The Japanese company in charge of cleaning up one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters said Friday its latest error may have caused contaminated water to leak into the ground for nearly half a year. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) said it erroneously configured gauges used to measure groundwater levels in six wells near Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant reactors Nos. 1 through 4, all of which were destroyed when a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastated the Japanese coast and caused a series of meltdowns at the plant. The false readings, which have been relied on since April 19 and were discovered this week, meant that groundwater levels were actually more than two feet below what Tepco was measuring, The Japan Times reported. The company said this mistake caused groundwater levels to fall below the limit set to prevent radioactive water from flowing out of the plant and into the nearby wells, known as subdrains, at least once, in May.
Dunrenard 3rd Oct 2017 read more »
Japan’s nuclear regulator today granted preliminary safety approval for two Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reactors at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant despite widespread public opposition. These are the first TEPCO reactors to receive approval since the nuclear disaster at the TEPCO operated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. “The NRA’s decision to grant approval to TEPCO’s reactors is reckless. It’s the same disregard for nuclear risks that resulted in TEPCO’s 2011 triple reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi site,” said Shaun Burnie, Senior Nuclear Specialist with of Greenpeace Germany. “Approving the safety of reactors at the world’s largest nuclear plant, when it is at extreme risk from major earthquakes completely exposes the weakness of Japan’s nuclear regulator,” said Burnie.
Greenpeace 4th Oct 2017 read more »
The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant cleared a major regulatory hurdle Wednesday to restart two reactors in Japan, its first since the 2011 tsunami sparked the worst atomic accident in decades. The Nuclear Regulation Authority gave Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) preliminary approval to restart the two reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, one of the world’s biggest and the largest in Japan. The plant, in the central Japan prefecture of Niigata, has been idle since the disaster as have been many other nuclear power plants in Japan.
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Public momentum behind countering climate change has been slow to mount in many countries, but its sluggishness in Japan has surprised some. The country is renowned for its energy efficiency and was the host nation to the last major global environmental treaty, the Kyoto Protocol. At the Group of 20 meeting in July, 19 nations, including Japan, signed on to an official communiqué that affirmed a commitment to the Paris climate agreement. Before the summit, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged leaders to tackle climate change in a column published in the German newspaper Handelsblatt. “We have committed to reducing Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by fiscal year 2030 even though we already have lower emissions than other countries,” Abe wrote. “Now, we are eager to fully utilize Japan’s technological strength to protect the Earth for future generations.” However, there are many contradictions to overcome in how Japanese interact with the environment. After all, Japan is a country with nine different sorting categories for recyclables and garbage, but also a place where it’s not uncommon to find every cookie in a package individually wrapped in plastic. With the United States now exiting the Paris climate accord, activists in Japan are concerned about losing ground and want to make the government pursue more aggressive actions to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But it’s hard to build their ranks in a country where political discussions make people cringe and public protests are taboo. And young people, the foundation of environmental movements around the world, are thought to be losing interest in climate-related issues in Japan, the world’s fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter.
E&E News 3rd Oct 2017 read more »