Japan is one of the countries with abundant active volcanoes and has a long history of developing countermeasures to mitigate volcanic disasters. In the field of nuclear energy, it is also necessary to assess safety against volcanic hazards, and in 2009, a voluntary guideline was published as JEAG 4625 in order to set up requirements of site assessments and basic designs of nuclear power plants (NPPs). This guideline has been revised to satisfy the requirements for examining the necessity of considering volcanic phenomena and concrete countermeasures in detailed designs of NPPs. This paper focuses on the background and technical basis of this voluntary guideline and shows the basic policy to ensure the safety of NPPs and the requirements to prevent nuclear hazards due to volcanic phenomena based on the Defense in Depth Concept.
Radionuclide contamination from the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has been found in sewage sludge ash produced in eastern Japan. When such contaminated waste contains less than 8,000 Bq/kg radiocesium, it is being disposed in controlled landfill sites. In order to assess the possible spread of the radionuclides by their leaching from the landfill sites, it is important to know the leaching behavior of the radionuclides from the sewage sludge ash and factors influencing the leaching behavior. In this study, leaching experiments using stable Cs and Sr were conducted for sewage sludge ash under several conditions to investigate effects of chemical composition of leachate, pH, and solid/liquid ratio on Cs and Sr leaching behaviors. In the pH range from 6 to 12, the leaching ratio of Cs or Sr was less than 5.2 or 0.21%, respectively. Additionally, the leaching ratio of Sr decreased with increasing pH of the leachate. In contrast, the higher the pH in the leachate was, the higher the leaching ratio of Cs was. Finally, possible radionuclide leaching from contaminated sewage sludge ash and then radionuclide concentrations in an actual landfill leachate were assessed. It could be suggested that 90Sr leaching from the landfill site had the least effect on the environment, whereas 134+137Cs leaching needed to be taken into account for spreading radioactive materials from the landfill site to the environment.
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident (Fukushima accident) has brought about a great change in many people's perceptions about nuclear power plant safety. When discussing future energy options for Japan, it is important to have a full grasp of the attitude of a large number of people towards nuclear energy. The Atomic Energy Society of Japan has conducted annual questionnaire survey of 500 adults who live within 30 kilometers of Tokyo Station. The aim of this survey is to assess trends in public attitude towards nuclear energy. The authors that designed the questionnaire entries of this survey have been managing questionnaire data as members of the Data Management Working Group under the Social and Environmental Division of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan. We confirmed the change in public attitude towards nuclear energy through this periodical survey after the Fukushima accident. In particular, public concerns about the use of nuclear energy increased after the Fukushima accident, and many people have raised doubts over the use of nuclear energy in the future.
The transfer behavior of cesium adsorbed on some clay minerals in aqueous solution was investigated by X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) analysis of the Cs K-edge. The sample was prepared by mixing Cs-adsorbed mineral with a different pure clay mineral in water. The XAFS results of the dried mixture powder were compared with those obtained before mixing. It was recognized from the XAFS analysis for three kinds of clay minerals illite, kaolinite and vermiculite, that cesium was transferred from kaolinite to illite and vermiculite, and from illite to vermiculite. It can be concluded that cesium is transferred to and accumulated in vermiculite.
A method of deducing the I-131 concentration in a radioactive plume from the time history of peak count rates determined from pulse height spectra obtained from an NaI(Tl) scintillation detector employed as a detector of a monitoring post was presented. The contribution to the count rates from I-131 accumulated around the monitoring post was subtracted in accordance with the time history, taking into consideration the cumulative attachment and its decay. The concentrations of I-131 in the plumes were estimated from the count rates using the calculated response of the NaI(Tl) detector with egs5 for a model of a plume uniformly containing I-131. This method was applied to the data from the monitoring posts at Nuclear Science Research Institutes of Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA). The estimated time history variation of I-131 concentrations in plumes was in fair agreement with those measured directly by an air sampling method. The difference was less than a factor of 4 for plumes that arrived on March 15 and March 21, indicating relatively high I-131 concentrations among the plumes studied in this work.