Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Nuclear Safety. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Nuclear Safety. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Παρασκευή, 7 Νοεμβρίου 2014

Japan to restart 2 nuclear reactors despite local opposition, safety concerns

Two nuclear reactors in the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima have been cleared to be restarted by Governor Yuichiro Ito and prefectural assembly, making the prefecture the first to gain such approval to restart its idled reactors since new safety regulations were introduced after the 2011 crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Clearance for the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s Sendai plant in the prefecture was given Friday by Ito and the assembly, with the governor telling a news conference that while he effectively had "no choice" in the matter, the restart was "essential" and that Japan's nuclear watchdog had approved the reactors' safety standards and compliance.

Further safety inspections will be carried out by Japan's nuclear regulators, but pending final checks the two reactors are scheduled to be brought back online early next year, marking the first restart since the nuclear meltdowns, the worst of their kind since Chernobyl in 1986, at the Fukushima Daiichi complex in the northeast of Japan in March 2011.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the move was a positive step forward in bringing the idled plants back online and the government favors resuming generating nuclear power as fossil fuel imports for thermal generators are weighing heavily on the government's balance sheet.
  • However, not all residents in Satsumasendai city, which host the two reactors, supported the restart, with a solid contingent adamant that the plant remains unsafe and that local prefectural officials should be ashamed of complying so easily to the central government's wishes, instead of prioritizing their own communities.
  • Among some of the arguments voiced is the fact that the Sendai plant is located in a seismically active region with numerous active volcanic sites, and concerns are raised over the eruption of a nearby volcano.
They highlighted, in addition, that Japan's nuclear watchdog, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), must screen all safety requests and check new safety measures implemented by nuclear plant operators to meet the new regulations before greenlighting their restart. But evacuation plans, such as those developed to deal with an unprecedented volcanic eruption, are created by the local communities themselves and are not required to be mandated by the NRA.

While Ito said all evacuation plans and scenarios are "concrete and rational," what is considered "local approval" for the reactors to be restarted has been called into question, as Satsumasendai's neighboring villages and towns have no legal say on the matter.

In September, the NRA initially granted its approval to restart the two reactors at the Sendai plant, stating that the plant was first in line for being restarted, out of the 48 idled reactors nationwide.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been a staunch supporter of bringing the nation's nuclear power stations back online, as a weak yen, punctuated more so since Japan's central bank expanded its monetary easing program last week, forcing the currency to seven-year lows versus its major counterparts, has continued to push up the price of Japan's fuel imports, like liquified natural gas and coal, used to compensate for the lack of atomic energy.
 Source:Xinhua - globaltimes.cn

Japan local assembly okays restart of two reactors

A local assembly in Japan on Friday (Nov 7) approved plans to restart two nuclear reactors, removing a major hurdle to getting atomic power back online more than three years after the Fukushima disaster.

A majority of Kagoshima assembly members voted for the motion to resume operations at the Sendai plant in the southern Japanese prefecture, officials said. The move leaves as an obstacle only the formal approval of Kagoshima's powerful governor, which is expected later in the day, and marks a victory for the pro-nuclear government of Shinzo Abe in its campaign to re-fire atomic plants.

The assembly's approval came after the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) confirmed it believed the two units met toughened safety standards introduced after the Fukushima accident. Television footage showed about a dozen protesters in the public gallery of the assembly hall chanting "We oppose the restart". Governor Yuichiro Ito, who has the final say, is expected to announce his support later on Friday.

The actual restart, however, is likely to be delayed until next year as technical procedures are still under way, including more NRA approvals for remedial work at the site.

Following the tsunami-sparked catastrophe at Fukushima, Japan's entire stable of nuclear reactors were gradually switched off. Two were briefly restarted in 2012 but their power-down last September heralded an entirely nuclear-free Japan. While Prime Minister Abe's government and much of industry is keen to get back to atomic generation - largely because of the soaring costs of dollar denominated fossil fuels to an economy with a plunging currency - the public is unconvinced.

Communities living right next door to nuclear plants, who often enjoy grants from utility companies and depend on the power stations for employment, are frequently sympathetic to restarts. However, there is hostility from those living further afield who enjoy no direct benefits but see themselves as in the firing line in the event of another accident like Fukushima.

Permission from local representatives will be good news for pro-nuclear Abe, who has set his heart on persuading his wary electorate that the world's third largest economy must return to an energy source that once supplied more than a quarter of its power.

Fukushima was the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. It forced tens of thousands of people from their homes, with many of them still displaced amid warnings some areas might have to be abandoned forever.
- AFP/nd


Τετάρτη, 29 Οκτωβρίου 2014

Japan to reopen 1st nuclear plant after Fukushima disaster - despite volcano risks

A local council has voted to re-open the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant on the outermost western coast of Japan, despite local opposition and meteorologists’ warnings, following tremors in a nearby volcano.

Nineteen out of 26 members of the city council of Satsumasendai approved the reopening that is scheduled to take place from early 2015. Like all of Japan’s 48 functional reactors, Sendai’s 890 MW generators were mothballed in the months following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Satsumasendai, a town of 100,000 people, relies heavily on state subsidies and jobs, which are dependent on the continuing operation of the plant.
But other towns, located within sight of the plant, do not reap the same benefits, yet say they are being exposed to the same risks. A survey conducted by the local Minami-Nippon Shimbun newspaper earlier this year said that overall, 60 percent of those in the region were in favor of Sendai staying shut. In Ichikikushikino, a 30,000-strong community just 5 kilometers away, more than half of the population signed a petition opposing the restart. Fewer than half of the major businesses in the region reported that they backed a reopening, despite potential economic benefits. 

Regional governor Yuichiro Ito has waved away the objections, insisting that only the city in which the plant is located is entitled to make the decision.
While most fears have centered around a lack of transparency and inadequate evacuation plans, Sendai is also located near the volcanically active Kirishima mountain range. Mount Ioyama, located just 65 kilometers away from the plant, has been experiencing tremors in recent weeks, prompting the Meteorological Agency to issue a warning. The government’s nuclear agency has dismissed volcanic risks over Sendai’s lifetime as “negligible,” however.................http://rt.com/news/200175-sendai-fukushima-nuclear-volcano/

Παρασκευή, 15 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Uranium shipment signals end of US-Russian nuclear deal.

MOSCOW - A 20-year-old deal that has powered American homes while reducing the risk of Russian nuclear material falling into the wrong hands approached its end on Thursday when the final shipment of uranium left St Petersburg for Baltimore.

Under the 1993 HEU Purchase Agreement, Russia downblended 500 metric tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU) from nuclear weapons into low-enriched uranium and sent it to the United States, where it was made into fuel for nuclear power plants.

Over much of the life of the deal, it was used to generate roughly half of all commercial nuclear energy produced in the United States, or nearly 10 percent of all US electricity, according to the US Energy Department.

"For two decades, one in 10 light bulbs in America has been powered by nuclear material from Russian nuclear warheads," Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said of the agreement, commonly known as Megatons for Megawatts.

It provided cash and jobs in Russia's nuclear industry at a time, after the 1991 Soviet collapse, when fears ran high that impoverished scientists would sell secrets or "dirty bomb" ingredients.

It was "crucial for stabilizing the Russian nuclear complex at a critical time in the 1990s," said Matthew Bunn, a Harvard University professor and expert on nuclear security and proliferation.

But times have changed. A richer Russia, while seeking to expand its nuclear energy industry, has resisted US efforts to extend the agreement or come up with another one to continue blending down HEU, Bunn said. 


Τετάρτη, 30 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Turkey and Japan sign formal agreement to build second nuclear plant in Sinop.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe signed on Oct. 29 the official agreement for building Turkey's second nuclear plant in the Black Sea province of Sinop.

The two countries signed a $22 billion deal in May for the construction of a plant with a total capacity of 4,800 megawatts (mW), by a Japanese-French alliance of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and French firm Areva.

Abe came to Istanbul to attend the official opening ceremony of the Marmaray tunnel, which has also been built by a Japanese firm.

Erdoğan told reporters during a joint press conference after the Marmaray's opening ceremony that the nuclear plant would be built with the most developed technology.

"We know that it is impossible to say something like 'accidents will never happen.' Even if it is one in a million, such a danger, such an accident, might occur, and it is impossible to ignore this," Erdoğan said, commenting on the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

"There is no investment without risks, in any field. But every firm, every company should take 100 percent security measures. The ideal thing is without a doubt to minimize the margin of error," he added.

"Moreover, I believe that Japan will put forward the most developed technology in the works that we will undertake together at the Sinop nuclear plant. This is necessary for both Japan and Turkey," the prime minister said.

The first unit of the nuclear plant is set to be active by 2023, while the last unit will come online by 2028.

Turkey's first nuclear plant is being constructed in Akkuyu in the southern province of Mersin by the Russian state atomic energy corporation. The plant will be made with four reactors and will have a total installed power of 4,800 mW.


Σάββατο, 5 Ιανουαρίου 2013

China resumes construction of biggest nuclear plant

China has resumed construction on a “fourth generation” nuclear power plant, suspended after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, which will be its biggest-ever nuclear facility, state media said Saturday.
Construction on the coastal Shidao Bay nuclear plant in Rongcheng, a city in eastern China’s Shandong province, resumed last month, the state-run China Internet Information Center reported, adding that the plant is “China’s biggest planned nuclear project”.
The plant, which will be cooled by high temperature gas, will become “the world’s first successfully commercialised fourth generation nuclear technology demonstration project”, the report said.
It is designed to be safer and cuts down on costs, the report quoted a spokesman from the China Huaneng Group, the biggest investor in the plant, as saying.
The plant, expected to begin supplying electricity to the grid by 2017, will have a final generating capacity of 6,600 megawatts, the report said, adding initial investment in the project will be three billion yuan ($480 million).

The Shidao Bay plant “has been developed and designed solely by Chinese researchers”, the state-run China Radio International said, quoting a China Huaneng Group researcher as saying the company hopes to export the design.
China in October lifted a ban on new nuclear power stations imposed in 2011 after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown, when the facility was struck by a tsunami, and will allow construction of a “small number” of coastal nuclear power plants, according to an official report.
Construction on the Shidao Bay plant began in 2011 but was suspended in the wake of the Fukushima crisis, the China Internet Information Center said.
There are 15 operational commercial nuclear reactors in China, which has ambitious plans to expand its nuclear industry, with 27 reactors under construction near coastal areas, according to the World Nuclear Association.
China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection said in a report in October that the country’s nuclear safety situation was “not optimistic”, and that the use of differing types of reactors in Chinese plants made the sector “difficult to manage”.
Copyright 2013 AFP

Δευτέρα, 24 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

Japan: Abe to review Fukushima crisis before deciding on restarting reactors

Japan’s incoming pro-nuclear Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Sunday his government will again investigate the Fukushima nuclear crisis, after which the country’s reactors could be restarted, reports said.
His comments will add to speculation that plans to ditch nuclear power in disaster-scarred Japan will be shelved by his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) when it takes power after scoring a landslide election win last week.
“We are yet to completely clarify what went wrong (in Fukushima),” he told a political show on Fuji TV on Sunday.

“As a government, we want to once again analyze why Fukushima Daiichi failed,” he said. He gave no further details and did not set out a timeframe for a probe.
“After that, I wish to think of next steps, including the restart of reactors,” he said on the program, according to broadcaster NHK.
“Could it have been avoided? Was it a man-made disaster? As a government, we must study that,” said Abe, according to Jiji Press.
He has previously derided the zero-nuclear goal of the ousted Democratic Party of Japan as unrealistic.
All but two of Japan’s 50 reactors remain switched off after the worst nuclear accident in a generation and anti-nuclear sentiment has run high, but that failed to translate into support at the polls for anti-atomic parties.
Several probes have already been conducted into the accident in March last year, which saw the Fukushima plant suffer meltdowns and explosions after being hit by an earthquake-triggered tsunami.
A damning parliamentary report in July concluded that the Fukushima accident was a man-made disaster caused by Japan’s culture of “reflexive obedience” and not just the tsunami that hit the plant.
Shares in Fukushima operator TEPCO have soared since Abe’s election win.
© 2012 AFP

Σάββατο, 15 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

H ιστορία στο Τόκιο:Συνομιλίες υπουργών και εμπειρογνωμόνων στη Φουκουσίμα για την πυρηνική ασφάλεια (Nuclear Safety)

Η Διεθνής Υπηρεσία Ατομικής Ενέργειας από κοινού με την κυβέρνηση της Ιαπωνίας διοργανώνουν στη Νομαρχία της Φουκουσίμα διάσκεψη για την πυρηνική ασφάλεια.
Η διάσκεψη πραγματοποιείται στην πόλη Κοριγιάμα κοντά στον ατομικό σταθμό ηλεκτρικής ενέργειας της Φουκουσίμα, που είχε πληγεί λόγω του σεισμού και του τσουνάμι τον Μάρτιο του 2011.
Ο επικεφαλής του ιαπωνικού ΥΠΕΞ Κοϊτσίρο Γκέμπα δήλωσε κατά την έναρξη των εργασιών του φόρουμ ότι η ιαπωνική πλευρά ανέλυσε το ατύχημα στον πυρηνικό σταθμό και την εξέλιξη της εξάλειψης των συνεπειών του και επιθυμεί να μοιραστεί την εμπειρία της.
Ο Κοϊτσίρο Γκέμπα επέμεινε στην ανάγκη να εξαχθούν συμπεράσματα από την καταστροφή της Φουκουσίμα μετά το σεισμό και το τσουνάμι και να υπογραμμιστεί η σημασία μιας διεθνούς συνεργασίας για το τιτάνιο έργο που απαιτείται. 

  • [1] International nuclear safety conference hosted in Fukushima
This weekend, Japan hosts a nuclear safety conference which will be attended by government ministers from more than 50 countries and organizations. The conference is to be held in Fukushima Prefecture, just 60 kilometers away from the scene of one of the worst nuclear accidents of recent times.
The meeting will be in Koriyama City, west of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant which more than a year ago was badly affected by the tsunami that swept across the northeast coast of Japan and caused the nuclear reactors to go into meltdown. It is for this particular reason that Japan is co-hosting the meeting with the International Atomic Energy Agency. They aim to share the knowledge and lessons gained from this near-catastrophic disaster and how they are slowly rebuilding from this.
One crucial aspect that will be discussed during the conference is how the Japanese government is going about decommissioning the Fukushima reactors and the clean-up of the contaminated area surrounding the plant, with the constant threat of radiation. Japan is set to release a document containing these crucial information during the meeting.
IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano also told the media that they are aiming to launch a joint project with the Fukushima local government for decontamination and radiation-related health care, another important aspect of recovery from this incident. 

  • [2] IAEA and Japan Host Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety
From 15 to 17 December 2012, Japan is organizing the Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, in co-sponsorship with the International Atomic Energy Agency, to be held in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. The Fukushima Ministerial Conference will contribute to strengthening nuclear safety worldwide by providing yet another opportunity to share with the international community, at the ministerial and expert levels, further knowledge and lessons learned from the accident at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (the Fukushima Daiichi accident) and to further enhance transparency.
Participants will also discuss the progress of international efforts aimed at strengthening nuclear safety, including through the implementation of the IAEA Nuclear Safety Action Plan, as well as measures to protect people and the environment from ionizing radiation.
Conference Programme
The Ministerial Conference's co-Presidents, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Koichiro Gemba, and the Deputy-Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation of Malaysia, Fadillah bin Haji Yusof, will chair the opening plenary session at ministerial level.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano will address the plenary during its opening morning session, which convenes from 09.30-12.30 local time (00.30-03.30 UTC) on 15 December 2012. The text of his address will made accessible online thereafter on the Conference Website.
The Plenary Session will be broadcast live online and the webcast is accessible here.
An outcome document will be issued at the close of the plenary session on 15 December 2012.
Following the opening plenary session, the Conference will continue with working sessions on three key topics: lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident; strengthening nuclear safety, including emergency preparedness and response, in the light of the Fukushima Daiichi accident; and protection of people and the environment from ionizing radiation.
These sessions will benefit from renowned international experts' contributions as keynote speakers and as panelists.
The Chairpersons of the three working sessions will present summaries of the discussions that took place in the working sessions during the closing plenary session on Monday, 17 December 2012.
Strengthening Nuclear Safety Worldwide
After the Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011, work began worldwide on implementing the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, which was endorsed at the IAEA General Conference in September 2011.
The Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety contributes to strengthening nuclear safety by exchanging lessons learned from the Fukushima nuclear accident, enhancing transparency and offering an opportunity to discuss international progress in strengthening nuclear safety, in particular the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety.
Revitalizing Fukushima
During the Conference, the Governor of Fukushima Prefecture, Yuhei Sato, and the Director General will sign a memorandum of cooperation between the IAEA and Fukushima Prefecture.
Joint projects undertaken by the IAEA and Fukushima Prefecture in decontamination and human health will also be announced.
Post-Accident Status
The ministers and high-level delegations attending the Conference will be briefed on the current state of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and Japan's activities to revitalize the area around the Nuclear Power Station.
Site tours of the Fukushima Prefecture are planned that include a workshop on the safety of products from the disaster-affected area.

(Note to Media: We encourage you to republish these stories and kindly request attribution to the IAEA)

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