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Japan:Full operation of cooling device begins + Related News

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Laaska News  July 31,2011

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has begun full operation of a device to cool a spent fuel storage pool.

The pool holds 1,535 fuel rods, the most for any of the plant’s reactors. The wall supporting the pool was damaged in a blast on March 15th.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company reinforced the wall with steel pillars and concrete, and installed a cooling device with a heat exchanger to set up a circulatory cooling system.

TEPCO conducted a test-run of the cooling device at the Number 4 reactor’s spent fuel pool on Sunday morning. It gradually increased the volume of water flowing into the device before shifting to full operation in the afternoon.
TEPCO says the water temperature of the pool remained above 86 degrees Celsius in the morning and it was around 82 to 84 degrees as of 5 PM.

The company plans to lower the water temperature to around 55 degrees within a month to cool the reactor in a stable manner.

TEPCO is already cooling the water in the spent fuel pools at the Number 2 and 3 reactors. It plans to do the same for the Number 1 reactor soon.


Kan criticizes nuke watchdog for manipulation

Prime Minister Naoto Kan has criticized Japan’s nuclear regulator for trying to manipulate public opinion on nuclear power.

Kan attended an energy policy forum on Sunday in Chino, north of Tokyo. He referred to the alleged manipulation of opinion on nuclear energy by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

The agency allegedly told Chubu Electric Power Company to ensure that some participants at a symposium asked prearranged questions in favor of nuclear power. The event was held 4 years ago in Shizuoka Prefecture, which hosts a nuclear plant.

Kan said if the allegation is true, it means that the agency sided with the utility to promote nuclear power, although the agency should ensure the safety of nuclear plants for the public.

Kan likened the agency’s allegation to the scandal of tainted blood products, which he tackled when he was health minister in the mid-1990s.

In the 1980s, many people, mostly patients with hemophilia, contracted HIV through tainted products because the health ministry allowed drugmakers to sell them even after safer products were developed.

Kan said the current nuclear administration and system totally lack the ability of responding to nuclear accidents. He put the blame on the realignment of government offices about a decade ago under Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto that created various committees in the Cabinet Office.
Kan expressed his resolve to address the fundamental reorganization of institutions related to energy policy, and not just the separation of the agency from the economy ministry. He said he will pursue a fundamental reconstruction of the nuclear and energy administration from a position free from any vested interests.


Anti-nuclear group holds meeting in Fukushima


A Japanese anti-nuclear organization has held its annual meeting in Fukushima Prefecture and urged the world to reduce its dependency on nuclear power following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Gensuikin, or the Japan Congress against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs, met on Sunday in Fukushima City.

This is the first time the group has held its annual gathering outside Hiroshima or Nagasaki, the 2 cities that suffered the US atomic bombings in 1945.

Before the meeting, about 1,700 people gathered in a square. An evacuee from Iitate Village in Fukushima expressed disappointment and anger at the nuclear disaster in Fukushima and appealed for risks to be reduced for the future.

Iitate Village is in an evacuation zone because of exposure to radiation released from the plant.

Gensuikin chairman Koichi Kawano said the group has been working under the slogan that nuclear arms and people cannot coexist, but it has done little to oppose nuclear power generation.

Kawano said Fukushima should be the last place to have a nuclear accident.

The participants adopted a declaration calling for the suspension and closure of nuclear plants.

Another anti-nuclear group, Gensuikyo, plans to discuss ways to stop nuclear power generation at its meeting next month.

An organization of atomic bomb survivors says it will step up its own opposition to nuclear power.


Laaska News.


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