• Another evacuee housing complex in Minamisoma is finished. The Odaka District site contains fourteen one-story houses with two bedrooms each, and six two-story homes with three bedrooms. Seventeen families have decided to move in once the evacuation order is lifted, and the keys to their new homes were given to them on March 18th. Evacuees from the district are currently allowed to make temporary stays in their homes under the “preparatory lodging” program. The complex is near a temporary shopping mall and the Odaka Hospital. This is the fifth complex built by the city, and six others are scheduled to be completed by April 1st. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=646
  • A Fukushima fishery wants to lift its ban on littleneck clams. The Soma-Futaba Fisheries Cooperative Association approved ending the self-imposed ban of 2011. Samples of the Matsukawaura lagoon in the city show Cesium entrained in the seabed and aquatic organisms has declined. Plus, the substantial tsunami debris deposited in the lagoon has been removed. The fishery wants to begin “test fishing” the species to find what the contained Cesium level is. The harvesting will only be in the lagoon itself since recovery work on the beach is not finished. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=645
  • The Environment Ministry outlines a time-table for moving rural wastes to temporary storage. The ministry says that by 2020 they will likely acquire 40-70% of the land for the interim storage site adjacent to F. Daiichi. Although only 1.3% of the designated 1600 hectare location has been procured, the ministry says 1,240 of the property owners have been contacted and a feeling of cooperation exists. Okuma Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe says this is the first time-table presented by Tokyo and will relieve some local concerns. But, he questions if the government has the willingness to make it happen. Iitate Mator Norio Kanno says, “There are piles of bags filled with contaminated soil [in Iitate] and they are preventing disaster recovery efforts. I want the ministry to speed up the land acquisition process.” http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160328/p2a/00m/0na/011000chttp://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016032700127
  • The NRA chief wants the public better informed about wastes produced by F. Daiichi’s decommissioning. Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka says the materials will eventually be transported to a permanent facility. Due to public concerns about nuclear waste disposal, it makes sense to begin informing the public sooner, rather than later. The primary concerns deal with the future removal of corium; the re-solidified mixture of nuclear fuel and other materials that were contained in the three reactor cores that suffered meltdown. TEPCO says that locations to store the melted fuel will be decided after it is removed from the reactors. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160325_14/
  • Two energy experts say the Takahama injunction makes little sense. Noriko Endo of Keio University says she doubts that the Otsu court ruling will have much of an impact on restarting Japan’s nuclear fleet, and not effect Tokyo’s energy policy. The injunction also makes little economic sense because Kansai Electric Company stands to lose hundreds of millions. However, she believes the ruling shows that companies have to do a better job of informing the local populations. Keiji Knodo, a lawyer with a PhD in engineering, also says companies need to improve public information. Although events can go beyond the expected, he says that nukes are built so well that even the worst unforeseen earthquake will not harm them. The public does not seem to know this. He points a guilty finger at the NRA for this. Knodo says the NRA has stopped nuke restarts based on faults that have “an extremely low chance of moving”. Instead, they should make sure that nukes can survive the worst quake these faults might ever produce. The massive quake of March 11, 2011 did virtually nothing to any of the dozen-odd nukes on the Tohoku coastline. He says, “It is ridiculous to assume that if a plant is located on a newly developed fault line, no emergency plan would be effective… Thoroughly examined risks can be mitigated through engineering solutions.” http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002824687
  • Most voluntary evacuees have yet to decide what to do after free housing stops next March. More than 6,000 responded to a prefectural survey sent to nearly 10,000 voluntaries, both inside and outside Fukushima Prefecture. 30% say they have definite plans after the free housing period stops. However, 70% say they remain undecided. Fukushima says they will cover half of the rent payments for low-income and single-parent families for a year following the cut-off, and up to a third for the following year. One voluntary evacuee said, “We have absolutely no idea at this point about the future, because we do not even know where we want to live — much less whether we want to rent another apartment or build a new home. Without free housing, we will be unable to live. The free housing program is ending too early.” http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160326/p2a/00m/0na/012000c