Five Years After Fukushima, Japan’s Nuclear Power Debate Is Heating Up

by Mark Hay

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IAEA fact-finding team leader Mike Weightman examines the Fukushima site. Image via Flickr user IAEA Imagebank.

Last Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe threw his weight behind the redevelopment of his nation’s nuclear energy plants. It was a bold stance, made bolder because he voiced it on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the earthquake-tsunami in northeastern Japan that left 18,500 dead or missing and precipitated the Fukushima nuclear disaster—the world’s worst since Chernobyl and the reason for the eventual shutdown of the nation’s 54 nuclear facilities.

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Presentation Contest / Students impress audiences with ideas, skills

JAPAN NEWS
December 24, 2014

By Rie Tagawa / Japan News Staff Writer

Anna Ota of Yokohama City University won the Grand Prize of the third All Japan Student English Presentation Contest held in Tokyo earlier this month.

The freshman presented her idea that she found during a camping trip program for children in Fukushima Prefecture, at the annual presentation competition held in Yomiuri Otemachi Hall in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Dec. 6. Students were asked to convey their ideas in four-minute presentations on one of three given topics.

Ota, 19, responded to the prompt “propose a plan to bolster reconstruction efforts in the areas hit by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake at an international forum.” After the ceremony, she said, “I’m happy with the award, but the next step, I hope, will be to turn my words into action.”

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Global eco-radiation research institute opens in Fukushima

ASAHI SHIMBUN

December 04, 2014

FUKUSHIMA–With its team of international researchers, Fukushima University’s Institute of Environmental Radioactivity moved into full-scale operation on Dec. 3.

An official ceremony was held to mark the opening of its new two-story-high facility built with a government subsidy of roughly 1.8 billion yen ($15 million).

Established in July 2013, the institute studies the effects of the fallout from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident triggered by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster as well as various forms of environmental contamination globally.

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Damage worse than thought in Japanese earthquake

Yahoo News
1
1/23/14

TOKYO (AP) — The damage from an overnight earthquake in a mountainous area of central Japan that hosted the 1998 winter Olympics proved more extensive than initially thought.

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A daylight assessment Sunday found at least 50 homes destroyed in two villages, and 41 people injured across the region, including seven seriously, mostly with broken bones, officials said.

The magnitude-6.7 earthquake struck shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday west of Nagano city at a depth of 5 kilometers (3 miles), the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The agency revised the magnitude and depth from initial estimates. The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a magnitude of 6.2. Since the quake occurred inland, there was no possibility of a tsunami.

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City Assembly Approves Sendai Nuclear Plant Restart in Japan

MENAFM.COM

MENAFN – Qatar News Agency – 21/10/2014
Repost

(MENAFN – QNA) A special panel at a city assembly in southern Japan has approved a petition to allow a local nuclear power plant to resume operations.

The panel at the Satsuma Sendai city assembly in Kagoshima Prefecture discussed petitions both for and against the restart of the Sendai plant.

The plant is operated by Kyushu Electric Power Company. Last month it became the first to pass new regulations for nuclear plants introduced after the 2011 Fukushima accident.

Panel members in favor of the restart argued that the local economy has been sluggish since the plant went offline. But others opposing the restart said the screening by the government’s Nuclear Regulation Authority does not guarantee the plant’s safety.

The panel rejected ten petitions against the restart, and adopted one calling for the plant to return online.

MENAFM.COM

UPDATE 1-Japan’s new METI minister says will restart reactors deemed safe

Reuters
Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:40am BST

No question atomic power is important energy source-Miyazawa

* To visit Kagoshima to meet local authorities near Sendai plant (Adds minister’s quotes)

By Mari Saito and Kentaro Hamada

TOKYO, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Japan‘s newly appointed trade minister, Yoichi Miyazawa, said on Tuesday that he would continue with the policy of seeking to restart nuclear reactors deemed safe by the atomic regulator.

Miyazawa, speaking to reporters, also said he would move towards restarting Kyushu Electric Power Co’s Sendai plant in southwestern Japan.

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Higher Fukushima Radiation Levels Triggered by Typhoons

The International Atomic Energy Agency expert team that is assessing Japanese efforts to decommission the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

19:46 18/10/2014
MOSCOW, October 18 (RIA Novosti), Ekaterina Blinova – Radiation levels at Japan’s notorious Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant jumped after the plant was hit earlier this month by two typhoons: Phanfone and Vongfong.

“The back-to-back weather disturbance typhoons Vongfong and Phanfone had triggered the elevated radiation quantities at the plant,” writes the International Business Times, citing NHK, Japan’s state-run media outlet.

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Japan eyes wind power to generate electricity


Towing of a three-column semi-sub, for the first 7MW wind turbine, from Nagasaki port to Onahama port will commence from November 1 and be completed on November 10.

The Nation

With huge funding, it is carrying out an experimental project amid major tech challenges

A huge amount of electricity supply was lost in Japan when the nuclear power plant at Fukushima was disabled by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011, and compensating for such a loss has required original thinking.

An ingenious solution that is being pursued is to build a network of power-generating systems relying on a freely available source – wind power – in an operational area well within the vicinity, and using floating platforms right off the coast.

Landslides caused by heavy rain kill 18

NHK WORLD Japan

Aug. 19, 2014 – Updated 15:55 UTC-7

Torrential rain has hit Hiroshima Prefecture in western Japan, causing landslides and flooding. Heavy rain is also falling in Nagasaki Prefecture and other parts of western Japan.

The Meteorological Agency says warm, damp air has flowed from the south towards the front over the Sea of Japan. Officials say this has caused unstable atmospheric conditions in western Japan. Localized rain clouds have developed in the Chugoku region and northern Kyushu.

Record heavy precipitation of 204 millimeters in 3 hours was observed in Hiroshima City on Wednesday morning, surpassing the total monthly average for August.

18 people, including a 2-year-old child, are dead.
Firefighters are also trying to establish the whereabouts of about 13 residents after landslides.

The rain has softened the ground in some regions of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Fukuoka and Saga prefectures, raising the possibility of landslides.

Weather officials are warning people to be on the alert for landslides and flooding as well as lightning and gusts.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20140820_08.html