• UNSCEAR finds no rise in cancer from the Fukushima accident. The prestigious United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation briefed Fukushima Prefecture residents at an Iwaki city meeting on Feb. 9th. UNSCEAR secretary Malcolm Crick and two other expert members said that their 2013 finding of “no discernable increase” in cancer still holds true, and the “none” of the new information since then have changed their conclusion. Many attendees wanted to know about thyroid cancer issues, to which the UNSCEAR representatives said the proportion of those found to have thyroid cancer in Fukushima Prefecture is equal to that found in three other prefectures far from Fukushima; Aomori, Yamanashi, and Nagasaki. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=629
  • Japan’s Press was in an uproar over some water (34 liters) found on the floor of a water clean-up system room at Takahama unit #4. Tepco has found that the leak was due to an improperly-tightened bolt on a valve. Start-up activities were temporarily halt after the discovery on Saturday, but will resume at some point today now that the cause has been identified. The concentration of radioactivity was below the level which requires notifying the Nuclear Regulation Authority. The reported level of radioactivity in the water varies among the Press outlets. NHK World says the radioactivity in the leaked water was “14,000 Becquerels”. However, the Asahi Shimbun says the level is 60,000 Becquerels. Whether or not it will delay the schedule for restart of unit #4 is largely speculative, but reports of an impending delay have gained traction in the Japanese Press. A Kansai Electric Co. spokesperson said, “We cannot say anything about the effect of the leak on the restart definitively at this point…” Takahama #4 has cleared restart approval from the Nuclear Regulation Authority and is preparing for resumption by the end of the month. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160221_05/  — http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160222/p2g/00m/0dm/072000c —  http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016022100112  — http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201602210028
  • Tokyo plans to lift the Minamisoma evacuation order by May 1. However, only about 15% of the 10,000 resident evacuees are expected to immediately repopulate. The main reason given in the Press for the low expected response is continuing fear of low level radiation exposure. Tokyo representatives met with Minamisoma officials and ~350 residents on Friday to explain how radiation levels have dropped well-below the threshold for repopulation. But, the Mayor and a few vocal residents do not agree with the planned date. Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai said, “I will decide whether to accept the central government’s plan once the municipal government confirms the completion of decontamination work.” He added that he is looking at waiting to formally repopulate until after the “Golden Week” holiday in early May because it will take time to gain resident understanding, given the level of negativity voiced by those at the meeting. One resident said, “I don’t think I can live in my hometown with peace of mind,” because of a lack of confidence in the government’s decontamination efforts. http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160220/p2a/00m/0na/021000chttp://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016022000237
  • The Asahi Shimbun feels voluntary evacuees deserve more compensation money. Last week’s award of substantial compensation to a Koriyama family that fled out of fear of radiation is the basis of the Asahi position. Rather than the blanket payments mandated by Tokyo, the newspaper feels that each voluntary evacuee should be compensated based on individual, post-flight circumstances. Tepco has paid-out the amounts of money stipulated by Tokyo, but the Asahi says this fails to make the benefit of residents a priority. The newspaper concludes, “TEPCO should respond with appropriate sincerity to the demands of victims entitled to compensation and review its compensation policy and procedures. The courts that are hearing these cases should hand down rulings that give sufficient consideration to the plight of the victims. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/views/editorial/AJ201602200024
  • Lawyer’s urge all voluntary evacuees to file lawsuits for compensation. Lawyer Kenichi Ido represented the family that was awarded more than $250,000 last week for mental health damages from their voluntary evacuation from Koriyama. Ido said, ”It’s a commendable ruling in that it accepted our key arguments. There are many voluntary evacuees who have been compelled to settle for small amounts of compensation by TEPCO. They should file suit individually.” Daini Tokyo Bar Association lawyer Naoto Akiyama also praised the decision as ”a ruling which offers hope to evacuees who moved voluntarily, reflecting individual circumstances without being bound to the standards.” Akiko Morimatsu of the fledgling Fukushima plaintiff’s group said the ruling is “epoch-making” and that more voluntary evacuees should file suits. However, the ruling’s limitation of a voluntary evacuation having to have occurred before August, 2012, brought Morimatsu’s ire, ”It’s wrong because it’s based on government propaganda.” http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160219/p2a/00m/0na/012000c (Comment – Japanese lawyers continue chasing the Fukushima ambulance.)
  • A Nuclear Regulation Authority commissioner says removal of all F. Daiichi fuel debris might not be possible. NRA Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa told the Press, “I wonder if the situation would be desired that work is still underway to extract fuel debris 70 or 80 years after. There are a variety of options, including removing as much fuel debris as possible and solidifying the rest.” On another note… when asked about the recent Ice Wall controversy, Fuketa said he questions whether the technology will actually prove effective. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/02/20/national/nra-commissioner-suggests-plan-remove-fuel-debris-fukushima-plant-may-not-best-option/#.VshvSpBf0dVhttp://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/02/398499.html  (Comment – These are not the first antinuclear-friendly statements made by Taketa since he became commissioner. For example, in October, 2013, he speculated that radioactive material from the melted cores may be leaking directly into the sea instead of mixing with groundwater before making its way into the sea,” which was entirely speculative and based primarily on a personal worst-case assumption. His questionable statements hold considerable weight with the international antinuclear demographic. His “message” posted on the NRA homepage reveals a possibly antinuclear agenda, “One of my prime responsibilities in the Nuclear Regulation Authority is to access the degree of risk existing in nuclear-related activities by using the state-of-the-art knowledge, technology and information, and to establish regulatory criteria and structures to cope effectively with the potential danger. I will carry out my duties always with considering how much of potential danger I have recognized.” (Emphasis added) It makes this reporter wonder if Taketa is not part-and-parcel to the Greg Jaczko concept of antinuclear-based regulation.)
  • Scientific American posts abject scare-mongering about Fukushima. Writer Madhusree Mukerjee has put together a terse summation of the most recent FUD written by antinuclear pundits Mycle Schneider and Jan Beyea. The posting is little more than exaggeration wrapped in assumption, with a slathering of outright fabrication. Perhaps the most condemnable parts of the article are the pure assumption of 1,000 deaths from cancers, and the materially-false statement that there have been 3,200 deaths due to the evacuation. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/5-years-later-the-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-site-continues-to-spill-waste/