Tag Archives: fukushima

60,000 in Tokyo Protest Government Plans to Restart Nuclear Power

3 Jun

by Adam Westlake / Japan Daily Press

Approximately 60,000 people rallied in Japan’s capital of Tokyo on Sunday, June 2nd in order to protest recent government plans to restart the country’s idled nuclear reactors. People gathered in Shiba Park and later marched towards the parliament building. Among the organizers was Kenzaburo Oe, a Nobel literature laureate, who called on the Japanese government to leave the nuclear power plants in suspension out of fears for safety.

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DIY Nuclear Safety at Fukushima

31 May

Photo from Energy News

"[...] this photo, which was taken inside of the crippled Unit 4 reactor building, showing a orange safety cone which has been flipped upside down to direct leaking materials into a hose which has been attached with duct tape."

This photo was reportedly taken inside the crippled Unit 4 reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant. An orange safety cone has been flipped upside down to direct leaking materials into a hose which has been attached with tape. Workers have reported that there is nothing left that they can do about the damage anymore.

For more on the current state of the leaking nuclear facility, see:

Leaks, Rats and Radioactivity: Fukushima’s Nuclear Cleanup Is Faltering

Leaks, Rats and Radioactivity: Fukushima’s Nuclear Cleanup Is Faltering

1 May

by Bryan Walsh, Cross Posted from Time:

JAPAN-DISASTER-ACCIDENT-NUCLEAR-ENERGY-IAEA

Honestly, if the consequences weren’t potentially so dire, the ongoing struggles to clean up the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northern Japan would be the stuff of comedy. In March, an extended blackout disabled power to a vital cooling system for days. The cause: a rat that had apparently been chewing on cables in a switchboard. As if that’s not enough, another dead rat was found in the plant’s electrical works just a few weeks ago, which led to another blackout, albeit of a less important system. The dead rats were just the latest screwups in a series of screwups by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the owner of the Fukushima plant, that goes back to the day of March 11, 2011, when an earthquake and the resulting tsunami touched off a nuclear disaster that isn’t actually finished yet. I’m not sure things could be much worse if Wile E. Coyote were TEPCO’s CEO.

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Rat May Be Responsible for Outage at Fukushima Nuke Plant

26 Mar
A brown rat. Photo by Brian Robert Marshall

Did a brown rat take down that nuke plant? Photo by Brian Robert Marshall

A rat may have been to blame for a power cut that knocked out cooling systems at the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, the operator said last week, in an episode that highlighted the jerry-rigged nature of the fix.

Equipment keeping used nuclear fuel at a safe temperature in four different pools was out for up to 39 hours from Monday, with Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) admitting their recovery work was sometimes less than perfect.

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Police Kill Anti-Nuke Protester in India, Resistance Continues to Grow

14 Sep

A group of fisherfolk staging “jal satyagraha” in the sea, against the Kudankulam nuclear power project at Veerapandianpattinam coast in Tuticorin district on Friday. (Photo: N.Rajesh)

Despite the killing of an anti-nuclear protester by police on Monday, hundreds of protesters forming a human chain stood in sea waters today, for the second day in a row, demanding a halt to preparations for fuel loading into the reactor of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) in Tuticorin district.

The Hindu.com reported that women and men would stand in the sea waters for two hours in turns. Pushparayan, leader of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) has been spearheading the year-long agitation.

Indian police officers detain a protestor after they baton charged residents protesting against the Russian built Kudamkulam nuclear plant on the Bay of Bengal coast at Kudamkulam, Tamil Nadu state, India, Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. (AP Photo)

The Coast Guard aircraft and ships maintained surveillance at sea off nearby Idinthakarai as the villagers stood in waist and neck deep water.

Taking cue from a similar protest demanding land as compensation and reduction of Omkareshwar Dam recently by villagers of Khandwa district in Madhya Pradesh, PMANE launched their jal satyagraha (water civil disobedience) on Thursday, marking a new turn in their agitation, which was intensified after preparations for fuel loading into the plant was announced.

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Another Radioactive Water Leak Reported at Fukushima Plant

6 Apr
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said as much as 12 tons of radioactive water leaked from a pipe at its crippled Fukushima nuclear station, the second such incident in 11 days at the same pipeline, raising further doubts about the stability of the plant.

Part of the water may have poured into the sea through a drainage ditch, Osamu Yokokura, a spokesman for the utility, said by phone. The company known as Tepco stopped the leak from a pipe connecting a desalination unit and a tank today, he said.

“There will be similar leaks until Tepco improves equipment,” said Kazuhiko Kudo, a research professor of nuclear engineering at Kyushu University, who visited the plant twice last year as a member of a panel under the Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency. “The site had plastic pipes to transfer radioactive water, which Tepco officials said are durable and for industrial use, but it’s not something normally used at nuclear plants,” he said. “Tepco must replace it with metal equipment, such as steel.”

Tepco has about 100,000 tons of highly radioactive water accumulated in basements at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear station nearly 13 months after the March 11 quake and tsunami caused meltdowns and the worst radiation leaks since Chernobyl. The tsunami knocked out all power at the station, causing cooling systems for reactors to fail. The utility was forced to set up makeshift pumps to get cooling water to the reactors, with most of it then draining into basements. Continue reading

Bulgarians Protest Nuclear Power Ahead of Fukushima Anniversary

9 Mar

A man with a mask carrying the commonly known symbol for radioactivity joins a demonstration in Sofia, Bulgaria, 09 March 2012. EPA/BGNES

Members of several environmental organizations gathered in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia for a silent protest to mark the upcoming first anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The environmentalists gathered in front of the country’s Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism, stating that nucleart energy is dangerous and that the Bulgarian government should focus on developing renewable energy instead.

“We do not need Belene, neither do we need nuclear energy,” a protester has told dariknews.bg, referring to the Belene nuclear power plant project that could be pootentially fulfilled.

“The alternative is renewable energy, which is many times safer and causes extremely little damage – and which would allow us to achieve something vital: energy independence for the country and for households.

Bulgaria has been haggling with Russia’s state corporation Rosatom and its subsidiary Atomstroyexport for the price of the 2000 MW Belene NPP – and for other issues – for years.

After it was first started in the 1980s, the construction of Bulgaria’s second nuclear power plant at Belene on the Danube was stopped in the early 1990s over lack of money and environmental protests. In 2008, former Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev gave a formal restart of the building of Belene.

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan was struck by the 11 March 2011 magnitude-9 earthquake and resulting tsunami, which knocked out power and was leading to the failure of its cooling systems. After fires and explosions, large amounts of radioactivity were spewed into the environment.

See source as cross-posted from here

Another Worker dies at Japan’s crippled nuclear plant

14 May

Workers spraying resin on the ground near the reactor buildings to protect the spread of radioactive substances. (AFP/HO/TEPCO via Jiji Press)

By Mandie Sami, wires

A worker at Japan’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant has died.

It brings the total number of deaths at the complex to three since the massive earthquake and tsunami struck in March.

The man, aged in his 60s, started working at the plant on Friday.

Taichi Okazaki, a spokesman for plant owner TEPCO, says the man was exposed to 0.17 millisieverts of radiation on Saturday – far below the company’s safety threshold of 5 millisieverts.

Mr Okazaki says the cause of his death is not known.

“No radioactive substances were detected on the worker,” Mr Okazaki said. There were no signs of injury on the dead man.

The worker, who was not immediately identified, was carrying chainsaws with another worker inside a facility to treat contaminated water being released from the plant’s crippled reactors.

He fell ill 50 minutes after starting work at 6.00 am on Saturday (local time) and was brought to the plant’s medical room unconscious. He was later moved to a nearby hospital and confirmed dead.

Goshi Hosono, a special adviser to prime minister Naoto Kan and a ruling Democratic Party politician, voiced concerns about the working environment at the Fukushima complex on Wednesday.

“I would like to spend my energy to improve working conditions. Many people told us working environment (at the plant) is way too bad,” he told a news conference.

The March quake and tsunami triggered cooling system malfunctions at the plant, and caused radiation to leak into the atmosphere and the sea, prompting Mr Kan to review Japan’s nuclear-leaning energy policy from scratch.

Engineers are still struggling to bring the Fukushima plant under control. Two TEPCO employees went missing while patrolling the plant soon after the quake and were later found dead.

The most recent death comes as the operator of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant completes a total shutdown of the facility.

Mr Kan called for the closure last week to avoid a repeat of the disaster at the Fukushima plant, where engineers are still struggling to bring it under control.

Despite the ongoing nuclear crisis, Mr Kan is expected to announce that the country will keep using nuclear power at a G8 summit in France later this month.

Japan to Release Radioactive Water into the Sea from Fukushima Nuclear Plant

4 Apr

Cross posted from NDT Television

On Monday, Tokyo Electric Power said it will release more than ten thousand tons of contaminated water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

The water will be released into the sea to free up more storage space for water that has much higher levels of radioactivity.

The water to be released is about one hundred times more radioactive than legal limits.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary says there is no other choice.

[Yukio Edano, Chief Cabinet Secretary]:
“We came to this conclusion because even though it is water containing radioactive particles, it is inevitable that we release it in to the sea.”

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says the decision was taken because it was not harmful to humans and done in order to avert an even bigger danger.

[Hidehiko Nishiyama, Nuclear & Industrial Safety Agcy.]:
“As it is not harmful to people’s health and as it is necessary to avert an even bigger danger, we decided it was inevitable.”

Japanese engineers have been scrambling to prevent a meltdown since an earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

Letter Bomb Explodes at Swiss Nuclear Industry Office

3 Apr

March, 2011 cover of radical ecological Italian magazine Terra Selvaggia, attributed to the eco-anarchist group Il Silvestre


A letter bomb exploded at the offices of Swissnuclear in the northern town of Olten a spokesperson for the Swiss police said. “At about 8.15 am, while opening the letter, it exploded,” and injured two people.

A statement from the Italian Informal Anarchist Federation was found in the remains of the boobytrapped letter, Swiss federal prosecutor Carlo Bulletti said, quoted by the Swiss news agency ATS on Friday.

Authorities said the letter written in Italian was postmarked from abroad and referred to three eco-anarchists, Costantino Ragusa, Silvia Guerini, and Luca Bernasconi, connected with the group Il Silvestre detained in Switzerland in connection with an attempted bombing at the Swiss headquarters of IBM in Zurich. Il Silvestre opposes nanotechnology, biotechnology, the state and the military and publishes the magazine Terra Selvaggia.

On the same day, an Italian military officer was injured in an army barracks in the Italian port of Livorno by a letter bomb apparently sent by the same anarchist group.

The FAI has also claimed responsibility for a letter bomb sent to a Greek top security prison where a number of anarchists are incarcerated, Greek police said on Friday.

Thursday’s incident occurred near a Greenpeace demonstration outside the headquarters of Swiss power firm Alpiq, not far from the Swissnuclear office.

The group cancelled its demonstration following the explosion, distancing itself from the action.

“We distance ourselves with the greatest firmness from this explosion. Greenpeace has nothing to do with this attack,” Florian Kasser, who heads Greenpeace’s energy campaign in Switzerland, told AFP.

In a statement, Greenpeace said the demonstration was being held to demand Alpiq formally withdraw a request to build new nuclear power plants in Switzerland, which has suspended plans to replace its ageing reactors following Japan’s nuclear disaster.

In an interview with a Swiss newspaper, Heinz Karrer, who heads Swiss energy group Axpo, acknowledged that “at the moment, it is unthinkable to talk about another new nuclear power plant.”