SVCF Bulletin No. 34 issued on April 1, 2013

President Yamada admitted into hospital 

On March 25, President Yamada was hospitalized to have a throat cancer operation. He is expected to remain there for about 2 months. During his absence Vice President Nobuhiro Shiotani is Acting President.

 The SVCF 23rd Regular Diet Meeting

 On March 21, 2013, the 23rd Regular Diet Meeting was held in meeting room B 104, in the House of Councilors’ Members’ building. There were 42 attendees. 

At the onset, a letter from President Yamada, absent due to his impending hospitalization, was read out by Vice President Sasaki and then Vice President Shiotani briefed on the overview for activities in the present business year and the future business plan. (Please refer to next article) 

Subsequently, Auditor Iemori reported on activities in the 1st to 3rd terms respectively. One of the inspection team leaders, Mr Ito, reported on several rounds of talks with TEPCO and on the achievements. Watcher member Takayhama reported comprehensively on a F2 visiting report, given with an expert’s eyes and by professional analysis.

At the end we ran a documentary video on SVCF activities produced last September by Fukushima Central TV station, and the meeting was ended immediately before the time limit of17:00 p.m.

8 Diet members (secretaries) joined in this round. Namely: Tetsushi Sakamoto, House of Councilors, Liberal Democratic Party, Kiyomi Tsujimoto, House of Councilors, Democratic Party, Tadashi Hirono, House of Representative, Life Party, Hiroshi Sakurai, House of Councilors, Liberal Democratic Party, Yukihisa Fujita, House of Representative, Democratic Party, Toshinao Nakagawa, House of Councilors, Liberal Democratic Party, Ai Aoki, House of Councilors, Life Party, and Akira Naganuma, House of Councilors, Democratic Party.

Among Diet members, Hiroshi Sakurai listened attentively and joined the discussion on a projection of the social clean-up scheme. The photos on the right are of Diet members giving their salute.

Business plan for the next fiscal year (Nobuhiro Shiotani, acting President)

In the last February meeting, we received a lot of response on views and suggestions from the SVCF mission concerning particular tactical measures. We overviewed and summarized present activities by categories. Based on this classification we worked out the year 2013 business plan, at a board meeting held on March 8. We are preparing a proposal to be submitted to the Cabinet Office by the end of March.  Below are some suggested items.

The SVCF mission

First of all, the SVCF mission is firmly committed to participation with our manpower, in the clean-up works at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, in order to reduce, at least to some extent, the radiation hitting the young workforce which daily is exposed to hazardous radiation.

Lobbying to Diet members

To achieve our goal, we have reached out to many Diet members. Nevertheless, the old political world changed drastically in the last national election. Many Diet members who supported us lost their seat in the Diet. Amidst this entirely new situation, we have established a team “lobbying in the political world” headed by President Yamada and we have begun to open up direct channels to ruling-party Diet members. A challenge of unbiased lobbying is one of the important activities in the SVCF 2013 term.

Communications and public affairs

Following the present means, we try to promote our mission, roles, and activities by means of a bimonthly issuance of our SVCF bulletin, timely Web page updating, and coach tours by the President.

Financial administration

Our financial resources to manage activities are to be filled up by your goodwill donations. We have asked for such donations twice in the present business year. The expenditure is for various activities and office management. Again, we sincerely appreciate your kind assistance.  We have applied for several subsidies, but unfortunately we haven’t received them. In the year 2013, we will continue applying for subsidies and also approach various corporations for their donations.

Monitoring Radiation

Supporting service for the afflicted people, mainly environmental radiation monitoring, is an important clause in the SVCF action program this year.

Last September we signed a service agreement with the Kawauchi Village Office and started monitoring the radiation levels in and around individual residences. Since then 40 SVCF members have participated in this service.

As a neutral third party, objective monitoring of the environmental radiation level in personal residences, a service which central and local governments do not provide, has been one of the raisons d’être of SVCF. The actual field monitoring has also been quite meaningful for ourselves because it provides us with a good occasion for practice to amass more technical expertise. We will continue the task in the next fiscal year as well, expanding the service area to the whole previous 20 km radial region including such areas asNarahaTown.

Negotiation with TEPCO

We have resumed face-to-face negotiations with TEPCO. As TEPCO had agreed to continue sharing information in the new fiscal year regarding technical subjects of the cleanup in F1, we will take these meetings as a favorable chance to understand the situation of F1 in more depth than what is released to the press. We will exert our efforts to make the dialogue fruitful and constructive.

Training Program

The training programs implemented in the past year consisted of SVCF members’ self-training inKawauchiVillageand one member’s attendance in the JFEA’s radiation control manager training course. There was only one dispatch of an instructor for the basic radiation education requested by an outside body. We will revitalize the activities of these fields in the new year.

Operation of Monitoring at Kawauchi Village

On March 17 (Sun) through 18 (Mon) SVCF conducted radiation monitoring as part of the Kawauchi Village Repatriation Program, based on a contract with the village. SVCF participants were Ouchi, Kinoshita, Kojima and Murooka, who applied through the SVCF web service, and Iemori, Ito (Kuni) and Shiotani.

On March 17, we made a grid of grooves in front of and behind a house in which we had previously taken measurements on February 6. We monitored some 80 grid crossing points for the environmental radiation readings, on the surface and at the 1 meter level above the ground respectively. The high-tech Laser instrument which we had brought for measuring distances between the cross-points didn’t work as expected, so had to resort to a low-tech solution, namely a conventional linen measuring tape. This was a good example of “Experience teaches wisdom”.

On March 18, we monitored radiation levels inside and outside a house, at the same points where we had made measurements last September, prior to the official decontamination, in order to examine the result of decontamination.

Then we visited the village office and presented the monitoring report inKawauchiVillageimplemented by SVCF. The village officers highly appreciated our activities and we got an impression that we may receive the use of various conveniences during our future attempts.

In KawauchiVillagewe saw decontamination works carried out here and there. We measured a distributed radiation level in various layers of leaf mulch. The data obtained there shows that we may expect a reasonably good decontamination effect by clearing away 10 cm of leaf mulch off the ground surface. The result of our monitoring on the 18th will help us judge to what extent environmental radiation can be expected to decrease in and around a residence by clearing work.

We did monitoring around flexible containers at a clearing site (a yard for temporary storage). We found a few μSv/h of radiation between the bags, but it came down to one tenth when measured about 3m away from the bags, a level that is almost similar to the radiation level in the no bag area. (by Kunio Ito)

TEPCO and Water

On Wednesday, March 13th, 2013, we held a conference with TEPCO at their headquarters in Shinbashi. The conference started at4:00 pm and 5 of our SVCF members mainly from our Watcher Team discussed the issue of how TEPCO is handling the radiation contaminated water at Fukushima No.1 power plant. We were allowed to have this meeting as a result of our continuous approaches to be granted visits to their site.

Memorial gathering at Hisanohama, Iwaki-city “Flower Memorial (Hanakuyou)”

A SVCF team has been visiting Hisanohama several times as part of our project “Go toFukushima” and we were invited by the “Sennichikou” group to attend their memorial gathering “Flower Memorial (Hanakuyou)” again this year. We organized a bus tour onMarch 10, 2013and sent members to support their preparation of the event.

As it had been already 2 years since the disaster occurred, we were concerned about the number of flowers to be donated this year. However, such concern proved unfounded. We were able to see as many flowers as last year, from all over the country.

Between the intervals of the event, we were able to visit Hamakaze Shopping Street which is run by the owners of local stores who lost their retail premises during the 3/11 disaster.

At2:46 pm, we all commemorated those who passed away and went missing in the disaster, by a moment of silence and the service ended in peace.

We stayed on for the cleanup and completed our mission successfully.

The Tokai Group Gathering

The conference location of The Tokai Group (Residents of Aichi, Mie andShizuokaprefecture) Gathering” has been decided as follows,

Date:  April 19th, 2013 (Fri)14:00 – 16:00

Meeting Place: Aichiken Seinen Kaikan 5F Conference Room 1-18-8Sakae, Naka-ku,Nagoya, Aichi, 460-0008                         

Kindly let us know at our SVCF office if you wish to participate in this event. We look forward to hearing from you all.                   

 Monthly Report by the Watcher Team: Summary in February 2013

 Cooling for Spent fuel pools and reactors

 TEPCO: the temperature of water and of inner monitoring points is stable.  An inspection arrangement in the reactor No.2 is underway.

 Watcher: Although it is stable at first glance, however, watchful eyes are needed on the makeshift facilities. (An accident in spent fuel pools occurred in March.)

 Distilled water

I. ALPS: the advanced liquid processing system, or the multinuclide removal facility

TEPCO: Nuclear Regulation Authority, NRA, approved a trial operation for the ALPS but disapproved the release of tritium-containing fresh water in the sea.

Watcher: There is no NRA remark for the countermeasure against tritium.

II. Pumping well

TEPCO: The construction of 12 wells was completed. We explained an adjusting method to change the water level for pumping well, monitoring well, sub drains, and distilled water in the housing. Regarding the bypass of groundwater by means of pumping wells, there is no concrete projection between the level of influx water and the volume change.

III. Steel tank

TEPCO: no news

Watcher: Some newspapers have for the first time pointed out the instability of the steel tanks.

Port and marine pollution

Filtration and purification methods are to be studied drastically.

Watcher: Various traditional methods are the least helpful. It seems probable that TEPCO has taken a new approach toward the comprehensive solution.

Inspection in the reactor building

TEPCO: Under investigation for pathways in the reactor No. 1 to 3 buildings and for the radiation dose and whereabouts of nucleus.

Watcher: It is good to know of the start of internal inspection.  A much more difficult detailed inspection is imperative for the start of repairs in the reactor containment.