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Construction of radioactive waste storage to start
Nuclear & Energy Jan. 29, 2015 - Updated 06:17 UTC-5
Japan's environment ministry plans to soon start building initial facilities for storing radioactive waste stemming from decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture, northern Japan.
They are part of the intermediate storage complex to be built in a 16-square-kilometer area straddling the towns of Futaba and Okuma.
The government earlier planned to start moving the waste to the site by the end of this month. But it canceled the plan due to delays in purchasing land and building facilities.
The government now plans to start the transport by March 11th, the 4th anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that led to the nuclear accident in 2011.
The ministry says construction of 2 initial storage facilities, each 10,000 square kilometers, will start next Tuesday at industrial parks in the intermediate site.
The waste is to be kept there until intermediate storage facilities are completed. It remains unclear when their construction will begin, due to lack of progress in purchasing land.
Huge amounts of radioactive soil and other waste stemming from decontamination work have been kept in each municipality of the prefecture.
Municipalities are asking the government to provide a concrete schedule for transporting the waste.
Commission begins work on nuclear usage guidelines
Nuclear & Energy Jan. 28, 2015 - Updated 03:26 UTC-5
Japan's government commission on nuclear energy policy has begun hearing from experts to draw up new guidelines after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.
The Atomic Energy Commission drew criticism 3 years ago after it was found to have held secret meetings with only pro-nuclear parties, including utilities and bureaucrats. The meetings took place amid compiling of Japan's nuclear energy policy after the accident in March 2011.
The commission is now tasked with presenting basic ideas for nuclear energy use, including processing of nuclear waste, rather than a detailed plan.
On Wednesday, the commission heard from University of Tokyo Professor Emeritus Yotaro Hatamura. He headed a government panel investigating the disaster.
Hatamura said accidents will occur as long as people keep using nuclear energy, and that unseen risk will remain even if certain standards are met.
He said in that sense, the country's Nuclear Regulation Authority is correct to refrain from saying a facility is safe.
He stressed the need to draw up plans for not only evacuation but also decontamination and reconstruction, assuming the possibility of accidents.
The commission is set to compile the basic ideas in just over a year.
Work partly resumes at Daini nuclear plant
Nuclear & Energy Jan. 28, 2015 - Updated 06:08 UTC-5
Work at the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan has partly restarted. Tokyo Electric Power Company suspended most activity at the Daiichi and Daini complexes earlier this month after a series of fatal accidents.
Both plants are in Fukushima Prefecture. The Daiichi complex suffered meltdown after the March 11th 2011 earthquake and tsunami but the Daini plant did not.
On January 19th of this year a worker in his 50s died after falling off the roof of a 10-meter high rainwater tank at Daiichi.
On the following day, a Daini worker in his 40s died after being stuck in the head by large equipment he was using.
The accidents forced Tokyo Electric to halt most of the work at the 2 complexes and conduct safety inspections. But operations to address radioactive wastewater have continued.
On Wednesday, 2 of the roughly 250 operations restarted at the Daini plant. These involve checking a crane at the No.1 reactor building and cleaning equipment that measures the density of radioactive substances in cooling water.