SVCF Bulletin No. 42 issued on September 20, 2013

A seminar held in the north Tohoku region

On September 7, Saturday, we held a seminar in Morioka city for members in the north Tohoku region. The following is a report of acting director Shiotani, who participated from the SVCF Secretariat.  Thanks to an arrangement by SVCF member Sugisawa, resident of Morioka city, we could open this seminar in the Iwate Education Hall on September 7, 2013. 8 people joined from 5 prefectures, Akita, Iwate, Yamagata, Miyagi and Chiba, respectively. One journalist came from Toronto, Canada. In addition, there were the two usual members of the Reconstruction Media Corps.  Total 11 people attended. Shiotani briefed on recent SVCF activities, radiation issues, handling of scintillation and Geiger Muller method detectors, and then led an indoor training session using a radioactive sample, followed by an actual outdoor measuring exercise in the nearby Iwate Park. Due to the limited time available, Shiotani solely concentrated on the radioactive theory in which a gamma ray breaks molecular bonds by kicking out a binding electron. During exchange of opinions at lunch break, while someone commented that SVCF activities have spread to become too diversified in various issues, another emphasized that in order to earn redemption of “being inactive SVCF”, SVCF should enlarge activities and achieve actual results to compel TEPCO to allow participation in the decommissioning project.

The journalist from Toronto said “Living in Toronto I hardly read and hear media coverage on the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant accident. That is why I made up my mind to visit Japan and gather actual information. I shall purchase a survey meter and go around in Fukushima.” It was quite impressive to see him work diligently in the actual measuring exercises. While the Japanese government has tried to underestimate the scale and influence of the nuclear power plant accident, it is very encouraging and assuring that we meet such a sincere journalist coming all the way from Canada to experience the actual situation on site.

Monthly SVCF Watchers’ Report

The following is an excerpt from the monthly report dated August 2013, compiled by Watcher Team, and referring to the TEPCO news release.

1. Cooling reactors: we acknowledge and certify continuation of cold shutdown condition being maintained.

2. Still water processing: capacity of installed tanks holds 41.2 million m³ (free 5.6 million m³). In that total amount, condensed salty water occupies 31.4 million m³ (free 0.2 million m³). Since last month, the volume of salty water is rapidly increasing. Still water in the reactor building holds 7.6 million m³ from reactor No. 1 to 4. The water level in the turbine building remains optimum over 2.7 to 3.3 meters.

3. Contaminated water leak in the H4 area

A. The level of contaminated water tank No. 5 in the H4 area sunk 340 centimeters and a leak of approximately 300 m³ was acknowledged (August 20). Recovered contaminated water in the weir amounts to 4 m³.

B. The tank is constructed of flanged elements. Originally, this was installed in the H1 area but was moved from there due to land subsidence. There is no water level meter.

C. Tank patrol is to be made by two persons twice a day to spot external leaks by visual inspection. To cope with further possible leaks, the patrol personnel force was strengthened to a team of 60 members, and patrols were increased to 4 times a day.

D. Most of the leakage was attributed to the drain valve being always open at the outer bank in the tank yard. The valve is always to be kept closed and a drain standard for rains is to be established.

E. Leaks were detected in two more flanged type tanks. 300 tanks of the same model were investigated urgently and the alteration to welded type tanks is under consideration.

4. Condition of leak prevention in the coastal side

A. As for ground improvement in the revetment area, 228 pickets were buried successfully between the span of reactor No. 1 and 2.  Similar work between reactor No. 2 and 3, also No. 3 and 4 are planned, and in an installment stage. (projected in late November 2014)

B. 28 pump-up well points between reactor No. 1 and 2 started on August 15, 2013, averagely pumping up 70 m³ per day.

C.Underwater radiation strength at the east side of the turbine building is highest at measuring point No. 1-2 between reactor No. 1 and 2.  (Total beta rays: 76 million, tritium: 40 million, cesium 134: 110 Bq/L, cesium 137: 270 Bq/L)

D.Branching trench (power cable trench of reactor No. 2) is to be closed by early September.

E.For drainage of the main trench (sea water piping trench), reactor No. 2 is scheduled to start in early April, 2014. No. 3 in March, 2014.

5. Still water issues

A. For the underwater bypass, line A completed all test runs and examination of water quality. Main nucleus cesium 137 was confirmed fairly low in comparison to a sample obtained from the nearby river. Currently, briefing of concerned local people is under way. Line B and C are under examination of water quality after test run.

B.Facilities of sub drain pits (restoration or newly installment: total approximately 40) are scheduled to start in the end of September, 2014.

C. ALPS: Advanced Liquid Processing System is scheduled to re-start a hot run after prevention of recurrent leak. Line C in mid September, Line A in mid October, and Line B after November, respectively.

D. Impermeable wall: there is no particular remark on the impermeable wall (frozen impermeable wall) on the land side in TEPCO announced material.

6. Enforcement of prevention of massive sea pollution

A. Coastal impermeable wall: under full construction since April 2012, proceeding smoothly as planned. (Scheduled to complete in September 2014)  Bedrock to be hammered down with sheet piles is under preliminary drilling (98 percent progressed as of August 22) (Scheduled to complete in December 2013).  Hammering down sheet piles (42 percent progressed as of August 22. Scheduled to be complete in March 2014)

B. Sea water purification: the fiber adsorbent purifying system inside the silt fence of reactor No. 3 is running. The 5th round of review meeting was held.  Evaluations of sea water density and reviews of purification method in the harbor are continuing.

7. Cooling the spent fuel pool: reactor No. 1 to 4 and the common pool are under steady circulation cooling.

8. Radiation level for workmen: the number of particular personnel engaged in high radiation environment has increased in the last several months.

To the Secretariat, various opinions have been sent from SVCF regular and supporting members. Depending on available column space, we will introduce them sequentially after we select and excerpt main points.

Establish a SVCF branch office in Fukushima

All we have to do is what we can do right now. No assertiveness would be the reason why we can’t take concrete action. In order to gain our say, it is the key to become friends and familiar with people of Fukushima prefecture. I believe that we should establish a SVCF branch office in Futaba town or Minami Soma city, and station a board director there. For convenience, please keep and lend radiation monitoring devices. (Yuji Gene Miyake, Kanagawa)

Propose to TEPCO as professionals

I have come to feel us deviating from the original SVCF objective as time goes by. I believe that our objective would be a spiritual fellowship steeling even for death to decommission Fukushima Nuclear Daiichi Power Plant accident. Nowadays, only TEPCO is conducting decommissioning work without expecting the cooperation from our organizational assistance at all.

According to a veteran’s say, they engaged in daily roles in the spent fuel retrieval system and in cleaning up scattered rubble around reactor No. 4. As for the issue of contaminated water, as President Yamada mentioned in a meeting held in Sendai last year, the use of Sunny Hoses (vinyl hoses temporarily laid out in many construction sites) had been a matter of concern even in an evitable condition immediately after the nuclear accident. PVC pipes plugged with adhesive joint cause no problem for conducting usual harmless water; however, pressure resistant hoses and screws must absolutely be required for radioactively contaminated water. It is very irritating for me to admit that we professionals can’t propose right things openly and squarely to TEPCO.

Influx of groundwater had been another problem in an early stage. Ordinary construction and civil engineers make it a rule to build impermeable walls (uninterrupted underground walls would be better though, the water glass pillar method would be permissive in emergency case.) to prevent water influx outside for erection of underground structures. I don’t know the reason why they don’t take to such proper methods. They won’t take account at all. Probably, they might be bothered by the gigantic scale of the work. Nevertheless, I can’t but help worrying that they are concentrating wastefully on the retrieval of fuel rods from the nasty reactor No. 4.  Whereas most excellent technology is available, it seems that no one within TEPCO and the central government has the boldness to apply it. Regardless of our direct engagement, it is imperative to propose a national policy on a third-sector organization basis. (Hideo Nishiyama, Miyagi)

Continue monitoring efforts

I see this news letter as the only reliable source. I hope SVCF will continue and maintain monitoring efforts. TEPCO should allow a full-scale inspection for SVCF. (Kato Naotake, Tokyo)

What we should do.

It seems meaningful and worth considering what SVCF should do in the following subjects. I look forward to your negotiation with TEPCO, the central government, and Diet members as soon as possible.

1. Scope of work: leak monitoring around contaminated water storage tanks.

Visual inspection of all tanks. Monitor possible leak origins (if detected and identified beforehand) with a survey meter since high radiation occurs inevitably where there is a leak.

2.Reason: It is necessary to detect and identify leaks expeditiously as preventive maintenance because leaks seem to be found fortuitously after a certain delay, due to the perfunctory inspection manner.

3. Reasons for SVCFs suitability Members are blessed with a sense of responsibility, mental strength and power of concentration to bear menial and boring work calmly and patiently. Members are well experienced with use of survey meter for radiation measuring. As disinterested spectator, SVCF has no intention to hide results, on an objective monitoring basis. There is enough and abundant manpower for radiation exposure control. (we can cover inevitable radiation exposure risk for assigned professional technicians in that monitoring work. SVCF’s advantage is to take on disliked work willingly. I look forward to whatever small and humble work. (Gukoo, Kanagawa)

Move contaminated water and soil to Iwo Jima

You must be irritated to see the superficial remedies by TEPCO and the central government against gigantic trouble. Anyone can understand that contaminated water increases during the contiuous cooling of pierced reactors. They move polluted water into small makeshift tanks and try to switch the focus to the underwater issue. Frozen underground walls won’t help solve the problem and cause more likely another risk.  I stress it is time for us to propose alternative plans.

To alleviate burdens in Fukushima, I propose a construction of a storage station and a disposing facility for contaminated water and soil in Iwo Jima, since that island is the only place where opposition campaigns by local residents is unlikely. It will be able to be managed for a cost of two hundred billion Yen. Tankers and container vessels transfer the dirty loads. Tankers are quite easily available now since the volume of oil consumption reduces. The transference is projected for a span of over 10 years.  Tankers will become contaminated garbage together with temporary storage tanks; however, they are safer than present temporary tanks because of double hull construction to avoid sea pollution.

In comparison to the 800 kilometer land transport to Osaka, the 1,200-kilometer sea transport to Iwo Jima, cost, safety and sentiments of residents seem to be easily compromised and solved. Infrastructure of power station and harbor installations will be necessary together with contaminated water storage tanks, however, these cost less.  You might laugh this as an illusion though, I believe that advocates of concrete measures in the long run are useful and helpful in demonstrating present inadequacies and urging release of long range measures.  (Hiroshi Matsunaga, Chiba)

Radiation monitoring for residents

I joined once in an actual radiation monitoring. We found hot spots. I was asked by local residents “Can we live here?” and I replied “almost certainly not”. Residents in evacuation-prepared areas who are unaware of the contaminated conditions around their house, indoor status, garden, and farm are still living in evacuation center. Is it necessary to inform them of details individually of the contamination in their life environment? I believe unawareness is the main cause of anxiety. I say that is the exact role of SVCF. (Shoichi Sekine, Fukushima)