Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Weekly Review

Warnings of summer power shortages and further analysis of contamination around the plant highlighted the news from Fukushima Daiichi last week.

Recent developments related to the Tokyo Electric Power Co. nuclear plant blacked out following last year’s earthquake and tsunami include:

Fukushima Daiichi, pre-tsunami. Source: TEPCOUtilities: Summer Without Reactors Could Bring Power Shortages of 3 to 16 percent

Of nine utilities reporting power supply estimates to a government panel Monday, three predicted significant power shortages after the last of Japan’s reactors is taken offline in May. After the earthquake last year, political resistance prevented Japan’s nuclear plants from returning to service following emergency shutdowns and maintenance. Should summer temperatures reach those seen in 2010, the Asahi Shimbun reported, Kansai Electric Power Co. estimated its supply will fall 16.3 percent below peak demand in August, with Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Hokkaido Electric expecting shortages of 3.7 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively. Six other utilities reporting to the government panel said they did not expect supply shortages.

Surveys Map Seven Municipalities Uninhabitable for Five-Plus Years Without Remediation

The results of aircraft monitoring made public April 22 suggest seven municipalities are expected to have radiation levels above 20 millisieverts per year in March 2017. All but one are expected to remain above the 20-millisievert limit preventing evacuees from returning home after 10 years.

The study results and associated maps assume no remediation has been done, and the research was conducted as the Environment Ministry helps local governments plan massive cleanup efforts that involve the removal of soil, branches and other material from contaminated areas. The Asahi quoted the environment minister as saying the most contaminated areas will likely not be remediated in the project’s initial phases. The government has not yet crafted specific plans to deal with some areas that exceed 20 millisieverts per year, although a broader roadmap envisions remediation in areas between 20 millisieverts and 50 millisieverts completed in two years. Officials have decided to delay decontamination in areas exceeding 50 millisieverts. After five years, the survey indicated, those areas will encompass four municipalities.

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