• Fukushima Prefecture releases the child thyroid screening data for 2014-15. There were nearly 153,000 children screened in 2014 with the 25 municipalities with the highest measured I-131 depositions. In 2015, another 47,000 were screened in the 34 remaining prefecture municipalities. In 2014, 41.7% had no detectible nodules or cysts, and 57.5% did. In 2015, 38% showed no detectible nodules or cysts, and 62% did. 1,200 had >5mm nodules requiring follow-up testing for possible cancer in 2014, and 270 in 2015.  There were two cysts of greater than 20mm each year. Of the total, 39 were judged to be either “suspicious or malignant”, all but one of which occurred in 2014. Fifteen of these tested positive for papillary thyroid carcinoma and were surgically removed. The screenings were not only offered in Fukushima Prefecture. More than 10,000 were performed in 46 other prefectures where former Fukushima residents now reside. http://fmu-global.jp/?wpdmdl=144
  • More information on last week’s water contamination spike in an F. Daiichi tunnel. Tepco now says the contamination might have come from the adjacent waste water storage building. In November, the Cesium-137 concentration of the water stored inside the building was 19 million Becquerels per liter. Minor leakage into the trench, which runs from the building, could have raised the tunnel’s water from November’s reading of 94 Bq/l to the 400,000 Bq/l found on Dec. 10th. Tepco plans to pump out the contaminated water for purification, and filling the trench with concrete. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201512110041
  • The Nuclear Regulation Authority wants low/moderate level waste buried deeper. An NRA panel says the current 50 meter depth regulation for radioactive decommissioning materials is too shallow. They say it should be buried at least 70 meters below the surface to prevent citizens from inadvertently contacting the waste. The NRA also wants the site to be maintained for 300-400 years and create provisions that prevent the material from being dug up after the maintenance period. They will seek opinions from Japan’s Federation of Electric Power Companies and compile a general plan by next March. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20151211_01.html
  • The Industry Ministry will consider deep seabed burial of high-level nuke waste. On Friday, a ministry panel posted an interim report concerning disposal of spent fuel after uranium and plutonium are removed for reuse. In the report, sites within 15 kilometers of active volcanos are to be forbidden and a repository should be within 20km of a coastline in order to facilitate sea transport. Tokyo had wanted municipalities to submit candidate sites for disposal, but no local government has come forward. Instead, the report says the government will hand-pick the “candidate sites from scientific perspectives” and urge local governments to support research and inspection efforts.  Seabed disposal was also considered, even though some on the panel were concerned about seawater seepage into the burial site. A ministry research team will discuss locations of active faults under the seabed and the impact of sea level changes to evaluate the feasibility of the project. It wants to issue recommendations by next summer. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclear.htmlhttp://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201512120027
  • The IAEA says Kashiwazaki-Kariwa station has “comprehensive and robust defenses against severe accidents”. Following a review of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station, the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report on their inspection. The report also made several safety recommendations for K-K, ranging from improved worker safety to improvements in fire safety. Yokomura Tadayuki, Plant Chief of K-K, said, “We will carefully consider the recommendations and suggestions given, and from now on, plan for what should be done by incorporating the findings and improving upon them. Although certain good practices were acknowledged, we will continue to apply these assessments while making improvements on them.” K-K is the world’s largest nuke station with seven large generating units. The IAEA visit looked at units #6 and #7, which Tepco has identified as the two the NRA should look at for restarts. Tepco needs to have them resume operation to begin repaying the government loans for mandated compensation to evacuees, property owners, and businesses. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2015/1264100_6844.html