Monthly Archives: December 2011

This is my last post for the year of 2011. What a year it has been. And it appears that we are just beginning the long, long journey to recovery. 

I wish you and yours good health, enough food, warm shelter, and companionship in the coming year. After all, that really is what is most important, is it not?




A friend has written to the major Japanese beer companies, asking where their beer is produced. The first company to respond was Kirin, who sent the following information:

Thank you for contacting us for information regarding the production of our goods. Our company has factories nationwide, and each factory has its own unique code stamped on the bottom of each can as well as on each carton (the cardboard box and the 6-pack case). On a bottle, the code is a 2-digit number printed at the bottom of the little label on the back. Below is a list of the codes for each of our factories:

Chitose: 31

Sendai: 14

Toride: 24

Yokohama: 28

Nagoya: 12

Shiga: 17

Kobe: 11

Okayama: 15

Fukuoka: 61

Kirin Distillery Gotenba: KSG

弊社製品の製造工場は、全国の工場それぞれに固有の記号をもっており、缶であれば缶底部及びカートン(ダンボール)・6缶パックに、びんの場合は後ろの小さなラベルの下方に2桁の数字で印字しております。全国の工場とその固有記号は下記のとおりです。千歳工場  31
仙台工場  14
取手工場  24
横浜工場  28
名古屋工場 12
滋賀工場  17
神戸工場  11
岡山工場  15
福岡工場  61
キリンディスティラリー御殿場工場  KSG
Need some reading material for the holidays?
  • Toward a Peaceful Society Without Nuclear Energy: Understanding the Power Structures Behind the 3.11 Fukushima Nuclear Disaster by Nishioka NobuyukiTranslated by John Junkerman (Dec 2011)

Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 3 Spent Fuel Pool Cooling Will Stop Till Jan 4, 2012

Holiday break for Reactor 3’s Spent Fuel Pool. (Or rather, for workers who have to tend to the cooling system.)

From Mainichi Shinbun (12/30/2011):


TEPCO announced on December 30 that the cooling of the Spent Fuel Pool in Reactor 3 will stop until January 4 because of the clogged filter. According to TEPCO, the temperature of the pool is about 13 degrees Celsius, and there is no immediate need to call in workers [to clean the filter]. The cleaning of the filter will be carried out after January 4.

Article continues at:

Mochizuki has some translations of scenes from and NHK documentary about the risks of low-dose radiation. The video, now available on DailyMotion at:
shows how the levels were determined… The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) is an advisory body providing recommendations and guidance on radiation protection.
An important video. Please read the translations over at:

3 million tones of the debris are drifting to the west coast

Posted by Mochizuki on December 30th, 2011

Japan and the US government are discussing what to do with the debris from Japan.
The earthquake caused 25 million tones of the debris and 3 million of them have drifted to Pacific ocean.
In September ,a russian boat found the debris from Japan around Midway,where is 3,100 km away from Japan. They were the small boats and electric appliances marked “Fukushima”.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated the debris will arrive at the north west part of Hawaii in 3/2012 at the soonest ,and they are assumed to arrive at west coast of USA in 3/2013.
The radioactive debris may cause severe contamination and damage sightseeing industry ,also transportation.
Japanese government has made 70,000,000 JPY of budget to simulate how and where the debris floats,which was outsourced to Kyoto university.
Currently there is no international rules about floating debris.US government is concerned about the situation ,offering to collaborate with Japanese government to avoid international lawsuit.

Nuclear decontamination law to go into full force Sunday

Workers spread lining sheets in a huge trench dug to bury radiation-contaminated topsoil collected from the ground of Yasawa Elementary School and Kindergarten in Minami-Soma, about 20 kilometers away from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility, in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011.(AP Photo/Hiro Komae)
Workers spread lining sheets in a huge trench dug to bury radiation-contaminated topsoil collected from the ground of Yasawa Elementary School and Kindergarten in Minami-Soma, about 20 kilometers away from the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility, in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011.(AP Photo/Hiro Komae)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A nuclear decontamination law will go into full effect Sunday, setting the stage for full-fledged efforts to clean up buildings, soil and waste contaminated with radioactive materials in areas affected by the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

The central government will be responsible for the cleanup efforts in a no-go zone around the crippled plant and other evacuation areas in the seaside prefecture also heavily hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Under the law, which was partially enacted in August, decontamination plans will be formulated by 102 municipalities in eight prefectures where radiation doses are expected to exceed 1 millisievert a year on top of natural background radiation and that from medical treatment.

The cleanup cost in the areas will be shouldered by the central government. The eight prefectures are Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama and Chiba.

Article continues at:

GSDF commander says he thought Japan done for as he faced Fukushima nuke crisis

Toshinobu Miyajima speaks about the GSDF's response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis in an interview with the Mainichi in Fukuoka. (Mainichi)

Toshinobu Miyajima speaks about the GSDF’s response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis in an interview with the Mainichi in Fukuoka. (Mainichi)

Toshinobu Miyajima, commanding general of the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) Central Readiness Force when it was desperately trying to bring the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant under control, thought at one point that Japan was done for, he recalled in a recent interview with the Mainichi.

However, Miyajima pointed out that the highly risky mission demonstrated to the world that Japan was truly serious about containing the crisis, which led the United States and other countries to extend major assistance to disaster areas. Excerpts of the interview follow:

Question: When were you ordered to serve as the commander of the response to the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant?

Answer: I was told to do so by the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) on March 14. On March 20, then Prime Minister Naoto Kan ordered me to take command of SDF units, police and fire departments in an integrated fashion to respond to the nuclear crisis. We transported supplies and secured water sources, sprayed water to cool down the crippled nuclear reactors, helped residents in areas around the plant evacuate, decontaminated districts tainted with radiation and flew helicopter sorties to measure radiation levels, among other things.

Q: Had the SDF conducted nuclear accident response drills before the Fukushima disaster?

A: Not at all. We utilized our knowledge of radiation we had accumulated as part of our preparations for terrorist attacks.

Article continues at:

Awareness that natural disasters cannot be conquered could fade with time: experts

People’s growing awareness that they cannot resist massive natural disasters could fade as time goes by, experts have warned.

The March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami have demonstrated that people cannot conquer the forces of nature.

“If you face natural threats, you shouldn’t resist them but rather try to get along with them,” University of Tokyo professor emeritus Yotaro Hatamura, who serves as chairman of the government’s fact-finding panel on the Fukushima nuclear disaster, has written.

In a Mainichi opinion poll conducted late this year, 92 percent of respondents said they do not think natural disasters can be conquered, far above the 7 percent who said they can be overcome. The figures suggest that ideas like that of Hatamura are widespread among the Japanese public. However, some experts pointed out that this was largely because the survey was conducted at the end of the year when the disasters occurred.

“Tendencies to turn a blind eye to something dangerous are deep-rooted in Japanese culture,” says Hiroyuki Fujiwara, chief researcher on social disaster prevention systems at the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention.

“People tend to try not to see what they don’t want to see, not hear what they don’t want to hear and not think about what they don’t want to think about,” Hatamura adds.

Their remarks point to the possibility that Japanese people’s heightened risk awareness could gradually fade away. Such a possibility is highlighted by the fact that 47 percent of the poll respondents who said they don’t think natural disasters can be resisted also answered that they have not changed their preparedness for natural disasters since March 11.

“People are shocked greatly by a massive natural disaster, and a growing number of them believe that damage caused by it is fate and cannot be overcome. However, as time goes by, the ratio of those who believe they can overcome natural disasters will increase,” says Hirotada Hirose, professor emeritus of disaster and risk psychology at Tokyo Women’s University.

(Mainichi Japan) December 31, 2011

And finally, this, from

Cannabis Kills Cancer says UCLA and Others

webmasters comment:

This video is a compilation from the movie What if cannabis cured cancer. – TRAILER

I guess this is a must see not only for anyone suffering from cancer but mostly for all of the Japan. You can not treat cancers caused by radiation with more radiation. That’s not called treatment, that called slow killing. This plant might be their hope. Cannabis was also used as the most successful phytoremediator after the Chernobyl accident.

(Phytoremediation – Phytoremediation (from the Ancient Greek φυτο (phyto, plant), and Latin remedium (restoring balance or remediation) describes the treatment of environmental problems (bioremediation) through the use of plants that mitigate the environmental problem without the need to excavate the contaminant material and dispose of it elsewhere.

Phytoremediation consists of mitigating pollutant concentrations in contaminated soils, water, or air, with plants able to contain, degrade, or eliminate metals, pesticides, solvents, explosives, crude oil and its derivatives, and various other contaminants from the media that contain them. (wikipedia)



Published: December 29th, 2011 at 08:59 PM EDT

Radiation forecasts withheld by gov’t: “Ministry DECIDED such data would be unavailable” — Releasing it “would cause unnecessary panic”

Fears slowed SPEEDI info, The Daily Yomiuri, Dec. 30, 2011:

The System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI)–the government computer system that projects the dispersal of radioactive substances–was designed to pinpoint which areas should be evacuated after a nuclear accident. However, the government initially withheld SPEEDI’s projections after the Fukushima nuclear crisis erupted, claiming that releasing the data “would cause unnecessary panic.” […]

The Education, Science, Culture, Sports and Technology Ministry oversees SPEEDI. […] However, the ministry decided such data would be unavailable due to the loss of power at the plant following the massive March 11 earthquake. […]

The ministry came under growing pressure from the media to reveal the SPEEDI results. On March 15, the ministry had made projections for what would happen if all radioactive material was discharged from the nuclear plant. However, it did not release the figures for fear of panicking the public. […]

Chris Williams: Christmas in the Radiation Zone

By Chris Williams. Author and professor. Spending this Christmas in Japan.

 japan nuclear

It’s the first thing you notice.  Electric orange, ripe and luscious hoshigaki hang from every bough.  As we drive through the country and over the glittering, snow-specked mountain range from Fukushima city to Soma on the northeast coast of Japan, we pass many persimmon trees dotting the landscape, all laden with fruit, ready for harvesting.  But this year, the persimmons of Fukushima prefecture will remain untouched.  Bounty only for microbial decomposers, they are a silent reminder of the slow-burning, far-reaching menace of a nuclear accident.

Since March 11, local people, long skilled in farming this verdant and fertile region, have added expert knowledge in radiation to their library of stored knowledge, and the persimmons are deemed unsafe; irradiated by the releases from the stricken nuclear plant at Fukushima-Daiichi, 25km south of here.  I am told the dried fruit, until now a local specialty, has particularly high levels of radioactive contamination.

As we drove through the glistening mountains I watched the readings of the omnipresent dosimeter dangling casually from the rearview mirror of Hiroyuki’s car first oscillate, then grow alarmingly.  Arriving in front of a children’s summer camp, and quietly handed a face-mask, an ominous beeping sound began as the readings peaked above 1 micro-sievert per hour, corroborated by a second dosimeter brought by Yuuki to check the calibration.  We pass an old local incinerator at work burning refuse and the numbers spike again.

Article continues at:

Published: December 29th, 2011 at 07:57 PM EDT

Gov’t projections assumed ONE becquerel per hour was leaking from Fukushima — Actual rate reached at least 10 Quadrillion times higher

Fears slowed SPEEDI info, The Daily Yomiuri, Dec. 30, 2011 [Emphasis Added]:

[…] The Education, Science, Culture, Sports and Technology Ministry oversees SPEEDI. The system estimates where radioactive material will spread based on data, including figures provided by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) on the amount of radioactive material released. […]

That evening, it began projecting how much radioactive material would leak every hour, on the assumption that one becquerel was released per hour–a figure in line with Nuclear Safety Commission guidelines. […]

Panel: Wide communication gaps hampered response in Fukushima, AJW by The Asahi Shimbun, December 27, 2011:

[…] On March 11, officials of the science ministry, which has jurisdiction over SPEEDI, calculated the expected spread of radioactive materials on the assumption that such substances had spewed from the Fukushima No. 1 plant at a rate of 1 becquerel per hour. […]

Summary Report of RSMC Beijing on Fukushima Nuclear Accident Emergency Response, WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION (United Nations), Oct. 27, 2011:

In the Assumption that Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant would leak continually at the rate of 1 Becquerel per hour (Bq/h) in the future 3 (or 7) days […]

Assuming that Fukushima Nuclear Plant continuously released nuclear pollutants for 12 days from 25 March to 6 April and total release amount is 1 Bq […]

Total release amount is 1 Bq […]

View Microsoft Word .doc here

10,000,000,000,000,000 becquerels per hour vs. 1 becquerel per hour

Nikkei, April 12, 2011: “Haruki Madarame, chairman of the [Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan], which is a government panel, said it has estimated that the release of 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials per hour continued for several hours.”

10,000 terabecquerels = 10 quadrillion becquerels per hour or 10,000,000,000,000,000 becquerels per hour

Can Web-Savvy Activist Moms Change Japan?

By MALCOLM FOSTER Associated Press
TOKYO December 29, 2011 (AP)

Japan’s nuclear crisis has turned Mizuho Nakayama into one of a small but growing number of Internet-savvy activist moms.

Worried about her 2-year-old son and distrustful of government and TV reports that seemed to play down radiation risks, she scoured the Web for information and started connecting with other mothers through Twitter and Facebook, many using social media for the first time.

The 41-year-old mother joined a parents group — one of dozens that have sprung up since the crisis — that petitioned local officials in June to test lunches at schools and day care centers for radiation and avoid using products from around the troubled nuclear plant.

“It’s the first time for anyone in our group to be involved in this type of activism,” said Nakayama, who now carries a Geiger counter with her wherever she goes.

Public dismay with the government’s response to this year’s triple disaster — earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown — is driving some Japanese to become more politically engaged, helped by social and alternative media. While still fledgling, it’s the kind of grass-roots activism that some say Japan needs to shake up a political system that has allowed the country’s problems to fester for years.

Nakayama’s group has had mixed success: Officials in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward immediately started posting radiation levels in milk, but they say they won’t start testing lunch foods until April. Still, Nakayama feels she and others in what she calls the “silent majority” are making a difference.

“Women in their 30s and 40s are busy raising children, and many also work,” she said. “We’re normally too busy to really raise our voices. But this time we felt compelled to speak up.”

Many Japanese have been content to let politicians and bureaucrats run the country as they see fit. Quite a few of the mothers in the newly formed parents groups didn’t even vote regularly.

But the handling of the nuclear crisis — perceived as slow, confused and less than forthright, a perception reinforced by a critical government report this week — has deepened distrust of both government and mainstream media. That has given rise to a sense that the government isn’t as reliable as once thought, and that people need to take action themselves to get things done.

“People used to think of the government as something like a father figure,” said Tatsuya Yoshioka, founder and director of Peace Boat, a volunteer group involved in recovery efforts in the tsunami-hit northeast. “But people are graduating from that. We are moving toward a more active kind of democracy in which people realize they are the primary actors, not the government.”

Japan still has a long way to go. The activism is small-scale, and powerful forces — a culture that frowns on nonconformists, an affluent society — stand in the way of lasting change.

In the weeks following the March 11 tsunami, frustration over the sketchy information coming from the government about the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant drove many Japanese to Twitter and alternative media webcasts.

OurPlanet-TV, for example, relayed footage two days after the disaster from a freelance reporter near the Fukushima plant who reported the radiation level was quite high, said director Hajime Shiraishi. Within weeks, the number of viewers jumped to more than 100,000 per day from 1,000 to 3,000 before the tsunami, she said. It has since fallen back to the 20,000-30,000 range.

Published: December 29th, 2011 at 02:16 PM EDT

Fukushima hospitals forced to limit services and reduce number of patients due to Tepco — Official: “We don’t know how long we’ll be able to continue operating under the current circumstances”

Fukushima hospitals in financial strife / Services being cut as medical facilities’ losses top 12 billion yen due to nuclear crisis, Yomiuri Shimbun by Joji Takagai, Dec. 30, 2011:

Hospitals in Fukushima Prefecture are facing financial strain–and cutting services–due to the ongoing impact of the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. […]

“We don’t know how long we’ll be able to continue operating under the current circumstances,” a hospital administrative official [at Onoda Hospital in Minami-Soma] said. […]

Tepco Shortfall

  • Hospitals demanded TEPCO pay compensation for the first six months
  • They received an average of about 70 percent of their request
  • Retirement bonuses for doctors and other expenses [like “costs of medicines”] were not covered

Due to the financial shortfall, hospitals [are]:

  • Forced to limit their services
  • Reducing the number of inpatients they accept

Kazuhira Maehara, head of Fukushima Prefecture’s hospital association

  • “Many of the hospitals had to limit the number of inpatients they accept due to the declining number of medical staff”
  • “Compensation payments didn’t start until nine months after the accident”
  • “Unless something is done, it will be a long time before hospitals [in the prefecture] can resume operation”
Published: December 27th, 2011 at 01:58 AM EDT

Top Japan official: Very strong possibility there is nuclear fuel outside containment vessel (VIDEO)

Goshi Hosono, Minister of State for the Nuclear Power Policy and Administration (Nuclear Accident Minister) with translator

Recorded Dec. 19, 2011

Transcript Summary

  • In regard to where the nuclear fuel might be there are 3 possibilities:
  • Possibility 1: In pressure vessel
  • Possibility 2: In containment vessel
  • “The third possibility is it [nuclear fuel] might have worked it’s way out through the containment vessel and be underneath it” […]
  • “In regard to that third possibility that some fuel may have worked its way out of the containment vessel and gone underneath it, I think there’s a very strong possibility…we think there is a strong possibility that some fuel is in that location as well.”
From Arudo Debito / Dave Aldwinckle:

End-year Irony #1: Japan cancels free flights for NJ tourists, claims it’s “insensitive”, while funding GOJ whaling expeditions

Posted by debito on December 30th, 2011

Hi Blog.  As the sands in the 2011 hourglass trickle away, here are a couple of posts to be filed away under Ironies.  Today’s deals with how the GOJ sees “Tohoku disasters relief measures” — both in terms of funding foreign tourists and in funding ships killing whales.

Looks like one ministry is more prone to feeling public shame than the other, so, according to the announcements below, the suddenly “insensitive” proposal to give free plane tickets to foreign visitors to visit Japan has been cancelled.  The Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Ministry, however, is singularly shameless, so I doubt that will happen to whaling.

Now, sooner or later, we’ll have to show sensitivity somehow to those afflicted by the Tohoku disasters.  I wonder which ministry that falls under.  Probably a lot of it under the former Construction Ministry arm of MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism), which has a long history of being even more shameless in ripping off the Japanese public than MAFF.

Once again, evidence of just how out of touch Japanese bureaucrats are with the public they purportedly serve.  I guess the next disaster, sadly, will have to happen in Tokyo.  Arudou Debito


Japan Flight Give Away Not to Go Ahead
December 26, 2011, courtesy of CB

This autumn there were many reports about the Japan Tourism Agency proposing to give away 10,000 free flights to Japan in 2012. After the proposal was reported, people from around the world sent messages to Japan National Tourism Organization saying they would like to participate in the programme to visit Japan and to help revitalize Japan’s tourism industry following the March 2011 earthquake. So it is with regret that the Japanese Government announced the budget for this proposal has been declined, so the flight give away will not be going ahead.

Thanks to the support of the international community, Japan is making vigorous progress towards reconstruction in the earthquake and tsunami affected northeast of Japan, but recovery from the earthquake continues to be a pressing issue.

“We realise that this announcement is going to disappoint thousands of people around the world, but we hope people will understand how insensitive it would appear for the Japanese Government to give people free flights to Japan when the cities, towns and villages devastated by the tsunami are still in desperate need of funding for reconstruction. We also would not want people thinking that the generous donations given from around the world to aide [sic] those affected by the disaster was being spent on giving people free flights.

[“]The places most popular with visitors to Japan – Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, Osaka, Hiroshima, Sapporo and Okinawa – were outside the earthquake and tsunami affected areas. Please do not let the fact that there will be no free flights put you off visiting Japan. There are lots of great deals available and Japan is ready and waiting to welcome back visitors more warmly than ever before,” said Kylie Clark, Head of PR & Marketing, Japan National Tourism Organization.

To find out more about the deals available on flights and holidays to Japan, please

For more information about this matter, please visit the Japan Tourism Agency website and Japan National Tourism Organization’s global website The Japan Tourism Agency statement on this annoucement can be viewedhere.


Above link reproduced below:

”Fly to Japan! Project”(10,000 FREE FLIGHTS TO FOREIGNERS)
Last Update : 2011/12/26

The project titled Fly to Japan! (to offer flight tickets to 10,000 foreigners with high potential to communicate Japan’s attractions), which had been covered in a number of media in autumn this year, was not approved as a governmental draft budget of FY 2012.

We express our hearty gratitude to a multitude of people for offering inquiries and messages to support Japan after its coverage.

As the recovery from the earthquake is an ongoing urgent task, Japan has been vigorously working towards its restoration with the support from the world. Almost all of Japan has been back to normal and ready to welcome visitors. We are sincerely looking forward to having you to see Japan with your own eyes.
Japan Tourism Agency and Japan National Tourism Organization would like to inform you of the events and promotions in 2012. If you are interested, please register as a Visit Japan fan from the site below.



Referential site:

You Won’t Believe How Japan Is Spending Extra Fukushima Relief Money
Business, By Dina Spector, December 08, 2011

Of the $230 billion in government funds allocated to rebuilding Japan post-tsunami, $29 million is going toward the country’s annual whale hunt, an official from the nation’s Fisheries Agency told the AP.

The yearly whale expeditions that take place in the Antarctic Ocean are extremely controversial, often sparking aggressive anti-whaling campaigns from environmental groups like Greenpeace and the Sea Shepard Conservation Society.

But Japanese officials argue that the seasonal hunt is largely carried out for research purposes.

This year, the commercial trip will also aid whaling communities still struggling to recover from the March tsunami.

The AP reports:

Tatsuya Nakaoku, a Fisheries Agency official in charge of whaling, defended the move, saying the funding helps support Japan’s whaling industry as a whole, including some whaling towns along the devastated northeastern coast. One ship on the hunt is based in Ishinomaki, a town hit badly by the March 11 tsunami, he said.

A portion of the funds is also being funneled into efforts to protect the fleet from attacks by environmental groups. For the third year in a row, Coast Guard boats will be sent with the hunting convoy as a precautionary safety measure, reports Yoree Koh of The Wall Street Journal.

Japan has long drawn criticism from the international community for its whaling practices, which the country considers an integral part of its culture. For decades, Japansese whaling fleets have wriggled their way around a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling by insisting that whales are captured for scientific research.

But according to Toko Sekiguchi of Time, “once a whale is killed, scientists collect data from the animal’s remains on its age, birthing rate and diet; the meat is then packaged and sold.”

Despite outrage from marine activists, whaling ships left Japan on Tuesday on a five-month journey that will return some 900 whales.

Now see what it’s actually like to go whale hunting >

Read more:

This entry was posted on Friday, December 30th, 2011 at 7:05 am and is filed under GaiatsuIronies & HypocrisiesJapanese GovernmentJapanese PoliticsTangentsTourism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

TEPCO neglected anti-flood measures at Fukushima plant despite knowing risk

A room housing an emergency power system at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant had been submerged due to a pipe leak 20 years ago, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) revealed Dec. 29.

The utility’s latest revelations indicate that the company had failed to institute measures against flooding despite knowledge that it was possible.

According to TEPCO, the incident took place on Oct. 30, 1991, when seawater used as reactor coolant leaked from a pipe inside the turbine building of the plant’s No. 1 reactor. Although the emergency power system room was flooded, the power supply was not cut. The reactor, however, was stopped for the day.

Article continues at:



NUCLEAR ACCIDENT INTERIM REPORT / Law dysfunctional in face of unimaginable disaster

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The government panel’s interim report said plans laid out by the Nuclear Disaster Special Measures Law did not function properly because the scale of the disaster was unimaginable.

According to the law, in the event of a nuclear disaster an off-site headquarters is to be established near the nuclear power plant where the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency can gather information with representatives of local governments.

However, because local governments were overwhelmed dealing with the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, of the six towns surrounding the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant only Okumamachi sent a representative to the headquarters.

On March 15, following explosions at the plant’s Nos. 1 and 3 reactors, and with the No. 2 reactor in a hazardous condition, radiation measurements inside the headquarters reached 200 microsieverts per hour, forcing the office to relocate to Fukushima city.

Early that morning, the nuclear safety agency had faxed the headquarters, advising them to administer stabilized iodine to prevent the accumulation of radioactive iodine in workers’ bodies. But in the confusion surrounding the relocation to Fukushima, nobody noticed the fax until the evening.

The headquarters, which was only five kilometers from the nuclear plant, was not equipped with an air purifier to protect against radiation. This had been pointed out in 2009 by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, but the nuclear agency said such equipment was not necessary. “Radioactive substances would only be in the air for a short time. Just turning off the ventilation system is enough,” they said.

The confusion was largely because a multihazard disaster involving a nuclear crisis and natural calamities was not foreseen. However, the 2007 Niigata Chuetsu Offshore Earthquake had provided a forewarning.

The Niigata quake damaged Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power station, and the nuclear safety agency began conducting an investigation.

However, local governments opposed this probe, saying that if a claim was made that the earthquake caused the nuclear accident, the public would be overly apprehensive. The agency then concluded, “There is virtually no possibility that a natural disaster could cause a nuclear disaster,” and the probe was terminated.

Niigata Prefecture in 2010 devised a training plan that anticipated such complex disasters, which was revised and approved by the safety agency. Regarding such training, the report said, “Disaster drills that take into account the unique aspects of nuclear accidents should be conducted regularly, with full participation of local residents.”

(Dec. 30, 2011)
The latest from Arnie Gundersen (video below).
Highlights here:
Q: To what level is the Japanese government raising the standard level of safety for its citizens with regard to exposure to radiation?
A: According to the Japanese Government, citizens can safely live in the exclusion zone with exposures less than 20 millisieverts.”  (=2,000 millirem)
Q: How much exposure does the average worker in an American nuclear power plant receive in a year?
A: 180 millirem. (Yes, that’s 180.) Source: Health Physics Society (*see original and link below)
Q: What is Japan planning to do with the radioactive waste from the disaster?
A: Burn it.
Q: Burning the waste releases some radiation into the air. What will happen with the remaining ash?
A: In other countries, the waste would be kept in a regulated waste depository. Here it will be dumped in Tokyo Bay.
Q: Is that legal?
A: It isn’t if you put it on a ship, take it out to sea, and dump it. That would go against the London Convention which does not allow countries to dump nuclear waste at sea. But here, it’s going into landfill in Tokyo Bay….
Q: Who condones this action?
A: The IAEA.
Q: Who determines the “acceptable level of risk”? (2,000 millirem)
A: The IAEA.
Q: Who is monitoring the ocean?
A: 27 countries have formed a contract with the IAEA to monitor the ocean off of Fukushima.
Q: Who is the head of the IAEA?
A: Yukia Amano, a former Japanese government regulator.
Q: What does the Charter of the IAEA say about it’s role with regard to nuclear energy?
A: Article II says, “The Agency shall seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world.”
Next step: Occupy the IAEA?
*From Health Physics Society at:

Answer to Question #361 Submitted to “Ask the Experts”

Category: Nuclear Power — Nuclear Energy

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:

According to the most recent estimate, what is the average yearly dose equivalent to radiation workers at nuclear power plants? Where can I find a breakdown of the fraction of workers receiving different dose equivalents? Thank you.
Information on annual radiation dose to radiation workers at nuclear power plants can be found in the NUREG-0713, “Occupational Radiation Exposure at Commercial Nuclear Power Reactors and Other Facilities,” a report issued annually by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This report includes data on total collective dose, average annual dose, as well as tables that show the data broken down by different dose levels, work type, etc. The most recent report (November 1999) indicates that the average annual measurable dose to a radiation worker at a commercial nuclear power plant in 1998 was 180 millirem. You can find a copy of the report and other related information at the NRC’s Web Page for Information on Occupational Radiation Exposure at NRC Licensed Facilities. Ralph Andersen, CHP

Radiation in Japan: No Money to Evacuate Fukushima Children, Says DPJ Politician

Heard it on Twitter. So please take them as jokes. I hope they are jokes, though I don’t have any reason to hope so.

From someone who says he heard it live on the radio program on December 29 in Japan:

岡田克也 議員・・・生放送のラジオ番組に出演。リスナーからの質問「福島の子供を、なぜ避難させないのですか?」 岡田議員「お金が掛かるから…」 噂では聴いて いたけど、リアルに聴くことになるとは…

Representative Katsuya Okada appeared on a live radio program. A listener asked him, “Why don’t you evacuate children in Fukushima?” Okada answered, “Because it costs money…” I heard it in rumors before but never expected to hear it myself.

Okada is a high-ranking official in the Democratic Party of Japan. The radio program in which Okada was supposed to utter these words is this.

No money to evacuate children but plenty of money (2 trillion yen) to TEPCO.

Well at least Okada was, if he did say this, honest about it. No money. The Japanese government does not have money (public debt to GDP ratio over 200%), as people outside Japan may know but people inside don’t.

But another “heard it on Twitter”, the alleged word by the mayor of Tomakomai City in Hokkaido who is extremely eager to accept disaster debris from Miyagi and Iwate to burn in his city takes the cake for sheer rudeness and bad taste:

From someone who evacuated from Sendai, Miyagi to Tomakomai City:


Mayor of Tomakomai City is really ignorant and rude. When mothers who evacuated [from disaster-affected areas to Tomakomai] went to petition him not to burn the disaster debris for the sake of children’s health in the future, he had the gall to say “I’ve heard that the excrement from the irradiated evacuees like yourselves contaminates the environment more with radiation”. And he is the mayor.

Well, life is cheap, particularly that of children in Japan. The country is finished as a nation.



A post from Safecast Japan listserv:

Volunteer Reporting on Food & Beverage Radiation

Some time after the Fukushima nuclear accident a blogger started making inquiries to food companies of how they ensure the safety of their products regarding radiation and started posting their responses. Volunteers joined to provide more information. Factory location numbers are also posted so that consumers can check in what prefecture a product is manufactured.

Six months ago some food companies and restaurants refused to disclose the source of their ingredients and one even replied “you don’t have to purchase our product if you don’t like it.” Three months ago some of the companies below said “the vegetables we purchase is under the Government’s set limit of 500Bq/kg, so it’s safe.” Now all those comments were removed and it seems that food companies are more safety conscious regarding radiation, thanks to all the parents, mostly mothers, calling to ask for the source of ingredients.

• Jonathan’s restaurant (as of November 2011):

Rice from Tochigi, lettuce from Gunma and Nagano, cucumber from Yamagata, Fukushima, and Shimeji mushroom from Ibaraki and Nagano.

• Kentucky Fried Chicken (as of December 2011):

Chicken from Kagoshima and Miyazaki, lettuce and cabbage from Ibaraki and Chiba.

• Doutor Coffee (as of October 25, 2011):

Sausages from Australia, U.S., Canada, and chicken from Thailand, vegetables from Ibaraki, Chiba, Gunma, Tochigi. They do not test their ingredients for radiation.

• Subway (as of October 29. 2011):

Vegetables from Fukushima and other prefectures. They test for radiation with a detection limit of 10Bq/kg. Their website only says that their vegetables are sourced in Japan and details are not disclosed.

• Gusto: In October Gusto and Subway were reported to be supporting Fukushima by serving Fukushima vegetables. Gusto uses locally sourced vegetables (depending on the location of each particular restaurant).

• MacDonald’s:
Beef from Australia, New Zealand and chicken from Thailand and China. Pork
and potatoes from the U.S. Vegetables from Nagano, Hyogo, Shimane, Saga.
Onions are imported.

• Domino Pizza:

Lettuce from Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Ibaraki, flour from the U.S. and Canada. Deserts are imported.

• Both Asahi and Suntory test their beverages for radiation with a detection limit of 20Bq/kg (Asahi) and 10Bq/kg (Suntory).

• Coca Cola (as of November 2011):
Coca Cola is tested for radiation but the detection limit used is not disclosed.

There are also other volunteer websites reporting on radiation in food:



From Enformable at:

Japan “Megaquake” focal regions double in size from previous estimates

The government’s disaster prevention panel on Tuesday revised the basic plan for disaster preparedness in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, seeking to reinforce measures against tsunami waves that caused most of the damage in the disaster in northeastern Japan, officials said.

A separate panel of experts compiled an interim report the same day doubling the focal area of potential megaquakes that could strike Japan and provisionally raising the magnitude of such temblors from 8.7 to 9.0.The Central Disaster Prevention Council, headed by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, created a section devoted to tsunami countermeasures in the revised basic disaster prevention plan.

The Nankai megathrust earthquakes are great earthquakes that occur along the fault that forms the plate interface between the subducting Philippine Sea Plate and the overriding Amurian Plate (part of the Eurasian Plate), which dips beneath southwestern HonshuJapan. All of these great earthquakes have given rise to damaging tsunami.

The Nankai Trough is the near-surface extension of a zone of active seismicity that dips beneath SW Japan. The rupture zone has been subdivided into five areas with respect to seismic modelling.

In 1999, the likelihood of the occurrence of a great earthquake in the Tokai area in the period 2000-2010 was estimated to be in the range of 0.35.–0.45.

Despite the uncertainty of when such an earthquake will occur, local authorities are already taking action to prepare residents for what they regard as an inevitability.

Possible focal regions for a megaquake that experts say could occur along the Nankai Trough off the southern coast should be doubled in size from previous estimates, according to an interim report compiled Tuesday by a Cabinet Office panel.

With the expansion of possible focal regions, the magnitude of the megaquake could be 9 or higher should the three earthquakes occur concurrently, according to the report.

The revision was based on the results of recent studies, with the newly estimated possible focal regions covering an area of about 110,000 square kilometers, expanding to the north and southwest.

The newly added region on the north side has been struck by earthquakes that generated low-frequency seismic waves at a depth of about 30 kilometers or deeper.

The report also included areas off Miyazaki Prefecture as part of the newly estimated possible focal regions because of the likelihood that a magnitude-7.5 quake could occur in the area in conjunction with the three quakes.

The newly estimated possible focal regions have also been expanded to the east to cover the plate boundaries in Suruga Bay, as well as a belt of fault lines centered on the mouth of the Fujikawa river, which flows into the bay.

The interim report stated that tsunami would be triggered by not only the newly estimated possible focal regions, but also an area south of the regions at a depth of about 10 kilometers or less.


The Nankai Trough 南海トラフ is a submarine trough located south of Japan‘s island of Honshū, extending approximately 900 km offshore. In plate tectonics, the Nankai Trough marks a subduction zone that is caused by subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate beneath Japan, part of the Eurasian plate .

This plate boundary would be an oceanic trench except for a high flux of sediments that fills the trench. Within the Nankai Trough there is a large amount of deformed trench sediments (Ike, 2004), making one of Earth’s best examples of accretionary prism.

Furthermore, seismic reflection studies have revealed the presence of basement highs that are interpreted as seamounts that are covered in sediments.

The Nankai Trough is actively deforming and marks a region of seismic activity. Deformation is concentrated in the outermost imbricate zone, with a significant amount of “out of sequence” thrusting occurring landward.

Based on the work of Operta et al., 2006, several areas of intense tectonic activity in the Nankai Trough were identified using full waveform tomography. The upper portion of the upper accretionary prism and the underlying backstop are currently undergoing a great deal of compressional pressure. Several thrust faults were identified by Operta et al., 2006, of which the thrust faults closest to the subduction zone are active.

Furthermore, Pisana et al., 2006, identified protothrusts and decollement surfaces along the Nankai Trough. Recently there has been an increase in interest in the release of water from illite clays in subducting sediments.

Japan starts operating new centrifuges for enriching uranium

AOMORI (Kyodo) — Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. started on Wednesday the operation of new, more efficient centrifuges at its uranium enrichment plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture.

After a warm-up operation, the centrifuges — each capable of processing enrichment four to five times more efficiently than a previous one — will start producing uranium products around March, the company said.

In one year of operation, the new centrifuges can enrich one-third of uranium required for a 1-gigawatt reactor per year, according to the operator.

Japan Nuclear Fuel plans to replace all old units with new ones over the next decade at the enrichment facility that went on-stream in 1992.

(Mainichi Japan) December 29, 2011



Alaska’s Ring Seals May Be Suffering from #Fukushima Radiation

From Reuters via msnbc (12/27/2011):

SEATTLE — Scientists in Alaska are investigating whether local seals are being sickened by radiation from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Scores of ring seals have washed up on Alaska’s Arctic coastline since July, suffering or killed by a mysterious disease marked by bleeding lesions on the hind flippers, irritated skin around the nose and eyes and patchy hair loss on the animals’ fur coats.

Biologists at first thought the seals were suffering from a virus, but they have so far been unable to identify one, and tests are now underway to find out if radiation is a factor.

“We recently received samples of seal tissue from diseased animals captured near St. Lawrence Island with a request to examine the material for radioactivity,” said John Kelley, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

“There is concern expressed by some members of the local communities that there may be some relationship to the Fukushima nuclear reactor’s damage,” he said.

The results of the tests would not be available for “several weeks,” Kelley said.

Water tests have not picked up any evidence of elevated radiation in U.S. Pacific waters since the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which caused multiple fuel meltdowns at the Fukushima plant and forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate the surrounding area.

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been seeking the cause of the diseased seals for weeks, but have so far found no answers.

A ringed seal displays significant hair loss on the Artic Ocean coast near Barrow, Alaska. An unknown disease is killing or weakening ringed seals along Alaska’s north coast. Ringed seals, the main prey of polar bears, and a species that rarely comes ashore, in late July began showing up on the Beaufort Sea coast outside Barrow with lesions on hind flippers and inside their mouths, along with patchy hair loss and skin irritation around the nose and eyes.



From EX-SKF (most of the Japanese has been omitted. See link below for entire article):

“Now They Tell Us” Series: NISA Says Reactors 1 and 3 Explosions May Have Been Caused by Vent

Nikkei Shinbun reports that NISA admitted the hydrogen explosions that took place in Reactor 1 and Reactor 3 at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in March may have been caused by hydrogen flowing back from the exhaust stack. In other words, vent may have caused the explosions.

From Nikkei Shinbun (12/27/2011):経済産業省原子力安全・保安院は27日開いた東京電力福島第1原子力発電所の事故原因に関する専門家の意見聴取会で、1、3号機の水素爆発の一因として、原子炉格納容器からベント(排気)した水素が別の排気管を通って建屋内に逆流した可能性があると公表した。津波による電源喪失で排気管の弁が開き、水素の逆流を防げなかったという。
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry disclosed during the experts hearing on December 27 on the cause of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident that a possible cause of the hydrogen explosions in Reactors 1 and 3 may have been that the hydrogen that was vented from the Containment Vessel [to the exhaust stack] flowed back into the reactor building through a different pipe. As the power was lost due to tsunami, the valve of this different pipe remained open, and unable to prevent the reverse flow of hydrogen, according to the NISA.

In Reactors 1 and 3, hydrogen accumulated in the Containment Vessels after the core meltdowns, and TEPCO carried out the vent in order to remove hydrogen. The exhaust pipe for the vent connects to the exhaust pipe for the “standby gas treatment system” for the air ventilation of the reactor building, and then to the exhaust stack.

The valve of the exhaust pipe for the standby gas treatment system opened when the power was lost, so that the air ventilation of the reactor building would continue. In fact, the investigation of Reactor 3 after the accident showed the valve was open. When TEPCO did the vent, hydrogen may have flowed back to the reactor building through the open valve, and with the hydrogen leaked from the top lid of the Containment Vessel caused the hydrogen explosion.

All the other nuclear reactors in Japan has the same system whereby the valve opens when the power is lost. As a countermeasure, the NISA suggests two separate exhaust pipes and installing a valve to prevent backflow. Professor Tadashi Narabayashi of Hokkaido University points out that the vent process needs to be improved fundamentally.

Narabayashi, one of the “Three Plutonium Brothers” who said the toxicity of plutonium was the same as salt, used to work for Toshiba.

So after more than 9 months since the accident NISA feels like telling the truth for some reason, now that the accident is officially “over”.

The very act of venting probably caused the explosions, says NISA. How about that, GE?

Product liability lawsuits anyone?



From ENENEWS at:

Published: December 28th, 2011 at 11:07 AM EDT

UN Agency: Reactor 3 exploded a second time 24 hours later — Then wind and rain brought high levels of radiation over Tokyo, Sendai, Nagano

Summary Report of RSMC Beijing on Fukushima Nuclear Accident Emergency Response, WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION (United Nations), Oct. 27, 2011:

[…] On 15 March, an explosion was heard in Unit 2 and damaged the pressure-suppression system, causing the leaks of radioactive cooling water. Shortly afterward, Unit 4 was damaged by an explosion and a large amount of radioactive materials was released into the atmosphere. At 11:00 (Japan Standard Time) JST on 15 March, Unit 3 explored [sic] again. At that time, due to the easterly winds and precipitation in and around Fukushima, the surrounding areas including Tokyo, Nagano, Sendai and other places detected high radiation, which matched well with the simulation results. […]

View  Microsoft Word .doc here

“The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology (water) and other related geophysical sciences such as oceanography and atmospheric chemistry.

Wikipedia Timeline:

First Explosion at Reactor 3

No mention of a second explosion at Reactor 3 on March 15




One thing leads to another. Just getting around to finishing up yesterday’s news and it’s already the following evening.

Winter cold may freeze and break the water purifying system

Posted by Mochizuki on December 27th, 2011

Water purifying system of Fukushima has the hose which runs over tens of kilometers, outside. Most of the parts are made of usual vinyl chloride material, which you can buy at a supermarket.

There is a possibility that it is frozen and has blownout because of the cold weather.

Tepco states that if the weather is not unusually cold – it would last, but it has no basis as always.

According to the specification of the hose, it does not last if it is colder than 0~ -5℃.

Last January and February, in the area around Fukushima there were only 5 days when the lowest temperature was warmer than 0℃ and there were 15 days when the lowest temperature was below -5℃.

The water injecting part has the water flowing continuously, but at other parts contaminated water has stopped being subject to the speed of water processing.

Tepco states they will wrap the hose with adiabatic material, where the low level of contaminated water goes but they can not do anything for the parts where the high level of contaminated water goes because you can not even get close to those parts.

If the hose experiences a blowout – high levels of contaminated water will leak or building will be filled with highly contaminated water. In that case, there is no way to specify the broken part except via a person actually walking along the hose and inspecting it.

A msg on ENENEWS with my comment at the end:

Published: December 27th, 2011 at 03:08 PM EDT

Fairewinds: Hot particles bombarded west coast of US and Canada — Contaminated farms and some food sources in US — Radioactive debris island twice size of Texas crossing Pacific

2011 Fairewinds Fundraiser, Maggie Gundersen, Founding Director Fairewinds Energy Education Corp, Dec. 27, 2011:

[…] With your help, Fairewinds Energy Education Corp has created more than 50 videos telling the truth about the failure of four General Electric Mark 1 BWR reactors that rattled the nerves of on-lookers around the world. Vivian Norris of the Huffington Post identified Fairewinds ( as the “best site” for Fukushima analysis, observing that Arnie Gundersen “analyzes the information … in a calm and scientific way”. […]

[A] radioactive debris island twice the size of Texas is nearing Hawaii months before it was anticipated.

Residents on the west coast of the US and Canada were bombarded with radioactive hot particles that have also contaminated farms and some food sources in the US.

And, all the governments involved have been eerily quiet and stopped monitoring in many locations in order to protect sales and profit margins rather than lives.

Thank you for viewing our work, and please consider us in your year-end giving plans ( It is thanks to financial contributions from people like you that Fairewinds Energy Education Corp, a 501(c)3 has been able to tell the truth and meet its educational mission. With the continued support of our volunteers and donors, Fairewinds will continue to educate people around the world about nuclear safety, engineering, and reliability issues. May we all work together to make 2012 healthy and safe.

Best wishes for 2012, Maggie Gundersen, Founding Director Fairewinds Energy Education Corp

Since the beginning of the chaos in Fukushima, I have appreciated Arnie Gundersen’s patient, clear, and sobering explanations of the ongoing crisis. In this letter to the Fairewinds supporters, they either have misspoken or else I missed a couple of words… “debris twice the size of Texas?” 

Let’s look at the area of Texas as compared to Japan:

TEXAS:  268,581 sq mi  (696,241 km2)

 JAPAN:  145,925 sq mi  (377,944 km2)

Hmm, for a debris island to be twice the size of Texas, the debris would have to have come from the entire COUNTRY of Japan – 3.68 times!

I’m no math whiz, but twice the size of Texas = 537162.

Divided by the size of Japan = 3.68…

Given that the damage from the tsunami originated along the northeast coastline of the country, Fairewinds have misspoken. -OR- perhaps they meant the “island” of debris has spread out to a size twice that of Texas?

Will keep an eye out for a clarification…

More from ENENEWS:

Published: December 27th, 2011 at 02:16 PM EDT

Damage at Unit 2 is what prompted Tepco to discuss evacuating Fukushima workers — Perhaps because reactor “burned continuously for several days” as NRC admits?

Panel: Wide communication gaps hampered response in Fukushima, AJW by The Asahi Shimbun, Dec. 27, 2011:

[…] On March 14, TEPCO officials became concerned about the dangers to the many workers at the plant due to damage to the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor.

Then TEPCO President Masataka Shimizu called Terasaka, the NISA director-general, and said, “We feel there is the possibility of removing our workers if the situation becomes more serious.” […]

Continues at:–no-man-s-land-around-damaged-plant-attests-to-japan-s-nuclear-nightmare

  • David Guttenfelder
  • Tue Dec 27 2011

No-man’s land around damaged plant attests to Japan’s nuclear nightmare

In this June 5, 2011 photo, two stray pet dogs fight in the deserted streets of Okuma, Japan. In the early days of the crisis, roaming farm animals and pets were everywhere inside the no-go zone. But by midsummer, some animals had been rescued and a number of others had perished of starvation and disease.

JAPAN In this June 5, 2011 photo, two stray pet dogs fight in the deserted streets of Okuma, Japan. In the early days of the crisis, roaming farm animals and pets were everywhere inside the no-go zone. But by midsummer, some animals had been rescued and a number of others had perished of starvation and disease.

David Guttenfelder/The Associated Press

IWAKI, Japan – Fukushima was just emerging from the snows of winter when the disaster hit — a 9.0-magnitude earthquake, the strongest in Japan’s recorded history, followed by a tsunami.

The wall of water destroyed much of the northeastern coast on March 11. In the northeast region of Fukushima, a different disaster was brewing: Three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant were melting down, irreparably damaged by the super tremor.

Now, as the snows are beginning to fall again, the government has announced the plant has attained a level of stability it is calling a “cold shutdown.” As many as 3,000 workers — plumbers, engineers, technicians — stream into the facility each day.

The tsunami’s destruction is still visible. Mangled trucks, flipped over by the wave, sit alongside the roads inside the complex, piles of rubble stand where the walls of the reactor structures crumbled and large pools of water still cover parts of the campus.

In the ghost towns around Fukushima Dai-ichi, vines have overtaken streets, feral cows and owner-less dogs roam the fields. Dead chickens rot in their coops.

The tens of thousands of people who once lived around the plant have fled. They are now huddling in gymnasiums, elementary school classrooms, bunking with friends, sometimes just sleeping in their cars, moving from place to place as they search for alternatives.

For those who lived on the perimeter of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, fliers used to come in the mail every so often explaining that someday this might happen. Most recipients saw them as junk mail, and threw them away without a second glance. For those who did read them, the fliers were always worded to be reassuring — suggesting that although a catastrophic nuclear accident was extremely unlikely, it could require evacuating the area.

Never was it even hinted that the evacuation could last years, or decades.

At most of the shelters, food is doled out military-style, at set times. Personal space is extremely limited, often just big enough to fit a futon and the collective snoring at night makes sleep fitful, at best. Baths are public, cramped, dark.

The total amount of radiation released from the plant is still unknown, and the impact of chronic low-dose radiation exposures in and around Fukushima is a matter of scientific debate.

Recent studies also suggest Japan continues to significantly underestimate the scale of the disaster — which could have health and safety implications far into the future.

According to a study led by Andreas Stohl the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, twice as much radioactive cesium-137 — a cancer-causing agent — was pumped into the atmosphere than Japan had announced, reaching 40 per cent of the total from Chornobyl. The French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety found 30 times more cesium-137 was released into the Pacific than the plant’s owner has acknowledged.

Under a detailed roadmap, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. will remove the melted nuclear fuel, most of which is believed to have fallen to the bottom of the core or even down to the bottom of the larger, beaker-shaped containment vessel, a process that is expected to begin in 10 years.

All told, decommissioning the plant will likely take 40 years.

The Associated Press

Fisherman writes emotional letter to only daughter killed in tsunami

Kikumatsu Sasaki, left, and his wife, Suzuko, look at a photo album of their only daughter, Chiyako, in Ishinomaki, Iwate Prefecture, on Dec. 20. (Mainichi)

Kikumatsu Sasaki, left, and his wife, Suzuko, look at a photo album of their only daughter, Chiyako, in Ishinomaki, Iwate Prefecture, on Dec. 20. (Mainichi)

KAMAISHI, Iwate — As the year 2011 draws to a close, Kikumatsu Sasaki, a 76-year-old fisherman here, wrote an emotionally-charged, apologetic letter to his only daughter, Chiyako, who was killed at the age of 44 by tsunami triggered by the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake. It reads:

To Chiyako,

Every morning, your mother (Suzuko, 69) changes water for the flowers and offers rice on the family Buddhist alter and your father offers tea there. Although you liked coffee, there is a reason for us to have tea instead. You had a hard time when you were washed away by black tsunami and felt salty, didn’t you? That’s why we thought we should neutralize it.

There is one thing I want to apologize to you for. After you went missing, we walked around the supermarket you had worked at and a morgue every day to look for you. It was one month after the tsunami struck when I heard someone say, “A body of a woman was recovered with two keys in a pocket of her pants.” I thought it was the key to your locker at the supermarket. Thinking that way, I went to confirm the body.

The number attached to the body was “214,” but the face was red and the hair was frizzed, and the body was swollen full of water. Therefore, I did not think it was my Chiyako who was slender with long hair. I heard that the body would be cremated on April 29, but I did not go to the morgue that day.

On May 20, the results of DNA analysis that I had asked for just in case came out. The number “214” was my Chiyako. Why had I not been able to realize it? Why had I not been able to attend the cremation? I am very sorry.

About 20 of your colleagues visited us to offer incense sticks. Chiyako, you became the first female manager of the supermarket, didn’t you? I laughed when I heard them saying, “You were strong-minded and had a strong sense of responsibility.” I also heard them saying, “After you evacuated once, you went back to try to help other staff members and you were apparently swallowed by the tsunami.” This fact is not clear yet, but your father and mother believe it.

Our house sitting on higher ground was unscathed, so don’t worry. We had to stay at an evacuation center for a while because the community became isolated. But after you were found, we moved back to our home. As the three of us had lived together for more than 40 years, it seems like I can still hear you replying, “Yes,” if I call out your name “Chiyako.”

Our fishing boat “Shin Takara Maru,” which I bought when you were born, was taken to an unknown place by the tsunami. When I take a walk past the area where I used to moor the “Shin Takara Maru,” I tend to think about various things. For one thing, Chiyako, our only daughter, was single, and said, “I will take care of my parents,” but I should have let you get married. I also think of something like this; considering the fact that you vanished like this, it (remaining single) may have been better because less people have to feel sad. I think of things like that although nothing will change.

Last autumn, there was a chance for me to go abalone fishing aboard a ship arranged by the fishery cooperative union, but I didn’t feel like going. Although I might get on board a ship to catch sea urchins next spring.

Chiyako, would you feel relieved if I did that?

(Mainichi Japan) December 28, 2011

Fukushima governor demands TEPCO decommission all its 10 nuke reactors

FUKUSHIMA — Gov. Yuhei Sato has demanded that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled nuclear plant, decommission all its 10 nuclear reactors in the prefecture.

 Article continues at:

Workers in disaster-hit regions hope for brighter 2012

Workers at Kikuchi Seisakusho Co.'s Fukushima factory in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, gather for the last morning assembly of the year, on Dec. 28. (Mainichi)

Workers at Kikuchi Seisakusho Co.’s Fukushima factory in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, gather for the last morning assembly of the year, on Dec. 28. (Mainichi)

As the long road toward recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami continues and the unprecedented nuclear disaster drags on, workers in disaster-hit areas welcomed the last day of work for the year. As they reflected on their expectations for 2012, they expressed hope.

During a morning assembly on Dec. 28, Shigeyuki Kanno, the head of Kikuchi Seisakusho Co.’s Fukushima factory, gathered employees for an end of year wrap-up. “Efforts to decontaminate the factory have progressed and I believe that next year we will have a better work environment. I hope you will do your best next year too,” he spoke.

Article continues at:

Radioactive cesium in cedar pollen in Fukushima poses no health hazard: gov’t agency

Levels of radiation in cesium contained in cedar pollen in Fukushima Prefecture, which hosts the crippled nuclear power plant, are so low that they will not pose any health hazard, the Forestry Agency said.

The agency released an interim report on levels of radioactive cesium in cedar pollen checked at 87 locations in Fukushima Prefecture. Based on maximum levels of cesium measured at 87 spots in the prefecture, the level of radiation a person can be exposed to by inhaling cedar pollen is 0.000192 microsievert per hour, the agency said. Therefore, there is no need to worry about radiation exposure by inhaling cedar pollen, the agency said.

The agency decided to conduct the survey because people have a “strong interest” in cedar pollen which could contain radioactive cesium due to contamination of forests with cesium emitted from the troubled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. Cedar pollen itself flies as far as several hundred kilometers.

The agency collected male cedar flowers that release pollen at about 180 locations in eastern Japan including Fukushima Prefecture, and it compiled the interim report focusing on data on radiation levels in male cedar flowers picked in areas close to the troubled nuclear power station in Fukushima Prefecture.

Of the 87 locations in Fukushima Prefecture, male cedar flowers from Namie carried 253,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram — the highest level of all the male cedar flowers sampled in eastern Japan. But one piece of cedar pollen is very light, and even if the agency calculated the level of radiation an adult person is exposed to per hour using the largest amount of cedar pollen in the air detected over the last nine years when data on cedar pollen is available, then that figure is still only 0.000192 of a microsievert. The agency said 2,200 pieces of cedar pollen per 1 cubic meter — the largest amount of cedar pollen in the air — were detected in March 2008.

Masahiro Fukushi, professor at the Tokyo Metropolitan University’s graduate school conducted a separate but similar survey in November. After analyzing male cedar flowers collected from Okutama, northwestern Tokyo, he found that 93 becquerels of radiation were detected in male cedar flowers per kilogram. Fukushi said, “This is at a level which we need not worry about its impact on humans. If people are still worried about it, they should wear a mask or goggles to protect against pollen.”

(Mainichi Japan) December 28, 2011

Published: December 28th, 2011 at 06:00 AM EDT

Nuclear Expert: 100 years where people will not be able to use groundwater if radioactive water from Fukushima reactors goes inland (AUDIO)

Interview with Arnold Gundersen, Five OClock Shadow Radio by Robert Knight on WBAI, Dec. 27, 2011:

Arnold Gundersen, Fairewinds Associates, Nuclear Engineer

Transcript Summary

At 5:20 in

  • Quake cracked the foundations of reactor buildings
  • Groundwater is coming in and radiation is going out into the soil
  • Tepco building dyke on ocean side, but not building it on the land side
  • If it [radioactive water from Fukushima reactors] goes inland, Robert, I think we’re looking at a hundred years where people will not be able to use that groundwater

Has it already? See yesterday’s report: Mainichi: Radiation detected in drinking water from underground source — Over 15 miles from Fukushima meltdowns

Listen to the broadcast here:



The future of earthquake prediction?

Skeptics abound but professor claims breakthrough in research

Special to The Japan Times
Second of two parts

Six days before the March 11 disasters, Masashi Hayakawa knew that a major earthquake was imminent.


News photo
Telling the future?: Masashi Hayakawa, a professor emeritus at the University of Electro-Communications, stands on the roof of his research center in Chofu, Tokyo, on Dec. 15. ROB GILHOOLY


Using data gathered at the Seismo-electromagnetics Research Station at the University of Electro-Communications in Chofu, Tokyo, Hayakawa says he found “conspicuous anomalies” that clearly indicated a major event was just days away.

“I saw the precursor to the quake,” says the professor emeritus of the UEC’s Advanced Wireless Communications Research Center. “It still makes me uncomfortable knowing that I was the only person in the world to see it.”

The key to his prediction can be found on the roof of the research facility, on which dozens of antennas, satellite dishes and other gadgets have been installed.

Only one, however, is of interest to Hayakawa. Strapped to the metal fence that runs around the rooftop, it looks something akin to a plastic laundry pole.

“It’s nothing flashy, but that’s the Chofu receiver that picked up the signal,” he says.


Article continues at:


Fukushima rice farmers asking ‘until when will this continue?’

Eiji Watanabe stands in a warehouse full of this year's harvested rice in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, on Dec. 24. He has nowhere to ship the rice. (Mainichi)

Eiji Watanabe stands in a warehouse full of this year’s harvested rice in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, on Dec. 24. He has nowhere to ship the rice. (Mainichi)

FUKUSHIMA — With the government announcing a possible ban on future rice planting in areas where contaminated rice was detected, farmers in Fukushima Prefecture are on the verge of losing the little hope that has kept them going amidst months of torture.

“What should I do? There’s really nothing to be done. I had to receive medicine from my doctor because I can’t even sleep at night,” says Eiji Watanabe, 62, a farmer from the Yoshikura (former Shibukawa) area in Nihonmatsu.

On Dec. 8, the government banned the shipment of rice harvested in Shibukawa this autumn after detecting radiation doses surpassing the provisional upper limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram in some of the region’s paddies. A few weeks later, on Dec. 27, it was announced that rice planting in the region will likely be banned for the next harvest year.

For farmers like Watanabe, however, — in whose rice radioactive cesium has not been detected — this means one more year of enormous financial and emotional damage.

Surrounded by six tons of stored rice packages, harvested this autumn, and with nowhere to ship them, Watanabe is at a loss as to what to do. “I understand that they (the government) can’t allow the shipment of potentially affected rice, but if we can’t plant next year it will be very difficult. I wonder until when this will continue.”

Prior to the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster, Watanabe — the eighth generation of a family of farmers — used to ship about 50 tons of rice to small shops in Tokyo and other retailers every year. However, in mid-March he received a call from a shop owner, to whom Watanabe had sold rice for 17 years, telling the farmer he can no longer buy his rice. “Customer won’t buy it,” he was told.

The shop cancelled orders for some nine tons of rice from this year’s harvest and 2.7 tons of last year’s — the total sales of which usually stand at about 2.98 million yen. Watanabe was also asked to sign a cancellation contract, the postscript of which read: “If the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) had taken appropriate measures after the nuclear disaster, we wouldn’t have had to do this. The rice had been very popular among our customers.”

Article continues at:

[And if the people had said to TEPCO, “No, we do not want your subsidies, your sports stadiums, your street lights, your libraries, your public spaces and other bribes. WE WANT OUR LAND, free of nuclear radiation for our children, our grandchildren, and future generations,” then you wouldn’t have had to do this.]

And this, filed under “Duh.”

Many Fukushima evacuees remain reluctant to return to homes near nuclear plant

Shops remain closed with no people seen in the central part of Kawauchi, Fukushima Prefecture, on Dec. 24. (Mainichi)

Shops remain closed with no people seen in the central part of Kawauchi, Fukushima Prefecture, on Dec. 24. (Mainichi)

Municipalities near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant have started preparations to return to where they were before the outbreak of the nuclear crisis in March following the central government’s announcement on Dec. 26 to redraw evacuation zones, but many evacuees are reluctant to return to their homes due in part to fears over long-running effects of radiation.

Local government leaders are trying to persuade evacuees to go back to where they were before the nuclear power station was crippled by tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, but an increasing number of affected people have become accustomed to their lives in areas where they have taken shelter.

Most of about 3,000 residents of Kawauchi village, whose eastern part falls within a government-designated evacuation zone within a radius of 20 kilometers from the troubled nuclear power complex, evacuated from their homes in the wake of the nuclear crisis. But an emergency evacuation preparation advisory was lifted in late September for the western part of the village where the municipal government building stands. Levels of radiation there are now low.

Kawauchi Mayor Yuko Endo is expected to declare it is safe to return home soon and urge all villagers to return to their homes by building 50 temporary houses in the western part of the village by next April. The local government functions, which have been operating in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Koriyama since the outbreak of the nuclear crisis, are expected to be relocated back to where they were.

Article continues at:


Let’s see, Koriyama… Oh, yeah. Isn’t that the place where, just the other day, the mystery video man showed the world the reading of 15.15 microsieverts/hour outside the NHK offices in Koriyama?

Yeah, here it is (again):

And here another update from 23 Dec, from EX-SKF:

Radiation in Japan: Koriyama Resident Measures Radiation Levels in His City – 42.85 Microsieverts/Hr on the Drain Lid

Armed with his geiger counter, the Ministry of Education’s radiation map and the Professor Hayakawa’s radiation contour map, he went measuring radiation levels in Koriyama City on December 23, and they were high.

Air radiation level at chest height: maximum 1.51 microsievert/hour

On the sand on the side drain cover: 42.85 microsieverts/hour

If the surface radiation is that high, it would be several hundreds of thousands of becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium in that sand. No one does a thing, and life goes on, because all the national and municipal governments care about is air radiation at 1 meter off the ground.

Read the rest at:

And this, filed under “understatement”:

TEPCO dissatisfied with panel’s view of severe accident measures

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Tokyo Electric Power Co. showed dissatisfaction Tuesday with a view suggested in an investigation report on the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant that the utility should have taken precautionary measures to deal with severe nuclear accidents triggered by tsunami.

Article continues at:

DISSATISFACTION?  Only “dissatisfaction”? How about RAGE / FURY / OUTRAGE?

Now this is more like it!

Fukushima tells TEPCO no more nuclear plants

The Fukushima governor has told the president of Tokyo Electric Power Company that the prefecture will request that all nuclear plants in Fukushima be decommissioned.

Governor Yuhei Sato met with TEPCO President Toshio Nishizawa in Fukushima on Tuesday. It was their first meeting since Nishizawa assumed the president’s post in June.

Nishizawa said he visited the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Monday and instructed staff to ensure safety by keeping the reactors stable and preventing further release of radioactive substances.

He added that TEPCO is expediting its compensation payments.
Governor Sato explained the prefecture’s intention to request all nuclear plants in Fukushima be shut down.

He said Fukushima hopes to build a society which doesn’t rely on nuclear power. He added that many children have been forced to evacuate their homes and urged Nishizawa to think deeply about the current hardship of the Fukushima people.

Nishizawa had no comment on the decommissioning issue.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 19:34 +0900 (JST)


Hence, the name of this blog…

Govt panel says M9.0 quake possible

A Japanese government panel says a huge earthquake of magnitude 9.0 could strike central to western Japan in future.

The panel of experts studying massive quakes and tsunami predicted near the Nankai Trough in the Pacific Ocean released its interim report on Tuesday. The study group was set up following the magnitude 9.0 quake that hit northeastern Japan on March 11th.

The report says that if major quakes occur simultaneously along the trough, their focus zone will span over 750 kilometers. The total area would be about 110,000 square kilometers, or 1.8 times larger than earlier predictions.

The panel says the quake’s magnitude would be up to 9.0, compared to the previous estimate of 8.7. This would make the quake’s energy nearly 3 times greater than earlier predictions.

The panel also says tsunami could rise from the seabed near the Nankai Trough. The observation is based on a report that the March 11th tsunami was magnified near the Nippon trench, where bedrock slides.

The panel plans to publicize its estimates of the earthquake’s intensities and the sizes of tsunami early next year. And it plans to begin work on predicting damage by autumn.

Considering the new estimates, the central and local governments are likely to revise their anti-quake and tsunami measures.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 18:00 +0900 (JST)



Now now, Number 2, there’s nothing to be nervous about. Just open wide and say, “Ahh.”

TEPCO to conduct endoscopy of Fukushima reactors

Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will use an industrial endoscope to study the inside of a damaged reactor at the Fukushima Nuclear power plant.

The utility says the 10-meter long and 8-millimeter wide device will be deployed from next month to measure temperatures and observe other conditions inside the containment vessel at the No.2 reactor.

The government announced on December 16th that all the reactors have been brought under control. But there is not much information on the inside of the containment vessels in the reactors.

The endoscopy will provide the first opportunity to see the inside of a containment vessel of one of the 3 reactors since nuclear fuel melted down in March.

At the bottom of the containment vessels, parts of the nuclear fuel are believed to be piled up after melting through the wall of the pressure vessels.

The firm will start drilling a hole in the northwest wall of the containment vessel at the No. 2 reactor next month so that the high-level radiation proof endoscope can be inserted through it.

TEPCO said it wants to study the extent to which existing technologies can be used for the decommissioning of the reactors before it develops new ones.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 05:23 +0900 (JST)

And where there are cedars, there is….  class?


High radiation detected in male cedar flowers

Extremely high radiation levels of more than 250,000 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium have been detected in male flowers of cedar trees in the no-entry zone near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Japan’s forestry agency collected male cedar flowers at 87 locations in Fukushima Prefecture from late November to early December to measure the levels of radioactive cesium.

The agency detected 253,000 becquerels of the radioactive substance per kilogram in the flowers collected at Omaru in the town of Namie, 11.3 kilometers from the plant. 29 locations saw levels exceed 10,000 becquerels.

The maximum amount of cedar pollen measured in the air when in season by the environment ministry was 2,207 grains per cubic meter.

The forestry agency says if people breathe this concentration for 4 months they would be exposed to 0.553 microsieverts of radiation.

The agency reports this is not a great health hazard as it is only about 10 times what a person would be exposed to from normal background radiation in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 19:05 +0900 (JST)


That’s all I can do for today. Will resume in the morning. There’s more out there. Oyasuminasai.




Latest from Arnie Gundersen…

  • According to TEPCO’s information: 30,000,000,000,000,000 bequerels (disintegration per second) have been released into the ocean.
  • This is probably a LOW figure.
  • Radioactive elements flowing into ocean from the plant AND is washing down from the mountains and streams 100 mi north and 100 mi south, flowing into the ocean and into fish that feed in the areas where rivers meet the sea.
  • During the first week, people in Fukushima Prefecture were exposed to 1,300 bequerels per cubic meter of Xenon-133 (*See link below to study published in Nov 2011 on Xenon-133 and caesium-137 releases)


The following comes via ENENEWS at:

Published: December 25th, 2011 at 01:23 PM EDT

Gundersen thinks melted core will get through containment and hit water (AUDIO)

Arnold Gundersen with A Fresh Report on Fukushima, If You Love This Planet, A Weekly Radio Program with Dr. Helen Caldicott, Dec. 23, 2011:

This week, Dr. Caldicott and Arnold Gundersen, a nuclear energy consultant with Fairewinds Associates, have another look at how the Fukushima disaster is affecting Japan, and how the U.S. nuclear industry continues its plans to build new plants in America. […]

Transcript Summary

At 6:15 in

  • We’re talking about 70 tons of nuclear material under reactor
  • Question is how deep did it go
  • If it began to attack in a narrow area it would form a crevice
  • If a crevice was formed it would lie in that crevice and continue to work its way downward
  • It’s now created a crater essentially
  • And it can’t be cooled from above
  • Because it sort of seals itself off at the top
  • Gradually working its way down through the concrete
  • They claim there is about 30cm left of concrete and 2 inches of steel in containment
  • Steel will melt quickly
  • It is possible that over time the core will continue to melt down and get through the nuclear containment
  • But whether or not that happen I don’t think there will be a steam explosion
  • (At 8:30 in) “I think it will drizzle out, I think it will gradually come into contact with water and solidify” as opposed to a large mass hitting the water suddenly, in which case you would get a steam explosion
  • I think the real key here is it doesn’t matter
  • The nuclear core is leaking through containment anyway
  • It doesn’t have to melt into groundwater
  • There are so many leaks in containment it is leaking into groundwater and ocean anyway
  • Therefore the plutonium and the cesium and the strontium that’s in the fuel has run throughout the entire complex anyway and is getting in the groundwater
  • China syndrome doesn’t matter because the groundwater is already contaminated because containment is leaking elsewhere.
  • Containment is so radioactive there is no way of determining where that nuclear core really is

Radiation fears spread to forest industry

Tomio Takahashi checks logs for charcoal and mushroom cultivation in Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture, after selected logs were found with high levels of radiation cesium. (Mainichi)

Tomio Takahashi checks logs for charcoal and mushroom cultivation in Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture, after selected logs were found with high levels of radiation cesium. (Mainichi)

SHIROISHI, Miyagi — Radiation fears stemming from the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant and radiation monitoring activities are raising concern among people handling trees to grow mushrooms and make charcoal.

Forest workers are very concerned about any potential fallout from the nuclear crisis because they have to independently monitor radiation before applying to the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), for compensation, unlike farmers and fishermen who have standing in law.

Decontamination work in the mountains is said to be much more difficult than on flat land and some forest workers are considering switching jobs.

The Forestry Agency in October set a ceiling of 150 becquerels per kilogram for raw wood for mushroom cultivation and in November set limits on radioactive cesium found in firewood and charcoal for cooking at 40 becquerels and 280 becquerels, respectively.

Article continues at:

Radioactive Concrete Debris (3000 Bq/Kg) OK and Safe to Use in Fukushima Prefecture

What a wonderful present from the Japanese national government to its subjects, particularly those in Fukushima. Instead of coals it gives radioactive concrete bits.

Asahi Shinbun and others report that the Ministry of the Environment, getting bolder by the hour with its 1 trillion yen budget, has decided unilaterally that it is “safe” to use radioactive concrete bits from the March 11 quake/tsunami disaster in Fukushima as substrates under the pavement of the roads and breakwaters in Fukushima.

There will be no effect on the health of residents living nearby, assures the Ministry.

Why are they doing this? Why because they enacted the law that says the radioactive concrete debris in Fukushima to be “recycled”.

Why do they have to recycle radioactive debris? Why it’s green! Reduces CO2! Kyoto Protocol!

Article continues at:

Genkai reactor suspended, leaving 6 reactors in service in Japan

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) — Kyushu Electric Power Co. suspended operation of the No. 4 reactor at its Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture late Sunday for a regular checkup, the utility said.

The suspension left only six among 54 commercial reactors in Japan in service in the wake of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant triggered by the March earthquake and tsunami, with operations of all six reactors in Kyushu Electric’s service area being suspended.

Kyushu Electric has decided to ask customers to reduce their maximum power usage by more than 5 percent between Monday and Feb. 3.

The suspension of the No. 4 reactor will put the utility’s supply capacity at 14.69 million kilowatts in January against the expected maximum power demand of 14.57 million kilowatts, with the reserve rate standing at 0.8 percent, according to the utility.

The rate, however, will fall to minus 2.2 percent if electricity demand grows to the level seen a year earlier, when the area faced a hard winter, it added.

(Mainichi Japan) December 26, 2011

Fukushima accident shows need to prepare for the unexpected: panel

TOKYO, Dec. 26, Kyodo

A government panel investigating the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant said Monday the accident shows the need to prepare for unexpected events if the consequences of them happening could be disastrous, referring to the poor emergency responses by the plant operator and the government.

Releasing an interim report following some six months of investigation, the panel said that many problems related to the crisis were linked to the absence of measures to deal with severe nuclear accidents caused by tsunamis as well as the failure to assume that a nuclear crisis could occur in combination with a natural disaster.

”It cannot be denied that people who have been involved in nuclear disaster response and those in charge of managing and operating nuclear power plants have lacked the big-picture viewpoint for seeing nuclear disaster preparedness,” the report said.


Q: Do sunflowers bloom in snow?

Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture

*Including this report from back in November… FYI:

Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 28319-28394, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Xenon-133 and caesium-137 releases into the atmosphere from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant: determination of the source term, atmospheric dispersion, and deposition

A. Stohl1, P. Seibert2, G. Wotawa3, D. Arnold2,4, J. F. Burkhart1, S. Eckhardt1, C. Tapia5, A. Vargas4, and T. J. Yasunari6
1NILU – Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway
2Institute of Meteorology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
3Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, Vienna, Austria
4Institute of Energy Technologies (INTE), Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), Barcelona, Spain
5Department of Physics and Nucelar Engineering (FEN),Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), Barcelona, Spain
6Universities Space Research Association, Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology and Research, Columbia, MD 21044, USA

Abstract. On 11 March 2011, an earthquake occurred about 130 km off the Pacific coast of Japan’s main island Honshu, followed by a large tsunami. The resulting loss of electric power at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant (FD-NPP) developed into a disaster causing massive release of radioactivity into the atmosphere. In this study, we determine the emissions of two isotopes, the noble gas xenon-133 (133Xe) and the aerosol-bound caesium-137 (137Cs), which have very different release characteristics as well as behavior in the atmosphere. To determine radionuclide emissions as a function of height and time until 20 April, we made a first guess of release rates based on fuel inventories and documented accident events at the site. This first guess was subsequently improved by inverse modeling, which combined the first guess with the results of an atmospheric transport model, FLEXPART, and measurement data from several dozen stations in Japan, North America and other regions. We used both atmospheric activity concentration measurements as well as, for 137Cs, measurements of bulk deposition. Regarding 133Xe, we find a total release of 16.7 (uncertainty range 13.4–20.0) EBq, which is the largest radioactive noble gas release in history not associated with nuclear bomb testing. There is strong evidence that the first strong 133Xe release started very early, possibly immediately after the earthquake and the emergency shutdown on 11 March at 06:00 UTC. The entire noble gas inventory of reactor units 1–3 was set free into the atmosphere between 11 and 15 March 2011. For 137Cs, the inversion results give a total emission of 35.8 (23.3–50.1) PBq, or about 42% of the estimated Chernobyl emission. Our results indicate that 137Cs emissions peaked on 14–15 March but were generally high from 12 until 19 March, when they suddenly dropped by orders of magnitude exactly when spraying of water on the spent-fuel pool of unit 4 started. This indicates that emissions were not only coming from the damaged reactor cores, but also from the spent-fuel pool of unit 4 and confirms that the spraying was an effective countermeasure. We also explore the main dispersion and deposition patterns of the radioactive cloud, both regionally for Japan as well as for the entire Northern Hemisphere. While at first sight it seemed fortunate that westerly winds prevailed most of the time during the accident, a different picture emerges from our detailed analysis. Exactly during and following the period of the strongest 137Cs emissions on 14 and 15 March as well as after another period with strong emissions on 19 March, the radioactive plume was advected over Eastern Honshu Island, where precipitation deposited a large fraction of137Cs on land surfaces. The plume was also dispersed quickly over the entire Northern Hemisphere, first reaching North America on 15 March and Europe on 22 March. In general, simulated and observed concentrations of 133Xe and 137Cs both at Japanese as well as at remote sites were in good quantitative agreement with each other. Altogether, we estimate that 6.4 TBq of 137Cs, or 19% of the total fallout until 20 April, were deposited over Japanese land areas, while most of the rest fell over the North Pacific Ocean. Only 0.7 TBq, or 2% of the total fallout were deposited on land areas other than Japan.

Discussion Paper (PDF, 6457 KB)   Supplement (13 KB)   Interactive Discussion(Open, 16 Comments)   Manuscript under review for ACP

Citation: Stohl, A., Seibert, P., Wotawa, G., Arnold, D., Burkhart, J. F., Eckhardt, S., Tapia, C., Vargas, A., and Yasunari, T. J.: Xenon-133 and caesium-137 releases into the atmosphere from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant: determination of the source term, atmospheric dispersion, and deposition, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 28319-28394, doi:10.5194/acpd-11-28319-2011, 2011.   Bibtex   EndNote   Reference Manager    XML