Posts Tagged ‘Fukuoka’

The last nuclear power plant reactor in Kyushu was taken off-line towards the end of December 2011, leaving the Japanese southern island free of nuclear produced-electricity. Off-line reactors are not necessarily safe in case of earthquake, tsunami or human error, all of which are far too common in Japan to allow such utilities to be but ticking bombs.

It is however a first step towards a nuclear-free island, which produces most of the domestic food, including beef (the famous so-called “Kobe beef” is raised in Miyazaki, Kyushu) now that Hokkaido is contaminated. Besides nuclear fallout, the town of Tomakomai in Hokkaido decided to incinerate nuclear waste against the will of citizens, as reported in Tomakomai Minpo on 2011 December 8. The translated and commented article is available on Ex-SKF blog here. Tomakomai is located on the southern shore, about 50 km / 30 miles away from Sapporo, with a mostly residential / industrial plain between these cities (agricultural products come mainly from Tokachi plain on the east coast which has been under nuclear fallout most of spring and summer 2011).

Politicians and executives will likely get away with public opinion manipulation and other scandals in Kyushu as articles below show: a mere salary cut whereas in some more democratic countries, they might have been jailed. Besides, the Nishinippon Shimbun newspaper cancelled the publication of an anti-nuclear book due to pression from the same utility, which shows that public opinion manipulation is deeply rooted in Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Kyushu political institutions. Indeed, Saga Gov. Yasushi Furukawa is assured to get a highly paid sinecure in Kyushu Electric Power Co. after he “retires”.

Kyushu is the last large clean food producer in Japan and it has not accepted any nuclear waste for incineration yet: it may as well become the future of Japan.

Hereafter are reproduced several articles found in Japanese news in December 2011, as original articles might become unavailable soon: (more…)

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Tokyo-based citizen radiation monitoring group Safecast published a map of radiation levels in Kyoto city. The map includes areas such as the Kyoto incinerator plant, where radioactive waste could be incinerated if Hosono got his way in spite of local opposition; Kyoto JR train station; popular tourist spots such as the park of the imperial palace;  nearby farming village Ohara, etc. It was “safecast” by a bicyclist at 1 meter above ground level yesterday. To our knowledge, this is the first map in Japan made in the monitored land as Safecast understandably focus on radiation levels in the no man’s land. Hopefully other cities such as Osaka, Fukuoka, etc. as well as nuclear plants such as repetitively troubled Monju will follow.

Levels are within 35 to 70 CPM (count per minute), i.e. between about 1 to 2 mS/year. Although these levels are twice as expected, they are harmless even for residents, therefore all the more for short-stay visitors. A screenshot of the map is reproduced below.

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This post is a first December update following the Nuclear Incident in Kyushu November Update on SurvivalJapan. Genkai nuclear plant reactor no. 4 in Kyushu was restarted a month ago after a serious incident and is schedule to be stopped again this month for periodic inspection. Mainichi Shimbun newspaper wrote on November 18th (full article in our November update) that: “Kyushu Electric should not be allowed to resume operation of the No. 2 and 3 reactors, currently idled for regular checks, at its nuclear plant in the town of Genkai in Saga Prefecture “in view of its current governance,” Edano told the Budget Committee of the House of Councillors.” As for no. 1, the article mentioned that: “Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano said Thursday the government will not allow Kyushu Electric Power Co. to restart two nuclear reactors at its Genkai power plant amid a scandal involving an attempt by the utility to misrepresent public opinion regarding the restart.” Today, NHK World announced that it was shut down, as can be read in the reproduced article below:

Genkai nuclear reactor 1 halted

Kyushu Electric Power Company has halted the No.1 reactor at the Genkai nuclear power plant in southwestern Japan. This means more than 80 percent of the nation’s reactors are now offline. It remains unclear when or if any of them will be restarted.

Shortly before noon on Thursday, workers at the Genkai plant began suppressing nuclear fission to reduce output at the reactor. The unit stopped operations at around 8:30 PM.

As a result, the No.4 reactor at the Genkai plant is the only one active in the Kyushu region.

Kyushu Electric plans to ask households and firms in its service area to use around 5 percent less electricity from December 26th, when the No.4 reactor is scheduled to be halted.
In mid-month Kansai Electric Power Company also plans to suspend the No.2 reactor at the Ohi plant and the No.2 reactor at the Mihama plant, both in Fukui Prefecture. These moves will leave the Kansai region with only one reactor online.

Kansai Electric plans to urge people to use around 10 percent less electricity from December 19th.

Of the country’s 54 reactors, the Genkai No.1 reactor is the 45th to go offline. There are no prospects for restarting the idle reactors as none of them has yet to meet the requirements for resuming operations.

These preconditions include passing the state’s safety stress tests and getting approval from local governments hosting the nuclear plants.

NHK World – Friday, December 02, 2011 07:47 +0900 (JST)

Hereafter is a screenshot for the NHK World video with active and inactive reactors in Japan. Genkai is indicated by the red box, reactor no. 4 is the only one left active for the island, until it shuts down for maintenance later this month. Given the unethical and unprofessional ways it was restarted a month ago, it could remain offline thereafter if Edano decides so. However, there might simply be a behind the scenes struggle to make Kyushu accept nuclear waste that his colleague Hosono keeps trying to sell nationwide. (more…)

This post follows up Nuclear Incident in Kyushu published last month on SurvivalJapan. Genkai nuclear plant reactor no. 4 was restarted on November 1st against the local population’s will and without any detailed public report regarding the incident. According to the Japan Times, “The reactor shut down automatically Oct. 4 due to an abnormality in its steam condenser that emerged after repairs were carried out using a faulty manual.” Kyushu Electric Power (KEPCO) simply changed the manual and got approval from the Central Government which found it “largely appropriate” as reported by Asahi Shimbun on November 2nd (read below). In their article on November 1st, the expression reported was “largely acceptable”, any of these leaving a taste of less than diligency and professionalism in a critical system such a nuclear plant, especially in the post-Fukushima context.

Genkai Mayor seemed surprised by the move as he declared that “We thought the reactor would be inspected without a resumption of operations. This is something we did not expect.” in the same article. However, he chose not to oppose the Central Government. Saga prefecture governor, who was involved in the scandal by KEPCO which was caught manipulating the public opinion in order to restart the plant operations, agreed with the decision. KEPCO president, who was directly behind the fraudulent scheme, did not resign and suffered only a minor salary cut. Eventually, the plant restarted producing nuclear power anyway, which shows that for the Japanese nuclear industry, not only it is acceptable to deceive and manipulate the public opinion, if you get caught red-handed, it does not matter as you can still impose your decision in the end with blessings from local politicians. On the technical side, KEPCO claims that the incident was due to human factor, yet it was the second time this particular type of issue had occured at that very plant.

Saga Governor Yasushi Furukawa gives a news conference on July 30 to explain the part he played in a campaign by Kyushu Electric Power Co. to orchestrate e-mail messages in favor of nuclear power. (Haruki Morishita)

Saga Governor Yasushi Furukawa gives a news conference on July 30 to explain the part he played in a campaign by Kyushu Electric Power Co. to orchestrate e-mail messages in favor of nuclear power. (Haruki Morishita)

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