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Japan:Kyushu Electric restarts reactor + More Related Articles

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Laaska News  Nov. 1 ,2011


The operator of the Genkai nuclear plant in Kyushu, southwestern Japan, has restarted a reactor that shut down in October due to a procedural error.

Kyushu Electric Power Company said it began removing control rods from the No. 4 reactor at the Genkai plant on Tuesday to resume power generation.

The operator plans to resume generating electricity on Wednesday afternoon. It will gradually increase output and restore it to normal on Friday.

This is the first reactor in Japan to go back on-line since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power station.

The No. 4 reactor is scheduled to be shut down again in mid-December for a regular inspection.
Kyushu Electric says it decided to restart the reactor at this time to secure a stable power supply and lower fuel costs.

The utility company says its employees visited households in the town of Genkai where the nuclear plant is located to explain the cause of the trouble and measures to prevent a recurrence of accidents.
The company says it has received a certain level of local consent.

The administration of Genkai Town has agreed to the resumption. But Kyushu Electric has lost credibility with the public because its employees were asked to fake local support for resuming nuclear power generation.

Other local administrations and people living near the plant are demanding a more detailed explanation.


Radioactive substance could be radium 226

The science ministry says the high radiation detected in a residential neighborhood in Tokyo is most likely caused by radium 226.

On Tuesday science ministry officials and experts dug up the ground beneath a supermarket parking lot and a nearby sidewalk in Setagaya Ward.

They detected substances related to radium 226 at a depth of about 30 centimeters.

The 2 spots had registered readings of high radioactivity, as much as 170 microsieverts per hour last month.

Radium is a product of decayed uranium and found in basalt and granite. In the past it was used for treating cancer, and as an ingredient in luminous paint used on the face of clocks and watches.

The ministry says that they also found a bottle of chemical at the same site, about 40 centimeters below surface, and detected radiation of 40 microsieverts per hour nearby. The ministry plans to investigate the link between the bottle and the radiation.

Radium 226 was also detected in a different residential area in the same ward recently and it was determined that the radiation had nothing to do with the nuclear disaster in Fukushima.


Nuclear accident response plan revised

Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission has decided to expand the areas that should take extensive nuclear accident safety measures.

The decision on Tuesday is a response to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March.

The new plan expands the areas to implement protective measures for nuclear accidents to a 30-kilometer radius around nuclear plants. Currently, they are limited to a 8 to 10-kilometer radius.

It also designates areas within about 5 kilometers of nuclear plants as precautionary zones, where residents must evacuate immediately in the event of a nuclear accident.

The plan reflects guidelines set by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The NSC’s working group also noted the government should undertake anti-radiation exposure measures for residents within a 50- kilometer radius. These measures would include the distribution of iodine tablets to prevent radiation poisoning of the thyroid gland.

The number of municipalities needing protective measures will increase threefold.

Media to tour Fukushima nuclear plant

Nuclear crisis minister Goshi Hosono says he will allow media into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Saturday next week, for the first time since the March 11th disaster.

Hosono spoke to reporters on Tuesday about the government plan to achieve cold shutdown, maintaining the temperature of reactors at less than 100 degrees Celsius, by the end of the year.

He said work is underway and in order to confirm the process, he will visit the plant on November 12th and exchange views with people directly involved in the operation.

Hosono said the situation at the plant is gradually settling down so he will allow a fixed number of journalists to accompany him.

Laaska News.