Day 156 No S**t!

This is the cow that ate the hay that grew in the field that the farmer owned that stood in the town that housed the reactors that melted down at the power plant that TEPCO built.

Radioactive Manure from Cows That Ate Radioactive Rice Hay

What went in did come out.

First, it was Shimane Prefecture where they found the manure made from cow dungs and urine with radioactive cesium in excess of the hastily decided provisional safety limit for manure and composts (400 becquerels/kg). The level of radioactive cesium ranged from 152 to 1083 becquerels/kg. The cows had eaten radioactive hay from Miyagi Prefecture. (From Asahi Shinbun 9/11/2011, original in Japanese).

Now it is Niigata Prefecture. Unlike Shimane Prefecture who just tested the manure at the JA (Japan’s agricultural producer co-op) stations, Niigata also tested the manure made at individual farms (sampling), and even higher amount of radioactive cesium was detected.

According to the Niigata Prefecture announcement on August 13, of the individual farms, only Niigata City and Sado City (on the island of Sado off the coast of Niigata) tested below the detection limit. Even if the manure at the individual farms tested high, the numbers at the the manure manufacturing depots were low, as the radioactive manure was mixed with non-radioactive manure. No radioactive iodine was detected anywhere.

(see PDF file of the announcement, page 2, showing the numbers at

In the table above, the individual farms No. 5, 6 and 7 (radioactive cesium 260 to 1,100 becquerels/kg) are located in the same city as the manure depots No. 3 and 4 (ND to 10 becquerels/kg). The individual farms No. 3 and 4 (3,760 and 1,280 becquerels/kg) are located in the same city as the manure depot No. 2 (330 becquerels/kg).

But since the numbers at the manure manufacturing depots are low enough, it will probably be sold to other farms to be used in their fields, thus spreading the low-level contamination all over Niigata. In the eyes of the government and producers, they are “safe” as long as the numbers are below the arbitrary safety limit number that the government picked after the fact. Testing by sampling one or two farms in a city will be enough for them.

Niigata Prefecture has told the 9 farms whose manure exceeded this safety number (400 becquerels/kg) not to move their manure [to the depots], meaning the other farms and the farms whose manure weren’t tested will continue to send their manure to the depots or use it on their farms or give it to other farmers.

There’s no stopping the radioactive Japan.

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Mother caught between radiation threat and breaking up family

Kaori Sato feeds her daughter Rin at her home in Date, Fukushima Prefecture. (Mainichi)
DATE, Fukushima — A mother whose home is in an area where high radiation levels have been detected is caught between wanting to evacuate and wanting to stay with her parents and other family members.

“My family will be scattered. Will we ever be able to live together again?” wonders Kaori Sato, 24.

Her home is located in a “hot spot,” an area of comparatively high radiation levels, and the government has recommended it be evacuated. On Aug. 7, an apartment in Fukushima city where Sato, her husband Toshiaki, 28, and her baby daughter Rin could live together turned up, but it could not accommodate her whole family.

Currently living under the same roof with Sato is her 84-year-old bedridden grandmother, her 21-year-old younger sister — who has cerebral palsy and is usually in a care facility but at home on weekends — her parents and four pets.

The evacuation recommendation came on June 30, on the day of Rin’s birth. Worrying about the health of her daughter, Sato replied to a city survey that she wanted to evacuate. To facilitate care for her grandmother and sister, who cannot move about easily, she requested a one-story house or a first-floor apartment. She also wrote that all her family members needed to live close to each other.

However, everywhere the city has so far offered has been small and forbidden pets. Sato’s parents have told her that because she has a newborn she should evacuate with her child and husband. In fact, the Fukushima apartment was found by Sato’s mother. Sato and her husband and child could move in as soon as September, but Sato is reluctant.

“Is it OK for us alone to go and leave the rest of our family behind?” she questions.

Her parents work during the day, and there is a limit to how much they can look after Sato’s grandmother. Although every other day the grandmother is taken to a care facility, Sato’s father, a taxi driver, is sometimes on the job until late at night. Sato says that if she and her husband leave, “There will be times when Grandma is alone, and I worry about what could happen in an emergency.”

Looking at her daughter in her arms, Sato said, “I wanted to raise my children where they could be with the rest of my family. How much longer will this all go on? Will I find peace of mind by the time my daughter has grown up?”

(Mainichi Japan) August 14, 2011

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Lawyers provide free consultation to evacuees

A group of lawyers in Tokyo is providing free telephone consultations to people who were forced to evacuate from their home towns after the March 11th disaster.

The group started receiving calls at their office in Shinjuku, Tokyo, on Sunday morning.

A woman who evacuated from Fukushima prefecture to Tokyo together with her 5 family members asked if they are eligible to receive financial support if they move to a bigger place than they are in now.

The legal professional in charge told her about the municipalities that provide private rented accommodation as temporary houses.

Lawyer Kiyoshi Morikawa who heads the group says evacuees are becoming increasingly concerned about their homes and living expenses, as evacuation centers are closing 5 months after the disaster.

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Told ya there’d be a rate hike

Draft bill urges cost cuts at utilities to prevent gouging

Electric utilities will be urged to make cost-cutting efforts under a new law promoting renewable energy to lessen the chances of the firms drastically hiking rates for power they buy from outside generators.

According to a draft bill expected to be sent to the Diet this week, the envisaged law will require utilities to buy all electricity generated by renewable energy sources at fixed prices favorable to outside providers — private firms and other entities. The law also would let utilities pass the cost of buying such energy onto consumers.

But by adding a provision forcing utilities to streamline operations, lawmakers hope to minimize the impact on households.

The bill is an amended version based on an agreement reached by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and the two main opposition forces, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito. It is expected to be submitted to the Diet this week.

The effective date of the law will be July 1, 2012. The bill worked out by both ruling bloc and opposition lawmakers stipulates that utilities can’t raise rates at least until after March 2013 in areas damaged by the March 11 quake and tsunami.

A third-party group will also be set up under the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy to ensure transparency in the process of deciding price rates.

Kan eyes green activities

Prime Minister Naoto Kan hopes to become involved in activities promoting the use of renewable energy after he steps down, according to a lawmaker.

“I’d like to engage in (biomass-related) activities without being too much of an obstacle as a former prime minister,” Kan was quoted as saying at a luncheon with lawmakers Friday.

It is the first time Kan has commented on his plans after he quits, which is widely expected to be later this month after key bills are passed by the Diet.

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