• Fukushima radioactivity is not amplifying super storms on our oceans. The Daily Kos reports that the internet speculations of Fukushima intensifying typhoons and hurricanes are “nonsense”. The miniscule heat generated by the radioactive decay of Fukushima isotopes is 50 trillion times less than the heat deposited by our sun. Thus the article’s bottom line, “Suggesting that Fukushima energy is fueling cyclone activity is, scientifically speaking, silly. Friends don’t let friends do it.” http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/10/5/1578291/-Fukushima-FAQ-Are-Fukushima-Radionuclides-Causing-Super-Storms-in-the-Pacific-and-Atlantic
  • A clinic opens in wholly-evacuated Tomioka Town. Residents are currently allowed to make “temporary preparatory stays” in their homes before Tokyo’s evacuation order is lifted next spring. One of the needs for repopulation is a fully-operational medical facility. The Tomioka Clinic is headed by Satoshi Imamura, who treated patients injured by the Great East Japan earthquake of 2011, including emergency cases. However, he and his staff had to leave due to Tokyo’s mandated evacuation. He says his return to the community is great, “I felt nostalgic to have been able to see patients I used to treat. I expect to make the clinic a medical institution which local residents can rely on.” The clinic will be open three days per week during the “temporary stay” period, and five days per week after the evacuation order is lifted. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=735
  • Japan’s NRA approves the first-stage screening for Mihama unit #3’s restart, and the Japanese news media doesn’t like it. The Nuclear Regulation Authority has certified that the plans for the upgrade of Mihama #3’s safety systems meet the agency’s requirements for extending the operating license twenty years. The agency reports that Mihama #3 is compatible with Japan’s new regulatory system. The unit will reach the post-Fukushima 40-year licensing limit in December. The next step is for Kansai Electric Company to submit documentation on the deterioration of systems over the last 40 years and detailed plans to provide technological upgrades. The documentation needs to be approved by the NRA no later than November 30th or there will be no restart. The upgrades to meet Japan’s new safety regulations could cost $1.6 billion. Mihama #3 is an 826 MWe Pressurized Water Reactor unit. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161005_25/http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/mihama-3-npp-clears-compatibility-examination-with-new-regulatory-standards/
  • Japan’s Press uses the Mihama #3 decision to attack the NRA. The Mainichi Shimbun says the NRA’s approval of Mihama #3 makes the 40-year limit “look as if it lacks teeth…” The NRA has received nearly 1,400 public comments on the restart in September, and the news media uses some negative opinions to vindicate criticizing the NRA. The Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan News) says that some experts doubt the NRA’s methodology for assessing earthquake severity, “The experts, including former NRA Commissioner Kunihiko Shimazaki, recommended a different method used by the government’s Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion. But the NRA rejected the recommendation.” Perhaps the most extreme nay-saying comes from Japan Times. The Times said, “The ruling was certain to provoke questions in Kansai and elsewhere about whether the NRA is lax on safety concerns.” It speculates that local citizens groups will seek court injunctions to bar restart, and that Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa has voiced “concerns”. The Times even goes so far as to cite Greenpeace – which always supplies negative nuclear copy. Greenpeace’s Kirk Ulrich said Mihama No. 3 was like a vintage 1976 car that was driven for four decades but has sat idle for more than five years, and that restarting it now puts the lives of people in the Kansai region at risk, “Major safety components wear out, designs become outdated, and extended disuse creates yet another set of safety problems.” He also harped on the 2004 rupture of a non-radioactive Mihama #3 steam pipe in its turbine building which killed 5 workers, calling it a “major accident”. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201610060064.htmlhttp://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161005/p2g/00m/0dm/074000chttp://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003262273http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/05/national/nra-grants-aging-mihama-reactor-20-year-extension/#.V_UyGdLr0dU
  • Sendai unit #1 begins the first post-Fukushima refueling outage. The media circus spawned by demands for immediate shuttering of the two Sendai units by the new Kagoshima governor (and former Asahi TV news commentator) has put the shutdown in headlines across Japan. The following link is for perhaps the most objective of the numerous articles posted in Japan. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161006_17/
  • Japan’s largest newspaper asks “Is medical radiation exposure being curbed?” The question would have been moot before the nuke accident of 2011. However, a mortal fear of radiation exposure has swept the land since then, affecting millions of Japanese. The medical community was eventually subjected to this angst, and Diagnostic Reference Levels (DRL) were established by Tokyo in June of 2015. DRLs are guidelines to prevent hypothetically unnecessary diagnostic medical exposures. Have DRLs reduced these exposures? The Yomiuri asked Reiko Kanda of the National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology. She says medical exposures were historically high and that doctors made it easy to receive an exam, but, “The nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture changed that completely, and many people in Japan became concerned about radiation exposure.” Kanda points out that following the “Japanese version” of DRLs is not mandatory, and getting medical practitioners to follow them has been slow. Hospitals where courses have been held on DRLs have begun to use DRL guidance, but most still use exposures and equipment that are pre-Fukushima. It should be noted that diagnoses rarely exceed 10 millisieverts (CT scan level), which is well-below the generally acknowledged threshold of harm of 100 millisieverts. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003251390