Fukushima Nuclear Plant – Leaky Tank Disassembled Once

Three storage tanks, including the one that has leaked water contaminated with radioactive substances, had been disassembled before being moved to the current area at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, TEPCO said Saturday.

TEPCO said the three tanks were disassembled due to land subsidence in the area where they were initially installed within the premises of the plant, heavily damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The tanks underwent checks for water leaks before they were transferred to the current area, and it is unclear whether there is a causal connection between the tainted water leaks and the reuse of the tank in question, TEPCO said.

No water leaks have been detected for the other two tanks, but TEPCO will start transferring contaminated water in them to other tanks on Sunday, it said.   In June 2011, TEPCO started installing tanks of the same type as the leaky one at the plant.


TEPCO Suspects radioactive water leak at another storage tank at Fukushima plant

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Tuesday that it suspects radioactive water is leaking from another underground storage tank at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, as it continues to grapple with massive accumulation of radioactive water at the site.

The suspicion of a leak at the No. 1 tank arose after TEPCO started transferring contaminated water inside the No. 2 underground tank where leakage was confirmed over the weekend.

TEPCO spokesman Masayuki Ono told a press conference the utility is considering removing the liquid inside the two tanks to other water tanks placed on the ground.



TEPCO Settles in Case Over Fukushima Evacuee’s Death

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has settled with the family of a woman from Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, who died as a result of the meltdown calamity at the utility’s stricken nuclear plant, sources said.

This is the first time Tepco has admitted a causal link between the death of an evacuee and the nuclear disaster at its Fukushima No. 1 plant. In all, 183 settlement cases have been made public by a government-run nuclear accident dispute settlement center.

According to the sources, the woman, who was hospitalized in the Odaka district of Minamisoma, died in April last year after she was forced to evacuate at the start of the crisis, the worst such incident since the 1987 Chernobyl disaster.

Read the rest of the story: Tepco settles over nuke evacuee death.

TEPCO Ordered To Cut Rate Hike

The government said Thursday it will order Tokyo Electric Power Co. to trim its rate hike for households to an average of 8.47 percent from its planned 10.28 percent after determining the utility can further reduce salaries to limit the additional cost burden on consumers.

The rate hike, to take effect Sept. 1, along with the planned injection of ¥1 trillion in public funds, is considered essential for Tepco to overcome its financial plight stemming from the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Noting that Tepco will be asked to reduce by about ¥83 billion the total costs it initially planned to pass on to customers, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano said, “After confirming that Tepco has revised its application (on the rate hike) as ordered, I will give permission.”

Read the rest of the story: Tepco is ordered to cut rate hike.

TEPCO Removes 2 Fuel Rods From Fukushima Nuke Plant

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) removed the first two nuclear fuel rods from the damaged Fukushima power plant on Wednesday. A necessary step in reducing the risk of more radiation being released into the environment, all 1,535 rods in a spent-fuel pool need to be removed and taken somewhere for safer storage, which TEPCO doesn’t expect to complete until the end of 2013. The primary concern is over the large amount of radioactive material that remains in the pool, where it is not protected inside thick containing walls like fuel inside the reactor cores are.

Now that almost a year and a half has passed since last year’s nuclear crisis, the cooling system for the pool has been repaired, and the containment has been strengthened. However, TEPCO has admitted recently that one of the building’s walls has started to bulge, but the pool itself isn’t tilting so it hasn’t caused any damage at this time. Tama University’s Hiroshi Tasaka, a professor and nuclear engineer, says the government’s goal of removing all the fuel rods by the end of next year seems a bit optimistic. There are many unknowns, as well as a need to develop new technology.

Takasa adds that the greatest threat at this point is if a strong aftershock were to hit the building, it is not secure enough to prevent more radiation from leaking. Thousands of aftershocks have occurred in the region, with several in the last few months alone measuring at magnitude 6 or higher. The engineer says that everyone must hope for the best, but it is not right to think that everything is safe right now. No one knows what will happen in the case of another significant earthquake.


Frustrated Japanese Shareholders Speak Out

To say that Yui Kimura is a distressed investor might be an understatement: She is a small shareholder in the operator of the nuclear power plant at Fukushima, Tokyo Electric Power, whose shares have lost nine-tenths of their value.

Now, she would like the company to at least face up to its responsibilities to the more than 100,000 people who have been driven from their homes after the tsunami disaster. She co-sponsored four resolutions at the annual shareholders’ meeting Wednesday, including one demanding that the company decommission all of its nuclear reactors.

“As the company behind a devastating disaster, we feel it needs to go that distance,” she said.

Read the rest of the story: Japanese Shareholders Starting to Show Their Teeth.

TEPCO shareholders approve government bailout

The power company behind Japans nuclear crisis got support from shareholders Wednesday for a decision to take 1 trillion yen $12.6 billion in public funds that effectively nationalizes the utility.

Meanwhile, activist shareholders including the Tokyo city government demanded more restructuring and safety improvements from Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

Outgoing TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata told more than 4,000 shareholders who gathered at a national gymnasium in downtown Tokyo that the utility desperately needs taxpayer money to avoid insolvency. It faces huge compensation and cleanup bills.

“We are cutting to the bone to restructure,” he said, as shareholders yelled at him, criticizing him as clinging to the top post for more than a year after the crisis. Katsumata will be replaced by Kazuhiko Shimokobe, a lawyer who headed the companys restructuring plans.

Read the rest of the story: Japan nuke utility shareholders approve bailout.


Fukushima residents call for criminal charges against nuclear officials

The executives of the Japanese utility that owns the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and a number of the country’s government officials should go to jail, according to a complaint filed by more than 1,000 local residents on Monday.

A total of 1,324 people lodged the unusual criminal complaint with the Fukushima prosecutor’s office, naming Tsunehisa Katsumata, the chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and 32 others.

The complaint argues that the 33 TEPCO executives and government officials are responsible for causing the nuclear disaster that followed the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and exposing the people of Fukushima to radiation.

Read the rest of the story: Fukushima residents call for criminal charges against nuclear officials.


Watchdog Let TEPCO Omit Safety Steps

A newly revealed document shows the Nuclear Safety Commission backed a claim by utilities in a 1992 report that no safety measures were needed to deal with a long-term complete power loss at nuclear plants, illustrating they minimized risk assessments together.

A text written by Tokyo Electric Power Co. was included in the report to revise safety measures compiled by the commission’s working group, and in the end no steps were introduced to counter the loss of key electricity-run reactor cooling functions.

Loss of power was a main cause of the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. Three of its six reactors suffered meltdowns after the plant lost most of its power following the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011

Read the rest of the story: Watchdog let utilities justify omitting nuclear plant power supply safety steps.

Japanese Government to Take Over Tepco – Japan’s Largest Utility Company

Tokyo Electric Power Co, Japan’s biggest utility and the owner of the devastated Fukushima nuclear plant, will be taken over by the government after the country’s trade minister on Wednesday approved a $12.5 billion capital injection.

The takeover, the details of which have widely reported in recent months, will avert the collapse of Tepco, the supplier of power to almost 45 million people in and around Tokyo.

The injection of 1 trillion yen ($12.5 billion) into Tepco brings the total government support for the company to at least 3.5 trillion yen since the meltdown at Fukushima in March last year. The eventual cost of the nuclear disaster, including compensation and clean-up costs, has been estimated at more than $100 billion.

Read the rest of the story: Japan to take over Tepco after Fukushima disaster.