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Nuclear News - 3/18/2013
PGS Nuclear News, March 18, 2013
Compiled By: Pia Ulrich


A.  Nuclear Safety & Security
    1. Entergy Says Palisades Nuclear Power Plant Safe To Operate, RTT News (3/18/2013)
    2. Team Says Nuclear Stress Tests Conducted Properly, Lee I-chia, Taipei Times (3/16/2013)
B.  Nuclear Energy
    1. Nuclear Power Plans Threatened by European Commission Investigation, Juliette Jowit and Ian Traynor, The Guardian (3/14/2013)
    2. Ghana’s Nuclear Energy Plans in Danger, Ghana Business News (3/14/2013)
C.  North Korea
    1. Japan Seizes Nuclear-Related Materials from N. Korea Cargo, AFP (3/18/2013)
D.  Iran
    1. Iran, P5+1 Start Nuclear Talks, Xinhua News Agency (3/18/2013)
    2. U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Covert Iran Oil-Shipping Network, Alister Bull, Reuters (3/14/2013)
E.  Nuclear Cooperation
    1. Chiefs Of Nuclear Regulatory Bodies Of Ukraine And USA Tackle Urgent Cooperation Issues, Power Engineering (3/18/2013)
F.  Japan
    1. U.S. Military Personnel Suing Tepco, The Japan Times (3/17/2013)
    2. Record Cesium Level Detected in Fish Caught Near Fukushima Nuclear Plant, The Japan Times (3/16/2013)
    3. 'Anti-Nuclear' Voices Are Weak as Government Begins Energy Policy Revision, Mari Fujisaki, The Asahi Shimbun (3/16/2013)
    4. TEPCO to Invest Extra 50 Bil. Yen for Plant Safety, The Daily Yomiuri (3/16/2013)
    5. 3 Fukushima Officials Made to Go on Searches in Radiation Zones Without Protection, Cherrie Lou Billones, The Japan Daily Press (3/14/2013)
G.  Links of Interest
    1. Spent Fuel Storage at SRS Would Require Public Support, Rob Pavey, The Augusta Chronicle  (3/18/2013)
    2. Areva Marketing Radar Sensors for Spent Nuclear Fuel Monitoring During Extreme Accidents, Nuclear Street (3/18/2013)



A.  Nuclear Safety & Security

1.
Entergy Says Palisades Nuclear Power Plant Safe To Operate
RTT News
3/18/2013
(for personal use only)


Electric power producer and distributor Entergy Corporation Monday issued a statement vouching for the safety of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant following its recent media coverage and the industry topic of pressurized thermal shock and stated that it has the NRC license to operate this facility through 2031.

The company further said that in line with NRC requirements Palisades will conduct periodic reactor vessel inspections and analyze reactor vessel samples during its refueling outage this fall. The company added that it strongly sees these test results to again demonstrate the safety and strength of the Palisades reactor vessel which in turn will enable Entergy to continue operating the Plant through the end of its license in 2031.

Entergy further said it will submit an updated evaluation to the NRC for its review in the spring of 2014.

Available at: http://www.rttnews.com/2078914/entergy-says-palisades-nuclear-power-plant-safe-to-operate.aspx?type=corp


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2.
Team Says Nuclear Stress Tests Conducted Properly
Lee I-chia
Taipei Times
3/16/2013
(for personal use only)


An independent peer review team from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) yesterday released its preliminary assessment of Taiwan’s stress test reports on the nation’s three nuclear power plants and said that overall the criteria used was consistent with that in the EU.

A team of six specialists from Turkey, Japan and the US, organized by the NEA, conducted a 12-day peer review on the stress tests at the plants from March 4, after the Atomic Energy Council (AEC) donated 120,000 euros (US$157,000) to a foundation at the NEA and proposed international and independent peer review support from the agency.

The peer review was mainly based on four stress test reports, including the national report conducted by the AEC and three reports on the three plants by their operator Taiwan Power Co (Taipower).
In addition to reviewing the reports, the team also visited the Kuosheng Nuclear Power Plant in Wanli District, New Taipei City.

John Nakoski, team coordinator and an NEA nuclear safety analyst from the US, said overall the team found that the stress tests implemented in Taiwan were consistent with the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group criteria used in the EU, and that the identified enhancements are consistent with those identified in other countries.

“I believe if a Fukushima-type accident occurred in Taiwan, the nuclear plants would probably survive,” said Katsunori Ogura, team member and senior counselor of Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization’s Nuclear Energy System Safety Department, in response to questions on whether the plants would be safe in the event of a natural disaster.

“The team’s assessment is that the implementation of the stress tests met the necessary requirements here,” Nakoski said.

However, he said the team also concluded that completion of ongoing technical evaluations of seismic and flooding risks using updated methodologies could identify issues that Taipower and the AEC may need to address.

He added that the team recommended a systematic evaluation of different hazards be implemented, and that tsunami risk should be reanalyzed using state-of-the-art modeling and updated information in light of observations in the wake of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan.

AEC Department of Nuclear Regulation director Chen Yi-pin said the council has also requested an independent peer review from the EU that is scheduled to take place in the second half of this year. Whether the controversial Fourth Nuclear Power Plant would be included in the next review is still unclear.

Available at: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2013/03/16/2003557218



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B.  Nuclear Energy

1.
Ghana’s Nuclear Energy Plans in Danger
Ghana Business News
3/14/2013
(for personal use only)


Ghana could lose out on achieving its nuclear power project if current massive and arbitrary encroachment activities by the public on lands secured for the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) continue, regardless of security implications.

These human settlements pose major security threats not only to the nuclear reactor and also to the safety of the various radioactive waste that are in the custody of the Commission and further leave little space for the expansion of other projects.

Currently encroachers have taken over about 30 percent the 2002.5 acre land area that was secured by the Government of Ghana via an Executive Instrument Number 75 (EI 75) in 1973 the Commission’s operations.

A visit by the Ghana News Agency to the area after of reports of encroached confirmed complains of massive construction of residential facilities which are less than 600 meters from the Nuclear Reactor of the Commission.

While some developers have reached roofing levels, others are at the foundation level and had masons and other laborers working feverishly to complete their work on schedule.

Professor Benjamin Jabez Botwe Nyarko, Director-General of GAEC, in an interview with the GNA described the current situation as alarming should any disaster occur, maintaining that the EI that secured the GAEC lands have not been amended and therefore no one has the authority to sale any portion of the land.

He said a large proportion of the Commission’s lands had been taken over by encroachers making plans for a possible nuclear power project vague.

He stated that the Commission received reports from its security patrol team that some land guards armed with offensive weapons and believed to have been contracted by a faction of chiefs in Ashongman went to demarcate portions of the land they have already sold out to developers.

“Such negative activities can also wipe away Ghana’s reputation and experience in operating a research reactor for almost 15 years with good safety record,” he said.

Prof Nyarko explained that the Commission had been investigating the use of nuclear power, and was working with the International Atonic Energy Agency (IAEA) to implement a nuclear power plant in Ghana as part of a wider project, on Sustainable Energy Development for Sub-Saharan Africa.

However, Ghana must be able to convince the IAEA and the United Nations Security Council that she is capable of ensuring the security and safe disposal of all nuclear and radioactive equipment when such equipments outlive their usefulness.

Prof Nyarko said radioactive sources were being used nationwide in various areas including the mining, health, industry and agricultural sectors, adding that Ghana has well established Radiation Protection Infrastructure that could be upgraded to deal with all emerging radiations.

It is the responsibility of the National Radioactive Waste Management Centre being to ensure that such dangerous equipments do not get into wrong hands to their wrong usage.

He explained that the nuclear reactor produces radioactive emissions that are dangerous to human health and this explains the reasons why the buffer lands were secured for unforeseen emergencies and also to ensure that human settlements were at least two kilometers away from the facility.

Prof Nyarko gave the assurance that the Commission would maintain its vigilance on the activities of such encroachers and ensure stringent security measures to preserve the remaining lands for both security reasons and also to continue its expansion programmes.

He said the Commission would soon carry out a massive demolition exercise to ensure that all buildings that are close to sensitive areas such as the buffer lands preserved for unexpected nuclear spillages or falls were removed.

Prof. Nyarko who expressed his frustration over the lack of discipline on the part of buyers and sellers of such government lands, said the Commission spends too much time in dealing with land disputes instead of concentrating in achieving its mandate and beyond.

He said owing to inadequate budget allocation over the years, the Commission had not been able to fence the land but is soliciting for support from corporate organizations and called for private sector assistance to be able to fence its lands.

Available at: http://www.ghanabusinessnews.com/2013/03/14/ghanas-nuclear-energy-plans-in-danger/



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2.
Nuclear Power Plans Threatened by European Commission Investigation
Juliette Jowit and Ian Traynor
The Guardian
3/14/2013
(for personal use only)


Britain's planned nuclear reactor programme could be delayed for years, and the nation's long-term energy policy thrown into turmoil, as European commission officials launch the first stage of a formal investigation into the use of taxpayer subsidies to support the development.

Sources in Brussels have indicated that Britain hopes to win approval for a multibillion-pound deal with French energy giant EDF at the initial stage, which usually takes two months.

But if after a preliminary investigation the EC's competition directorate decides to launch a full-scale investigation, that would last at least 18 months and probably two years or more. Such an outcome is made more likely by reports that ministers and EDF are discussing a minimum or "strike" price for the nuclear-generated electricity of a little under £100 per megawatt hour – nearly double the current market rate. However ministers will be hoping that their regular meetings with EC officials will make it more likely that a full inquiry will be avoided.

Under the proposals, a nuclear power station – the first for a generation – will be built at Hinkley in Somerset, and the government will guarantee a minimum price for the electricity produced for 30-40 years, a deal which could cost customers a billion pounds a year or more.

News of the latest obstacle to the nuclear building programme comes before the expected announcement next week by the energy secretary, Ed Davey, of whether EDF has won planning permission for the 3.2 gigawatt Hinkley nuclear plant. He is widely expected to give the scheme the go-ahead.

Expectations are rising that Davey could also announce some details of the new contract, including the strike price, in what would be a useful counter to critics that the coalition is not doing enough to stimulate investment to boost the economy and tackle the UK's threatened energy shortages.

A delay imposed by Brussels would cast new doubt on the £14bn project as it would be likely to make it harder for EDF to raise the capital needed until its contract with the government was fully approved. That in turn would delay the entire nuclear build programme, under which the government wanted 16 gigawatts of new nuclear power operating by the middle of the next decade.

"The government wouldn't need state aid approval for nuclear if it wasn't trying to subsidise a risky technology that could wind up costing more than the renewable alternative," said Doug Parr, policy director for the anti-nuclear campaign group Greenpeace.

Maria Madrid, spokeswoman for Joaquín Almunia of Spain, the European commission vice-president in charge of competition, told the Guardian: "The commission is in contact with the UK authorities on this issue, but has not received a formal notification so far. We are discussing this issue. It's confidential. We never communicate on preliminary discussions."

Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/mar/14/nuclear-power-european-commission-investigation


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C.  North Korea

1.
Japan Seizes Nuclear-Related Materials from N. Korea Cargo
AFP
3/18/2013
(for personal use only)


Japan has seized aluminium alloy rods which can be used to make nuclear centrifuges from a Singapore-flagged ship which was carrying cargo from North Korea, a government spokesman said Monday.

The five rods were discovered on the ship during its call at Tokyo port last August and were confirmed to be aluminium alloy through tests conducted over the past six months, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

"The aluminium alloy is extremely strong and can be used in centrifuges, that are products related to nuclear development," Suga told a regular news briefing.

The rods had been stored at a private warehouse and the Japanese government ordered the firm Monday to hand them over.

It was the first such handover under a special law passed in 2010 to enable Tokyo to inspect North Korea-related ships suspected of carrying materials that could be used in nuclear and missile programmes.

According to media reports, the ship was on its way to Myanmar when it arrived in Tokyo via the Chinese port of Dalian.

The spokesman confirmed the ship arrived via Dalian but said only that the cargo was bound for a "third country".

The North has conducted three nuclear weapons tests, in 2006, 2009 and last month, and disclosed in 2010 that it is developing a programme to enrich uranium using centrifuges.

Such a programme would give it a second way to produce material for atomic weapons, in addition to its longstanding plutonium programme.

United Nations sanctions resolutions require member states to inspect cargo suspected to be linked to the North's nuclear development.

Myanmar was suspected of pursuing military and nuclear cooperation with North Korea during long years of junta rule which ended in 2011 in the Southeast Asian state.

But the White House said last November the nation had taken "positive steps" to reduce its military relationship with the North.

Available at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jrArZhWHStyeZuJcJ5e8KWN8IcfA?docId=CNG.6d8f555d3498b94bac2fb1046fc7d3a6.481


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D.  Iran

1.
Iran, P5+1 Start Nuclear Talks
Xinhua News Agency
3/18/2013
(for personal use only)


Iran and the P5+1 group (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) started fresh nuclear talks in Turkey's Istanbul city on Monday.

The talks began at 10:00 a.m. local time (0800 GMT) in Swiss Hotel in Istanbul, although consultations had begun on Sunday shortly after the delegations from the P5+1 arrived in Istanbul. The closed-door meeting is set to discuss a revised proposal that requires Iran to "suspend" but not permanently halt its 20 percent uranium enrichment, and to disable the work at the deeply buried Fordow facility, in exchange for modest relief from sanctions.

The meeting will also discuss the agenda for the next round of talks to be held in Almaty, Kazakhstan in April. Participating parties are expected to issue a statement at the end of their two- day talks.

Available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-03/18/c_132242984.htm



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2.
U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Covert Iran Oil-Shipping Network
Alister Bull
Reuters
3/14/2013
(for personal use only)


The United States slapped financial sanctions on Thursday on a Greek businessman it says secretly operated a shipping network on behalf of the Iranian government to get around international sanctions on the country's sale of oil.

"Today, we are lifting the veil on an intricate Iranian scheme that was designed to evade international oil sanctions," U.S. Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said in a statement.

The sanctions cited Dimitris Cambis and a number of front companies for buying tankers on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Company, barred U.S. citizens from doing business with them and froze any of their assets under U.S. jurisdiction.

Cambis was identified in a Reuters report last month that said Iran was using old tankers to ship oil to China.

Reuters reported that Cambis had bought eight tankers last year, which were then used to transport Iranian crude. Cambis denied trading with Iran or the involvement of his vessels in loading Iranian oil.

Greece also ordered a probe into an unnamed foreign company to see if its license to operate in the country should be revoked over its involvement in the shipping network.

A preliminary investigation by the Greek shipping ministry has shown no Greek-flagged ship or Greek shipping company is involved in the case, the ministry said.

A senior U.S. administration official dismissed Cambis' denial in a telephone conference call with reporters on Thursday, saying the clandestine operation had been deliberately structured to conceal Iranian involvement.

As the sanctions have had increasing impact, so have the efforts to evade them, the official said.

Sanctions were introduced last year by the West to choke off Tehran's funding of its nuclear program by targeting the country's oil exports. The West believes Iran is developing weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

Sanctions halved Iran's oil exports in 2012 by more than 1 million barrels a day, about the amount that oil production grew in the United States during that time, and Washington has been at pains to keep up the pressure.

"We will continue to expose deceptive Iranian practices, and to sanction those individuals and entities who participate in these schemes," Cohen said.

The targeted network bought and operated eight tankers, each able to carry roughly $200 million of oil per shipment, the Treasury Department said.

"These operations are conducted through a series of ship-to-ship transfers in an attempt to mask the fact that the true origin of the oil is from Iran and to introduce it into the global market as if it were non-Iranian oil," Treasury said.

U.S. officials said the sanctions were not aimed in any way at the Greek government, other Greek shippers or the Greek shipping industry in general.

They also said none of the potential buyers of the Iranian crude was believed have violated U.S. sanctions, which allow countries that have significantly reduced their purchases of Iranian oil to be exempted from certain U.S. penalties. They declined to name the countries that may have bought the oil.

A senior U.S. official told Reuters the effort that was unveiled on Thursday had "cropped up in just the last couple of months," suggesting that it was a relatively recent attempt to evade U.S. sanctions.

"As it becomes increasingly desperate for foreign exchange, Iran is using increasingly sophisticated techniques to keep its oil flowing," said Mark Dubowitz, with the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who has advised President Barack Obama's administration and U.S. lawmakers on sanctions.

"For every target sanctioned, and covert activity revealed, there will be scores that go uncovered."

Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/15/us-usa-iran-sanctions-idUSBRE92D11520130315


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E.  Nuclear Cooperation

1.
Chiefs Of Nuclear Regulatory Bodies Of Ukraine And USA Tackle Urgent Cooperation Issues
Power Engineering
3/18/2013
(for personal use only)


The government of Ukraine issued the following news from the Press Service of State Nuclear Regulatory Inspection:

On March 12, 2013 Washington hosted a meeting of the head of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspection of Ukraine Olena Mykolaychuk and head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the USA Allison Macfarlane.

Chiefs of nuclear regulatory bodies of Ukraine and the USA signed a Memorandum of the meeting between the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspection of Ukraine and Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the USA for 2013 - 2015.

The document contains main results of cooperation in 2010-2012 and defines priorities and lines of bilateral cooperation for the next two-year period. Among the principal planned tasks is support of development and technical maintenance of regional inspections for nuclear and radiation safety of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspection of Ukraine, modernization of informational system and strengthening of communication opportunities. The Memo envisages rendering support in the development of national normative documents of Ukraine in the issues of nuclear safety, handling with radioactive wastes, removing nuclear objects from exploitation etc.

During the meeting the parties discussed actual issues of bipartite and multisided cooperation with regards to nuclear and radiation safety, notably:
-development of nuclear industry in Ukraine and the USA;
-implementation of the agreements of President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych and the President of USA Barack Obama reached during Washington Nuclear Security Summit in 2010;
-institutional development of nuclear regulatory bodies in Ukraine and the US;
-the systems of knowledge management and proper cadre maintenance including preparation of young specialists in the nuclear branch;
-the additional measures directed to raising of level of nuclear safety in Ukraine, European Union and USA in the view of an accident at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant;
-situation in the countries concerning highly radioactive waste burial etc.

Available at: http://www.power-eng.com/news/2013/03/18/chiefs-of-nuclear-regulatory-bodies-of-ukraine-and-usa-tackle-urgent-cooperation-issues.html


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F.  Japan

1.
U.S. Military Personnel Suing Tepco
The Japan Times
3/17/2013
(for personal use only)


U.S. service members are suing Tokyo Electric Power Co. for more than $2 billion (¥190 billion), alleging the utility lied about the dangers of helping to clean up after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, a U.S. military newspaper reported.

The case was initially filed by nine American military personnel in December but the number of plaintiffs has since expanded to 26 and another 100 are in the process of joining the suit, the Stars and Stripes paper said Thursday.

The new complaint was filed Tuesday in a U.S. District Court in California, a day after the second anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the Fukushima crisis.

The plaintiffs include active duty and retired shore-based marines, their dependents and sailors from U.S. naval vessels that operated in the disaster area. They claim to have suffered a number of ailments linked to their exposure, including cancer, thyroid problems, and rectal and gynecological bleeding.

The newspaper reported that peers of the plaintiffs complain they are seeking an easy payoff and that the Pentagon insists the radiation they were exposed to did not pose a major health risk.

Available at: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/03/17/national/u-s-military-personnel-suing-tepco/#.UUcoPKKG200


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2.
'Anti-Nuclear' Voices Are Weak as Government Begins Energy Policy Revision
Mari Fujisaki
The Asahi Shimbun
3/16/2013
(for personal use only)


The government began work March 15 to overhaul Japan's energy policy. A panel discussed the value of alternative power sources but pointedly ignored a pledge by the previous government to pull the plug on nuclear power.

It was the first session in a series that brings together experts on a subcommittee of the economy ministry's Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy, which aims by the end of this year to draft a new plan to meet Japan's future energy needs.

"The basic energy plan must clearly show the way toward obtaining a stable supply and lower costs," said Toshimitsu Motegi, minister of economy, trade and industry.

To that, a heckler from the public gallery shouted: "Don't forget to abolish nuclear power."

In 2012, the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration pledged to close all nuclear plants by the end of the 2030s. However, the current administration, led by the Liberal Democratic Party, believes such a move would be wrong.

It aims to abandon the target formally, and, in the short-term, to restart idled nuclear reactors. Both policies could serve as preconditions for the new basic energy plan.

Attitudes toward nuclear power have seesawed in the past couple of years. In June 2010, the DPJ, then a nuclear cheerleader, penciled in boosting atomic power to 50 percent of Japan's total generation by 2030.

Then the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and public clamor for abolition forced the government to make a U-turn, pledging to phase out reactors by the end of the 2030s.

A change of government followed and since the immediate policy is to restart reactors, the subcommittee has no plans to discuss a target percentage for nuclear power in Japan's total energy supply. Nor will it enshrine such a figure in the basic energy plan.

Under the DPJ-led administration, the panel that held such discussions contained a fair number of nuclear skeptics. Broadly speaking, of 25 members of the committee on basic issues, eight were anti-nuclear.

But the Abe administration has tasked the talks to a different team: the general subcommittee, which has only two clearly anti-nuclear members. These are Kazuhiro Ueta, a professor of economics at the graduate school of Kyoto University, and Kikuko Tatsumi, adviser to the Nippon Association of Consumer Specialists.

In the March 15 meeting, all the 15 members were heard discussing their general attitudes toward energy policy. Few of them called for the abolition of nuclear power.

Instead, many insisted that the subcommittee should consider energy from as broad a viewpoint as possible, including questions such as the possibilities of shale gas, a newly popular energy source in the United States, the potential of renewable energy, and the electricity savings.

Then one member broached the subjects the government seems to want to ignore.

"Nuclear power generation should be decreased as much as possible," said Takeo Kikkawa, a professor of business administration at the graduate school of Hitotsubashi University.

Yuko Sakita, a counselor on environmental issues, added: "The government should give itself the opportunity to listen to the people's opinions."

Available at: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201303160055



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3.
Record Cesium Level Detected in Fish Caught Near Fukushima Nuclear Plant
The Japan Times
3/16/2013
(for personal use only)


Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday it detected a record 740,000 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium in a fish caught in waters near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, equivalent to 7,400 times the state-set limit deemed safe for human consumption.

The greenling measuring 38 cm in length and weighing 564 grams was caught near a water intake of the four reactor units in the power station’s port on Feb. 21 during the utility’s operation to remove fish from the port.

Tepco has installed a net on the sea floor of the port exit in Fukushima Prefecture to make it hard for fish living near the sediments of contaminated soil to go elsewhere.

According to Tepco, the previous record of cesium concentration in fish was 510,000 Bq/kg detected in another greenling captured in the same area. Currently, fishermen are voluntarily suspending operations off the coast of the prefecture except for experimental catches.

Available at: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/03/16/national/record-cesium-level-detected-in-fish-caught-near-fukushima-nuclear-plant/#.UUcoQKKG201


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4.
TEPCO to Invest Extra 50 Bil. Yen for Plant Safety
The Daily Yomiuri
3/16/2013
(for personal use only)


Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to invest more than 50 billion yen to further reinforce safety at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture.

The move reflects the utility's goal for the plant to be cleared to resume operations this summer or later. The newly planned safety measures should help the facility meet new standards to be set by the Nuclear Regulation Authority in July.

TEPCO has been struggling to recover from the damage inflicted by the nuclear crisis that broke out at its Fukushima No. 1 power plant in March 2011 in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

The cashapped utility will just manage to procure the funds needed for the investment by cutting back on other expenses, a company official said, reflecting its strong concern that it may go bust unless operations of nuclear reactors can be resumed as soon as possible.

After the Fukushima disaster, TEPCO decided to invest 70 billion yen to implement a first round of safety measures at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant. Projects included building a seawall up to 15 meters above sea level and installing vehicle-mounted electricity generators.

The planned additional spending of more than 50 billion yen will thus pose a heavy financial burden on the struggling utility.

However, the move is inevitable given the alternatives. If the restart of just one nuclear reactor is delayed by a year, the utility will incur additional fuel costs of more than 70 billion yen to continue operating its thermal power plants.

In its fiscal year through the end of this month, TEPCO is likely to sustain a deficit in its after-tax profit for the third straight year.

Unless the firm can turn its business around and return to the black by the end of fiscal 2013, banks may cut off its financing. To avoid this, the utility concluded it must carry out the additional safety measures.

The extra 50 billion yen will be used to install filtering ventilation equipment, waterproof emergency electricity sources and build a second control center for use during emergencies when the primary center is down.

These requirements are likely to be called for in the new safety standards to be issued by the nuclear watchdog in July.

The regulation authority will likely investigate faults on the premises of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, including those located directly below the building housing the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors.

TEPCO is currently conducting a survey of its own and is scheduled to compile its findings in early April.

If the watchdog judges the faults are active, it will not approve the restart of the two reactors, which would significantly affect the prospects for TEPCO's reconstruction.

Available at: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/business/T130315004334.htm


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5.
3 Fukushima Officials Made to Go on Searches in Radiation Zones Without Protection
Cherrie Lou Billones
The Japan Daily Press
3/14/2013
(for personal use only)


Two years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it has surfaced that the Futaba Municipal Government, which is near the crippled nuclear power plant, allowed three of its officials to commence work in no-go zones a month after the meltdown with no protective gear on or a dosimeter on hand. Obviously, levels of radiation were still high at that time. And, yet, until now, no assessment has been made as to the men’s radiation exposure.

There were already safety standards established by Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters then, requiring people entering evacuation zones to be clad in protective clothing and carry a dosimeter. And yet, when the three were dispatched for search activities, the municipal government failed to brief them on how to properly go about with the mission, neither did it bother to check and keep tabs on their radiation exposure. Surely, the government must be responsible for this oversight.

Public relations chief at the Futaba Municipal Government Muneshige Osumi said, “We want to set the record straight.” But he failed to expound further. What is known only is that at the time of the incident, majority of the operations of the Futaba Municipal Government had already been transferred to Kazo, Saitama Prefecture. Muneyuki Shindo, professor emeritus at Chiba University, said that it makes it much more important now to provide municipalities with manuals for crisis management measures against this type of accident, so that they would know how to handle such a situation.

Available at: http://japandailypress.com/3-fukushima-officials-made-to-go-on-searches-in-radiation-zones-without-protection-1425158


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G.  Links of Interest

1.
Areva Marketing Radar Sensors for Spent Nuclear Fuel Monitoring During Extreme Accidents
Nuclear Street
3/18/2013
(for personal use only)
http://nuclearstreet.com/nuclear_power_industry_news/b/nuclear_power_news/ar..


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2.
Spent Fuel Storage at SRS Would Require Public Support
Rob Pavey
The Augusta Chronicle
3/18/2013
(for personal use only)
http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2013-03-13/srs-eyed-spent-fuel-stora..


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