Australian news, and some related international items

IAEA Begins Analysis of Fukushima Water

IAEA Begins Analysis of Fukushima Water to Verify Japan’s Claim

September 17, 2022

The International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) has begun conducting an independent analysis and data corroboration related to the discharge of treated water from the Fukushima nuclear power station in Japan in a bid to validate data reported by the country.

In a Friday statement, the IAEA said the activities are one component of a three-pronged safety review being conducted by its task force, comprising eleven international experts, as well as its own staff.

The agency said the other two components are a technical assessment of public safety and protection and a review of regulatory activities and processes, both of which are ongoing and expected to culminate with a comprehensive report next year, prior to the discharge of the treated water.

Japan insists the treated water is sufficiently diluted and will be released over 30 to 40 years, posing no risks to safety or the environment.

But critics are concerned as there is no precedent of having discharged such a large amount of contaminated water into the ocean over a long period of time.

IAEA conducting analysis, corroboration of Japan’s data on Fukushima wastewater

September 17, 2022

To check whether the data reported by Japan is accurate, the International Atomic Energy Agency began independent analysis and corroboration work on the discharge of treated wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Along with a technical assessment of public safety and a review of regulatory activities, the process is expected to lead to a comprehensive report in 2023, prior to the discharge.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company is responsible for determining if the water can be released into the sea after its removal of 62 radio-nuclides.
The IAEA’s corroboration work will continue even after the discharge as part of Director General Rafael Grossi’s commitment to remain involved before, during, and after the release.

September 19, 2022 Posted by | Fukushima, Fukushima 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO’s response again…Waste storage facilities are about to run out of space, and contaminated water treatment at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is feared to be delayed

TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March, from the “Oozuru” helicopter at the head office.

September 13, 2022

◆Sweet prediction led to crisis
 This forecast is unreliable. If we make a slight mistake, we will go bankrupt,” said Nobuhiko Ban, a member of the regulatory commission. At a meeting of the regulatory commission, Nobuhiko Ban, a member of the commission, harshly criticized TEPCO’s lenient forecast.
 The committee discussed the “HIC,” a container for muddy waste generated by the Advanced Landfill Process (ALPS), which removes radioactive materials other than tritium. In response to TEPCO’s forecast of the amount of waste to be generated, the Regulatory Commission asked for the construction of a new storage facility in anticipation of a case in which the amount of waste generated does not proceed as expected.

 The HIC is a high-performance cylindrical polyethylene container with a diameter of 1.5 meters, a height of 1.8 meters, and a thickness of approximately 1 centimeter. It is used to store muddy waste generated as a byproduct of the purification process using the Advanced Landfill Process (ALPS), which removes radioactive materials other than tritium. The waste is stored in a concrete box in an outdoor storage area on the south side of the site. The storage capacity is for 4,192 units, and as of August 4 of this year, 4,027 units had been placed there. When the yard is full, ALPS will not be able to operate.

TEPCO’s failure to prepare for such a contingency is a major reason for this predicament.
 The HIC contains highly radioactive sludge, which poses an extremely high risk in the event of a leak. Therefore, TEPCO considered equipment to dehydrate the sludge and turn it into a solid substance. The dehydrated solids will be stored in metal boxes in a separate warehouse, and the HIC will be disposed of by incineration or other means. If everything goes according to plan, the amount of HIC will continue to decrease after FY2022, when the facility will be in operation, and the capacity of the storage facility should not be a problem.
 TEPCO has so far continued to deny that it would be able to handle the additional storage space, saying that it would be possible to do so once the facility started operation in FY2010.
 However, at a regulatory committee meeting last June, it was pointed out that measures to prevent exposure to radiation at the facility were inadequate, and subsequent discussions led to a review of the design. The plan was delayed more than two years from the original schedule.
◆Life Exceeded and Damage May Occur
 What was also unforeseen was the service life of the HIC. TEPCO initially thought that the HIC would exceed its service life after 25 years, but the Regulatory Commission pointed out that this assumption was too optimistic. It was discovered that as many as 79 HICs may exceed their service life and be damaged by the end of FY2010, taking into account the effects of the high density of sludge that had accumulated at the bottom of the HICs.
 In February of this year, TEPCO began transferring the sludge in the HICs that had exceeded their service life to new HICs. As a result, the number of HICs is expected to increase by another 45 in FY2010, in addition to the amount generated by the treatment work. The extra amount, equivalent to about three months’ worth of sludge, is the result of underestimating the service life of the HICs.

◆Repeated backpedaling
 Even after these contingencies occurred, TEPCO did not immediately move to secure storage capacity. Only now is it finally considering changes to the ALPS operation method and the construction of a new storage facility, in an attempt to avert a critical situation.
 At the beginning of the accident, TEPCO underestimated that the generation of contaminated water could be stopped immediately and hastily built bolted tanks with low durability. Contaminated water continued to flow, causing frequent accidents involving leaks from the tanks. The same old “last-minute” response to the situation is about to be repeated again.

September 19, 2022 Posted by | Fukushima, Fukushima 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Contaminated water treatment at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant may stall next spring Sloppy waste management, tight storage space

September 11, 2022
TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Okuma-cho and Futaba-cho, Fukushima Prefecture) may be unable to operate its waste treatment facilities next April when its storage facilities fill up with waste generated during the purification process of contaminated water. While TEPCO is preparing to discharge the treated water into the ocean, it has been sloppy in its waste management. The contaminated water treatment could be delayed. (Kenta Onozawa)
 The storage space may become tight because of the muddy waste generated by the ALPS (Advanced Land Disposal System), which removes radioactive materials other than tritium. The waste is stored in containers called “HICs” at a yard on the south side of the site. The plan is to dilute the water after treatment with a large amount of seawater and discharge it into the ocean.
 As of August, the HIC yard was 96% full. TEPCO estimates that it will be full by the end of April next year if operations continue at the current level.
 If the storage space runs out, ALPS will no longer be able to operate, and water that has been reduced in radioactive cesium and strontium by the decontamination facility prior to ALPS treatment will continue to accumulate. This insufficiently purified water is stored in a separate group of tanks from the treated water, which is subject to discharge into the ocean. The risk of leakage is much higher than that of treated water.
 TEPCO plans to renovate the HIC yard to create additional storage space for about one year, aiming to start operation at about the same time the yard fills up. However, the renovation work was originally supposed to be completed in March of this year. The process has been delayed due to a review of the seismic design and other factors, and it is uncertain whether the project will continue to proceed as TEPCO had envisioned.
 TEPCO initially planned to start operation of a facility capable of disposing of the HIC by the end of this fiscal year. It did not construct a new yard, anticipating that the number of HICs would decrease after the facility went into operation. However, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) pointed out design flaws, delaying the scheduled operation by more than two years. Lack of contingency plans led to fears of a crunch.
 A spokesperson for TEPCO explained to an interview, “We have some prospect of measures to control the occurrence of HICs, and we do not think we will run out of storage capacity, but we will consider adding a storage facility in case of a tight situation.

HIC HIC is an abbreviation for high-performance container. It is a cylindrical polyethylene container 1.5 meters in diameter, 1.8 meters high, and approximately 1 centimeter thick. It is used to store muddy waste generated during the purification process in the Advanced Lockheed Martin (ALPS). The waste is stored in a concrete box in an outdoor storage area on the south side of the site. The storage capacity is for 4,192 units, and as of August 4 of this year, 4,027 units had been placed there.

September 12, 2022 Posted by | Fukushima, Fukushima 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO, which has made public the site of the undersea tunnel construction project, says that the project is proceeding smoothly without local consent for the discharge of treated water into the ocean

Workers monitor a shield machine digging an undersea tunnel at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Futaba-machi, Fukushima Prefecture.

September 6, 2022
On September 6, TEPCO opened to the media the construction site of an undersea tunnel that will be used to purify and treat contaminated water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Okuma and Futaba towns, Fukushima Prefecture) for discharge into the ocean. Excavation of the tunnel began on August 4 and has progressed to about 80 meters out of its total length of about 1 kilometer. The plan is to finish all the work by next spring, but it is not clear whether the tunnel will actually be able to discharge the water.

The low motor noise reverberated as we entered the narrow tunnel. The entrance to the tunnel was about 3 meters in diameter. Beyond that was a gentle descent. The interior was surrounded by white reinforced concrete walls and crowded with piping and equipment. Beyond the tunnel, a shield machine was digging into the bedrock, but we could not see it.
 No sound of digging could be heard, and it was quieter than one might imagine. The machine was digging at a rate of two centimeters per minute. When I touched the piping that carried the rock and mud that had been cut out of the machine to the outside, I felt as if hard objects were rolling around inside.
 A person in charge at the site said, “So far, work is going well.” A total of about 100 people work a day on a 24-hour shift, and digging will begin around the end of October at two to three times the current pace.
The fishermen’s union has promised that they will not dispose of the waste in any way (discharge into the ocean) without the understanding of the concerned parties. The fishermen’s union has maintained its opposition to ocean discharge and may not be able to discharge the waste even after the tunnel construction is completed. Kenichi Takahara, risk communicator for the Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning Promotion Company, predicted, “I think the release will only happen when both the construction of safe facilities and efforts to gain understanding can be accomplished.
 According to TEPCO’s plan, the treated water, which mainly contains radioactive tritium, will be diluted with a large amount of seawater to less than 1/40th of the national emission standard and released from the seafloor at a depth of about 12 meters through a tunnel. (The water will be discharged from the seafloor at a depth of about 12 meters through a tunnel.)
TEPCO announced the start of construction of an undersea tunnel to discharge “treated water” from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Citizens’ exclamations

September 12, 2022 Posted by | Fukushima, Fukushima 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Treated water is almost full, a long way from completion of discharge at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Storage tanks for treated water on the grounds of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Eleven and a half years have passed since the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. TEPCO plans to start discharging the treated water into the sea as early as spring 2023 after purifying the radioactive contaminated water. However, local fishermen and people overseas are deeply distrustful, and the road to completion of the discharge is far from complete.

 This summer, there was a major development regarding the treated water. On July 22, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved TEPCO’s plan to discharge treated water into the ocean.

 According to the plan, the company will first reduce the concentration of 63 radioactive materials below the national standard, except for tritium, which is technically difficult to remove. The tritium concentration will be further diluted with seawater and adjusted so that it is less than 1/40th of the standard value (1,500 becquerels per liter). The tritium will be discharged to the seafloor about 1 km offshore.

 On August 2, Fukushima Prefecture and the towns of Okuma and Futaba, which are the local governments in the area, informed TEPCO that they had given their prior consent to start construction of the discharge facility, and TEPCO began full-scale construction of the facility. A shield machine was used to excavate an undersea tunnel, and pipes were laid to transport the treated water.

 However, the construction schedule is already running behind schedule. The installation of the caisson (concrete box) for the water discharge outlet on the seafloor was scheduled for the end of August, but has been postponed until September or later due to weather and other factors. TEPCO has indicated that the discharge may be delayed until next summer.
Zero” Contaminated Water Target Revoked

 Contaminated water containing high concentrations of radioactive materials is the source of the treated water. This water is generated when reactor cooling water and groundwater come into contact with the melted-down nuclear fuel (fuel debris) in Units 1 through 3.

 The treated water is the result of removing radioactive substances other than tritium using a multinuclide removal system called ALPS (ALPS).

 TEPCO has been rapidly adding tanks to store the treated water, but as of March of this year, 95% of the tank capacity (1.29 million tons) had been reached. In order to secure the space needed for decommissioning work, it is difficult to add more tanks. At this rate, the tanks are expected to be full by the summer or fall of 2011.

 What is urgently needed is to prevent the generation of contaminated water.

 The buildings of Units 1-3 are badly damaged. Groundwater and rainwater flowing from the mountain side of the site have entered the buildings, causing contaminated water to increase.

 TEPCO has been reducing the inflow of water into the buildings by pumping up groundwater from wells around the buildings and by building a “frozen soil barrier” to enclose the buildings. 130 tons of contaminated water was generated per day in FY2009, a quarter of the amount generated in FY2003.

 However, TEPCO itself still does not know where the water is coming from. TEPCO’s initial goal of “zero generation of contaminated water” is now beyond reach, and the company has replaced it with the target of “reducing the amount of contaminated water to 100 tons per day by the year 2013.
In fact, most of the treated water is “still under treatment.

 Once the facilities are completed, will the water in the tanks be discharged into the ocean?

 Of the 1.29 million tons of water in the tanks as of March of this year, only 10,000 tons, or less than 1%, has not been treated at Alps. TEPCO has described the other water as “treated” water.

September 12, 2022 Posted by | Fukushima, Fukushima 2022 | , | 1 Comment

Work proceeds on building tunnel to discharge treated water at Fukushima N-plant

A construction worker on Tuesday handles a machine that is being used to build a tunnel at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to discharge ‘treated’ water into the ocean.

September 7, 2022

FUKUSHIMA — Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. held a press viewing of the construction site of an underwater tunnel leading to the ocean for discharging treated water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

The treated water is to be piped to an offshore discharge site through the tunnel, which is about 1-kilometer long.

On the seaward side of reactor Nos. 5 and 6, there is a shaft about 18 meters deep that leads to a tunnel with a diameter of 3.1 meters that extends toward the sea.

The walls of the tunnel are covered with reinforced concrete to prevent leakage.

A shield machine with many pipes and cables has been used to dig about 80 meters since Aug. 4.

A worker was monitoring the excavation amid the loud sound of the motor.

“Once the tunnel is excavated to 150 meters, the pace of excavation will be several times faster from that point forward,” said a TEPCO official. “We’ll proceed with safety as our top priority.”

The excavation is proceeding smoothly, but rough seas have prevented the installation of the discharge port at the end of the tunnel, which was scheduled to be done in August.

The ocean is expected to be even rougher in the winter. The failure to install the outlet before then could delay the construction work and possibly push back the start of water discharge, which is scheduled in the spring, to around summer.


September 12, 2022 Posted by | Fukushima, Fukushima 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Operator shows digging of tunnel to release treated water from Fukushima Daiichi

Sept. 6, 2022

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has shown to media work to dig an underwater tunnel for releasing treated water from the facility into the ocean.

Tokyo Electric Power Company began building the tunnel in early August to release the water about one kilometer offshore, after diluting it.

The operator gained approval for the work from the Nuclear Regulation Authority and local authorities. The project is in line with the Japanese government’s policy.

On Tuesday, media were allowed to view the construction site, where workers used a huge excavator called a shield machine under the seabed.

The tunnel starts about 16 meters underground near a quay wall of the plant’s No.5 and 6 reactor buildings.

TEPCO officials say the tunnel is being dug at a pace of five to six meters a day, and is so far 80 meters long.

The firm aims to complete the work next spring, but has suggested it may take until next summer, depending on weather.

Local fishery workers have expressed concern about possible reputational damage from the release. Fukushima Prefecture and other local authorities say the plan has yet to gain public understanding.

Reactors at the plant suffered meltdowns in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Water used to cool molten fuel at the facility mixes with rain and groundwater. Accumulated water is treated to remove most radioactive materials and stored in tanks on the plant’s premises.

The filtered water still contains tritium. The government plans to dilute the water to bring the concentration of tritium well below the percentage permitted by national regulations.

The amount of tritium in the diluted water is also ‘expected’ to be below World Health Organization guidance levels for drinking water quality.

September 12, 2022 Posted by | Fukushima, Fukushima 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment