Japan’s Press, fisheries, and NRA continue to bash Tepco over the mildly-contaminated rainwater incident…

  • 20 officials from Fukushima Prefecture checked on the situation at F. Daiichi on Friday, inspecting the drainage ditch monitors, flow gates, and zeolite absorption bags for Cesium absorption. The officials asked whether or not other building roofs had been checked for similar levels of contamination and suggested increased surveillance of rainwater run-off. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150227_47.html  The National Fisheries Federation filed a formal protest with the Industry Ministry and Tepco. The issue is that Tepco has recorded fluctuations in drainage radiation levels since August of last spring. When it rained, the levels went up, and then returned to typical levels after the rainwater run-off had stopped. It makes no difference that there was no high radiation alarm condition until Sunday, Feb 22nd. The statement says (in part), “It is undeniable that (this failure) will further spread the harmful rumor that has been troubling fishermen nationwide and will largely affect the future of the fishing industry. The anger among local fishermen who have been waiting to resume their business is immeasurable.”  The Fisheries also complain that each and every fluctuation should have been broadcast by Tepco, even though it was not an alarm condition. Hiroshi Kishi, chairman of the National Federation of Fisheries, says that Tepco betrayed the fishermen and lost their trust. He demanded a full explanation on why these “leaks” were never disclosed and immediate action to prevent any rainwater “leaks” from happening in the future. Tepco responded that it had not broadcast the fluctuation in radiation levels because it did not indicate a serious problem and seawater testing showed no radiological impact on the sea. Kishi angrily retorted that Tepco has no understanding for the situation with Fukushima’s fishermen.  http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150227_28.htmlhttp://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/02/27/national/fisheries-group-lodges-protest-against-tepcos-failure-to-disclose-leak-of-radioactive-rainwater/#.VPC9SaMcQdU
  • Adding insult to injury, the local Fukushima Fisheries said they refuse to allow any more releases from F. Daiichi to the sea. The Association says they were betrayed and can’t trust Tepco anymore. The company has asked the fisheries in Iwaki and Soma City to accept the plan to pump groundwater from wells around the station, remove any radioactive substances, and release the water. The association says that is no longer acceptable because they cannot be confident that the plan is safe. Association chief Masakazu Yabuki told reporters that the participants were very angry and he has no idea when discussions about releasing the ultra-purified waters can resume. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150227_43.html
  • The drains from the roof of the unit #2 reactor building “carry-in” entrance has been covered with waterproof sheeting to prevent rainwater from picking up contamination before it goes into the drains. The drains are surrounded with bags of Zeolite to filter out radioactive Cesium. The handout on the placement of waterproof sheeting and Zeolite-filled bags can be found here… http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2015/images/handouts_150302_01-e.pdf
  • The Asahi Shimbun reports that the Nuclear Regulation Authority “slammed” Tepco for failing to announce every radioactivity fluctuation in rainwater run-off. NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said, “TEPCO must reflect seriously (on the delay). We are concerned that the company’s efforts to secure a safe environment will be unable to obtain trust (from the people).” Another NRA official said, “We should have pushed TEPCO much more strongly to tackle the issue.” (Aside – Does that sound like the NRA actually “slammed” the company? – end aside) It has been over a year since the radioactivity fluctuations were first noticed and told to NRA inspection team in January, 2014. The NRA advised the company to take countermeasures by the end of March, 2015. Tepco began recording regular measurements in April of that year. Tepco also covered all surrounding slopes because that was felt to be the source of the contamination. In December, the NRA was told the fluctuations had not ceased. It was only when an alarm occurred on February 22nd that the situation was reported. At the time, Tepco said that the cause was being investigated and that there was no increase in ocean activity. This seems like a weak excuse to the newspaper. The Asahi Shimbun alleges that Tepco “concealed” the information because nothing was reported to the Press about the rainwater run-off for more than a year. The Asahi speculates that Tepco “decided long ago there was no need to monitor rainwater for radioactive materials,” which seems to contradict that Tepco has been monitoring ditch activity since January, 2014. In addition, the newspaper exaggerates when it calls the rainy day fluctuations prior to last Sunday’s alarm “high concentrations of radiation”. The Asahi has been a decidedly antinuclear news outlet for four years. It is Japan’s second-largest newspaper.  http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201502280036

Now, for some other updates…

  • There was a “dramatic decrease” in F. Daiichi radionuclides in the Pacific from 2011 to 2012. Dr. Jay Cullen of FukushimaInForm reports that a recently published study shows a massive 100,000-fold drop in radioactive Cesium within the sea off Japan and China. Further, by 2012 the level of Strontium-90 was “virtually indistinguishable” from pre-accident data. In addition, the readings during 2011-2012 are completely consistent with the official estimates of total radioactivity released by the accident. What is most surprising is that by 2012, many of the samples analyzed showed no Cesium-134; the isotope that allows researchers to determine whether the Cesium comes from Fukushima or is residual from post-WWII weapons’ tests in the Pacific. Other samples had very low levels of detectible Cs-134. The average Cs-134 concentration was only about 1.2 Becquerels per ton of seawater. Average Cs-137 activity in 2012 was about 1.7 Bq/ton versus 1.2 Bq/ton before the nuke accident. http://fukushimainform.ca/2015/02/26/dramatic-decrease-of-fukushima-derived-radionuclides-in-the-northwest-pacific-ocean-2011-2012/#more-1136
  • PM Shinzo Abe inspected the new rural waste storage facility in Futaba. Abe was accompanied by Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa. Izawa asked the PM for constant support because the decision to accept the facility was difficult and unpopular. Abe thanked the mayor and local residents for allowing the facility to be built, saying, “We will proceed carefully [with construction of the facility] while respecting people’s feelings about their hometowns.”  He also said, “I hope to speed up the decontamination work to ensure reconstruction.” http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2015/03/338837.htmlhttp://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0001971779
  • A major highway through the Tohoku Region is now fully open. The Joban Expressway runs along the Pacific coast from Tokyo through the northeastern prefectures, called the Tohoku Region. Much of the highway was too damaged by the March, 2011, quake to allow traffic through. Sections of Joban have been reopened as the damage was repaired. The final 14-kilometer section was opened between the communities of Tomioka and Namie, entirely within the government-mandated, 20 kilometer evacuation zone. It had to be decontaminated before opening it. PM Abe greeted some 800 people who attended the official opening. He said, “This will spark further progress in the reconstruction of Fukushima.” The public can drive through the exclusion zone without permit, but will not be allowed to stop along the way. The closest the road gets to F. Daiichi is about six kilometers. There are six radiation monitors set up along the 14 kilometer section. Passengers in a car going the speed limit (70 km/hr) will get about 0.2 microsieverts of exposure. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0001972046http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2015/02/19/highway-to-open-near-fukushima-nuclear-plant-no-exits-allowed/
  • The NRA considers nuke emergency measures beyond 30 kilometers. This is because of a swath of contamination from the F. Daiichi accident beyond 30 kilometers in the northwest direction. The NRA says they will probably instruct people to stay indoors if there is any possibility of radioactive material reaching them. Issuing the sheltering advisory will be dependent on radiation monitor readings around the affected nuke station. If there is a sharp increase in activity indicating a massive release, sheltering will be advised. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150227_03.html