The status of the Fukushima Daiichi “ice wall” has been a major news story this week. The Press claims the wall is failing due to accelerated rainwater run-off. Tepco’s regularly-posted data on in-ground temperatures show that the run-off has caused some superficial thawing. Obviously, Japan’s Press continues to doubt Tepco’s honesty.

  • Actual F. Daiichi “ice wall” data reveals it is not melting. Over the past weekend, Japan’s Press made it seem as if the frozen earth wall surrounding the basements of F. Daiichi’s four damaged units was melting due to the series of typhoons that have struck the Tohoku coast. However, the data posted on 8/25 shows that melting occurred only at the surface, and the rainwater had absolutely no impact at depth. More than 95% of the already frozen locations showed little or no surface thawing. Most of the remainder show it in the top meter of the 30-meter wall. A few of the locations on the inland stretch softened deeper than one meter, with two of the more than 1,500 locations down to five meters, and one spot to a depth of nine meters. In other words, none of the F. Daiichi ice wall has not come close to fully melting. Once again, we Japan’s Press has exaggerated to the maximum.   The 9/8/16 postings show that all twenty of the readings in strategically-placed “temperature monitors” are now below 0o Celsius. Only the few locations near one of land-side wall sections where freezing is not allowed by Tokyo is thawed to a depth of more than six meters. All other locations seem to have recovered from the temperature dips experienced with the most recent typhoon.
  • Also in the above link, we find that the injection of concrete into the slowly freezing locations is working. One of the five former problem locations is now fully frozen, and the other four are steadily showing a steady trend which is approaching 0oC. Unfortunately, none of Japan’s Press outlets have reported this.
  • The Mainichi Shimbun believes the “ice wall” resembles a “bamboo screen”. In complete disregard for the data showing the thawing of the ice wall is superficial (above), the Mainichi says, “The ice wall has holes in it.” There are generally two reasons behind the editorial. First, “There has been almost no drop in the amount of radioactive water produced.” But, the Mainichi fails to believe Tepco’s continual posting that the ice wall is not supposed to stop the production of contaminated water because nearly all of it comes from leaks out of the reactor cooling systems. Second, a bevy of mostly-anonymous “experts” are evoked. One un-named person says, “TEPCO’s claim that the ice wall is highly effective at blocking the water flow is utterly bankrupt.” Nagoya Professor Akira Asaoka, is even more provocative, “The ice wall isn’t really a ‘wall’ per say, but more like a bamboo screen, which has gaps. It’s obvious that the ice wall’s ability to block water is poor.” In both cases, the actual intent of the barrier is completely ignored.

On Wednesday, lead stories in all of the Japanese Press outlets we scan on a daily basis give the antinuclear Kagoshima governor free publicity. In our last posting, (9/5/16) we covered Kyushu Electric Co.’s respectful rejection of the governor’s unprecedented demand to shutter two perfectly-safe nukes because some of his constituents don’t believe Sendai #1 & 2 were unaffected by an earthquake centered 100 kilometers away, and 50 times weaker than the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011. A few Japanese news outlets covered the Kyushu Electric rejection. However, the governor’s immediate re-demand has been reported by all news outlets. There can be little doubt that Wednesday’s Press conference held by the governor was pre-planned and well-orchestrated in order to cater to the antinuclear agenda held by all Japanese news media. Here are a few examples…

  • The Asahi Shimbun says the governor was “stung by an earlier rejection”. Governor Satoshi Mitazono said, “As the governor, I have to protect the safety of residents,” and told Kyushu Electric to “make a bold decision [to immediately shut down Sendai station].
  • Japan News [Yomiuri Shimbun] reported that the governor’s demands are due to some local residents “are voicing concerns about evacuation in case of an emergency.” Mitazono demanded that Kyushu Electric “consider and report on measures to help secure roads for evacuation…”
  • Jiji Press reported the governor said, “I request again that the reactors be stopped as soon as possible for renewed (safety) checkups and verifications.”  Then Jiji cites Kyushu Electric’s President Maichiari Uriu’s response, “We would like to review your request from the standpoint of lessening local residents’ anxieties and enhancing the safety and credibility of the nuclear power plant.”

Now, for some other Fukushima and related news…

  • Former USNRC Chair Dale Klein says Japan should release all purified F. Daiichi water to the sea. He calls for a controlled release, meaning it should be done at a relatively slow pace. Unfortunately, Klein feeds the Press’ continual fixation on the unfounded fear of a large accidental release when he says, “It is much better to do a controlled release in my view than to have an accidental release. I get nervous about just storing all that water when you have about a thousand tanks. You have all the piping, all the valves, everything that can break.” All that remains after full treatment of the water is biologically-innocuous Tritium, a naturally-occurring isotope of Hydrogen. Klein admits that a rapid release “will not be a safety issue, but it will be an emotional issue. A lot of people are not going to know what tritium is and they’re just going to perceive that the water is glowing in the dark.”  (Comment – Catering to unfounded fears and misconceptions only insures their continuation. IMHO, just do it! When nothing negative happens, the public will understand there is nothing to fear and the Tritium issue can be put to bed.)
  • A former prime minister calls PM Shinzo Abe a “liar” about Fukushima safety. Former PM Junichiro Koizumi blasted current PM Shinzo Abe over his 2013 remark that the situation at Fukushima Daiichi was “under control,” calling it a “lie.” Koizumi made his claim to about 180 journalists at a Press conference held by Tokyo’s Foreign Correspondence Club of Japan. Koizumi said Abe’s claim of control at F. Daiichi was an “outright lie” intended to help get Tokyo to 2020 Olympics. He also attacked Japan’s nuclear industry, saying, “The nuclear power industry says safety is their top priority, but profit is in fact what comes first.” In addition, Koizumi voiced his continued support of US sailors’ claims of radiation-caused health effects from very minor exposures during the US Navy assistance in the 2011 “Operation Tomodachi”. Koizumi shared his reason for helping the ~400 US sailors, “I’m not a doctor, but using common sense one can infer their conditions were caused by radiation, since strong and healthy sailors just don’t find tumors or suffer from conditions like nasal hemorrhages.” (Aside – That’s right. He is not a doctor! If he were, he would realize that there is no medical or scientific basis for the sailors’ claims. – End aside) He has set up a fund to provide the sailors with enough money to allegedly pay medical expenses, hoping to raise $1 million. He says he has already garnered $400,000. Koizumi is fanatically antinuclear, arguing that his support for nukes during his term as PM from 2001-2006 was because the industry lied to his government about safety. He lamented, “I became ashamed how I had believed such lies. They said Japan was safe. And that simply was not true.” (Comment – The Associated Press’ giving Koizumi free publicity is not a surprise. The AP has exposed its decidedly antinuclear underbelly since well-before the Fukushima accident. However, Navy Times giving Koizumi coverage is a total disappointment considering the US Navy has repudiated all of the sailor’s claims.)