Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Japan's LDP Persists in Re-Licensing and Re-Starting Aging Reactors

The NRA is in the process of extending approval for aging reactors that have been in operation for more than 40 years, including the No 3 reactor at Kansai Electric Power Company's Mihama plant located in Fukui Prefecture:
EDITORIAL: Extending life of Mihama nuclear reactor raises doubts on safety. The Asahi Shimbun, August 8, 2016 at 13:20 JST

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has endorsed the draft inspection report for the No. 3 reactor at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture. The reactor will have been in service for 40 years at the end of November.

Two more NRA approvals will pave the way for an extension of the reactor’s commercial operations by up to 20 years.

The law stipulates that nuclear reactors that have been operating for four decades or longer should be shut down in principle to prevent unpredictable accidents. Extended operations of reactors beyond the legal 40-year life span are supposed to be exceptions...
The No. 3 reactor at the Mihama plant also has some unique problems that reinforce the case against extending its service.  First of all, the reactor is located close to a fault. This has led the NRA to raise the assumed standard intensity of shaking caused by an earthquake by 30 percent from the original estimate made by the utility.
The article notes that in June the NRA authorized extension of operations of reactors 1 and 2 at Kansai Electric's Takahama nuclear plant located in Fukui prefecture, both of which have operated over 40 years.

Meanwhile, Shikoku Electric Power Company's Ikata Nuclear Power Plant in Ehime Prefecture is slated to reach criticality Friday morning:
Ikata nuclear reactor to restart on Friday morning. JIJI Aug 10, 2016

Shikoku Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it will reactivate the No. 3 reactor at its Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture around 9 a.m. on Friday.

It will be the first time in some five years and three months for the reactor to be switched on, since it was suspended for a routine safety inspection in April 2011.

The Ikata No. 3 reactor will be the fifth to go back online under the county’s new safety regulations, introduced in July 2013 after the March 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The Ikata plant will be the second nuclear plant in operation in Japan, joining Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.
As reported in the Japanese and American media, citizens in Japan have used the court systems to try and halt reactor re-starts through injunctions.
However, the courts have been happy to over-rule citizen concerns, with judges consciously and explicitly deciding upon the acceptable "level of risk":

Court rejects appeal to halt operations of Sendai reactors April 6, 2016 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

MIYAZAKI--A high court here rejected an appeal by Kyushu residents seeking to shut down the only two nuclear reactors operating in Japan, ruling that it is impossible to secure absolute safety with nuclear energy.  Presiding Judge Tomoichiro Nishikawa of the Miyazaki branch of the Fukuoka High Court said April 6 that current science and technology standards cannot reach a level of safety in which no radioactive materials are emitted regardless of the severity of the accident at a nuclear plant.

“A judgment has to be made based on the standard of what level of danger a society would be willing to live with,” Nishikawa said.

It is my belief that the headline below explains the driving force for re-starting reactors
Rhiannon Hoyle and Mayumi Negishi Japan Nuclear-Power Jitters Weigh on Global Uranium Market . The Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2016,
Falling uranium prices are bad news for producers and investors, such as Cameco and Goldman Sachs, as well as for monopolistic utilities.

Falling uranium prices and the welfare of powerful utilities are prioritized over public safety.

Re-starting reactors is a process fraught with risks, even under the best conditions. Conditions in Japan are far from "the best" given faults under or near reactors and ongoing heightened geological activity in the region.

The Nuclear complexes’ revolving door relationships and the close connections between nuclear weapons and energy security together reinforce the complex’s immunity and mitigate against realistic assessments of the myriad risks posed by the uranium supply chain, including the health and environmental risks of uranium mining, refining, fissioning, and spent waste management.

Accidents such as Fukushima were believed to be low probability events, but recent statistical analyses of past nuclear disasters points to the fallacy of low-probability formulations. Research by Lelieveld, Kunkel, and Lawrence published in the journal, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, predicts a severe nuclear accident every ten to twenty years.

Another study by Wheatley, Sovacool, and Sornette predicted a 50 percent chance for another Fukushima-scale accident or larger in the next 50 years, a Chernobyl-scale event in the next 27 years, and a Three Mile Island scale event in the next ten years.

Yet, in the wake of these studies the Japanese government planned to cut the formal risk probability of a major nuclear accident in half, as reported in The Asahi Shimbun in April of 2015: “The industry ministry intends to cut the risk probability of a major nuclear accident occurring to once in 80 years, half that of the once-in-40-years rate contrived just after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.” The article explains that by revising the probability downward, to once in 80 years, the “proposed costs for dealing with nuclear disasters will be reduced.”

The Sendai nuclear power plant in Satsuma-Sendai, Kagoshima Prefecture that resumed operations in 2015 benefitted from the revision, reducing energy costs for businesses and consumers, but leaving the nation vulnerable to another nuclear disaster.

Fukushima Daiichi August 11, 2016



  1. It probably will not be long till there is a major nuclear accident that is substantial somewhere in the world. So many old, decrepit nuclear power plants so close to urban areas now.

    Maybe there will be some cooling of the earth from some solar cycle in the future. In the meantime, the ice shelf in Greenland has melted enough to expose a radioactive mess.

    How many other huge radioactive messes are lurking around the world waiting to be discovered at the most inopportune time?

    Hard to get undistorted or anywhere near complete news anymore. I do not know what has happened in Taipei at the reactor that has had a series of fires the past year or so. It is probably not good.

    John Pilger has a film coming out. This YouTube video is quite good it is a brief introduction to the topic of his new film. John talks about the Marshall Islands. He talks about Bikini and the origin of the name of that swimsuit.

  2. "t probably will not be long till there is a major nuclear accident that is substantial somewhere in the world."
    I agree 100 %
    This is pure Insanity !

  3. Not long after gun powder was invented people began blowing themselves up. Each year a certain number of people die due to the fact that they wonder what would happen if they do X. Curiosity. Devoid of curiosity humans would be pretty boring. Curiosity leads to science and science leads to things people want like cell phones and the internet. If humans were wiser then nuclear would not be a problem. But they are not. This alerts us to the fact that we do not live in an Utopia. Yes, some people are insane but even without invoking insanity people take risks. Some very smart and highly educated men were responsible for the atomic bomb; had they delayed testing it it could not have been dropped in Japan. What do you suppose motivated them to go ahead despite certain fears? If even these men lacked a desirable wisdom what hope is there for gov and corporation men and women? Generally wisdom comes with experience. Probably the amount of experience necessary to prevent extermination would take longer than it is likely we have left. Thus we can probably expect the human being to vanish from the earth in the foreseeable future. Say fifty to one hundred years. This is how the universe played its cards. It could have made duller human beings or wiser ones. But it made us and we have no choice but to live that decision.

    1. William said, "But it made us and we have no choice but to live that decision." I totally disagree! We ARE wiser and we can all have a better life on this planet if only "we" decide to stop living the lives of slaves to "money" and the ideologies of death. I know it's not easy; it requires that a critical mass of people (say 15-20% of the population) wake up and demand AND practice real grass-roots democracy instead of this deception we are having to put up with now.

      Japanese courts, etc.: The presiding judge said, “A judgment has to be made based on the standard of what level of danger a society would be willing to live with,” When it comes to nuclear, that would have to be zero. Some judges have realized this and are standing up for it. Others are following the government line (wherever that comes from). So if some judges, like this one, are following the government line, it pretty well means (in Japan) that someone is telling him what to do and say. Thus the judiciary is compromised, and, with nuclear anyway, that means social institutions are not functioning as advertised. Also note that everywhere in Japan where there is an NPP, the local govts are doing evacuation drills "in case there is an accident". Why??? If the nukes don't run, there is not likely to be an accident and that solves the problem. (Why do we have to assume there "may" be an accident when the authorities are saying that the NPPs are safe??) However, apparently, not running the nukes is not an option. Thus, compromised courts and local evacuation drills. But even in the face of such nonsense, ordinary Japanese people will not put their foot down. That doesn't mean they like their reality or that they have "given up" - it's more like they are resigned to whatever happens in desperate silence. Sho ga nai ne.

  4. keep this date in mind
    15th of august 2016
    start of ww3
    the us empire is threatening russia for
    a long time now. Several american wars,
    as the occupation of ukrainia , has been
    started while there were olympic games running.
    The US and their slave organisation NATO
    have expanded their territory up to the edge of russia.
    The german media , slave state until 2099,
    is painting russia as devil and US as god.
    That is obviously wrong.
    Now 2 all americans, and I have family there,
    you have no right ( ZERO) to destroy other countries and/or the whole world.
    I HATE U.

    1. I certainly don't understand why you would hate me in particular or average Americans more generally.

      I, like most of the readers of this blog, are attempting to reveal the machinations of power in order to PREVENT WWIII.

      Most people in the world don't want war and prefer a just society.

      Unfortunately, enclave elites and powerful institutions profit from injustice, war and the chaos they produce.

      Those elites are are not simply American, albeit I acknowledge the US' recent activities are particularly problematic, which is why I blog about them.

    2. Sorry,
      and Yes you are absolutely right.
      It`s just that I am a prisoner of your country and I don`t like it.
      Besides before I wrote this post
      I saw a video of an Imam, and even that I
      dislike religions in general and muslims
      in special, I have to say, he told the truth,
      which is seldom nowadays!

  5. Beside I just made another
    refering to the Wiki Leaks Files,
    text in it is from the introduction of Julian Assange.
    I mean I am angry for all the americans
    that just don`t care, as is my family there.

  6. And again I apologize,
    as I didn`t meant you , of Course.
    On the contrary I love what you Majia are doing with
    your blog. Thank you for that.
    It`s just your country that is No. 1
    in destroying our planet.
    Even that the main actors, planning this,
    are "the unvisible".
    That is how we call them politically correct.

    1. Alain Joxe's Empire of Disorder offers a good and prescient overview.

      I think too many Americans turn away from "bad news," allowing poor governance.

      Of course, this problem is everywhere but we in the US do still have free speech and it would be nice to see more of it deployed for the purposes of peace, rather than war and exploitation.

  7. Thank You for that tip,
    just downloaded that.
    Just after I read a book from a german physicist,
    proving the existence of "free energy" or "0 Point Energy" I am into 2 books, 1 is from a friend of mine, about the life of Buddha, the other is,
    the "The CIA and the Heroin" from McCoy.
    Now as I am an engineer, it is possible,
    after some experimenting 2 have free energy,
    for everybody on a low-price-scale,
    funnywise the same procedure occurs to
    the physicists, inventors or else, that got that thing running, as occurs to the presidents of the US
    that are into "getting the money-making back into town". Maybe Nicola Tesla has been the first
    2 make that machine work .
    (World Energy System 1899)
    It is proved scientifically !!!


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