• Muon detection to be used in unit #2 later this month. Tepco says the detection system worked well in unit #1, showing no fuel debris larger than one meter remains in the core barrel. The system will be at ground level on the west side of unit #2 reactor building to scan the reactor pressure vessel down to a point lower than with unit #1. The entire core barrel area and much of the plenum beneath it should be visible. Tepco hopes the imaging will show how much fuel remains in the barrel, and whether or not any re-solidified corium accumulated in the bottom head of the RPV. The location for the detector was selected so that the spent fuel pool would not block imaging. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2016/images/handouts_160317_01-e.pdf
  • Kansai Electric’s chief is blasted for comments concerning the Takahama injunction. Kansai Electric President Makoto Yagi said, “If a higher court overturns the injunction, seeking damages [from the plaintiffs] could be a possible option.” The plaintiff’s lawyers claim the remark is the same as “threats” against their clients and “absolutely unacceptable”. Kansai Electric estimates that the injunction has already cost the company nearly $90 million and the amount climbs with every passing day. The Nationwide liaison group of lawyers seeking a break from nuclear power says Kansai Electric made the threat to keep people from trying to file restart petitions against other Japanese nukes. In response, the utility said, “The remark explained that in general terms, lodging a claim for damages could be an option only after a lower court ruling is overturned. At present, nothing has been decided about seeking damages. The remark was not made to intimidate the complainants (behind the injunction) nor to rein in (future legal actions).” http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201603230074  (Comment – Kansai Electric has done the right thing and made the public aware of the wages of this sort of legal action. I believe this came as a complete surprise to Japan’s numerous anti-nuclear lawyers, who expected Kansai Electric to be a typically timid corporate foe.)
  • Japan presses China to lift Fukushima-based import bans. Restrictions on imports from ten prefectures on agricultural, forest, produce, and fish products, have been in place since the nuke accident. A formal request was made by Vice Minister of Agriculture, Kazuyoshi Honkawa, at a bilateral subcabinet-level dialogue on agricultural in Beijing. Both countries have reopened diplomatic dialogue for the first time in six years, after suspending talks due to strained political relations. http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016032100395
  • Tepco apologizes to Niigata Prefecture for delaying meltdown announcement. A Niigata investigative panel is studying the safety of units #6&7 at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa station, as a pre-requisite for restart. The panel found that Tepco’s corporate emergency manual said a meltdown announcement should be made at 5% core damage, which could have been deduced by March 14th of 2011. The actual announcement came two months later. The Niigata Panel says the failure to reveal the oversight for five years shows that Tepco cannot be trusted to operate the K-K units safely. On the same day as the apology, the Nuclear Regulation Authority said it is suspending the screening for restarts of the two K-K units. The NRA purports that the reason is to get more data on Tepco’s assessment of quake resistance with the K-K buildings and contained facilities. The safety screening was in its final stage, and the agency had previously said the two unit’s newer designs posed fewer safety risks that older ones. The K-K units were going to be the first Boiling Water Reactor systems allowed to restart. The NRA says that during the suspension of screening, other reactors of the same type will be moved ahead of the K-K units.   http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160323_30/http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160323_30/
  • The new “311 Thyroid Cancer Family Group”, comprised of seven parents of five children who have had thyroid surgery, gets Press coverage. They do not believe that the thyroid cancers were not caused by F. Daiichi. The group is considering filing lawsuits against the central and prefectural governments, along with Tokyo Electric Power Co. One parent says, “We want the Fukushima prefectural government and doctors to demonstrate a better understanding of patients.” Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer from the Daini Tokyo Bar Association, leads the group. He says, “By having the patients and their families unite and cry out as one, it makes it easier for us to make policy suggestions to the government.” A doctor accused of telling a family to not share their opinions with the Press, said the family misunderstood him, “We have been paying the utmost attention to establishing an environment where patients can talk about their worries and doubts, having mental health care specialists getting involved with them at an early stage of their treatments. Such efforts continue well into the post-surgery period.”  http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201603240025
  • Numerous Fukushima evacuees complain of deteriorated health. An Asahi Shimbun poll found that 23% of the respondents say their health has greatly deteriorated and 46% said it worsened somewhat. Questionnaires were sent to 944 evacuees living in three prefectures, including Fukushima, and 619 responded. 48% said they had increased feelings of concern, 37% felt down or lonely, 28% were more irritated, and 25% said they had difficulty sleeping. On the other hand, 22% said their state of health had not changed since before the accident. Not all remain in temporary housing; some have returned home. When asked what policies they wished to have prioritized, the most popular concerned various financial subsidies. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/recovery/AJ201603220001
  • Shikoku Electric will seek a July restart for Ikata unit #3. It passed its initial safety inspection last July, and has already received consent from local officials for restart. The Nuclear Regulation Authority passed the unit on its screening this morning. Shikoku Electric says it will apply for final site inspection as soon as the review is finished. They hope to load fuel in June and begin the restart sequence in July. One possible roadblock is a pending lawsuit against the restart filed by plaintiffs that include Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors.  http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160322_37/http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/ikata-reactor-in-ehime-passes-safety-screenings-to-restart?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2016-03-24_AM