• Fukushima Fishermen may cut the “no-fishing” radius around F. Daiichi in half. The self-imposed exclusion radius was 20 kilometers. Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations wants to reduce it to 10 kilometers because the assumed releases to the Pacific have dropped greatly since the shoreline impervious wall was installed last year. In addition, no seafood caught in the 10-20km zone since last April have contained more than the national limit of 100 Becquerels per kilogram of radioactive Cesium. Federation official Tetsu Nozaki said, “The environment of the seas of Fukushima has improved, and conditions for reviving fisheries are being laid out.” The Federation plans to make a final decision in February. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/01/27/national/fukushima-fishermen-to-expand-operations-off-crippled-nuclear-plant/#.VqoI15Bf0dV
  • A Japanese mayor approves limited low level waste disposal. Tokai unit #1 is in the process of decommissioning and some of the materials are only mildly radioactive. The wastes include concrete and metallic pieces from the demolished structures. Owner Japan Atomic Power Company wants to bury about 12,000 tons of the debris in situ. Tokai Mayor Osamu Yamada feels the decommissioning process should not be delayed because local authorities will not accept permanent disposal sites. He added that the risk of leakage during a powerful typhoon with the materials being stored in an above-ground building is greater than if it were interred. This is the first local approval of permanent low level waste disposal in Japan. However, burial will not begin unless the Tokai Village Assembly, Ibaraki Prefecture, and the Nuclear Regulation Authority also approve JAPCO’s plans. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20160126_33.htmlhttp://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016012700634
  • The Environment Ministry may approve the “as-is” plans for rural low level waste storage in Ibaraki Prefecture. Last month (December), Ibaraki Governor Masaru Hashimoto told the ministry that the prefecture wants to keep the accumulated, mildly-radioactive debris at temporary storage sites. The ministry has considered Hashimoto’s opinion, which differs from Tokyo’s desire to establish centralized storage sites in each of six prefectures. However, the government plans have not been allowed to get off the ground due to local dissidence. In fact, attempts to run mere surveying work have resulted in extreme protests by residents fueled by phobic fears of low level radiation possibly affecting people. Ibaraki has taken the initiative to say that if the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) promoters won’t cooperate with Tokyo, then just leave the stuff where it is currently stored; at municipality-managed trash-incineration sites and at prefecture-managed sewage processing sites. The ministry says that even if they officially agree to the Ibaraki proposal, the desire for a centrally-located permanent disposal site will remain on the table. http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160126/p2a/00m/0na/006000c
  • A planned robotic investigation in unit #1 is postponed. Tepco has not been able to inspect the bottom head of the unit #1 reactor vessel because it is submerged. A robot has been developed that can work under water, however the water covering the bottom of the vessel is way too clouded by rust and other particulates to allow the robot to do its job. The goal is to either verify or refute Tepco’s worst-case assumption that molten reactor materials (corium) burned its way through the bottom head and accumulated on the steel-reinforced, high-density concrete floor beneath. The investigative plan for unit #1 will be delayed by about a year, but it is hoped that the robot can be used to look at the undersides of the unit #2 & 3 vessels during the interim. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20160126_17.html
  • Tokyo aims to have dedicated communications between Tokyo, nukes, and local officials. The Cabinet Office and the NRA will study connecting local governments to the national nuke emergency computer system. They want it up and running in 2017. The system now connects the Tokyo emergency task force and the offsite emergency response center of a nuclear power plant, but is not fed into local offices. Rather, pertinent information has been sent to local officials by fax, and that didn’t work very well with the Fukushima crisis. An emergency drill at Ikata station last November resulted in the prefecture saying communications by fax take longer than might be needed. Plus, there was no way to verify if the other party had receipt of the information. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclear.html
  • Naoto Kan takes his antinuclear crusade to Washington. On Tuesday, Kan addressed the National Press Club to assert that the Fukushima accident is not over yet. He said “there is no doubt…the accident is still unfolding”. He says this is because radioactive materials are continually seeping into the Pacific Ocean, carried by groundwater flow. He subsequently bashed current PM Shinzo Abe’s statements that Fukushima is “under control”. Kan also asserted that the current government’s goal of at least 20% nuclear generation is “not achievable” unless the 40 year limit on operation of nukes is extended or new units built in Japan. This appears to be a criticism of the slowness demonstrated by the NRA in allowing restarts. http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/01/394697.htmlhttp://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/fukushima-nuclear-accident-not-over-yet-says-ex-pm-kan?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2016-01-28_AM