In-Focus: Fukushima – Fukushima nuclear disaster causes 50% drop in value in one of world’s largest uranium producers – Only 1.1% of houses decontaminated as contaminated soil remains untouched

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Fukushima nuclear disaster causes 50% drop in value in one of world’s largest uranium producers

Cameco Corporation ( CCJ ) is one of the world’s largest uranium producers, operating several mines across North America and one in Kazakhstan. It is also the world’s largest publicly traded uranium company.

Cameco has had a tough time of it following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, shedding over 50% of its value from its high earlier that year.

Source: NASDAQ

Only 1.1% of houses have been decontaminated

In a survey of 41 municipalities, NHK found that surface soil containing radioactive substances from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been removed from about 4,600 houses and offices, or only 1.1 percent of those that need to be decontaminated.

Source: NHK

Contaminated soil remains untouched in Fukushima

Hundreds of thousands of bags containing radiation-contaminated soil remain undisposed of in Fukushima Prefecture due to a lack of temporary storage sites.  At about one-third of such sites, mainly in urban areas, the removed soil has been left on the premises.

Source: NHK

Abandoned Fukushima pets suffering from a canine form of post-traumatic stress disorder says veterinary scientist

In a paper published Thursday in Scientific Reports, lead author and veterinary scientist Miho Nagasawa wrote that stray and abandoned animals recovered near the Fukushima Dai-ichi power station had stress hormone levels far higher than other Japanese dogs. Nagasawa, studies animal cognition and endocrine response, said the analysis involved an admittedly small number of dogs: 17.

They nonetheless showed these dogs had greater difficulty learning and developing an attachment to people.  “The dogs from Fukushima showed significantly lower aggression toward unfamiliar people, trainability and attachment to their caretakers,” Nagasawa and colleagues wrote.

“Urine cortisol levels in the dogs from Fukushima were 5-10 fold higher than those in abandoned dogs from another area of Japan.”  Study authors also noted that cortisol levels in the Fukushima dogs remained much higher than those of the Kanagawa dogs even after 10 weeks of care.

Source: The LA Times

Prime Minister praises Fukushima workers for mitigating Reactor 4 threat

TEPCO employees have been working to begin removing the 1,533 fuel assemblies by the end of next year, and plan to transfer all of them to another spent-fuel pool designed for long-term storage by the end of 2015.

Radiation levels peaked at 400 uSv/hr  on the roof of Unit 4 during the Prime Minister’s inspection of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Source: The Japan Times

Officials and Experts considering options for reinforcing Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 Reactor Building

Workers are currently laying the foundations for a specially equipped crane that will delicately extract each fuel assembly from the pool.

The work is complicated as the blast in the reactor 4 building extensively damaged the fourth floor as well, and despite the reinforcement work, the overall structure is not as strong as before, Hajimu Yamana, a Kyoto University professor who sits on the committee overseeing the power station’s long-term management said.

“So we need to speed up work as far as unit 4 is concerned,” Yamana added.

Decay heat from the pool of reactor 4 has dropped to 0.7 megawatt, down from 2.26 megawatts in March last year, and is forecast to fall to 0.51 megawatt in 2013 and to 0.43 the year after. Decay heat from the reactor cores, meanwhile, has fallen to 1 megawatt from 2.35 megawatts over the past year, according to TEPCO data.

Source: The Japan Times

At height of Fukushima disaster, all options for reinforcing Reactor 4 were considered

Lower House lawmaker Sumio Mabuchi, who served as special adviser to then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan at the very height of the nuclear crisis from March to June 2011 — and also headed a project to reinforce the reactor 4 building, pointed out that his team had originally considered a more drastic measure to reinforce the building: plugging every available space on the lower floors with concrete.

“The reinforcement steps (adopted) were a first-aid measure, and I kept saying we should buttress the building with permanent measures” instead, said Mabuchi, a member of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan.

The Japanese government eventually gave up on the proposal because it would have taken about a year to complete the work and aftershocks as high as magnitude 7 were repeatedly rocking the No. 1 plant at the time.

“We believed (flooding the reactor 4 building) with concrete was necessary as a permanent measure, and held discussions about the subject,” Mabuchi said. “But right now, I don’t have any knowledge of current conditions.”

Source: The Japan Times

How long will ad-hoc equipment at Fukushima last in decades-long work?

Five of the six thermometers fixed to the bottom of the reactor 2 pressure vessel — critical devices as they enable Tepco to glean more information about the condition of the reactor core — have suffered technical glitches since December for as yet undetermined reasons, raising questions as to the durability of various equipment necessary to support the decades-long decommissioning process.

Source: The Japan Times

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