• The mass of Fukushima corium is estimated at 880 tons. Corium is the solidified remains of the Uranium cores and structural materials from inside the three Fukushima reactor pressure vessels (RPVs). Once Fukushima station was re-electrified, sufficient cooling water was injected into the three systems to quench the melted material and solidify it. Before the nuke accident, the three fuel cores had a combined weight of 257 tons. Computer data-crunching estimates that the combined mass of corium is roughly 880 tons. The program was developed by the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID). For units #1 and #3, their respective corium amounts are estimated at 30% fuel and stainless steel, and 40% concrete. For unit #2, the fuel and stainless component is assumed to be 70% of the corium. Muon scanning imagery was included in the IRID computer analysis. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=739
  • Natural radioactive decay greatly radiation levels in rural contaminated wastes. As a result, 77% of the materials stored in Miyagi Prefecture have radioactivity levels below the 8,000 Becquerels per kilogram standard. The prefecture wants to discuss disposal with the Environment Ministry because the levels of radioactivity below the limit. Tokyo is legally responsible for final disposal of the materials. The wastes were never designated as high-level radioactive material because the local communities did not want to generate the impression that the areas were dangerous. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161024_11/
  • Futaba offers to build a common cemetery for up to 400 graves. It has been requested by townspeople possessing graves in tsunami-devastated locations and places where the interim rural radioactive waste storage site is to be constructed. The town presumes each grave plot will be 6 square meters. It will also build parking lots, restrooms and an “azumaya” rest house. Land purchases and development will begin in April, with plots to be sold later in 2017. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=741
  • The Fukushima “ice wall” is once again alleged to be failing. This time it’s The Nikkei; Japan’s leading financial news outlet. As with similar reports from other outlets, the Nikkei fails to identify the true root of the problem; the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s mandate to leave several large sections unfrozen to assuage speculations of a highly radioactive release to the sea. The openings are on the “landside” of the four damaged units, directly in line with the flow of groundwater from the inland mountains. A cursory inspection of Tepco’s weekly posting of the ice wall’s status shows that the entire wall allowed to be solidified by the NRA is now frozen. If the seven sections required to be left unfrozen by NRA were allowed to be solidified, there is every reason to believe the ice wall would be a huge success. The Nikkei also makes the mistake of stating that as water flows through the damaged units, it comes in contact with “molten nuclear fuel” and becomes contaminated. Of course, none of the material has been molten for more than five and one-half years! http://asia.nikkei.com/Tech-Science/Tech/Ice-wall-not-working-at-Fukushima-nuclear-planthttp://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2016/images/handouts_161020_01-e.pdf
  • An inland earthquake in western Japan has no impact on any of the coastal nuke plants. On Friday, a quake measuring at 6.6 on the Richter scale struck Tottori Prefecture. In an apparent attempt to limit public angst, the Nuclear Regulation Authority announced that there were no problems at the now-fully operating unit #3 at Shimane station, and also at none of the many long-dormant nukes on Japan’s west coast. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161021_29/
  • Japan’s winter electrical reserve capacity places some prefectures at risk. The Agency for Natural Resources & Energy (ANRE) says there should be a roughly 3% reserve this winter, but says that conservation measures need to be continued, especially with Hokkaido Prefecture; the most northern of the major islands. The reserve level is at 3% because of the operation of two nukes at Sendai station and one at Ikata. The ANRE report warns that the future risk of electrical instability will increase without more nuke restarts. In the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011, numerous fossil-fueled power plants that had been shut down for many years were brought back into service to supply the needed electricity. 7,940 MWe of this “thermal” capacity will be out of service this winter for much-needed maintenance and repairs due to aging and deterioration of equipment. This is 60% more than the 4,630MWe down for maintenance last summer. Another super-cold winter could stretch Japan’s reserve capacity to its limits. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/japans-energy-outlook-for-winter-capacity-reserve-margin-to-stay-above-3/