published by WISE/NIRS Nuclear Monitor on January 31, 2003
(582.5487) CNIC - The inspections are being carried out to ensure the safety and integrity of nuclear structural components in response to the recent revelation of the falsification of leak rate inspection of the reactor containment found in the Fukushima I-1 reactor (1). Table 1 summarizes the current status of TEPCO's status of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) as of 28 January 2003. At this point, there are 11 TEPCO reactors whose operation is suspended. It is possible that by 15 April, all 17 plants will be temporarily shut down for maintenance services.
The Committee for the assessment of safety and integrity of nuclear structural components was set up in the government to examine 11 nuclear reactors in which cracks have been found in the core shroud (a steel cylinder surrounding the core of the reactor). These are: Fukushima I-4, Fukushima II 2, 3, and 4, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa 1, 2, and 3 (TEPCO), Onagawa 1 (Tohoku Electric Power Company Inc.), Hamaoka 1, 2, and 3 (Chubu Electric Power Company Inc.) (2). These NPPs, none of them in operation now, expect to be given permission by the Committee to resume operation.
|Table 1. Status of Nuclear Power Plants Operated by TEPCO as of 28 January 2003)|
|Plant Name (MW)||In Operation||Status||Condition|
|FI-1 (460)||No||I+IP||Halted from 26 Oct 2002. NISA ordered one year suspension from 29 November 2002.|
|FI-2 (784)||Yes||Op||IP from 31/03/03|
|FI-3 (784)||No||PI||Halted from 18/07/02|
|FI-4 (784)||No||I+PI||Halted from 16/09/02|
|FI-5 (784)||Yes||Op||IP from 11/02/03|
|FI-6 (1100)||Yes||Op||IP from 15/04/03|
|FII-1 (1100)||No||PI||Halted from 07/01/03|
|FII-2 (1100)||No||I||Halted from 03/09/02|
|FII-3 (1100)||No||I+PI||Halted from 16/09/02|
|FII-4 (1100)||No||PI||Halted from 13/10/02|
|KK-1 (1100)||No||PI||Halted from 03/09/02|
|KK-2 (1100)||No||PI||Halted from 20/09/02|
|KK-3 (1100)||No||PI||Halted from 10/08/02|
|KK-4 (1100)||No||PI||Halted from 07/01/03|
|KK-5 (1100)||Yes||Op||IP from 01/03/03|
|KK-6 (1350)||Yes||Op||IP from 27/01/03|
|KK-7 (1350)||Yes||Op||I from 29/03/03|
|F: Fukushima NPP
KK: Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP
PI = Periodic inspection
I= Inspection related to the scandal
Op= In Operation
At a meeting on 21 January, the Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) gave its assurance of the safety of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa 3 and Hamaoka 4. In fact, the meeting was open for the public and observers who attended said that the meeting never reached the agreement to resume operation of those two nuclear reactors; the Chair of the Committee announced at the press conference later that there was an agreement in the committee.
The consensus does not necessarily mean the immediate restart of the suspended nuclear power plants. While the "consensus" was arbitrary created among the Committee members, the consent from citizens residing near the power plants has yet to be established. The Governor of Niigata Prefecture as well as local citizens have viewed the scandal as distrustful act and declared that they would make their own judgments. TEPCO plans to set up a "Regional Information Committee," and invite those who are critical of nuclear energy to make an agreement with them. On this basis, there is little prospect of resuming operation of TEPCO's power plants.
On the other hand, Chubu would rather restart operation of Hamaoka if it retains the consent from a Prefectural governor and/or mayor of the town concerned, than attempt to set up a framework to reach a mutual agreement between the government, electric companies, and local citizens.
Although nuclear energy accounts for almost 40% of the TEPCO's share of electricity generation, it can be substituted by other sources (coal, petroleum, and natural gas) during the winter if all the NPPs were simultaneously shut down. However, the supply of electricity would be short during the summer (from July to September) as the demand for air conditioning increases. With such concern in mind, the TEPCO published advertisements in several newspapers for two consecutive days to call for more energy conservation. It is true that the increased demand for air conditioning comes from the residential sector, however, the use of electricity from the commercial and industrial sectors significantly contributes to the amount of electricity required during the summer.
Citizens around the nation have collected 3,180 signatures for a legal action prosecuting the heads of TEPCO for obstruction and fraud among other charges, which was filed in the Tokyo, Niigata, and Fukushima District Public Prosecutors Offices on 12 December 2002. On 24 January, the Niigata District Public Prosecutors Office also accepted the bill of indictment. After this, the Public Prosecutors Offices will start legal investigations of the TEPCO scandal.
Source and contact: Hideyuki Ban
Co-director, Citizens' Nuclear Information Center, 3F Kotobuki Bldg., 1-58-15 Higashi-nakano, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 164-0003 Japan
Tel: +81 3 5330 9520
Fax: +81 3 5330 9530
COURT HALTS MONJU RE-START
Japanese anti-nuclear campaigners received a welcome boost after a court decided on 27 January 2003 to revoke approval to operate the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor. The Monju decision is the first time that plaintiffs have ever won a nuclear related court case in Japan.
Monju has been shut down since an accident in December 1995, in which 700 kilograms of liquid sodium escaped from the secondary cooling system. The liquid sodium, which is highly chemically reactive, caught fire, causing considerable damage (see WISE News Communique 560.5353, "Japan: Protest against planned reopening of Monju" and 445.4402, "The Monju accident fall-out").
The recent ruling by the Kanazawa branch of the Nagoya high court stands in contrast to an earlier ruling in 2000 by the Fukui district court, which rejected local residents' demands for the closure of Monju (see WISE News Communique 527.5154, "Japan: Court rules against closing of Monju").
The government has said that it will appeal against the ruling that Monju must close, and some ministers want to pursue the appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.
WISE Japan; www.asahi.com, 29 January 2003
A staggering 206 kilograms of plutonium - enough to make 30 or 40 atomic bombs - is unaccounted for after 25 years of operations at the Tokai-mura reprocessing plant. Japan and the Inetrnational Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been aware of this problem for years, yet have apparently been unable to resolve it. Dr. Edwin Lyman, President of the Nuclear Control Institute (NCI), commented, "Until the discrepancy is resolved, one cannot rule out the possibility that the plutonium was diverted for weapons use by states or terrorists". He called for Japan to cancel plans to operate a much larger reprocessing plant at Rokkasho-mura which is due to open in 2005.
NCI press release, 28 January 2003