Well, the prime minister announced today that:
“We have decided that a stable condition has been achieved and that the accident at the plant itself has been settled.”
If you would like to read more about the B#$%S&# emanating from the government, be my guest:
However, there are many, many educated, experienced voices who are constantly revealing more details contrary to government opinion…..
Read on, MacDuff:
‘Absolutely no progress being made’ at Fukushima nuke plant, undercover reporter says
Conditions at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant are far worse than its operator or the government has admitted, according to freelance journalist Tomohiko Suzuki, who spent more than a month working undercover at the power station.
“Absolutely no progress is being made” towards the final resolution of the crisis, Suzuki told reporters at a Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan news conference on Dec. 15. Suzuki, 55, worked for a Toshiba Corp. subsidiary as a general laborer there from July 13 to Aug. 22, documenting sloppy repair work, companies including plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) playing fast and loose with their workers’ radiation doses, and a marked concern for appearances over the safety of employees or the public.
For example, the no-entry zones around the plant — the 20-kilometer radius exclusion zone and the extension covering most of the village of Iitate and other municipalities — have more to do with convenience that actual safety, Suzuki says.
“(Nuclear) technology experts I’ve spoken to say that there are people living in areas where no one should be. It’s almost as though they’re living inside a nuclear plant,” says Suzuki. Based on this and his own radiation readings, he believes the 80-kilometer-radius evacuation advisory issued by the United States government after the meltdowns was “about right,” adding that the government probably decided on the current no-go zones to avoid the immense task of evacuating larger cities like Iwaki and Fukushima.
The situation at the plant itself is no better, where he says much of the work is simply “for show,” fraught with corporate jealousies and secretiveness and “completely different” from the “all-Japan” cooperative effort being presented by the government.
“Reactor makers Toshiba and Hitachi (brought in to help resolve the crisis) each have their own technology, and they don’t talk to each other. Toshiba doesn’t tell Hitachi what it’s doing, and Hitachi doesn’t tell Toshiba what it’s doing.”
Meanwhile, despite there being no concrete data on the state of the reactor cores, claims by the government and TEPCO that the disaster is under control and that the reactors are on-schedule for a cold shutdown by the year’s end have promoted a breakneck work schedule, leading to shoddy repairs and habitual disregard for worker safety, he said.
“Working at Fukushima is equivalent to being given an order to die,” Suzuki quoted one nuclear-related company source as saying. He says plant workers regularly manipulate their radiation readings by reversing their dosimeters or putting them in their socks, giving them an extra 10 to 30 minutes on-site before they reach their daily dosage limit. In extreme cases, Suzuki said, workers even leave the radiation meters in their dormitories.
According to Suzuki, TEPCO and the subcontractors at the plant never explicitly tell the workers to take these measures. Instead the workers are simply assigned projects that would be impossible to complete on time without manipulating the dosage numbers, and whether through a sense of duty or fear of being fired, the workers never complain.
Furthermore, the daily radiation screenings are “essentially an act,” with the detector passed too quickly over each worker, while “the line to the buzzer that is supposed to sound when there’s a problem has been cut,” Suzuki said.
Meanwhile much of the work — like road repairs — is purely cosmetic, and projects directly related to cleaning up the crisis such as decontaminating water — which Suzuki was involved in — are rife with cut corners, including the use of plastic piping likely to freeze and crack in the winter.
“We are seeing many problems stemming from the shoddy, rushed work at the power plant,” Suzuki says.
Despite the lack of progress and cavalier attitude to safety, Suzuki claims the cold shutdown schedule has essentially choked off any new ideas. The crisis is officially under control and the budget for dealing with it has been cut drastically, and many Hitachi and Toshiba engineers that have presented new solutions have been told there is simply no money to try them.
In sum, Suzuki says what he saw (and photographed with a pinhole camera hidden in his watch) proves the real work to overcome the Fukushima disaster “is just beginning.” He lost his own inside look at that work after it was discovered he was a journalist, though officially he was fired because his commute to work was too long.
“The Japanese media have turned away from this issue,” he laments, though the story is far from over. (By Robert Irvine, Staff Writer)
A book by Tomohiko Suzuki detailing many of his experiences at the plant and connections between yakuza crime syndicates and the nuclear industry, titled “Yakuza to genpatsu” (the yakuza and nuclear power), was published by Bungei Shunju on Dec. 15.
Japanese Government Decides 20 Millisieverts Annual Radiation Exposure Poses Little Cancer Threat to General Public
While the entire nation and the entire world wait with bated breath for the declaration by the Japanese national government of a cold shutdown of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant (to be exact, as NY Times correctly reported on December 14, “state of a cold shutdown”) later in the evening of December 16 Japan Standard Time, the working group of government radiation experts has declared that:
- Annual radiation exposure of more than 100 millisieverts is known to raise risks for developing cancers, but nothing is known about annual radiation exposure of less than 100 millisieverts;
- Annual cumulative radiation exposure (external only, it seems) of 20 millisieverts for the general public poses hardly any danger of developing cancer;
- There is no difference between internal and external radiation exposure;
- Low-dose radiation exposure over a long period of time is less risky than one-time episodic exposure to large-dose radiation;
- The relationship between low-dose internal radiation exposure and bladder cancer cannot be proven.
Above points are from the article in Mainichi Shinbun12/15/2011, the only paper that had any critical thinking on this issue. All the other large-circulation newspapers and NHK simply parroted what was said by the experts and the government officials.
Speaking of government officials, Asahi Shinbunreports (12/15/2011) that Minister in charge of the nuclear accident and Minister of the Environment Goshi Hosono explained the government’s thinking in the press conference after the group meeting, saying:
“So, 20 millisieverts per year radiation means people can live there.”
This working group of so-called experts met for about a month to discuss the risk of “low-level” radiation exposure (meaning less than 20 millisieverts per year) and make a decision. Now they have made the decision and submitted the report to the government, the government duly accepts the independent experts’ opinion, declares 20 millisieverts radiation to be an acceptable guideline, and plan accordingly.
What’s the plan, you ask?
The government is set to convene a cabinet meeting in the evening and declare a “cold shutdown state” and will soon declare certain municipalities within the 20-kilometer radius “no entry” zone to be now “safe” to return (see my previous post).
In that country, if the government declares “one plus one equals four”, or “tomorrow the sun rises from the west”, people are expected to say “of course”, and the calculators would start showing one plus one equals 4 and the sun would rise from the west. Or at least they would try. The land of miracles.
20 millisieverts per year of radiation exposure for the general public. There is no mention of different standard for children, except for the “effort” that the government is supposed to exert to lower the radiation for children.
Radiation control zone is 1.3 millisieverts per 3 months (5.2 millisieverts per year).
Japan The Bad News Ahead Of Cold Shutdown
December 15th, 2011
Japan will declare “cold shutdown” for Fukushima Daiichi today. They have re-stated it as “cold shutdown conditions” after much criticism in the media that you can’t have a cold shutdown in a reactor that has exploded and melted out fuel into the reactor building. Many have seen the cold shutdown declaration as a distraction and political theater.
Ahead of this announcement the government in Japan has been coming clean on some incredibly bad news. We have seen this kind of tactic before since March where bad news then good news comes out in an orchestrated fashion. There is also speculation that these admissions are coming out as people in Japan and elsewhere are distracted with winter holidays.
Article continues at:
NUCLEAR CRISIS–9 MONTHS ON / Govt pressure on N-agency cast doubt on meltdown
The Yomiuri Shimbun
Nine months have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake triggered the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. This is the first installment in a two-part series that looks into problems facing the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, among other issues, and what is required to create a newnuclear safety agency in April.
When did a meltdown occur at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant after the March 11 disaster?
“It’s a core meltdown. We believe the fuel has started to melt [in the No. 1 reactor],” Koichiro Nakamura of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said at a press conference at 2 p.m. the following day.
But the agency quickly reversed itself and expressed doubt whether a meltdown had occurred. The agency finally admitted on June 7 there had been a meltdown.
On Nov. 30, the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., issued a statement on the No. 1 reactor: “Almost all of the [68 tons of] nuclear fuel [rods] melted, fell through a pressure vessel and eroded the concrete bottom of the containment vessel by up to 65 centimeters.”
Therefore, a meltdown had advanced in the reactor core and this fact was hidden from the public for about three months.
Nakamura, deputy director general for nuclear safety at the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry’s agency, was the first to touch on the possibility of a meltdown of the No. 1 reactor.
His statement was based on the fact that radioactive cesium, which normally is only found in the fuel rods in theory, had been detected outside the nuclear power plant.
Ahead of his press conference, Nakamura asked then agency Director General Nobuaki Terasaka, 58, whether he could say a meltdown had occurred.
Terasaka gave him the green light, saying, “We have no choice but to mention it.”
An hour after the press conference, staffers at the Prime Minister’s Office were taken aback by Nakamura’s remarks when they watched live coverage of the press conference on TV.
“What’s this media coverage [of the press conference]?” shouted Keisuke Sadamori, then secretary to the prime minister and a former METI bureaucrat.
He telephoned the agency and demanded that it inform the Prime Minister’s Office in advance whenever it had important information.
“It’s wrong for the prime minister to get such information via TV,” Sadamori said over the phone.
Thereafter, the Prime Minister’s Office established a rule that it would hold a news conference onimportant findings and other information ahead of the agency.
“As we couldn’t get the necessary information, our distrust in the agency knew no bounds. I had to phone the agency,” Sadamori said as he recalled the tense atmosphere at the Prime Minister’s Office that day.
At 3:36 p.m. on March 12, a hydrogen explosion destroyed the upper part of the building housing the No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima plant. TV stations broadcast white smoke rising from the damaged building.
While the government struggled to gather information on the explosion, the agency clammed up and refused media’s requests to explain what is happening.
“We’re unable to get approval [for a press conference] from the Prime Minister’s Office,” an agency official told the media.
Finally at 5:45 p.m., then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, 47, held a press conference, followed by an agency news conference at 6 p.m. Neither Edano nor the agency provided much information.
On March 13, Edano admitted at a press conference there was a possibility of a meltdown. In contrast, the agency had backed down from its initial assertion.
The following day, Nakamura did an about-face only two days after his initial statement. “We can’t say for certain whether there’s been a meltdown,” he said.
Finally on June 7, the agency itself admitted a meltdown had occurred at the No. 1 reactor.
According to research results announced by TEPCO in May, however, most of the fuel at the No. 1 reactor had melted by the morning of March 12. This means Nakamura’s initial explanation was correct.
Explaining why the agency’s information had undergone such a change, Terasaka said: “After the Prime Minister’s Office’s instruction, we became very cautious about using the term ‘meltdown.’ We felt our statements should not exceed what the Prime Minister’s Office said at press conferences.”
Meanwhile, Edano took issue with the agency’s stance in a recent interview.
“If the agency had explained to us about the meltdown, we would have made an announcement reflecting the agency’s position exactly,” he said.
However, the Prime Minister’s Office should take a lot of blame for intimidating the agency during the emergency, resulting in the failure to obtain essential information.
During a crisis that stunned the country, the agency was unable to build a cooperative relationship with the Prime Minister’s Office. The agency lacked leadership in dealing with severe problems such as a reactor meltdown.
One reason for this failure is the government’s belief that utility firms must take responsibility for safety measures, observers point out.
After the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant meltdown, European and other countries reinforced measures to deal with such an emergency. For instance, utilities installed devices to ensure venting–a measure that releases steam from a nuclear reactor to prevent an explosion.
In Japan, research was carried out on this type of measure and in 1992 the government asked utility companies to take similar steps.
However, the Nuclear Safety Commission in charge of evaluating safety measures against severe accidents, including venting, decided measures should be taken by operators on a voluntary basis. “The possibility of severe accidents occurring is extremely small,” it said.
“We were extremely worried that ‘the safety myth’ of nuclear power plants–that serious nuclear accidents never occur–would collapse if the government took the lead and local residents were unduly alarmed,” said an industry source familiar with the situation at the time.
Instead, the government introduced a periodical safety review system in which utilities evaluated their safety methods for their nuclear power stations’ equipment and operations every 10 years under administrative guidance. This would allow the government to check on the status of measures implemented by each firm.
However, the government failed to provide sufficient instructions to the companies. For about 20 years until the Fukushima No. 1 plant nuclear crisis, the measures have never been strengthened.
However, there was an opportunity to review the situation before the nuclear crisis.
In 2002, it was learned that TEPCO had falsified data concerning equipment inspections at its nuclearpower plants, including the Fukushima No. 1 plant. At the time, the regulatory system’s laxness–the government evaluates the voluntary safety measures implemented by the utilities– was criticized.
In 2003, the agency made legally binding the periodical safety review by including it as part of safety regulations. However, measures against severe accidents in the periodical safety review were excluded, as there were no specific methods to evaluate the possibility of serious nuclear accidents occurring.
“Electric power companies were worried about telling residents there was a risk [of severe nuclearaccidents],” said Naoki Kajita, deputy director general for science and technology policy at the Cabinet Office. Around March 11, he was the director of the agency’s nuclear power inspection division.
A source in the electric power business said: “We thought it [inclusion of measures against serious accidents into the safety regulations] would put us a disadvantage if nuclear plant-related lawsuits are filed. We lobbied the government not to legally oblige us to take measures against such accidents.”
Yoshihiro Nishiwaki, a guest professor at the University of Tokyo and Kajita’s predecessor at the inspection division, regrets the inadequate efforts of the agency.
“Our efforts [to take safety measures against severe accidents] ended in 1992. We hadn’t prepared for such an accident as we had no idea it would happen,” Nishiwaki said.
In February 2010, a special working group at the agency compiled a report that measures against severe accidents should be seriously considered, including the possibility of making them legally binding. Moves made in the United States, Europe and other nations in this respect were taken into consideration.
The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred as the government was about to begin studying the situation.
On Dec. 2, TEPCO’s in-house accident investigation committee said, “Despite all our preparations, TEPCO could not have come up with effective measures to prevent such a catastrophe.”
Following the nuclear crisis, the government has changed its policy and decided to legislate measures to deal with severe accidents to try to avert such disasters.
The government is preparing to submit a bill to revise the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law to the next ordinary session of the Diet.
Fukushima – Could it Have a China Syndrome?
Fukushima: No to nuclear power subsidies
Fukushima Prefecture will no longer apply for government subsidies for hosting nuclear power plants.
The Fukushima prefectural government concluded it will not apply for about three billion yen, or nearly 38-million dollars in subsides starting in fiscal 2012, which begins in April.
The prefectural government says it made the decision, as its reconstruction plan asks for the central government to scrap all reactors in Fukushima Prefecture.
Prefectural officials began drawing up the plan after the March 11th disaster and the subsequent nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
Subsidies have already been declined for a planned nuclear power station in Minamisoma City and Namie Town near the plant.
In similar developments, Kagoshima Prefecture and Satsumasendai City in southwestern Japan, where the construction of another station is planned, say they will also skip applications.
Fukushima Prefecture hosts 10 reactors at two nuclear power stations. This year, the prefecture and its local municipalities requested almost 170-million dollars in subsidies.
Thursday, December 15, 2011 16:14 +0900 (JST)
Japan May Declare Control of Reactors, Over Serious Doubts
Published: December 14, 2011
TOKYO — Nine months after the devastating earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, causing a meltdown at three units, the Tokyo government is expected to declare soon that it has finally regained control of the plant’s overheating reactors.
But even before it has been made, the announcement is facing serious doubts from experts.
On Friday, a disaster-response task force headed by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will vote on whether to announce that the plant’s three damaged reactors have been put into the equivalent of a “cold shutdown,” a technical term normally used to describe intact reactors with fuel cores that are in a safe and stable condition. Experts say that if it does announce a shutdown, as many expect, it will simply reflect the government’s effort to fulfill a pledge to restore the plant’s cooling system by year’s end and, according to some experts, not the true situation.
If the task force declares a cold shutdown, the next step will be moving the spent fuel rods in nearby cooling pools to more secure storage, and eventually opening the reactors themselves.
However, many experts fear that the government is declaring victory only to appease growing public anger over the accident, and that it may deflect attention from remaining threats to the reactors’ safety. One of those — a large aftershock to the magnitude 9 earthquake on March 11, which could knock out the jury-rigged new cooling system that the plant’s operator hastily built after the accident — is considered a strong possibility by many seismologists.
They also said the term cold shutdown might give an exaggerated impression of stability to severely damaged reactors with fuel cores that have not only melted down, but melted through the inner containment vessels and bored into the floor of their concrete outer containment structures.
“The government wants to reassure the people that everything is under control, and do this by the end of this year,” said Kazuhiko Kudo, a professor of nuclear engineering at Kyushu University. “But what I want to know is, are they really ready to say this?”
Perhaps to give itself some wiggle room, the government is expected to use vague terminology, announcing that the three damaged reactors are in a “state of cold shutdown.” Experts say that in real terms, this will amount to a claim that the reactors’ temperatures can now be kept safely below the boiling point of water, and that their melted cores are no longer at risk of resuming the atomic chain reaction that could allow them to again heat up uncontrollably.
And indeed, experts credit the operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, with making progress in regaining control of the damaged reactors. They say the plant’s makeshift new cooling system, built with the help of American, French and Japanese companies, has managed to cool the reactors’ cores, including the molten fuel attached to the outer containment vessels.
Experts also say a new shedlike structure built over the heavily damaged Unit 1 reactor building has helped cap the plant’s radiation leaks into the atmosphere. The building was one of three reactor buildings destroyed in hydrogen explosions in March that scattered dangerous particles over a wide swath of northeastern Japan.
Still, experts say the term is usually reserved for healthy reactors, to indicate that they are safe enough that their containment vessels can be opened up and their fuel rods taken out. But they warn it may take far longer than even the government’s projected three years to begin cleaning up the melted fuel in Fukushima Daiichi’s damaged reactors. This has led some experts to say that proclaiming a cold shutdown may actually be deceptive, suggesting the Fukushima plant is closer to getting cleaned up than it actually is.
“Claiming a cold shutdown does not have much meaning for damaged reactors like those at Fukushima Daiichi,” said Noboru Nakao, a nuclear engineering consultant at International Access Corporation.
In fact, experts point out, damaged fuel cores have yet to be removed from plants that suffered meltdowns decades ago. In the case of Chernobyl, Soviet officials simply entombed the damaged reactor in a concrete sarcophagus after the explosion there in 1986. Some experts said talk of a cold shutdown deflected attention from the more pressing problem of further releases of radioactive contamination into the environment. In particular, they said there was still a danger to the nearby Pacific Ocean from the 90,000 tons of contaminated water that sit in the basements of the shattered reactor buildings, or are stored in fields of silver tanks on the plant’s grounds.
“At this point, I would be more worried about the contamination than what’s happening inside the reactors,” said Murray E. Jennex, an expert on nuclear containment at San Diego State University.
Mr. Jennex said he believed the government’s claim that the reactors themselves were now stable, and particularly that the resumption of the heat-producing chain reaction called fission was no longer possible. While the discovery last month of the chemical xenon, a byproduct of fission, in one of Fukushima Daiichi’s reactors briefly raised alarms that a chain reaction had restarted, Mr. Jennex said enough of the radioactive fuel had decayed since the accident in March to make that unlikely.
Other experts disagreed. Kyushu University’s Mr. Kudo said that the restart of fission, a phenomenon known as recriticality, could not be ruled out until the reactors could be opened, allowing for an examination of the melted fuel. But he and other experts said their biggest fear was that another earthquake or tsunami could knock out Tepco’s makeshift cooling system. They noted that it was not built to earthquake safety standards, and relied on water purifiers and other vulnerable equipment connected to the reactors by more than a mile and a half of rubber hoses.
“All it would take is one more earthquake or tsunami to set Fukushima Daiichi back to square one,” Mr. Kudo said. “Can we really call this precarious situation a cold shutdown?”
Japan Gone Nuts: NISA Declares No Contaminated Water Leak From Fuku-I, in the Past, Now, and the Future
As the national government under Prime Minister Noda (who looks like a popular manga character Patalliro, except Pata is extremely smart) prepares to declare a cold shutdown “state” and is about to become the laughing stock of the world, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency is busy rewriting the definition of “leak”.
Tokyo Shinbun reports that NISA has decided to basically “nullify” the leaks of contaminated water from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in the past, and declare that there will be no leak in the future either, even if there is actually a leak or deliberate discharge. Why? Because NISA says so.
From Tokyo Shinbun (via Asyura, so that the link doesn’t disappear; 12/16/2011):
保安院 海への汚染水 ゼロ扱い
NISA considers the amount of contaminated water into the ocean to be zero
There have been several leaks of water contaminated with radioactive materials from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. Tokyo Shinbun has found out through own investigation thatthe Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agencyunder the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has treated the amount of the leaks as “zero” from a legal [or regulatory] point of view, because it was a “state of emergency”. The Agency has said it will treat the future leaks and deliberate discharges into the ocean the same way. The national government is scheduled to declare a “cold shutdown state” on December 16, but we are suspicious of the government’s position that seems to ignore the suppression of the radioactive materials released from the plant, which is one of the important conditions [of the cold shutdown “state”].
The Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law specifies that the operator needs to set the maximum amount of radioactive materials released into the ocean for each nuclear power plant (total emission control). In the case of Fukushima I Nuke Plant, the maximum amount allowed is 220 billion becquerels per year for radioactive cesium. The amount is set to zero again at the beginning of a new fiscal year.
However, a leak of highly contaminated water was found on April 2 near the Reactor 2 water intake, and TEPCO conducted a discharge of low contamination water that was stored in a tank inside the plant buildings to make space to store the highly contaminated water.
This leak and the discharge alone released radioactive materials outside the plant to the tune of 4,700 terabecquerels (according to TEPCO’s estimate), already more than 20,000 times as much as the maximum amount allowed.
Both domestic and foreign research institutions have disputed TEPCO’s estimate as “too low”.
On December 4, the water that contained 26 billion becquerels of radioactive strontium was found leaking into the ocean from the apparatus that evaporates and condenses the treated water.
Furthermore, the storage tanks that are set up inside the compound are expected to become full in the first half of the next year. The water in these storage tanks also contains radioactive strontium. TEPCO is contemplating the discharge of the water into the ocean after further decontaminating it, but facing the protest from the fisheries associations the company has said it will postpone the discharge for now.
Responding to the questions from Tokyo Shinbun, NISA emphasized that responding to the accident came first, and Fukushima I Nuke Plant was in a “state of emergency” where it was not possible to stop the leak, due to the damage the plant had sustained, and that was the reason for not applying the rule of “total emission control” and treating the 4,700-terabequerel leak as zero leak.
The special treatment under the “state of emergency” will last until the accident winds down, according to the Agency; but it was vague as to how long the special treatment will last, saying “it will be decided in the future discussions”.
The Agency said even if the treated water that contains radioactive materials is released into the ocean, the Agency will continue to treat it as zero release.
Well, why should NISA stop at the water leak? They should simply declare that there was no emission of radioactive materials in the air, because the plant was in a state of emergency and in no shape to prevent the emission.
The national government declaring a cold shutdown “state” on broken reactors without even knowing where the corium has gone; government experts declaring 20 millisievert radiation is totally OK after one-month deliberation; the government agency declaring there was, is, will be no contaminated water leak or discharge from Fuku-I even if there was, is, will be a leak or discharge.
Published: December 16th, 2011 at 05:33 AM EDT
*BREAKING* Yomiuri: Former Japan PM warns of recriticality at Fukushima — Found Chlorine-38 in Reactor No. 1 water tested at research institute
Critical mass, Nature Magazine, Dec. 15, 2011:
More than nine months after the nuclear-reactor disaster at Fukushima, fundamental questions about what happened remain unanswered. Without answers to these questions, Japan, and the rest of the world, is in the dark on what went wrong, what must be done now, and how to avoid similar accidents in future.
A Comment in this week’s issue summarizes these concerns (see page 313). For the Japanese public, one of the most troubling things about the article should be the identity of its authors: two ruling party politicians, including a former prime minister. Surely they should be able to get some answers? […]
Unfortunately the issue is not available online, but Yomiuri summarizes the contents.
Hatoyama: Nationalize Fukushima N-plant, Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 16, 2011 (Emphasis Added):
In the Nature article, former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama:
- Criticizes Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the crippled plant, for disclosing only limited information to Diet committees
- Hints at the possibility of recriticality at the plant
- Says there is still much about the crisis that needs clarification, including the state of the molten fuel within the nuclear reactors
Chlorine Detected… “Released During Recriticality”Hatoyama
Hatoyama also says that he and [Tomoyuki Taira, member of the House of Representatives] obtained data on samples of contaminated water TEPCO obtained from the basement of the plant’s No. 1 reactor and asked an outside research institute to reanalyze them.
Results showed that radionuclide chlorine 38, one of the isotopes released during recriticality, “was indeed present,” he claims.
TEPCO reported at one point that it found chlorine 38 in the sampled water, but the utility later retracted that statement, saying there was a mistake in the analysis.
More from Yomiuri
Only by bringing the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into government hands can scientists thoroughly discover what caused the nuclear crisis, former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama says in an article published in the Dec. 15 issue of the British science journal Nature. […]
Hatoyama said the Fukushima plant “must be nationalized so that information can be gathered openly.” […]
It is extremely rare for a major science journal to carry an article written by a former prime minister as a cover story, according to an official of Nature Japan.
More information on past Chlorine-38 reports at Fukushima
- “If chlorine-38 was detected that can only mean ‘recriticality’.” –Professor Hiroshi Koide, Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute
- “Radioactive chlorine found March 25 in the Unit 1 turbine building suggests chain reactions continued after the reactor shut down, physicist Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California, wrote” –Source
- “In order to form CL-38 […] Dalnoki-Verress did some calculations and came to the conclusion [there] was the presence of transient criticalities in pockets of melted fuel in the reactor core” –Source
h/t Anonymous tip
Watch nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen discuss chlorine on April 3 here
Food for thought?
Butter In Japan
Butter in Japan mainly comes from its northern island Hokkaido, along with many dairy products such as milk, which is at the center of the latest radioactive food scandal.
The east coast of Hokkaido was visited by radioactive fallout from Fukushima most Spring and Summer days. Fishermen bring in their catch from radioactive Pacific Ocean close to Fukushima so that fish can be sold nationwide as products “from Hokkaido”. It is rumored to arrive at night in Nagoya for distribution throughout Japan. Domestic fish has become a major public health hazard in Japan and is exported worldwide.
There might be some safe areas left in Hokkaido but the prefecture lost all my trust for allowing various food scams to support contaminated regions. Besides it’s impossible to tell where in Hokkaido butter comes from, much less which milk and cream were used as ingredients.
A popular butter in Japan is the Snow Brand Hokkaido Butter, from the company thatpoisoned 15000 Japanese in 2000 and secretly recycled old milk to make other products – not to be trusted in these trying times.
Snow Brand Hokkaido Butter from the company that poisoned 15000 Japanese in 2000. Best be avoided these times.
Before it turned around to reflect the new anti-nuclear opinion in Japan – 57％ according to a recent poll by Asahi Shimbun, with only 30％ still supporting nuclear energy – the Mainichi Shimbun’s articles reflected the Japanese government propaganda and promoted dangerous industries such as Hokkaido butter (readDangerous Domestic Butter Production Promoted by Mainichi Daily News on SurvivalJapan and compare with the current state of affairs described below). I suspected first that their mea culpa was written as a show for their English readership, in the same way that Prime Minister M. Noda’s international and domestic speeches on anything from TPP to the Japanese nuclear industry are diametrically opposed – but he blames interpreters. However lately the Mainichi Shimbun’s tone has changed – but it has yet to go the extra mile and report honestly about food, starting with Hokkaido. Public opinion and media influence each other and the opinion, i.e. readers, are not ready yet.
Butter has become a strange food product worldwide. Basically all you need to make butter is cream and manpower – and a pinch of salt. I can remember as a child turning a wooden spoon and be amazed – and exhausted – when butter formed in the bowl, covered with water drops.
Nowadays factories mix cream and milks from different countries, from abused and medicated cows, and add all sorts of strange “ingredients” like beta-carotene to liven-up the color of the sick animal’s produce. Margarines are basically made with plastic so that they won’t stay in your body and fatten you up – and they are sometimes mixed within low-fat butters. If you read for the first time about palm oil, it may be a good time to Google it up – add “orangutan” in your search keyword mix.
Butter industry is a big deal – and in Japan it is now in short supply. It would be interesting to know why – over 500 Bq/kg？- but French restaurant tables do not offer a “petit pot de beurre” anymore. They replaced Hokkaido butter by French butter for a while but this too has gone.
Bakers use margarine in their cookies. Cake shops will be in trouble for Christmas as butter cannot be purchased from factories anymore – only large food industry firms keep access to limited supplies. Shops resort to wartime black market-style techniques to secure theirs, that is established boutiques whom network they can rely on. The price of retail butter, already a luxury item before the Fukushima disaster, has spiked 70％ – the same as pork in China this year. It is not exactly “a slight rise in prices [that] may be unavoidable” as forecast by Masami Kojima in the Mainichi article quoted above. Besides, his answers contrast sharply with the current shortage – while there is plenty of milk on the market, there is little butter. In Japan, food inflation is bound to be severe.
Butter makes you fat – but butter tastes good. Besides, made in reasonable conditions, it doesn’t harm cows nor calves. I have cut on many food and drink items since March eleven, and on the size of servings too to the extent that I may have lost 15 pounds. Yet if you still need some butter in Japan, I recommend buying it from Tottori region, for instance Daisen, made from raw milk and salt only. Tottori provides a variety of supposedly nuclear-free dairy products to substitute to Hokkaido.
Daisen butter From Tottori in the Monitored Land. Milk And salt only, straight for the agricultural cooperative of local dairy farmers. Code bar has been whitened for anonimity reasons.
Daisen is an agricultural cooperative of dairy farmers. Their website is entirely in Japanee but it has a “About Safety” page which can be put through Google Translate.
Daisen dairy farmers were also determined to stop TPP, and I can only agree with them given the dangerous state of the American food industry (deaths from E.coli 157 contamination, half American kids from low-income families with diabetes, GMO, seed monopoly through patents, etc.), we might actually be better off with Japanese radioactive food. The quest for a safer food can open one’s eyes wherever one lives as radioactivity is not the only threat. I recommend watching the movie Food Inc. for instance, available in DVD rental shops throughout Japan.