• Restarting nukes is a “necessary condition” for reaching Japan’s energy goals. The statement was made by Tomoko Murakami, senior economist at the Institute of Energy Economics, at a presentation for Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission on May 17th.  She explained that the United States and Europe have more advanced deregulation strategies than Japan. Murakami says Japan must balance nuclear with all other low carbon-emitting energy sources, in order to provide energy security, economic efficiency, and environmental protection. She added that nuclear is the cheapest energy source to operate because of high fossil fuel costs, but must overcome the “tall wall” of initial costs. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/economist-notes-large-risks-stemming-from-indefinite-reactor-examination-periods/
  • Another country lifts restrictions on Japanese food imports. Kuwait has cancelled all restrictions on food shipped from Japan, including Fukushima Prefecture. The country is the first of the six-member Gulf Corporation Council to do this. Kuwait began import restrictions in September, 2011. Japanese food imports were not totally banned, per se, but any of it brought into Kuwait had to pass tough radiation testing. This will no longer be required.The products include soft drinks, sauces, mixed seasonings, and marine products such as tuna and bonito. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=671
  • 90% of the Fukushima Ice Wall is working as expected. However, one large Japanese Press outlet spins it in reverse fashion. The Asahi Shimbun, Japan’s second-largest newspaper, headlines that 10% of the ice wall is not working. Tepco records show that 88% of the monitoring points show the ground to be frozen. The remaining 12% have recorded temperature drops, but have yet to freeze. At least one of the 1,568 monitoring points has a recorded temperature of just 10oC, which becomes the focal point of the Asahi’s negative spin. Back in March when Tokyo allowed the system to begin running, Tepco said it could take as long as three months for the entire wall to form. But, the Asahi fails to mention this, rather posting that it has been a month-and-a-half and not all of the ground is frozen, so something is allegedly wrong. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2016/images/handouts_160519_01-e.pdfhttp://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201605260056.html (Comment – No other news outlet in Japan  reported a Tepco ice wall failure…only The Asahi.)
  • The NRA says some high-level nuclear waste should be buried at least 70 meters underground. This does not include used nuclear fuel, but rather focuses on highly radioactive waste material resulting from debris removal and disassembly during decommissioning. The proposed regulations say that the burial site should not be near active volcanoes or geological faults.  The NRA says the burial site should be monitored for 300-400 years. The agency will begin seeking outside opinions today, and accept them for a month. http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160526/p2a/00m/0na/015000c
  • Local governments want Tokyo to continue its efforts toward Fukushima reconstruction, and prevent future accidents. Council Chair, Mayor Takanobu Fuchikami of Tsuruga City, explained his ongoing concern for those living under a prolonged evacuation, but also stressed the need to restart nukes in order to meet Tokyo’s national policy on energy. Toru Shiraishi, who is responsible for nuclear emergency preparedness in the PM’s Cabinet, vowed to work hard on improving training for nuke safety and accident recovery. When asked by a Futaba Town resident about what the government was doing about areas where residents will not be allowed to return home for a long time, Shiraishi said that would be clarified sometime this summer. Other concerns aired at the meeting dealt with storage of used nuclear fuel, delays with operations at Rokkasho reprocessing plant, and whether or not passing new safety regulations for restarts makes any difference given the ability of local courts to prohibit operation. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/meeting-of-all-japan-council-of-local-governments-with-atomic-power-stations-features-opinion-exchange-with-national-officials/
  • A Tokyo court orders Tepco to pay compensation for two evacuee deaths. Both individuals were evacuated from Futaba medical facilities by bus. One was a 97 year-old man, and the other a woman age 86. The compensation level was set at about $250,000, to be paid to surviving relatives. Plaintiffs originally sought about $600,000 in compensation. But, this was reduced because of the evacuees’ pre-existing conditions unrelated to the nuke accident. http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160526/p2a/00m/0na/013000c