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Greenpeace Report, “Lessons from Fukushima”, February 2012

via Nuclear Free Planet

Executive Summary

It has been almost 12 months since the Fukushima nuclear disaster began. Although the Great East Japan earthquake and the following tsunami triggered it, the key causes of the nuclear accident lie in the institutional failures of political influence and industry-led regulation. It was a failure of human institutions to acknowledge real reactor risks, a failure to establish and enforce appropriate nuclear safety standards and a failure to ultimately protect the public and the environment.

This report, commissioned by Greenpeace International, addresses what lessons can be taken away from this catastrophe. The one-year memorial of the Fukushima accident offers a unique opportunity to ask ourselves what the tragedy – which is far from being over for hundreds of thousands of Japanese people – has taught us. And it also raises the question, are we prepared to learn?

Read full report

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/publications/nuclear/2012/Fukushima/Lessons-from-Fukushima.pdf

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Climate change will shake the Earth

A changing climate isn’t just about floods, droughts and heatwaves. It brings erupting volcanoes and catastrophic earthquakes too

[snip]

As last year’s events in Japan most ably demonstrated, when the ground shakes violently beneath the sea, a tsunami may not be far behind. These unstoppable walls of water are hardly a surprise when they happen within the so-called ring of fire that encompasses the Pacific basin but in the more tectonically benign North Atlantic their manifestation could reasonably be regarded as a bit of a shock. Nonetheless, there is plenty of good, hard evidence that this was the case during post-glacial times. Trapped within the thick layers of peat that pass for soil on Shetland – the UK’s northernmost outpost – are intrusions of sand that testify to the inland penetration of three tsunamis during the last 10,000 years.

Read the entire article at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/26/why-climate-change-shake-earth

 

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Apparently, the above assessment of the condition of Mother Earth is not yet good enough for some. The U.S. will be cutting the budget for NOAA’s tsunami warning system. FOLKS on the WEST COAST of the Good Ol’ US of A, guess you all better get out your binoculars. Maybe you can see the tsunami far out to sea as it rapidly approaches your shores because the gov’t sure isn’t going to look out for you.

White House Budget Cut Will Affect NOAA’s Tsunami Warning System

After seeing the devastation by the tsunami that hit the Pacific coast of eastern Japan on March 11, 2011, you would think that the US government would strengthen the tsunami warning systems to make sure the residents living in the coastal areas of the US (particularly on the Pacific Ocean) have good information.

But, … no.

The Obama White House wants NOAA to cut the budget for the ocean buoys on the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans to save $4.6 million.

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/02/white-house-budget-cut-will-affect.html

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CNN: 78,000 still evacuated as a result of Daiichi….

CNN on Fukushima’s constant threat: Plant Chief reveals biggest risk is if something goes wrong with reactors — No more stable now than in April says defender of nuclear power (VIDEO)

Title: Fukushima’s ‘cold’ reactors pose a constant threat

Source: CNN
Date: Feb 29, 2012

[...] During a tour of the nuclear plant, manager Takeshi Takahashi told CNN’s Kyung Lah that the biggest risk is if something goes wrong with the reactors. The nuclear fuel needs constant cooling. Huge tanks around the site hold water contaminated with radiation and finding more space to store the water is a constant challenge.

“The reactors are no more or no less stable than they were in April of last year,” [Michael Friedlander, a former senior operator at U.S. nuclear power plants] said. “They fundamentally continue to be reliant on a feed and bleed cooling mechanism and anything can happen. Another earthquake could happen; another tsunami could happen.” [...]

“Michael Friedlander [...] a defender of nuclear power who is now a money manager in Hong Kong.” -New York Times

Watch the video here

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Get the DVD of SURVIVING JAPAN: After the Tsunami

http://www.indiegogo.com/Surviving-Japan-After-the-Tsunami

The Film

Inside story of 2011 Japanese Tsunami and Fukushima disaster.
A critical look at how the authorities handled the nuclear crisis and Tsunami relief by an American who volunteered in the clean-up.
Surviving Japan is a documentary by volunteer and director Chris Noland. It is in short, a documentary of the devastating events in Japan and the after-math that followed.

The documentary shows the humanitarian and aid crisis that faced the people in the wake of both natural and nuclear disaster. It features true stories from those affected by the disaster, the government and even TEPCO. It highlights the struggle in dealing with: The Tsunami clean-up, Government response to the disaster, radiation plus the future of nuclear power after the accident.

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AP: Crucial equipment shockingly feeble-looking — Mended with tape — Reactor No. 3 like ashtray filled with cigarette butts

http://enenews.com/ap-crucial-equipment-shockingly-feeble-looking-mended-with-tape-reactor-no-3-like-ashtray-filled-with-cigarette-butts

Title: Tour of ‘fragile’ Fukushima nuclear plant shows shocking state of disrepair
Source: Mari Yamaguchi
Author: Associated Press
Date: 02/28/2012 01:05:48 PM PST

[...] Journalists given a tour of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant on Tuesday, including a reporter from the Associated Press, saw crumpled trucks and equipment still lying on the ground.  [...]“I have to admit that it’s still rather fragile,” said plant chief Takeshi Takahashi, who took the job in December after his predecessor resigned due to health reasons. [...]

But the equipment that serves as the lifeline of the cooling system is shockingly feeble-looking. Plastic hoses cracked by freezing temperatures have been mended with tape. A set of three pumps sits on the back of a pickup truck.

[...] the Unit 3 reactor, whose roof was blown off by a hydrogen explosion, resembles an ashtray filled with a heap of cigarette butts.

Read the report here

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Ministry of Agriculture to Allow Rice to Be Grown in Almost All Areas in Fukushima This Year, Just Like Last Year

except for a few districts where rice with high level of radioactive cesium exceeding 500 becquerels/kg was found in last year’s testing.

Well why not? The government didn’t stop farmers in Fukushima from planting rice last year, right after three explosions (possibly 4, counting Reactor 2’s Suppression Chamber) at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant released 650,000 terabecquerels (iodine equivalent) of radioactive materials. They apparently told some reluctant farmers if they didn’t grow rice they wouldn’t be compensated. So the farmers in Fukushima tilled the land, mixed up the contaminated soil and poured water in the rice paddies and grew rice. If they could do it last year, surely they can do it this year, and next year, and year after next year.

Farmers in the areas where rice with radioactive cesium between 100 becquerels/kg and 500 becquerels/kg was found last year will be allowed to grow rice this year, even though the new safety limit for radioactive cesium in food will be 100 becquerels/kg starting April 1, 2012.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will allow rice cultivation on only one condition that all bags of rice (60-kilogram bag) be tested after harvest.

(Ostensible) reason? So that the farmers in Fukushima aren’t discouraged from growing rice.

(Don’t ask me.)

From Jiji Tsushin (2/28/2012):

全袋調査でコメ作付け可能=福島、100ベクレル超でも-農水省
Farmers can grow rice in Fukushima, even in the areas that had rice with radioactive cesium exceeding 100 Bq/kg, as long as all bags of rice are tested, says Ministry of Agriculture

農林水産省は28日、福島県産米から国の暫定規制値(1キロ当たり500ベクレル)を超える放射性セシウムが相次いで検出された問題を受け、2012年産米の作付けに関する方針を発表した。焦点となっていた100ベクレル超500ベクレル以下のセシウムが検出された地域は、収穫後の全袋調査など一定の条件を満たせば作付けを認めることにした。

In response to a series of detection last year of radioactive cesium exceeding the national provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg) in rice grown in Fukushima Prefecture, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries announced the policy on the 2012 rice on February 28. The areas where radioactive cesium exceeding 100 becquerels/kg but below 500 becquerels/kg was found last year will be allowed to grow rice as long as certain conditions are met, including testing of all bags of rice after harvesting.

対象となる地域の11年生産量は約3万トンで、福島県のコメ生産全体のほぼ1割に当たる。

The total amount of rice produced in these areas in 2011 was about 30,000 tonnes, or 10 percent of the total amount of rice produced in Fukushima Prefecture.

鹿野道彦農水相は記者団に対し「食の安全を確保することを最優先とした」と述べ、消費者の不安の払拭(ふっしょく)を重視する姿勢を強調。その上で、福島県の農家のコメづくりに対する強い意欲も考慮して方針を決めたと説明した。

Agriculture Minister Michihiko Kano spoke to the press, “Securing the safety of food is our first priority”, emphasizing the need to dispel consumers’ anxiety. He explained that in establishing the policy further consideration was given to the strong desire of the farmers in Fukushima to grow rice.

We’ll see if testing all bags of rice is even possible, given the lack of testing equipment even with the last year’s sampling test. It doesn’t look like they even pretend to “decontaminate” rice paddies in the high radiation middle third of Fukushima (“Nakadori”).

Let’s speculate on the real reasons for the decision by the Ministry of Agriculture:

  • They’d rather gamble, and if cesium is below the 100 Bq/kg limit the government will not have to do anything.
  • They want to give business to the companies that make radiation testing devices and equipment (like Fuji Electric who made the radiation monitoring device at a school in Minami Soma City).

After all, this was the Ministry whose officials thought waving the Nal scintillation survey meter over cows would measure the radiation of the meat accurately enough. They didn’t know that rice hay was fed to the cows as part of the diet right before the cows were to be sold. We cannot, and shouldn’t expect much sharp thinking from this (or any other) ministry.

Caveat emptor, but I sense that most Japanese are either just too weary or not caring any more at this point. Relentless drive by the Kan administration and then by the current Noda administration to spread radioactive vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, leaf compost, mushrooms and logs to grow mushrooms on, firewood, disaster debris, etc. so that Tohoku (Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate) “can recover” is taking its toll.

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French Gov’t: 15 main incidents of radioactivity leaks at Fukushima — Only 408 million-billion becquerels of iodine-131 released into air — Cesium at 1/3 Chernobyl level — Contamination chronic and lasting

http://enenews.com/french-govt-15-main-incidents-of-radioactivity-leaks-at-fukushima-only-408-million-billion-becquerels-of-iodine-131-released-into-air-contamination-chronic-and-lasting

Title:Fukushima contamination ‘chronic and lasting': French agency
Source: AFP
Author: Laurent Banguet
Date: Feb 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm ET

Radioactive contamination levels from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have fallen sharply since the accident but will be “chronic and lasting” for many years, a French watchdog said Tuesday.

[...] Didier Champion, crisis manager at the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) [said] “Today, and for many years to come, we will have a situation of chronic and lasting contamination of the environment.” [...]

“There are risks of chronic exposure at low dosage, and without care this can build up over time,” he warned.

[...] IRSN said [...] the impact on the civilian population over the long term, and on emergency workers and plant employees, remained unclear.

By the Numbers

  • IRSN said the main radioactivity leaks occurred between March 12-25 in about 15 incidents, “of which the biggest probably took place before March 15″
  • Provisional estimate that 408 peta-becquerels, or 408 million billion becquerels, of radioactive iodine had been emitted into the air
  • 10 times lower than in the 1986 Chernobyl
  • Caesium of all kinds released at Fukushima was estimated by the agency at 58 peta-becquerels
  • Three times less than Chernobyl
  • Caesium 137 accounted for 21 peta-becquerels
  • Of around 24,000 square kilometers (9,200 square miles) of land contaminated by caesium 137
  • only 600 sq. kms (230 sq. miles) breached a safety threshold of 600,000 becquerels per square metre
  • However, there remained “hot spots” of contamination, up to 250 kilometres (156 miles) away

Read the report here

Title: Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Source: Wikipedia

The French Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire (IRSN) (“Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute”) is a public official establishment [...] placed under the conjoint authority of the Defence minister, the Environmental minister, the Industry minister and the Health and Research minister.

Read the report here

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AP: “Probe finds Japan withheld risks of nuke disaster”

Here’s AP’s Japanese reporter’s take on the report by the private independent investigation commission set up by the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation (RJIF).

One of the issues that AP focuses in the article below is whether TEPCO did want to abandon the plant on March 15. The private RJIF commission sides with the Kan administration that TEPCO did, and only PM Kan’s strong word persuaded TEPCO to keep a small number of workers to continue to work on the plant.

TEPCO has said all President Shimizu wanted to do was to temporarily remove non-essential workers at the plant. Why? Probably because of the extremely high radiation level on the plant. The radiation spiked up to 1 sievert/hour in the morning of March 16, 2011 (JST), as AP reported on March 15, 2011 (US EST) and BBC mentioned in the documentary “Inside the Meltdown” aired on February 23, 2012.

I wonder if Mr. Kan, who had majored in applied physics (engineering) in his college and became a patent agent after graduation, knew about the radiation level of 1 sievert/hour and still insisted all workers to remain on the plant no matter what, even if there were nothing TEPCO alone could do at that point.

The RJIF has already run out of copies of the report which they printed only a small number of copies. The message on their website says they are thinking of ways to disseminate the report widely.

Read the entire article with AP report at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/02/ap-probe-finds-japan-withheld-risks-of.html

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Panel lays bare Fukushima recipe for disaster

Conflicting authority, mistrust, meddling add to poor preparation

Staff writer

The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant crisis was caused by Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s lack of preparation for huge tsunami and exacerbated by conflicting levels of authority and downright “distrust and meddling” by high-ranking officials, an independent investigative panel reported Tuesday.

“There were cases of excessive meddling (by the government) toward people working at the site,” and such actions did more harm than good, said Koichi Kitazawa, former chief of the Japan Science and Technology Agency.

The investigative group Kitazawa leads, the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, interviewed more than 300 politicians, bureaucrats and workers involved in the Fukushima crisis for its report.

Kitazawa painted a picture of distrust and doubt due to the limited exchange of information among the government, Tepco, bureaucrats and other parties. “Overall, they had also fallen into a systematic inattentiveness” toward making the crippled nuclear plant secure, he concluded.

The panel’s report reveals that although the public was being reassured there was no reason to panic following the March 11 disaster, government leaders were contemplating worst-case scenarios, including evacuating the capital.

“We were concerned that damage from the nuclear accident could lead to a massive series of chain reactions,” Yukio Edano, chief Cabinet secretary at the time, told the panel, according to the report.

Article continues at:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120229a1.html

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Gov’t tells utility to consider more active faults to check Tomari plant’s quake resistance

Tomari Nuclear Power Plant is pictured in this aerial photo taken from a Mainichi helicopter on July 10, 2010. (Mainichi)

Tomari Nuclear Power Plant is pictured in this aerial photo taken from a Mainichi helicopter on July 10, 2010. (Mainichi)

The government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) urged Hokkaido Electric Power Co. on Feb. 28 to re-examine the quake-resistant capability of the Tomari Nuclear Power Plant by taking into account the possibility of the active seabed and continental faults nearby moving closely together to cause earthquakes.

The instruction was given to the utility firm verbally. The cumulative fault line where the seabed fault, about 40 kilometers west of the Tomari nuclear power station, and continental faults nearby could move simultaneously to trigger earthquakes spans up to about 150 kilometers.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120229p2a00m0na012000c.html

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Mayor of nuclear reactor city used taxpayers’ money on gifts for nuclear disaster minister

Tsuruga Mayor Kazuharu Kawase (Mainichi)

Tsuruga Mayor Kazuharu Kawase (Mainichi)

TSURUGA, Fukui — The mayor of this city, home to three nuclear reactors, gave year-end gifts to nuclear disaster minister Goshi Hosono and other legislators using taxpayers’ money, it has been learned.

Tsuruga Mayor Kazuharu Kawase, 60, used his mayor’s entertainment expenses to purchase and give assortments of Echizen snow crab worth 10,000 yen each to 11 Diet members of both the ruling and opposition parties as year-end gifts between November and December last year. Echizen crabs are a local specialty of Fukui Prefecture.

Kawase is known to have repeatedly advocated the necessity of the prototype fast-breeder reactor Monju in the city and of building additional nuclear power plants. He also chairs the All Japan Council of Local Governments with Atomic Power Stations.

According to the bill of the mayor’s entertainment expenses, Mayor Kawase purchased a total of 180,000 yen worth of Echizen crab assortments as gift items for 18 people, including 11 Diet members.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120229p2a00m0na011000c.html

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Report: Gov’t “collapsed” during Japan nuke crisis

By Lucy Craft

(CBS News)

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The one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan is less than two weeks away, but details about the nuclear meltdown that happened that tragic day are just beginning to emerge.

On Feb. 27, a news helicopter was allowed close enough to get a good glimpse of the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant. Today, a report revealed the chaos between Japan’s leaders during the crisis.

“The normal lines of authority completely collapsed,” Tetsuro Fukuyama, the prime minister’s adviser, told investigators.

CBS News correspondent Lucy Craft reported that in the hours after the tsunami struck the nuclear plant, Japanese officials huddled in an emergency bunker struggled to grasp the size of the catastrophe.

“As we listened to our top nuclear experts, we politicians had no idea what they were talking about. Was anyone going to suffer radiation contamination? Would this be another Chernobyl or Three Mile Island? No one could give us a straight answer,” Fukuyama recalled in the report.

After 300 interviews with officials and nuclear experts, the report said government was partially at fault for not having an emergency plan if a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck the country.

However, investigators concluded the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric, was to blame for the majority of the problems. “They were astonishingly unprepared for this nuclear accident,” lead investigator Youichi Funabashi told CBS News.

It seems that Tokyo Electric was unprepared for a power failure. Without electricity, the cores of the reactor couldn’t stay cool, and it triggered explosions and meltdowns.

With little information from the plant, Fukuyama said that the government thought that a nuclear meltdown was impending, and feared that a massive cloud of radiation would force the evacuation of 30 million people in the Tokyo region.

As a last-ditch effort, the Japanese government discussed “suicide squad” made up of men over 65 years old to ascertain the damage first hand. Fukuyama said he would lead the group.

“Terrified doesn’t begin to describe how we felt,” Fukuyama told investigators months after the scare. A “no go” zone still remains around the plant because radiation levels are too high. Clean up at the plant is estimated to take 40 years.

“When we learned the reactors had in fact melted down, I was overwhelmed, by our inability,” he added.

Watch the CBS video with article at:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57386266/report-govt-collapsed-during-japan-nuke-crisis/

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Tama river fish contaminated

Posted by Mochizuki on February 28th, 2012

Having the opening season for trout and char fishing in March, each local government is measuring radiation level of fish.
As the result, it turned out that fish in Tama river, Sagami river, and other major rivers in Kanto area are contaminated.

Highlights

Iwate

Satetsu river (Japanese dace) 240 Bq/Kg
Yasaku river (Japanese dace) 225 Bq/Kg
Tochigi

Kobyaku river (Char) 269 Bq/Kg
Arakawa (Trout) 224.9 Bq/Kg
Tokyo

Tama river (Trout) 81 Bq/Kg
Kanagawa

Sagami river (Trout) 33 Bq/Kg
Sakawa river (Trout) 27 Bq/Kg
Gunma

Sakura river (Trout) 299Bq/Kg
Numao river (Trout) 336 Bq/Kg

Source

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Fukushima gov will use contaminated wood for building materials

Posted by Mochizuki on February 28th, 2012

Fukushima prefecture is going to financially support local governments for tree thinning as forest decontamination as of April of 2012. They are going to pressure Japanese government to include thinning as forest decontamination into the decontamination guideline.
They are planning to use the logged trees for building materials of reconstruction and woody biomass fuel.

71% area is forest in Fukushima.

間伐で森林除染 復興建築資材に活用
県は平成24年度から、間伐など森林生産活動を通じた森林除染に着手する。国の除染ガイドラインにも盛り込むよう強く働き掛ける。太田議員の質問に鈴木義仁農林水産部長が答えた。
県の計画では、伐採した木を復興建築資材に回し、残材を木質バイオマス燃料に活用する。除染計画を策定する市町村を対象に、県森林整備加速化基金の約30億円や通常の間伐予算などを使って除染する。
現行のガイドラインには、間伐による森林除染は盛り込まれておらず、財政支援の対象外となっている。
(2012/02/23 09:57)

Source

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Containing Fukushima: Saving Japan From Itself (Part I)

K.T. Hiraoka | Feb 25, 2012 08:15 AM EST

The disaster at Fukushima last year exposed how entrenched interests among key decision-makers have contaminated Japanese society, endangering the long-term prosperity of Japan. These special interests often do what is right for themselves, as opposed to what is in the best interests of the Japanese people.
In this two-part series, discussion on what has transpired over the past twelve months as a result of decisions made related to the Fukushima disaster (Part I) will lead to a look at decision-making during the crisis in subsequent weeks and months that have passed (Part II). As the current decision-making system in Japan increasingly works to the detriment of Japanese society, what is needed instead is a more transparent, honest, and benevolent decision-making system that listens to the wishes of the people and responds to it.
Deep relationships among public and private sector players are present in all societies around the world. Yet Japan has a unique set of circumstances that make these relationships unlike any other. Looking firstly at this process sets the stage for understanding what has gone wrong in Japan.
Japan’s “Iron Triangle” of power, the traditional post-war decision-making apparatus, is comprised of Administrative Bureaucracy, Organized Business and Party Government. Together these groups create and implement policies and laws. This inter-institutional cooperation establishes the foundation for how society operates.
It is a cozy relationship. Policies are established by bureaucrats, laws are then passed by politicians and implemented by the business sector. The unelected bureaucrats who formulate policies are beholden to no one other than themselves. Long-term bureaucrats have decades to nurture connections. Top officials often “retire” on to private sector Board of Directors or are granted lucrative positions inside organizations that they used to regulate, thereby forming a comfortable intermingling of the public and private sectors. The system perpetuates itself.
To lubricate the system, up to 40% of the annual Japanese national budget is spent on infrastructure projects — many of which are unnecessary. It could easily be argued that a great number of the nuclear power plants built since the Second World War would fall in to this category. That helps explain why even though 90+ percent of all nuclear reactors are currently off-line, no energy shortages or blackouts have occurred to date.
An additional appendage to this triangle of power is the Japanese mafia or “Yakuza” which have historically been able to legally exist in Japan. The Yakuza serve to make sure the system operates smoothly. One example of this is the supplying of labor to the nuclear industry for undesirable jobs and, in particular, to the Tokyo Electric Power nuclear plant after the disaster of March 11, 2011.
Added to this mix of the Iron Triangle and mafia comes a cultural factor not seen in other nations known as ‘nakama‘ or becoming an accepted ‘trusted insider’ among a respective group. This eases the process of consensus-formation. In group-oriented Japan, such strong relationships are seen as the ultimate goal to be achieved as they allow for the maintenance of harmony. Japan is a series of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ groups and nakama relationships built over time and through mutual experience foster deep loyalties in the public and private sector.
Nakama can also become a hindrance in times of crucial decision-making where telling the truth comes head-to-head with loyalty to long-held relations. One well-known example is the case of the Japan Airlines crash in Tokyo Bay in 1982 that killed 133 people. The captain deliberately engaged the number 2 and 3 engines’ thrust-reversers in flight which caused the crash. He was later found to be suffering from mental illness prior to the incident which resulted in a not guilty verdict by reason of insanity. The interesting point about this particular story is that his co-workers and even the company had known he was unstable for a long time, yet he was able to maintain his position, hierarchy and rank. This can be the danger of nakama relations — when some one in a position of power does something he/she should not do, most are reluctant to do anything about it for fear of damaging relations.
Witness the Fukushima disaster. Not only did decision-making take too long in the early hours of the crisis because consensus needed to be formed among too many players, but there was a lack of communication due to inoperable phone systems. On top of this, the Iron Triangle players were protecting their respective turfs. Politicians and regulators protected the nuclear industry and the nuclear industry protected itself. What was best for the people of Japan took a back seat.
Observing what happened in the early hours of the crisis is to see how forming a consensus on what to do to protect the populace was a futile effort, indeed. Prime Minister Naoto Kan, to his credit, trusted neither the bureaucrats advising him nor the Tokyo Electric Power Company (which was worried about protecting its assets). Even the plant manager did not trust his superiors who had instructed him to stop pouring sea water on the reactors to keep them cool. His decision to defy that order likely prevented the disaster from becoming worse than it was. “At the drama’s heart was an outsider prime minister who saw the need for quick action but whose well-founded mistrust of a system of alliances between powerful plant operators, compliant bureaucrats and sympathetic politicians deprived Prime Minister Kan of resources he could have used to make better-informed decisions,” reported the New York Times.
How much of what went wrong was actually due to sheer incompetence or lack of adequate preparation as opposed to an attempt to hide the truth is unclear. But the New York Times ran an incredible piece on this “culture of collusion” early in the crisis. And it took an outsider (who used to be an insider) to reveal the truth — that “nuclear power’s main players are more interested in protecting their interests than increasing safety”. My point exactly. The safety of the people of Japan was not the top priority which further shows that the decision-making system is not working.
Just ask the people of Namie, a city located just north of the doomed Tokyo Electric Power nuclear plant. Lacking clear guidance on what to do or where to go from decision-makers in Tokyo, town leaders thought it would be safe to head north to escape the dangers caused by explosions at the plant. Computer calculations, known to officials in Tokyo, had predicted winds would carry radioactive clouds north — not south — as Namie town officials had thought. But no one bothered to tell them and they were exposed to high levels of radiation for three days and nights. As reported in anotherNew York Times exposé, “The forecasts were left unpublicized by bureaucrats in Tokyo, operating in a culture that sought to avoid responsibility and, above all, criticism… Japanese authorities engaged in a pattern of withholding damaging information and denying facts of the nuclear disaster — in order to limit the size of costly and disruptive evacuations in land-scarce Japan and to avoid public questioning of the politically powerful nuclear industry”.
And to further prove the point about the failings of the Iron Triangle and how members sought to protect their turf, bureaucrats initially withheld vital information even from politicians, part of their own inner circle. As the aforementioned article notes, “Some of the predictions of the spread of radiation contamination were so alarming, that three separate government agencies — the Education Ministry and the two nuclear regulators, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and Nuclear Safety Commission — passed the data to one another like a hot potato, with none of them wanting to accept responsibility for its results”.
Added to this story were revelations the in the crucial days during and after two reactors blew up, Potassium Iodide (which blocks radioactive iodine from entering the thyroid gland) was not dispersed to people in need in the areas near the plant.Why? “Government disaster manuals require communities to wait for the central government to give the order before distributing the pills. Though Japan’s nuclear-safety experts recommended dispensing pills immediately, Tokyo didn’t order pills be given out until five days after the March 11 accident”. Once again, the people of Japan were not the top priority.
Here is yet another example — days after the earthquake and tsunami, on March 15th and 21st, clouds of radiation drifted over Tokyo due to changing wind conditions. The people of Tokyo were not encouraged to either stay indoors (thereby somewhat limiting exposure) or leave the city. It was not that the authorities didn’t know the clouds were coming — they did. Even the U.S. military knew they were on their way due to a computer simulation known as SPEEDI (System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information). SPEEDI was designed in the 1980s to make forecasts of radiation dispersal should an accident occur. SPEEDI information was shared with the U.S. military, but not with the people of Japan. Decision-makers withheld the information, most likely so as to avoid a panic.
So there was a choice in a “worst-case scenario”, evacuate Tokyo (which might have led to the collapse of the Japanese economy) or risk collateral damage among the populace. All of which raises a fundamental question — What gives unelected bureaucrats the right to decide what the public is told (or not told), particularly when issues of health are at stake?
Just as with the tale of the boy who cried wolf, many people in Japan no longer trust what they are told. It is now to the point where even if the truth is told, few believe it.
(Tomorrow, in Part II, we look at more evidence of how nakama decision-making hurts Japan.)
K.T. Hiraoka is a pseudonym for the writer whose name was changed to allow for honest and open expression in order to better decipher the puzzle surrounding decision-making related to the Fukushima disaster.

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Independent Investigation Commission on Fukushima Accident: Confusion from Interference by PM Kan and His Ministers Made the Situation Much Worse

The Independent Investigation Commission set up by a private foundation called Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation has issued the report of its findings of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident.

Unlike the investigation commissions set up by the administration and the Diet, the RJIF Commission has collected and studied information from the general public as well as from the experts.

The Commission will hold a press conference at 3PM on February 28, 2012 and discuss the findings, but Jiji Tsushin has a preview of the topics.

From Jiji Tsushin (2/28/2012):

官邸の介入で混乱も=「疑心暗記の連鎖」指摘-民間事故調報告書・福島原発事故

Confusion caused by the interference by the Prime Minister’s Office, chain reaction of “doubts begot doubts”, a private investigation commission on Fukushima Nuclear Plant accident says

東京電力福島第1原発事故で、民間の「福島原発事故独立検証委員会」(民間事故調、委員長・北沢宏一科学技術振興機構前理事長)は28日までに、「官邸が現場に介入し混乱を呼んだ」などと指摘した事故報告書をまとめた。

The private “Independent Investigation Commission on Fukushima I Nuclear Plant Accident” (Chairman Koichi Kitazawa, former head of the Japan Science and Technology Agency) has compiled the report on the accident. In the report, the Commission points out that “the Prime Minister’s Office meddling in the response at the scene of the accident caused confusion”.

民間事故調は昨年9月に設立。菅直人首相(当時)、枝野幸男官房長官(同)ら政府首脳を含む約300人から事情を聴取。事故発生時の首相官邸や経済産業省原子力安全・保安院の対応や、情報公開の在り方、事故の背景にある「安全神話」成立の背景などを調べた。

The private Commission was set up last September, and has heard from about 300 people including then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan and then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano and other top government officials. The Commission investigated the response at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence and Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, information disclosure practice, and how the “safety myth” arose, which contributed to the accident.

報告書は、菅氏が原発に運ぶバッテリーの大きさまで確認するなど、官邸が現場に直接介入したことが混乱の一因になったと指摘。その半面、菅氏が全面撤退を考えていた東電を押しとどめ、制御不能になった原発事故が連鎖する「最悪のシナリオ」を防いだ功績もあるとした。

The report points to the direct interference of the Prime Minister’s Official Residence into the response at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, causing confusion. For example, the report says Prime Minister Kan personally checked the size of the batteries to be brought to the plant. On the other hand, the Commission gives some credit to Kan, as he didn’t allow TEPCO to pull out completely from the plant and prevented the “worst-case scenario” where an uncontrolled nuclear accident would occur one after another at the plant.

事故調は東電の清水正孝社長(同)や吉田昌郎同原発所長(同)ら同社関係者の聴取も要請したが、東電側から拒否されたという。

The Commission says it asked the TEPCO officials including then-President Masataka Shimizu and then-Plant Manager Masao Yoshida to speak in front of the Commission but the request was declined by TEPCO.

In my rare defense of TEPCO, it is a lie propagated by Naoto Kan himself that TEPCO wanted to completely withdraw from the plant. TEPCO’s president wanted to protect workers who were not directly involved in nuclear emergency response by evacuating them from the plant, when the radiation level at the plant spiked to extremely dangerous levels. In the early days of the crisis, the radiation levels at the plant were sometimes hundreds of millisieverts per hour in certain locations.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan said he knew all about nuclear power plants because he got his BS degree in applied physics (more like engineering). According to the investigation committee set up by the Diet, Kan insisted he be the one to tell TEPCO when to conduct the vent of Reactor 1.

He insisted he visit the plant on the morning of March 12 when everyone at the plant was scrambling to figure out what was happening (or figure out what to do about the meltdown that was happening). When he arrived, he went shouting and screaming at the plant management and workers.

I hear that the BBC documentary on Fukushima paints Kan as “decisive leader who made tough decisions”. Unbelievable.

He, Edano, and Kaieda should have been the ones who carried hoses in the darkness in 100 millisieverts/hour radiation on the plant, not the Tokyo Metropolitan firefighters, as you see in the clip from the BBC documentary “Inside the Meltdown”:

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Crippled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant at One Year: Back in the Disaster Zone

David McNeill

David McNeill revisits Japan’s northeast and the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant a year after it was battered by the triple disaster of March 11 and finds a region still struggling to emerge from its huge shadow.

“The world is heavy on us,” says Sakurai Katsunobu, recalling the day that its weight almost crushed the life out of his city. On the morning of March 11 last year, Minamisoma and its mayor were struggling with the same mundane problems as many other small rural cities across Japan: a declining, greying population, creaking public services and a faltering local economy. By nightfall, an existential disaster had engulfed Mayor Sakurai’s office, one from which it has yet to reemerge.

It began with the huge quake that struck off the coast of the city of 71,000 at 2:46pm. Less than an hour later, Sakurai was on the roof of the city office, squinting toward the sea about six miles away.  “We could see this huge cloud of dust rising into the air from the Pacific. I asked someone, ‘is that a fire?’ Then we realized it was the tsunami.” Even as he spoke, the deluge was inundating hundreds of homes, drowning old people and children; sometimes whole families.  By evening, corpses were being brought to a makeshift morgue in a local college.

The March 11 quake and tsunami took 630 lives in Minamisoma, including 100 children. For days, Sakurai wondered if his elderly parents were among the casualties.  But instead of looking for them he was dealing with the crisis that would define his city. On March 12, an explosion blew apart the building housing reactor 1 at the Daiichi nuclear plant, 23km south of his office. Operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) and the central government were silent on what was happening. Public television said there was no need for panic. Minamisoma’s citizens made up their own minds and began to flee from rumours of radiation.

Essay continues at:

http://japanfocus.org/-David-McNeill/3700?utm_source=February+27%2C+2012&utm_campaign=China%27s+Connectivity+Revolution&utm_medium=email

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jpg on “Surviving a Nuclear Holocaust”

http://www.besthealthdegrees.com/survive-nuclear/nuclear-holocaust.jpg

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Schools Reopen in Former “Evacuation-Ready” Zone in Minami Soma City

 http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/02/schools-reopen-in-former-evacuation.html

This photo from Asahi Shinbun (2/28/2012) shows a giant radiation monitoring and display device on the school yard which looks like it has been “decontaminated”. 0.227 microsievert/hour (most likely measuring only gamma rays), children, feel free to run around and kick up dust in the new and improved school yard…

(To recap, this is how they “decontaminate” in Minami Soma.)

This monitoring and display device was made by Fuji Electric. Alpha Tsushin (telecom), the company who was initially contracted by the government to build and install radiation monitoring and display devices throughout Fukushima Prefecture, was suddenly dropped from the contract in November last year because the reading of their device was “inaccurate” – meaning it was “too high” for the government.

The schools that re-opened in Minami Soma City are located in Haramachi District of Minami Soma City where the “black dust” on the road surfaces was found with 1 million becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium.

There are some very strange things going on over the “black dust” in Minami Soma, and I can’t really quite get the whole picture yet. I’ll report when I have a better understanding.

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Report takes former PM Kan to task over Fukushima nuke disaster handling

Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan speaks to the nation after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. (Mainichi)

Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan speaks to the nation after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. (Mainichi)

The office of former Prime Minister Naoto Kan came in for scathing criticism in a Feb. 27 report on the handling of the Fukushima nuclear crisis’ opening days, with the document accusing the PM’s office of “grandstanding” and causing “useless confusion.”

The report, put together by the private Fukushima nuclear disaster independent investigative committee, concludes that the Prime Minister’s Office’s first response to the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant “increased the risk of worsening the situation through stress and useless confusion.” Furthermore, “grandstanding led to badly muddled crisis management measures” which did little or nothing to help prevent a worsening of the disaster. The report also rebuked the highest levels of government for meddling in emergency response measures.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120228p2a00m0na016000c.html

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TEPCO to pay 600,000 yen to pregnant woman who voluntarily evacuated

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2012/02/144154.html

TOKYO, Feb. 28, Kyodo

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has decided to pay 600,000 yen each to pregnant women and children aged 18 or under who have voluntarily evacuated their homes because of the nuclear meltdown at its Fukushima Daiichi power plant, sources close to the company said Tuesday.

The sum will be paid, starting next month, as compensation money through last December for residents of 23 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture located outside the government-designated evacuation zones around the plant in the northeastern Japan prefecture.

Many people who have voluntarily evacuated had been hoping the plant operator would pay the actual costs involved, but Tokyo Electric has decided that to do so would entail a laborious application process and delay compensation payments, the sources said.

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Cesium pollen full swing

Posted by Mochizuki on February 27th, 2012

Following up this article ..Cesium pollen started attacking Tokyo

A private weather forecasting company, weather news announced the amount of pollen in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Shizuoka have gotten into the peak.

On 2/27/2012, Kanto area was sunny, dry and windy, which is the best condition for pollen to fly. More amount of pollen flew toward the evening. As it gets warmer in March, the pollen amount will increase more.

Source
ウェザーニューズは2012年2月27日、関東で花粉飛散数が増加し、今日以降も飛散数が増える見通しであることから、本日東京都を含む1都6県が本格花粉シーズンに突入したと発表した。同社が本日花粉シーズンに突入したとしているのは東京都の他、神奈川県、千葉県、埼玉県、茨城県、栃木県、静岡県。これらの地域に在住の花粉症の方は、最新の花粉飛散情報を確認し、十分な対策を取る必要があるとしている。

同社によれば、2月前半は強い寒気の影響を受けて寒い日が続き、花粉の飛散は抑えられていたという。ただ、先週からは日本海側でも雨が降るなど、寒気がいったん緩んだ状態となった。今日の関東地方は晴れて空気が乾燥し、さらに風が強く吹いているため花粉が飛散しやすい状態となり、本格花粉シーズンに突入したとのこと。関東地方は朝から花粉の飛散量が増加しており、夕方をピークにさらに飛散量は増えていく見通し。今後、3月に入る頃には一段と寒さが緩み、花粉の飛散量が増えていくと予想されている。

最新の花粉飛散情報は、同社の PC 向けサイト、携帯サイトおよびスマートフォンサイトの「花粉Ch.」で確認できる。

同社の今回の判断は、同社が全国各地1,000か所に設置している花粉観測機「ポールンロボ」の観測結果が根拠となったもの。同観測機で観測された花粉飛散数が1日あたり30個を超えると花粉症の症状が出始めるため、この数値を超えた地域を「本格花粉シーズン」に突入しているとしている。ポールンロボによって東京都、栃木県、静岡県で24日金曜日と27日午前中に観測された花粉の飛散数は次の通りだった。

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METI to introduce equipment to remove most radioactive materials at Fukushima plant

Workers at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant stand around the radioactive water decontamination system

Workers at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant stand around the radioactive water decontamination system “Sally” in this photo provided by TEPCO.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) said on Feb. 27 that it would introduce equipment in the first half of next fiscal year that is capable of removing almost all kinds of radioactive substances from contaminated water piled up or stored on the premises of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

METI made the decision when it held a meeting to discuss medium- and long-term measures toward the decommissioning of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power station.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120228p2a00m0na007000c.html

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Japan Weighed Evacuating Tokyo in Nuclear Crisis

TOKYO — In the darkest moments of last year’s nuclear accident, Japanese leaders did not know the actual extent of damage at the plant and secretly considered the possibility of evacuating Tokyo, even as they tried to play down the risks in public, an independent investigation into the accident disclosed on Monday.

The investigation by the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, a new private policy organization, offers one of the most vivid accounts yet of how Japan teetered on the edge of an even larger nuclear crisis than the one that engulfed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. A team of 30 university professors, lawyers and journalists spent more than six months on the inquiry into Japan’s response to the triple meltdown at the plant, which followed a powerful earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that shut down the plant’s cooling systems.

Article continues at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/world/asia/japan-considered-tokyo-evacuation-during-the-nuclear-crisis-report-says.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all%3Fsrc%3Dtp&smid=fb-share

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Yomiuri Jet Flyover: Walls of ‘other structures’ at Fukushima plant were also blown away

Title: Photos from jet show devastated N-plant
Source: The Daily Yomiuri
Author: Tatsuo Nakajima / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer
Date: Feb. 28, 2012

The heavily damaged upper framework of the buildings housing the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant were photographed from a Yomiuri Shimbun jet Sunday [...]Once the aircraft turned to view the No. 2 reactor building from the coast, a big opening in the wall was visible despite the fact that the building had not exploded [...]

Walls of some other structures located on the sea coast were also blown away. [...]

The sight of the plant from the air has seared into our memory the cruel accident, which destroyed the livelihoods of more than 110,000 local residents.

Read the report here

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700 form human chain calling for decommissioning of Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant

A human chain surrounds the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant on Feb. 26. (Mainichi)

A human chain surrounds the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant on Feb. 26. (Mainichi)

TOKAI, Ibaraki — About 700 protesters surrounded the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant on Feb. 26, making calls against reactivating the plant and demanding the plant be decommissioned.

The human chain took place around Japan Atomic Power Co.’s Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Feb. 26. The plant has been suspended for regular inspections.

Stretching nearly 1 kilometer long, participants formed the human chain hand in hand, calling against the reactivation of the Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant and for the decommissioning of the plant.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120227p2a00m0na005000c.html

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Video of Daiichi from a flyover taker on 26 Feb 2012:

http://www.47news.jp/movie/general_national/post_6354/

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Pollen will be contaminated at least for 4 years

Posted by Mochizuki on February 26th, 2012

Following up this article ..Cesium pollen started attacking Tokyo

Full-time lecturer, Noguchi from Nihon university says, Japanese cedar takes 4 years to change the leaves.

Until they change them, the pollen will be contaminated.

Tepco measured about 90,000 Bq/kg of cesium from the soil of the sea ground in front of reactor 5 and 6.

Foresty agency announced they measured 253,000 Bq/Kg from the pollen in Namie machi, which is about 3 times higher than the sea ground soil.

Source

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All the cattle stillborn in a farm of Fukushima

Posted by Mochizuki on February 26th, 2012

拡散→須賀川の酪農家の所で、事故後生まれた子牛は20数頭のうちすべてが死産だったそうです。これは実際に取材に行っている方からきいたお話しです。何も起こらなければそれにこしたことはないけれど・・・。何も起こらない保証はどこにもありません。

— 渡辺(母子避難がんばっぺ) (@k1976k1976) February 26, 2012

<Translate>

After 311, 20 cattle were born at a farm of Sukagawa but all of them were stillbirths. It is confirmed by a reporter.

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Sukagawa shi is about 50km away from Fukushima plants.

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Fertilizer mixed with potassium helps cut down amount of cesium in brown rice

TSUKUBA, Ibaraki — Fertilizer mixed with potassium can greatly reduce the amount of radioactive cesium absorbed by brown rice from contaminated rice paddies, researchers at the National Agricultural Research Center have found.

Officials at the research center based in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, said they succeeded in cutting down the amount of cesium absorbed by brown rice by up to 50 percent after they used potassium-laced fertilizer in contaminated paddies in four prefectures, though the results differed depending on soil characteristics. Potassium is known to be easily absorbed by plants.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120227p2a00m0na002000c.html

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Fukushima I Nuke Plant: High-Radiation Leak from the Welded Pipe in SARRY

A small leak was found in one of the two lines of Toshiba/IHI/Shaw’s cesium absorption system “SARRY” on February 25, 2012. SARRY is housed inside the Miscellaneous Solid Waste Volume Reduction Treatment Building (so you don’t need to scream “another frozen pipe!). TEPCO says the leak was about 10 liters.

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/02/fukushima-i-nuke-plant-high-radiation.html

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Patients fell victim as Fukushima hospitals were isolated in wake of nuclear disaster

On March 15, 2011, four days after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami hit, the government ordered residents within 20 to 30 kilometers of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant to stay indoors following hydrogen explosions at the plant a day earlier.

Futaba Hospital in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, which was already under orders to evacuate, had trouble finding another medical institution to transport patients. As a result, patients started dying one after the other, making the situation at the Prime Minister’s Office tense.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano and others said that patients within 30 kilometers of the crippled nuclear power plant were safe so long as they stayed indoors. They ordered officials concerned to secure hospitals to accommodate fleeing patients in case of another explosion.

Article continues at:

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Jogan quake report worried utilities

Tsunami alert softened days before 3/11

Kyodo

Just days before the Great East Japan Earthquake, a government panel softened the wording of a report warning that a massive tsunami could strike northeastern Japan after three utilities with nuclear power plants begged it to do so, it has been learned.

News photo
Closer view: Reactors 1 through 4 are viewed from a helicopter Sunday about 3 km away from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. The no-fly zone over the plant was reduced to a radius of 3 km at midnight Friday. KYODO

According to interviews and documents made available Saturday, staff from Tokyo Electric Power Co., Tohoku Electric Power Co. and Japan Atomic Power Co. asked the secretariat of the Earthquake Research Committee to alter the draft of the report at a meeting on March 3, 2011.

The report suggested a massive tsunami similar to the one triggered by the Jogan Earthquake in 869 could be spawned off Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, they said. The Jogan quake had an estimated magnitude of 8.3 and killed about 1,000 people.

A final version of the report has yet to be released in light of the earthquake and tsunami that actually hit the region eight days later, but some members of the committee called the revelation “unbelievable.”

The three utilities asked the secretariat in the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry to change the wording to avoid giving people the “misunderstanding” that massive quakes similar to the Jogan quake actually occurred in the past.

In reply, the secretariat told the three utilities, “We’re not changing the context but we’re going to do something so it may not induce such misunderstanding.”

A few days later the ministry revised the draft. The reworded version said “further study” is required to decide if massive quakes similar to the Jogan quake took place because “appropriate data are insufficient.”

Mayors snub ministers

Kyodo

A meeting between the government and municipalities near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant was canceled Sunday after three mayors boycotted it because the government allegedly told the media of the specifics of the meeting before telling them.

Futaba Mayor Katsutaka Idogawa said: “I strongly mistrust the government . . . So I have made a momentous decision not to attend the meeting” with Environment Minister Goshi Hosono and Tatsuo Hirano, minister in charge of reconstruction from the March 2011 disasters.

The mayors of the towns of Hirono and Namie followed suit.

The leaders of eight towns and villages, including Futaba, Hirono and Namie, were expected to discuss how to eliminate radioactive materials leaked by the plant and explore ways to build temporary storage facilities for contaminated soil.

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5th Hearing of the NAIIC Investigation of Fukushima I Nuke Plant Accident

The 2-hour hearing just ended. The former NRC Chairman Richard A. Meserve appeared in front of the panel.

NAIIC stands for Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission set up by the National Diet of Japan.

Article continues with video at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/02/5th-hearing-of-naiic-investigation-of.html

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NRC officials suspected a ‘detonation’ at Reactor No. 1 weeks before Gundersen postulated that scenario at No. 3

http://enenews.com/nrc-suspected-detonation-at-reactor-no-1-weeks-before-gundersen-postulated-such-a-scenario-at-no-3

Title: Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi ET Audio File

Source: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Date: March 12, 2011
Emphasis Added

Detonation on Page 32

Dan Dorman, deputy director for engineering at the NRC’s office of nuclear reactor regulation: Good morning, Chairman.

CHAIRMAN JACZKO: Good morning.

MR. DORMAN: Sir, we’re watching videos on the TV, that show what looks like adetonation of the Unit 1 reactor building at Daiichi. It’s an initial short duration pulse, like an explosion, followed by a large cloud, and then there is some subsequent footage, showing what appears to be the frames of the building that — the upper walls around the — what would be the metal frame work above the refueling level, its been opened up to the eye beams.

So, this is our significant breaking worse, that you asked us to call you.

CHAIRMAN JACZKO: Okay.

MR. DORMAN: We have not gotten any direct reporting. We’re just — we’re still working off of what we got on the media, but it is a very disturbing image.

CHAIRMAN JACZKO: What would you — how would you characterize that? What does it mean?

MR. DORMAN: Well, what we’re inferring from that image is that it’s a catastrophic failure of the primary containment.

Detonation on Page 144

MR. McDERMOTT: [...] If you’ve seen the media coverage from over the evening, the most significant development is shown pretty vividly on some of the video. There was, at the Unit 1 reactor, an explosion of some time, that took off the core (inaudible) metal siding on the refueling floor level. They’re reporting that we’re seeing, as confirmed by emails from a variety of different sources, seem to indicate that the explosion took place in the secondary containment and that the primary containment, as well as the reactor coolant system remain in tact. There is speculation that perhaps, it was some type of hydrogendetonation, although we do not have any confirmation for this, at this point.

Deflagration on Page 58

MR. DORMAN: — and I am not envisioning how a turbine building event, that’s being postulated by others, would cause the damage that I’m currently looking at on the Unit 1 reactor building.

CHAIRMAN JACZKO: Okay.

MR. DORMAN: The other issue that we’ve raised is that the apparent mode of force for such an event in the turbine building would be hydrogen that cooled the turbine, and we don’t see any deflagration issue, in terms of –

CHAIRMAN JACZKO: Okay.

MR. DORMAN: — we don’t see any flame –

CHAIRMAN JACZKO: Right, which you’d see from a hydrogen explosion.

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The elephants are coming : say hello to the Makenai-Zô

Feb 23rd, 2012 by Senrinomichi

Senrinomichi is proud that the documentary film 311: In the moment will be screened for the first time outside the festival circuit during our commemoration event 明日の為に Pour demain (For tomorrow) on March 11. We are honored that the film will be screened in the presence of its director, Kyoko Gasha, who has kindly agreed to participate in a question and answer session after the screening.

311: In the moment tells the story of women living in the areas worst affected by the triple disaster which struck Japan on March 11 last year. During the film, you can discover the story of the Makenai-Zô.

Makenai-Zô is a hand towel in the form of an elephant. In Japanese, “Makenai-Zô” means “We’ll never give-up”, while  “Zo” by itself means “elephant”; this play on words gives this elephant-shaped towel – that you can hang in your kitchen or bathroom – its unique name. By adopting an elephant, you give hope to one or more of the hundreds of thousands of people made homeless following the triple disaster which struck north eastern Japan last March.

 Article continues at:

3.1×10E11 Bq/m3 of cesium leaked from the water purifying system

Posted by Mochizuki on February 25th, 2012
On 2/25/2012 8:30AM, A Tepco employee found high level of contaminated water leaking from water purifying system called Sally.

It’s 3.1×10E11 Bq/m3. Tepco asserts it’s only 10 L to leak, none of it has leaked to the sea for some reason.

The leaking point is the joint part to filter out oil before taking out cesium. The reason is not detected yet.

Also, Tepco found ERSS, which is to calculate the leakage amount of radionuclides from daini reactor4 stopped.
They stopped it at 2PM of 2/14 for a check up. They were supposed to turn it back on at 2:50 PM of 2/24 but they forgot to turn it on.

Source

福島第1原発:高濃度汚染水漏れる 海への漏えいはなし

東京電力は25日、福島第1原発の汚染水処理施設にある放射性セシウム除去装置「サリー」の配管から高濃度汚染水約10リットルが漏れたと発表した。漏えい水の濃度は1立方センチ当たり31万ベクレルで、海への漏えいはなかった。

漏えい場所は汚染水から放射性セシウムを除去する前に油分を取り除く装置の配管接続部。同日午前8時半に見回りをしていた作業員が見つけ、装置の運転を止めたところ、漏えいが止まった。東電が原因を調べている。

また、東電は同日、福島第2原発4号機で、放射性物質の放出量予測などに利用される「緊急時対策支援システム」(ERSS)に一時的にデータが送信できない状態になっていたと発表した。東電は計算機の機能を確認するため、2月14日午後2時過ぎから同24日午後2時50分までERSSを停止。その後、計算機を復旧させたが、東電社員はERSSの電源を入れ忘れたという。【神保圭作】

毎日新聞 2012年2月25日 19時43分(最終更新 2月25日 19時57分)

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Report from Tokyo: 6.5 microSv/h at Japan’s busiest train station — Equal to 57 millisieverts per year, 10 times Chernobyl evacuation levels — Near Imperial Palace (PHOTOS)

http://enenews.com/report-6-5-microsvh-at-japans-busiest-train-station-equal-to-57-millisieverts-per-year-10-times-chernobyl-evacuation-levels-near-imperial-palace-photos

Follow-up to:

Title: Tokyo station is contaminated as mandatory evacuating zone in Fukushima
Source: Fukushima Diary
Date: Feb 25, 2012

On 2/21~23/2012, a Twitter user measured radiation level at Tokyo station and it turned out to be 2.94~6.5 microSv/h. [...]

1m height from the ground : 6.5~4.8 microSv/h

1.8m height from the ground : 3.0~4.2 microSv/h

The reason of this high level of contamination is assumed to be because hot particles are brought from Fukushima or North Japan by the shoes of passengers.

SOURCES:

Aisle from Yaesuguchi underground parking lot to underground mall of Tokyo Station (SOURCE: ytoexhd)

On the platform of Tokaido Shinkansen (SOURCE: ytoexhd)

Title: Twitter / @ytoexhd: @bien1321 この線量計は計測開始から終了まで …

@bien1321 This dosimeter to detect γ-rays every 10 seconds in about 5 minutes from start to finish measurement. 6.5μ ~ 4.8μSv 1m3 times height measurements. Was 3.0μ ~ 4.2μSv 1.8m3 times height measurements. The image is part of a total of six times.

6.5 microSv/hr * 24 hr/day * 365 day/yr = 56,940 microSv/yr

Via ABC Australia: “After Chernobyl anyone likely to be exposed to more than 5 millisieverts a year was evacuated, and those in areas of 1-5 mSv were offered relocation and bans were placed on eating locally produced food.”

Title: Tōkaidō Shinkansen
Source: Wikipedia

The Tōkaidō Shinkansen (東海道新幹線?) is a Japanese high-speed Shinkansen line, opened in 1964 between Tokyo and Shin-Ōsaka. It is operated by the Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central), and formerly by Japanese National Railways (JNR). It is the most heavily travelled high-speed rail route in the world by far

Title: Tōkyō Station
Source: Wikipedia

Tokyo Station (東京駅 Tōkyō-eki?) is a railway station in the Marunouchi business district of Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan, near the Imperial Palace grounds and the Ginza commercial district.

It is the main intercity rail terminal in Tokyo, the busiest station in Japan in terms of number of trains per day (over 3,000), and the fifth-busiest in Eastern Japan in terms of passenger throughput. [...]

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500 Used Cars to Be Shipped from Nagoya Port Have Exceeded Radiation Limit Since August Last Year

That’s when they started testing, and 500 used cars from Nagoya Port alone.

Japanese used cars are popular in Russia, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Despite the nuclear accident, the number of exported used cars in 2011 increased slightly over 2010 to 857,779 cars according to the Used Car Export Industry News, with Russia at the top with over 110K followed by the United Arab Emirates.

Kyodo News (2/25/2012):

名古屋港管理組合は25日、同港から船積み予定の中古車を対象とした放射性物質検査で、昨年8月~今年1月、500台を超える車から、業界が設定した基準の毎時0・3マイクロシーベルト以上が検出され、荷主に返したことを明らかにした。

Nagoya Port Authority disclosed on February 25 that 500 used cars were found with radiation levels at or exceeding 0.3 microsievert/hour, the standard set by the [used car] industry from August last year to January this year, and that the cars were returned to the shippers.

国内外へ輸送される予定だった。同組合は、荷主に返した車のその後の流通状況を確認していない。

The used cars were to be exported outside Japan or to be transported to different parts of Japan. Nagoya Port Authority does not keep track of the cars returned to the shippers.

同組合によると、東京電力福島第1原発事故を受け、日本港運協会と全国港湾労働組合連合会などが労働者の安全確保を目的に、0・3マイクロシーベルトなどの基準を設け、各地の港湾で昨年8月から線量測定が実施されている。

According to Nagoya Port Authority, 0.3 microsievert/hour standard was set by the Japan Harbor Transportation Association and All Japan Dockworkers’ Union (JDU) to secure the safety of the dockworkers. The radiation testing has been done at ports in Japan since August last year.

Isn’t that nice that 0.3 microsievert/hour is not for the safety of the buyers of the cars but for the dockworkers handling the cars and loading them?

It is also nice to know that the radiation levels of the used cars are measured ONLY IF the cars are transported from a port by ships. There is no testing at all if used cars are transported by land within Japan.

The earliest news I caught on this blog of radioactive used cars is from NHK News on April 24, 2011 when Russian authorities in the port of Nakhodka in Siberian Russia found 2 used cars emitting high radiation. The cars came from Niigata Port on April 16, and they were originally from Fukushima Prefecture.

Before the NHK news, there were “rumors” that were officially dismissed. One of the rumors on blogs and tweets that I heard was almost exactly what got finally reported by NHK, that there were many used cars exported from Japan after March 11, 2011 accident that are emitting very high radiation.

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NHK shows first aerial footage of Fukushima plant

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/20120226_13.html

An NHK helicopter has flown near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant for the first time since the accident occurred last March. The flight took place after the no-fly zone over the plant was reduced to a 3-kilometer radius.

NHK shot footage around 4 kilometers from the plant at an altitude of some 700 meters on Sunday.

The land ministry decided to scale back the no-fly zone from the 20-kilometer radius as it calculated that aerial radioactive readings around the plant had dropped to a safe level. The 3-kilometer radius took effect on Saturday.

The aerial observation confirmed that the No. 3 reactor building has an exposed steel structure distorted by a hydrogen explosion.

The yellow lid on the nuclear containment vessel was visible in the No. 4 reactor building in which a hydrogen explosion ripped out its walls. A person in a yellow work suit was seen walking on the 5th-story of the building.

At a port used by the plant, some 10 workers wearing white protective suits were on a crane vessel working to cover the seabed with cement to block radioactive substances from spreading offshore.

Water leakage from pumps and piping has been reported since February even though the government declared in December that the Fukushima plant was stabilized.

Some 1,000 steel tanks to store contaminated water could be seen at the western part of the plant’s compound, showing the daunting task of disposing of water.

Sunday, February 26, 2012 15:02 +0900 (JST)

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Many hospitals in quake-hit areas ill-equipped to meet patients’ needs

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2012/02/143801.html

SENDAI, Feb. 26, Kyodo

Seventeen of 45 major hospitals in coastal areas of the three prefectures hit hard by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami are still being forced to curtail the range of their services compared with predisaster levels because they remain understaffed, a Kyodo News survey showed Sunday.

Of the 17 hospitals in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, four in Fukushima Prefecture remain closed and are unlikely to reopen anytime soon, according to the survey. Some hospitals have run into financial difficulties as they have lost some of their medical staff and patients.

Twelve hospitals reported declines in the number of doctors and seven said they had lost some of their nurses. Fourteen said they had fewer beds for inpatients and nine said they had scaled down operations by treating a narrower range of illnesses, suspending inpatient admissions or halting nighttime emergency services.

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Radiation still high around Fukushima No. 1

Kyodo

High levels of radiation, including a rate of 470 millisieverts per year at one location, have been detected in municipalities near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to an interim Environment Ministry report.

News photo
Getting a reading: Snow covers a radiation-measuring device on the campus of Fukushima University on Saturday. KYODO

A survey conducted from Nov. 7 to Jan. 16 showed that the readings topped 50 millisieverts on an annual basis — a level deemed uninhabitable under a proposed new classification — in many spots north-northwest of the crippled power station.

The highest level of 470 millisieverts was logged northwest of the plant at a spot in Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, while the lowest level of 5.8 millisieverts was detected in another part of the same town, the ministry said.

The results were similar to those of an earlier science ministry survey that used aircraft. The Environment Ministry plans to compile a final report on the survey by the end of March.

The government will use the data to reclassify the exclusion zone and the zone where people have been on evacuation alert into three categories in April.

The first category will be uninhabitable areas with annual radiation levels of 50 millisieverts or more.

The second will cover areas with levels between 20 and 50 millisieverts where access will be limited.

The third will designate areas with levels below 20 millisieverts where residents will be allowed to return in stages.

Meanwhile, the Environment Ministry said that high levels of radioactive cesium have been detected in ash and firewood in eight prefectures in the Tohoku and Kanto regions, with the highest reading — 240,000 becquerels per kilogram — measured in ash from a household in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture.

The survey on ash and firewood from 65 households also found a reading of 163,000 becquerels of cesium in ash from a household in Kawamata, Fukushima Prefecture.

Under current regulations, waste with radiation levels exceeding 100,000 becquerels must be kept at a disposal site and sealed with reinforced concrete to keep out rainwater.

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JP Gov has no technology to decommission a nuclear reactor

Posted by Mochizuki on February 25th, 2012

Japanese government and Tepco have started publicly seeking technology to decommission nuclear reactors such as decontamination of the reactor buildings and remote controlling robot.
They will accept offers until 3/9/2012.
Toshiba, Hitachi GE nuclear energy and Mitsubishi heavy industries are already supported by the government to develop the decommissioning technology, but they are still needing related technology from small and middle sized companies.

Tepco and Japanese government are planning to fix the container vissels by 2014 ~ 2012, and start picking up the melted fuel. However, they have turned out to have no technology to realize the plan.

Source

福島第1原発の廃炉技術公募 政府と東電
2012/2/24 20:58

政府と東京電力は24日、福島第1原子力発電所の原子炉の廃炉へ向け企業からの技術公募を始めた。原子炉建屋内の除染やロボットの遠隔操作などの技術をテーマに同日、官民のワークショップを経済産業省内で開き応募を呼びかけた。3月9日まで受け付ける。

東芝、日立GEニュークリア・エナジー、三菱重工業の3社は既に国の支援を受けて廃炉技術の研究開発を始めている。関連技術を中小企業などからも広く募る。具体的には除染技術や破損した原子炉格納容器の補修、ロボットの遠隔操作などの技術を求めている。

政府と東電が策定した廃炉への中長期の工程表では2014~21年に格納容器を補修し、溶融燃料の取り出しにも着手するとしている。

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For readers in the U.S….

USGS Paper: “Wet Deposition of Fission-Product Isotopes to North America from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Incident, March 2011″

The paper by Wetherbee, Gregory A. et al was published online on February 22, 2012 ahead of the print, on Environmental Science and Technology.

Abstract, from Environmental Science and Technology (emphasis is mine):

Using the infrastructure of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP), numerous measurements of radionuclide wet deposition over North America were made for 167 NADP sites before and after the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station incident of March 12, 2011. For the period from March 8 through April 5, 2011, wet-only precipitation samples were collected by NADP and analyzed for fission-product isotopes within whole-water and filterable solid samples by the United States Geological Survey using gamma spectrometry.

Variable amounts of 131I, 134Cs, or 137Cs were measured at approximately 21% of sampled NADP sites distributed widely across the contiguous United States and Alaska. Calculated 1- to 2-week individual radionuclide deposition fluxes ranged from 0.47 to 5100 Becquerels per square meter during the sampling period. Wet deposition activity was small compared to measured activity already present in U.S. soil. NADP networks responded to this complex disaster, and provided scientifically valid measurements that are comparable and complementary to other networks in North America and Europe.

The map above the abstract at Environmental Science and Technology indicates cesium-137 deposition between 0.8 to 240 becquerels/square meter. But without seeing the paper I have no idea how the numbers on the map are related to the numbers in the abstract. (My guess is that the numbers in the abstract, particularly the high number, include iodine-131.)

For more about the paper, here’s USGS webpage on the NADP.

USGS press release on February 22, 2012 regarding the paper is here.

Open-File Report detailing the results and methodology is here.

Here’s an interesting map at USGS page on the NADP. Green dots represent the NADP sites, and”Dot size represents relative deposition amounts. Fallout amounts measured in precipitation by USGS provide a clearer picture of fission-product wet deposition across the USA.”

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Portland-area had highest Iodine-131 deposition in US at 5,100 Bq/m² by April 5 -Gov’t Study

Title: Fission Products in National Atmospheric Deposition Program—Wet Deposition Samples Prior to and Following the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant Incident, March 8–April 5, 2011
Source: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Authors: Gregory A. Wetherbee, Timothy M. Debey, Mark A. Nilles, Christopher M.B. Lehmann, and David A. Gay
Date: Feb. 21, 2012
Emphasis Added

I-131 was quantified and adjusted for decay to the time of sample collection for five whole-water wet-deposition samples from California, Colorado, and Washington. The activities of the quantified I-131 ranged from 29.6 to 1,090 pCi/L, and calculated deposition values ranged from 211 to 5,100 Bq/m2. Several weeks transpired between sample collection and analysis of the I-131 in the water samples, which were prioritized for analysis from west (high priority) to east (low priority). Therefore, I-131 activities likely decayed in most of the samples before they could be measured.

WA98:

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USGS: Los Angeles area had highest cesium deposition in US after Fukushima

http://enenews.com/usgs-southern-california-area-had-highest-cesium-deposition-in-us-from-fukushima

Title: Fission Products in National Atmospheric Deposition Program—Wet Deposition Samples Prior to and Following the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Plant Incident, March 8–April 5, 2011

Source: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Authors: By Gregory A. Wetherbee, Timothy M. Debey, Mark A. Nilles, Christopher M.B. Lehmann, and David A. Gay
Date: Feb. 21, 2012

[...] Cs-134 activities were quantified for 23 samples from Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming. The Cs-134 ranged from 0.40 to 55 pCi/L, and deposition values ranged from 0.47 to 180 Bq/m2. Cs-134 values reported for all but one site (CO90 near Nederland, Colo.) have substantial error because they were manually estimated from the gamma-ray spectra. Cs-137 activities were quantified for 33 samples from Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnessota, Missouri, Montana, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. These samples ranged from 0.70 pCi/L to 39 pCi/L, and calculated deposition values ranged from 0.78 to 240 Bq/m2. Cs-134 and Cs-137 activities were not adjusted for decay to date of sample collection because radioactive decay during the 2-month period between collection and analysis was negligible for these isotopes. [...]

286 Bq/m2 of radioactive cesium was deposited by April 5 according to the monitoring station 20 miles east of Los Angeles (See CA42)

Title: Fukushima Daiichi
Source: Ornage County Register
Author: Pat Brennan
Date: Feb 22, 2012

[...] Computer models show air flow from the Pacific over the monitoring station, in a remote area near Ontario.

“That was a place where the air masses seemed to converge, and come right across Southern California,” said study author Greg Wetherbee, a chemist who works with the National Atmospheric Deposition Program at the U.S. Geological Survey. “And it happened to rain.” [...]

Read the report here

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Gov’t to demand resignation of entire TEPCO board

TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata is pictured during a Diet session on Feb. 15, 2012. (Mainichi)

TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata is pictured during a Diet session on Feb. 15, 2012. (Mainichi)

The government is set to demand that all 17 board members of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, resign at the utility’s next shareholder meeting in June, government sources said.

In return for the planned infusion of about 1 trillion yen in public funds, officials have deemed it necessary to replace all TEPCO’s board members to clarify their responsibility for the nuclear crisis.

The plan will be incorporated into a comprehensive business plan that the government-backed Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund (NDF) and TEPCO will work out in March.

The government will force TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, who has announced his intention to step down, to give up his retirement allowance, and halve the number of the utility’s board members.

The government intends to appoint an outsider such as a private company president to replace Katsumata.

Many government and NDF officials are calling for the appointment of younger TEPCO employees to the board, citing the need for a smooth handover of the handling of nuclear crisis compensation. NDF and other relevant bodies are selecting deputy general managers and department managers at the TEPCO headquarters as well as branch managers to fill positions on the board excluding chairman.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano has apparently deemed it necessary for not only the TEPCO president and chairman but the entire board to step down to avoid giving the public the impression that the infusion of public funds is aimed solely at bailing out the utility, according to government sources.

(Mainichi Japan) February 25, 2012

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News

High radiation level logged in town near Fukushima plant

The government's new radiation contamination map site is seen in this screen capture taken on Oct. 18. (Mainichi)

The government’s new radiation contamination map site is seen in this screen capture taken on Oct. 18. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — High levels of radiation have been detected in municipalities in evacuation zones around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, with the highest reading of 470 millisieverts per year recorded in one town, a midterm report on an Environment Ministry survey showed Friday.

A survey conducted between Nov. 7 and Jan. 16 showed that the annual readings topped 50 millisieverts — a level deemed uninhabitable under a proposed new classification — in many spots north-northwest of the plant that was crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The highest level of 470 millisieverts was logged at a spot in Futaba, northwest of the plant, while the lowest level of 5.8 millisieverts was detected in another part of the same town, the survey said.

[snip]

Meanwhile, the Environment Ministry also said that high levels of radioactive cesium have been detected in ash and firewood in eight prefectures in the Tohoku and Kanto regions, with the highest reading of 240,000 becquerels per kilogram measured in ash from a household in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture.

In a survey conducted on ash and firewood from 65 households, 163,000 becquerels of cesium was also detected in ash from a household in Kawamata in Fukushima. At two households in the prefecture, firewood from around the houses had been collected and used for boiling bathwater.

Read the entire article at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120225p2g00m0dm015000c.html

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Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 2 RPV: Temperatures at Bottom Seen Rising, Diverging

Something is going on inside or outside Reactor 2 Pressure Vessel. Either more thermocouples could be failing, or those that were deemed failed weren’t failing.

Here’s the latest temperature reading of the Reactor 2 RPV bottom from TEPCO (2/24/2012):

Notice:

  1. Gradual temperature divergence between 69H2 (now the “official” temperature gauge of the RPV bottom after 69H1 at 0-degree supposedly “failed”) and 69H3 (first 2 columns after the date and time column). Up till February 22, the temperature difference between these two thermocouples was 1 degrees Celsius. The difference started to widen on February 22, widened further on February 23, shrinking a little on February 24.
  2. Overall rising trend of temperatures at all thermocouples at “the bottom head” and “support skirt junction”. At 6PM on February 18, all temperatures measured at this location was below 30 degrees Celsius; at 5PM on February 24, temperatures are in the upper 30s to mid 40s.

No insight from the media there as to why this may be happening. I’ll watch TEPCO’s press conference archive later to see what TEPCO had said while I wasn’t blogging.

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In other words, you need to have a new nuclear safety agency in Japan that is better equipped to handle nuclear disasters by lying more eloquently in a way that the people will believe.

Int’l nuclear experts call for transparent regulation in Japan

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2012/02/143705.html

By Miya Tanaka
TOKYO, Feb. 25, Kyodo

International experts tasked with advising a Japanese panel investigating the Fukushima nuclear accident stressed on Saturday the need for Japan to have not only an independent but also a transparent nuclear regulation system, as the country moves to launch a new nuclear safety agency in April.

”A very important element of what the regulator must do is to ensure openness in its activities,” Richard Meserve, former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, told the panel members in Tokyo, adding that decisions reached behind closed doors have a ”corrosive effect” on people’s confidence in regulators.

Such efforts to ensure transparency in how decisions are made and the basis for such decisions would be a key factor in restoring the current ”significant lack of trust” in the government and plant operators by the Japanese public, the president of the Carnegie Institution for Science said.

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Overwork death recognized for worker at Fukushima plant

In this photo taken on June 22, 2011 and released on Thursday, June 23, 2011 by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), workers in protective suits set up temporary pressure gauges in the Unit 2 reactor building at the tsunami-damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture. (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

In this photo taken on June 22, 2011 and released on Thursday, June 23, 2011 by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), workers in protective suits set up temporary pressure gauges in the Unit 2 reactor building at the tsunami-damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture. (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

SHIZUOKA (Kyodo) — The death last May of a man who had engaged in work at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after the nuclear crisis erupted there in March was recognized Friday as caused by overwork, according to a lawyer representing the man’s bereaved family.

A local labor standards inspection office in Yokohama, acting on a workers’ compensation claim by the family of Nobukatsu Osumi, who died of a heart attack at age 60, determined that his cardiac infarction was caused by excessive physical and mental burdens arising from working overnight wearing protective gear and mask, lawyer Akio Ohashi said.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120225p2g00m0dm014000c.html

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Decontamination info center opens in Fukushima

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/20120225_14.html

The Environment Ministry and Fukushima Prefecture have begun to provide people concerned about radiation with information on how to clean up contaminated property.

Officials at an information center which opened last month in Fukushima City began to assist local residents on Saturday.
They offer information about decontamination steps and giving advice on how to do the work.

At the center, radiation counters and high-pressure sprays that are needed to remove radioactive substances from houses are on display.

People who are planning to decontaminate their houses by themselves can seek advice from experts.

Visitors are taking a look at booklets published by the central and prefectural governments on effective ways to remove such substances.

A visitor said he wants to learn about cleanup work and what methods public offices are using as he lives in a contaminated area.

Masaru Moriya, who leads a task force of the environment ministry, says he hopes the center will help people in Fukushima to obtain appropriate knowledge on dealing with radiation.

Saturday, February 25, 2012 13:59 +0900 (JST)

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Japanese journalist suffers from severe diarrhea after visiting Fukushima plant

Posted by Mochizuki on February 24th, 2012 · 4 Comments

Following up this article ..[LIVE] Inside of Fukushima plants (1,500 microSv/h in the bus)

A Japanese journalist, Iwakami Yasumi has been suffering from severe diarrhea since he visited Fukushima Plants.

He tweeted like this below

岩上安身
‏ @iwakamiyasumi

この3日、体調がすぐれず、特に昨日、今日と、かなり手強い下痢と腹痛。病院に行ったら、虫垂炎と診断されました。過労で免役力が低下したためだろうと。腹膜炎はまだ起こしていないので、入院、開腹手術の必要性は今はないが、自宅で安静にしつつ、絶食を火曜日まで続けること、と言い渡されました。Source

<Translation>

I’ve been sick these 3 days. Especially yesterday and today, I suffer from severe diarrhea and stomachache. My doctor diagnosed it as apendicitis. He says probably I had my immune system weaken by overworking. I still haven’t had peritonitis so no need of having open abdominal surgery, but was told to stay safe at home, don’t eat anything until Tuesday.

<End>

岩上安身
‏ @iwakamiyasumi

続き。今週末は、新潟に行き、土曜日には講演、日曜日にはトークカフェを開くことになっていましたが、下痢がひどく、外出できるような状況ではないので、新潟の皆様には、本当に申し訳ないのですが、今回は見合わせることをお許しくださいm(_ _)m。Source

<Translation>

I scheduled to go to Niigata for this weekend. Giving a lecture on Saturday and open  a talk cafe on Sunday but because the diarrhea is too terrible, I can’t even go out. I’m so sorry for the people in Niigata but please forgive me to cancel it.

<End>

岩上安身
‏ @iwakamiyasumi

この間も、数回、トイレに行ってました。もうほとんど水分。おしりが痛い。ウォシュレットだったら、どんなによかったか。Source

<Translation>

(When I was tweeting) I have been in the toilet. It’s almost like water. Ass hurts. I wish it was bidet.

<End>

岩上安身
‏ @iwakamiyasumi

病院で血液検査の結果、炎症反応は左右に広がる目盛りの右側マックスに。白血球の数は、中くらい。これからどんどん増えて、体内で戦うのだと。戦さのピークはこれからですとドクター。抗生剤の点滴、明日も。先ほどから急な発熱。寒気がブルブルと止まらず、何重にも着込む。頑張れ、おれの免役力。Source

<Translation>

I had my blood tested at hospital. Inflammation reaction was at the maximum. The white blood cell ‘s counter was about in the middle of the normal range. Doctor says, it’s going to increase and strengthen the immune system. The climax hasn’t come yet, he says. Had an injection of anti-biotics. had a sudden fever since a while ago. can’t stop shivering, wearing many clothes. Go for it, my immune system.

<End>

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http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2012022500194

Tokyo Govt Asks Chubu Electric to Supply Power

Tokyo, Feb. 25 (Jiji Press)–The Tokyo metropolitan government has asked Chubu Electric Power Co. <9502> to supply electricity for use at its headquarters buildings in Shinjuku Ward, informed sources said Saturday.
Through the measure, the metropolitan government may be intending to prompt Tokyo Electric Power Co. <9501> to review its planned electricity rate hikes, the sources said.
TEPCO, which serves Tokyo and surrounding areas, said last month it will raise its electricity rates for large-lot users by 17 pct on average from April to cover a surge in costs for fuel for thermal power generation as the utility faces a sharp fall in its supply capacity due to the shutdown of its nuclear power reactors following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami last year.
The Tokyo government has repeatedly stressed that it cannot accept the hike unless TEPCO takes drastic restructuring measures such as asset sales and deep cuts in costs.
Electricity consumption at the Shinjuku headquarters buildings is expected to total 40 million kilowatt-hours in fiscal 2011 that ends on March 31, with electricity bills seen to reach some 550 million yen.

(2012/02/25-15:15)

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If you are in the UK, you might be able to watch this:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01cpd2m

Inside the Meltdown

Episode image for Inside the Meltdown

DURATION: 1 HOUR

International investigative documentary series. When a tsunami struck Japan in 2011, it swamped the Fukushima nuclear complex causing nuclear meltdown and releasing radiation that ultimately would leave hundreds of square miles uninhabitable, and cost a hundred thousand people their homes.

With unique footage and powerful eyewitness testimony from key figures in the drama – the engineers in the plant, firemen, soldiers, pilots, tsunami survivors, the Japanese prime minister and even the MD of the company operating the plant – Inside the Meltdown reveals what really happened in the extraordinary days after the tsunami as a disaster unfolded that Japan’s nuclear industry said would never happen.

It tells the story of workers inside the plant’s pitch-dark, radio-active reactor buildings desperately trying to stop reactors exploding as radiation levels rose inexorably. ‘In the control room people were saying we were finished,’ says one. ‘They were saying it quietly but they were saying it.’ It meets the helicopter pilots who desperately dropped water from above the radioactive cores, and the firemen who braved radiation to spray water onto melting nuclear fuel. ‘We chose all the over 40s’, their chief tells the programme. ‘These were the guys who were not going to be having any more children.’

Inside the Meltdown also reveals the tensions between the plant’s owners and an increasingly distrustful Japanese prime minister, struggling to get at the truth of what was happening, fearful the owners planned to abandon the plant. He reveals his experts at one point warned he might need to evacuate vast areas of Japan, even the capital Tokyo. ‘That first week, we walked a razor thin line,’ he tells This World.

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Two announcements of events held in the U.S.:

The USC Center for Japanese Religions and Culture is pleased to present:
THURSDAY, 1 MARCH

CJRC Lecture Series Luncheon
THE GREAT TOHOKU EARTHQUAKE, ONE YEAR LATER:
A Discussion About Japan’s Path To Recovery Based On Volunteer
Experience

By Scott Wilbur Ph.D. Student (Politics and International Relations),
USC School of International Relations

Location: East Asian Seminar Room (110C), Doheny Memorial Library
Time: 12:30 PM-2:00 PM

BIOGRAPHY
Scott Wilbur is a first-year student and Provost Fellow in USC’s
Political Science and International Relations Ph.D. program. Prior to USC, Scott completed a BS in Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a MA in Political Science at National Taiwan University. His research interests include Japanese political economy and Asia-Pacific regionalism, and his most recent work focuses on the domestic determinants of Japan’s trade policy.
ABSTRACT
In December 2011 Scott spent ten days in the coastal town of Minami Sanriku-cho in Miyagi Prefecture volunteering with the Japanese branch of Caritas, an international Catholic charity organization. On March 11, 2011, tsunami wreaked tremendous damage on Minami Sanriku-cho, claiming the lives of over 500 people, flooding half the town’s residential areas and leaving as many as 9,000 inhabitants without shelter. Scott’s talk
will be based on his volunteer experience in Minami Sanriku-cho, and will be followed by a discussion on how the town and Japan as a whole are recovering from the 3.11 disasters.

This event is free and open to the public. Lunch and refreshments will be provided!
Please RSVP to cjrc@dornsife.usc.edu.

Kana Yoshida
Center for Japanese Religions and Culture
USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
825 Bloom Walk, ACB 130D
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1481
Tel. (213) 821-4365

=  +  =  +  =  +  =

CONF Lessons of Fukushima, Feb. 24-25, 2012

************************************************************************
From: Cecily McCaffrey <cmccaffr@willamette.edu>

LESSONS OF FUKUSHIMA
a symposium for education, collaboration, inspiration

February 24-25, 2012
Paulus Lecture Hall, Rm. 201, Law School
Willamette University

Sponsored by:
Center for Asian Studies, Willamette University
Center for Sustainable Communities, Willamette University
with the assistance of the Government of Canada
avec l’appui du gouvernement du Canada

This event is free and open to the public. The proceedings will be viewable via a live stream (all times PST) at:
http://www.willamette.edu/events/fukushima/stream/index.html

Friday February 24

Opening ceremony: 3:00-3:15 pm

Welcome
Marlene Moore, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Willamette University

Opening remarks
Hon. Takamichi Okabe, Consul General of Japan

Keynote address: 3:15-4:30 pm

The 3.11 Disaster and Japan’s Environmental Past: Placing Fukushima in the Context of the Anthropocene
Brett Walker, Regents Professor, Montana State University

Panel: 4:45-5:45 pm

The Impact of the Fukushima Disasters on the Japanese People
Moderator: Linda Tamura, Willamette University School of Education

Impressions on Recovery in Northeastern Japan
Carol Skowron, Senior Program Officer for Japan, Mercy Corps

Children and Education in Fukushima after 3.11
Katsuya Endo, Tokyo International University

Saturday February 25

Panel: 9:00-10:30 am
Information Flows and Risk Analysis in the Aftermath of the Crises
Moderator: Steve Maser, Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University

Poor Risk Communication surrounding the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: The Importance of Citizen Participation
Pablo Figueroa, Waseda University

Lessons From Fukushima: Governments and the Media Will Deceive the Public and Withhold Vital Information, Leaving Citizens to Create Informal Information Sharing Networks
Majia Holmer Nadesan, Arizona State University

What is at Risk?: A Perspective from Fukushima
Yoko Ikeda, Independent Scholar

Panel: 11:00 am -12:30 pm
North American Perspectives on the Fukushima Disasters
Moderator: Gunnar Gunderson, Tokyo International University of America

“Freeze Our Fukushimas”; Why We Must Permanently Close the GE Mark I Boiling Water Reactors
Paul Gunter, Beyond Nuclear

From Fukushima to the Great Lakes Basin
Anna Tilman, International Institute of Concern for Public Health
co-author Lisa Rumiel, McMaster University

Fallout from Fukushima: Nuclear Contamination and the Environmental Rights of Children
Warren Binford, Willamette University College of Law

Panel: 1:45-3:15 pm
Personal experiences of 3.11: One year later
Moderator: Cecily McCaffrey, Willamette University

Out of Fukushima: Friends
Brianna Harris, Independent Scholar

Immediate Experiences of 3.11
Kenneth Hendricks, Willamette University
Atsushi Yoshida, Willamette University/Tokyo International University

Witnessing the Aftermath of 3.11
Emily Abraham, Willamette University
Heather Hurlburt, Willamette University

Closing remarks 3:15-3:30 pm
Ronald Loftus, Director of the Center for Asian Studies, Willamette University

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Stricter limits on radiation in food to start April 1 in Japan

In this March 24, 2011 file photo, farmer Sumiko Matsuno, left, and her friend harvest carrots on her farm to eat since she fears no one will buy them with the radiation fallout in Fukushima. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

In this March 24, 2011 file photo, farmer Sumiko Matsuno, left, and her friend harvest carrots on her farm to eat since she fears no one will buy them with the radiation fallout in Fukushima. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan will enforce stricter limits on radioactive cesium found in food, which come between one-20th and a quarter of the current provisional limits depending on food categories, from April 1 when the new fiscal year begins, the health ministry formally decided on Friday.

The new ceilings, which will come more than a year after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crippled last March began leaking radiation, are set at 100 becquerels per kilogram of cesium for regular food items such as meat, vegetables and fish, 50 becquerels for milk and infant food, and 10 becquerels for drinking water.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120224p2g00m0dm084000c.html

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Panel thinks fast-breeder reactor not realistic option for 20-30 yrs

The experimental nuclear reactor Monju is seen in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, on Nov. 17, 2011. (Mainichi)

The experimental nuclear reactor Monju is seen in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, on Nov. 17, 2011. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A panel of experts reviewing Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle policy in the wake of last year’s nuclear accident agreed Thursday that while a fuel cycle involving a fast-breeder reactor has some advantages, it cannot be considered as a realistic option for the next 20 to 30 years from a technological viewpoint.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120224p2g00m0dm025000c.html

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23,300 Bq/Kg of Radioactive Cesium from a Mix of Wet Soil and Dead Leaves in Mizumoto Park in Tokyo

(Sorry, you can’t just multiply the number by 65 and compare it to the Chernobyl evacuation level. Read on to find out why.)

The Mizumoto Metropolitan Park is located in the eastern Tokyo with elevated radiation levels. The Communist Party delegation of Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, who has done the survey of radiation levels in Tokyo from very early on in the nuclear crisis, released the result of the latest survey in one of the Metropolitan parks in Tokyo.

The survey found 23,300 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium from a wet mix of dirt and dead leaves in one location in the Mizumoto Park in Katsushika-ku, Tokyo (No. 4 location in the table posted below).

The delegation did three tests at this location with 2 samples taken on February 15. The third test was done on February 18 by combining the two samples taken on February 15 and tested on February 16 and 17.

It may be important to note that the Communist Party delegation tested the top 1 centimeter of the soil, and the top 1 to 2 centimeters of the soil and dead leaves mixture. The measured numbers may therefore be higher than the samples taken from the top 5 centimeters, which is a normal procedure in the government tests.

To derive “becquerel/square meter” from “becquerel/kg”, you multiply “becquerel/kg” number by 65, but that only applies if the soil is taken from the top 5 centimeters. (Ibaraki Prefecture’s measurement page as reference, here.)

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/02/23300-bqkg-of-radioactive-cesium-from.html

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Japanese Magazine “Sensationalizes”: “Thyroid Cancer Suspected on Two Children Aged 4 and 7″

One of the major Japanese weekly magazine, Shukan Bunshun has a sensational article on its latest issue about thyroid “cancer” in children who evacuated from Fukushima. Let’s see if the Japanese MSM and the government attack the publisher for “fear-mongering”, just like they reflexively do for the “international” media.

The article on the magazine’s 3/1/2012 issue is available only in print. The following is what little I gathered from tweets including the photo of the printed article in Japan:

Serious abnormalities found in 11 evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture
4-year-old and 7-year-old may have “thyroid cancer”
Medically impossible nodules and cysts…
Shunichi Yamashita, Vice President of Fukushima Medical University emailed “Do not test them.” (Title of the Bunshun article)

Reporting by “Oshidori Maco”, comedian who’s been reporting on the Fukushima accident since last year, and particularly supporting people of Iitate-mura.

7-year old girl had 8 millimeter nodule on her thyroid. The nodule was found with microcalcifications [which may be a sign of cancer]. Her 2-year-old sister also had 2 millimeter nodule with microcalcifications. The doctor who examined them said “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/02/japanese-magazine-sensationalizes.html

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Asahi Source: Locations in Chiba came under heavy nuclear fallout; Borders Tokyo — Contamination has potential to affect ecosystems

http://enenews.com/asahi-source-locations-in-chiba-came-under-heavy-nuclear-fallout-borders-tokyo-contamination-has-potential-to-affect-ecosystems-in-areas

Title: Cesium concentrations vary in river, lake sand around Fukushima

Source: AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
Author: TAKASHI SUGIMOTO, Staff Writer
Date: Feb 24, 2012

Concentrations of radioactive cesium at the bottoms of rivers and lakes vary widely, but include some with the potential to affect ecosystems, according to Environment Ministry studies on water systems. [...]

Fukushima

waterborne radioactive cesium [...] of 7 becquerels per liter [was] detected in a river in Fukushima Prefecture.

[Note: 7 Bq/L = 7,000 Bq/m3; The highest concentration of cesium found during the much-publicized research trip headed by Ken Buesseler is 4,000 Bq/m3]

Sendai

dry sand [...] reading was 11,100 becquerels per kilogram along the Nanakitagawa river in Sendai.

Ibaraki and Chiba

Some rivers in Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures also showed high readings. They mostly coincide with locations that came under heavy nuclear fallout from the Fukushima No. 1 plant, the sources said.

Gunma and Tochigi

Sand beneath ponds and lakes in some mountainous areas of Gunma and Tochigi prefectures produced relatively high readings. Cesium likely flowed in from the surrounding woods, where radiation levels are high.

Read the report

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As someone pointed out, these are not just “chickens”. Chicken is a kind of meat. These were hens, living, breathing creatures who did not deserve to die of starvation.

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At least 4.37 million chickens died from lack of feed after quake shut ports

In this Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011, photo, the town of Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, is seen at dusk almost six months after it was destroyed by the March 11 tsunami. (AP Photo/Greg Baker)

In this Sunday, Sept. 4, 2011, photo, the town of Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, is seen at dusk almost six months after it was destroyed by the March 11 tsunami. (AP Photo/Greg Baker)

After the Great East Japan Earthquake damaged and closed ports, at least 4.37 million chickens being raised in Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures died, leading to a shortage of eggs in eastern Japan.

Japan depends on imports for three quarters of its chicken feed, but the damage to the ports cut supplies to northeast Japan and the northern Kanto region. Additionally, prices for corn, which accounts for half of the feed, have jumped across the world as corn is repurposed for use in bioethanol fuel. The earthquake revealed the fragility of import-dependent livestock farming, and the status of the egg as a low-priced commodity looks like it could change.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120223p2a00m0na011000c.html

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Children’s radiation doses to guide decontamination in Fukushima Pref. city

SOMA, Fukushima — City authorities here will prioritize decontamination of areas where children’s external radiation exposure is estimated to be 2 millisieverts or more per year, it has been learned.

The Soma Municipal Government made the decision on Feb. 22. The city will also offer medical consultations to local residents.

“It’s important to detect how much radiation children were exposed to and respond appropriately,” said Soma Mayor Hidekiyo Tachiya. “Based on the measured values, we will set priorities in carrying out effective decontamination work.”

[snip]

At schools in mountainous areas where the airborne radiation doses stood at 1 microsievert per hour, some 50 percent of elementary school children and approximately 70 percent of junior high school students registered 2 millisieverts or more. Even at schools in the plains, where the airborne radiation doses were relatively low at 0.2 to 0.4 microsieverts per hour, several children were found to have been exposed to 2 millisieverts or more of radiation. The results indicate that the exposure levels vary depending on areas as well as individuals.

Read the entire article at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120223p2a00m0na009000c.html

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http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120223a2.html

Cesium found 640 km off Fukushima in June

AP

SALT LAKE CITY — Radioactivity from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster has been detected as far away as 643 km offshore in the Pacific Ocean.

Scientists say ocean water showed readings of up to 1,000 times prior levels of cesium-137 from the stricken Fukushima plant. But they say the new readings are far below the levels that are generally considered harmful, either to marine animals or people who eat seafood.

The results are from water samples taken in June, about three months after the disaster caused by a powerful earthquake and the tsunami that followed.

The findings were reported Tuesday at a scientific meeting in the United States.

Answer: Pave the seabed

Kyodo

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said on Tuesday it will cover the seabed near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant with cement and clay to prevent the spread of highly radioactive substances deposited there by a water leak at the plant last April.

Construction of a two-layer 70,000-sq.-meter cover will begin this month and is scheduled to take three to four months to complete, it said.

Tepco expects the cover to last 50 years.

The move is aimed at preventing waves and turbulence generated by ships using the port from disturbing radioactive material near the plant, which has been crippled since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

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Info from SAFECAST list serv:

Radiation sensitive restaurants and stores

          The following map of radiation sensitive restaurants and stores is growing fast:

http://maps.google.co.jp/maps/ms?msid=208882130332007803467.0004b76aa28b8ca18d879&msa=0

      Yellow balloon: restaurant
      Light Blue balloon: stores with dining area
      Blue balloon: stores and supermarket selling food from western Japan and Kyushu
      Green balloon: imported food store
      Pink balloon: radiation measuring service
          Details about restaurants :

http://okfood.blog.fc2.com/blog-category-3.html

          • The Soul of Seoul (Korean Barbecue), Omotesando, Shibuya, Tokyo

http://thesoulofseoul.info/

        Equipped with Berthold’s radiation survey equipmetnt. All ingredients are from Kyushu or imported. All water used is Crystal Kaiser.
          • Monte-Mare Tottorine (Italian), Shinbashi, Tokyo

http://www.tottori-plaza.jp/MONTE-MARE.html

        All ingredients, including milk, are from Tottori prefecture. The shop on the first floor sells food from Tottori and restaurant is on the second floor.
          • Elio Locanda Italiana (Italian), Kojimachi, Kanda, Tokyo

http://www.elio.co.jp/

        All ingredients are 1Bq/kg or less, tested with a germanium semiconductor detector.
          • Chikappa (Italian) Ginza, Tokyo

http://r.gnavi.co.jp/e736201/

        Many ingredients from Kyushu.
          • Nigiri Chojiro (Kaiten Sushi) Nerima, Saitama, etc.

http://chojiro.jp/index.php

          Rice from Fukui prefecture as of Feb. 2, 2012. This page shows where their fish comes from:

http://chojiro.jp/origin/index.php

          • L’occitane Cafe, Dogenzaka, Shibuya and Minami-Ikebukuro

http://www.loccitane.co.jp/shop/cafe/menu2011.aspx

        No vegetable from northeastern Japan and Kanto. Origin of vegetables are indicated on blackboard inside the cafe.
          • Casa de Fujimori (Spanish) Kannai, Yokohama

http://casa-de-fujimori.co.jp/store-kannai.shtml

        Vegetables from western Japan and Kyushu. Meat from Kyushu, Spain, Italy. Egg from Tottori prefecture.
          • Kamukura (Noodle)

http://www.kamukura.co.jp/

        Vegetables from Nagano prefecture, western Japan and Kyushu. Meat from Europe and U.S. (as of Jan. 18. 2012)
          • Aurora (Japanese) Fussa city, Tokyo

http://aurora2001.com/

        Equipped with ATOMEX AT1320a. Food measuring service is also available for 2980yen.
        Ingredients are 10Bq/kg or less sourced from western Japan and Hokkaido. As for marine products, only oyster from Hiroshima and imported salmon are served.
          • Bagle & Bagle

http://bagelbagel.jp/

        Water from the U.S. Cheese and suger, etc are imported. Some of the vegetables are from Kanto and northeast Japan.
          • Crayon House (Organic), Omotesando, Tokyo

http://www.crayonhouse.co.jp/home/index.html

        No ingredients from Saitama, Ibaraki, Chiba, Tochigi, Fukushima. Spot check on ingredients.

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There is an AVAAZ online petition that is asking to recognize a petition for a referendum on nuclear power generation in Japan. Please sign and alert your friends.

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The horror, the horror…: a videotape tale of two nuclear plants

There are moments in life where even an old agnostic like me is obliged to take sides in the battle between good and evil, between candy and crack cocaine, between… well, just watch these videos and make up your own mind.

In the first video, children from Tokyo and Fukushima visit the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka in December 2011. …..

The second (short) video is an Asahi TV report on the second visit to the plant by journalists, which took place on February 20…..

Read the entire article and view the videos at:

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 Three cheers for Kuwait?

Kuwait scraps nuclear power in light of Fukushima crisis

KUWAIT (Kyodo) — Kuwait is no longer pursuing nuclear power following the disaster in Japan, scrapping a plan last July to build four reactors by 2022, an official of a Kuwaiti government research body told Kyodo News and other media Tuesday.

While a number of countries, such as Germany, Switzerland and Italy, have decided to turn away from nuclear power due to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crisis, it is rare for a country which has signed a civil nuclear power cooperation agreement with Japan to do so.

Article continues at:

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Just 5% of Tohoku disaster debris disposed of

Hosono urges areas outside impact zone to join slow-going cleanup effort

Kyodo

Only 5 percent of the debris generated by the devastating earthquake and tsunami last March has been incinerated or otherwise disposed of, Environment Minister Goshi Hosono said Tuesday, calling for local government support nationwide to help with the massive cleanup task.

Some local governments have announced their intention to cooperate, but only the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has actually accepted the waste amid lingering radiation fears. The waste does not include debris from Fukushima Prefecture.With 22.53 million tons of waste estimated to have been generated in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, the Environment Ministry wants local governments outside the three prefectures to accept some of the waste on condition that its radiation level is confirmed safe.

Article continues at:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120222a1.html

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Arnie Gundersen at the Japan National Press Club

The Japan National Press Club hosts Arnie Gundersen. Over 80 journalists were present where questions were asked regarding the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi and the ongoing risks associated with the GE Mark 1 BWR nuclear reactors.

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U.S. worried about Fukushima meltdown early on: commission transcript

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2012/02/143172.html

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, Kyodo

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission released Tuesday some 3,000 pages of transcripts from the days following Japan’s tsunami and nuclear disaster last March, showing that U.S. officials were concerned at an early stage about possible meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and their debate over the scope of the evacuation zone.

The documents showed that as early as March 16, five days after the accident, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko projected ”a worst scenario” that all three operating reactors at the crippled plant might be experiencing meltdowns.

”The reactors would likely eventually…breach primary containment and have some type of (radioactive) release,” he said during a conference call, while adding that ”it’s difficult to predict the magnitude of that released.”

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NYTimes: NRC official predicted rising levels of radioactivity may stop airliners from coming to Tokyo — “Unfathomable” challenges for Japan

http://enenews.com/nyt-nrc-official-predicted-rising-levels-radioactivity-stop-airliners-coming-tokyo-unfathomable-challenges-japan

Title: Transcripts Show U.S. Confusion Early in Japan Nuclear Crisis

Source: NYTimes.com
Author: Matthew L Wald
Date: Feb 21, 2012

[...] the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] released a cache of transcripts of internal conference calls beginning hours after the earthquake. [...]“This government has got tremendous, tremendous, I mean, unfathomable challenges,” said another official, Charles Casto, the deputy administrator for the N.R.C. region that covers the western United States.

Speaking from Tokyo, he predicted that rising levels of radioactivity might stop airliners from coming to Tokyo. (This did not happen.) [...]

Read the report here

 

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Nuclear Power and Shifts in Japanese Public Opinion

原子力発電と日本における世論の推移

Feb. 13, 2012

Matthew Penney

In April 2011, about a month after the 3.11 disasters, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun reported that opposition to nuclear power had changed fairly little. A 2007 poll established that 7% of Japanese wished to do away with nuclear power completely, 21% wished to decrease reliance, 53% wanted to maintain the current situation, and 13% wanted more nuclear power generation. April 2011 numbers were only marginally different: 11% desired elimination of nuclear power, 30% wanted a decrease, 51% wanted to maintain the current situation, and 5% wished for an increase. 56% however reported “much unease” at the Fukushima accident with a further 33% feeling “some unease”. While there was no immediate turnabout in public opinion, increasingly critical reporting in the second half of 2011 from the Asahi and Manichi Shimbun, weeklies like Kinyobi and Diamond, as well as the publication of dozens of books highlighting malfeasance in the nuclear industry, the safety oversights leading up to the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns, and decades of casual irradiation of temporary workers in the nuclear industry, a great shift seems to be underway.

In November of last year, national broadcaster NHK reported the results of an opinion poll that indicated 70% of Japanese wished to see nuclear power eliminated or reliance on it significantly reduced. The numbers of people feeling uneasy over the spread of radiation from Fukushima Daiichi declined little through the year, highlighting the fact that the government response, even with the shift from the Kan to Noda cabinets and accompanying promises of increased disclosure, has done little to alleviate public fears of contamination of the environment, food chain and health effects.

Yomiuri Shimbun article released around the same time as the NHK report, however, suggested that the Japanese public is resigned to maintaining the use of nuclear power in the short term. When given the option, 57% of those polled indicated that they wish to see existing plants continue to operate, while believing that no new ones should be built. Japanese public opinion on this issue is complex and the phrasing of questions and the answer options that poll respondents can choose from can result in very different results. Taking the NHK andYomiuri polls together, however, shows strong resistance to new plants being built, but also indicates a continued commitment to nuclear energy in the short to medium term.

What about the long term, however? Another Yomiuri poll, this time mainly focused on relations between Japan and its neighbours and also reported in November 2011, may shed some light on this crucial question. First, 87% of Japanese polled in the negative when asked if their government did an adequate job of providing information to the public after 3.11. When asked what type of energy Japan should rely on in the future, a great majority of 71% chose solar with only 6% picking nuclear and the balance going to oil and natural gas and other answers. When these numbers are taken into account, it seems that the Japanese public is solidly behind government plans to fund solar energy research and development, and no longer imagines nuclear to be a long term option.

Finally, a government survey on lifestyle released on January 30 reveals that nearly 60% of Japanese report that they have tried to cut down on energy use since 3.11. By comparison, only 28% report acting on feelings of unease about food safety by “taking care” in selecting food products. By this measure it appears that concern with energy policy as well as with individual energy use may be becoming a significant legacy of 3.11 for the public nationwide. Also important to note, however, is that far more Japanese want the government to address medical care, pensions, and the social safety net (67.1%) and economic recovery (66.3%) then recovery from the 3.11 disasters (51%). While the crisis of last year captured international attention and the attention of Japan watchers specifically, it is necessary to keep in mind that for many Japanese, lingering issues of economic decline, poverty, inequality, and the problems associated with ageing (a “problem” that 53.4% believe needs to be immediately addressed) remain at the forefront.

Matthew Penney is an Assistant Professor at Concordia University and a Japan Focus Coordinator.

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Just a comment before the following article.

Take a good look at the picture you see below. It is the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s number 4 reactor. This is the reactor whose building has been rumored to be “leaning”. Interesting that workers are paying particular interest to this building, dismantling the outside walls and clearing debris sooner than those of the other reactor buildings. Could be many reasons for this (lower levels of radiation, perhaps. See article from The Independent below). However, it is a fact that the building holds a spent fuel pool – a tank up above the main floor. In that pool reside, at the moment, 135 tons of fuel. In has also been pointed out that a large aftershock or another, separate quake under the Fukushima plant may occur. Should that happen, it certainly wouldn’t be pretty, and experts are worried about how that fuel would stand up in such a wobbly structure.

Hurry, Henry, hurry.

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Fukushima nuclear plant shown to media, plant chief apologizes for water leaks

Several workers are seen tending to the remains of the No. 4 reactor that was heavily damaged by a hydrogen explosion shortly after the outbreak of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in this photo taken on Feb. 20. (Mainichi)

Several workers are seen tending to the remains of the No. 4 reactor that was heavily damaged by a hydrogen explosion shortly after the outbreak of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in this photo taken on Feb. 20. (Mainichi)

OKUMA, Fukushima — The crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant was shown to the media on Feb. 20 for the first time since the government declared in December that the nuclear facility had achieved a stable “cold shutdown” state.

The media tour of the nuclear plant was aimed at letting people know about progress being made in efforts to bring the troubled nuclear power station under control. But a rough road still lies ahead for the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to bring the plant under control, as levels of radiation remain high there and truck-mounted pumps to inject water into the reactors leaked water frequently due to the water freezing.

The plant’s chief Takeshi Takahashi, 54, apologized for the repeated water leaks, telling visiting reporters, “We have taken measures primarily to keep key facilities warm, but there is no denying that our calculations were inaccurate.”

Article continues at:

=  +  =  +  =  +  =

and a snip from an article over at the Wall Street Journal:

Reactor No. 4 appeared badly damaged but Tepco officials blamed that on the force of the explosion at No. 3. A dozen or so workers could be seen on the roof of that building. That’s near the location of the reactor’s spent-fuel pool – the pool of water where nuclear fuel rods are stored when they’re not active in the reactor. Since unit 4 had been undergoing major maintenance at the time of the disaster, all the reactor’s fuel rods were in the pool for storage, making it a particular concern for experts worried about the weight of the fuel in a building that may have been damaged by the magnitude 9 earthquake last March.

Read the entire article at:

http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2012/02/20/another-look-at-the-inside-of-fukushima-daiichi/

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Greater jolts may hit capital in future Tokyo Bay quake: gov’t study

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2012/02/142937.html

TOKYO, Feb. 21, Kyodo

A future earthquake in the northern part of Tokyo Bay could register the maximum 7 on the Japanese intensity scale in the capital, stronger than the previously assumed upper 6, a recent study by an education ministry project team showed Tuesday.

The larger intensity estimate for the envisaged quake of magnitude 7.3, which is one of the major quakes predicted to hit Tokyo, comes from a finding that its epicenter could be shallower than previously thought, according to the study.

When a quake of intensity upper 6 or 7 strikes, people cannot stay standing, most unsecured furniture moves and wall tiles and windows are likely to break and fall outdoors, but the furniture may even be thrown through the air in the latter case while reinforced concrete block walls may also collapse, the Japan Meteorological Agency says.

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From The Wall Street Journal

Picture Japan: Back Inside Fukushima Daiichi

http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2012/02/21/picture-japan-back-inside-fukushima-daiichi/?mod=WSJBlog&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

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Survey: 95% of disaster debris not yet disposed of

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/20120221_20.html

The Japanese Environment Ministry says 95 percent of debris from last year’s disaster in northeastern Japan has yet to be disposed of more than 11 months on.

The March 11 quake and tsunami created more than 22 million tons of debris on the coasts of hardest-hit Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures alone.

The ministry said on Tuesday that just over one million tons, or 5 percent, of debris has been either incinerated or buried. 72 percent is still stored at temporary sites.

The ministry says many of the incinerators planned for disaster-stricken municipalities have yet to enter operation. It cites the difficulty in finding sites for new incinerators.

The ministry also says disposal in other areas of Japan, expected to shoulder 4 million tons of debris, has hardly begun.

Environment Minister Goshi Hosono told reporters the ministry’s goal of completing disposal by the end of March, 2014 is unrealistic.

He asked municipalities outside the disaster-affected region to help, noting that delays are greatly hampering reconstruction.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 13:25 +0900 (JST)

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More on the media’s visit to Daiichi from EX-SKF at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/02/independent-fukushima-return-to.html

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2012

The Independent: Fukushima – Return to the disaster zone

Unlike the Japanese MSM who posted perfunctory reports on their press tour of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant on February 20, 2012, David McNeill writing for UK’s The Independent filed a more detailed, personal report on his return to Fukushima I Nuke Plant, as follows:

The Independent (2/21/2012)

Fukushima: Return to the disaster zone

By David McNeill

The journey to Fukushima Daiichi begins at the border of the 12-mile exclusion zone that surrounds the ruined nuclear complex, beyond which life has frozen in time. Weeds reclaim the gardens of empty homes along a route that emptied on a bitterly cold night almost a year ago. Shop signs hang unrepaired from the huge quake that rattled this area on 11 March, triggering the meltdown of three reactors and a series of explosions that showered the area with contamination. Cars wait outside supermarkets where their owners left them in Tomioka, Okuma and Futaba – once neat, bustling towns. Even birds have deserted this area, if recent research is to be believed.

The reason is signalled by a symphony of beeping noises from dosimeters on our bus. As we drive through a police checkpoint and into the town of Tomioka, about 15km from the plant, the radioactivity climbs steadily, hitting 15 microsieverts per hour at the main gate to the nuclear complex. At the other end of the plant, where the gaping buildings of its three most damaged reactors face the Pacific Ocean, the radiation level is 100 times this high, making it still too dangerous to work there.

Inside the plant’s emergency co-ordination building, the air is filled with the sound of humming filters labouring to keep the contamination out. Hundreds of people work here, many sleeping in makeshift beds. Workers in radiation suits and full-face masks wander in and out. A large digital clock showing the current radiation reading inside the building dominates the wall of the central control room, where officials from operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) huddle around computers.

“Our main challenge now is to remove the nuclear fuel from the reactors,” explains Takeshi Takahashi in his first interview since he took over as plant manager two months ago. “It’s a technically very difficult problem, but we cannot hurry.” His predecessor Masao Yoshida was forced to quit in December after being diagnosed with cancer – unrelated to his work, insists Tepco.

Mr Takahashi looks exhausted but says he is satisfied with the progress being made in bringing the plant to “a state of cold shutdown”, meaning radiation releases are under control and the temperature of its nuclear fuel is consistently below boiling point.

The term is considered controversial. Engineers have only a rough idea of where exactly the melted fuel lies inside the damaged reactors, or of its exact state. The fuel is being kept cool by thousands of gallons of water that Tepco pumps on to it every day and which it is struggling to decontaminate. Engineers are frantically working to build more water tanks – on a ridge about 65ft from the reactors is a field of 1,000-ton water tanks. A crew is levelling land to make way for more.

We are told to wear our full-face masks for the climax of the visit – a tour of the six reactors. Every inch of our bodies is covered and even in the sub-zero temperatures of Fukushima in February, it is unbearably hot. Thousands of men worked through last year’s summer heat of over 30C in this protective gear, struggling to clear debris and bring water to the reactors. “They were dropping like files in the heat,” said one worker. “But they just had to keep going.”

“The worst time was when the radiation was 250 milisieverts [per year – the maximum, temporary government limit] and we couldn’t find people to do the work,” explains Kazuhiro Sakamoto, an onsite subcontractor. “We could only work in two-minute bursts, when we were extracting caesium from contaminated water.”

Some of that work is clear on site. The concrete building housing Reactor One, blown apart in the first explosion on 12 March, is now completely covered with a tarpaulin to contain its radioactivity. As our bus drives past the building, the beeping dosimeters climb to 100 microsieverts an hour. But as the most badly damaged Reactor Three looms into sight, its mess of tangled metal and steel gives off a startling reading of 1,500 microsieverts. Its cargo of lethal fuel includes plutonium and the roof of the building housing the reactor was blown off in the second explosion. “It’s still too dangerous for workers to enter Reactor Three,” says engineer Yasuki Hibi.

The state of Reactor Two, meanwhile, sparked some panic last week after Tepco reported that the heat of the fuel inside was climbing and apparently resisting efforts to bring it down. The nightmare scenario of another out-of-control reactor was briefly conjured up by the media before Tepco banished it by claiming faulty equipment. “We’ve identified the problem as a broken thermometer,” says Mr Takahashi, adding: “I’m terribly sorry to everyone for causing so much concern.”

Tepco officials constantly apologise. The apologies have become perfunctory and ritualised, failing to douse public anger over the scale of the disaster, or some of the company’s sharp-elbowed tactics since it began. Compensation has dribbled into the pockets of over 100,000 evacuees who have lost everything and are stuck in legal limbo, without homes or clear futures. In one now infamous incident, the utility argued against a compensation claim by a golf course operator, saying radioactive materials from the nuclear plant belong to individual landowners, and are not the company’s responsibility. Lawyers for the Sunfield Nihonmatsu Golf Club, 28 miles west of the plant, said they were “flabbergasted” by the argument.

But here at the Daiichi complex at least, the apologies seem genuine. Work here is hard, unrelenting and, in the long term, possibly fatal. The depth of feeling about this catastrophe is etched on the faces of hollow-eyed managers like Mr Takahashi, who live day and night in one of the world’s least hospitable workplaces. He says he is motivated above all by one thing: “We will try to allow people to return to their homes as early as possible.”

It is a mammoth task. Japan’s government has admitted that dismantling the reactors and its 260-ton payload of nuclear fuel will take up to 40 years. Many people believe the government and Tepco will eventually be forced to recognise that the people who fled from this plant a year ago may not return for decades. In the meantime, the work at Fukushima Daiichi goes on. And on.

I think McNeill may be wrong in stating in square brackets that “250 millisieverts” the onsite subcontractor mentioned was “per year”. I think the subcontractor may have meant “per hour”; thus work in 2-minute burst so that the exposure could be limited to less than 10 millisieverts for the workers. In the first 10 days or so of the accident, the radiation levels in some locations in the plant were extremely high, measured in millisievert/hour instead of microsievert/hour.

On March 16, for example, the radiation level was400 millisieverts/hour on the 4th floor of Reactor 4. TEPCO actually send one of the employees up the reactor building to measure the level. I hope he ran back down as fast as he could.

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Hardly Any Coverage in Japanese Mainstream Media About 2/20 Fukushima I Nuke Plant Tour

Asahi Shinbun online has 4 lines and one small picture.

Yomiuri online has a decent length article but hardly any new insight or information other than “1,500 microsieverts/hour” radiation near the reactors and that the reporter’s cumulative radiation exposure from 4 hour-plus spent on the plant was 79 microsieverts.

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/02/hardly-any-coverage-in-japanese.html

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Gov’t emergency headquarters refused to conduct additional thyroid testing on children

Children visit the Fukushima Medical University Hospital in Fukushima city to undergo a health examination for thyroid abnormalities on Oct. 10. (Mainichi)

Children visit the Fukushima Medical University Hospital in Fukushima city to undergo a health examination for thyroid abnormalities on Oct. 10. (Mainichi)

The government’s Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters did not fulfill requests from the Cabinet’s Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan (NSC) to conduct further testing on the internal radioactive exposure of children whose levels were within the maximum allowable amount, but nonetheless high, it has emerged.

Between March 26 and March 30 last year, the emergency headquarters used simple radiation sensors to test thyroid radiation exposure among 1,080 children between the ages of 0 and 15. The children were living in areas outside the 30-kilometer radius from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant where high levels of radiation exposure were likely.

None of the children registered radiation exposure levels exceeding 0.2 microsieverts per hour, the figure set by the NSC as one above which children would be required to undergo a more thorough examination. However, one child from the Fukushima Prefecture city of Iwaki registered 0.1 microsieverts per hour, whose accumulated thyroid exposure to radiation was calculated to be around or above 30 millisieverts.

On March 30, after the NSC was informed of the results from the government’s nuclear emergency headquarters, NSC asked that additional tests be conducted on the child with a thyroid monitor, which is capable of taking more precise measurements.

“Because iodine has a short half life, it’s hard to get a grasp of what’s going on unless measurements are taken early on,” an NSC official explains.

On April 1, 2011, however, the government’s emergency headquarters decided not to conduct further tests, citing “the difficulty of transporting a 1-ton thyroid monitor,” “requiring the child to travel long distances for tests,” and “risk of spreading extreme panic and making the child, the child’s family and their local community targets of unwarranted discrimination” as reasons.

Yasumasa Fukushima, head of the nuclear emergency headquarters’ medical support division, says: “I don’t know what specifically transpired at the time, but ultimately the parties involved agreed not to conduct further testing. Thinking back on it now, we should have.”

“Perhaps we should have used stronger language in appealing for further tests,” says an NSC official. “We weren’t satisfied with the emergency headquarters’ response, but we feared that we would be stepping on toes and didn’t push the matter any further.”

Last June, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) changed its guidelines for ingesting potassium iodide to prevent thyroid exposure to radioactive iodine. Based on information that accumulated thyroid exposure to radiation of 50 millisieverts can elevate the risk of thyroid cancer in children, the standard was lowered from 100 millisieverts to 50 millisieverts. The 30 millisieverts detected in the child from Iwaki was not far from that limit, and depending on how the crisis unfolded, the situation could have gotten worse.

Meanwhile, Yoshihisa Matsumoto, an associate professor of radiobiology at Tokyo Institute of Technology says: “Based on data we have obtained, I don’t think we’ll see an increase in thyroid cancer in Fukushima. But if more precise data had been collected at the time, it could have been used to put residents’ minds more at ease.”

(Mainichi Japan) February 21, 2012

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This, via ENENEWS:

http://enenews.com/telegraph-govt-secretly-planning-evacuate-90000-citizens-japan-fukushima-50-forbidden-speaking-publicly-terrified-agonising-death-radiation-poisoning-new-bbc-doc-thursday

Telegraph: US gov’t was secretly planning to evacuate 90,000 citizens from Japan — Fukushima 50 forbidden from speaking publicly — Terrified of agonising death from radiation poisoning — New BBC doc Thursday

Title: The aftershocks still hitting Japan – Telegraph
Source: Telegraph
Date: Feb 19, 2012

[...] Until now those engineers — known as the Fukushima 50 — have not spoken [...] forbidden from speaking by Tepco [...]BBC researchers spent eight months persuading them to talk on camera, for a This World programme [...]

Some admit they thought of escaping, terrified of an agonising death from radiation poisoning [...]

One who spoke on film was Takashi Sato, a reactor inspector. He recalls: “In the control room, people were saying we were finished. They were saying it quietly — but they were saying it. We felt we had to flee.”

[...] the US government was secretly planning to evacuate 90,000 citizens from Japan. [...]

“It was an emergency operation and we were in a hurry,” one said. “No one complained, we all understood. Even if it broke the rules, we kept quiet about it. I felt the weight of Japan’s future on my shoulders. I felt that I had to carry the flag of Japan.” [...]

Read the report here

‘This World. Inside the Meltdown’ is on BBC 2, 9pm, Thursday

 

 

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Chernobyl experts see hope for Fukushima

AP

Ukrainian nuclear experts say Japanese evacuated from around the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant should be able to return to their homes — unlike near the Chernobyl plant, which is still off-limits a quarter-century after the meltdown accident.

News photo
Twisted metal: Gray smoke rises from the ruins of the building that housed reactor 3 at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on March 21, 2011. APThe public may eventually be able to visit the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, where three reactor cores melted after the tsunami March 11 last year knocked out their cooling systems, said Oleg Nasvit, a nuclear physicist and radiation expert at Kiev’s National Institute for Strategic Studies.

Ukrainian government officials Nasvit and Dmytro Bobro said a crucial lesson from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster is that the government needs to tell the people the truth so they can make informed decisions about their future.

“Residents can understand the consequences and make realistic decisions only based on accurate information,” Bobro said on a visit to Japan to attend a seminar on the Fukushima crisis sponsored by the central government.

Japanese authorities and regulators have been repeatedly criticized for how they handled information during the unfolding nuclear crisis.

Officials initially denied that the reactors had melted down, and have been accused of playing down the health risks of exposure to radiation. An outside panel investigating the government response to the nuclear crisis has also called for more transparency in relaying information to the public.

After declaring that the Fukushima plant was stable in December, Japan has set guidelines that allow residents to return to areas with contamination levels below 20 millisieverts per year — about three CAT scans — which it says is safe, although a further reduction is required.

More than 100,000 people were displaced from a 20-km radius no-entry zone.

Any decision on whether to allow residents to return should be based on radiation dose levels rather than distance from the plant, Nasvit said.

“If people like to return and they will have a dose of less than 20 millisieverts per year, according to international standards this is possible,” Nasvit said. “This is not about this circle of 20 km but it is about the radiological situation. If this is from the radiological point of view permissible, why not return part of this territory to people?”

But further decontamination efforts are a must, he said.

 Article continues at:

 http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120221f1.html

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Cesium in Tokyo Bay focus of new study

The government is trying to get a clearer picture of radioactive cesium accumulations at the bottom of Tokyo Bay, which derive from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Article continues at:

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201202210005?fb_comment_id=fbc_10150704595001414_22839337_10150706483676414#f485a89c8

 

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Radiation-Measuring System Begins Operating in Fukushima

http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2012022101085

Tokyo, Feb. 21 (Jiji Press)–A radiation-measuring system installed by the Japanese government started operations on Tuesday in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima, home to Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s <9501> disaster-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The system has been installed at 2,669 locations, including elementary, junior high and high schools, parks and libraries, by the education ministry. The government plans to set up the measuring equipment at a total of 2,700 sites.
The system displays average radiation levels in the air every 10 minutes between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The data are also available on the ministry’s Web site.

(2012/02/21-18:26)

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Goshi Hosono on Disaster Debris Burning: “It’s Only 33 Kilograms Per Person…”

Minister of the Environment Goshi Hosono, who was better known for his extramarital affair with a popular actress before Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant blew up, tells the citizens of Japan on an NHK interview: “It’s only 33 kilograms of disaster debris from Miyagi and Iwate per person who lives outside Miyagi and Iwate.”

As if it’s a good thing.

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/02/goshi-hosono-on-disaster-debris-burning.html

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Former Career Bureaucrats-Turned Politicians in Kawasaki, Kanagawa and Oita Eager to Ignore the Residents’ Opposition, Want to Burn Disaster Debris

They are both graduates from Tokyo University Law School. After their career in the national government bureaucracy, they “descended from heaven” and landed on political careers.

Mayor Takao Abe of Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture was actually the first to declare war against citizens who do not want to have disaster debris that has been contaminated with the fallout from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant to be burned in their midst (literally) and buried. On April 6, 2011 he declared his city would accept disaster debris from FUKUSHIMA (not Miyagi or Iwate) and burn it in the city’s incineration plant.

Mayor Abe says he will simply ignore the opposition when it comes to disaster debris processing in his city, and he will be willing to go it alone without the prefecture-wide consensus in Kanagawa (because there won’t be any).

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/02/former-career-bureaucrats-turned.html

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Takahama reactor shuts down, leaving only 2 units online in Japan

Tomari Nuclear Power Plant is pictured in this aerial photo taken from a Mainichi helicopter on July 10, 2010. (Mainichi)

Tomari Nuclear Power Plant is pictured in this aerial photo taken from a Mainichi helicopter on July 10, 2010. (Mainichi)

FUKUI, Japan (Kyodo) — Kansai Electric Power Co. suspended the No. 3 reactor of its Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture early Tuesday for a scheduled checkup, leaving only two out of a total 54 commercial reactors operating in Japan.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120221p2g00m0dm019000c.html

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Quake in Missouri?

http://earthquake-report.com/2012/02/20/earthquakes-list-february-21-2012/

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A must-see:

A Letter to Lady Gaga


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Police search for bodies from 2011 disaster on Fukushima coast

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120220p2g00m0dm021000c.html

NAMIE, Japan (Kyodo) — Around 100 police officers searched on the coast of Fukushima Prefecture on Sunday for the bodies of people still listed as missing following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, inside a no-go zone around the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

On the first day of a three-day search operation involving a total of around 300 officers, including personnel loaned from other prefectures who are being used within the zone for the first time, the officers focused on the Ukedo district of Namie town, where around 120 people died or remain listed as missing.

The Fukushima prefectural police currently have 350 officers on loan from Tokyo and 21 other prefectures, and have assigned 145 of them to deal with an increasing number of thefts in the evacuation zone.

Koji Tanaka, a 30-year-old officer from Saga Prefecture in southwestern Japan, who joined the day’s search, said, “I had an acute feeling that huge scars have been left by the quake and tsunami. As Saga also has a nuclear plant, I’m thinking every day what we should do if a similar disaster occurs.”

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5 mSv of exposure may increase the cancer risk as double as average

Posted by Mochizuki on February 19th, 2012

http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/02/5-msv-of-exposure-may-increase-the-cancer-risk-as-double-as-average/

5 mSv of exposure may increase the cancer risk as double as average

Prof. Miyao from Information technology center, Nagoya university found out the low level of exposure may cause high risk of cancer.
Radiation effects research foundation holds the data of 58,000 victims of Hiroshima.
Prof. Miyao compared this data to 1,940,000 of un-exposed people living in Hiroshima and Okayama in 1971. They were 0~34 years old when Hiroshima was damaged.

As the result,

0.005 ~ 0.1 Sv of exposure :

120~130 % risk of Solid Tumors
170~270% risk of liver cancer
180~200% risk of uterus cancer
It’s not known how stress worked.

Source

低放射線も高いがん死亡率 非被爆者と比較調査

広島で被爆した人のうち、浴びた放射線が少量で健康に影響が少ないとされた人でも、被爆していない人よりがんで死亡する率が高いことが、名古屋大情報連携基盤センターの宮尾克教授(公衆衛生学)らの研究グループの4日までの疫学調査で分かった。

研究結果は、9月15日発行の日本衛生学会の英文雑誌で発表する。

同グループは、放射線影響研究所(放影研)が調査している広島での被爆者約5万8000人のデータを、1971年当時の広島、岡山両県の住民で原爆投下時に0-34歳だった非被爆者計約194万人と同じ年齢構成などになるよう補正した。

その上で、被爆者を被ばく線量によって極低線量(0・005シーベルト未満)、低線量(0・005-0・1シーベルト未満)、高線量(0・1シーベルト以上)に区分。それぞれの各種がん死亡率を非被爆者のものと比較した結果、極低、低線量の被爆者は非被爆者よりも固形がん(白血病など造血器系を除くがん)で1・2-1・3倍高く、肝がんでは1・7-2・7倍、子宮がんは1・8-2倍高かった。

2008/08/04 23:32 【共同通信】

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Prof. Yukio Hayakawa’s Walk with his Survey Meter in Nagareyama-Kashiwa in Chiba Prefecture

流山-柏 garmin at EveryTrail


Radiation levels remain elevated in Kashiwa City in Chiba Prefecture. It was in Kashiwa that 450,000 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was found from the soil near the drain in the public space in the middle of the city. There is a strange (to me anyway) collaboration between the city and the citizen volunteers to decontaminate the city.

Before the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident, the background radiation level in Kashiwa City must have been no higher than the average in Chiba, which was 0.03 microsievert/hour (see this site). Now, as Professor Hayakawa’s walk shows, it is 10 times that in many locations. Contrary to a belief by some in Japan that there was no radioactive plume that went south from Fukushima through Ibaraki to Chiba, Tokyo and Kanagawa, these elevated radiation levels in Kashiwa City are the evidence that the plume did in fact come.

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(Updated) Max 23 Millisieverts External Radiation Exposure for Fukushima Residents in the First 4 Months of the Nuke Accident

From Jiji Tsushin (2/20/2012):

東日本大震災から4カ月間の外部被ばく量調査で、福島県と福島県立医大は20日、調査した約1万人の県民のうち、放射線業務従事者を除く一般住民の最高値は23.0ミリシーベルトだったと発表した。

The Fukushima prefectural government and Fukushima Medical University announced on February 20 that the maximum external radiation exposure in the first 4 months after the March 11, 2011 accident was 23.0 millisieverts among the residents who are not radiation workers. Total 10,000 residents of Fukushima have been surveyed.

The survey, with Dr. Shunichi “Damashita” Yamashita in charge, consists of detailed questions for the residents in order to estimate the radiation exposure. The residents have to fill out the pages with information on their whereabouts, on what day, for how long, what they were doing, etc. Dr. Yamashita’s group considers the information with the SPEEDI simulation done specifically for Fukushima Prefecture to figure out the radiation doses in Fukushima in the early days of the nuclear accident.

The press conference is on-going in Fukushima right now, and the information has not been uploaded on the Fukushima government website yet.

(UPDATE) Jiji has filled in more details:

  • 10,468 residents in Namie-machi, Iitate-mura, Kawamata-machi Yamakiya District
  • Highest (23 millisieverts) from a woman who lived in the planned evacuation zone [no mention of which town]
  • 2 people exceeded 20 millisieverts
  • 58.0% of people tested: less than 1 millisievert
  • 99.1% of people tested: less than 10 millisieverts
  • 71 people exceeded 10 millisieverts
  • Max for radiation workers: 47.2 millisieverts
  • “It is difficult to imagine there would be an effect on health”, says the Fukushima prefectural government.

If you recall, over 30% of 3,765 children from the same towns tested for thyroid abnormalities were found with lumps/nodules and/or cysts.

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Japan Mulling Sending Warships to Strait of Hormuz

http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2012022000467 

   Tokyo, Feb. 20 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government is considering whether it is possible for the country to send Maritime Self-Defense Force ships to the Strait of Hormuz to escort oil and gas tankers amid an growing tension in the region over Iran’s nuclear program, informed sources said.
Some 80 pct of crude oil and 20 pct of liquefied natural gas that Japan imports from the Middle East currently pass through the Straits of Hormuz, a crucial gateway to the Persian Gulf.
It is vital for Japan to secure such imports because demand for use in thermal power generation is increasing rapidly in line with the falling operation rate of nuclear power plants following the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
However, with Iran threatening to shut the strait to counter sanctions planned by the United States and Europe against its nuclear program, it will be difficult for Japanese-tied carriers to go through the shipping lane if the Middle Eastern nation deploys naval ships and sea mines there.
The Japanese government is thus considering dispatching destroyers to protect Japanese ships there, based on the SDF law that allows troops to be deployed for maritime security, sources familiar with the matter said.

(2012/02/20-12:18)

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And… over at EX-SKF, there are several reports on the Press’ entry to Fukushima I with photos and commentary: 

(Being Updated) Nico Nico Live Video: Unedited Footage of Fukushima Plant Tour by the Press, 2/20/2011

Can be viewed at Nico Nico’s site right now:

http://live.nicovideo.jp/watch/lv81820555?ref=nicotop

You would need to register (free) to view.

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/02/nico-nico-live-video-unedited-footage.html

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87,000 Bq/kg of cesium from bottom of a river in Fukushima

Article continues with readings for Cesium 134, Cesium 137, Bq/Kg at:

http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/02/87000-bqkg-of-cesium-from-bottom-of-a-river-in-fukushima/

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Shore shapes made tsunami deadlier: study

Kyodo

SENDAI — The shape of the coastlines along Kamaishi Bay, Ishinomaki Bay and four other areas in Tohoku may have amplified the power of the tsunami that struck there last March, a study by tsunami researchers said Saturday.

A simulation by a group of researchers led by Fumihiko Imamura, professor of tsunami studies at Tohoku University, found that a “resonance phenomenon” may have increased tsunami heights at six places in Iwate, Miyagi, Aomori and Fukushima prefectures. Tsunami in those areas may have been as much as three times higher than those that ravaged other areas on the Pacific coast.

Tsunami can be amplified when their frequencies match certain features of the coast, such as shape and depth — especially where coastlines are deeply indented. This phenomenon occurred at Ofunato Bay in Iwate Prefecture, when tsunami triggered by a major quake in Chile hit the area in 1960.

Imamura and other researchers collected tidal data from wave recorders installed off the Sanriku coast and analyzed the frequencies and shapes of tsunami that struck the region last March.

They found the tsunami had two patterns — a short frequency of about 10 minutes with large movements, and a long frequency of about one hour with moderate movements — and replicated the walls of water in computer simulations.

The six locations also include coastal areas in the towns of Oirase and Hashikami in Aomori Prefecture, Yamada Bay in Iwate Prefecture and Onahama Port in Fukushima Prefecture.

In the city of Higashimatsushima in Miyagi Prefecture, west of Ishinomaki Bay, tsunami reached 10 meters, much higher than the previously predicted maximum of 4 meters for the area, destroying more than 70 percent of the houses in the area.

The researchers said, however, it is difficult to confirm whether the resonance phenomenon actually happened, as all the tidal observatories in the area were ravaged by tsunami last March.

Imamura warned that massive damage could be caused again by tsunami amplified by the phenomenon.

“Residents must flee right away and never return home, even if tsunami appear to have subsided,” he said.

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Residents to sue operator to stop Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant

The Tokai No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant, whose operations have been halted since the March 11 earthquake, is seen. (Mainichi)
The Tokai No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant, whose operations have been halted since the March 11 earthquake, is seen. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — People living near the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in Ibaraki Prefecture and their lawyers are planning to sue its operator to stop the plant on the grounds that its aging reactor has raised safety concerns, people familiar with the case said Sunday.

They said the number of plaintiffs is expected to reach nearly 100, partly because members of a local consumer cooperative union are expected to join the suit, adding that the suit could be filed with the Mito District Court as early as May.

The plant, located in the village of Tokaimura and operated by Japan Atomic Power Co., began commercial operations in 1978. Its sole boiling water reactor is capable of generating 1.1 million kilowatts of electricity.

The reactor has been suspended since May for regular maintenance. It is unclear when it could be restarted given widespread public concern over nuclear power following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

In the March disaster, one of the plant’s seawater pumps for reactor coolant was submerged by waves, which also disabled one of three emergency diesel-engine generators at the site.

The co-op, a group located in Moriya, Ibaraki, that declared its opposition to nuclear power last June, decided in September to file a lawsuit over the plant’s operation.

Since the nuclear crisis at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant in Fukushima, similar suits have been filed in various parts of the country that host nuclear power plants.

(Mainichi Japan) February 20, 2012

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3 films on 3/11, nuclear disaster win acclaim in Berlin

photo

In “Nuclear Nation,” residents of Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, look for their ancestors’ gravestones during a brief return to their hometown. (Berlin International Film Festival)

BERLIN — Three Japanese documentaries depicting the changed reality for people impacted by the Great East Japan Earthquake and the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and their resilience have wowed critics at the Berlin International Film Festival.

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