mdsolar writes: "Atomic Divorce is the new name for the crushing of the nuclear family in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. ""People are living with constant low-level anxiety. They don't have the emotional strength to mend their relationships when cracks appear," [...] Couples are being torn apart over such issues as whether to stay in the area or leave, what to believe about the dangers of radiation, whether it is safe to get pregnant and the best methods to protect children. "When people disagree over such sensitive matters, there's often no middle way,"" According to Noriko Kubota, a professor of clinical psychology at Iwaki Meisei University."
mdsolar writes: ""The Fukushima disaster caused by far the largest discharge of radioactivity into the ocean ever seen. A new model presented by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts estimates that 16.2 petabecquerels (1015 becquerels) of radioactive caesium leaked from the plant — roughly the same amount that went into the atmosphere.
Most of that radioactivity dispersed across the Pacific Ocean, where it became diluted to extremely low levels. But in the region of the ocean near the plant, levels of caesium-137 have remained fixed at around 1,000 becquerels, a relatively high level compared to the natural background. Similarly, levels of radioactive caesium in bottom-dwelling fish remain pretty much unchanged more than 18 months after the accident."
mdsolar writes: "Reuters reports "Japan's government said it intends to stop using nuclear power by the 2030s, marking a major shift from policy goals set before last year's Fukushima disaster that sought to increase the share of atomic energy to more than half of electricity supply.
Japan joins countries such as Germany and Switzerland in turning away from nuclear power after last year's earthquake unleashed a tsunami that swamped the Fukushima Daiichi plant, causing the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986. Japan was the third-biggest user of atomic energy before the disaster.
In abandoning atomic power, Japan aims to triple the share of renewable power to 30 percent of its energy mix, but will remain a top importer of oil, coal and gas for the foreseeable future.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's unpopular government, which could face an election this year, had faced intense lobbying from industries to maintain atomic energy and also concerns from its major ally, the United States, which supplied it with nuclear technology in the 1950s."
mdsolar writes: ""The government will not issue binding electricity-saving orders for areas served by Kansai Electric Power Co., whose capacity to meet peak demand this summer is precarious now that the nation's nuclear plants are all shut down, because other utilities will probably be able to provide Kepco with extra power, sources said Thursday.
Still, to prevent blackouts, the government at a ministerial meeting Friday morning will ask households and businesses served by seven utilities, including Kepco, to voluntarily curb power use this summer by setting numerical reduction targets, the sources said.
The move comes as all of the nation's 50 usable commercial nuclear reactors are now shut down amid heightened public safety fears due to the triple-meltdown crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 power plant. Before the crisis, which prompted the government to order all reactors to pass disaster-resistance stress tests, atomic power accounted for some 30 percent of the nation's electricity.
In Kansai Electric's service area, including Osaka, the government plans to ask customers to voluntarily cut usage by 15 percent from [daytime] levels in 2010, when an extremely hot summer hit."
mdsolar writes: ""Japan is set to nationalize Tokyo Electric Power, the operator of the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, under a ¥1 trillion bailout plan approved Wednesday.
The Japanese government has been scrambling to keep the company from collapsing so it can meet the billions of dollars in compensation claims and decommission the meltdown-stricken reactors at Fukushima Daiichi, all while continuing to provide the Tokyo metropolis with stable electricity.
The government is also eager to push through reforms to restore public trust in a company that has played a vital role in Japan’s energy policy but has also admitted to safety lapses and cover-ups at its power plants. But the $12.6 billion bailout comes at a time when the government itself is reeling under a debt burden that has mushroomed to more than twice the size of its economy.""
mdsolar writes: "Kenichi Ohmae, an MIT-trained nuclear engineer also widely regarded as Japan’s top management guru, is dean of Business Breakthrough University. In the CSM he writes:
"Fukushima's most important lesson is this: Probability theory (that disaster is unlikely) failed us. If you have made assumptions, you are not prepared. Nuclear power plants should have multiple, reliable ways to cool reactors. Any nuclear plant that doesn't heed this lesson is inviting disaster.""
mdsolar writes: "On March 29th, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency announced that they have developed a prototype camera which detects gamma-ray emitting radioactive material such as cesium and shows the exposure distribution over an image. They hope that it can be used to make clean-up of contaminated areas around Fukushima Daiichi more efficient by locating places where radioactive matter has accumulated.
Gamma ray detectors used at accident sites have existed for some time, but this new prototype is said to be capable of much more precise readings. Using a wide-angle lens, the camera records an image and measures levels of cesium 137 and 134. The distribution is then shown on the image, using six different colors. In February, the prototype was tested in Itate Village in Fukushima Prefecture. Scientists measured radiation levels around supermarkets, roads and other public places to test the camera’s capabilities. At present, it measures not the absolute levels, but the relative levels by looking at highs and lows."
mdsolar writes: ""The Journal Environmental Science and Technology reports in a new study that the Fukushima radiation plume contacted North America at California “with greatest exposure in central and southern California”, and that Southern California had 2,500 Bq/kg of iodine-131 in seaweed over 500% higher than other tests in the U.S. and Canada:
Projected paths of the radioactive atmospheric plume emanating from the Fukushima reactors, best described as airborne particles or aerosols for 131I, 137Cs, and 35S, and subsequent atmospheric monitoring showed it coming in contact with the North American continent at California, with greatest exposure in central and southern California. Government monitoring sites in Anaheim (southern California) recorded peak airborne concentrations of 131I at 1.9 pCi m3
mdsolar writes: ""One of Japan’s crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and hardly any water to cool it, according to an internal examination Tuesday that renews doubts about the plant’s stability.
A tool equipped with a tiny video camera, a thermometer, a dosimeter and a water gauge was used to assess damage inside the No. 2 reactor’s containment chamber for the second time since the tsunami swept into the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant a year ago. The probe done in January failed to find the water surface and provided only images showing steam, unidentified parts and rusty metal surfaces scarred by exposure to radiation, heat and humidity.
The data collected from the probes showed the damage from the disaster was so severe, the plant operator will have to develop special equipment and technology to tolerate the harsh environment and decommission the plant, a process expected to last decades.""
mdsolar writes: ""As Japan marked the first anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that crippled the country's Fukushima nuclear power plant, the governor of Fukushima prefecture called for terminating nuclear power and promoting renewable energy.
"We will call for all nuclear power stations in the prefecture to be shut down so that an accident like this never happens again," Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato said Sunday of the worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.
"Fukushima aims to create a society that enjoys sustainable development by promoting renewable energy and not depending on nuclear power," he said.... The Japanese government has said it wants to install 1 gigawatt of offshore wind power in the Fukushima region.
And Japan's Wind Power Association estimates that Japan has the potential for 519 gigawatts of floating offshore wind capacity.
"The Tokyo area has good potential for offshore. It's easy to get grid connections. The Fukushima nuclear power plants will never operate again so there's a vacant grid line there," says Yoshinori Ueda, assistant general manager at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.""
mdsolar writes: "All but two of Japan’s 54 commercial reactors have gone offline since the nuclear disaster a year ago, after the earthquake and tsunami, and it is not clear when they can be restarted. With the last operating reactor scheduled to be idled as soon as next month, Japan — once one of the world’s leaders in atomic energy — will have at least temporarily shut down an industry that once generated a third of its electricity."
mdsolar writes: ""I can't write the chorus (sung in English) of the band's favorite song here, as my editor would first delete the offensive word and then report me to my superiors.
Let's just say it's an obscenity that begins with the letter "F" and rhymes with what hockey players call the vulcanized rubber disk that's hit into the goal.
The four-piece band screams the word over and over again to a Ramones tune, "Rockaway Beach," directed at the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), operator of the crippled Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant.
If you haven't guessed it yet this band — known as the Scrap — is angry with TEPCO for a reason. Each member of the group was affected by the meltdown at the plant in northeastern Japan that followed last year's earthquake and tsunami.""
mdsolar writes: ""The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today released transcripts and audio recordings made at the NRC Operations Center during last year’s meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. The release of these audio recordings comes at the request of the public radio program "BURN: An Energy Journal," and its host Alex Chadwick.
The recordings show the inside workings of the U.S. government’s highest level efforts to understand and deal with the unfolding nuclear crisis as the reactors meltdown. In the course of a week, the NRC is repeatedly alarmed that the situation may turn even more catastrophic. The NRC emergency staff discusses what to do — and what the consequences may be — as it learns that reactor containment safeguards are failing, and that spent fuel pools are boiling away their cooling water, and in one case perhaps catching fire.""
mdsolar writes: ""In surprisingly frank public testimony on Wednesday, Japan’s nuclear safety chief said the country’s regulations were fundamentally flawed and laid out a somber picture of a nuclear industry shaped by freewheeling power companies, toothless regulators and a government more interested in promoting nuclear energy than in safeguarding the health of its citizens.""
mdsolar writes: ""Nobody may really know how. But that has not deterred the Japanese government from starting to hand out an initial $13 billion in contracts meant to rehabilitate the more than 8,000-square-mile region most exposed to radioactive fallout — an area nearly as big as New Jersey. The main goal is to enable the return of many of the 80,000 or more displaced people nearest the site of last March’s nuclear disaster, including the 6,500 villagers of Iitate.
It is far from clear, though, that the unproved cleanup methods will be effective.
Even more disturbing to critics of the decontamination program is the fact that the government awarded the first contracts to three giant construction companies — corporations that have no more expertise in radiation cleanup than anyone else does, but that profited hugely from Japan’s previous embrace of nuclear power.""