Fukushima News 10/24/13: Tepco Abuses Employees; Running Out Of Storage Space; Tepco Struggles
Published on Oct 24, 2013
Fukushima plant struggles with typhoon threat
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is racing to secure storage space for tainted rainwater as another powerful typhoon approaches.
Tokyo Electric Power Company has begun moving the rainwater into underground pools once deemed too leaky. The water is the result of typhoons and downpours that have filled barriers around radioactive waste water tanks.
TEPCO has been storing the most contaminated rainwater in tanks and in the basement of a turbine building. But with Typhoon Francisco set to hit Japan’s mainland over the weekend, the tanks are full.
Japan’s nuclear regulator has approved moving the tainted water to 3 underground pools. The pools have a total capacity of about 9,000 tons.
TEPCO stopped using the pools after similar models leaked in April. The utility now says it has no other option but to use them.
The utility also says it found 140,000 becquerels per liter of Beta-ray emitting radioactivity in an onsite ditch on Wednesday. The radioactivity has doubled since the previous day. TEPCO says it is transferring the contaminated water to a tank.
NRA allows simplified release of barrier water
Japan’s nuclear regulator has allowed the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to simplify its procedure to release water from barriers around tanks holding water contaminated by radioactivity.
A Nuclear Regulation Authority, or NRA, taskforce made the decision on Thursday.
It had previously only permitted the Tokyo Electric Power Company to discharge rainwater from the barriers after it moved the water temporarily into other tanks and confirmed the contamination levels were below the NRA-set standard.
However, since last month, TEPCO has not been able to keep pace with the increase in rainwater volume inside the barriers due to recent downpours.
This has caused water above the permitted contamination level to overflow the barriers.
The situation has prompted the NRA to approve TEPCO’s proposal to drop the procedure of temporarily transferring the rainwater in the barriers to other tanks.
A-bomb survivors abroad win medical fees in trial
A court has ordered the Osaka prefectural government to pay the medical fees of 3 atomic bomb survivors who received treatment in South Korea.
Japan’s law for relief of atomic bomb survivors covers all the medical fees of survivors, who are known as hibakusha. But coverage is limited to survivors living in Japan.
The court’s decision on Thursday is said to be the first time refusal to pay medical bills for overseas hibakusha has been ruled illegal.
The Osaka District Court awarded a total of about 13,350 dollars to a 67-year-old South Korean man and to the families of 2 other deceased hibakusha.
Atomic commission advised to quit policy making
A government panel says the Japan Atomic Energy Commission should no longer set the country’s nuclear policy.
Panel members on Thursday discussed a proposal for ending the policy-making role of the commission.
They gave their general approval to the proposal. Panel members said the commission’s work is limited to the field of nuclear energy, while the industry ministry drafts the country’s overall energy policy.
But some panel members question the ministry’s neutrality, since it promotes nuclear energy.
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