Monthly Archives: November 2011

Towns avoid govt help on decontamination

Keigo Sakai and Tomoko Numajiri / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writers

Workers decontaminate a park in Misato, Saitama Prefecture, on Nov. 16.

MAEBASHI–Municipalities contaminated with radiation as a result of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant are concerned that the central government’s plan to designate municipalities for which it will shoulder the cost of decontamination will stigmatize those communities, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey.

As early as mid-December, the government plans to begin designating municipalities that will be subject to intensive investigation of their contamination, which is a precondition for the government paying for decontamination in place of the municipalities.

Municipalities with areas found to have a certain level of radiation will be so designated. The aim of the plan is to promote the thorough cleanup of contaminated cities, towns and villages, including those outside Fukushima Prefecture.

However, many local governments are reluctant to seek such designation, fearing it may give the false impression that the entire municipality is contaminated.

Based on an aerial study of radiation conducted by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry in mid-September, municipalities in Tokyo and Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama and Chiba prefectures were candidates for the government designation.

The aerial study examined radiation in the atmosphere one meter above the ground. Municipalities with areas where the study detected at least 0.23 microsieverts of radiation were listed as candidates. About 11,600 square kilometers of land, equivalent to the size of Akita Prefecture, reached that level, the ministry said.

The Yomiuri Shimbun has asked municipalities in the prefectures–excluding Fukushima Prefecture–whether they would seek the government designation as municipalities subject to intensive investigation of radiation contamination. Fifty-eight of the cities, towns and villages that responded to the survey said they would seek the designation.

Almost all the municipalities in Gunma and Ibaraki prefectures had areas where radiation in excess of the government standard was detected. However, only 10 municipalities in Gunma Prefecture and 19 in Ibaraki Prefecture said they would seek the designation.

The figures represent only about 30 percent of the municipalities in Gunma Prefecture and about 40 percent of those in Ibaraki Prefecture.

The Maebashi municipal government said it would not request the designation.

In late August, radioactive cesium exceeding the government’s provisional regulatory limit was detected in smelt caught at Lake Onuma, located on the summit of Mt. Akagi in northern Maebashi. The opening of the lake’s fishing season for smelt has been postponed.

Usually, the lake would be crowded with anglers at this time of year, but few people are visiting this season.

However, in most of Maebashi, excluding mountainous regions, the radiation detected in the September study was below the regulatory limit.

“If the government designates our city [as subject to intensive investigation of radiation contamination], the entire city will be seen as contaminated. We decided to avoid such a risk,” a senior municipal government official said.

The Maebashi government wants to prevent the city’s tourism and agriculture from being damaged further, the official added.

Daigomachi in Ibaraki Prefecture, a city adjacent to Fukushima Prefecture, said the city has also refrained from filing for the designation. Usually about 700,000 people visit Fukuroda Falls, the city’s main tourist destination, every year, but the number has dropped to half since the nuclear crisis began, the town said.

“If our town receives the designation, it may deliver a further blow to our image, already damaged by radiation fears,” an official of the town’s general affairs department said.

In recent months, citizens in the Tokatsu region of northwest Chiba Prefecture have held protests demanding local governments immediately deal with areas where relatively high levels of radiation were detected. All six cities in the region, including Kashiwa, said they would file requests for the government designation. The Kashiwa municipal government said it had already spent about 180 million yen on decontamination.

“People are loudly calling for decontamination. We hope that the designation will eventually lower the cost of decontamination,” an official of the municipal government’s office for measures against radiation said.

Observers have said one of the reasons the six cities decided to request the designation was their low dependence on agriculture and other primary industries that are vulnerable to fears of radiation.

Kobe University Prof. Tomoya Yamauchi, an expert on radiation metrology, said: “It will be a problem if decontamination activities stall due to local governments’ fears of stigmatization. To prevent misunderstanding of radiation, the government needs to do more to disseminate correct information.”

(Nov. 28, 2011)
My comments…
In late August, radioactive cesium exceeding the government’s provisional regulatory limit was detected in smelt caught at Lake Onuma, located on the summit of Mt. Akagi in northern Maebashi. The opening of the lake’s fishing season for smelt has been postponed.
    Now how do they propose to “decontaminate” Lake Onuma? Drain it and wash down the sides and then put fresh water in it along with new smelt and all the other life in the ecosystem that takes years to create?

The Maebashi government wants to prevent the city’s tourism and agriculture from being damaged further, the official added.

     That’s what marketing is for. [I sense an opportunity for an unethical advertising company somewhere. “We have tested below the regulatory limit. Therefore, it is perfectly safe. Come and bring your family and your tourist yen. Experience the wonders of Maebashi for yourself. Never mind that we have areas where radiation is at least 0.23 microsieverts. They are just in specific locations. No, we don’t actually give you a map pointing them out so you can avoid walking through them with Grandma and Grandpa. Oh, look, it’s fall and the leaves are changing color. Isn’t it beautiful?”]
(Nuking your tourists will eventually put the industry out of a job, won’t it?)
–  +  –  +  –  +  –  +  –
    And you say, “All right, Uh-oh, what’s YOUR plan?”
    First, get the families with kids out of Fukushima prefecture, Tochigi, Gunma, and anywhere else that has high readings  – anywhere that the kids will be walking or playing, breathing or eating. Government-backed production of alternative energy source production would create jobs in the prefectures where they would be evacuated so that families could stay together. If the gov’t could put up the money to back nuclear, it can require the industry to pay for the removal of the plants they built, and divert any plans/funds to build new ones into renewables ASAP.
A good start:

Fukushima recovery plan will seek scrapping of every reactor in pref.

FUKUSHIMA, Japan, Nov. 30, Kyodo

Uh….. You’re joking, right? This is nauseating:

Japan shows world it is safe with help of JET teachers



Sean Dowty, left, eats lunch with students in the Yahagi Elementary School in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, on Oct. 6. (Shigeki Tosa)

When Sean Dowty got accepted into the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, he had some anxiety when he learned he would be teaching students in the quake-ravaged zone in northeastern Japan.

Article continues at:

    DUH. If they all were eating in, say, a classroom on the outskirts of Kyoto, or Toyota, or Yamaguchi, I might agree…

    Remember the cesium map that the government issued a short time back? Rikuzentakata is along the coast, right about where the arrow is pointing….



Remember this?

Full article at:


Japan Nuclear Accident Plans Still ‘Inadequate,’ Greenpeace Says

November 30, 2011, 2:53 AM EST

By Stuart Biggs and Chisaki Watanabe

Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) — Japan’s plans for containing nuclear accidents are “completely inadequate” and haven’t been updated nearly nine months after the disaster at Fukushima, Greenpeace International said.

Government maps simulating a reactor meltdown project a release of low-level radiation only as far as 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), the environmental group said in a statement yesterday. The bulk of radioactive contamination extends as far as 30 kilometers from the leaking Fukushima plant, according to Japan’s science ministry. Some areas may be uninhabitable for decades, government officials have said.

Japan should keep nuclear plants offline until adequate plans are in place, Greenpeace said. More than 80 percent of the country’s reactors are either damaged or idled for repairs and safety checks after the March tsunami and earthquake caused meltdowns of three reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi station. Atomic power provided about 30 percent of Japan’s energy before the catastrophe.

The government’s maps are based on “a radiation release in the order of 10,000 times less severe than what could happen during a major incident,” Jan Vande Putte, a nuclear campaigner with a degree in radiation protection from the University of Utrecht, said in the statement. “Hoping for the best is absolutely the wrong way to devise an emergency response plan.”

Greenpeace cited documents obtained in a freedom of information request to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

Mapping Radiation

Japan’s system for projecting the spread of radiation, called SPEEDI, is limited to low-level releases and needs upgrading to cover areas beyond 10 kilometers, Greenpeace said, citing interviews with government officials it didn’t identify.

Yu Sumikawa, an official in charge of disaster management for the science ministry agreed the government’s projections on how far radiation would spread from Fukushima were inadequate.

“SPEEDI can’t be 100 percent accurate, but we need to improve its accuracy,” he said. The science ministry is requesting funds to expand the scope of SPEEDI.

“The Fukushima Daiichi emergency response effort was slow, chaotic and insufficient, and it appears the government has learned nothing from it,” Junichi Sato, Greenpeace Japan Executive Director, said in the statement. “There is a strong risk of reactor restarts being pushed through without a proper, science-based assessment on the real risks being conducted.”

–Editors: Aaron Sheldrick, Peter Langan


Fukushima residents call for evacuations as fear of contamination continues.

FRI, 11/18/2011 – 15:15
Listen to the entire segment:
  • Year: 2011
  • Length: 6:13 minutes (5.69 MB)
  • Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)

Eight months after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, thousands of people – including children – remain in contaminated areas and citizens groups continue to push the government to assist in evacuations and clean up.

A new study out this week from the National Academy of Science warns that soil samples in the northeast of the country show unsafe levels of radiation for farming and on Thursday, Japan said it was restricting rice exports from Fukushima after grain was found to contain radioactive contamination higher than safety levels.

For more, we go to Kyoto, Japan to speak with Aileen Mioko Smith. She’s the executive director of Green Action Japan, a citizens group that has been monitoring the issue since the Fukushima disaster began in March this year.

Finally, some interesting entries over at Check them out:

Inspector Alert Case Study Update

Posted: November 30, 2011
This post is an update of Geiger Counter Case Study: Inspector Alert published on SurvivalJapan in which some questions remained open, mainly about the relatively high values (although still in the safe range) which I measured with the system kindly lent to me by Safecast and from whom I received some further advice.

The Safecast bGeigie system is designed to measure mainly gamma rays (high energy protons, akin to X-rays) and hence is used at least one meter above ground in their radiation maps. Since I live in the monitored land, several hundred miles away from Fukushima, gamma radiation is low and not really a concern. Therefore I had measured instead beta radiation (high energy electrons or positrons which are emitted back from the ground after radioactive fall-out) at about one foot above ground. For convenience, I monitored the level of radiation with the Safecast display which communicates by radio with the Inspector Alert safely cast in its lunchbox style (in Japanese “bento”) box, along with the GPS and SD memory card to geo-locate and store results. The Safecast team advised against this methodology for beta radiation pick-up and advised me to use the Inspector Alert alone for that matter – which I did….

Article continues at:

Analysis Of Japanese Government Radiation Spread Report

Posted: November 29, 2011 

Nine months after the disaster, the Japanese Science Ministry finally gave birth to a report about radiation spread across Japan, as published by Asahi Shimbun newspaper (article also reproduced below). Although from the relatively small size of Japan compared to Chernobyl-stricken Belarus, it was obvious from the onset that Cesium would fall “all over Japan” (breaking news title from the Asahi Shimbun article), the issue was to assess concentrations.

 Since the Japanese government policy remains to downplay the risk, after censoring radiation reports in the news and in the blogosphere, data should be taken with a grain of salt. Last week, the Japanese government has turned its back on the company it had contracted to monitor radiation in parks and school playgrounds around Fukushima, after it suddenly discovered that the accuracy of the Geiger counters it had ordered was substandard (Cf. Mainichi Shimbun news article and comment in Geiger Counter Case Study: Inspector Alert in SurvivalJapan). MEXT data for all regions but Fukushima falsely reported radiation levels close to natural background radiation for months so that I only trust citizens reports such as Safecast. On the Japanese government radiation map below, it is a safe bet to assign to each concentration the level range above each reported, i.e. for 0-10.000 Becquerel/sq.m, the real value is probably between 10.000 and 30.000 Becquerel/sq.m.
Article continues at:

Geiger Counter Case Study: Inspector Alert

Posted: November 28, 2011 

Choosing an appropriate Geiger counter to monitor environmental radiation levels in Japan can be confusing due to the large choice of devices, including handheld electronic dosimeters that offers similar capabilities. Counters differ by the type of radiation that they can detect (alpha, beta, gamma, X-rays and sometimes even neutrons), their accuracy, price, availability, etc. Rather than presenting an extensive comparison between all devices, this post introduces a specific Geiger counter used bySafecast to map radiation mainly in the no man’s land: the Inspector Alert distributed by International Medcom (SurvivalJapan has no interest in promoting this company, this review is purely on a volunteer basis and I decline all responsibilities as to opinions shared here). It is also the device used by Pr. Frank Daulton, Ph.D., Applied Linguistics, Ryukoku Univ., Kyoto, Japan when he detected 0.377 uSv/h close to ground around his home in Otsu-City, Shiga Prefecture, not far from Kyoto and 311 miles (500 km) from Fukushima as reported on Earthfiles website.



Japan’s Decon Bubble: This Is the Way They’ll Decon Orchards in Fukushima

They will power-wash the trees and call it “decontamination”.

At least in this video, they put down the tarp under the tree.

NHK News on 11/28/2011 has a clip that shows exactly the same “decon” method but without any tarp to at least shield the soil from radioactive materials being sprayed down.

This “advanced technology decontamination” as per Minister Hosono will be used by 600 fruit orchards (2200 hectares) in 3 municipalities in Fukushima (Date City, Kunimi-machi, Koori-machi) starting in the middle of December. And the fruit farmers themselves will get to do the decon job.

NHK News also has this from the head of the JA in Date City:


“I know it will be a heavy burden on the fruit farmers, but in order to deliver safe fruits to consumers we need to do decontamination as soon as possible. We want to finish it as soon as possible.”

Ummm. No thank you. And what is the point of power-washing the radioactive materials off the trees into the ground so that the roots can absorb?

Has Fukushima Prefecture done any study to show that this power-washing method is effective?

=  +  =  +  =  +  =  +  =
   Well, that’s a good point, now isn’t it? The roots will soak it up. Of course.
   It’s not enough to say, “Well, I’m not going to buy anything from Fukushima” because there is absolutely no way of knowing whether what you buy at the market, what you order at Denny’s, what you are served at someone’s home, originated in Fukushima, Gunma, Aichi, or Kyoto. 
   They have tons of rice up north with no buyers. One story has already come to light about the ODA buying up 5,000,000,000 yen worth of rice grown in Tohoku and passing it along as food assistance to developing countries (
   And if there’s any left over, can you say “bow-wow”? Pet food also contains rice.
   Or by exporting it overseas, the label will simply say “Made in Thailand, or China.”
   How will we ever know about the fruit in the yoghurt we’ve just bought at the convenience store? How about the bento or the rice ball that contains tuna – double whammy there.
   There is a cafeteria where I work, and every day in my head I question how they are able to serve the food at such cheap prices. Where, exactly, did the ingredients come from? Why do I feel like I’m playing Russian Roulette with my food?!
   Of course, this is wild speculation, brought on by harmful rumors. There is absolutely no need to even think about such things happening. After all, the government is checking the rice that comes out of Tohoku, right?
   What’s that? Only one bag out of 50? Well, that’s okay now, isn’t it!

=  +  =  +  =  +  =  +  =  +  =

Radioactive Rice Keeps Coming: 1050 Bq/Kg of Radioactive Cesium from Date City, Fukushima

Asahi Shinbun has a convenient map that plots locations where the rice has been found with radioactive cesium far exceeding the provisional safety limit of 500 becquerels/kg. The white circle isOnami District in Fukushima City where up to 1270 Bq/kg of radioactive cesium has been found in the rice. The two red circles are the locations in Date City where the rice exceeding the limit has been found this time. So far.

And unlike in Onami District in Fukushima City, they are only testing one bag out of every 50. Some comfort.

From Asahi Shinbun (11/28/2011):


After radioactive cesium exceeding the provisional safety limit was detected in rice harvested in Onami District of Fukushima City (former Oguni-mura), Fukushima Prefecture announced on November 28 that rice from 3 farms in the adjasent areas of Onami District, former Oguni-mura and former Tsukidate-machi, both of which became part of Date City, was found with radioactive cesium exceeding the limit. Part of the rice has been sold in the market. The prefectural government has requested that the shipment of rice from these two districts to be voluntarily halted. The national government is going to order the halt of the rice shipment from the districts.


According to the Fukushima prefectural government, 9 kilograms of “mochi” rice harvested in former Oguni-mura part of Date City had been already sold to consumers at a local farm stand. This is the first case of the rice exceeding the limit having been found to have been sold to the general public.


According to the prefecture, in former Oguni-mura of Date City, 2 samples from 2 farms out of 119 samples from 101 farms tested 580 becquerels/kg and 780 becquerels/kg respectively. In former Tsukidate-machi of Date City, 1 samples from 1 farm out of 8 samples from 6 farms tested 1050 becquerels/kg.

Just to remind you: If a government ask you to voluntarily do something, the government does not compensate you for your inconvenience. If the government orders you to do something, then the government is obligated to compensate.

The Fukushima prefectural government hasn’t posted the press release on their website yet, but Yomiuri Shinbun (11/29/2011) reports that 4 additional farms in Onami District of Fukushima City had the rice whose radioactive cesium exceeded the provisional safety limit, bringing the total to 10 farms.

The prefecture and the media are trying their best to isolate these cases as “special”, saying that these farms are located in the mountains or near the mountains.

Well, I would think that condition applies to the significant number of rice farms in Japan.

TEPCO says no explosion occurred at No.2 reactor

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says there was no explosion at the No. 2 reactor, denying an earlier report that there was. But the company says it is still unable to determine how and why radioactive substances were released from the reactor.

NHK has obtained Tokyo Electric Power Company’s interim report on the nuclear accident that was triggered by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th.

The report includes findings from a study that the utility launched in June to analyze how the accident occurred and how workers responded to it.

The report says that almost all electricity sources for the reactors were lost at once following the tsunami.

As a result, multiple safety functions were also lost, causing meltdowns from the No. 1 to the No. 3 reactors.

TEPCO analyzed seismographic data recorded within the plant in the early morning of March 15th, 4 days after the disaster, when a large blast was reportedly heard near the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor.

The company concluded in the report that there was no explosion at the No. 2 reactor, and that a blast at the No. 4 reactor was mistakenly believed to have occurred at the No. 2.

Later that day, pressure inside the No. 2 reactor vessel dropped sharply, and radiation levels near the plant’s main gate rose above 10 millisieverts per hour, then the highest level so far.
The interim report fails to specify how the leakage occurred at the containment vessel, just saying that gas in the vessel was somehow released into the air.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 09:58 +0900 (JST)


Japanese hearts must be cleared of rubble to overcome triple disasters

Non-fiction writer Shinichi Sano

Non-fiction writer Shinichi Sano

“It was apocalyptic,” said 64-year-old non-fiction writer Shinichi Sano, as he recalled the nightmarish reality he witnessed in the Tohoku region after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. “I realized that the scene spread out before me would probably continue to appear in my dreams until I die.”

What Sano saw on March 20 after he arrived in the Iwate Prefecture city of Rikuzentakata — nine days after a massive quake hit off the coast of northeastern Japan — seemed to him to come straight out of a painting by the Belgian-born surrealist painter Paul Delvaux.

“A terrifyingly bright full moon bathed the deserted ruins that remained after tsunami wiped everything out. I felt dread, terror, and perhaps a sort of dreaminess. It may have been the same thing that people who were swallowed by the waves saw before their lives ended. And I’m alive.” The thought had made him tremble, Sano said.


“And now they’ve been forced out of their homes. … The day after the (1995) Great Hanshin Earthquake, I went to Kobe. There was a couple sifting through the scorched earth as ash smoldered around them. I moved closer and saw something white,” Sano said. “They were looking for the bones of their child. In the Sanriku region and Fukushima, people can’t even do that.”

Sano is now working on a biography of Masayoshi Son, the president and CEO of major telecommunications company Softbank Corp. Sano had been following Son since before the March 11 disasters.

“When I asked him what he did in the days following the quake disaster, he said he just watched television. And that he’d seen a girl dressed in red calling for her mother on the Sanriku coast, and that he’d cried in spite of himself. I asked him what he thought at that moment, and he repeated, three times: ‘I’m powerless.’ I think those are the kinds of words that we’d usually hear from politicians.”

Son visited evacuation centers in Fukushima, offering to provide transportation fees for the temporary evacuation of 1,000 children to Saga Prefecture in Kyushu out of his own pocket.

“Maybe this isn’t the best way to describe him, but Son’s just a cell phone seller. And here he was, not merely saying he would do something, but actually taking action.


“Everything rests on how we weave our words together, and how we decide to act. We must use our imagination without being swayed by the words of politicians and others. We need to train ourselves to think. I think that’s one way to overcome the quake disaster. Post-war Japan was able to rebuild because it was young and had momentum. Today, we have an aging population. Unless every single one of us washes away the rubble strewn about our spirits, we might not be able to triumph over the challenges we face this time.”

Washing our spirits of rubble may actually be a lot harder than clearing the disaster areas of physical rubble. (By Taichi Nemoto, Evening Edition Department)

(Mainichi Japan) November 28, 2011

Read the entire story at:

Letters from tsunami-affected students tell of bullying, lingering stress

Children forced by the Great East Japan Earthquake and accompanying disasters to change schools have written into a government-run counseling service telling of bullying and lingering stress from the disasters.

The service was started in 2006 by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ)’s Human Rights Bureau at elementary and junior-high schools around the country. A student can write on a prepared letter about problems that they can’t talk to friends or family about, post it in a mailbox, and the letter is delivered to the nearest legal affairs bureau. Government employees or volunteers write back and work with schools or youth counseling services as necessary.

According to the Human Rights Bureau, there were over 1,100 letters sent in this year between April and September, with around 20 being related to the Great East Japan Earthquake.

One student from the northeast Tohoku region wrote, “I was at school when the tsunami hit. Now I attend a different school, but I feel that I’m being ostracized.” Another student wrote, “I’ve been bullied at the school I transferred to. I can’t talk to any teachers about it. A bully even said to me, ‘Too bad you didn’t die in the tsunami.'”

“I constantly wonder why my family had to die and can’t focus on studying,” wrote another student. “My father who was living in Tohoku died in the tsunami, and I can’t accept it as reality,” wrote another.

One student in the Kanto region — which includes Tokyo — wrote, “I can’t drink the water because I’m worried about radiation.”

Through October and November, the Human Rights Bureau has been distributing the counseling letters to all elementary and junior-high schools across the nation. Kiyoko Yokata of the MOJ’s Human Rights Bureau says, “We are asking workers and volunteers to think carefully of the letter writers’ feelings when writing their responses. To protect the human rights of children, we will respond to the letters with care.”

(Mainichi Japan) November 28, 2011

Part of today’s entry over at EX-SKF:

“Trap of Prometheus” Series Part 2 – Resignation of a Researcher (2/4)

In [Part 2 “Resignation of a Researcher” (series from Asahi Shinbun) there is a very curious piece of information about SPEEDI simulation, the NISA and the PM’s Office’s decision to set the evacuation zone in concentric circles. In short,

  • The Ministry of Education had ordered the SPEEDI simulations from the beginning and knew exactly where to send the official to do the actual measurements in Namie-machi, Fukushima;
  • Not only the Ministry of Education ordered SPEEDI simulation calculations but also the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency ordered its own SPEEDI simulation calculations with much more accuracy;
  • NISA was setting the evacuation zone on March 11 evening based on the simulation;
  • NISA stopped their work as soon as the PM’s Office, based on no credible information or agreed-on procedure, announced the concentric circle evacuation zones.

Reading the Part 2 of the series, it sure looks as if almost everything bad that happened afterwards could have been prevented if the politicians and bureaucrats on the initial (and crucial) 1st and 2nd days of the nuclear accident had acted to protect the public, which I think is their constitutional duty. Instead, they played games, a turf war as if this was just another ordinary day in Kasumigaseki.

In the Installment 11, we learned that the Ministry of Education knew exactly where to look for high radiation because it had SPEEDI simulation result, but it didn’t bother to tell anyone about the radiation levels when the information would have made the difference. In the next Installment 12 below, we’ll see in more detail why the information wasn’t shared.


Resignation of a Researcher (12) Suddenly, it was evacuation in concentric circles


Why was the Ministry of Education able to precisely identify the location that would measure 330 microsieverts/hour radiation on March 15? (reporting by Takaaki Yorimitsu)


The Ministry of Education and Science in Kasumigaseki, Tokyo. Itaru Watanabe (age 53), Senior Deputy Director-General, Science and Technology Policy Bureau talks with occasional gestures. “In fact, we used SPEEDI in unit emission mode.”


SPEEDI is a simulation system to forecast the effect of radiation. It considers wind directions, wind speeds and topography and forecasts the dispersion of radioactive materials released.


Radioactive materials do not spread in concentric circles, and the area of contamination would take the shape with multiple protrusions. Forecast the shape of the contaminated area with SPEEDI and evacuate residents as quickly as possible – that is the fundamental principle of nuclear emergency preparedness.


The forecast would be based on the information from the nuclear plant as to how much radioactive materials are being emitted. That information was not available in this accident.


However, it is possible to make forecast by entering a formal [as opposed to actual] number. That is the “unit emission”, which assumes 1 becquerel/hour emission. Using this method, Watanabe was able to correctly identify the area with high radiation contamination.


It is not that Watanabe used a special method. The guideline set by the Nuclear Safety Commission specifies that the simulation calculation is to be done by unit emission or by the predetermined number because it is difficult to know the precise amount of emission right after the accident. Based on the map thus calculated, the areas and the directions that will need increased monitoring are to be decided.


“It was exactly according to the manual, to provide information of the unit emission calculation. It was in the manual that the unit emission calculation was to be distributed to parties involved when the actual amount of emission was unknown.”

マニュアルによると、配る先は一部の省庁と原子力安全委員会、福島県、そして現地対策本部。「実際に避難範囲を決める場合、SPEEDIを使ったのかどうか は文部科学省では分かりません。避難範囲を決めたのは文科省では無く、原子力対策本部ですから。今回は本来の使い方はされず、いきなり同心円状で避難の指示がなされた」。

According to the manual, the information was to be distributed to several government ministries and agencies, the Nuclear Safety Commission, Fukushima Prefecture, and the local countermeasures headquarters [in Fukushima]. “The Ministry of Education does not know whether the SPEEDI result was used in deciding the evacuation zones. The evacuation zones were decided not by the Ministry of Education but by the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters. This time, the manual wasn’t followed, and the order to evacuate in concentric circles was issued abruptly.”


According to that manual, the Ministry of Education would provide information, and using that information the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters would issue evacuation orders. The Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters was the Prime Minster’s Official Residence.


However, Prime Minister Kan, Minister of Economy and Industry Banri Kaieda, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano all insist that they didn’t know about SPEEDI.In particular, Kaieda and Edano said in the Diet meeting that they didn’t know about it until after March 20. What was going on?

(To be continued in the next posts.)

It sure looks like someone (or some people) couldn’t resist playing “Sir Humphrey” in what may have been the biggest emergency situation that the country ever faced. And PM Kan, unlike the fictional PM Hacker, didn’t care to know how to use the career bureaucrats.

Cesium levels hit tens of billions of becquerels at river mouth

November 25, 2011

By EISUKE SASAKI/ Staff Writer

Researchers have sounded the alarm over river water containing cesium levels at tens of billions of becquerels a day flowing into the sea near Fukushima Prefecture, site of the crippled nuclear power plant.

A joint study by Kyoto University and the University of Tsukuba, among other entities, estimated that water at the mouth of the Abukumagawa river running through the prefecture was contaminated with cesium levels of about 50 billion becquerels a day.

They called for immediate and continued monitoring of the situation.

The daily radiation levels are equivalent to the total of amount of cesium in low-level contaminated water released into the sea in April by Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The Abukumagawa river runs to the north in the prefecture, near Koriyama and Fukushima, the prefectural capital, and flows into the Pacific Ocean at Iwanuma in Miyagi Prefecture.

Its watershed area spans 5,400 square kilometers, including a vast stretch contaminated by the plant.

The researchers estimated the level for cesium-137 at 29.1 billion becquerels a day and that for cesium-134 at 23.4 billion becquerels a day–both at the mouth of the river.

More than 90 percent of the cesium was contained in small particles, including waterborne clay and other fine-grained soil, while the rest had dissolved in the water.

“The study shows a high level (of cesium) is being carried (into the ocean),” said Yosuke Yamashiki, associate professor of environmental engineering at Kyoto University. “The inflow will likely continue for some time. But the content can be reduced.”

Yamashiki said that could be accomplished by taking advantage of the fact that cesium tends to accumulate in areas where there is a dam.

The estimated levels near Date, a city situated at the middle reaches of the river, were 92.5 billion becquerels a day for cesium-137 and 83.8 billion becquerels a day for cesium-134.

The researchers explained that cesium levels are lower at the mouth of the river because deposits may have built up around dams along the way.

The research team monitored the volume of flow and cesium levels in the middle reaches and mouth of the river, as well as its tributaries, in June through August.

The monitoring was commissioned by the science ministry.

The researchers said cesium is continuing to contaminate the river water after it fell to the the ground in the watershed area and was carried into the river by rainfall.

More cesium could contaminate the river during decontamination operations and tilling of rice paddies in preparation for transplanting young rice plants, they added.

By EISUKE SASAKI/ Staff Writer

Fukushima dairy farmer loses hope of returning as vegetation overruns farm

Namio Kanno points to a spot on his farm in Kawamata, Fukushima Prefecture, that used to be pasture land. (Mainichi)

Namio Kanno points to a spot on his farm in Kawamata, Fukushima Prefecture, that used to be pasture land. (Mainichi)

Once every 10 days, Namio Kanno, 64, checks on his home and dairy farm in the Yamakiya district in Kawamata, Fukushima Prefecture. Eight months since the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, there is nothing he can do as the farm he spent 38 years on becomes overrun with vegetation.

“The maximum limit is three years,” Kanno said about his evacuation from Yamakiya, which has been designated as a “planned evacuation zone” by the national government. “Any longer than that, and I won’t be able to return the pasture to the way it was.”

Weeds have grown hip high in what was previously cow pasture, and the cattle shed is entangled in vines. The farmer quietly turned the pages of an album in his living room. One picture showed a youthful Kanno with his pregnant wife, standing alongside a dairy cow. “That was our first cow,” he said.

Read entire article at:



This, via Australia Cannonball Nuclear News:

Cesium from Fukushima plant fell all over Japan



Radioactive substances from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have now been confirmed in all prefectures, including Uruma, Okinawa Prefecture, about 1,700 kilometers from the plant, according to the science ministry.

The ministry said it concluded the radioactive substances came from the stricken nuclear plant because, in all cases, they contained cesium-134, which has short half-life of two years.

Before the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake, radioactive substance were barely detectable in most areas.

But the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s survey results released on Nov. 25 showed that fallout from the Fukushima plant has spread across Japan. The survey covered the cumulative densities of radioactive substances in dust that fell into receptacles during the four months from March through June.

Figures were not available for Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, where the measurement equipment was rendered inoperable by the March 11 disaster.

One measurement station was used for each of the other 45 prefectures.

The highest combined cumulative density of radioactive cesium-134 and cesium-137 was found in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki Prefecture, at 40,801 becquerels per square meter. That was followed by 22,570 becquerels per square meter in Yamagata, the capital of Yamagata Prefecture, and 17,354 becquerels per square meter in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward.

End Extract


From EX-SKF at:

“Trap of Prometheus” Series Part 2 – Resignation of a Researcher: NISA Was About to Set Evacuation Zone Based on SPEEDI on March 11 Evening (1/4)

Asahi Shinbun’s “Trap of Prometheus” series is still on-going, and right now it’s Part 3 about suppressing the scientific data. It continues to be an excellent article, and it continues to be printed on the “third page” (see my post on the Part 1 of the series).

I just finished reading the Part 2 “Resignation of a Researcher”, which has 21 installments. Even though Asahi Shinbun is busy taking down the blog sites that compile all the series articles for convenient reading, they cannot suppress them all, and I read it on this blog.

In it, there is a very curious piece of information about SPEEDI simulation, the NISA and the PM’s Office’s decision to set the evacuation zone in concentric circles. In short,

  • The Ministry of Education had ordered the SPEEDI simulations from the beginning and knew exactly where to send the official to do the actual measurements in Namie-machi, Fukushima;
  • Not only the Ministry of Education ordered SPEEDI simulation calculations but also the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency ordered its own SPEEDI simulation calculations with much more accuracy;
  • NISA was setting the evacuation zone on March 11 evening based on the simulation;
  • NISA stopped their work as soon as the PM’s Office, based on no credible information or agreed-on procedure, announced the concentric circle evacuation zones.

Reading the Part 2 of the series, it sure looks as if almost everything bad that happened afterwards could have been prevented if the politicians and bureaucrats on the initial (and crucial) 1st and 2nd days of the nuclear accident had acted to protect the public, which I think is their constitutional duty. Instead, they played games, a turf war as if this was just another ordinary day in Kasumigaseki.

This post is my quick translation of the Installment 11. Installments 12, 13, and 14 will be in the next 3 posts.


“Resignation of a Researcher” (11) Instruction with pinpoint precision


Shinzo Kimura and others entered Fukushima on March 15. That day, Reactor 2 at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant was damaged at around 6AM and a large amount of radioactive materials were being released.


At a location 5 kilometers from the plant, the headquarters for nuclear disaster countermeasures was set up by the national government in the evening of March 11. However, in the evening of March 14, they decided to retreat out of fear of the condition of Reactor 2. The retreat started that night, and the headquarters was moved inside the Fukushima prefectural government building, 60 kilometers from the plant, by March 15 afternoon.


Makio Watanabe, one of the officials at the headquarters, received the instruction on March 15 evening at the Fukushima prefectural government building. “The situation is extremely serious. Go measure the radiation.”

渡辺は文部科学省茨城原子力安全管理事務所から応援に来ていた。指示された場所は浪江町山間部の3カ所。ピンポイントだった。神奈川北原子力事務所の車 で現地に行き、午後9時ごろ放射線量を測る。数値を見て驚いた。3カ所とも高く、特に赤宇木(あこうぎ)は毎時330マイクロシーベルト。

Watanabe had been sent to the headquarters from the Ministry of Education’s office for nuclear safety management in Ibaraki. He was instructed to go and measure at 3 locations in the mountainous area in Namie-machi. The instruction was pinpoint, very precise. He drove there, and start measuring the radiation at about 9PM. He was alarmed to see the numbers. All three locations had very high radiation, and Akogi District in Namie-machi measured 330 microsieverts/hour.


Looking back, Watanabe says “I just couldn’t believe it.” He wanted to report right away, but his cellphone didn’t connect. He couldn’t use his satelite phone because it was raining. He hastily drove back to Kawamata-machi, and used the public phone there to report. On the way back to Kawamata-machi, he saw lights in people’s houses. There were still many people remaining [in Namie-machi].


“I just didn’t want the residents to get irradiated. I reported that the radiation levels were extremely high, and asked the headquarters please to make the radiation measurements public as soon as possible.”


Watanabe wasn’t even wearing the protective clothing. Since the retreat to the Fukushima prefectural government building was done so hastily that they left protective gear.


“I didn’t think about my safety at that time. I felt I had to do it.”

必死の思いで渡辺が伝えた数値は、しかし住民避難に使われはしなかった。文科省は16日にその数値を発表したが、地区名は伏せたまま。浪江町に知らせる こともなかった。町は危険を認識せず、一帯に残る住民に伝えることもなかった。なにより官房長官は「直ちに人体に影響を与えるような数値ではない」と会見 で述べていた。

However, the numbers that Watanabe had measured at grave danger and reported were never used for evacuation of the residents. The Ministry of Education announced the numbers on March 16 but it didn’t say exactly where. The Ministry never notified Namie-machi. Namie-machi didn’t know the danger, and so it didn’t inform the residents about the danger. More than anything else, the Chief Cabinet Secretary [Edano] kept saying in the press conference, “They are not the levels that would affect the body immediately.”


Still, how come the headquarters knew the locations of high radiation with such precision? Watanabe says, “Who decided which point to measure and instructed me? I do not know even this day.”


The reporter tracked down the source, and it was from the Ministry of Education in Tokyo. The instruction was based on SPEEDI, and the Ministry knew the extend of radiation contamination.

I remember the face of Yukio Edano in the press conferences in the early days of the accident. He was saying “No immediate effect”. People were relieved. People even worried for his health, and told him to get some sleep. Then one day in mid April, there was a news clip of him visiting Fukushima (Minami Soma City), with protective clothing and a face mask. People ridiculed him at first, for it seemed to contradict his statement of “no immediate risk”.

He knew. And he lied. And people know that now, albeit too late.


In case you haven’t read it, here’s a link to the first series of articles from Asahi Shinbun titled “Prometheus Trap”.


Monju reactor may be axed: Hosono


TSURUGA, Fukui Pref. — The government will consider scrapping the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor during its operational review of the troubled nuclear facility, Goshi Hosono, minister in charge of the nuclear disaster, said Saturday.

“There are various opinions and (the government) should consider all of them, including the possibility of decommissioning the facility,” Hosono told reporters after visiting the complex in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture.

Ruling Democratic Party of Japan lawmakers and private-sector experts demanded a thorough operational and budgetary review of the Monju project during the government’s energy policy screening session last week.

Hosono partly blamed the troubles of the Monju reactor on its age. The project started in the 1960s and the fast-breeder reactor was eventually built in the 1980s. The long-running Monju project is now at a “crossroads,” he said.

Read entire article at:



Mainichi: Decontamination workers not showing up, worried about health — Went from 33 companies down to 2 — Radiation levels persisting — Expected to take much longer

 Decontamination work at homes in Fukushima not going well as radiation lingers, The Mainichi Daily News, Nov. 25, 2011 (Emphasis Added):

  • Work to decontaminate homes and yards in a district here is not proceeding as hoped, as radiation levels persist and decontamination workers worried about their health stay away.
  • The city began decontamination work in the Onami district [57 km / 35 mi. from Fukushima meltdowns] on Oct. 18.
  • Originally, there was a plan to complete decontamination work on all 367 households in the district by the end of the year, but decontamination work is now expected to take much longer.
  • Thirty-three companies were originally planned to take part, but due to fears about worker safety, most canceled and only two companies joined the work when it started in October.
  • A man in his 60s who lives in the area said, “I was hoping decontamination work would finish before the snow fell. There’s been no explanation of why things have been put off, and I’ve become more distrustful.”


can change

in an instant.



Ghost Town (Song About Chernobyl) By Huns and Dr.Beeker

No info is provided on the source of this song. But, for those who wish to look away from Fukushima and pretend all will be well for Japan now and in in the future- let this serve as a reminder that 25 years later the Chernobyl disaster still continues. Where will Japan’s children be in 25 years? 


Chance for big tsunami in eastern Japan within 30 yrs revised up to 30%

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The probability of a major earthquake occurring and triggering a massive tsunami in the Pacific Ocean off eastern and northeastern Japan within the next 30 years has been revised up to 30 percent from 20 percent, a government panel said Friday.

The Earthquake Research Committee has reexamined its long-term estimate of killer temblors after the March 11 quake and tsunami and found that a quake that triggers a tsunami as powerful as the one caused by the 1896 Meiji-Sanriku Earthquake, which killed more than 20,000 people, is more likely to happen in the sea zone stretching 800 kilometers north-south.

The panel stopped short of predicting the magnitude of the possible quake but said past records suggest it would be magnitude 8 or stronger.

A huge tsunami tears through a protective screen of trees and swallows homes in this photo taken from a Mainichi helicopter in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 11, 2011. (Mainichi)

A huge tsunami tears through a protective screen of trees and swallows homes in this photo taken from a Mainichi helicopter in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 11, 2011. (Mainichi)

The tsunami triggered by the 1896 quake reached as high as 38.2 meters, according to the records. The quake’s estimated magnitude ranges from 6.8 to 8.5 among experts.

Meanwhile, the committee said the likelihood a quake with a magnitude of up to 9 occurs within the next 50 years in a sea area off Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, which is closer to the shore than the 800-km zone, is almost zero percent.

(Mainichi Japan) November 26, 2011

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

In eastern Japan there are (at least) the following nuclear reactors:

(info source: Wikipedia)




Rating, MWe




Genkai, Saga



Operational October 1975

Kyūshū Electric




Operational March 1981

Kyūshū Electric




Operational March 1994

Kyūshū Electric




Operational July 1997

Kyūshū Electric


Omaezaki, Shizuoka



Operational March 1976

Chūbu Electric




Operational November 1978

Chūbu Electric




Operational August 1987

Chūbu Electric




Operational September 1993

Chūbu Electric




Operational January 2005

Chūbu Electric


Ikata, Ehime



Operational September 1977





Operational March 1982





Operational December 1994



Mihama, Fukui



Operational November 1970





Operational July 1972





Operational December 1976



Tsuruga, Fukui



Operational 1994-1995; 2010-



Ōi, Fukui



Operational March 1979





Operational December 1979





Operational December 1991





Operational February 1993



Satsumasendai, Kagoshima



Operational July 1984

Kyūshū Electric




Operational November 1985

Kyūshū Electric


Shika, Ishikawa



Operational July 1993





Operational March 2006



Matsue, Shimane



Operational March 1974

Chūgoku Electric




Operational February 1989

Chūgoku Electric




Under construction, online Dec 2011

Chūgoku Electric


Takahama, Fukui



Operational November 1974





Operational November 1975





Operational January 1985





Operational June 1985



Tsuruga, Fukui



Operational March 1970





Operational February 1987


Residents who stayed in Fukushima to receive same compensation as evacuees

Residents dressed in clothing to protect them from radiation prepare to board a bus on Aug. 26 ahead of temporary visits to their homes within three kilometers of the crisis-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. (Mainichi)

Residents dressed in clothing to protect them from radiation prepare to board a bus on Aug. 26 ahead of temporary visits to their homes within three kilometers of the crisis-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. (Mainichi)

Fukushima residents who decided to stay behind in their hometowns despite the nuclear disaster will receive the same amount of compensation as voluntary evacuees from areas other than the no-go zone, officials with a government panel in charge of redress issues decided on Nov. 25.

The officials said the panel under the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry (MEXT) decided to expand the coverage of compensation to those who have stayed behind because it believes they are suffering mental distress due to the crisis at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant irrespective of the timing of evacuations or evacuations per se.

Article continues at:

More Fukushima rice tainted with cesium

Fukushima Prefecture says it has found rice tainted with radioactive cesium above the tentative government limit from five more farms.

The prefecture said on Friday that the five farms are in the Oonami district of Fukushima City, about 56 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The highest level of cesium detected was 1,270 becquerels per kilogram. The government’s maximum allowable level is 500 becquerels per kilogram.

Earlier this month, the prefectural government found rice samples from a field in the district also containing radioactive cesium above the limit.

Shipments of rice harvested from the area have been suspended by central government since last Thursday.

Fukushima Prefecture subsequently ordered tests on rice samples from all 154 farms in the Oonami district.

Friday, November 25, 2011 21:04 +0900 (JST)

Cesium from nuke plant spread along mountains

An aerial survey has shown that radioactive cesium from the Fukushima nuclear disaster has accumulated along the mountains of eastern Japan.

Japan’s science ministry released on Friday the results of the helicopter survey, covering 22 prefectures in eastern and central Japan.

The results are indicated in a colored map showing varying levels of cesium in soil. The radioactive substance has a long half-life, and is likely to affect the environment for decades.

Areas immediately northwest and south of the nuclear plant are indicated in red and yellow. This shows they have the highest concentrations of cesium, at above one-million becquerels per square meter.
Areas in blue, with concentrations of 30,000 becquerels or more, are seen spreading out toward Miyagi Prefecture — about 60 kilometers to the north, and to Gunma Prefecture — about 200 kilometers southwest.

The pattern appears to correspond to the location of mountain ranges in the region.

In one of the routes of contamination, clouds carrying the radioactive substance apparently hit a mountain range northeast of the plant, before being carried by the wind to peaks far north of Tokyo.

The science ministry says the mountains could have blocked the radioactive fallout from spreading further.

The ministry plans to expand its aerial survey early next year, focusing on western Japan and the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido.

Friday, November 25, 2011 18:58 +0900 (JST)

Greenpeace Japan ranks major supermarkets on seafood radiation

Friday, November 25, 2011, 15:30 (GMT + 9)

In the past few months Greenpeace Japan has been monitoring the radioactive contamination of land and sea that resulted from the destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in March this year.

Between 12 October and 8 November the team, led by Greenpeace Japan Oceans Campaigner Wakao Hanaoka, took seafood samples from five supermarket chains – AeonIto Yokado, Uny (Apita), Daieiand Seiyu -, taking 15 samples from each.

Of the 75 samples, radioactive cesium 134 and 137 were detected in 27 samples.

The samples that stood out were from Pacific cod. In total, seven cod caught in Hokkaido, Iwate and Miyagi, were sampled and five were found to be contaminated.

The Pacific cod wasn’t the only contaminated fish found. Cesium 134 and 137 were detected in all five samples of bigeye tuna the team took and in all five samples of skipjack tuna.

Wakao and the team also analysed one sample of canned mackerel. Although the level of contamination was not very high, there is no detailed information about the fish’s origin such as where it was caught and what type of mackerel it is.

The label on the can simply says “made in Japan”.

According Greenpeace Japan, government’s labelling regulation for canned fish and processed fish products is far less stringent than for fresh fish products and needs to be addressed immediately.

Following questionnaires sent to the five supermarket chains between September and November 2011, a ranking guide was released showing how well each company has been responding to radioactive contamination of seafood, how they bought seafood, how their seafood was screened, how strong their standards were compared to the Government standard of 500bq/kg, and how clearly the information to consumers was displayed.

The results of the survey (points out of 100) showed that AEON leads the ranking with 82 points thanks to its “radiation-free” food policy announced on 8 November, with Ito Yokado taking the second place with 68 points given its labelling system announced on 21 November , followed by Daiei 54 points, Uny (Apita) 46 points, and Seiyu 32 points.


TEPCO: Radioactive substances belong to landowners, not us – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun

Radiation Levels at Sunfield Nihonmatsu Golf Club, 45 km west of Fukushima meltdowns, on Aug. 10

  • 2.91 microsieverts per hour was recorded 10 centimeters above ground at the tee of the sixth hole
  • 51.1 microsieverts per hour near a drainage ditch in a parking space for golf carts, similar to level 2.4 km from the plant

A radiation testing agency checked the course on Nov. 13

  • 235,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram of grass was detected, a level that would put the area into a Chernobyl no-entry zone (235,000 Bq/kg = 15,275,000 Bq/m²; After Chernobyl above 1,480,000 Bq/m²  required migration, 555,000-1.48 million Bq/m² was for temporary migration)

On Nov. 17

  • Radioactive strontium at 98 Bq/kg was detected in the grass and ground

TEPCO’s Answer to Golf Course’s Lawsuit

  • “Radioactive materials that scattered and fell from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant belong to individual landowners there, not TEPCO”
  • “There is room for doubt about the ability of the measuring equipment the city used and the accuracy of the records”
  • “There are sites overseas with an annual reading of 10 millisieverts of natural radiation”

District Court Decision on Oct. 31

  • Rejected TEPCO’s argument that radioactive fallout belongs to individual landowners
  • Deemed the city’s radioactivity measurements credible
  • Ruled that companies have the right to demand decontamination work by TEPCO
  • Yet it said central or local governments should be responsible for the decontamination work, given efficiency of cleanup operations so far
  • Rejected companies’ demand for compensation, saying the golf course operations could have been resumed because the radiation levels were below 3.8 microsieverts per hour, the yardstick set by the science ministry in April for authorizing the use of schoolyards

h/t Anonymous tip (Thanks to all those anonymous tippers out there)

TEPCO denies responsibility for hot spring customer loss after March 11

IBARAKI — The first oral proceedings of a lawsuit filed by a hot spring facility here that seeks compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) for a drastic drop in customers since March 11 ended on Nov. 24 with TEPCO denying any responsibility for the situation.

“The reason why customers have declined since March 11 is because of damage the facility suffered in the earthquake and tsunami. It is not related to the crisis at the Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant,” TEPCO representatives argued in a written statement that requested the court dismiss the facility’s claims.

The hot spring facility “Shiosai no Yu” says that it suffered a major loss of customers since March 11 due to fears that the ocean and seafood — the facility’s main attractions — are polluted by radiation leaking from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. The facility is located in the port town of Oarai approximately 130 kilometers from the nuclear plant.

A TEPCO assistance center, where a two-hour waiting line formed after just 30 minutes, is pictured in the city of Fukushima on Sept. 20. (Mainichi)

A TEPCO assistance center, where a two-hour waiting line formed after just 30 minutes, is pictured in the city of Fukushima on Sept. 20. (Mainichi)

“Due to the nuclear crisis we have lost our main sales point. With radiation still spreading from the nuclear plant and no clear sign of an end, it is understandable that prospective customers fear for their health. Their anxieties are not caused by simple rumors,” the plaintiff asserted.

The hot spring facility has demanded that TEPCO pay approximately 47 million yen in compensation that would cover their financial loss for the period between March and June 2011.

(Mainichi Japan) November 25, 2011

Over 80 percent of nuke reactors to be shut down

Another nuclear reactor in Japan will be shut down for regular inspection on Friday.

With this addition to the list, more than 80 percent of the nuclear reactors in the country will not be operating.

The shutdown procedure for the reactor at the Takahama nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, will begin in the evening. The reactor will come to a complete halt before dawn on Saturday.

The latest shutdown means 44 of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors, or more than 80 percent, will not be generating power.

Some of the idle reactors are now undergoing stress tests, a prerequisite for deciding whether to resume operation.

Authorities from Fukui Prefecture, which has 11 nuclear reactors, say they will not approve resumption unless the central government provides them with new safety standards which take into account the findings from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.

Other reactors also face a similar situation in considering whether to restart operations.

All nuclear reactors in Japan which are currently operating are scheduled to undergo regular inspection by next spring, at the latest. If the present stalemate in safety persists, the country will see all 54 nuclear reactors shut down.

Friday, November 25, 2011 07:50 +0900 (JST)

Radiation in Japan: Tokyo Will Burn Miyagi’s Disaster (and Radioactive) Debris in Incineration Plants in 23 Special Wards

The Tokyo Metropolitan government simplyannounced on November 24, 2011 that it will be accepting the disaster debris from Onagawa-machi in Miyagi Prefecture starting early December and lasting till March 2013, and the debris (which is radioactive, by the way) will be burned in the waste incineration plants operated by the 23 Special Wards and by municipalities in Tama District (western Tokyo). The agreement has already been signed.

In my November 15 post, I wrote about this deal. But I apparently forgot to write about my speculation at that time (I did in my Japanese blog) that the only reason I could think of as to why the Assembly of the Special Ward Mayors was being consulted in accepting the Miyagi debris was that the debris would be burned in the regular incineration plants in the 23 Wards. I was exactly right, and I don’t enjoy having been right on this.

From NHK Kabun tweet:



Debris from Onagawa-machi, Miyagi Prefecture will be brought to Tokyo by the Tokyo 23 Special Wards and municipalities in Tama District of Tokyo starting early next month till March of 2013. 100,000 tonnes of debris will be processed. It will be burned in the waste incineration plants operated by the municipalities, and the ashes will be buried in the landfill on the Tokyo Bay. (November 24)

All over.

They are confident that bag filters will reduce or eliminate the radioactive materials on the debris, which will be flammable wood debris, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Environment.

How radioactive it can be? The Bureau of Environment’s announcement has a link to the test result of burning the debris and measuring the radiation in Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture. The number is 2300 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium in the ashes. Since it is so far below the 8000 becquerels/kg safety standard set by the Ministry of the Environment, there is no problem burning and burying, in the minds of the Tokyo Metropolitan governor and politicians and bureaucrats (and their celebrity supporters…).

By the way, the document from Onagawa-machi makes it clear that the debris may be burned in the private incineration plants in addition to the municipal incineration plants, and that the ashes may be used in “eco-cement”.

Again, the only private incineration plant that would meet the spec (more than 100 tonnes per day capacity) is that TEPCO subsidiary, Tokyo Rinkai Recycle Power.

*   *    *    *    *   *    *    *   *   *   *   *   *  *

TEPCO gets 120 bil. yen as government insurance over nuclear crisis

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crisis-stricken Fukushima Daiichi power plant, said Tuesday it has received 120 billion yen from the government under an existing insurance program for nuclear accidents.

The funds will be used by the company to pay massive compensation to people and companies affected by the world’s worst nuclear accident in 25 years. The utility, known as TEPCO, has separately received 558.7 billion yen from a state-backed funding entity.

TEPCO submitted a request on Oct. 24 for the payment of 120 billion yen, the maximum compensation amount set by a contract between the government and TEPCO for an accident at one nuclear power plant.

“We will continue to do our best to ensure that the indemnification payment process is as convenient as possible for all applicants,” the company said in a statement.

As for compensation to make up for the victims’ emotional distress, sources familiar with the matter said the company plans to review the current guideline so that each of the residents around the plant who evacuated because of the crisis will be paid 100,000 yen per month beyond Sept. 1.

Under the guideline, the amount of compensation was expected to be halved to 50,000 yen per month from Sept. 1, based on the assumption that the living environment of many of the evacuees was to have improved six months after the nuclear crisis began in March.

But criticism has been growing from Fukushima Prefecture that mental distress will “rather increase if life as evacuees prolongs.”

TEPCO is expected to announce the revision on Thursday, according to the sources.

(Mainichi Japan) November 23, 2011

Japan Not to Extend Jobless Benefits Further for Disaster Victims

Tokyo, Nov. 22 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government will not extend the maximum unemployment benefit period any further in areas hit hard by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, labor minister Yoko Komiyama said Tuesday.
Instead of extending the benefit period, the government will focus on measures to help people who became unemployed in the disaster find new jobs, she told a news conference.
Further extending the cash benefits could dampen recipients’ motivation to look for work, Komiyama added.
As a special measure in May, the maximum jobless benefit period was extended to 120 days from 60 days in areas affected by the disaster.
In late September, the government decided on a further extension of up to 90 days for tsunami-ravaged coastal areas in the hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, and in municipalities affected by radiation leaks from Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which suffered serious damage from the disaster.


Detailed summary of the events of this year:

Occupy Tokyo: Mass demonstrations go unreported by Japanese media

Sott Editors
Tue, 15 Nov 2011 00:53 CST
You’ve heard about the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York, Los Angeles, London, Toronto, Berlin, Tel Aviv and elsewhere around the world. But did you know that huge demonstrations have been taking place in Tokyo as well? We certainly didn’t until a SOTT forum member sent us the details. The general lack of awareness of the protests in Japan is probably due to the fact that there has been zero coverage of ‘Occupy Tokyo’ – which has grown out of the country’s large (and growing) grassroots anti-nuclear movement – in Japan’s mainstream media.

Several large demonstrations have taken place all over Japan in recent months, especially in Tokyo. The general mood is the same as elsewhere: ordinary people in Japan are fed up with their leaders’ lies, particularly the lies told by TEPCO, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, and how the government has handled the Fukushima disaster. Or rather, how it has avoided handling it. This should all be eerily familiar to Americans of course; BP’s lies and the US government’s enabling role from the moment the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April 2010 has continued to this day, with the tragedy continuing to unfold in deathly silence. What is happening in Japan is almost a carbon copy; denial, smear campaigns, heavy-handed tactics and, of course, total media blackout. Up to one million people may have died as a result of Chernobyl, although we’ll never really know the true death toll. Fukushima is many orders of magnitude worse

Coverage continues at:
Must read, from EX-SKF:

Now They Tell Us: Fukushima Rice Was Tested at 2 Locations Per Town, Says Yomiuri

Nothing new, I hope, for the readers of this blog. Now that radioactive cesium exceeding the national provisional limit has been detected from the rice in the area that passed the test with flying colors, the Fukushima prefectural government will test rice in select locations in 4 cities with relatively high radiation.

How does the simplified testing work? 200 grams of rice is put in a plastic bag, and a government official waves a scintillation survey meter over the rice for a few seconds.

The prefecture’s survey that tested 1174 samples in Fukushima was much praised in the media, and Fukushima rice was shipped with great fanfare. Big department stores specially feature Fukushima rice as the year-end gifts.

Now, Fukushima Prefecture and the Japanese MSM admit that locations within only 4 cities in Fukushima has nearly 2000 farms.

(Oh wait… Soma City has locations with relatively high radiation? That’s where the Japanese government sent the young king and the queen of Bhutan…)

Read the entire article at:


Nearly a tenth of Japan contaminated

Almost eight per cent of Japan's land area has been covered by radioactive caesium from the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Almost eight per cent of Japan’s land area has been covered by radioactive caesium from the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Last Updated: Tue, 22 Nov 2011 13:35:00 +1100

Japan’s Science Ministry says nearly 10 per cent of the country’s land has been contaminated by radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

It says more than 30,000km², or eight per cent of the country’s land area, has been blanketed by radioactive caesium.

The Ministry says most of the contamination was caused by four large plumes of radiation spewed out by the Fukushima nuclear plant in the first two weeks after meltdowns after the March earthquake and tsunami.

The Japanese Government says some of the radioactive material fell with rain and snow, leaving the affected areas with accumulations of more than 10,000 becquerels of caesium per square metre.



Emergency condenser at Fukushima plant may not have fully run after tsunami

The No. 1 reactor building of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant is pictured in this photo taken from an unmanned, remote-controlled helicopter on April 10, 2011. (Photo courtesy of TEPCO)
The No. 1 reactor building of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant is pictured in this photo taken from an unmanned, remote-controlled helicopter on April 10, 2011. (Photo courtesy of TEPCO)

An emergency cooling condenser at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant appears to have only partially run after the loss of all external power sources caused by the March 11 tsunami, the plant’s operator said.

There are two systems comprising the “isolation condenser (IC),” which is meant to cool down steam in a nuclear reactor in time of emergency, according to plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO).

When employees examined the plant on Oct. 18, the levels of coolant in the two systems in the plant’s No. 1 reactor were at 65 percent and 85 percent. The coolant evaporates in the process of heat exchange.

Noting that water has not been supplied to either of the systems since the disasters on March 11, TEPCO officials said they suspect that the IC in the No. 1 reactor functioned only at a limited level or over a short period.

As to the cause of the suspected malfunctioning, TEPCO suggested that hydrogen generated by damaged nuclear fuel may have gathered in the piping, causing the IC’s heat removal efficiency to decline. During the inspection on Oct. 18, the workers found no damage to the IC in the No. 1 reactor.

A high-ranking official of TEPCO said the IC would not have prevented the damage in the reactor even if it had functioned properly.

“Even if the IC had been working, it could have only delayed the damage to the reactor core a little bit. It wouldn’t have been a fundamental solution,” said Junichi Matsumoto, head of TEPCO’s nuclear power division.

It is believed that after the IC was automatically activated in response to the earthquake, a worker manually stopped it and then restarted it.

The government’s accident investigation panel is investigating to see if the IC was properly operated and if it functioned properly.

(Mainichi Japan) November 23, 2011


TEPCO to Recalculate the Amount of Radioactive Materials Leaked into the Ocean

Not only foreign researchers but also Japanese researchers have raised issues with TEPCO’s estimate on the amount of radioactive materials that leaked (on its own, or intentionally) into the Pacific Ocean, TEPCO has said it will recalculate the number. The company hopes to announce the result of the recalculation by the end of this month.

So far, TEPCO’s number is 4,700 terabequerels (iodine, cesium).

From Chunichi Shinbun (11/23/2011; don’t expect the link to last long on this paper):


Researchers in Japan and abroad have been disputing the number that TEPCO had announced regarding the amount of radioactive materials in the highly contaminated water at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant that leaked into the ocean. The leak was discovered in April. TEPCO’s number does not include the amount that leaked in March. If the March number were to be added, it could be the worst marine contamination ever. In response to the criticism, TEPCO has started the recalculation, and hopes to announce the result by the end of this month.

Article continues at:


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Full text of Chunichi article:



2011年11月23日 02時10分