• All fiscal 2015 marine products were found safe. Fukushima Prefecture announced the good news on Monday, July 25th, but no news outlets reported on it. The testing period ending in March, 2016, included 8,438 marine products existing within a 20km radius of F. Daiichi. This did not include the waters within the nuke plant’s port area. Analysis revealed that all products were below 100 Becquerels per kilogram of Cesium, and 7,702 contained no detectible radioactive Cesium. The highest concentration of 94 Bq/kg was with stingrays, which is not a food fish. It is important to note that 21 species of fish remain banned for marketing, even though none of them have Cesium concentrations above Japan’s highly-restrictive limit. (The international standard is 1,000 Bq/kg) http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/for-the-first-time-since-fukushima-accident-no-marine-products-show-radioactive-concentrations-above-the-reference-value/
  • Tokyo’s antinuclear tent village will be forcibly removed. Five years ago, tents we placed outside the Industry Ministry in Kasumigaseki by antinuclear groups in order to hold a perpetual protest against nukes in Japan. METI filed for a court injunction, and a fine to pay for the use of public property, against the antinuclear village in 2012. A Tokyo court invoked the injunction in 2013, but the apparently well-heeled protestors have appealed at every level since then. On July 28th (one week ago), Japan’s Supreme Court upheld the lower court ruling, and none of the popular Press reported on it. Not only will the tents be forcibly removed and protestors evicted, but those funding the antinuclear village will have to pay for land use. The fine will be about $100 for each day the tents were on METI property, for a total of more than $390,000 plus interest. The antinukes cried “foul”, claiming that the government was violating their constitutional right to freedom of expression. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/japanese-government-wins-in-supreme-court-tents-of-anti-nuclear-groups-next-to-meti-ministry-building-to-be-forcibly-removed/
  • Mihama unit #3 will be the third Japanese nuclear plant granted extended operation. On August 3rd the Nuclear Regulation Authority said the unit has passed all first-stage screenings to qualify for a 20 year re-licensing. The nuke will reach its 40th anniversary of initial licensing in December, making it susceptible to Japan’s knee-jerk post-Fukushima limit for commercial operation. The 40-year rule gives no credit for non-operation caused by the nuclear moratorium ordered by Tokyo following the March, 2011, accident. The NRA is accepting public input on the approval for license extension for 30 days. After that, the regulator will review planning, such as upgrades for quake resistance, new spent fuel storage racks, and whether reactor internals can withstand the worst-case ground-motion of 993 gal. If Mihama #3 passes these additional NRA requirements by November, it could be restarted within the next three years. Owner Kansai Electric Co. says that, if approved, the planned upgrades could take around three years to implement. NRA Chair Shunichi Tanaka said, “If power companies are prepared to make any level of investment, then 40 years is not an issue.” http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160803_26/http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003123985http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016080300167
  • Yamaguchi Prefecture renews the land reclamation license for a new nuke. Renewal of the license for landfill in the town of Kaminoseki to build the Nuclear Power Station had been an issue since 2011. Now, the Prefecture has granted permission saying that the plant is positioned “within the country’s energy policy”, but work should not begin before the national policy on building new nukes is clarified. Strong local and national opposition to the decision is expected. http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/08/424395.html
  • Re-use of radioactively-benign soil could save Japan as much as $15 billion. Tokyo has declassified rural soil that has decayed below 8,000 Becquerels per kilogram, and plans to use it for public works projects. Critics want Tokyo to wait until radioactivity drops below 100 Bq/kg, which is the standard for recycling metals in theAct on the Regulation of Nuclear Source Material, Nuclear Fuel Material and Reactors. As such, the additional storage time would be about 170 years. The Environment Ministry argues that once the material is covered by pavements, the radioactivity at the surface would be well-below the limit. The ministry says, “Considering economic and social factors, it is appropriate to set the radioactivity concentration of recycled materials at several thousand Becquerels… it is difficult to (set the standards for reusing tainted soil) at 100 Becquerels from a realistic point of view.” Instead of spending an estimated $30 billion for 170 years of storage, the cost would be reduced to $15 billion. http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160803/p2a/00m/0na/014000c
  • Japan’s first nuclear terrorism-response facility is approved. The NRA has given the OK for Kansai Electric Company to build a remote reactor control facility should a main control room (or rooms) be unusable due to terrorist attack or plane crash. Standby control room plans for Takahama units #3 & 4 were found to fully comply with post-Fukushima regulations. It is expected that NRA approval for construction will ensue. The decision was announced at a behind-closed-door meeting between the NRA and Kansai Electric Co.  This was done to maintain secrecy as to the location of the standby control facility at Takahama station. The two units are currently shuttered by court injunction. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160802_20/
  • Many local governments have worries about “indoor evacuation” (sheltering) plans. Those within a radius of 5 to 30 km would be told to initially stay indoors, then evacuate in stages if necessary. Temporary sheltering is intended to facilitate prompt evacuation of the 5km radius around a nuke accident. A survey conducted from mid-June to mid-July, covered 21 prefectural governments and 135 municipalities within a 5-30 km radius of nuke stations. Of the groups that responded, 71 expressed concern about the guidelines, while 22 said they were not worried. The concerned officials say that planning does not take into account the destruction of evacuation routes, bridges, and other buildings in the surrounding area, should sheltering not be enough to protect citizens. The NRA says local governments should not be concerned. One NRA official said, “Indoor evacuation will not be for a prolonged period. Gyms and other public facilities would be available for residents even if their homes were destroyed.” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201608030068.html