Fire Earth

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Posts Tagged ‘Fukui Prefecture’

Japan’s Kepco Restarts Takahama No. 4 Reactor Despite Protest

Posted by feww on May 17, 2017

Japan Restarts 4th Nuclear Reactor

Osaka-based Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) restarted its Takahama No. 4 reactor located in Fukui Prefecture on Wednesday about 14 months after it was forced to shut it down, bringing to four the number of reactors now operating in Japan.

“The No. 4 reactor was turned back on at 5 p.m. today. It’s an important step, but it’s not the end. We’ll proceed with operations carefully, with an attitude of always having safety as the top priority,” said KEPCO President.

Takahama nuclear power plant, located in the town of Takahama, Ōi District, Fukui Prefecture, is owned and operated by KEPCO. The plant has four pressurized water reactors with electricity generating capacity at 3,392 MW, and previously (2006-2010) averaged annual production of 22,638 GWh.

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Another Nuclear Reactor in Japan Leaking Radioactive Water

Posted by feww on February 21, 2016

Takahama nuclear power plant west of Tokyo leaks radioactive water

A pressurized water reactor (PWR) at Japan’s Takahama nuclear power plant, located in Fukui Prefecture, about 120km northwest of Osaka metropolitan area (pop: ~ 19 million) and 380km west of Tokyo, is leaking radioactive water.

The reactor would have been the fourth resume operation after the the nationwide shutdown of nuclear power stations that followed the triple  meltdown at Fukushima in March 2011.

At least 34 liters of radioactive water (about 64,000 becquerels of radioactivity) have escaped Takahama’s reactor No. 4, said the plant operator, Kansai Electric Power.

Unit 3 was restarted January 29, 2016, despite strong objections by various rights groups. “Restart of the Takahama plant is a human rights injustice toward children and those with handicaps,” said Aileen Mioko Smith, executive director of the antinuclear group Green Action.

“There is no evacuation plan in place for the tens of thousands of people with special needs — inpatients and outpatients at hospitals and various facilities, those in day care, and those with handicaps living at home. When others can flee, there are no vehicles to transport these people nor medical care prepared at the evacuation site.”

[More than 180,000 people live in 12 towns and cities within 30km radius of the leaky reactor, in Fukui, Kyoto and Shiga prefectures.]

The government introduced additional “safety measures” soon after the Fukushima disasters; however, reactors that didn’t meet the new safety standards were somehow made exempt from the regulation, and allowed to restart.

In April 2015, the Fukui District Court overturned an earlier decision approving the restart the of Takahama reactors 3 and 4 and ordered them to remain offline due to “safety concerns.” The court ruled that guidelines issued by Japan’s governmental Nuclear Regulation Authority.

“The new regulations are not reasonable, therefore there is no need to study whether the Takahama plant satisfies them. There is little rational basis for saying that an earthquake with a magnitude that exceeds the safety standard will not occur. It is an optimistic view,” ruled the local judge.

The court also rejected an appeal by Kansai Electric Company in May, 2015.


Map of Japan’s Nuclear Power Plants. Click image to enlarge.

Unsurprisingly, influential members of Japan’s “fifth Column”, which support the Abe government and the nuclear mafia, namely a former Tokyo high court judge and current Chou Law School Professor Jun Masuda, as well as Japan’s newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, heavily criticized the presiding Judge Hideaki Higuchi.

Masuda said: “It seems the judge has already had the idea of demanding absolute safety from the beginning. Judges are not experts on nuclear power plants, so it is imperative that they humbly pay attention to scientific knowledge. I doubt the presiding judge took that into consideration.”

The reactionary newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun pinioned: “We have no choice but to call it an irrational decision,” and, “Such a stance seeking zero risk is unrealistic.”

Abe’s government overrode the judge’s ruling and ordered the reactors’ restart.

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Disaster Calendar – 16 June 2012

Posted by feww on June 16, 2012

DISASTER CALENDAR SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,369 Days Left

[June 16, 2012] Mass die-offs resulting from human impact and the planetary response to the anthropogenic assault could occur by early 2016.  SYMBOLIC COUNTDOWN: 1,369 Days Left to the ‘Worst Day’ in Human History…

  • Japan. No one is quite capable of taking pride in ignorance than the wanting in self-esteem, self-serving and ultimately corrupt Japanese politicians.
    • The Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihiko Noda, and the country’s Industry Minister, Yukio Edano, have announced the resumption of nuclear power operations at two reactors operated by Kansai Electric Power Co at Ohi Nuclear Power Plant (Ōi NPP), in Fukui Prefecture, western Japan.
    • The reactors are the first to resume operation after they were shut down following the Fukushima meltdown, world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
    • More reactors elsewhere in the country are expected to follow suit.
    • There are uncorroborated reports that the incidents of birth defects in Fukui Prefecture are higher than in most of the rest of Japan.
    • It’s believed that a number of nuclear incidents have occurred at Oi NPP, but the reports were not made public.
    • It can be argued that the Japanese deserve their government. Unfortunately, nuclear disasters have global repercussions.
    • See also:

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

Posted in Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2012 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Japan’s Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor

Posted by feww on February 3, 2009

A pipe dream turned into a nightmare

The following Editorial by Japan’s Asahi Newspaper is about the fate of Monju, a prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor located in Japan’s Fukui Prefecture, which remains idle for more than 13 years. Monju was shut down after dangerous sodium coolant leaked from its cooling system in December 1995.

There’s a false [often fatal] tendency among the pronuclear lot to assume that the nuclear industry is run by responsible people. According to the following Editorial and other reports, the now-defunct corporation that managed Monju prior to its 1995 leak had falsified reports and systematically concealed important information about the extent and seriousness of the problem.

Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), which took over Donen’s operations has also been criticized by the IEA and “sharply rebuked” by Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency for their failure to carry out maintenance and do repair work.

The cost of building and maintaing Monju will soon exceed ¥1trillion [about $11.2billion at the current exchange rate.]

The Editorial poses a pertinent question:

Is it really necessary to reactivate Monju despite all these concerns?

EDITORIAL: Monju test reactor

Monju, the prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor located in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, remains idle with little hope of resuming operations any time soon. It has been shut since dangerous sodium coolant leaked in December 1995.

Last autumn, holes caused by corrosion were found in an outdoor ventilation duct. This delayed a planned test to verify the safety of the plant, making it difficult for the operator, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), to achieve its target of reactivating the reactor in February. That’s the agency’s explanation for the fourth postponement of its plan to reopen the experimental reactor.

It is said that the agency aims to reactivate Monju in December, but the agency has yet to announce a timeframe. This is a good opportunity to take a fresh look at the worries and doubts that plague the Monju project.

What is most troubling is the agency’s poor track record concerning safety awareness and quality control.

After the sodium leak accident, the Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corp. (Donen), the now-defunct organization that managed Monju back then, was harshly criticized for falsifying reports and concealing information. The JAEA, which has taken over Donen’s operations, is supposed to have made an all-out effort to fix the problems that arose from the way Monju was previously managed.

When a sodium leak detector sounded a false alarm last spring, however, the agency failed to swiftly notify the local governments and other parties concerned. With regard to the exhaust duct, the agency neglected to carry out maintenance and repair work for so long that the corrosion went unchecked. After a special safety inspection into the JAEA last year, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, an arm of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, sharply rebuked the entity. It wouldn’t take much to torpedo what remains of public confidence in the Monju project. However, there is apparently no sense of crisis within the JAEA.

There have been few cases at home or abroad where a nuclear power facility has been reactivated after remaining dormant for so long. Naturally, there are concerns that new problems with the facility may have emerged during the prolonged suspension of operations.

Is it really necessary to reactivate Monju despite all these concerns? The wisdom of continuing the project is now being called into question. Fast-breeder reactors, which produce more nuclear fuel than they consume, have been presented by promoters as “dream reactors.” This is the core technology for the government’s plan to establish a nuclear fuel cycle that relies on reprocessed spent nuclear fuel. The government aims to build a demonstration reactor around 2025 and put commercial reactors into operation around 2050.

The construction of Monju, designed as a test facility to confirm the viability of the technology, began in 1985. In addition to the construction cost of 590 billion yen, an additional 17.9 billion yen has been spent on improving the prototype reactor since the 1995 accident. Even though it is out of operation, Monju still costs the government an average 9.8 billion yen a year. The annual operation cost after restarting operations has been estimated at between 15 billion and 18 billion yen.

It is not clear what specific benefits would be gained from such a huge expense outlay.

A new active fault has been discovered in areas around the Monju site, causing concern about the facility’s ability to withstand an earthquake. The government cannot win public support for the Monju project by merely claiming that this important nuclear policy must be promoted.

The government has argued that fast-breeder reactors, which convert non-fissionable uranium in the fuel to fissionable plutonium, are crucial for resource-poor Japan’s future energy needs. But it is far from clear whether the Monju project will really lead to a practical use of the technology. It is probably time for the government to reconsider its road map to developing fast-breeder reactors.

Copyright The Asahi Shimbun, Feb. 2(IHT/Asahi: February 3,2009)

Posted in fissionable plutonium, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, non-fissionable uranium, nuclear industry, spent nuclear fuel | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »