• Some Okuma evacuees make temporary returns to home. Residents were allowed to stay at home to celebrate the Buddhist “bon” holiday in the part of the town that is officially going to have restrictions lifted next year. Only 12 people from six families took advantage of the opportunity. Hitoshi Izumisawa, his wife, and son, stayed overnight at their home for the first time in five-and-a-half years. He said, “I believe my mother would have wanted to come home, too. Let’s sleep together tonight.” Izumisawa has made several prior visits to make home repairs and bring in household items, such as a refrigerator and microwave oven. He said he and his wife want to return home because it is cooler in Okuma than where they now live in Aizuwakamatsu. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=711
  • Kawamata Town to be fully reopened by April 1, 2017. Yamakiya District is the part of Kawamata closest to F. Daiichi, and the only part of the town still under government living restrictions. The municipal assembly asked Tokyo to lift the order. Tokyo official Osamu Goto gave Tokyo’s draft plans to Kawamata Mayor Michio Furukawa and assembly head Hiromi Saito, and said, “We expect to see the living environment improved by the end of March 2017.” Mayor Furukawa said. “The termination of evacuation is simply a first step. We will draw up measures together with the national government to prevent the daily living of returning residents from being adversely affected after the removal of the evacuation order.” http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=710
  • Ikata unit #3 is now at 100% power. The 890 MWe unit was restarted on August 12th and was connected to the grid on August 15th. Output has been slowly increased since then, while tests and inspections were run on the reactor and turbine-generator. Full power was reached today at 10:15am, Japan time. Commercial operation is expected to begin on September 7th. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/ikata-3-npp-back-in-full-operation/
  • Antinuclear tents are removed from the Industry Ministry’s property. In September, 2011, antinuclear activists put up tents on the grounds of the ministry to coordinate a permanent protest until nuclear power is abolished in Japan. The government filed suit in March, 2013, because unauthorized occupation of state property is illegal and the protestors had ignored ministry requests to remove the tents. The suit also asked for financial compensation to be paid to the ministry by the activists. Tokyo courts approved the suit at every level, but the activists appealed each decision. The Supreme Court rejected the final appeal and is having the tents removed by force. In addition, the two leaders of the five-year-long occupation have been ordered to pay $380,000 in compensation. The squatters staged a rally in front of the ministry as the tents were taken down, and group leader Taro Fuchikami said sit-in protests will follow. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201608210014.htmlhttp://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160821_14/
  • Officials continue to search for the remains of residents missing due to the 2011 tsunami. 197 remain on the missing list for Fukushima Prefecture, all from the communities with a Pacific coastline. Efforts last year found the remains of five people. At Tomioka Town, the first search in nearly three years occurred this month. The team of 20 “searchers” included divers and other people from the police and fire departments of the town, plus members of a riot squad from the Fukushima Prefectural Police Headquarters and officers from the Futaba Police Station. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=712
  • Another ex-Fukushima worker gets workman’s compensation for low level radiation exposure. A man in his 50s worked at F. Daiichi for nearly four years. He developed leukemia in January, 2015, and applied for workman’s comp. He received 54.4 millisieverts of whole body exposure over the time he was at F. Daiichi. The man was granted workman’s comp because he satisfied the statutory criteria stipulated in the 1976 Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act. To be certified as an “industrial accident” associated with radiation, a claimant must have been exposed to at least an average of 5 millisieverts per year and have developed the illness more than a year after first being exposed. No requirement for a medical diagnosis relating the exposure to the contracted disease is needed. This is the second time a former Fukushima worker has been granted workman’s compensation by Tokyo for low level radiation exposure while employed at F. Daiichi. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160819_25/http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201608200036.htmlhttp://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail/?id=1920&vm=04&re=01
  • An NRA panel member says Tepco’s “ice wall” is failing. Nuclear Regulation Authority panel member Yoshinori Kitsutaka explained, “The plan to block groundwater with a frozen wall of earth is failing. They need to come up with another solution, even if they keep going forward with the plan.” The recent Tepco report upon which the NRA statement is based (covered here last week) shows that 99% of the “wall” allowed to be in operation by the NRA has frozen solid. But, 1% of the earth has yet to fully solidify. Regardless, the NRA conclusion of failure is because anything less than 100% success is unacceptable. Tepco has said they will solidify the unfrozen locations with cement if they do not fully freeze. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201608190060.html
  • Kagoshima’s Governor continues to garner Press coverage with his antinuclear crusade. Gov. Satoshi Mitazono was elected last month on an antinuclear platform, and has vowed to shutter both units now safely operating at Sendai station. Because his predecessor and host community Satsumasendai approved the Sendai restarts, Mitazono cannot order the two units to be shut down. The governor fails to believe that the inspections by station staff during and after the recent Kumamoto earthquake showed absolutely nothing. Mitazono has said he wants the station shut down so that his “experts” can check everything. He also believes that the approved emergency plans for the 30km radius are flawed. “I found problems with the roads, evacuation drills and other things. They should be tackled immediately,” Mitazono told reporters. Regardless of the governor’s obsession, the two units are scheduled to be taken offline for refueling on Oct. 6 and Dec. 16, respectively. The governor was formerly a TV commentator with Asahi Corporation, home base to the fanatically antinuclear Asahi Shimbun. http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160819/p2g/00m/0dm/077000c