Fishermen to Tepco: Scrap plan to release No. 1 plant water into Pacific


Fishermen in Fukushima Prefecture have voiced opposition to Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s plan to release groundwater from its crippled nuclear power plant into the Pacific.

Some expressed concern Friday about the harmful rumors that might be triggered by such a discharge of water from the Fukushima No. 1 plant, while others said they don’t trust the utility.

Previous releases of radioactive water led to widespread contamination of the surrounding sea and a halt in local fishing activities.

The fishermen’s views were expressed at a meeting between the Soma Futaba fisheries cooperative and representatives of the utility and the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, under the industry ministry.

Tepco promised to check the groundwater before its release to ensure it is not radioactive, but the fishermen remained distrustful.

“We need more explanations,” the head of the cooperative, Fusayuki Nanbu, told reporters after the meeting, complaining that Tepco failed to acknowledge his members’ fears.

It was Tepco’s second briefing of the fishermen about the plan. The Fukushima prefectural association of fisheries cooperatives will meet June 24 to establish a unified response.

Tepco hopes to discharge groundwater into the Pacific from under the Fukushima No. 1 plant before it flows into the basements of the buildings housing the reactors that suffered meltdowns in March 2011. The step is intended to limit the volume of water contaminated with radioactive materials in those buildings.

New hiccup at Monju

TSURUGA, Fukui Pref.

Part of the Monju fast-breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture stopped functioning last weekend due to human error, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency reported, after it was recently banned from restarting the unit until safety measures are improved.

A heater that keeps sodium molten as a secondary coolant for the prototype reactor in Tsuruga ceased working for 30 minutes from around 4:30 p.m. last Sunday during a inspection of a power supply system, the JAEA said late Friday. As a result, the sodium’s temperature fell to about 160 degrees from 200 degrees, the agency said.

The JAEA attributed the error to insufficient information in its service manual, and said it reported the incident Monday to the Nuclear Regulation Authority and the local governments concerned. However, the agency said it did not immediately disclose the matter to the public because it was deemed too minor under internal rules.

On May 30, the NRA issued an order based on the failure of the agency to properly inspect the Monju reactor that effectively prohibits its reactivation until the JAEA addresses its lax safety culture.