Fukushima timeline | Radioactive news December 2011
- Energy firm to put solar array near wind farms
Wind power needs a breeze. Solar power relies on sun rays. And they don't always occur at the same time.
So a renewable energy developer is putting Minnesota's largest solar power array in the heart of the state's wind-farm region in hopes of answering a question:
Could one intermittent power source complement another and produce electricity more reliably?
Ecos Energy of Mendota Heights said Wednesday that construction of a 13-acre solar array near Slayton, in southwest Minnesota, will begin in April and should be completed by July.
- North Korea's new nuclear plant a safety worry: Expert
Secretive North Korea is making rapid progress in building a uranium-fuelled reactor that poses an alarming safety risk, a nuclear expert said on Thursday.
Siegfried Hecker, who has visited the North's main Yongbyon nuclear facility four times since 2004 and was the last foreign expert to visit the site in late 2010, said he was very concerned the reactor could be technically flawed.
- Regulators say flood barriers may not protect TVA's nuclear plants
Sand baskets that the Tennessee Valley Authority installed at dams to protect its nuclear plants from a worst-case flood could fail, according to a federal nuclear oversight group.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the baskets are not capable of standing up to the impact of debris barreling down the Tennessee River in a massive flood.
“There is potential for this debris to damage the baskets or push the individual baskets apart, causing a breach,” an NRC letter dated Wednesday to TVA says. “There would be no time to repair the baskets because the flood would already be in progress.”
Still, the baskets are considered adequate for the short term.
The sand-filled, wire mesh baskets were placed around Cherokee, Fort Loudon, Tellico and Watts Bar dams and earthen embankments to raise them a few feet after it was determined.
- Japan's Tepco set for $13 billion bailout: sources
TOKYO (Reuters) – The owner of Japan's stricken nuclear reactor, Tokyo Electric Power Co, will agree to be taken over by the government in a near-$13 billion bailout, sources said on Thursday, even as the country debates the future of nuclear power.
The injection of 1 trillion yen ($12.8 billion) in public funds would effectively nationalize Tepco (9501.T), supplier of power to almost 45 million people including Tokyo residents, in one of the world's biggest bailouts outside the banking sector.
Tepco has been dragging its feet over a proposal for the state-backed Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund to take at least a two-thirds stake in the company, which has been swamped by liabilities associated with the earthquake and tsunami which ruined its Fukushima nuclear power plant in March.
"If the government has a two-thirds stake, they have a right to control management, so naturally, Tepco doesn't like that," said one source familiar with the matter.
- China overtakes Japan as world's top coal importer
(Reuters) - China overtook Japan as the world's top coal importer for the first time in decades last year, partly driven by robust Chinese demand and as Japan's imports fell after steelmakers curbed output and a huge quake damaged some coal-fired power plants.
- Buddhist Leader Calls for 2015 Nuclear Abolition Summit in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and End to Japan's Reliance on Nuclear Power
TOKYO, Jan. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In his 30th annual peace proposal, released on January 26, Daisaku Ikeda, president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist association, calls for a nuclear abolition summit to be held in 2015 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to ensure that the growing momentum toward abolition of nuclear weapons becomes irreversible.
Holding this summit on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of these cities, and in the year of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, would bring home to world leaders the terrible destructive capacity of nuclear weapons and help ensure the necessary action toward their abolition, thereby marking the effective end of the nuclear weapons era.
In this year's proposal, titled "Human Security and Sustainability: Sharing Reverence for the Dignity of Life," Ikeda points to the possibility of a more hopeful phase in the struggle to realize a nuclear-free world, seeing signs of a tipping point where a "cascade" of governments will support adoption of a Nuclear Weapons Convention (NWC) to comprehensively ban nuclear weapons.
- DPJ endorses revised bill to limit life span of nuclear reactor to 40 years
The ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) endorsed a revised Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law on Jan. 25 to limit the operational life of a nuclear reactor to 40 years in principle with "exceptional cases" of approved extension of up to 20 years.
Stressing that the possible extension of a reactor's life span would be "exceptional," the draft legislation stipulates that if a reactor meets the necessary requirements, the environment minister "can approve" the extension of its operational life of no more than 20 years.
- Japan kept silent on worst nuclear crisis scenario
TOKYO (AP) -- The Japanese government's worst-case scenario at the height of the nuclear crisis last year warned that tens of millions of people, including Tokyo residents, might need to leave their homes, according to a report obtained by The Associated Press. But fearing widespread panic, officials kept the report secret.
The recent emergence of the 15-page internal document may add to complaints in Japan that the government withheld too much information about the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.
- All Chugoku Electric N-Reactors Going Offline
Hiroshima, Jan. 26 (Jiji Press)--Chugoku Electric Power Co. is set to suspend one of the two reactors at its only nuclear power plant early Friday for routine checks.
The suspension of the 820,000-kilowatt No. 2 reactor comes after the power supplier, which serves the Chugoku western Japan region, began regular inspections of the 460,000-kilowatt No. 1 reactor at the nuclear power station in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, in November 2010.
- Panel to Compile Final Nuclear Accident Report by End-July
Tokyo, Jan. 25 (Jiji Press)--A government panel investigating the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant decided on Wednesday to compile a final report by the end of July.
The panel, headed by Yotaro Hatamura, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, held a meeting the same day for the first time since it released an interim report late last month. It intends to further investigate why TEPCO underestimated the importance of introducing stronger measures against tsunami at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, which was stricken by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami last year.
- TEPCO Urged to Cover Entire Fukushima Pref. in Compensation
Tokyo, Jan. 25 (Jiji Press)--Representatives from 26 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture handed in a letter to Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Wednesday demanding that the firm pay compensation to residents of the prefecture's all municipalities.
The 26 municipalities were excluded from a compensation guideline recommended last December by a government panel for people affected by the nuclear crisis at the utility's crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
- Group seeks closure of all nuclear plants
Opponents of nuclear power are calling for closure of the country's nuclear plants, including Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, because of the potential for contamination of water supplies from a Fukushima-type disaster.
In a report released Tuesday, MASSPIRG Education Fund and Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center raised the alarm over dangers to drinking water supplies around Pilgrim and other nuclear facilities across the country if there is a disaster such as occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan in March 2011.
- Nuclear Power Plants Threaten Drinking Water For 6.7 Million Pennsylvanians
Philadelphia Is the 2nd Largest City in the Country with Water Supplies at Risk
The drinking water for 6.7 million people in Pennsylvania could be at risk of radioactive contamination from a leak or accident at a local nuclear power plant, says a new study released recently by the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group (PennPIRG) Education Fund.
"The danger of nuclear power is too close to home. Here in Pennsylvania, active nuclear power plants are too close to the drinking water for 6.7 million people," said Alana Miller, PennPIRG Education Fund Program Associate. "An accident like the one in Fukushima, Japan, or a leak, could spew cancer-causing radioactive waste into our drinking water."
The nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan last year drew a spotlight on the many risks associated with nuclear power. After the disaster, airborne radiation left areas around the plant uninhabitable, and even contaminated drinking water sources near Tokyo, 130 miles from the plant.
According to the new report, "Too Close to Home: Nuclear Power and the Threat to Drinking Water," the drinking water for 6.7 million people in Pennsylvania is within 50 miles of an active nuclear power plant – the distance the Nuclear Regulatory Commission uses to measure risk to food and water supplies. Also, the 2.4 million residents of Philadelphia and its suburbs receive their drinking water from a source within 50 miles of a nuclear plant.
- Nuclear plants pose risks to drinking water for Illinois
CHICAGO — The drinking water for 652,000 people in Illinois could be at risk of radioactive contamination from a leak or accident at a local nuclear power plant, says a new study released Jan. 24 by the Illinois Public Interest Research Group Education Fund (Illinois PIRG).
Brian Imus, Illinois PIRG state director, explained: “The danger of nuclear power is too close to home. Nuclear power plants in Illinois pose a risk to drinking water for more than 600,000 Illinoisans. An accident like the one in Fukushima, Japan, or a leak could spew cancer-causing radioactive waste into our drinking water.”
The nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, last year drew a spotlight on the many risks associated with nuclear power. After the disaster, airborne radiation left areas around the plant uninhabitable, and even contaminated drinking water sources near Tokyo, 130 miles from the plant.
- Battle over nuclear energy looms in Utah
SUMMIT COUNTY — River runners, conservation advocates, farmers and other Utah stakeholders say they will continue to fight plans to build a nuclear reactor near Green River following a decision by Utah state engineer Kent Jones to approve a water rights transfer to a nuclear power company.
Blue Castle Holdings hopes to build nuclear reactors on the Green River and sell the power to Southern California.
“This was the only opportunity for a Utah official to reject this terrible plan,” said Matt Pacenza, policy director of HEAL Utah, which has led the fight against the reactors. “Now all that stands between us and reactors at the gateway to southern Utah is a federal agency notorious for cozying up to the nuclear industry.”
- Future European Nuclear Reactors Construction In Doubt After Subsidy Complaint
A formal complaint about subsidies for nuclear power has been sent to the European Commission which, if upheld, would make it unlikely that any new nuclear power stations will be built in the EU. The complaint has been prepared by lawyers for the UK-based Energy Fair group, with several other environmental groups, and may be followed by legal action to reduce or remove subsidies for nuclear power.
One of the largest subsidies listed by the German legal firm BBH, is the cap on liabilities for nuclear accidents which nuclear power developers have negotiated with governments.
- Tepco Idles Unit Cutting Japan Nuclear Capacity to 8.1%
Japan has four nuclear reactors operating today with capacity of 3,958 megawatts, or 8.1 percent of the total, after a unit was idled yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. shut the 1,100-megawatt No. 5 reactor at its Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant in northern Japan yesterday for regular maintenance, spokesman Masato Yamaguchi said by phone today. The utility known as Tepco plans to halt the last operating reactor at the world’s biggest nuclear station by the end of March, he said.
The following table shows the status of the 54 reactors with capacity of 48,960 megawatts operated by Japanese power companies. Capacity figures are in megawatts.
- Fallout from Fukushima No. 1 on rise
The amount of radioactive materials released from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has risen this month compared with December, Tepco said.
The amount so far has come to 70 million becquerels per hour, compared with 60 million becquerels in December, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday, adding that the increase is attributable to the displacement of radioactive materials that had settled on facilities and equipment as a result of work conducted near reactors 2 and 3.
- Tepco down to one operating nuclear reactor
NIIGATA — The No. 5 reactor at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture was to be taken offline early Wednesday for scheduled maintenance and inspections, leaving only one out of Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s 17 still in service.
All of Tepco's reactors will go offline by the end of March when the No. 6 reactor at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant will be switched off for repairs and safety checks.
Among Japan's 54 commercial reactors, only three not operated by Tepco are currently in operation. These are the No. 3 reactor at the Tomari plant in Hokkaido Prefecture, the No. 3 reactor at the Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture and the No. 2 reactor at the Shimane plant.
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