Day 228 How ’bout some shiitake, Heny?

Food Safety in Japan: Random sampling results and a trip to the supermarket


(Alerted by Mochizuki at

Report: Fukushima Reactors No. 5, 6 now in crisis — Cesium outside release points up 1,000% in recent days — Local says Hitachi engineers coming to help (VIDEO)


Oct. 24 — “Though everyone pays attention to reactor 1 to 4, actually reactor 5 and 6 are in crisis. Engineers from Hitachi are coming to the area to get it settled down but it’s concealed. It’s likely that they are going critical so Iodine 131 are measured in Tokyo or Iwate,” said a Fukushima local who has a friend working inside the reactors, according to a summary of his Oct. 21 interview with journalist Iwakami Yasumi in Fukushima Diary. (see video below)

Just a few days after the interview, TEPCO released new data about Reactors No. 5 and 6.

Based on that information, Mochizuki is reporting that “Reactor 5 and 6 are in crisis too”.

The Oct. 23 document shows a comparison of how much cesium was measured at the water release point of the reactors over the past 25 days.

Over the past few days, cesium levels have increased 10 times.

In the graph below, the top horizontal line (1.0E +02) is equal to 100 Bq/liter and the line below that (1.0E +01) is equal to 10 Bq/liter. The bottom line is one.

For example, Cesium-134 levels on Oct. 20 were slightly less than 10 Bq/liter, while Oct. 23 showed Cs-134 slightly less than 100 Bq/liter.

Charts and further info at:

More disturbing reports over at

  • Reactor 5 and 6 are in crisis too.

  • Breaking News: Uranium from finger nail of a Tokyo citizen

  • Tokyo hit plume of Cs-137 on 3/21

  • Living in the land of death (with video from German TV) (summary in English)

Experimenting with the animals… and the people as well.

Radiation research suggested as way to keep released livestock near nuclear plant alive

Masami Yoshizawa looks after one of his cows at his farm in Fukushima Prefecture. (Photo courtesy of the Kibo-no-Bokujo -- Fukushima Project)
Masami Yoshizawa looks after one of his cows at his farm in Fukushima Prefecture. (Photo courtesy of the Kibo-no-Bokujo — Fukushima Project)

KORIYAMA, Fukushima — Pursuing research on radiation’s effects on animals has been suggested as a way to keep livestock animals roaming the no-entry zone near the disaster-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant from being killed or starving in the harsh winter.

Nearly 2,000 cows and other livestock are estimated to still be in the 20-kilometer radius no-entry zone around the crippled power plant.

The plan is being pushed by members of the citizens’ group “Kibo-no-Bokujo — Fukushima Project” (ranch of hope — Fukushima project). On Oct. 21, around 30 people including local livestock farmers, government legislators and veterinarians met in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, to discuss the issue.

Masami Yoshizawa, 57, who has about 330 high-quality beef cow at his livestock farm situated in the no-entry zone, said he cannot bear to abandon the animals.

“I know the cows have lost their economic value since they’ve been exposed to radiation. But I think there must be a way to allow them to live. As a cattle breeder, I cannot leave them to die,” he said. “We have to catch them by winter.”

Yoshizawa has gotten permission from the government to regularly return to his livestock farm to feed his animals. He says that every time, livestock other than his own also come seeking food.

Meanwhile, a 54-year-old woman who had beef cattle in the no-entry zone said tearfully, “I freed 30 of my cows before evacuating. I believe they’re still alive.”

There have also, however, been reports of cows and pigs that are now living wild making their way into residents’ left-behind homes.

To keep the animals alive while preventing damage to resident’s property, the Kibo-no-Bokujo — Fukushima Project is working on a plan to enclose the animals on Yoshizawa’s farm, where researchers will use them to observe the effects of radiation on large mammals. They are planning to get help from universities and other research institutes.

Earlier, in May of this year, university researchers asked the central government to let livestock exposed to radiation in Fukushima Prefecture live for use in research. Senior Vice Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Nobutaka Tsutsui expressed support for the idea, but almost no concrete measures have been mapped out.

According to the Kibo-no-Bokujo — Fukushima Project, there were approximately 3,500 cows, 30,000 pigs and 680,000 chickens remaining in the 20-kilometer radius no-entry zone, which got that designation on April 22. On May 12, the government decided to slaughter all livestock in the zone, and it has so far killed about 300 cows. Most of the pigs and chickens are believed to have died from lack of water and food without people to look after them. Not counting any remaining chicken, there are estimated to be somewhat less than 2,000 animals left, mostly cows.

(Mainichi Japan) October 25, 2011

Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011

Tsunami steps saved Tokai from meltdown

Revised wave forecast led to higher sea wall, unlike Fukushima


A nuclear plant in Ibaraki Prefecture run by Japan Atomic Power Co. managed to avoid a total power loss during the March 11 earthquake and tsunami thanks to a sea wall it was in the process of building higher, sources said.

A government panel probing the meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant is analyzing measures taken by the manager of the Tokai No. 2 atomic plant on the assumption that the absence of the sea wall extension measure would have led to a similar disaster, a source close to the panel said.

Japan Atomic Power concluded in 2002 that to prepare the plant in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, for potential tsunami, waves as high as 4.86 meters should be expected based on the evaluation technology used by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers, it said.

But the Ibaraki Prefectural Government requested that the utility re-evaluate the estimate after its own tsunami projection, made public in October 2007, showed waves in nearby areas could reach 7 meters, the company said.

Japan Atomic Power then changed its wave level assumption to 5.7 meters and started work to extend the Tokai plant’s 4.9-meter sea wall to 6.1 meters in July 2009 to protect the seawater pumps that cool the emergency diesel generator.

The work had almost been finished by September 2010, but other work to fully cover the cable holes in the wall was scheduled to be done around May this year, the company said.

The tsunami that hit the Tokai plant on March 11 were 5.3 to 5.4 meters in height, exceeding the company’s earlier estimate but coming in around 30 to 40 cm lower than its revised projection.

After the tsunami hit, the Tokai plant lost external power just like Fukushima No. 1 did, because the sea wall was overrun, knocking out one of its three seawater pumps.

But its reactors succeeded in achieving cold shutdown because the plant’s emergency diesel generator was being cooled by the two seawater pumps that survived intact.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. projected in 2002 that the maximum height of any tsunami that hit Fukushima No. 1 would be 5.7 meters. It then failed to take any reinforcement measures despite further in-house research in 2006 and later.

Although Tepco calculated in 2008 that tsunami higher than 10 meters could hit the nuclear plant — a height close to the actual waves seen on March 11 — it only reported its calculation to the Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency on March 7, 2011.

The 5.7-meter sea wall at Fukushima No. 1 was totally overwhelmed.

The government panel investigating the Fukushima No. 1 crisis is also probing measures taken at Fukushima No. 2 and the Onagawa nuclear power plant in Miyagi Prefecture run by Tohoku Electric Power Co., the source close to the panel said.

The panel is scheduled to compile an interim report on its findings in December.

Nuclear accident could raise power cost by 0.1-1 yen per kwWh: panel

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A future nuclear accident in Japan could raise the cost of power generation by between 0.1 and 1 yen per kilowatt-hour, a government research panel commissioned in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant said Tuesday.

It is the first time that the country has calculated the costs that could stem from a nuclear accident. The figure equates to a rise of between 120 yen and 1,200 yen in average household electricity bills annually.

But the panel head, Tatsujiro Suzuki, acknowledged that there is “quite a lot of uncertainty” on the estimate depending on the projection of the amount of damage to be caused by an atomic accident.

The figure was presented as a midpoint of government estimates ranging from 0.0046 yen per kwh and 1.2 yen per kwh, calculated on the assumption that a severe accident like the one in Fukushima occurs once in between 500 years and 100,000 years.

The estimate is part of the country’s process to review its energy policy in the wake of the world’s worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl accident. It will be used to compare costs of various electrical power sources including renewable energy and thermal power.

Based on the Fukushima crisis triggered by the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the panel’s secretariat estimated that the damage cost of a nuclear plant accident will reach 3.89 trillion yen, which includes compensation payments for people and companies affected by an accident and costs of decommissioning nuclear reactors.

Spending for cleaning radiation-contaminated areas is not included, and it is difficult to further project additional costs at this moment, Suzuki said in his draft paper that summarized the panel’s discussion.

The paper also said that the damage cost estimates should be updated if the central and local government’s decontamination plans and other issues related to the Fukushima nuclear accident become clear.

During the panel meeting Tuesday, Hideyuki Ban, a panel member from an antinuclear civic group, said that the damage costs estimate is too low, saying that it could be 48 trillion yen when spending on decontamination work is included.

Under the estimate of Ban, co-director of the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, the cost of a nuclear accident would be between 12 and 16 yen per kwh.

Another member, meanwhile, said that it is not appropriate to calculate the costs on the assumption that an accident would occur once in 500 years, because a nuclear power plant with such accident probability should not be allowed to operate for safety reasons.

In recent years, academics and think tanks have estimated that nuclear power generation costs are about 7-12 yen per kwh and many studies have shown that the figures do not largely differ from costs of thermal power generation using coal or natural gas.

But such studies have not included the costs of nuclear accidents.

(Mainichi Japan) October 25, 2011

Unedited Fukushima accident manual released, loss of power sources not envisioned

The largely blacked-out emergency operation manual submitted by TEPCO to a special Diet committee is seen in this Sept. 7 photo. (Mainichi)
The largely blacked-out emergency operation manual submitted by TEPCO to a special Diet committee is seen in this Sept. 7 photo. (Mainichi)

The government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) released part of an unedited severe accident manual for the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant on Oct. 24, revealing that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) had not envisioned the possibility of all power sources at the nuclear complex being lost.

TEPCO, the operator of the crippled nuclear power plant, had earlier submitted to a special House of Representatives committee largely blacked-out emergency operation manuals for the Fukushima nuclear facility. The manuals were in fact used when the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck the nuclear complex. On Oct. 24, NISA released part of an unedited manual after submitting it to the same lower house panel. The manual revealed the fact that there was no operational manual that envisioned a loss of all power sources needed to activate emergency condensers and back-up water injection devices to cool down nuclear reactors. The revelation highlights flaws in TEPCO’s contingency plan in the event of a loss of power sources.

What was released on Oct. 24 is part of an emergency operation manual for the No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. It shows methods of cooling down nuclear fuels as well as ways of “venting” in order to hold down pressure in the containment vessel. NISA also released documents prepared by TEPCO that compare the operation manual and what was actually done when the crisis broke out.

According to the documents, all power sources were lost due to the effects of tsunami at 3:37 p.m. on March 11. As a result, whether valves for emergency condensers were operating properly could not be confirmed. Because the manual did not envision possibilities of all power sources, including batteries, being lost in the event that emergency generators and external power sources were lost, the manual itself was in fact useless when all power sources were actually lost on that day.

In September, TEPCO submitted to the lower house committee largely blacked-out manuals on the pretext of the need to protect nuclear security as part of anti-terrorism measures and intellectual property rights. NISA then ordered TEPCO to resubmit the manuals.

On Oct. 22, TEPCO said at a news conference, “After comparing the manuals, there was no problem with actual operations.”

(Mainichi Japan) October 25, 2011


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