Japan studying disposal of highly radioactive waste under seabed

JIJI

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has started work on identifying the technical challenges of constructing a disposal facility under the seabed for highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel.

A study group set up by the ministry is to finish the work by around summer.

The government would be able to skip potentially tough negotiations with landowners if it decides to build a disposal facility under the seabed.

But construction of such a facility would involve many hurdles.

At a meeting of the study group Tuesday, a ministry official stressed that nothing has been decided.

Such a facility would have to be connected to an onshore facility through a tunnel so as not to violate an international law that restricts dumping nuclear waste at sea.

Candidate sites are expected to be 10 to 15 km off the coast, an official from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan said at the meeting.

The ministry also plans to take into account nearby volcanos and active faults when it assesses candidate sites.

  • brwstacsj

    Really hasn’t the Japanese nuclear power gang done enough harm to the ocean? There’s still a ton of radioactive water pouring out daily from Fukushima into the Pacific. Nuclear power is not safe and nobody wants the by products. How many accidents will it take until humanity stops using it?

  • Ita Zura

    Nuclear technology is dangerous and not necessarily. Japanese government must understand this and stop this madness.

  • Roy Warner

    This idea comes from the people who allowed the Fukushima plants to be constructed upon a hill intentionally shaved down to the level of a tsunami flood plain. Highly radioactive waste under the seabed 15 km off the coast? Would anyone care for more sashimi?

  • http://www.dcampeau.com Darren Campeau

    Please, no more radioactivity material threatening the sea life. Living in Japan, it’s important to pay attention to where one’s seafood is originating. I personally avoid anything from Miyagi, Fukushima and Chiba. But in restaurants there are no labels made available.

  • http://www.dcampeau.com Darren Campeau

    Please, no more radioactivity material threatening the sea life. Living in Japan, it’s important to pay attention to where one’s seafood is originating. I personally avoid anything from Miyagi, Fukushima and Chiba. But in restaurants there are no labels made available.

  • vm0303
  • GWFHIB

    Out of sight, out of mind. Tectonic plates? Have there been any earthquakes on the seabed? Does Japan get to decide this all on their own?

  • Sam Gilman

    No, I’m being perfectly serious.

    My turn to ask you a question. Who owns and funds ENEnews?

  • mothman777

    They are clinically insane. No one should put nuclear waste in any oceans. Hasn’t the massive die off of sea life from Fukushima taught them anything?

    If they make radioactive waste, then they should store it on land in glass inside lead inside reinforced concrete, maybe in a hollowed-out granite mountain, until such time as technology is invented to dispose of it safely.

    If they put it in the ocean, they will never be able to access it to do this, and then the containers holding the dumped material in the oceans will be eroded and will eventually pollute and kill the ocean life. We are going to see this also from nerve and poison gas dumped after WWI and WWII in the oceans, which will cause catastrophic loss of life when the containers all get eroded away and release the chemical weapons.

    All species of marine life in the North Sea and Barents Sea for instance will be killed if just 17% of the containers of poison gas eventually get damaged by erosion, and then there is the Gulf Stream ocean current to carry that totally lethal poison round the world, so much for ocean dumping. None of these idiots should use the oceans as toilets, those fools are not fit to occupy positions of power where they can make such idiotic decisions.

  • mothman777

    They are clinically insane. No one should put nuclear waste in any oceans. Hasn’t the massive die off of sea life from Fukushima taught them anything?

    If they make radioactive waste, then they should store it on land in glass inside lead inside reinforced concrete, maybe in a hollowed-out granite mountain, until such time as technology is invented to dispose of it safely.

    If they put it in the ocean, they will never be able to access it to do this, and then the containers holding the dumped material in the oceans will be eroded and will eventually pollute and kill the ocean life. We are going to see this also from nerve and poison gas dumped after WWI and WWII in the oceans, which will cause catastrophic loss of life when the containers all get eroded away and release the chemical weapons.

    All species of marine life in the North Sea and Barents Sea for instance will be killed if just 17% of the containers of poison gas eventually get damaged by erosion, and then there is the Gulf Stream ocean current to carry that totally lethal poison round the world, so much for ocean dumping. None of these idiots should use the oceans as toilets, those fools are not fit to occupy positions of power where they can make such idiotic decisions.

  • Alan Robinson

    Dear Tim et al, I think you are not considering the risk/reward ratio. Nuclear plants are designed for a certain lifetime, these have been extended greatly in order to foster profit, however the neutron bombardment of the containment vessel creates brittleness and safety concerns. One accident and you have a major disaster, not to mention they are terrorist targets. Do you know how close Japan came to actually having to EVACUATE TOKYO? They are not clean at all, the complete fuel cycle is extremely dirty, the mining, milling, extraction and transportation (risks), electrical power required for all this, and then refueling (which invariably leaks tritium), not to mention the perpetual issue of waste storage. Japanese attempt at a breeder reactor (Monju) FAIL – extremely expensive.
    BTW, recent samples of vacuum cleaner dust from Tokyo has shown radiation levels over 30,000 Bq/Kg. Have some with your fish?

  • Alan Robinson

    Dear Tim et al, I think you are not considering the risk/reward ratio. Nuclear plants are designed for a certain lifetime, these have been extended greatly in order to foster profit, however the neutron bombardment of the containment vessel creates brittleness and safety concerns. One accident and you have a major disaster, not to mention they are terrorist targets. Do you know how close Japan came to actually having to EVACUATE TOKYO? They are not clean at all, the complete fuel cycle is extremely dirty, the mining, milling, extraction and transportation (risks), electrical power required for all this, and then refueling (which invariably leaks tritium), not to mention the perpetual issue of waste storage. Japanese attempt at a breeder reactor (Monju) FAIL – extremely expensive.
    BTW, recent samples of vacuum cleaner dust from Tokyo has shown radiation levels over 30,000 Bq/Kg. Have some with your fish?

  • Sam Gilman

    I can give you the current prime minister, someone who has actually won elections standing as candidate for prime minister, who by all measures far more clearly has had the support of people than Kan, saying it’s under control. That’s not an endorsement of Abe at all, it’s just plain fact about his record compared to Kan’s.

    Would that stronger “argument” change your mind? Of course not. Why not? Because it’s not a genuine argument. If Kan said Fukushima was under control, you would completely dismiss what he said and accuse him of being part of the great nuclear-funded conspiracy you have recently outlined.

    (And what kind of person takes their science from politicians?)

    I realised that perhaps you’re not familiar with the anti-vaccine movement, so I’ll bring a comparison you may be more familiar with. Japanese nationalists dismiss any criticism of Japan’s history as the work of some great Korean conspiracy. What’s the difference between that logic and your logic that any scientist who produces evidence you don’t like must be part of the great nuclear conspiracy? I’d love to hear your explanation because I genuinely don’t see a difference in the logic. To me they’re both extreme cases of motivated cognition.

  • Jag_Levak

    “The oceans are estimated to contain 1,000 times as much uranium as is buried in deposits on land”

    I don’t think so. That would mean terrestrial deposits only have around 4.5 million tonnes of uranium, but just the already identified economically recoverable uranium reserves (at current prices) are around 5.9 million tonnes. I’ve seen estimates of continental uranium in excess of 10 trillion tons (100 trillion tons for crustal uranium to 25 km depth) so it is more likely there is more than 1000 times as much uranium on land as in the oceans.

  • GWFHIB

    Nice fact but what is your point? Will Japan disperse it to the same levels as it is found in the ocean?

  • GWFHIB

    Is the radiation found naturally in the ocean enriched as it is from Fukushima? I rather doubt it.

  • GWFHIB

    Is the radiation found naturally in the ocean enriched as it is from Fukushima? I rather doubt it.

  • At Times Mistaken

    Did no one see the movie Godzilla?
    I’m pretty sure this is how it starts.

  • John Higson

    Some of the posters here are seriously deluded. The monetary and energy of extracting Uranium from seawater makes it absolutely pointless! It would take more energy to extract it than you would get from the Uranium in a nuclear reactor! If it was such a good idea don’t you think somebody would have extracted all the Gold, Platinum and Silver by now? After all there must be hundreds of millions of tons in the sea!

    Also, Seabed disposal of toxic radioactive wastes is a reasonable idea if the disposal site were to be subducted into the mantle. Of course it would need to be unbelievably secure and preclude any crustal accretion of the toxic waste! I don’t know if this is feasible, but it should be studied. The waste exists, it has to go somewhere!

  • John Higson

    Also, seawater extraction is never going to happen for uranium the EROEI is just not worth it! Never will be and is a pipedream. Almost like the boosters who claim that if the price of oil gets too high you can just make it from CO2 and H2O! It is a net energy sink! Pointless but possible!

    ‘since in reality seawater-derived uranium costs much less than even the cheapest fossil fuel.’

    Simply don’t believe it. There is no way that seawater extracted U is cheaper than the cheapest fossil fuel. NOT A CHANCE IN HELL!

    FULL CYCLE from producing the infrastructure to extract the U to building the powerplants to putting the U in a state to be fissioned to decommissioning the power plant at the end of it’s life to dealing with the wastes after it’s been exhausted. No flocking way there is net energy from seawater extracted Uranium. NO WAY!

  • John Higson

    Also, seawater extraction is never going to happen for uranium the EROEI is just not worth it! Never will be and is a pipedream. Almost like the boosters who claim that if the price of oil gets too high you can just make it from CO2 and H2O! It is a net energy sink! Pointless but possible!

    ‘since in reality seawater-derived uranium costs much less than even the cheapest fossil fuel.’

    Simply don’t believe it. There is no way that seawater extracted U is cheaper than the cheapest fossil fuel. NOT A CHANCE IN HELL!

    FULL CYCLE from producing the infrastructure to extract the U to building the powerplants to putting the U in a state to be fissioned to decommissioning the power plant at the end of it’s life to dealing with the wastes after it’s been exhausted. No flocking way there is net energy from seawater extracted Uranium. NO WAY!

  • Joffan

    Proof by exclamation points is even lazier than proof by scary adjectives.