• The amount of rural radioactive wastes in Miyagi has dropped 68%. This is the low level material with an activity of at least 8,000 Becquerels per kilogram, formally dubbed “designated”. Of the 3,404 tons now in scattered location across the prefecture, 2,314 tons had decayed down to below the “designated” criterion. The Environment Ministry says the quantity will drop to 252 tons in 2 years and 38 tons in 20 years; ~1 % of the initial amount. The ministry has shared this information with Governor Yoshihiro Murai. Minister Shinji Inoue wants to concentrate the materials at one location, but zealous locals have blocked every attempt to run preliminary studies at the three possible candidate sites. The ministry feels that the below-designated materials should be disposed of as regular wastes. The prefecture says they will discuss the proposal with the target communities by the end of March. http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160217/p2a/00m/0na/021000chttp://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20160218_02.html
  • Fukushima, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki Universities to jointly study the effects of low level radiation exposure. A joint research center will be established in Hiroshima in April. Mitsuo Ochi, president of Hiroshima University, said, “The study of low-level radiation exposure is growing urgent. We would like to fulfill our mission to contribute to Fukushima’s rebuilding efforts based on the results of basic research conducted by our university.” Teams will investigate ten regions across Japan to assess the impact of low-level exposures on patients, methods to diagnose internal radiation exposure, treatments of patients, radiation protective agents, and possible correlations between diseases and radiation doses. The collaboration will also offer training to health care professionals and any Fukushima workers who desire it. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201602180036 (Comment – Hopefully this study will focus on the actual effects of low level exposure, and not dwell on the hypothetical impacts predicted by the scientifically-corrupt Linear/No Threshold assumption.)
  • The antinuclear fanatic who landed a drone on the Prime Minister’s mansion gets a two year sentence. Yasuo Yamamoto had filled a small bottle with sand from a Fukushima beach, attached it to the drone, and landed it on the PM’s roof last April, in protest of Japan’s intent to restart nukes. Yamamoto admitted the deed, but pled not guilty because he did not obstruct the routine operation of the Prime Minister’s staff. Judge Mihoko Tanabe said, “No matter what kind of assertions he wants to make, it has to be done through legitimate means of expression,” and that it did, in fact, obstruct official operations. http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/man-who-flew-drone-onto-pms-office-roof-gets-suspended-sentence?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2016-02-17_AM
  • The estimated total debris at F. Daiichi could reach 750,000 cubic meters. Tepco informed the Nuclear Regulation Authority of their estimate, based on continuing trends and circumstances. The number was part of a storage maintenance plan submitted on February 12th. Some 150,000 m3 will result from debris generated by contaminated water measures, including the eventual dismantling of storage tanks. The operation of the new incinerators (14.4 tons/day), plus the one planned for 2020 (95 tons/day), will produce roughly 200,000 m3 of ash and debris from burning hewn trees and anti-contamination clothing. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/tepco-total-debris-from-fukushima-daiichi-to-reach-749000-cubic-meters-by-2027/
  • A Kyoto court orders Tepco to compensate some voluntary evacuees. The plaintiffs will receive over $260,000. Tokyo’s out-of-court settlement center had suggested a third of the court-ordered total. The family fled from Fukushima Prefecture to Kyoto in 2011. The father said he could not work in Kyoto due to insomnia and stress-related health issues. Kyoto News Service says he also contracted mental illness. Regardless, the court said the voluntary evacuation was reasonable given the lack of concrete information given about the danger of the unprecedented nuclear accident. Further, the health issues were because the family fled to unfamiliar surroundings. Tepco said they will study the matter and respond sincerely. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclear.html  — http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/02/398311.html
  • A Tokyo government committee meeting in Fukushima hears local opinions on nukes. A Koriyama hotel owner says she is frustrated because “Nuclear power plants in the nation were restarted with very little thought when the nuclear crisis in Fukushima has not even been settled.” The head of the Chamber of Commerce complained about bad publicity because “It continues to haunt not just agriculture and tourism, but various industries as well.” An official with the Compensation and Decommissioning group said, “The wishes of residents who want to return home should be granted, but at the same time we hope for the central government to assist those who are unable to do so.” http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/recovery/AJ201602180062
  • The Press resurrects old news about Fukushima child thyroid cases. The problem is that there is no consistency between the news outlets in their reporting. Regardless, the story was reported here on December 14th, with the link to the Fukushima Medical University (FMU) report. [http://fmu-global.jp/?wpdmdl=144] The reports range from the realistic (Asahi Shimbun) to the absurd (Mainichi Shimbun). The Asahi correctly posts that the December FMU report states that only one new confirmed case of a thyroid anomaly biopsied as a carcinoma, and the accident is not related to the thyroid discoveries because “no case has been found among infants in Fukushima”. (Aside – Actually, no case has been found in the group that was 0-5 years old at the time of the accident. – End aside) On the other hand, the Mainichi headlines “Child thyroid cancer in Fukushima many times national average: report draft”, which is entirely misleading. The Mainichi makes the incorrect comparison to the national average for malignant thyroid cancers in adults, which fails to consider the age reversal data mentioned in the Asahi article. Plus, there is nothing in the December FMU report that makes any insinuation of there being a higher rate of malignant thyroid cancers due to the accident. The FMU report states, “We may be diagnosing many cases of cancer that would otherwise be diagnosed later in life or that are not life-threatening.” The Mainichi ought to post a retraction, but it is doubtful that it will ever happen.  http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201602160050 http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160216/p2a/00m/0na/010000chttp://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/02/397822.html  (Comment – The Press fails to consider the fact that the vast majority of the cases are most probably indolent and will probably never become malignant. See… http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/are-fukushima-child-thyroid-cases-a-matter-of-over-diagnosis)
  • Takahama units #1 & #2 are about to clear their restart screenings. Both units are more than the arbitrary 40 year-old licensing limit, so they will be the first to restart under the 20-year extension. The NRA announced they were on the verge of concluding the screenings this morning. A second screening specific to a licensing extension must be completed by July 7th before the units can be approved for continued operation. http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/02/398337.html