8 months later, still long way to go
It’s been 8 months since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. But there’s still a long way to go before full-fledged reconstruction is possible.
Police say 19,488 people have been confirmed dead or remain missing as of November 10th.
The number of those confirmed dead is 9,501 in Miyagi Prefecture, 4,665 in Iwate Prefecture, and 1,604 in Fukushima Prefecture. 1,995 people remain missing in Miyagi, 1,427 people in Iwate, and 226 in Fukushima.
Reconstruction plans for the disaster-hit areas have been drawn up in 8 municipalities in Iwate, and 7 in Miyagi.
The government’s newly established rebuilding subsidies and other funds will shoulder all costs for relocation of residents to higher ground or inland regions.
But the locals will need more time to form a consensus on the mass relocations and reconstruction projects.
Also, no criterion has been set to assess the value of flooded land the government will purchase from owners.
Friday, November 11, 2011 16:15 +0900 (JST)
Tsunami victims remembered in Minamisanriku
Eight months after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami on Friday, the people of Minamisanriku town in Iwate Prefecture are offering prayers for the victims.
The disaster destroyed many of the town’s homes and left 900 residents dead or missing.
A flower altar was erected in front of the town’s disaster preparedness center, which had completely collapsed. About 30 town officials died there when the tsunami struck.
A volunteer worker who came to offer prayers said the town is still full of debris, a testament to the fierceness of the tsunami. He added that he wants to do all he can to help rebuild the town.
With winter approaching, the town is rushing to make preparations against the cold at its temporary housing facilities. The morning low on Friday was only 2.9 degrees Celsius.
Work is under way at a temporary housing complex in the Togura district to insulate the walls and install double-paned windows.
A woman who lives there said she will be careful about her health, as it will get even colder in the coming days.
Friday, November 11, 2011 12:09 +0900 (JST)
Radioactive Debris: Mayors in Shizuoka Prefecture Welcome With Open Arms
From Asahi Shinbun (11/11/2011):
The Association of City Mayors in Shizuoka Prefecture (Chairman Hisashi Suzuki, Mayor of Fuji City) and the Association of Town/Village Mayors (Chairman Hideo Endo, Mayor of Nagaizumi-cho) compiled the joint declaration on November 10 to accept debris from the disaster-affected areas. According to the Japan Association of City Mayors, “The declaration by the Association of City Mayors anywhere to accept disaster debris is unheard of.”
Heita Kawakatsu, governor of Shizuoka Prefecture, requested the mayors to come up with some plan, as the governor felt the problem as his own. 35 mayors got together to discuss, and came up with the declaration to cooperate depending on the situation in each city/town/village after ensuring 1) the debris is safe; 2) the residents agree; 3) city assemblies agree.
Looking at Tokyo, (1) can be rigged, (2) and (3) can be easily ignored. They are burning away those debris and burying them in the landfill in Tokyo Bay, every single day.
Miyagi’s temporary housing units not ready for winter: survey
A Mainichi Newspapers survey showed that among the temporary housing units in the three disaster hit-prefectures, Miyagi, Fukushima and Iwate, those in Miyagi are the least prepared to welcome the cold winter and still lack much of the necessary heating equipment.
The survey, conducted on Nov. 1, asked the three prefectures to specify the progress they have made in equipping the complexes for the upcoming harsh winter. Surveyed items included questions on an increase of heaters, the installation of double glazed windows, the placing of anti-freeze in water pipes, the provision of heat insulating materials, and the setting up of weather shields at the units’ entrances.
The results showed that while Fukushima and Iwate prefectures have either completed or partially completed work on each of the surveyed items, Miyagi Prefecture is still behind, with no clear estimated completion date.
Iwate reported that as of Oct. 14, the prefecture has completed the installation of double glazed windows and heat insulators in 13,851 temporary housing units.
Article continues at:
Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 4: TEPCO Says Explosion on 4th Floor Air Duct
from the hydrogen gas that came from Reactor 3 when they did the vent of Reactor 3. TEPCO says in the handout for the press on November 10 that the gas, instead of going up the exhaust stack (oh no here we go again, the stack…) into the air, went to Reactor 4’s air duct on the 4th floor.
To prove their case, TEPCO released the photographs on November 10 taken on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors of Reactor 4 on November 8. The heaviest damage is on the 4th floor with totally destroyed and disfigured air duct pipes. The rebar of the floor of the 5th floor is lifted upwards, while the floor of the 4th floor is pushed downward. It seems plausible enough that an explosion (there may be more than one, judging by the number of “fires” that Reactor had on March 15 and 16) took place on the 4th floor.
See photos and read the entire article at:
Researchers remove 90 percent of radioactive cesium from sludge with bacteria
HIROSHIMA — A research team here has succeeded in developing a method of removing radioactive cesium from sludge using bacteria.
Hiroshima International University professor Ken Sasaki, who studies the application of biotechnology in radiation decontamination, along with Ota Kohkan, a Hiroshima-based company selling waterworks-related materials and equipment, collected sludge from a swimming pool at a public school in the Fukushima Prefecture capital of Fukushima and ran experiments there in September.
The researchers mixed 90 grams of photosynthetic bacteria with alginic acid and other chemicals, forming the resulting granular material into marble-sized spheres. These were injected into 50 liters of concentrated sludge, whose radiation levels were monitored for three days.
Radiation levels ranging from 12.04 to 14.54 microsieverts per hour at the start of the experiment were found to have dropped to between 2.6 and 4.1 microsieverts per hour by the end of the third day. Subtracting the 1.2 microsieverts of radiation that was detected in the area around the pool during the experiment due to the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster, the bacteria was found to have reduced radiation levels in the sludge by a maximum of 89.4 percent.
Article continues at:
High level of radioactivity in Tochigi mushrooms
Radioactive cesium exceeding government standards has been detected in mushrooms grown outdoors in Tochigi Prefecture, about 120 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The Tochigi prefectural government said on Thursday that it had measured 649 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram of kuritake mushrooms grown outdoors in a city in the prefecture. This level exceeds the government limit of 500 becquerels.
Four other cities in Tochigi Prefecture, southwest of the nuclear plant, have already refrained from shipping their mushrooms.
The prefecture asked the city to voluntarily refrain from shipping its mushrooms and to recall those already on the market.
Earlier this month, levels of radioactive cesium exceeding the government standard were also found in shiitake mushrooms grown in Yokohama, about 260 kilometers from the nuclear plant.
Friday, November 11, 2011 11:03 +0900 (JST)
Fukushima and Its Impact Upon the Westinghouse-Toshiba Designed AP1000 Atomic Power Plant