Day 281 Can you spare a bit of change this season?

One of the workers at Daiichi: “The government just keeps telling lies”

[my translation – no guarantees for complete accuracy]

The Prime Minister has said “The reactors have achieved a state of cold shut-down, achieving (the end) of the accident,” but according to several of the workers at the Daiichi plant, “I can’t understand what he means,” “You can’t even get into the buildings, so there’s no way to know how you’re going to get the fuel out” said the voices, dumfounded and angry.

After work, these men watched the Prime Minister’s press conference and said, “Maybe I don’t understand Japanese because I sure don’t understand what he said. I look at the condition of this plant every day. It’s going to take decades. I wonder why he’s in such a hurry to declare it by the end of this year,” the worker said, amazed.

One worker in charge of the contaminated water system said, “Yeah, that’s right. There’s no way this has been resolved. Right now, they’re just keeping the fuel cooled and producing enormous amounts of contaminated water. It’s the farthest thing from a “stable situation.”

One veteran working at the plant remarked, “I don’t know how to understand this. The work has just begun. We’re battling against radiation.”

Saying the reactors are now cooled is a system for putting an end to the emergency. “If there is another quake or the fuel no longer stays cool, it will be the real ‘end’. We are not in a condition to be able to extract the nuclear fuel. What are we going to do with the huge amount of waste? It appears that they want to make light of the situation,” said the enraged veteran.

Another worker replied, “The government just keeps telling lies. Can one of them come and take out the fuel? There is serious damage here and they’re passing it off as something laughable. What won’t they talk about what is really happening here?”










With so many organizations asking for donations this season, I thought I would list a few that I know of. Please have a closer look and consider helping out.

  • Association for Aid and Relief, Japan(AAR JAPAN)

Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR JAPAN) is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with projects in the areas of emergency assistance, assistance to persons with disabilities, mine action, action against infectious diseases and public awareness raising. It was established in 1979 as an organization with no political, ideological or religious affiliations and currently has projects in 14 countries.


Japan: Delivering Vehicles to Welfare Facilities in Disaster-Affected Areas

AAR JAPAN initiated the project to deliver vehicles to institutions that cater to persons with disabilities and elderly people in disaster-stricken areas in the effort to support welfare facilities that have lost their modes of transportation in the disaster. We visited Sasaeai Yamamoto, a facility for elderly people in Yamamoto Town, Miyagi Prefecture, on October 14th, and Suzuran-to-Katatsumuri (“Lilies and Snails”), a facility for persons with disabilities in Rikuzen-takata City, Iwate Prefecture, on October 16th. This report is by Natsuho SHOJI, who attended the presentation ceremonies at these two sites.
* This project was made possible by the generous donation from JTI Foundation.
  • Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support (JEARS)

JEARS is a collaboration of three established and registered no kill animal rescue NPOs in Japan.

The immediate intention behind the creation of JEARS was to coordinate rescue and support efforts for animals in crisis due to the March 11 Earthquake and Tsunami in Northern Japan. Now that the immediate crisis has ended we have moved into a support role for the 100s of animals we rescued and their long term care.

  • The Hachiko Coalition

For those who have recently joined the Hachiko Coalition page please read this brief summary of what is happening with the Animals Left Behind inside the 20km zone Fukushima. Read both Part 1 and Part 2 of the CNN ireports, scroll down to the page, sign in and click the button that says this should be on CNN. Our visual petition, The World Is Watching Save the Animals, is waiting for a photo of your pet to join the hundreds of other pet photos. These photos are sent to the various Japanese ministries to petition that they open up the “no go zone, or death zone” and rescue the hundreds of surviving animals. The Fukushima Animals have no voice, so it is up to us and our pets to be that voice. Save the Fukushima Animals, NOW!

  • Greenpeace Japan:

原発を止めるのは今しかありません。 かつてない大きな規模の活動が緊急に求められています。 ぜひ、グリーンピースのサポーターになって、活動を支援してください。

  • Second Harvest Japan

Second Harvest Japan distributes food to soup kitchens, orphanages, the elderly, emergency shelters, single mothers, the homeless, migrant workers, and many others. Come inside to learn more about the first food bank in Japan.


  • Hoshi Family, Evacuation of Animals from Fukushima Nuclear Vicinity

Fukushima Nuclear power plant accident: Record of the worst animal abuse case in the entire world.

The earthquake in the eastern part of Japan was one of the worst disasters in 1200 years–many pets and livestock became victims. There is an area where no one can enter to help, that is, Futaba gun in Fukushima prefecture where the Fukushima daiichi nuclear power plants are located. Information from the government has either not been released or is delayed. Residents in the town were forced to leave by buses without their belongings and animals were left behind. Volunteers and vets have been turned away at the gate. A few dogs and cats have been helped by volunteers that sneaked into the area from the north side of Fukushima. Since then the check points have been tightened so that it becomes much harder to enter the area. There are still thousands of dogs and cats and livestock alive, but weaker animals would be euthanized and the others will be starving to death. In order to avoid the same mistakes we think we should keep as many pictures, records, and images as possible as a record. The government has been restricting information on the Internet, prohibiting and restricting news conferences, and pressuring Internet providers to remove articles on this issue. We think Facebook is the best place to keep information on this disaster on the net. Please circulate information, links, articles, pictures, and videos to let others know what is really happening.
 The Hachiko Coalition Page: Here is the Ostrich in Fukushima wandering in Tomioka in front of the webcam. Video taken just yesterday.

And now, for the news…

Just in – New Leak at Fukushima I Nuke Plant: 230 Tonnes of Water Called “Puddle” By TEPCO

From TEPCO’s press conference on December 18. Water with relatively high surface radiation was found where it was not supposed to be on December 18 between the process main building and the solid waste process building.

First it was announced that 125 tonnes of water was found, but it was soon corrected to 230 tonnes.

The surface radiation of the water “puddle” (as TEPCO calls it) is relatively high 3 millisieverts/hour.

It is actually a deep (50 centimeters) trench for electrical wires found filled with water. It is 4.5-meter wide, 50-meter long, with 3-meter deep pool at the end. Water is 50 centimeter deep.

Water is dripping from a duct (5-centimeter in diameter) for electrical wires inside the trench.

Screen capture of the diagram, from the press conference live stream at TEPCO:

TEPCO says it’s either groundwater or dew condensation water. Little possibility that the contaminated water from the building is leaking, but not conclusive until the nuclide analysis is finished.

At the location, the background radiation is 1.7 millisievert/hour.

The trench does not lead to the ocean, so TEPCO does not think the water has leaked to the ocean.

The surface radiation of the highly contaminated water inside the main process building is 1,000 millisieverts/hour (1 sievert/hour).

Water is still leaking into the trench, but TEPCO doesn’t know the flow rate yet.

What’s the surface radiation of sub-drain water? (from Asahi) – not higher than the background radiation.

The last time anyone checked this trench was in spring.

Note: I have cut the Japanese sections from the following article:

Reality Inside #Fukushima I Nuke Plant (1): How to Fake Radiation Dose

“You flip the dosimeter, wear it on the shoulder, wear it inside the sock, whatever it takes to lower the dosage displayed and work longer in high radiation areas. TEPCO doesn’t specifically order the workers to do this, but to complete the work within the manpower, budget and the work specification given by TEPCO there is no other choice. So the workers are supposed to be doing this voluntarily, and when a problem arises they can say the workers did it on their own.”

Tomohiko Suzuki is a journalist who managed to sneak into Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant as a temporary worker from July 13 to August 22 this summer to find out what it was really like. He fitted himself with a 007-like pin-hole wristwatch camera and took photos. He was finally caught and dismissed when the plant management got suspicious of him, because he was always on the front-row seat taking copious notes during the lectures given at the plant, he said.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan invited him to give a talk on December 15 about his experience and his observations, as his new book “ヤクザと原発 福島第一潜入記 (Nuke Plant and Yakuza – Infiltrating Fukushima I Nuke Plant)” is published.

The picture he paints is decidedly not as innocent-looking like that of the other plant workers who regularly tweets about their work and life inside the plant.

The following is my partial translation of Suzuki’s talk, as it was summarized on BLOGOS. If you understand Japanese, the entire talk (nearly 2 hours) is available on Youtube, here. It looks worth watching, and it has the video Suzuki took inside the plant.


Situation in Fukushima: No hope

Setting aside the issue of whether nuclear power generation should continue, the situation of Fukushima I Nuclear Power plant is, bluntly speaking, out [as in baseball]. The US military initially set the evacuation zone at 80 kilometer radius, and I think that was the right decision. When you measure the radiation levels, Nakadori of Fukushima Prefecture [middle third] has high radiation and bad contamination, totally the level of a radiation control zone where the entry of the general public should be banned. But I believe the Japanese evacuation zone was set at 20 kilometer radius, in order not to evacuate [people living in] big cities like Iwaki City, Fukushima City and Koriyama City. All the nuclear engineers that I have interviewed say “People are living in the areas that they shouldn’t be living in”, and “It is the same as living inside a nuclear power plant”.

Much-touted “all-Japan” cooperation inside the plant: Where is it?

Hitachi and Toshiba are both working inside Fukushima I Nuke Plant. But what Hitachi is doing is not disclosed to Toshiba, and what Toshiba is doing is not disclosed to Hitachi. They deal with issues on their own. They would make more progress if they cooperated.

This is the latest information. The government did the makeshift construction trying to hasten a cold shutdown. For example, many of the pipes for the contaminated water are plastic, with temporary connections. They have short life, and there is a danger of freezing. Right now, they are doing their best to clean up the mess resulting from the makeshift jobs.

There are 6 reactors and 4 reactor buildings [that are damaged?] at Fukushima I Nuke Plant, and they don’t have accurate data on any of them. I hear that IHI will finally enter the Reactor 2 building, but there is no knowing of what has happened to the fuel pellets inside the reactor. The reality is, all they could do is to repair the roads and cool the reactors. I am very fearful of what may happen, when I think about the future maintenance work.

About information coming from TEPCO: Reporters have to know what to ask

You, as foreign media correspondents, may have mistrust against the Japanese government and TEPCO. But not all the information from TEPCO is a lie. TEPCO answers the questions tailored to the level of knowledge of the questioner. So please, as journalists, study nuclear energy and be armed with knowledge and draw information out of TEPCO.

I agree with his assessment of TEPCO. I was watching TEPCO’s press conference in March, and at that time then-Vice President Muto was on hand to answer questions. I had a distinct feeling that he was extremely bright, and was not answering the questions unless the questions were intelligent enough for him to offer new information. It was not that he was evading or lying; he was simply not offering information to people who he deemed wouldn’t understand anyway. Not so about the current spokesman, who can lie through his teeth without thinking anything of it.

This may be an extreme argument, but the Japanese nuclear industry is built on injustice [or illegality]. It is built on workers forced to get exposed to radiation. Officially they are not exposed to radiation, but for example, workers put on dosimeters on their breasts when the enter high radiation areas.

There is a front side and back side to a dosimeter. Just by flipping the dosimeter inside the breast pocket, a worker can work 10 more minutes. When the high radiation area is above him, a worker puts his dosimeter in one of his socks. Then he can work 30 more minutes. If the work is on the reactor and the high radiation area is below him, a worker wears his dosimeter on the shoulder.

TEPCO doesn’t specifically order the workers to do this, but to complete the work within the manpower, budget and the work specification given by TEPCO there is no other choice. So the workers are supposed to be doing this voluntarily, and when a problem arises they can say the workers did it on their own.

Plausible deniability. Traditional Japanese way. Flipping the dosimeter to lower the radiation dosage may be in the second set of work manuals. It may not be written but everybody knows. The management (TEPCO) knows but doesn’t say a word as it is not supposed to know.

“I know that you know that I know. But let’s not talk about it.”

 +  =  +   =  +  =  +  =  +  =  +  =  +
Here’s the video. Even if you don’t understand Japanese, perhaps you can appreciate the pictures. Video of his experiences working at the plant begins around 0:17:30.
The reporter says that the “screening” that is done to detect radiation after the workers come in from 4 hours of work at the plant is very slipshod.
From ENENEWS at:
Published: December 17th, 2011 at 10:10 AM EDT

Major US Paper Editorial: Some scientists predict 1 million people will die from cancer due to radiation exposure after Fukushima

NRC must probe fire safety order, Asbury Park Press, Dec. 16, 2011:

[…] Months after the meltdowns in Japan, tens of thousands of people, some living nearly 40 miles from the complex, remained in shelters. Millions more are living with the economic, health and environmental consequences.

Today, workers still can’t determine the full extent of the damage directly because of dangerously high levels of radiation inside the reactor building. Some scientists predict 1 million people will die from cancer due to radiation exposure. […]


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