• Tepco reports that groundwater in-flow to units#1-#4 has been greatly reduced. In a Press Release concerning completion of the in-ground “ice wall”, the company says, “The [current] strategy to prevent water from becoming contaminated has reduced the average daily inflow of ground water into the buildings from 400 l/day to 150 l/day.” This statement refers to the successful operation of groundwater by-pass and subdrain systems that have reduced in-leakage.  http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/2016/1267045_7763.html
  • The Nuclear Regulation Authority has blocked Tepco’s plans to start operation of it 1.5 kilometer-long in-ground ice wall. The NRA speculates that contaminated water in the basements of the buildings could leak into the groundwater if the level inside the frozen soil wall drops too much. Tepco believes the barrier could reduce in-flow to the basements to below 100 tons/day. The structure was actually proposed by the Industry Ministry in May of 2013. The NRA has criticized the project since construction began in June of 2014. Last spring, NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka chided the company by saying, “TEPCO is scattering a strange illusion that the problem of contaminated water can be solved completely if a frozen soil wall is constructed.” The NRA is concerned because it would take up to two months to thaw out the frozen soil if their feared scenario actually happens. On Tuesday, Tepco President Naomi Hirose told the NRA, “We will consider your proposal and get back to you in a most sincere manner.” http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201602100079
  • Japan’s Environment Minister is lambasted for allegedly disrespecting radiophobic evacuees. Minister Tamayo Marukawa has been attacked by the minority Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) for allegedly saying, “There are always those ‘anti-radiation’ people, as you may call them, who are worried about radiation no matter how low the levels are,” and that the annual exposure goal of one millisievert per year is “scientifically groundless”. The 1 mSv/year was arbitrarily established by the DPJ before the party was summarily voted out of office in December, 2012. The DPJ’s Rintaro Ogata said Marukawa sounded like she was ridiculing those suffering from radiation fears in Fukushima. Her alleged statement was made on Sunday and not recorded. Marukawa says she does not recall making the statement and accuses the DPJ of misquoting her, but apologized for not making her view clear enough. Marukawa also challenged the DPJ to thoroughly explain the rationale behind their allegation. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/02/09/national/politics-diplomacy/japans-environment-minister-denies-mocking-radiation-fears-fukushima-residents/#.VroLJJBf0dV
  • The NRA plans to add more radiation monitors to the Fukushima evacuation zone. This will be in addition to the agency’s ~3,000 monitors presently installed across the Prefecture. The plan calls for the new monitors to be placed in areas where evacuation orders have been lifted, as well as those where the mandates will be removed in the future. In addition, more mobile units will be introduced to study the areas assumed to have the highest remaining contamination. The NRA says this is intended to stimulate repopulation. NRA Chair S. Tanaka says some areas have had too few devices, thus the changes of radiation levels due to decontamination have not been fully monitored. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclear.html
  • Tepco’s latest Nuclear Progress Report is available on line. The key points were made about F. Daiichi, F. Daini, and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa. One new item for F. Daiichi is the trial operation of a low level waste incinerator at the station. The facility will be used to dispose of the small mountain of burnable protective clothing that has built up over the past five years. Two important subjects with the K-K facility are the completion and testing of the hardened filtered vents for the containment, and a strong commitment to insuring that safety and non-safety cabling will be isolated from each other. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/betu16_e/images/160209e0101.pdf
  • NHK World reports on the F. Daiichi waste incinerator test. NHK says the materials to be burned include “protective suits, metal sheets, and lumber.” It is designed to work around the clock and consume 14 tons per day, reducing the disposable volume by 90%. The exhaust gasses will be filtered to remove radioactive particulates. The radioactive ash will be stored at F. Daiichi station. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20160210_17.html