Fukushima Disaster and Updates

Updates

Navy Families Sue Fukushima Operators for Wrongful Death

Families of five Navy service members who died after responding to the Fukushima nuclear meltdown have sued Tokyo Electric Power Co., blaming the deaths on radiation illnesses contracted from the March 2011 disaster.

The families will join a lawsuit from 152 other members or survivors of members of the 7th Fleet who performed humanitarian response from March 11, 2011 until March 14, when the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier was moved away from Fukushima due to detection of nuclear radiation in the air and on helicopters returning to the ship.

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Fukushima unit 4 Nuclear Power Station

Fishermen Express Fury as Fukushima Plant Set to Release Radioactive Material into Ocean

777,000 tons stored in 580 tanks at the Fukushima plant, which is quickly running out of space… Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, has been urging Tepco to release the water. Tepco chief Kawamura says he feels emboldened to have the support of the NRA chairman.

Despite the objections of local fishermen, the tritium-tainted water stored at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant will be dumped into the sea, a top official at Tokyo Electric says.

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“Astoundingly High” Radiation Levels Detected at Fukushima Unit 2

The radiation level in the containment vessel of reactor two has reached as high as 530 sieverts per hour, Tokyo Electric Power Co, or Tepco as it’s known, said last week.

Are levels rising? 

Azby Brown reporting on Safecast’s website, February 4th:

No, radiation levels at Fukushima Daiichi are not rising

“It must be stressed that radiation in this area has not been measured before, and it was expected to be extremely high. While 530 Sv/hr is the highest measured so far at Fukushima Daiichi, it does not mean that levels there are rising, but that a previously unmeasurable high-radiation area has finally been measured. Similar remote investigations are being planned for Daiichi Units 1 and 3. We should not be surprised if even higher radiation levels are found there, but only actual measurements will tell.” (see more at Safecast)

Feb. 8, Denver Post: Could the radiation level be even higher? Possibly. The 530 sievert reading was recorded some distance from the melted fuel, so in reality it could be 10 times higher than recorded, said Hideyuki Ban, co-director of Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center.

Cranes over the Fukushima Daiichi plant in February 2016. The decommissioning process is expected to take about four decades

High Radiation Forcing a Rethink of Robot Strategy

TEPCO and its network of partner companies at Fukushima Daiichi have yet to identify the location and condition of melted fuel in the three most seriously damaged reactors. Removing it safely represents a challenge unprecedented in the history of nuclear power. Quantities of melted fuel are believed to have accumulated at the bottom of the damaged reactors’ containment vessels, but dangerously high radiation has prevented engineers from accurately gauging the state of the fuel deposits.

TEPCO is now worried that the scorpion robot will not be able to reach the space beneath the pressure vessel, and like its predecessor, will not be able to work for very long in the damaged plant (the scorpion is designed to handle 1,000 total sieverts). The high level of radiation may force TEPCO, a nationally-owned company, to rethink its robot-based strategy for locating the molten fuel. The firm is currently in the early stages of a cleanup that’s expected to last decades. Until TEPCO knows the precise location of the melted fuel, and until it’s able to ascertain the structural damage in each of the three reactors affected, the company won’t be able to decommission the plant and remove the fuel.

Read more at The Guardian

“While the 20th century equated national security with bombs, bullets and geography, national security in the 21st century is focused on 1s and 0s — the basis of our digital world — and dollars and cents. Reprioritizing spending away from weapons and towards maintaining U.S. economic, scientific and technological superiority will put us on the path toward economic growth and prosperity.” Coronavirus unmasks America’s real national security vulnerabilities

“Let us not recover from the coronavirus only to find ourselves in an even more dangerous world, one menaced by an uncontrolled arms race and persistent fear of nuclear escalation.” Now Is Not the Time to Start an Arms Race

Pentagon press briefing on the Defense Department’s Covid-19 response. (Lisa Ferdinando / Defense Department)

As the coronavirus spreads, Congress still has to review the Pentagon’s defense budget request.

“Nuclear power robbed us of everything. We still can’t go into the forests. Families with children used to go into the forest to gather wild plants and teach about nature. That was a common practice, taken for granted. But today we can’t do any of that.” Kenichi Hasegawa, a former dairy farmer in Namie Town, Fukushima

People, wearing protective masks following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), place candles as they pay their respect to victims of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster that killed thousands and set off a nuclear crisis, in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
People, wearing protective masks following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), place candles as they pay their respect to victims of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster that killed thousands and set off a nuclear crisis, in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Nine years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011, causing the ensuing accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The effects of this disaster are ongoing: radiation contaminated a large area and has had serious impacts on the environment and the livelihoods that depended so much on the natural environment.

With sadness but no ceremony, Japan marks disaster anniversary