Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Japan Overwhelmed with Toxic Nuclear Waste Yet Persists in Re-Starting Reactors

These two news stories (below) published by the Mainichi demonstrate that, by default, Japan is forcing citizens and local governments to deal with toxic waste from the Fukushima nuclear disaster while simultaneously denying citizens the right to reject efforts to resume nuclear plant operations in their prefectures, despite the known hazards of nuclear power in Japan and the risks of re-starting idled reactors.

Reactor re-starts are pursued despite record lows in pricing of natural gas and petroleum. There isn't even a business case for the re-starts:

Environment ministry to OK dispersed storage of radioactive waste within Ibaraki Pref. The Mainichi, January 26, 2016, http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160126/p2a/00m/0na/006000c

The Ministry of the Environment is set to allow radioactive waste emanating from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster to remain spread out among multiple storage locations in Ibaraki Prefecture rather than begin construction of a longer-term storage facility there, it has been learned…

… In Ibaraki Prefecture, 14 municipalities are storing a combined amount of around 3,500 metric tons of radioactive waste…

… The waste consists of material giving off more than 8,000 becquerels of radiation per kilogram. In Ibaraki Prefecture, almost all of it is being kept at municipality-managed trash-incineration sites and at prefecture-managed sewage processing sites. The environment ministry says the waste is being "stored under comparatively stable conditions" in the prefecture.

… In Miyagi and Tochigi prefectures, much of the radioactive waste consists of things like rice straw, and over 60 percent of it is kept in storage by residents…  

Shiga Pref., Takahama nuclear plant operator sign safety accord. The Mainchi, January 25, 2016, http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160125/p2g/00m/0dm/083000c

The Shiga prefectural government on Monday signed an agreement with Kansai Electric Power Co. on safety issues concerning its Takahama nuclear power plant, located in adjacent Fukui Prefecture, ahead of its planned restart later in the week….

… The safety accord requires Kansai Electric to immediately report emergency situations at the plant and compensate for damage caused by accidents. But it stopped short of giving Shiga Prefecture a say over the reactors' return to service -- the right usually awarded to host municipalities -- as requested by the prefectural government. 

Meanwhile Fukushima Daiichi continues to spew radioactive particles into the ocean and atmosphere: