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Friday, December 16, 2011

Japan's Nuclear Safety Agency Regards Radioactive Water Leaks to the Ocean as "Zero." 東京新聞記事「保安院 海への汚染水、ゼロ扱い」英訳


(12月20日追記: The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus にも掲載されました。See The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus
Japan Nuclear Safety Agency: Radioactive Water Leaks to the Ocean 'Zero'
Translated by Satoko Norimatsu/Introduction by Satoko Norimatsu and Matthew Penney)

Tokyo Shimbun, a bloc newspaper in Tokyo, which many regard as one of the few newspapers in Japan that honestly report what is going on at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, ran an important, and serious article yesterday, with their own investigative interview with NISA, Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, a division of METI, Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry. Here is a quick translation of the report. This is a critical article that calls for further investigation, particularly in the wake of Japan's PM Noda's "Cold Shutdown" declaration, to which questions have been raised by experts and international media (See New York Times, Bloomberg, CNN, Xinhua) @PeacePhilosophy

Tokyo Shimbun report

Japan's Nuclear Safety Agency Regards Radioactive Water Leaks to the Ocean as "Zero."

Original article in Japanese at: (at the time of the retrieval, but later on the news moved to a new link:

December 16, 2011

According to Tokyo Shimbun's interview with NISA (Nuclear and Industrical Safety Agency), the agency has regarded the radioactive water leaks from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors as "zero" in their legal term, for the reason that it is a "state of emergency." They plan to continue to regard any future leak or intentional release as "zero." The Japanese government plans to announce "cold shutdown" on December 16, but it is a questionable attitude for the government to neglect one of their criteria of "cold shutdown," which is "radioactive release being under control."

According to law, electric companies are required to set the maximum amount of total radioactive release into the ocean per year for each nuclear power plant. That amount for Fukushima Daiichi is 220 billion becquerels (Cesiums, etc), and when the year changes, they reset to "zero."

On April 2, highly radioactive water was found leaking from Reactor No.2, and on April 4, TEPCO intentionally released radioactive water with lower contamination into the ocean, in order to make room to store more contaminated water.

With these two incidents only, the amount of radioactive release outside of the nuclear plant is 4,700 tera-becquerels (according to TEPCO estimate), 20,000 times of the allowable limit.

This TEPCO estimate has been criticized by experts in and outside of Japan as "underestimation."

On December 4, water contaminated with 26 billion becquerels of radioactive Strontium leaked into the ocean from the equipment that vaporizes and condenses processed contaminated water.

It is estimated that the tanks to store processed contaminated water within the plant will be full by early next year. Water stored in those tanks contain radioactive Strontium too. TEPCO has been considering further cleansing the water and releasing into the ocean. With opposition by fishery organizations, they have decided to postpone it.

NISA, in the interview with Tokyo Shimbun, emphasized the fact that their priority has been dealing with the  accident, and the damage at the Fukushima Daiichi plant was a "state of emergency," one in which radioactive leaks could not be prevented. That was their reason for not applying the maximum allowable total amount of radioactive release and regarding the leak of 4,7000 tera-becquerels of radioactive material as "zero."

NISA has stated this special treatment due to the "state of emergency" may continue until "the accident is brought under control," but they are ambiguous on when that exactly will be , saying it is a "matter to be discussed."

NISA has said that even when (TEPCO) releases radioactive water into the water, they will continue to regard the release as "zero."

Tokyo Shimbun

東京新聞 12月16日

保安院 海への汚染水、ゼロ扱い (12月19日見たらこちらにリンクが移動











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