he could remain as PM. Katz states there is no doubt that the DPJ’s endorsement of the no-nukes policy was an “election gambit”, but Noda’s subsequent reversal has offset any gains his party might have made. Noda’s reversal will allow at least a few nukes to operate well into the 2050s, if not longer. Katz admits that summarily removing nuclear energy from the grid will cost Japan’s electric consumers dearly, and that belief in renewables producing 30-35% of the island nation’s electricity by 2035 is unrealistic. (News on Japan)
  • The build-up of decontaminated waters at F. Daiichi has resurfaced as a major news media issue. More than 200,000 tons of decontaminated water from the turbine basements of units 1 through 4 is presently stored in large tanks covering much of the plant property. Tepco says they have room for 700,000 tons of storage. The decontaminated water is used to cool the reactor vessels and spent fuel pools of units #1 through 4. Turbine building in-leakage of groundwater is currently greater than the amount of de-conned water being used, thus the volume needed for storage increases with each passing day. Unless that situation is reversed, Tepco will eventually fill all of the tanks and have to make space to bring in more. Water-treatment manager Yuichi Okamura says, “It’s a pressing issue because our land is limited and we would eventually run out of storage space.” While the situation poses no immediate risk to the surrounding environment, the Press incessantly posts exaggerations concerning the decontaminated water and rumors of continual polluting of the area’s groundwater as if they are facts. In the first place, all of this weekend’s reports referred to the stored decontaminated waters as ‘highly radioactive”, when they are actually less radioactive than those found at many of Japan’s health spas. It seems the news media believes that “detectable at Fukushima Daiichi” means “highly radioactive”, which is not the case at all. In addition, since the leaks from the plant systems into the building basements continue, it is rumored that groundwater and ocean polluting continues. The Press now focusses on one sensational voice as proof that water polluting is on-going. College lecturer Masashi Goto says Tepco’s inability to stop in-plant leaks plus the admitted in-flow of groundwater to the building basements is a tacit admission that continual ground-water pollution is on-going. Goto says, “You never know where it’s leaking out and once it’s out, you can never put it back in place. It’s just outrageous and shows how big a disaster this is.” Goto adds he is sure it will take Tepco much longer than reported to stop the waste water build-up, and declares Tepco’s plans for dealing with the issue is “wishful thinking”. (Japan Today; Japan Times; Mainichi Shimbun: Kyodo News Service; Asahi Shimbun)
  • The city of Fujieda will put up street signs to let citizens know how far they are from the Hamaoka nuclear station. The signs will be placed at 60 locations. The southern 25% of the Shizuoka city lies within 30km of Hamaoka, and 75% beyond the new emergency planning zone limit. The city is doing this because of numerous requests about how far people live from the nukes at Hamaoka. The city says this will provide residents with accurate information and help them evacuate during any disaster that might hit. The locations are at government sites, elementary and junior high schools, the rail station, and “a few other locations”. Fujieda Mayor Shohei Kitamura said, “It’s a significant step in terms of local residents’ peace of mind.” (Mainichi Shimbun)

This week’s Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers is hosted by Atomic Power Review. Topic include; earthquake phobia in Japan, the situation surrounding Vermont Yankee power plant, a listing of nukes around the world that will begin operation between 2013 and 2017, an update on America’s nuclear waste confidence ruling, why investors focus on short-term profits rather than long-term gains, and some “good news” concerning nuclear energy in general. Here’s the link for the full articles… http://atomicpowerreview.blogspot.com/2012/10/128th-carnival-of-nuclear-bloggers.html