SVCF Bulletin No. 54 issued on August 1, 2014

Planning and organizing a symposium

Skilled Veterans’ Corps for Fukushima will hold a symposium entitled “We think over clean-ups and decommissioning of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant  – What can we do? ”  –  in No. 15 building of Waseda University campus at 13:00 p.m. on September 27 (Sat), 2014.  We will inform you of the details within days.  Firstly, we announce brilliant guest speakers.

Ms. Erinoa, singer – song writer
Mr. Shigetada Kishii, journalist
Mr. Tatsushi Okamoto, Director, Skilled Veterans’ Corps for Fukushima
Ms. Etsuka Yoshida, facilitator and president, NPO Kanda Trivia University
Mr. Naohiro Masuda, President, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning Company, Executive Director, TEPCO
Mr. Yukiteru Naka, President, Tohoku Enterprise Co., Ltd.
Mr. Hitoshi Yoshioka, former member of the governmental research and examination committee for the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Professor of Kyushu University

Each of us cherishes a memory of the late Mr. Yasuteru Yamada.  SVCF offered “a commemorative event honoring his memory”

We held a commemorative event “honoring Mr. Yasuteru Yamada”, who was the founder of SVCF and passed away on June 17 after a long fierce battle against his illness, to talk and share his deeds and feats among concerned people at the House of Representative “Kensei Kinen Kan” or Law Memorial Hall in Nagata-cho, Tokyo on July 29 (Tue), 2014.

Participants from all over Japan – from northern Hokkaido to the southernmost Kyushu islands – were approximately 120 in number. Many guests in various fields attended and people aged 20 to 80 met together. Once again we acknowledged how Mr. Yamada had established broader friendship and deeper relationships.

Dialogue with TEPCO on a tank patrol mission for leaked radioactively contaminated water

An accident, in which polluted water leaked from tanks on the premises of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, occurred in summer 2013. TEPCO began tank patrol routinely. Since last October, after 3 rounds of discussion in the regular Diet session and twice in the board of directors, we decided to add “a commencement of concrete and preliminary research and preparation in order to be engaged in the polluted tank patrol in the premises of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant” in the year 2014 business plan.

Together with this attempt, we visited TEPCO three times, from last November to March this year, and inquired about the tank patrol situation, necessary qualifications and various procedures, in order to obtain a service contract.

Through these advance steps, we finally received a letter from TEPCO (dated May 30, 2014) regarding “Contract for the work in the premises of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant” in a meeting of June 6, 2014. Below is a full text. Reported by Kunio Itoh

Public Interest Incorporated Association Skilled Veterans’ Corps for Fukushima
Mr. Nobuhiro Shiotani, President

Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc.
Kenzo Takase, Manager, Nuclear Power Safety and Management

Contract for the work to be done on the premises of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

As we have been requested to answer your inquiry for the service contract regarding tank patrol on the premises of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, we regret having to inform you that we are unable to enter a service contract with you, for the following reasons. Please excuse us. We look respectfully forward to your understanding.

A Service contract regarding tank patrol has already been fixed. At present we have ensured enough man-power. As for the service contract to be performed on the premises of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, we have basically adopted a follow-on contract style in order to get sufficient manpower and to improve work quality on site.

We are inclined to choose a company which keeps a high employment rate by recruiting local people toward the recovery for Fukushima.

While we are continuing to reduce hazardous exposure, work conditions on the premises of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, still necessitate a full set of protective gear, and the radiation level remains severe. The work needs fairy high level of expertise and stamina.

Regarding selection criteria, it seems difficult for your organization to achieve the following obligations, which we request from any contractor.

When a formal service contract is to be made between a contractor and us, we shall request the contractor to assume quite strict responsibility in order to complete the scope of work. In other words, firm commitment shall be necessary to compensate monetary indemnity, if any loss accrues against us due to a backset caused by fault of the contractor.

Management systems to guarantee high quality for the contracted work, for instance, nomination of superintendent or chief engineer, establishment of exposure prevention and control, and all necessary manners, are absolutely imperative for any contractor. You would initially be required to cope with these prerequisites by yourself.

The 34th regular Diet Meeting

On July 29 (Tue), 2014, the SVCF 34th regular Diet meeting was held in meeting room no. 101 of the House of Councilors Hall, with 52 attendees. This time we had no prepared agenda, instead we talked freely of the future of SVCF in view of our 3-year existence from the foundation. Honoring the late Mr. Yamada, we exchanged various views and opinions for about 2 hours.

As a commemorative event honoring the late Mr. Yasuteru Yamada was held in a nearby “Kensei Kinen Kan” or Law Memorial Hall following this meeting, there were quite a few people who had come all the way from remote places to Tokyo or attended for the first time in the Diet meeting. Approximately 20 people spoke up mainly with these neophytes.

Only two Diet members attended, Ms. Hiroe Makiyama, House of Councilors, Democratic Party, and Mr. Mito Kakizawa, House of Representatives, Yui Party since many of them returned to their electorates during prorogation of the Diet.

Regarding the monitoring work being done by SVCF (2)
By Nobuhiro Shiotani, monitoring team leader

What the federal government has mandated to be the public utility work for SVCF are the following three things: (1) dosage monitoring for inside the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant and its surroundings, (2) dispatch of experts to the decontamination information plaza, (3) running the training program. The first public utility job for SVCF is the monitoring work. SVCF has been excluded from dosage monitoring within the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant by the federal government and TEPCO, the dispatching of experts is done only once or twice a week, and the training program is only run a few times a year.

SVCF administration cost and operating expenses

We should be aware of the rule that the organizational cost to maintain an administration office (e.g., rent, convention expenses, communication charges, printing expenses, officials traveling expenses, executive salaries, supplies expenses for paper and stationery) may not exceed operating expenses (e.g., traveling expenses, lodging expenses, material cost, fuel / power cost (petrol charges and rental vehicle charges) related to publicly authorized operation).

One reason for this rule is said to be the need to prevent unjust acts such as collecting a large amount of contribution due to tax benefits, and spending it as executive salaries, renting unnecessarily large and luxurious premises and spending excessive amounts on convention expenses. The estimated amount for the administration cost of SVCF this year is about one million yen. Thus, an expenditure of one million five hundred thousand yen is anticipated as operating costs, in order to clear the rule mentioned above. Among the three public utility works described above, only the monitoring operation is of such a nature that it may involve such budget amounts.

What to do about the burden of expenses

Within SVCF, there are 3 schools of thought on how to deal with the personal expenses associated with volunteer efforts. (1) Expenses associated with one’s skills (not just technological, but also office-related skills), time, and expenses associated with volunteering should be the responsibility of the individual. (2) Skills and time should be provided for free, but expenses should be compensated (for instance, travel expenses should be reimbursed). (3) Time should be provided for free, but skills and expenses should be compensated (for instance by the allocation of monthly stipends, or paying out a certain amount per project completed).

As a rule, SVCF is following #2 for individuals who are involved in the daily operations of the office, taking into consideration our financial circumstances. In the past, we were following #3, on special circumstances, but given our financial situation, we are no longer doing #3. There are some individuals who believe that #1 should be followed for all work performed, but because we have promised the federal government and society that we would complete the public works, we need to perform them in a way that is sustainable. For this reason, we cannot do a job because we don’t have enough participants, or because it is more efficient to bundle the jobs. Monitoring work is something that, upon request, must be done as a public work, and because we have promised that they will be completed, they need to be done according to that promise.

We have been asking individuals who have signed up to be on the monitoring team, as well as individuals who have signed up on our website or through e-mail to be involved in these works. Additionally, we haven’t been paying the full amount of travel costs; instead, we’ve placed a cap on how much we can reimburse our volunteers.

Actual Monitoring Works

Currently most monitoring works are carried out in Narahamachi town. Because there were a total of 34 requests since the exchange of memorandum in last October, 30-40 requests are anticipated by the end of this fiscal year. In principle, the monitoring is carried out by a team of five members. We are making efforts to increase the number of experienced people by forming teams with two inexperienced members combined with three experienced members. A monitoring team processes one to two cases in one day trip; alternatively, three to four cases may be processed in one overnight trip.

Regarding the transfer of the monitoring team, trains should be used in principle considering safety, certainty and time efficiency, and in the case of Narahamachi town, rental cars are used to move from Iwaki Station to the monitoring spot. Some members are Fukushima residents who come directly to the monitoring spot, but most of the participants are from the Kanto area around Tokyo. Some people had come from distant areas, such as Kansai or Shikoku, but they all had some foothold to stay in the Tokyo area.

Apart from the maintenance cost of the monitoring equipment, necessary expenses for moving to the monitoring spots are that of transport and lodging, of which the full amount may not be covered by SVCF. The lodging fee (1,500 yen per person) and the cost for rental cars to move from Iwaki station to the monitoring spots are totally paid by SVCF. The actual transport expense of the individual participant is paid upon request, up to the amount of JR fare for a round trip between Tokyo and Iwaki. For example, for those who can use the 30% discount of the Zipangu Club, only the Zipangu rate is paid. For the Fukushima residents who drive to the monitoring spots with their own car and other people who come with their cars for various reasons, actual cost for the gasoline may be provided. (To be continued in the next issue.)