• Contaminated soils are transferred from schools to Okuma. Twenty-eight of the bags were removed from Akai Junior High in Iwaki on July 2nd; the first day of the transports. They were shipped by truck to a Fureai parking lot in Okuma’s Ottozawa District. The lot is capable of storing 10,000 cubic meters of the contaminated soil bags. It is estimated that Fukushima schoolyards currently have a total of 300,000 cubic meters of bagged materials. The transporting of the bags will be Saturdays, public holidays, summer vacations and other days when schools are closed. Iwaki Mayor Toshio Shimizu said, “We would like to thank the people of Okuma town where the waste is being moved. We expect to carry polluted soil from school facilities as soon as possible for the sake of children’s safety and peace of mind.” http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=692
  • The Iitate Village office opened on July 1st. The evacuation order for the village is scheduled to end March 31, 2017. Iitate partially resumed office functions in April, 2014, but most administrative tasks were performed in Fukushima City. On July 1st, long-term visits were approved for interested residents. Two districts are allowed to have long-term visits, but less than less than 4% have exploited the opportunity. Regardless, Iitate Mayor Norio Kanno said, “We would like to do our best to have as many villagers as possible return home permanently.” http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=691
  • Nikkei.com asks who will pay for F. Daiichi decommissioning. Former site manager Akira Ono said, “Decommissioning is a project that will last 30 or 40 years, and we will have to pass the work on to future generations. We must turn this place from a disaster site to a decommissioning site.” The project will take new technology and a lot of money. How much money? It is estimated that the total decommissioning cost will approach $100 billion. But, Nikkei says “…nobody mentions who will pay the bill and how. Currently, compensation and decontamination are being covered by the state, on Tepco’s behalf, without charging interest. Tepco and other power companies will eventually have to reimburse the government for compensation payouts through a pool of contributions. The government will recoup decontamination costs by selling the Tepco shares it owns.” The problem is that Japan’s move towards liberalization of the electricity market could “become increasingly difficult to maintain.” Professor Noriko Endo of Keio University says, “If Japan is to continue using nuclear power, it needs to have a long-term perspective, including about how nuclear power stations should be operated, rather than making ad hoc plans.” Nikkei.com is the world’s largest financial newspaper with an international circulation of over 3 million.  http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Trends/Who-will-pay-for-decommissioning-the-Fukushima-reactors
  • Kagoshima Prefecture elects an antinuclear governor. The prefecture is home to Japan’s only currently-operating nuclear units, at Sendai station. Satoshi Mitazono defeated incumbent Governor Yuichiro Ito in Sunday’s election. A former commentator with Asahi TV, Mitazono ran on a multi-issue ticket that included the promise to reverse the former governor’s support for Sendai operation. Mitazono said, “I have consistently asserted, ‘Let’s make a nuclear-free society.’ In response to the earthquakes that occurred in (neighboring) Kumamoto Prefecture (in April), Kyushu Electric Power Co. should temporarily suspend operations at the (Sendai) nuclear plant and check it again.” The Asahi Shimbun makes it seem that Mitazono won because of his antinuclear campaign plank. But, another reason influencing the election may be that Ito was running for an unprecedented fourth consecutive term. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201607110046.html