• F. Daiichi prepares for Typhoon Lionrock. The storm has winds of 140 km/hr, producing high wave action and torrential rains. Tepco staff is securing cables and hoses while awaiting the brunt of the typhoon, which is expected to hit tomorrow. All work with cranes will be suspended, as well as efforts in the port area. If the storm stiffens, all other outdoor work could be cancelled. Portable pumps are being installed to keep groundwater levels from increasing. Plant staff is also double-checking the new rainwater drainage channel that sends run-off to the inner port and the barriers around contaminated water storage tanks. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160829_22/
  • Fukushima Prefecture opens two bus stops inside Iitate village, which remains under Tokyo evacuation mandate. Most of Iitate will have its living restrictions lifted in March and residents are allowed to stay at their homes on a “trial basis”. So, the bus company has opened the stations to facilitate repopulation. The bus line runs from Fukushima City and Kawamoto Town to Minamisoma City, on the coast. The route has been passing through Iitate, but no stops have been part of the line until now. Iitate resident Masui Shoji, who has exploited the opportunity to go home with her husband, said, “Now we can go to the Haramachi district (of Minamisoma) in a casual manner” to go shopping. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=715
  • Kagoshima’s governor calls for shuttering Sendai units #1 & #2. Governor Satoshi Mitazono met Kyushu Electric Company president Michiaki Uriu on Friday and submitted a formal request, which said, “As an operator of nuclear power plants, the company has a duty to sincerely listen and response (sic) to the concerns of local residents. The company should temporarily suspend the nuclear plant and re-examine safety.” Mitazono says his constituents are worried about two operating Sendai units because of the April Kumamoto Earthquake. He wants the nukes shut down and a complete check of all safety equipment before subsequent restarts. Mitazono demanded that Kyushu Electric “respond to the anxiety of people in the prefecture [over nuclear power generation].” Kyushu Electric and the Nuclear Regulation Authority have reported that the quake had absolutely no impact on the Sendai units. In fact, Katsumi Matsuura of the NRA said there have been no safety problems at Sendai station and the agency has no plans to respond to the governor’s request. Kyushu Electric’s formal response is not likely until next month. It is also expected that the company will respectfully decline the governor’s request because shutting them down now makes little sense since both units are scheduled for refueling outages in October and December, respectively. It is important to note that Mitazono is a former commentator for decidedly-antinuclear Asahi TV. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160826_24/http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201608260058.htmlhttp://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016082600602http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-nuclear-kyushu-elec-pwr-idUSKCN1110WH (Comment – The Japanese Press makes it seems that regulations require the outages in October and December. Nothing could be further from the truth! Japan’s nukes are designed for partial refueling every thirteen months. It’s a technological requirement. Politics has nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, Reuters also gives the same incorrect impression in its report.)
  • On Saturday, Japan’s largest newspaper was sharply critical of the Kagoshima governor. The Yomiuri Shimbun suggests Gov. Mitazono is merely appealing to antinuclear forces that supported his election. The news outlet asks, “Is it acceptable for Mitazono to merely emphasize ‘anxiety’ as the reason?” The Yomiuri answers its own question, saying, “It is beyond our comprehension that Mitazono has not explained in concrete terms what dangers the nuclear power station poses. The Nuclear Regulation Authority has already screened all of the items that he said were in need of verification and confirmed their safety. The jolts observed on the premises of the Sendai power station during the Kumamoto Earthquake were far smaller than the figures assumed in evaluations of seismic capacity. No abnormalities with the equipment and facilities were found even in the inspection conducted by Kyushu Electric immediately after the earthquakes.” The Yomiuri has a circulation of over 14 million. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003177778
  • Two major drills prove public evacuation is safe and workable. More than 7,000 residents from within 30 kilometers of Takahama station participated in an evacuation drill on Saturday, including Fukui and Kyoto Prefectures. Roughly 2,000 people in also took part destination-prefectures Shiga and Hyogo. Participants living within 5 kilometers of Takahama station immediately left their homes upon being told a hypothetical earthquake had cut off all power to the nuke. Those in a 5-30 kilometer radius sheltered until an imaginary radioactive plume had passed, and then they began their evacuation. This was the first nuclear evacuation drill to include more than one prefecture. On Sunday, another drill was successfully staged for the Oi nuclear station. About 1,700 persons were involved. Only residents of Fukui Prefecture within 30 kilometers of the nuke were involved. Small parts of Shiga and Kyoto Prefectures are in the Emergency Planning Zone, but evacuation plans for both have yet to be completed, so they did not take part.  http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160827/p2a/00m/0na/011000chttp://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003178439http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016082700226http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016082800113
  • Tepco apologizes to Niigata Prefecture for concealing the “meltdown” term during the first weeks of the Fukushima accident. There is little doubt that the company was ordered to censor the word by then-PM Naoto Kan, but Tepco has nonetheless been taking the heat in the Press. Tepco’s Executive Officer Takafumi Anegawa met Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida and apologized for not having presented a report based on adequate investigation. Gov. Izumida said information on meltdowns is critical for residents living near nuclear power plants to decide whether to flee or not. Niigata Prefecture is about 100 kilometers west of F. Daiichi, and well-outside the government-mandated evacuation zone. However, the governor has refused to discuss restarts at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa station until he is satisfied that a full Fukushima investigation has been done. A joint Niigata-Tepco investigation will begin in about a week. Izumidi said it is too soon to discuss resuming operations at K-K without this essentially-redundant review of the accident. The company needs to restart at least two K-K units to greatly assist the dire cash-flow problem caused by recovery from the F. Daiichi accident and Tokyo’s nuclear moratorium. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160825_21/
  • A Fukushima City home was built atop bags of contaminated rural waste. The couple who built the home say the bags cannot be removed because the house might end up leaning. The owners believe the city is at fault for providing them with inaccurate sketches of the property. The couple says, “Far from admitting responsibility and apologizing, they haven’t even tried to examine the site. They have also been reluctant to release information, and have acted extremely insincerely.” The drawings showed the buried bags were located away from the center of the plot. The owners avoided the indicated burial spot when they built in 2013, but the bags were actually nearer the center of the land. A city official commented that the decontaminated soil was supposed to be removed quickly and the officials had not expected it to be there until the time a land transaction was made and a home built. The news report failed to state the radiation levels and the contamination concentration of the bagged material. http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160829/p2a/00m/0na/011000c