From the front yard this evening, watched the annual fireworks display held down at the City Hall in the center of the city. First time I’d ever seen a Hello Kitty and Doraemon lighting up the sky. Just as though nothing in Japan had changed…
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This, filed under DUH…
TEPCO scraps plan to raise power charges 10-15%
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Tokyo Electric Power Co. has decided to scrap its plan to raise electricity charges 10 to 15 percent from next April due to growing criticism among government officials and the public, company sources said Saturday.
The operator of the crisis-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power complex previously planned to raise charges to keep its financial standing from being seriously hurt due to payment of damage compensation over the nuclear crisis.
The utility has already informed its creditor banks about the decision, the sources said. The company known as TEPCO may propose a smaller increase in charges instead when its power generation cost is sure to rise further once regular inspections begin for more of its nuclear reactors still in service and its increased use of fossil fuel.
TEPCO has informally told a government committee that has been assessing the utility’s assets and costs about the plan to raise charges by up to 15 percent for three years. But committee members have agreed not to allow the company to lift electricity charges unless additional steps are considered to cut pension payments, employees’ salaries and other costs.
(Mainichi Japan) September 18, 2011
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80 Bavarian Opera members refuse to tour in Japan on radiation fears
BERLIN (Kyodo) — Some 80 members of the 400-member Bavarian State Opera have refused to join its planned tour of Japan from Friday due to concern over radiation leaks at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, sources close to the Munich-based opera company said Saturday.
The Bavarian State Opera, one of the world’s most prestigious opera companies known in Germany as Bayerische Staatsoper, will substitute the nonparticipating members with auxiliary members and other artists to perform on its programs.
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Future radiation levels forecast on electronic map
A group of Japanese researchers has drawn up an electronic map which shows changing radiation levels at about 2,200 locations in a 5-year period.
The map was made by a research group led by Professor Isao Tanihata at Osaka University’s Research Center for Nuclear Physics.
The group calculated estimated radiation levels at each of about 2,200 points over the next 5 years based on data released by the education and science ministry.
Most of the locations are in Fukushima Prefecture, where a nuclear accident was triggered in March by the massive earthquake and tsunami.
The group took into account the level of radioactive cesium, which drops as time passes.
By using Google Earth services, the group forecast the level at individual sites and point of time with a bar graph. Possible changes in level naturally caused by rain and wind and the decontamination effort are not included.
For example, the map shows that a radiation level of 4.36 microsieverts per hour detected in June in Kawamata Town about 30 kilometers northwest of the troubled plant will fall to 1.75 microsieverts 5 years later.
Professor Tanihata hopes that the map will help state and local authorities to work out a specific plan to decontaminate areas to get people to return to their hometowns.
The map will be made public at the research center’s Website on Monday.
Sunday, September 18, 2011 14:59 +0900 (JST)