• More evidence emerges for the Hiroshima Syndrome theory. Japanese epidemiologist Shigenobu Nagataki writes, “In order to distinguish atomic bomb sufferers from air-raid victims, radiation damage was adopted as the criterion for health support since that damage occurred only to the atomic bomb survivors… every successful legal trial aimed at obtaining relief for survivors used health damage caused by radiation as the main justification. Therefore, damage due to radiation could be misunderstood as representing the entire damage caused by atomic bombs and this misunderstanding could be the cause of the excessive fear of radiation that started in Japan and spread across the globe.” (emphasis added) http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)31728-7/fulltext?elsca1=etoc
  • The NRA will not allow Tepco to freeze the entire “ice wall” at F. Daiichi. The east side of the wall, parallel to the shoreline, has frozen. However, there are seven large gaps in the rest of the underground structure that the Nuclear Regulatory Authority refuses to let Tepco freeze. Thus, 95% of the western ice wall is frozen, but 5% remains untouched. The wall is intended to stanch the inflow of groundwater that moves through the soil from the west. Tepco wants to close the gaps, but the NRA’s Deputy Chair Toyoshi Fuketa said, “That’s out of the discussion… [Tepco] needs to come up with measures that do not rely on the ice wall and complete the removal of the tainted water from the building by 2020.” Thus, the NRA is the reason the project has not stopped groundwater from coming into the basements of units #1 through 4, at a rate of about 180 tons per day. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/30/national/tepco-admits-success-fukushima-ice-wall-still-unknown/#.V-5gPtLr0dU
  • Tokyo will likely extend its control of Tepco beyond April, 2017. The Tepco business plan of 2014 envisioned the company no longer needing government involvement in company operations. However, the delay in restarting the two newest Kashiwazaki-Kariwa (K-K) units has made that target date improbable. Currently, Tokyo has 50.1% of Tepco’s voting privileges through the state-backed Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. The Industry Ministry will begin consideration of extending the government’s support past the April 2011 target. The K-K restart is exacerbated by current Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida’s antinuclear insistence that Tepco has not fully examined the cause of the 2011 F. Daiichi accident. However, he will not seek re-election in October. The two front runners for his successor are former Nagaoka Mayor Tamio Mori, of the Liberal Democratic Party-Komeito ruling coalition, and Ryuichi Yoneyama, a 49-year-old doctor. Yoneyama says he agrees with the current governor’s position on K-K restarts. Tokyo policy makes it necessary for home prefecture approval before the resumption of nuke operations is allowed. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/02/business/japanese-government-considers-longer-support-tepco/#.V_EsINLr0dU
  • Tokyo considers placing a cap on nuclear accident liability. PM Shinzo Abe’s cabinet will give a plan for limited liability to an expert panel. The decision is expected to be rendered by March 31st – the end the current fiscal year. Subsequently, the Science Ministry will amend related laws accordingly. Because of the huge outlay of money inflicted on Tepco since 2011, with no viable end in sight, all Japanese utilities have been asking Tokyo to put a ceiling on liability expenditures. Buried within the proposal is one interesting caveat – if the upper limit is reached, the utility would have to pay additional costs if it can be proven that the accident is completely attributable to their actions. However, if an accident is caused by a natural disaster, such as a massive tsunami, coverage beyond the upper limit falls on both Tokyo and the utilities in concert. Some “experts” say a limit would make utilities less concerned about safety. Tadashi Otsuka, professor of law at Waseda University, said, “There is a possibility that those companies will place less importance on investing in safety measures.” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201610020022.html (Comment – The March 2011 F. Daiichi accident was largely the fault of then-PM Naoto Kan’s order to delay depressurizing unit #1 until after a 3am press conference was held, and his additional order to have the 3km radius around F. Daiichi completely evacuated. This caused an ~8 hour delay in the venting operation. If not for the delays, low pressure water pumps could have cooled the reactor core, likely averting the subsequent hydrogen explosion and the melt-downs of units #2 & 3. Further, the exorbitant compensations paid to each Tokyo-mandated evacuee – running at more than $9,000 per month (not including free housing) for more than 5 years – was also one of the Kan regime’s ideas, made into law by creating the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. The burden ought to have been placed squarely on Tokyo because the then-PM was clearly the culpable party. Such bungling of fiscal responsibility should never be allowed to happen again.)
  • A retail chain opens a mobile sales service in Tomioka Town. The Ito-Yokado Company’s Taira subsidiary, located in Iwaki City, sends a refurbished truck to a commercial lot in Tomioka on Wednesday’s and Fridays. It has some 500 items for sale, including boxed lunches, fresh meat, fish, vegetables, drinks, confectionery, toilet paper, kitchen goods, and clothing. Additional items may be ordered through the retail company and delivered on the next visit. The chain’s store in Tomioka, closed due to the evacuation order, is scheduled to reopen at some point after the living restrictions are lifted in April. Until then, the mobile service will try and fulfill the resident’s needs. On September 17th, Tomioka Mayor Koichi Miyamoto and Kuniaki Fukui, head of the Public-Private Fukushima Soso Reconstruction Joint Team, joined local officials in a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the start of the mobile sales service. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=730
  • Fukushima fisheries have already brought in more seafood for 2016 than in all of 2015. This will make it the best year since the nuke accident in 2011. As of Sept. 22nd, the haul totaled 1,596 tons, climbing past 1,512 tons brought in last year. The prefecture says the increase is due to more fishermen partaking in the “test” operation, and a greater number of species allowed to be taken by the government. However, the total is only about 10% of the haul realized in 2010. The entire 2016 haul has tested below the national limit for radioactivity, which is 100 Becquerels per kilogram. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=731