Tuesday, August 28, 2012

NISA's New Safety Standard May Allow Nuclear Reactors on Top of Active Faults to Continue Operation

(No, this is not an April Fool's Day's joke.)

Totally, absolutely in line with Prime Minister Noda's intention of seeking the "fourth way" for the future energy policy on reliance on nuclear power, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (which is still the one and only regulatory agency over the nuclear industry in Japan) is now considering installing a new safety standard:

You can continue to operate a nuclear reactor even if the reactor happens to sit on top of an active fault, as long as the expected size of dislocation is small enough.

This Kyodo News has the largest number of retweets I've seen on the websites of the Japanese mainstream media, currently with 9,015 retweets.

From Kyodo News (8/28/2012):


It was revealed on August 28 that the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry was considering the introduction of a new safety evaluation standard that would leave a possibility of continued operation of a nuclear reactor even when the reactor sits on top of a fault that could shift the ground, instead of uniformly banning the operation of such reactors.


So far, the NISA's opinion has been that "a nuclear reactor cannot be built on top of an active fault". Under the [proposed] new standard, it is expected that the continued operation will become possible for reactors that sit on top of certain faults which may be active faults, as long as the shifting of the ground is small enough and there is no effect on the reactor buildings.


There are many issues still to be resolved, as NISA admits that the method to precisely evaluate the size of the shifting is not yet perfect.

In the meantime, the prime minister who seeks the "fourth way" further elaborated on his stance. According to Jiji Tsushin (8/28/2012), Mr. Noda had a casual dinner in Tokyo with the DPJ's newbies (and apparently open to the press), where he told them and the press that he couldn't commit easily to "zero nuclear" because of national security concerns.


Anonymous said...

So should Japanese Citizens get home/house insurance to replace homes in a nuclear event. Health insurance as well? All the government has to do is declare insurance companys have to cover without raise in costs, and not denying coverage. And make companys pay for the workers health insurance unless they opt out (they are). Its working that way for Obamacare..in the USA(sarcasm).

Anonymous said...

It now seems normal for the nuclear regulators to put in a completely ridiculous rule in order to justify a ridiculous action.

Anonymous said...

Might as well just have the safety standard say "it's completely safe to build nuclear reactors in a manner doomed to inevitably cause irreversible damage to the environment and all living beings, as long as someone is ready to apologize when the shit hits the fan".

I feel safer already.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that "security concerns" refers to the link between nuclear power plants and the production of nuclear weapons.
It would be good if PM Noda coul be more explicit about the meaning of "security" in this context, so that citizens can gain a deeper understanding of all the issues related to nuclear plants.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

He didn't elaborate what "security concerns". In Japan, as with any country these days, anything can be a security concern. In case of Japan, energy supply has been one of them ever since the oil shocks in 1970s. They are stupid enough to keep buying oil and nat gas either at spot prices when the prices are high, or locked in the ultra-long-term contracts entered into at or near the market top. For that matter, uranium, too, paying way more than the current spot rate.

m a x l i said...

I thought it was about cheap energy and the threat of black-outs? Not anymore, Mr. Noda says. Now, it is about national security. Since when? What conditions have changed in the meantime? Would he be so kind as to elaborate, what the connection between cooking water to produce electricity and national security is? What, on earth, does the term "national security" mean? All I know is, that it will always be pulled out of the drawer, when the top-bad guys need an excuse to start a war or to torture people.

And a little science lessen for politicians and nuclear engineers: Accurate recordings of earthquakes only began in the early 1900s. That means, we have a very little collection of data from earthquakes in the PAST. That does NOT enable us to predict, where, when and how big earthquakes in the FUTURE will be. Especially, we can not assume a limit, under which the strength of all future earthquake in any place will remain. In other words: At any moment (even right now), at any place, there is a possibility of an earthquake happening, that is bigger than anything we ever measured or imagined.

Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly commissions investigating on the Fukushima nuclear disaster pointed out that NISA failed to enforce measures that could have prevented or reduced the consequences of Fukushima accident.
I believe that this new proposed regulation change confirms that nothing has changed in the nuclear village following Fukushima.
Citizens need to insist that nuclear power generation is abandoned immediately and existing plants dismantled for good.

Apolline said...

Hello Ultraman and his readers.

It seems nuclear japan policy is prepared since a long time, perhaps just after the nuclear accident. Little-by-little, a short information then another one, for the japanese people must accept what the government has decided in secret. So they are up against a wall.

Japan wants by any means stay the third economical country in the world...Money, always money.

But mother nature will decide and perhaps, unfortunately, money will be under ocean water or burnt in nuclear radiations. Bye Japan.

Too sad.

PS : In France, the new president Hollande doesn't show for now what he had promised about Fessenheim nuclear plant during electoral campaign. We are waiting.

Anonymous said...

I hope the prediction and precautions of ground movement in an earthquake will go better than those regarding the risk from tsunamis. I mean, seriously, these guys GOT to be kidding, right?

As for national security - whatever that may mean to Noda - it doesn't do a heck of a lot of good if the population is killed in an NPP accident and/or Japan becomes uninhabitable. On the other hand, of course, a contaminated Japan would certainly at least make it safe from invasion.

Anonymous said...

I believe Noda was being extraordinarily honest when he mentioned security (安全保障).
My interpretation of this word is in military terms, like in 集団安全保障, 地域安全保障; Noda should clarify what he means.

Anonymous said...

national security. absolutely absurd. makes me want to escape the "civilized" world on some south pacific island somewhere (if I could find one accepting immigrants, one that hasn't been nuked by the French)

in the next war, every one of these nuclear power plants will become a target for conventional weapons. the resulting environmental damage would be devastating.

even an army equipped with WWI era weapons could convert ONE of the many Mark I reactors into a nuclear bomb releasing more radiation into the environment than ALL of the nuclear tests conducted in the atomic era (combined!).

to support the continuation of these nuclear power plants on a national security basis is a grossly uninformed position.

national security considerations should dictate that all of these plants be closed immediately and their nuclear material secured in underground bunkers.

and while they're at it, they should lock up Noda in a bunker too. his thinking itself seems to be a threat to national security.

Anonymous said...

Well said Anon 1:33!

Anonymous said...

"Security concerns" ?

"I am the great and powerful Oz. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!".

Atomfritz said...

I am not sure if Noda would dare expressing it publicly this way:
"If USrael attacks Iran and a new Gulf war starts we'll fire up our nuclear plants fleet quickly and everybody will be happy."

@ Helios:
Even Merkel doesn't seem to dare to ask Hollande about Fessenheim.

@ anon 1:33
Japan actually doesn't need reactors for plutonium production, as there is already plenty of plutonium from La Hague and Sellafield at hand.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Wasn't the size of the seawall at Fukushima based on the expected size of tsunami? Didn't the experts prove they suck at risk evaluation and should never be trusted to pass judgment on matters of safety ever again?

Anonymous said...

The discourse in France is getting just as absurd as it is in Japan. Recently,French Interior Minister Arnaud Montebourg says support of the nuclear industry is “economic patriotism.” He adds, “What is at stake is French industry, hundreds of thousands of jobs in the nuclear industry." It's a matter of "energy sovereignty."

JAnonymous said...

Ah... Fessenheim... Remember Fessenheim (you guys go watch Dirty Harry NOW)

When I was a kid, I lived close to a NPP, we went on a field trip (minefield trip ?) there, got shown how great the atomic power is, and how smart the man had become to be able to rule it, and lots of other propaganda too.

At some point I also lived close to Fessenheim. It's a 2500ish people village that lives well above their means with the generous donations from EDF (nation-wide French Tepco). The amount of public facilities they have is somewhere between that of a 10'000 and a 30'000 people town. They are already desperate about Hollande's actions. I don't see where's the problem. EDF should decomission Fessenheim (plenty of work and money to make for the businesses around) while building some new plant (solar, wind, coal, uranium, whatever) in the same area.

As for Hollande's promise, what he did promise is to shut down the plant when it reaches the end of it's life span. Which was just recently put at 40 years, but expect France's NISA (ASN, if I remember correctly) to find it so safe that it could live forever. As it stands, the end of Fessenheim is scheduled for 2017 (omg omg, this is presidential elections year in France, how convenient).

Anonymous said...

It is well known, see Joe Trento or The Doomsday Machine, or the work of Yoichi Shimatsu, that nuke plants are a pretext for developing nuke weapons. So yes, Japan "needs" their nukes, forever! Nice of Mr. No-duh to admit that for us.

(one flaw in this article below, I forgot to mention how corrupt the labor unions are...)

The Nuclear Mafia Derails Democracy In Japan
By Richard Wilcox

Anonymous said...

NISA "computed" the effect of an earthquake related to the active faults under Shimane, Tomari, Shiga and Ikata npps.
They found that the impact is a little over the limit but the consequences for the most vital parts of the plants is negligible or null.
As if they could forecast ANYTHING about earthquakes.
As if emergency generators, pumps, piping, cables, electric panels and so on were not vital components of a plant when an earthquake strikes.
Source Jiji 28 August 21:26

Anonymous said...

hey guys!
i finally got a "radiation measuring device". it's the
gamma scout. didn't do much research, but happy i finally got one.
too bad it's pretty boring. been walking around my house and garden and can't make it move past 0.15 uSv/h anywhere. actually all i have seen on the display so far is between 0.17max and 0.06min, mostly 0.10 uSv/h.
i guess, now, i can really believe ... poor japan.

Anonymous said...

How much plutonium is "enough"? Why would you "recycle" just to end up with even more?

Anonymous said...

Japan has N bombs, or can set them up in a few hours, and the rockets to launch them (they are not only made tou place satelites in orbit !).
It is secret, but no so secret and not to every one: a bit like cold war times, in a way.
Japan worked on a nuclear device program during WW 2, but lacked uranium, fortunately.
The US did not only cover Japan with their "Umbrella"
(hikasa in this case) they transfered and allowed nuclear technology very early.
Strange thing : a nuclear research poll in Fukushima prefecture during WW 2.

Anonymous said...

"You can continue to operate a nuclear reactor even if the reactor happens to sit on top of an active fault, as long as the expected size of dislocation is small enough."
Remember Edano's song ? it ended like this :

- "just a little bit..."

Anonymous said...

But there are so many ways to study, demonstrate, and spend money to show there is no significant danger from having a nuclear plant sitting near a fault line.
Fukushima is still leaking, spewing, and dumping into the environment every single day.
So obvious, even a five year old wearing a dosimeter could understand.

Maybe Japan could use the gear when PG&E are done checking the faults at Diablo Canyon.


Hidden bonus...33 days blasting 250 db should kill off some of that undesirable contaminated sealife before it goes to market.

Anonymous said...


in french, sorry, but not difficult to translate / understand

Anonymous said...

Why wory ? Japan is on a self-destruction path.
It has been helped tremendously by the US, like Germany, so that it would not go crazy again. But unlike Germany, it never did its own job to clear away the past, to get rid of its crazy political structure. And this, the US ruling powers fainted to ignore, like they did in Italy, relying on Mafia powers.
No copy-cat revolution or democracy ahead.
No sunshine ahead.

Anonymous said...

Here is the original in English



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