• Takahama unit #3 fuel loading is complete. The last of the 157 fuel bundles was installed inside the Reactor Pressure Vessel on Monday evening, Dec. 28th. The installation process was halted last Friday night for six hours due to an alarm with a fuel handling crane. The problem was resolved and fuel loading resumed. The glitch has not changed the planned start-up at the end of January.   http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20151229_21.html
  • Fukushima’s population decline has been less than Iwate’s tsunami-hit communities. On Monday, some of Japan’s Press reported that there has been a population decline of 5.7% in Fukushima Prefecture since 2010. A major portion of the drop was due to the government-mandated evacuation of the Fukushima exclusion zone. The prefecture’s population has been dropping for 20 years, but 2011-15 has had the biggest five-year decline. Two noted impacts were with Naraha and Kawauchi, where evacuation restrictions have been lifted. Only 976 out of the 7,000 pre-accident population have returned in Naraha, and in Kawauchi the population is now 2,021 versus 2,550 before 3/11/11. On the other hand, the number of households in Fukushima increased for the 19th consecutive 5-year census, up 2.2% from the last one. In addition the collective population drop of the 12 Iwate coastal communities devastated by the tsunami has been 8.3% since 2011; about 40% more than with Fukushima. Much of the Iwate decrease was due to the thousands who died in the tsunami, but also the steady movement of former residents to new locations owing to the slow pace of reconstruction and recovery. The largest decline was Otsuchi Town at 23.2%, followed by Rikuzentakata City at 15.2%, and Yamada Town at 15%. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/12/28/national/fukushima-population-postwar-low-5-7-nuclear-disaster-evacuees-steer-clear-census/#.VoJ8CZDUgdVhttp://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/tsunami-hit-areas-see-record-5-year-drop-in-population-in-2015-census?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2015-12-29_PM
  • Fukushima “direct sale” markets are doing more business than before 3/11/11. Local farmers use direct-sales shops to sell their produce, including fresh vegetables and fruits. There are 50 direct-sales locations in the prefecture. Fukushima’s agricultural cooperative says that despite a 20% drop in sales after the nuke accident, the market has recovered dramatically. While direct-sale markets across Japan have averaged a 5% increase since 2010, Fukushima Prefecture has experienced a whopping 15% increase. The cooperative says that intensive radiation testing of foods has contributed to the improvement in sales, but there is a general trend across the entire island nation to buy directly from farmers, rather than at large grocery stores. One official said, “I would guess that the sense of safety you get by being able to see the producer in person is one reason [for the growth].” A shop in Date actually had a 60% jump in sales since 2010, with more than 650 million yen in sales. The prefecture’s total sales for fiscal 2014 (ending Aril 1, 2014) was 7.47 billion yen; roughly $62.25 million USD. It should be noted that four shops inside the Fukushima evacuation zone remain closed. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002650497