Spent fuel transfer diary – Week 2

Day 9 – Six spent fuel bundles were removed from their unit #4 pool and loaded into the transfer cask without incident. These were the first irradiated bundles to be handled. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2013/1232452_5130.html The news media says the spent fuel is more difficult to handle than the initial 22 moved last week because they are radioactive and hotter due to decay heat. http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20131126p2g00m0dm070000c.html (comment – However, the radiation and low level of decay heat at this point do not make the process any more difficult. The Press seems to be influenced by worst-case scenarios contrived by antinuclear sources.)

Day 10 – All 22 spent fuel bundles were moved into the transfer cask at F. Daiichi. Tepco says no problems were encountered. The Press continued to report that the movement of spent fuel is more difficult than movement of unused fuel. The transfer of the 22 irradiated bundles took the same amount of time as the non-irradiated ones moved a week ago.  http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclear.html

Day 11 – There have been no reports out of Japan relative to this day’s events with the fuel transfer, as of this posting.

Here’s some other Fukushima updates –

  • Tokyo is in the process of creating a National Security Agency in the mold of the United States. The Agency is expected to be started next week. The lower house vote was 213 for, 18 against. Paranoiac Fukushima Prefecture residents charge that Tokyo’s proposed secrecy bill was ram-rodded through the House and will allow nuke accident information to be concealed. One Fukushima resident said, “How far are they going to go in fooling us?” Saki Okawara, a 61-year-old resident of Miharu, said, “The public hearing was something like a sneak attack..” Professor Yumiko Nihei felt that she was compelled share her position on the matter because of the nuke accident. She said, “Information about the plant hasn’t been properly provided after the disaster.” Tamotsu Baba, mayor of the town of Namie, said, “I’m opposed to a bill that denies people’s access to information. If information concerning the nuclear plant was categorized as special secrets against terrorism, the government could hide it under the bill. Fukushima residents’ voices didn’t seem to reach the committee members.”  http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20131126p2a00m0na014000c.html — http://the-japan-news.0000829514 — com/news/article/ — http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20131127p2a00m0na013000c.html
  • Tepco will limit its repayment of loans for evacuee compensation to $500 million per year. The company had previously calculated a $1 billion per year ceiling for repayment, but recent creditor concerns forced them to lower their estimate. The government’s Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund office concurred with Tepco. The new figure will also allow the company to have more money to deal with the current contaminated water issues at F. Daiichi.  http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/11/27/national/tepco-to-limit-annual-repayment-to-government-to-%c2%a550-billion/
  • More than 1,900 kilograms of Fukushima rice was delivered to Emperor Akihito. The rice is from Hirono, 20 kilometers south of F. Daiichi, and was harvested in late October. Deputy Mayor Koki Kuroda said, “It is a sheer pleasure for the town as well as the producers.” The shipment was sent to the Imperial household at the request of the Emperor after 120 kg was delivered to the Imperial Agency on November 20. Akihito said, “Because the rice must have been made with struggles [of farmers], we’d like to have some as well.” The rice will be used by the Imperial Household and staff cafeterias of government offices at the palace. http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20131128p2g00m0dm032000c.html