TEPCO asks for another $5.9 billion dollars in government cash. They claim it is needed for the ongoing compensation payments to people and businesses evacuated from the region. Full compensation payouts have yet to begin and the various lawsuits against TEPCO are in the early stages indicating the financial issues may get worse.
Fukushima Fishermen find themselves still unable to return to work. Some catch fish in the area for radiation monitoring but they wonder how long this can go on. Most worry that TEPCO’s plan to dump more contaminated water into the sea will be a further hit to their ability to return to work.
Japan has been experiencing something of a clandestine solar boom. Domestic solar panel shipments are at a 30 year high. In the first quarter of 2013 Japan installed 1.5GW of solar power. That is one and a half newer nuclear reactors worth of solar power in a few months. At this pace Japan could replace all 54 nuclear reactors with solar power in 9 years. Even Goldman Sachs is getting in on the solar boom in Japan. One of Japan’s more progressive companies, Softbank has been heavily investing in solar power in Japan by building numerous solar plants. Meanwhile PM Abe is doubling efforts to restart nuclear reactors in Japan, giving in to pressure from certain industry groups that benefit from the old situation. Abe cites the need to “gain understanding” of the public to restart reactors.
The NRA will begin their investigation into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. The inspection of the unit 1 isolation condenser system will be conducted soon as they plan to announce their findings of this in June.
Scientists found that the deep sea area near the epicenter of the 3-11 quake was drastically disturbed. Sediment was still swirling 4 months after the quake and sea life normally found at that depth was depopulated.
KEPCO announced they will put off releasing a final study on an earthquake fault under the Mihama nuclear plant. The study is a requirement towards permission to restart from the NRA. They claim they can not access all the necessary data. Concerns were already high that the Mihama plant sat over an active fault and would not be given restart permission.
Evacuees from Namie have filed a suit asking for more temporary compensation. Most have been receiving about $1000 USD per month but say it isn’t enough to cover the additional expenses incurred by having to live in upheaval. Many families live in two locations due to jobs or a need to keep children in a safer environment adding to their monthly costs.
70% of the children under 4 years of age in Fukushima did not receive any sort of whole body radiation screening. Officials stated this was due to the inability to scan someone so small. Some scanning centers resorted to tweaking scanners and having children stand on chairs. Others had a parent and child scan together then rescan the parent to obtain the difference value to assign to the child.
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