• The injunction against Takahama 3 & 4 restarts has been reversed. In April, the Fukui District court under Judge Hideaki Higuchi ordered Kansai Electric Co. to not restart the units because the Nuclear Regulation Authority has standards that are too loose to be reasonable. The judge added that the NRA approval of restarts was “irrational”. The injunction was based on a petition filed by local residents who claimed the units could not withstand a worst-case earthquake. Today, Fukui District Court, with Judge Jun Hayashi presiding, affirming the Kansai Electric appeal of the injunction. The ruling says the NRA standards are not unreasonable or irrational. With the injunction reversed, Kansai Electric plans to begin installing the reactor’s fuel bundles on Friday, for a possible restart in late January. In addition, the court rejected a request by antinuclear citizens to bar restart of Oi units 3 & 4, also located in Fukui Prefecture and owned by Kansai Electric. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20151224_24.htmlhttp://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002646063http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2015122400909http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201512240047
  • The lawyer for the residents who filed the Takahama injunction vows to appeal. Attorney Hiroyuki Kawai says the reversal of the injunction against Takahama 3 & 4 restarts is unjust and unacceptable, and he will file an appeal with Nagoya High Court. Kawai alleges that the Fukui court has learned nothing from the Fukushima accident, and the reversal was a foregone conclusion in order to keep the Takahama restart schedule on-track. One of the plaintiffs said Judge Jun Hayashi has given up being guardian of the law and doesn’t care about human rights. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclear.html
  • Earlier this week, the governor of Fukui Prefecture approved the restarts. In his statement on Tuesday, Gov. Issei Nishikawa said, “I gave comprehensive consideration to the country’s and the operator’s policy and reached a conclusion.” He added that prior approvals by the Takahama mayor and Fukui Assembly, plus Prime Minister Abe making a personal assurance of full disclosure to the public, influenced his decision. Nishikawa also said the restarts should “stabilize employment and boost the economy.” One more hurdle to restarts remained; the injunction barring operation of the reactors. (see above) One of the plaintiffs for the suit denounced the governor’s approval, calling it “premature” because the appeal to the injunction had not been decided upon. Nishikawa said, “The timing [of his decision] should not be an issue” because the prefecture was not party to the suit.   http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20151222/p2g/00m/0dm/056000chttp://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201512220073http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20151222_14.html
  • Health Canada reports that no radiation monitors were turned off in the months after the Fukushima accident began. False, irresponsible rumors emerged in 2011 that Health Canada shut off much of its monitoring system to hide the extent of the scant radioactive plume that migrated across the Pacific Ocean. In fact, Health Canada’s activities were expanded to increase information flow, in the hope of countering the widely-shared rumors. The first detection of the plume occurred on March 18, 2011, and peaked on March 25th. It subsequently dissipated to undetectible levels. The Health Canada report concludes there was no appreciable exposure increase, relative to the radiation levels from naturally-occurring sources. The Health Canada report makes three main points; the average increase in exposure from Fukushima to the typical Canadian has been one-three thousandths of natural background, the natural background variances across Canada are greater than the Fukushima increases, and there will be no negative health impacts. https://fukushimainform.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/fukushimareport_final2015nov_en1.pdf
  • Genkai unit #1 will be decommissioned. The unit has an electrical output rating of just under 560 megawatts. This follows the pattern of previous decommissioning announcements, all with power output ratings below 700 MWe. The cost of meeting Japan’s new nuclear regulations is simply too great to recover before sixty years of licensing comes to an end. Owner Kyushu Electric Company estimates that the process will take 28 years. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20151222_01.html  (Japan’s Press says the reason is that the unit is too old and deteriorated to be restarted. But, the facts indicate that the decommissioning decisions are primarily a matter of money.)