The lead story on Day 273 is this video from Arnie Gundersen’s Vimeo web site. The video is of Marco Kaltofen’s presentation to the American Public Health Association.
In his presentation, Mr. Kaltofen recognizes the help of Safecast in providing samples from the Fukushima area for him to analyze. If you would like more information about Safecast, the web site is http://blog.safecast.org/.
Safecast also has a discussion group on Google Groups. To sign up, see https://groups.google.com/group/safecast-japan/about. It’s an interesting listserv with experts, including Mr. Kaltofen, debating the severity of the problem at Daiichi.
If you are reading this from an area of Japan which is recording high levels of contamination, you might be interested in this:
(snip from Dec 8, 2001 msg to the listerv)
We are still accepting house dust and kid’s shoe samples by the way. I am hoping to publish all of the results in Environmental Science and Technology over the Christmas/New Years academic break in America. In particular, we’d be happy to test the soil, house dust, and a few shoes from the site where the samples in the video were taken.
Email offline if anyone can help arrange this. (
+ + + + + + + + + +
In case you hadn’t heard about this…
TEPCO: Fukushima Radiation Isn’t Our Problem
In the amoral milieu of the corporate bottom line, you can’t blame Tokyo Electric Power Co. for trying.
Tepco owns the 6-reactor Fukushima complex that was wrecked by Japan’s March 11 earthquake and smashed by the resulting tsunami. It faces more than $350 billion in compensation and clean-up costs, as well as likely prosecution for withholding crucial information that may have prevented some radiation exposures and for operating the giant station after being warned about the inadequacy of its protections against disasters.
So when the company was hauled into Tokyo District Court Oct. 31 by the Sunfield Golf Club, which was demanding decontamination of the golf course, Tepco lawyers tried something novel. They claimed the company isn’t liable because it no longer “owned” the radioactive poisons that were spewed from its destroyed reactors.
“Radioactive materials that scattered and fell from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant belong to individual landowners there, not Tepco,” the company said. This stunned the Court, the plaintiffs and the press. An attorney for the golf club said, “We are flabbergasted….”
The court rejected Tepco’s notion that its cancer-causing pollution is owned by the areas it contaminated. But you have to hand it to Tepco. For brash balderdash there’s hardly a match in the world.
Even Union Carbide, whose toxic gas in Bhopal, India killed 15,000 people in 1984, hasn’t tried that one. Dow Chemical, which bought Union Carbide in 2001, is still fighting India’s demand for $1.7 billion in compensation. Perhaps Dow could try Tepco’s dodge: “The gas belongs to the breather now, since possession is nine-tenths of the law.”
Meanwhile, babies in Japan may be in for a life of debilitation and disease because radioactive cesium-137 and cesium-134 was recently found in infant milk powder. A December 6 announcement by the Meiji Holdings Company, Inc. said it was recalling 400,000 cans of its “Meiji Step,” powdered milk for babies older than 9 months. The powder was packaged in April — at the height of Fukushima’s largest radiation releases — distributed mostly in May and has an October 2012 expiration date.
The amount of cesium in one serving of the milk powder was about eight percent of the total contamination allowed by the government. But no one knows how much formula individual babies may have consumed prior to the recall. It is well known that fetuses, infants, children and women are harmed by doses of radiation below officially allowed exposures. Most exposure standards have been established in view of radiation’s projected effect on “Reference Man,” a hypothetical 20 to 30 year old white male, rather than women and children, the most vulnerable.
Even tiny amounts of internal radioactive contamination can damage DNA, cause cancer and weaken the immune system. Fukushima’s meltdowns dispersed radioactive contamination found in vegetables, milk, seafood, water, grain, animal feed and beef. Green tea grown 250 miles from Fukushima was found contaminated. Rice harvested this fall from 154 farms in Fukushima Prefecture was found in November to be poisoned with cesium 25 percent above the allowable limit. Shipments of rice from those farms were banned, but not before many tons had been sold. Presumably, that radiation is now the property of each consumer under the inventive assertion of Tepco’s corporate attorneys.
John LaForge is on the Nukewatch staff and edits its Quarterly newsletter.
Top US nuclear official in Japan: concerns over spent fuel at Fukushima plant were justified
Plant workers also reported high radiation levels from debris
in-between the Unit 3 and Unit 4 reactor buildings. Casto said his
team thought those radiation readings could indicate that damaged
nuclear fuel had spread on the site.
“You put that together and you say, ‘We’re worried that there may not be water in that spent fuel pool,’” he said.
Some information was open to debate. Japanese officials once called Casto to an emergency center where he watched video taken from a helicopter that flew over the Unit 4 building. Japanese officials told Casto that they saw a reflection among the rubble, indicating there was water in its pool.
“I couldn’t see it,” he said.
Read the entire article at:
Japan Funnels Tsunami Funds to Whaling Hunt
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: December 8, 2011 at 6:00 AM ET
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.
The budget request was made to beef up security and maintain the “stable operation” of Japan’s research whaling, he said, which has faced increasingly aggressive interference from boats with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Conservationist group Greepeace blasted the funding move, claiming it was siphoning money away from disaster victims.
The Japanese government has passed supplementary budgets totalling 18 trillion yen ($230 billion) for reconstruction after the March 11 tsunami. Nearly all the items are rebuilding projects, including nearly 500 billion yen for fisheries projects directly in the region, but some, including the whaling expedition, appear less directly related.
Media reports said Japan’s annual whaling expedition left Shimonoseki in southern Japan on Tuesday with plans to cull 900 whales, mostly minke whales, which are not endangered.
Article continues at:
NHK: Plant operators trying to find nuclear cores — All fuel has melted through, much of it into containment vessel… So where’s the rest?
Thank you to Anonymous for this link:
Japan’s Yukio Edano rebuffs Tepco bailout claim
Japan’s trade minister Yukio Edano has denied reports that troubled nuclear firm Tepco is about to receive a huge government bailout.
Mr Edano said Tepco, which runs the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, had made no requests for public money.
Reports said the government would buy about 1tn yen ($12.9bn; £8.2bn) of Tepco shares next year – which would in effect nationalise the firm.
Tepco shares plummeted on Thursday, ending the day down more than 11%.
The firm faces massive compensation payments and clean-up costs after March’s tsunami and earthquake caused three of the Fukushima plant’s reactors to go into partial meltdown.
The government had already agreed a 900bn yen bailout fund in November to help pay compensation for those affected.
Reports on Thursday in Japanese media said the 1tn yen share purchase was separate from the bailout fund.
The reports quoted unnamed sources saying the government would seek shareholder approval to lift the ceiling on issuance of Tepco shares at a meeting in June.
Some reports put the prospective share purchase figure as high as 3tn yen.
But Mr Edano told reporters on Friday: “As of now no requests have been made [from Tepco], and it is not the case that we are making arrangements in the direction of injecting public funds.
“We are considering with all kinds of possibilities in mind.”
Radioactive water leaks at Kyushu Electric’s Genkai reactor
SAGA (Kyodo) — Kyushu Electric Power Co. said Saturday that 1.8 tons of coolant water containing radioactive materials had leaked within a purification system at an idled reactor at its Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture.
But the utility failed to report the leak to the local governments when it detected it Friday morning, only notifying them of trouble with pumps in the system for the No. 3 reactor, which has been suspended for regular checkups, prompting the Genkai mayor to complain.
The water leaked from a joining area of the pumps, with no radioactive materials leaking outside the reactor building, and has been completely recovered, the utility said, adding that the intensity of radioactive matter contained is unknown.
Article continues at:
Tepco mulls 10% rate hike tied to ’13 Niigata reactor restart
Tokyo Electric Power Co., which has allegedly been overcharging consumers for possibly a decade, may “temporarily” raise rates 10 percent starting next fall and push for restarting reactors under inspection in Niigata Prefecture in spring 2013, sources said.
But it is uncertain if permission will be given for either goal, given public hostility toward Tepco on both the nuclear safety and information disclosure fronts.The plans are intended to restore the utility’s finances, which will be dicey even if augmented by taxpayer funds as the fuel costs for boosting thermal power generation due to the Fukushima crisis continue to climb.
Article continues at:
1st batch of quake debris from Miyagi arrives in Tokyo
TOKYO, Dec. 10, Kyodo
The first batch of rubble from Onagawa town in quake-hit Miyagi Prefecture arrived Saturday in Tokyo under an agreement through which the capital will help the town dispose of 100,000 tons of debris by March 2014.
Prior to the full-fledged transfer from February of some 50 tons of rubble per day, the Tokyo metropolitan government plans to incinerate about 140 tons in a test run from Tuesday to confirm the radioactive intensity of ash and exhaust gas.
In the first batch, 20 containers with about 30 tons of wood and other combustible waste arrived at JR Tokyo Freight Terminal in Shinagawa Ward for delivery by truck to a waste disposal facility in Ota Ward. A plant in Shinagawa Ward is also due for a similar test run this month.
TEPCO goal of rationalizing operations doubtful
Questions remain as to whether Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the tsunami-hit nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, will be able to achieve its goal of rationalizing its operations under its newly released action plan.
The utility will be required to shoulder the massive financial burden of placing its crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant under control and paying compensation to those affected by the crisis. Furthermore, it anticipates a sharp increase in its fuel costs that are estimated to reach about 1 trillion yen annually.
Moreover, it will be required to foot the costs of decommissioning and dismantling the crippled nuclear reactors and decontaminating areas tainted by radioactive substances leaking from the nuclear plant.
Since the company’s planned streamlining is far from enough to make up for the massive amounts of additional costs resulting from the nuclear crisis, there are no prospects that it can get out of the red.
Professor Hayakawa’s Fukushima-Chernobyl Comparison Map, Updated (and Updated Again Already…)
and the radiation contour map version 5 have arrived. And after the reprimand, the professor seems more invigorated than ever.