Monday, October 21, 2013

Japan's Minister of Economy Motegi Says "Contaminated Water from #Fukushima I NPP Isn't Leaking into Open Ocean"

The ex-McKinsey management consultant never ceases to entertain (albeit in a bad way).

The last I heard Mr. Toshimitsu Motegi was when he said there would be more space to install storage tanks for contaminated water once Reactors 5 and 6 at Fukushima I NPP were decommissioned, casting doubt about his intelligence level. He was also pontificating over the talk between TEPCO and the governor of Niigata regarding Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP's application for safety review, as if it were none of his problem (it was, and is, and will be).

Now, according to the short and sweet two-line article from Jiji Tsushin (10/22/2013), Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi, who is also in charge, unfortunately, of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident management and plant decommissioning, thinks the contaminated water from the plant is not leaking into the open ocean:


In the Lower House Budget Committee meeting in the morning of October 22, Toshimitsu Motegi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, said about the contaminated water from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, "It's not that it is leaking into the open ocean." It was in response to the question by Yorihisa Matsuno of Japan Restoration Party.

Implication is that therefore it's sort of OK, as no international entities are injured by the contaminated water from Fukushima I Nuke Plant.

Now, what's the definition of the word "外洋" Motegi used?

It literally means "outer ocean". But consulting an online dictionary for the usage of the word, "外洋" could mean in Japanese:

  1. ocean: a large body of water constituting a principal part of the hydrosphere

  2. international (open) waters: the open seas of the world outside the territorial waters of any nation

"Territorial waters" could mean any of the following:
  1. Territorial waters: 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometers) from the baseline;

  2. Contiguous waters: 12 nautical miles outside the territorial waters;

  3. Exclusive Economic Zone: 200 nautical miles (370.4 kilometers) from the baseline.

"International waters" could mean just outside the territorial waters, or contiguous waters, or exclusive economic zone. I am pretty sure Mr. Motegi wants the international water to start as far away from the Fukushima coastline as possible.

Just like the French minister who famously declared the radioactive plume from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident stopped at the French border, Mr. Motegi perhaps thinks radioactive materials know territorial boundaries and behave accordingly.


JAnonymous said...

A little history of french national agencies and their relationship with the funny weather report. [french weather news on channel 2, known as Antenne2 at that time, now France2. Date is April 30th 1986, 4 days after accident. The "stop" sign first appeared in the news on April 29th.] [IRSN simulation]


IRSN is the french national agency for radiation protection and nuclear safety, basically a mouthpiece for french government, affiliated to various ministries.

It's history is quite funny, it is the product of merging IPSN and OPRI, two other agencies that were dealing with radiation and nuclear safety. IPSN was mainly tasked with nuclear site safety and nuclear research, while OPRI was responsible for radiation protection (aimed at local population) and radiation monitoring. One of their monitoring posts is located on the roof of the French embassy in Tokyo (in Minato-ku, close to Hiro'o station)

OPRI itself replaced SCPRI, the central service for radioation protection (which is funny, because everyone knows that central services do such a good job with heavily localized problems, ask anyone living in Fukushima pref.).

The SCPRI agency was the national agency in charge of radiation protection on April 26th 1986. The various merges are actually the aftermath of the catastrophe (SCPRI->OPRI in 1994, then OPRI+IPSN -> IRSN in 2002).

This agency is famously attributed the "stop" sign you can't miss on the first video. Of course, no written statement of the agency says such a thing, and Pierre Pellerin, who was the head of the agency at that time (and died on March 3rd 2013 at 90) won quite a few defamation lawsuits on that matter.

What he did say though, about the Tchernobyl catastrophe on April 29th and that is in my opinion much more of a serious blunder is [in french] : "cela ne menace personne actuellement, sauf peut-être dans le voisinage immédiat de l'usine, et encore" which means "it's a threat to nobody at the moment, except maybe in the immediate vicinity of the plant, if that". On April 30th the monitoring network of SCPRI started picking up elevated radiation in France, and in the evening, Pellerin wrote a note on that matter, concluding that the levels were below the safety threshold and were not harmful. He never changed his opinion about that, despite growing evidence of mysteriously linked thyroid malfunctions and cancer cases.

Recently in the news, there was the story of a Corsican representative who ordered a study from an Italian university, to evaluate the correlation between the Tchernobyl disaster and recurring endocrinal problems on the island. IRSN, sticking to the Pellerin legacy, dissed the report on the ground of flawed methodology, without addressing the actual question of the correlation.

Anonymous said...

Chernobyl plume HALTED at the French border, denied entry

France hid info on effects of Chernobyl cloud

.. and Wade Allison's grandchildren granted biological protection against radiation by the fattening of his wallet by the industry. Known as "providing".
If only those Chernobyl mothers had warded themselves by smile.

Anonymous said...

Don't you all see? Wade Allison's grandchildren WILL be protected against ever increasing atmospheric radiation. All they have to do is barricade themselves with the vast amounts of still unsold copies of their grandfather's leaden nuclear prose mouldering in their basements -- simple as that.

Anonymous said...

Motegi doesn't have a degree from oxford, does he??

Anonymous said...

Is Motegi saying that leaking strontium in the ocean (内洋?) is ok as long as only the fish eaten in Japan gets contaminated?


Anonymous said...

@Anon 6:25 AM. The plume almost halted at the border. Entry simply denied by the prevailing winds. Have a look at the pictures:

Some local places, especially parts of Corsica, did get high doses, though.

Anonymous said...

Motegi is a Tokyo University and Harvard grad.

JAnonymous said...

@Anon 2:27 PM

Hmmm, yes, indeed. Or you can look at the animation I posted on my other comment. According to the date you choose, aerosol contamination looks different, what matters is ground deposit.

Also, IRSN is a french government mouthpiece, take what they say with a crate of salt. How come France was spared, yet it is still forbidden to eat boar game in north eastern part of France ? As of 2010, there were still occurences of boar meat exceeding safety limits in Germany and France (by the way, those safety limits were 600 Bq/kg in Germany).

Now look at the document published by IRSN that you linked, on page 3. Contamination increased from 2003 to 2005, because they updated their model (notice new hotspots in NE France [in Japanese, NorthEastern is Tohoku] and in Corsica with > 40 000 Bq/m2 places !)

SCPRI (look above for definition) did the same in 1986. They published a contamination map of Cs-137 fallout in May, then revised it in July, with some values 200 times higher. Nobody cared.

I find a good way to read IRSN contents is to contrast with its extreme opposite, namely the criirad (a french npo that has a tendency to go overboard at times)

If you can read french, check out

Vyse Legendaire said...

Don't worry, Fukushima stays with us here in Japan. A technocrat with a heart of gold :)

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