Japan Nuclear Restarts: Abe Says "Will See To It," Courts Differ, Plants Prepare

July 29, 2014, 7:57PMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis

HamaokaChubuElectric"I will see to it by some means or other. I will properly deal with it." So go the reported words of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe regarding the restart of nuclear power plants in Japan, as printed recently in the Japanese press. At the present time, while the Japanese government and courts seem to be at odds on restarting plants-with the public left in the middle-those at the nuclear plants themselves must count on eventual approval to restart and must ensure required measures are completed properly. Those preparing for restart continue to work toward that end while facing an improving, but not yet by any means certain, situation in the public and legal arenas.

Nuclear Energy in Japan Steps into the Chasm

July 10, 2014, 5:55PMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis

Recent developments in Japan concerning the Fukushima Daiichi plant recovery specifically, and nuclear energy generally, have not been exceedingly positive. The difficult recovery efforts at the crippled nuclear plant are not all proceeding smoothly; delays and technical problems continue to abound and confound. Meanwhile, on a broader scale, the national pullback from nuclear may be even more serious and have longer term effects than anyone realizes.

Nuclear Video Matinee: Fukushima Health Effects in North America (?)

May 2, 2014, 8:57PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Studies by Janette Sherman and Joseph Mangano purporting to link radiation from Fukushima to health effects in the United States have made for alarming headlines in news outlets on occasion, and have come under fire by critics who charge flawed methodology (for example, What Can We Do About Junk Science and Researchers Trumpet Another Flawed Fukushima Study).

Fukushima Three Years Later

March 11, 2014, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis


Tokyo Electric Power Company's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Station; Units 6 and 7 were submitted for safety screening in September 2013.

In our collective memory, disturbing images played out on video around the world in the days following the apocalyptic Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami have somewhat receded, even if they haven't lost their impact-images of rushing waters, floating vehicles, buildings and debris, massive (and unstoppable) outbreaks of fire, and implications of lives lost and lives ruined.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 187

December 16, 2013, 2:12AMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis

ferris wheel 202x201The 187th Carnival of Nuclear Energy is here - the weekly compilation of the best of the internet's pro-nuclear authors and bloggers.  This time-honored feature appears on a rotating variety of the top English-language pro-nuclear blogs every weekend, and is a great way for readers of any persuasion or approach to find out what the people who write about nuclear energy all the time think are the most important or most resonant issues for that week.  With that, here are this week's entries!

Nuclear Matinee: Removal of Spent Fuel from Fukushima Pool No. 4

November 22, 2013, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

News out of Fukushima-Daiichi this week is encouraging:  TEPCO successfully transferred the first batch of fuel rod assemblies from the reactor unit No. 4 spent fuel pool to a common fuel pool building offering longer-term stable storage conditions. Completing the process for the more than 1,000 fuel rod assemblies that remain at No. 4 is projected to take a year, and will be a first major step toward decommissioning of the site.

Decommissioning of Private Assets is Public Matter in Japan; TEPCO Forges Ahead

September 26, 2013, 1:56PMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis


Fukushima Daiichi Units 5 (left) and 6 (right) seen in October 2012 behind the newly completed breakwall.

Earlier this month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe conducted a visit to Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station to examine conditions at the site and to gauge TEPCO's response to numerous ongoing problems. When Abe spoke to reporters after the visit, he mentioned (for reasons still unknown) that he had suggested to TEPCO that it decommission Unit 5 and Unit 6 on the site, so that it could focus its efforts squarely on the work required to recover from the nuclear accidents at Units 1, 2, and 3. This was reported with some surprise in many quarters.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 170

August 18, 2013, 4:09PMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis

ferris wheel 202x201ANS Nuclear Cafe is proud to host the 170th edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Energy - a rotating feature that showcases the best pro-nuclear blogs and authors each week in a single, easy to access compilation.  Contributions are volunteered by the authors, with the exception of "Captain's Choice" picks that the Carnival host makes from time to time.  With that, let's get to this week's posts!

Fukushima Daiichi: Current Hurdles, Options, and Future Expectations

August 16, 2013, 12:00AMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis

This week, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station's long history was further appended by the approval of decommissioning plans for the site by Japan's nuclear regulator, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA). This approval both clearly sets guidelines for safety at the site, and puts the government stamp of approval on Tokyo Electric Power Company's highly complicated timeline for the complete decommissioning and removal of Units 1 through 4 at the site.  This announcement follows closely the order by Prime Minister Abe to increase government oversight of cleanup efforts on site. What remains to be seen is whether or not the Japanese public has any more faith in their government regarding decommissioning of the site than it has with TEPCO, which by all accounts in the Japanese press is no longer considered trustworthy.

Fukushima Two Years Later

March 7, 2013, 2:58PMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis

At about a quarter to three in the afternoon on March 11, 2011, a gigantic and unprecedented earthquake struck just over 110 miles off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture in Japan. The quake was followed, just over 40 minutes later, by the first of several rounds of tsunami, which inundated enormous areas and eradicated entire towns and villages. Over 19,000 people were killed or are still missing, and over 6,000 survivors were injured.

Preparing to restart: Tsunami safety measures at Japanese nuclear power stations

February 28, 2013, 1:51PMANS Nuclear CafeWill Davis

The approach of the second anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011 finds nuclear energy in Japan at a crossroads. After the quake and resulting tsunami, the nuclear plants in Japan that did not shut down immediately eventually all had to shut down for their required, scheduled outages. Political pressures, for the most part, prevented any near-term chance of any of them restarting, it seemed at the time. When Tomari Unit 3 shut down in May 2012, Japan found itself with not one single operating nuclear power plant for the first time in decades. Since that time, only two nuclear units have restarted-Ohi Units 3 and 4 in July 2012. Other plants, rumored to be "next" to start up, have still not started up, although they may soon. The question that springs to mind is naturally, "When will the majority of the plants be allowed to restart?" The more insightful question, though, is, "What will have to be done in order to allow any plant to restart?" And how can we tell which will start first-is there any clue present now? Yes, there is.