Day 205 The clueless leading the clueless

Yes, I have made corrections to the numbering of the days. Thank you for letting me know. 

Things continue as usual here in Japan, the clueless in the lead, followed by a silent media informing innocent citizens of nothing as they are allowed to enter areas 20 to 30 kilometers from a nuclear power plant where THREE reactors had MELT-THROUGHS (a first in the history of the planet, as far as we know).

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Evacuation advisory lifted as crippled Fukushima reactors move closer to ‘cold shutdown’

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20111001p2a00m0na014000c.html

The government on Sept. 30 lifted its evacuation advisory for residents living in selected areas between 20 and 30 kilometers from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant apparently after concluding that there was no longer any risk of large releases of radioactive materials.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano said at a news conference that there was no danger of reactors at the Fukushima plant being aggravated.

The decision to lift the evacuation advisory comes as the temperature readings at the base of the pressure vessels at the crippled No. 1, 2 and 3 reactors at the Fukushima plant have dropped below 100 degrees Centigrade and the plant is moving closer to achieving a stable state known as a “cold shutdown.”

The Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan said Aug. 4 that the possibility of a hydrogen explosion, reactor core meltdown or any other serious emergency is extremely low. On Sept. 30, Chairman Haruki Madarame approved the lifting of the evacuation advisory, saying a water circulation system is stably working to cool the crippled reactors and there would be sufficient time for residents to evacuate even if the water circulation system is halted due to aftershocks or tsunami.

But some developments at the power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. are causing concern.

The temperature reading at the base of the pressure vessels at No. 2 reactor fell below 100 degrees Celsius on Sept. 28 before going up above 100 degrees Celsius the next day. High levels of hydrogen were detected in a piping unit belonging to the reactor No. 1’s containment vessel.

Kazuhiko Kudo, specially appointed professor of nuclear power engineering at Kyushu University, says, “The temperatures of nuclear fuel that has been piled up at the bottom of the pressure vessels after meltdowns may still be high. The possibility of a hydrogen explosion cannot be ruled out, and the risk remains that piping for the water circulation system has deteriorated.”

(Mainichi Japan) October 1, 2011

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http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20111001a1.html

News photo

Cesium fallout map illustrates Kanto levels

Staff writer

The science ministry’s latest aerial monitoring over Chiba and Saitama prefectures in September confirmed that radioactive cesium released from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant has contaminated parts of the Kanto region.

A ministry report released Thursday revealed that contamination was found in northern Chiba, including the cities of Kashiwa, Matsudo and Abiko, and in the mountainous areas of Chichibu in Saitama Prefecture’s west and Misato in the prefecture’s east.

The highest contaminated areas contained between 60,000 to 100,000 becquerels of cesium-134 and -137 per square meter, it showed. Cesium-134 has a half-life of two years and the one for -137 is 30 years.

Radiation levels in the area were between 0.2 to 0.5 microsieverts per hour, the report said.

Simply calculated, if a person is exposed to 0.5 microsieverts per hour for 365 days, the total dose would be 4.38 millisieverts. Exposure to a cumulative radiation dose of 100 millisieverts increases one’s cancer risk by 0.5 percent, scientists say.

Kyodo News reported that radioactive materials spewed from the plant are estimated to have spread in a northwest direction to the mountain areas near the city of Fukushima before winds shifted southwest, sending the materials into the western part of Gunma Prefecture.

Radioactive materials detected in Ibaraki Prefecture are believed to have also been carried by the wind into the northern part of the prefecture before some were blown into the Pacific Ocean, Kyodo reported. However, it is estimated that the wind carrying radioactive isotopes again changed direction, this time contaminating northwestern parts of Chiba Prefecture.

The aerial monitoring was conducted in the two prefectures between Sept. 8 and 12 as part of the science ministry’s effort to draft a contamination map of 22 prefectures, from Aomori Prefecture in the north to Aichi Prefecture in the west. In cooperation with local governments, the ministry had completed maps of eight prefectures in the Tohoku and Kanto regions as of Thursday.

The ministry plans to release results of aerial monitoring it has conducted over Tokyo and Kanagawa by the end of October.

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Radiation spread reaches Chiba, Saitama prefectures

http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201109300393.html

BY HISAE SATO STAFF WRITER

2011/10/01

Fairly high levels of accumulated radioactive cesium in Chiba and Saitama prefectures were shown in a new contamination map released by the science ministry on Sept. 29.

The two prefectures, neighboring the municipal areas of Tokyo, are located about 200 kilometers from the disabled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The measurements for Chiba and Saitama prefectures were taken from Sept. 8 to Sept. 12 using helicopters.

In Chiba Prefecture, the highest levels of cesium-137, between 30,000 and 60,000 becquerels per square meter, were detected in northern areas, such as Kashiwa, Matsudo, Abiko and Nagareyama. Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years.

In Saitama Prefecture, some mountainous areas of Chichibu, located 250 km from the plant, recorded 30,000 to 60,000 becquerels per square meter.

In the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, areas with 37,000 becquerels or more of radioactivity per square meter were designated contaminated zones, while levels of 555,000 becquerels or more required forcible relocation.

In Chiba and Saitama prefectures, the highest radiation levels were 0.2 to 0.5 microsievert per hour. In most other areas, the radiation levels were 0.1 microsievert or less.

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Highly toxic plutonium detected in soil 45 km away from Fukushima nuclear complex

http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201109300393.html

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced on Sept. 30 that it had detected highly-toxic plutonium apparently from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power plant in soil at six locations including Iitate village in Fukushima Prefecture.

It is the first discovery of the highly-toxic radioactive substance outside the nuclear plant since the outbreak of the disaster in mid-March. The ministry also said radioactive strontium was detected in a wide swath of Fukushima Prefecture within a radius of 80 kilometers from the troubled nuclear power plant, underscoring the fact that the nuclear crisis has been affecting wide areas.

Read the entire article at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20111001p2a00m0na013000c.html

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[Happy Birthday to Julie Andrews. The hills in Japan are alive with the non-sound of cesium…]

Most radioactive cesium that spread to forests accumulated in leaves

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20111001p2a00m0na012000c.html

About 70 percent of radioactive cesium that spread to forests from the tsunami-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant has accumulated in tree leaves and fallen leaves, a government survey has suggested.

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry has made the estimation based on a survey conducted at a cedar forest in Otama, Fukushima Prefecture, approximately 60 kilometers away from the crippled power station.

Based on the estimation and an experiment at a forest in the prefecture city of Koriyama, the ministry says removing fallen leaves will be effective in reducing levels of radiation in the atmosphere around tainted forests.

“The amount of radiation in the atmosphere around forests will likely be reduced by 20 to 50 percent if fallen leaves are removed from 20-meter sections from the edge of the forests,” says an official. “More specifically, if fallen leaves are moved in such a way, we expect that the levels of radiation can be reduced by 50 percent from the atmosphere in deciduous broad-leave forests and 20-30 percent in evergreen needle-leaf forests.”

According to the ministry estimate based on the levels of cesium detected, of the total amount of radiation spread from the crippled nuclear plant to the forest, 38 percent accumulated in tree leaves, 33 percent in fallen leaves, 17 percent in the soil and 11 percent in tree branches.

In a separate experiment, after the ministry removed fallen leaves from a 12-meter-square area in a cedar and cypress forest in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Koriyama, the amount of radiation in the atmosphere declined from 0.77 microsieverts per hour to 0.63 microsieverts.

(Mainichi Japan) October 1, 2011

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As usual, EX-SKF with a very interesting viewpoint:

Radioactive “Ekiden” Race in Fukushima City in 1 Microsievert/Hr Radiation, for Teenage Female Runners

I just do not understand these people who insist on carrying out what was planned before March 11 just because… just because.

Here’s one of them, Tohoku Athletic Association, who is planning to hold the 27th Annual East Japan Women’s Ekiden, of all place, in Fukushima City. Fukushima TV Network is a co-sponsor, with the backing from Sankei Shinbun.

Ekiden” is a long-distance relay where the teams run the full marathon length (42.195 kilometers) in several stages on the road, with a runner of one stage handing off the team sash to his/her team mate who will run the next stage. It is quite popular in Japan as well as outside Japan, and there is even an “ekiden” event for elementary school girls with much shorter distance. (But long enough to kill one 11-year-old girl in Saitama City during practice, and no it was not heat exhaustion.)

From Sankei Shinbun, as appeared in Yahoo Japan News (therefore don’t expect the link to last very long; 9/28/2011):

11月13日に号砲が鳴る第27回東日本女子駅伝に東日本大震災で被災した岩手、宮城、福島の3県の合同チーム「絆チーム(仮称)」が出場することになった。主催者が28日発表した。

It has been decided that a joint team of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima Prefecture who suffered in the March 11 earthquake/tsunami will be entered in the 27th Annual East Japan Women’s Ekiden which will be held on November 13, the sponsors announced on September 28.

東北陸上競技協会と福島テレビが主催、サンケイスポーツなどが後援。晩秋の福島路を17都道県の女性ランナーが走る。被災3県は個別チームとは別に合同チームを結成。復興への思いを胸に9区間42・195キロで友情のたすきをつなぐ。

The event is sponsored by the Tohoku Athletic Association and Fukushima TV Network, and backed by Sankei Sports and others. Female runners from 17 Prefectures will run in Fukushima in late autumn. In addition to the prefectural teams, the three disaster-affected prefectures will form a joint team, and run the 42.195 kilometers in 9 stages in friendship and hope for the recovery of their prefectures.

東京電力福島第1原発事故による放射線の影響が懸念されたが、主催者は「6月から沿道の線量測定を続け、現在は最大で毎時1マイクロシーベルト台で低下傾向にある」としている。福島市は大会に備え、発着地点の信夫ケ丘競技場などの除染を計画している。

There is a concern over radiation effect from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant Accident, but according to the sponsors, “We’ve been measuring the air radiation level along the course, and currently it is over 1 microsievert/hour maximum. It is trending down”. In preparation for the event, Fukushima City is planning to decontaminate locations including the Shinobugaoka Athletic Field which the Ekiden starts and finishes.

It is reaching the point of criminality, of knowingly exposing young women, majority of them in mid to late teens in junior high schools and high schools, to radiation higher than that of the radiation control zone in a nuclear power plant. They will run in their shorts and sleeveless tops, without the masks of course. Last year, the youngest runner was 13 years old.

Fukushima City is where Greenpeace detected cobalt-60 in a park in a residential neighborhood, where decontamination work in certain districts resulted in “raising” the radiation levels.

This is lunacy. The coaches and corporate sponsors and others with vested interest would never dream of not going to the event. But the ones that I don’t understand are the parents of these underage girls. Once in a lifetime chance to run in a big event must mean so much to the parents that they are willing to send their daughters to a radiation control zone to run.

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