APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nuclear in Japan: Brief update

We have already reported the voting down of an attempt by some shareholders of Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, which would have made the company abandon all nuclear energy generation.

We can now report that a similar action was attempted at the annual meeting of Tohoku Electric Power Company, and was also voted down.

Later update: We can add Kansai Electric Power to this group.

TEPCO owns and operates Fukushima Daiichi, Fukushima Daini, and Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear stations; this latter is by virtue of rated plant capacity the most powerful nuclear generating station on Earth. Tohoku Electric owns and operates Onagawa and Higashidori nuclear stations.

Further news in the general field of nuclear energy in Japan... Minister Kaieda had requested that the mayor of Genkai town allow the restart of Genkai nuclear station in his jurisdiction, and the mayor has indicated that he WILL allow the plant to restart. Genkai is owned and operated by Kyushu Electric Power Company.

Although the sighting of one swallow does not necessarily herald the arrival of Spring, it does appear that the predictions in some quarters that Japan would abandon nuclear energy were incorrect.

10:20 PM Eastern Wednesday June 29, 2011


  1. With as much power consumption we have here in Japan, it would suspect it to be extremely difficult to find and incorporate adequate non-nuclear sources -- if at all possible.

  2. Mr. Davis,
    How does the pro-nuclear camp respond to reports that green tea grown in Tokyo has tested for some 5x the permitted limit?

    The gee-whiz techno-worship is all well and good but we mere laymen are more concerned about the public health ramifications of the Fukushima accident. In your recent inteview with Rod Adams I was struck by your obvious unwillingness address the issue.

  3. I suspect a hot summer sans AC helps...

    Wonder what Germany's excuse now.

    James Greenidge

  4. @dylan: My field of expertise is operations and not radcon. That's why I don't talk a lot about radcon. I'm not willing to talk about things that aren't my area of expertise... unlike your average media hacks. You know the type. Oh -- by the way -- I don't speak for the whole "pro nuclear camp." In fact, you'll probably enjoy some of MY upcoming material on lessons learned.

  5. Dylan, how long does green tea take to grow? Under three months? They just grow and sponge up every trace of cesium out there, right? Which would come out to tons worth sprinkled all over Tokyo if you literally took every report in tow. What's a "permissible" limit anyway? It's NOT a -health limit- or a tolerance limit, just a more or less a speculative legal measure limit within a specified period of time. I bet you do and are exposed to lots of things every day WAY above defined "permissible limits". You likely couldn't live in ANY city if you religiously adhered to them either. Try your hand out over Rod Adams's blog where they've a couple of physiologists dropping his AtomicInsights blog all the time.

    Don't get spooked by the scary!

    James Greenidge

  6. @Will Davis. I am impressed by your mastery of the technical details of what is happening at Fukushima and grateful for your making it available in a way that is accessible the layman on this blog. I do, however, have reservations about what comes across in, for example, the comments of jimwg which border on a kind of techno-autism.

    High cesium levels in tea? Worry not, it's a "just a more or less a speculative legal measure limit within a specified period of time". That, as a response, is simply not good enough.

    And what are we chicken littles to make of reports like this?

    "#Radiation in Japan: Radioactive Cesium from Urine Samples of 10 Children in Fukushima City"

    Surely this is not a trivial matter.

    The technical stuff is clearly important but trying to pretend it exists in a vacuum with respect to actual human health consequences on the ground is folly and ultimately will be a losing tactic.

  7. @dylan: Thank you for your kind words; I appreciate that very much. Yes, the radioactive contamination of surrounding areas absolutely IS a serious matter. We must quickly discover its extent, its effects. However, I must stick by the rule that I only will cover things I know about and not attempt to report on things I don't. I don't pretend that the technicality exists in a vacuum - what I will not do is make a mockery of this blog by trying to report on things that both are reported better elsewhere and on which I don't personally have a good handle.

    Note: If the mainstream media did just that and only contacted experts in particular fields for particular problems, they'd have had maybe ten percent of the interview time they've run so far... because guys like Gundersen, and Michio Haku are NOT operations guys. Haku isn't even a nuclear engineer, plant operator or administrator -- yet he gets loads of air time on nuclear energy matters. We on the pro-nuclear side think that's ridiculous.. and that should give you some idea of why I won't write about what I don't know.

    Having said all that, let me repeat: We MUST get a handle on the effects.. not in a hysterical way, but in a realistic way. The Japanese government must take the lead in this matter. Frequent reports on survey findings do get posted by organizations like JAIF and NISA but these are mostly only what isotopes are found where, and what the dose rate is. The health effects should be discussed as well ... very much is known about radiation exposure and health, but the data aren't widely disseminated and read.