Updated:  Oct 29, 2011

Kashiwa govt wants help with hotspot (Yomiuri, Oct. 28, 2011)

Tadao Baba and Eiji Noyori

KASHIWA, Chiba–A radiation hotspot in Kashiwa has still not been decontaminated a week after radiation of 57.5 microsieverts per hour was recorded on a city-owned plot of land.

The city insists such a high level of radiation is beyond the level a local government can handle on its own, though it decided to conduct surveys to find other hotspots after many residents expressed anxiety over the issue.

The Kashiwa municipal government said last Friday that radiation of 57.5 microsieverts per hour had been detected about 30 centimeters below the surface of the plot of land. Its subsequent examination of soil at the location detected radioactive cesium of up to 276,000 becquerels per kilogram.

Airborne radiation of 2 microsieverts per hour was recorded one meter above the ground–the same level detected in Iitatemura, Fukushima Prefecture, which was designated part of the expanded evacuation zone after the beginning of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

On Sunday, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry said Kashiwa’s hotspot was likely caused by the Fukushima crisis.

Since Monday, the municipal government has been receiving more than 200 calls every day, mainly from local residents asking officials to measure radiation at their houses or conduct decontamination as soon as possible.

The plot of land in question used to be the site of a city-run housing complex. Recently residents had used it for recreational activities. The plot was flattened by leveling a slope in a hilly area. It comprises a field, a paved pedestrian walkway and a street gutter that is 30 centimeters wide and 30 centimeters deep.

The high level of radiation was detected in the soil near an L-shaped corner in the gutter, of which a nearby 50-centimeter-long section was found to be damaged.

Takao Nakaya, head of the ministry’s Office of Radiation Regulations, said it was highly possible the high level of radiation was caused by water containing radioactive cesium seeping into the soil over a long period.

After the outbreak of the nuclear crisis, clouds containing cesium spread over a widespread area, causing relatively high levels of radiation at many locations in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Kashiwa is just north of Tokyo.

“If the damage to the gutter caused [the hotspot in Kashiwa], it won’t be surprising if similar levels of radiation are detected in other places,” said Tsutomu Tohei, professor emeritus at Tohoku University.

If radioactive cesium adheres to the surface of soil or a leaf, it tends to remain there, Tohei said. However, rainwater may bring cesium that was previously scattered over various places to a particular spot, such as a gutter. If such cesium accumulates for a long time, the radiation level would become higher than in surrounding areas.

The Kashiwa municipal government has decided to examine all other plots of land owned by the city. In addition, the city will implement similar measures for private properties beginning next month, examining the premises of residents who make such requests or lending residents measuring devices.

However, the municipal government has yet to establish a framework to systematically find other hotspots. It has only covered the recently discovered spot with uncontaminated soil and blue tarpaulin sheets.

“It’s difficult to find a company to decontaminate [the site] given the extremely high level of radiation,” a city government official said. “The situation is more than we can handle as a local government.”

The municipality has started discussions with the Environmental Ministry and Cabinet Office, asking the central government to take responsibility for determining the cause of the hotspot and the exact amount of contaminated soil, as well as decontaminating the location.

The hotspot was first discovered by a man living in the neighborhood who always carries a dosimeter.

Frustrated by the slow response of local governments to the radiation problem, many citizens and organizations are checking radiation levels in their neighborhoods on their own. These efforts will likely lead to the discovery of many more hotspots.

However, people may get different figures at the same spot depending on their examination methods or specific dosimeters.

Kiyoshi Nomura, associate professor at the University of Tokyo, said people do not have to worry too much about localized radiation.

Low-level radiation detected in Fukushima students (Asahi, Oct 25)

Traces of radioactive cesium have been discovered in schoolchildren in Fukushima Prefecture, according to the Minami-Soma municipal general hospital.

Half of the elementary and junior high school students in Minami-Soma who underwent radiation checks since late September were found with low levels of radioactive cesium-137, the hospital reported.

“We will offer periodic checks to students to keep records of their health conditions,” said a hospital worker in charge.

The hospital is uncertain whether the students inhaled airborne radiation or ingested it through radiation-contaminated foodstuffs after the March 11 Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident.

Radioactive cesium-137 was detected at below 10 becquerels per kilogram of a student’s weight in 199 students. The substance was also found at from 10 to less than 20 becquerels in 65 students; 20 to less than 30 becquerels in three students; and 30 to below 35 becquerels in one student, the hospital said….

Given that precise values of internal exposure–albeit trace amounts–were identified this time, continued checks are expected to provide more accurate measurements of radiation amounts entering the body through inhaling at the time of the onset of the Fukushima crisis, as well as through ingestion following the accident. Such measurements will enable a closer probe into the relationship between internal exposure and health damage, allowing for monitoring of increases in internal radiation through foods, sources said.

“If radiation checks are conducted again on the students in a few months to determine if any change between the two checks has arisen, we can roughly estimate (the radiation amounts entering the body through inhaling and through ingesting),” said Masaharu Tsubokura, a doctor at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science.

Tsubokura added that nationwide government-led efforts are needed (for such measurements).

The Institute of Radiation Safety Belrad, a radiation research organization in Belarus, handled radiation exposure measures after the Chernobyl accident. The institute set hazardous levels for children at 70 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram of their weight and caution levels at 20 becquerels.

Tetsuji Imanaka, an assistant professor of nuclear power engineering at the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, said, “The human body naturally contains radioactive potassium-40 of between 50 to 60 becquerels per kilogram. If the level reaches 30 becquerels, you may want to take action to lower radiation levels within the body.”

In August, the thyroid glands of 45 percent of children aged 15 and under in Iwaki, Kawamata, Iitate, all in Fukushima Prefecture, were found to have exposure to radiation, according to the government’s headquarters handling the Fukushima crisis. Children are said to be particularly vulnerable to thyroid gland cancer due to radiation exposure….”  Read the full article here.

Tokyo ignored calls to issue iodine during crisis (Asahi, Oct  26)

As the quake-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was spewing radiation, the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan urged the central government to issue iodine tablets to residents in affected areas. But Tokyo apparently ignored the advice.

Iodine tablets help to protect the thyroid gland from the effects of radiation exposure.

At least 900 people should have been issued the medication under the NSCJ’s safety standards, but the central government did not issue instructions to municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture to lessen the health risk faced by residents.

Had those people taken the tablets, they would have markedly lowered the absorption of radiation in their thyroid glands following hydrogen explosions at the No. 3 and No. 4 reactor buildings on March 14 and 15, respectively.

Cesium and strontium were among radioactive materials leaked from the plant.

Under existing guidelines, the task force set up in Fukushima to handle the nuclear crisis is supposed to act on advice given by the NSCJ. As such, it was negligent in not issuing directives for iodine tablets to be handed out.

Early in the morning of March 13, the day after the explosion at the No. 1 reactor building, the NSCJ said it contacted the central government’s crisis headquarters in Tokyo to suggest that iodine tablets be issued. The NSCJ said it discussed the issue with officials there twice via fax.

Gen Suzuki, a member of an advisory panel at the NSCJ and president of the International University of Health and Welfare, said, “I sent a statement (to the headquarters) a few times saying residents with at least 10,000 cpm of radiation should take iodine tablets.”

The cpm, or counts per minute, is a measurement of radiation that is emitted per minute from radioactive substances detected on a person’s body.

Later that same day, the crisis headquarters in Fukushima faxed the NSCJ a draft statement to be issued to municipal governments in the prefecture.

It made no mention of iodine tablets, the NSCJ said.

The NSCJ then repeated its advice to the headquarters in Tokyo.

The draft statement, which the NSCJ later made public, mentions the NSCJ’s advice that (if radiation levels exceed certain levels) “decontaminating the person and making the person take iodine tablets are required.”

“We talked to members of medical and radioactive teams involved in dealing with the aftermath of the nuclear accident, but we haven’t been able to find the faxes (sent by the NSCJ),” said Kenji Matsuoka, a member of the headquarters in Tokyo and chief of the Nuclear Emergency Preparedness Division at the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, at a meeting of a task force handling this matter at the NSCJ.

The central government’s panel tasked with assessing the accident at the Fukushima plant is expected to investigate the matter.

According to the prefectural government, of about 230,000 residents who underwent radiation checks at health care and evacuation centers in the prefecture since March 13, some 900 people showed readings of at least 13,000 cpm of radiation.

The 900 figure was mostly based on results made available Oct. 20.

Report to form basis for stricter food radiation… (Asahi, Oct 28) | Govt to lower radioactive intake limits (NHK, Oct 28)

Japan’s health ministry is set to lower its radiation limits for food to one millisievert per year as early as April. The figure is one-fifth the current level.

The ministry set provisional radioactivity safety limits on foodstuffs at 5 millisieverts per year after the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March.

This would translate into 500 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram in meat, fish, vegetables and cereals such as rice.

The tentative limits were based on the levels which are said to have no health effects even when a person consumes foods with radioactive materials for one year.

The ministry decided to lower the limits to match international standards as radioactive substances detected in foodstuffs have been falling since the accident.

On Thursday, Japan’s Food Safety Commission recommended that cumulative internal radioactive exposure from food during a person’s lifetime be limited to no more than 100 millisieverts.

The new safety limits would result in stricter standards for each food item, and are likely to fall within the levels recommended by the commission.

The ministry’s panel is to start deliberating the issue next week to set standards for each food item.

Roasting technique could separate cesium from soil(Asahi, Oct 27) Government researchers on Oct. 26 tested an experimental technique to decontaminate farmland soil by roasting it at 800 degrees at a waste incineration plant near the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Panel advises limiting lifetime radiation exposure to 100 millisieverts (Mainichi, Oct 29)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A government food safety panel finalized its report Thursday calling for limiting cumulative internal radiation exposure during a person’s lifetime to below 100 millisieverts, a benchmark beyond which the risk of cancer increases.

Following the Food Safety Commission’s conclusion, which updates an evaluation by its working group in July, the health ministry will convene an advisory panel meeting Monday to revise its provisional limits for radioactive substances in food set after the Fukushima nuclear crisis triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The current provisional limits such as 500 becquerels of radioactive cesium for rice, vegetables, meat and fish per kilogram, and 200 becquerels for drinking water and milk are expected to be lowered with the commission’s advice.

In July, the working group of the commission warned against the health hazard of accumulated radiation exposure, both internal and external, over 100 millisieverts during a person’s lifetime.

But the panel said in the latest report that only internal exposure through food consumption should be taken into account because it believes the negative impact on people’s health from external radiation exposure following the Fukushima disaster “has not risen dramatically.”

The food safety body said the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry should make its own assessment on external radiation exposure in reviewing the provisional limits.

The commission also urged the government and the public to note that children may be more vulnerable to radiation than adults, indicating the possibility of more discussions on lowering allowable levels for children.”…

Fukushima reactor building gets new covering (NHK, Oct 29)

One of the crippled reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant finally has a cover in place that will help lower radioactive emissions.

The operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company, had been building the casing for the plant’s No. 1 reactor since late June. The reactor had been damaged by a hydrogen explosion following the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.

The cover is 54 meters high, 47 meters wide and 42 meters deep. It has a ventilation system that filters out radioactive substances.

TEPCO says that during pilot tests, the system removed more than 90 percent of radioactive cesium from the reactor.

The company says the cover will allow it to move nearer to its goal of containing radioactive emissions from the No. 1 reactor.

TEPCO is considering installing similar covers for the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors when debris removal is completed after next summer. Both reactor buildings were damaged by the explosions.

Radioactive emissions need to be lowered before local residents who were evacuated following the earthquake and tsunami can return home.”

Over 80% of Japan’s reactors offline (NHK, Oct 28) … Of the 10 reactors still running, 4 will be shut down for routine inspections by year-end. The rest are scheduled to go offline by early next year. If none of the reactors restart, Japan will have no active nuclear power plants within several months.

Earlier news: Scrapping Fukushima reactors to take over 30 yrs: gov’t panel (Kyodo News) | Study: Japan nuke radiation higher than estimated (Maininichi)

Nuclear radiation from Fukushima twice more than estimated: report (Japantoday, Oct 28)

Fukushima nuclear pollution in sea was world’s worst: French institute (Japantoday, Oct 28)

Disaster-stricken schools share experiences via Internet (Asahi Shimbun, October 26)

Expert: Radioactive materials reached Kanto via 2 routes(Asahi Shimbun, Oct 25)

The Asahi Shimbun

Radioactive materials from the damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant reached the Kanto region mainly via two routes, but they largely skirted the heavily populated areas of Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture, an expert said.

Relatively high levels of radioactive cesium were detected in soil in northern Gunma and Tochigi prefectures and southern Ibaraki Prefecture after the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was damaged by the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. But contamination was limited in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture, where 22 million people live.

Hiromi Yamazawa, a professor of environmental radiology at Nagoya University, said the first radioactive plume moved through Ibaraki Prefecture and turned northward to Gunma Prefecture between late March 14 and the afternoon of March 15.

Large amounts of radioactive materials were released during that period partly because the core of the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 plant was exposed.

“The soil was likely contaminated after the plume fell to the ground with rain or snow,” Yamazawa said, adding that western Saitama Prefecture and western Tokyo may have been also contaminated.

Rain fell in Fukushima, Tochigi and Gunma prefectures from the night of March 15 to the early morning of March 16, according to the Meteorological Agency.

The second plume moved off Ibaraki Prefecture and passed through Chiba Prefecture between the night of March 21 and the early morning of March 22, when rain fell in a wide area of the Kanto region, according to Yamazawa’s estimates.

He said the plume may have created radiation hot spots in coastal and southern areas of Ibaraki Prefecture as well as around Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture.

Yamazawa said the plume continued to move southward, without approaching Tokyo or Kanagawa Prefecture, probably because winds flowed toward a low-pressure system south of the Boso Peninsula.

“It rained slightly because the low-pressure system was not strong,” said Takehiko Mikami, a professor of climatology at Teikyo University. “Contamination in central Tokyo might have been more serious if (the plume) had approached more inland areas.”

According to calculations by The Asahi Shimbun, about 13,000 square kilometers, or about 3 percent of Japan’s land area, including about 8,000 square kilometers in Fukushima Prefecture, have annual exposure levels of 1 millisievert or more.

Gunma and Tochigi prefectures have a combined 3,800 square kilometers with an annual exposure of 1 millisievert or more.

Among Tokyo’s 23 wards, Katsushika Ward had the highest radiation level of 0.33 microsievert per hour, according to a science ministry map showing radioactive contamination for 12 prefectures.

The ward government has been measuring radiation levels in seven locations once a week since late May. It plans to take measurements at about 500 public facilities, such as schools and parks, in response to residents’ demands for detailed surveys.

The Gunma prefectural government has measured radiation levels in 149 locations since September and has identified six northern mountainous municipalities with an annual exposure of 1 millisievert or more.

Earlier this month, the prefectural government asked 35 municipalities to decide whether radioactive materials will be removed.

High radiation levels were detected in Minakami, Gunma Prefecture, known as a hot spring resort.

Mayor Yoshimasa Kishi said the town could be mistaken as a risky place if it decides to have radioactive materials removed.

The science ministry’s map showed that 0.2 to 0.5 microsievert was detected in some locations in Niigata Prefecture.

Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida said the figures were likely mistaken, noting that these locations have high natural radiation levels because of granite containing radioactive materials.

The prefectural government plans to conduct its own surveys of airborne radiation levels and soil contamination.

Many municipalities are calling for financial support for removing radioactive materials.

In Kashiwa and five other cities in northern Chiba Prefecture, radioactive materials need to be removed over an estimated 180 square kilometers of mainly residential areas.

The Kashiwa city government is providing up to 200,000 yen ($2,620) to kindergartens and nursery schools for removal work.

But some facilities have asked children’s parents to help pay the costs because they cannot be covered by the municipal assistance.

:::

New cesium hot spot found in northwestern Chiba (Asahi Oct 24)

A new radioactive hot spot found in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, is probably the result of fallout from the quake-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the science ministry said.

High concentrations of radioactive cesium were detected in a vacant lot. Officials said Oct. 23 that it appeared likely rainwater accumulated in the soil because of a damaged concrete drainage gutter.

According to the Kashiwa city government, up to 276,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium was detected in one kilogram of soil 30 centimeters below the surface.

Ministry officials said a 50-centimeter crack in the drainage gutter allowed rainwater to seep into the soil. An area with a radius of one meter was contaminated.

Officials said that rainwater containing cesium from radioactive fallout had probably accumulated in the soil during the months since the accident at the Fukushima plant.

The radiation level is higher in the ground than on the surface. Officials also noted that the ratio of cesium 134 and cesium 137 in the soil matched radioactive materials spewed out from the Fukushima plant after the accident.

They said there was no evidence that radioactive materials had been deliberately buried at the site.

Other hot spots, where radiation levels are high, have been found in northwestern Chiba Prefecture, including the city of Kashiwa. However, the latest readings are the highest detected in the prefecture to date.

By SHIN MATSUURA
Traces of radioactive cesium have been discovered in schoolchildren in Fukushima Prefecture, according to the Minami-Soma municipal general hospital.

Traces of radioactive cesium have been discovered in schoolchildren in Fukushima Prefecture, according to the Minami-Soma municipal general hospital.

Half of the elementary and junior high school students in Minami-Soma who underwent radiation checks since late September were found with low levels of radioactive cesium-137, the hospital reported.

“We will offer periodic checks to students to keep records of their health conditions,” said a hospital worker in charge.

The hospital is uncertain whether the students inhaled airborne radiation or ingested it through radiation-contaminated foodstuffs after the March 11 Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident.

Radioactive cesium-137 was detected at below 10 becquerels per kilogram of a student’s weight in 199 students. The substance was also found at from 10 to less than 20 becquerels in 65 students; 20 to less than 30 becquerels in three students; and 30 to below 35 becquerels in one student, the hospital said.

Despite the substance’s half-life of about 30 years, it will be discharged from the body through bowel movements and other bodily functions. The discharge process takes 100 days for adults, but only 30 days for first- to third-grade elementary school students, who have faster metabolism rates.

Much remains unknown as to the effects of low levels of internal radiation exposure on human health. Detailed data on such effects were not available from the 1945 atomic bomb blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki or from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.

Given that precise values of internal exposure–albeit trace amounts–were identified this time, continued checks are expected to provide more accurate measurements of radiation amounts entering the body through inhaling at the time of the onset of the Fukushima crisis, as well as through ingestion following the accident. Such measurements will enable a closer probe into the relationship between internal exposure and health damage, allowing for monitoring of increases in internal radiation through foods, sources said.

“If radiation checks are conducted again on the students in a few months to determine if any change between the two checks has arisen, we can roughly estimate (the radiation amounts entering the body through inhaling and through ingesting),” said Masaharu Tsubokura, a doctor at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science.

Tsubokura added that nationwide government-led efforts are needed (for such measurements).

The Institute of Radiation Safety Belrad, a radiation research organization in Belarus, handled radiation exposure measures after the Chernobyl accident. The institute set hazardous levels for children at 70 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram of their weight and caution levels at 20 becquerels.

Tetsuji Imanaka, an assistant professor of nuclear power engineering at the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, said, “The human body naturally contains radioactive potassium-40 of between 50 to 60 becquerels per kilogram. If the level reaches 30 becquerels, you may want to take action to lower radiation levels within the body.”

In August, the thyroid glands of 45 percent of children aged 15 and under in Iwaki, Kawamata, Iitate, all in Fukushima Prefecture, were found to have exposure to radiation, according to the government’s headquarters handling the Fukushima crisis. Children are said to be particularly vulnerable to thyroid gland cancer due to radiation exposure.

BBC Report on the Fukushima Children and protection of the power plants (Video) Oct 24

Ministry forms call center to report radiation hot spots (Asahi October 22, 2011)

The science ministry will set up a call center Oct. 24 for members of the public to report so-called radiation hot spots.

It will be set up with a special measurement team within the Emergency Operation Center at the science ministry.

The call center will be available to all prefectures except Fukushima, which already has its own radioactive decontamination assistance framework.

A radiation hot spot is defined as a location where the radiation level at a height of 1 meter above the ground is more than 1 microsievert per hour higher than the surroundings. For example, since the radiation level in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward is currently 0.056 microsievert per hour, any reading above 1.056 microsievert per hour is considered a radiation hot spot.

Science ministry guidelines recommend reading the figure indicated on a dosimeter 30 seconds after the measurement begins at a height of 1 meter above the ground.

If the elimination of mud and fallen leaves from side ditches, cutting of tree branches and other simple decontamination measures prove ineffective, the call center will cooperate with local governments to inspect the site.

It will contact the environment ministry or the Cabinet Office, as need arises, to assist in decontamination efforts.

The call center’s number is 03-5253-4111, extension 4630 or 4631, between 9:30 a.m. and 6:15 p.m. on weekdays. Relevant guidelines are available on a website.

Kashiwa’s hot spot just one of many to come, expert says (Japan Times, Oct 25)

By MIZUHO AOKI

The hot spot discovered in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, has local residents alarmed now that the science ministry has confirmed the source of the radiation is probably fallout from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

But another radiation expert warns that there are more hot spots to come.

Masahiro Fukushi warned citizens Monday that more hot spots can be found where rainwater accumulates, like near the ditch in Kashiwa, and urged them to go out and take readings of such places in their neighborhoods on their own, instead of waiting around for the government’s plodding surveys.

Contamination in much of Kashiwa is far higher than other parts of the Tokyo metropolitan area, so the mini hot spot really wasn’t much of a surprise, said Fukushi, a professor of radiation science at Tokyo Metropolitan University.

“If the (cesium) detected was 100 times higher than the amount measured by the science ministry, then it’d be strange. But in this case, it’s just four or five times, so you should not be surprised,” Fukushi said.

According to the science ministry, it is highly likely that cesium in rainwater condensed in the soil after leaking with it from the broken ditch.

The soil at the hot spot had a high 276,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram, the Kashiwa Municipal Government said. This is four to five times higher than the level surrounding the hot spot and many other places in Kashiwa, he said. The condensation process will allow this level to be attained in any place where rainwater accumulates in a limited area, Fukushi said.

Typical examples are side ditches, openings near downspouts and soil under evergreen trees, Fukushi warned.

“As we now have the knowledge of where we can find hot spots, such as areas under downspouts, we should work together to monitor such places,” he said. “I think this is where citizen volunteer efforts must come into play.”

Fukushi also said that Kashiwa’s residents should not worry too much about the hot spot. The highest radiation reading at the site was 15 microsieverts per hour, which is unlikely to harm anyone because most people will be unlikely to stand around the site for extended periods, Fukushi said.

“Even if a person walked through the site on every day (since March 11), the total exposure dose should not be a cause for fear,” said Fukushi, who visited the hot spot last week.

According to Fukushi, residents in Tokyo, west of Kashiwa, should be less worried about hot spots because the contamination levels in Tokyo are much lower.

For example, one hot spot was found at the end of a downspout at an elementary school in Adachi Ward, but the reading was only 3.99 microsieverts per hour.

According to aerial monitoring surveys conducted by the science ministry since September, some areas in Kashiwa contain 60,000 to 100,000 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium.

The highest exposure level recorded in the aerial survey was between 0.2 to 0.5 microsieverts per hour.

Reporter hot on the trail of a radioactive vehicle (Asahi Oct 25) Journalist traced origin of highly radioactive vehicle auctioned off in Chiba, to Fukushima. Read more here.

Water supply concern for Okutama (Japan Times, Oct 16)

Nuclear accident could raise power cost by 1 yen (NHK, Oct 25) Extracted below..

“Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission says a nuclear accident could raise the cost of power generation by up to 1 yen per kilowatt-hour, but the total cost would still be lower than other forms of power generation.

The commission released on Tuesday new estimates on the cost of nuclear power generation calculated by a research panel set up in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

The estimates cover the costs that would stem from a serious nuclear accident and include outlays for evacuation, compensation and decommissioning of reactors.

But the panel says spending for cleaning radiation-contaminated areas and the long-term storage of radioactive debris was not included. …”

Power station sitting on active faults (Japan Times)

Active faults under Tohoku Electric’s Higashidori nuclear power complex in Aomori Prefecture are grounds for a reassessment of the plant’s seismic safety, a recent study says.