• Ten percent of Naraha’s population has returned home. Tokyo’s evacuation order was rescinded last year, allowing the pre-evacuation population of over 7,000 to return. Only 681 have taken advantage of the opportunity, but it is a start. A town official said, “We expect the town’s population to go up in steps.” Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto says the town may have been overly optimistic, “With our expectations, we somewhat inflated the repatriation goal,” but he expects accelerated repopulation once more infrastructure is effected. Naraha’s radiation level is actually only half of that in the prefectural capital, Fukushima City – 0.1 micro sievert per hour vs. 0.23 µSv/hr. But, residents still say they fear residual F. Daiichi radiation, especially with respect to children. One Naraha grandfather said, “Work is still under way at the plant to prepare for decommissioning, and we are concerned about radiation exposure. We cannot encourage our grandchildren to return.” More than half of those who have returned are age 65 or older. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609050042.html
  • NHK World says F. Daiichi fuel remains molten, which is not true. Internationally-popular NHK World makes the following statements, “Japan’s academic societies are soliciting robot technologies that will allow direct surveying of molten fuel in the crippled nuclear reactors in Fukushima,” and, “Removing the molten fuel is considered the most difficult step in dismantling the plant.” In fact, NHK used the term “molten fuel” four times in the brief article. Nowhere is it stated that the formerly melted fuel re-solidified once cooling water flow was re-introduced in units #1, 2, & 3 by March 15, 2011!! NHK is usually reliable with its Fukushima reports, but they dropped the ball on this one. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160904_12/
  • Japan’s Press fixates on F. Daiichi ice wall melting due to typhoons. The Asahi Shimbun reports that typhoons hitting the Tohoku coast this summer have caused some surface melting of the frozen soil surrounding the four damaged units at F. Daiichi. The newspaper makes it sound as if the entire project is a failure when it says, “TEPCO admitted the underground wall of frozen dirt is not working.” However, that’s not what Tepco actually said. The company reported that partial melting happened at two sections of the more than 1,000 refrigerant pipes in the earth. In addition, the newspaper posts that the minor, largely superficial melting allowed contaminated groundwater to leak from around the building basements and flow into the Pacific. But, Tepco actually said in might have caused some of the groundwater to move “toward the sea” – not into it. Also, a less than three inch temporary rise in groundwater level at the steel and concrete, sea-side impermeable wall is made to seem as a precursor to a catastrophic outflow into the ocean. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609020020.html
  • American Dale Klein criticizes the obsession with Tepco’s non-use of the word “meltdown”. Beginning in June, Japan’s Press and some Tohoku governments have loudly complained because Tepco followed Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s March, 2011 order to not mention the word in Press conferences. Dale Klein, head of Japan’s Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee, told Japan’s Press, “They [Tepco] were trying to bring the reactor into a safe situation. Their focus was on safety or safe operation, not necessarily a choice of words.” Klein added that the US NRC “typically do not use the word meltdown.” Japan’s Press says Klein is downplaying the issue – making it seem less important than it should be. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/03/national/expert-plays-tepco-presidents-order-not-use-term-meltdown-2011-nuclear-crisis/#.V8rCBdLr0dU (Comment – The obvious reason behind wanting the word “meltdown” used during a nuke plant crisis is so that paranoiac residents can flee at first flinch. It doesn’t matter whether or not the local public is really endangered. It doesn’t matter that the chaotic nuclear evacuation caused more deaths than the tsunami in Fukushima Prefecture. It seems that many public officials and Japanese Press outlets condone public over-reaction.)
  • Kyushu Electric Co. rebuffs the governor’s demand for immediate shutdown of Sendai #1 & 2. On August 26, Governor Satoshi Mitazono of Kagoshima Prefecture directed the utility to suspend operation of Sendai units #1 & 2. He said that an increasing number of his constituents were afraid an earthquake, centered more than 100 km away, had compromised safety. Further, the plant staff’s inspections during operation were insufficient to allay the fears. Today, Kyushu’s President Mishiaki Uriu gave the governor a written reply, respectfully declining to comply with Mitazono’s demand. Uriu said that special inspections would take place for each unit during the scheduled refueling and refurbishment outages in October (unit 1) and December (unit 2). In addition, the governor’s stated concerns will be addressed by increasing quake observation points, improve the utility’s public disclosure of information, and add more vehicles to the public evacuation fleet. Mitazono said he found Kyushu Electric’s reply regrettable, and added a new demand to the mix, “I want you (Kyushu Electric) to renounce the belief that nuclear plants are safe.” http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160905_20/http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003194869
  • An Ikata nuke plant evacuation drill is successful. 400 volunteer Ikata residents tested the plans to gather at Misaki Port on the peninsula (Cape Sada) to await maritime evacuation. All of the volunteers arrived at the nearby assembly point within an hour of the start of the drill. Actual ferrying of the people to Oita Prefecture across the Sato Inland Sea was successfully tested last November.  Ikata unit #3 restarted August 12th, and has been running at full power for nearly three weeks. http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2016090400123
  • The NRA posts its decision on burial of high-level nuclear waste. The Nuclear regulation Authority says radioactive debris resulting from nuclear unit decommissioning must be buried at least 70 meters deep for 100,000 years. Conclusive data shows that used nuclear fuel bundles decay to below naturally occurring Uranium levels in about 500 years…not 100 centuries. Thus, the decision follows the NRA’s typically over-reactive and absurdly conservative socio-political agenda, catering to the Press at-large and millions of Japanese experiencing extreme radiophobia; believing that even the most miniscule level of radioactivity is a certifiable death threat. The NRA has radioactive wastes divided into four categories, depending on radiation levels; extremely high, high (L1), comparatively low (L2) and extremely low (L3). The NRA decision applies to L1 material, which is largely used nuclear fuel bundles that are not recycled. The nuclear utilities will be responsible for managing the disposal for 300-400 years, and Tokyo for the remainder of the 100,000 year period.  http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609020034.html
  • Some 1,300 of Japan’s antinukes gather in Niigata Prefecture to protest the governor’s decision to not seek re-election. Governor Izumida has continually asserted that the causes of the Fukushima accident must be verified before he would ever allow resumption of operations, openly ignoring the numerous studies that have already occurred since 2011. The antinuclear stalwarts want Governor Hirohiko Izumida to rescind his decision to not run for re-election. They feel he is the “last bastion” against restart of two Kashiwazaki-Kariwa units. As with all national elections since March, 2011, the antinukes want to make their nuclear-critical agenda the no.1 issue. The organizing committee’s formal declaration says, “We will make the issue of the nuclear power plant the biggest point of contention,” and they will “not allow candidates” to conceal the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa restart issue. The only apparent candidate is not overtly antinuclear, and anyone who is not blatantly antinuclear is labeled a pro-nuke in Japan. Nagaoka mayor Tamio Mori is the candidate, and says, “I will strictly examine it [the K-K restart] based on protecting the security and safety of people in the prefecture.” But, this is not fanatic nuclear-phobes attending the gathering. A Niigata City resident made this obvious by saying, “It will be a problem for me if there are no candidates I can vote for based on my thoughts against the reactor restarts. I want a political situation in which we can choose a candidate [who is antinuclear].” The Nuclear Regulation Authority is currently screening the restart. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609040026.html