• The number of worker injuries at F. Daiichi has been cut in half. Tepco says the number who were injured or died at the plant decreased by about 50% from last year. In 2015, 25 workers were injured, and one died while cleaning a tank on a vehicle. The number of injuries in 2014 was 49. 60% of the 2015 injuries were with inexperienced workers, but the majority were minor injuries that did not allow them to take off from work. Tepco says the reason for the marked drop is probably due to improved communication and thorough implementation of firm safety measures. The new training facilities for green workers must have also contributed. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160428_29/
  • The Associated Press says that the F. Daiichi ice wall is not watertight. The AP report has been posted by Japan’s most popular, antinuclear-friendly newspapers: The Asahi Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun. Project Chief Architect Yuichi Okamura says the amount of groundwater that will be blocked is “not zero”. Edward Yarmak, president of Alaska’s Arctic Foundations, says, “The refrigeration system has just been turned on, and it takes time to form the wall. First, the soil freezes concentrically around the pipes and when the frozen cylinders are large enough, they coalesce and form a continuous wall. After time, the wall increases in thickness.” Critics say the ice wall probably won’t work, the money to build it and run the system is wasted, and Tepco should have built a concrete wall to the west of the station to stop all groundwater from coming in. Regardless, the AP report fails to mention that Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority made Tepco agree to not entirely seal off all flow because of fears that a complete stoppage might allow highly contaminated basement waters to flow out, rather than groundwater flowing in. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201604280098.htmlhttp://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160428/p2g/00m/0dm/096000c (Comment – The Associated Press completely ignored the early March announcement of the ice wall being approved, and the initial report of it progressing as expected on March 30th. If the AP had done its homework, it would have known that the NRA is the reason the full stoppage of groundwater flow is not going to happen. Once again, the AP shows it is little more than an antinuclear apologist.)
  • A Kyushu Mayor says his town might agree to be a nuclear waste disposal site. Genkai Mayor Hideo Kishimoto said the town is not volunteering, “…but if the state picks Genkai as an appropriate site, we will agree to hold talks. We have a forward-looking stance toward the country’s nuclear policy. Construction of a final disposal facility in Japan is necessary for the country’s energy plan. If Genkai is proposed as the only candidate, we will start considering accepting such a facility.” Kishimoto is unique in that he has inspected a candidate location overseas. He also said he had his issues with his town becoming home to a disposal site at first, but changed his mind when Tokyo said they will consider off-shore, undersea disposal. Genkai is the home of the same-named nuke station in Saga Prefecture, on Kyushu Island. http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/04/408781.htmlhttp://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016042700811http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160427/p2a/00m/0na/014000c
  • More information on the NRA’s “snap” inspection proposal. On Monday, we reported that the Nuclear Regulation Authority wants to institute surprise inspections at nuke plants. It will literally take an Act of Congress (Diet). The Agency plans to submit a bill that will revise the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law at a Diet session in 2017 and implement the new policy in 2020. We posted that safety inspections now occur four times a year. As it turns out, the quarterly visits are security-oriented. The routine safety inspections are once every 13 months. The schedule is pre-arranged with the owning utilities, including letting the companies know what will be inspected ahead-of-time. Only the notified areas of safety are inspected. Thus, the current law makes surprise inspections possible, but unlikely. The NRA, at the behest of the IAEA, wants to make non-routine inspections entirely free of a pre-visit approval, and leave the scope of the examinations open to the discretion of the inspectors. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002903569
  • A Tokyo court orders Tepco to additionally compensate the families of two evacuation deaths. Two men, aged 98 and 73, were among patients forced to evacuate Futaba Hospital in March, 2011. Tepco has already agreed to partial compensation, but did not feel they should cover all of it because other factors had not been considered by the plaintiffs. The Tokyo court says both men lapsed into hypothermia due to the power outage caused by the quake, and that the evacuation aggravated their illnesses. As a result, Tepco has been ordered to pay about $280,000 in compensation to the families. One family will get about $160,000 and the other about $120,000. The court judged that each family was worthy of $200,000, but the nuke accident evacuation was not the only cause of the elderly patient’s passing. The lawyer for the families said the court had not taken the nuke accident into consideration. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160427_27/http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160428/p2a/00m/0na/010000c
  • NRA scientists say a fault under Shika unit #1 may qualify as seismic. The panel decision supports a draft assessment of last year, which said it is reasonable to believe the fault moved since the Late Pleistocene period; within the past 130,000 years. The report says it is impossible to conclude that the fault will not move in the future, so it is prudent to assume that it qualifies as seismic under Japanese law. However, the panel admitted their decision is based on limited data, including sketches of the geological seam made when the plant was built. The report also concedes that the strata around the fault shows no sign of movement over the past 130,000 years. Thus the conclusion that it “might” be seismic. However, the panel says the NRA should seek further analysis before rendering a final decision. Shika station owner Hokuriku Electric Power says they will gather more data to support their finding that the seam is not seismic, and continue to pursue restart of unit #1. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160427_21/http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002907082http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160427/p2g/00m/0dm/044000c