Archive

Monthly Archives: January 2012

Via FukushimaDiary.com

A baby is born with a hole in its heart, a condition similar to Chernobyl Heart. The father is interviewed by journalist Iwakami Yasumi.

Fukushima heart

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/iwakamiyasumi

Fukushima heart is realized.

The details will be posted after it’s broadcast on Ustream.

The child was diagnosed to be ventricular septal defect. His atrium has a hole too.

Father, “It’s really frustrating that I can’t prove that is because of Fukushima.”

The father says that at the time of the explosions at Fukushima, there were many reports of the danger through Twitter, etc., but he did not follow them. Instead, he believed what the government was saying about the low risk. He wonders now why he believed it.

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Scientists warn of huge quake east of Japan Trench

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/20120131_09.html

 

Japanese researchers say the March 11th disaster has increased the risk of a major quake and tsunami east of the Japan Trench off northeastern Japan.

The research was carried out by a group at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.

The Japan Trench is where the Pacific Plate begins to sink under the tectonic plate extending from land.
The March 11th earthquake originated closer to land from the plate boundary.

The research group installed 20 seismometers on the seabed east of the Japan Trench to analyze aftershocks that occurred between late April and early July last year.

The data showed that the March quake apparently changed the dynamic force deep inside the Pacific Plate.

Before the disaster, many of the deeper quakes involved faults that form when the plate is being compressed.

But the research data showed that many of the post-March aftershocks involved a fault that forms when the plate is pulled apart.

This type of force is known to have caused a magnitude-8 earthquake about 80 years ago off northeastern Japan.

The research group concluded that the risk of the latter type of quake has risen in the region and warns that a tremor could again unleash a massive tsunami.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 11:03 +0900 (JST)

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Tsunami alerts to be revised

Japan’s Meteorological Agency has come up with new guidelines for issuing tsunami alerts after an earthquake.

Following the massive earthquake that hit northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, the emergency alerts issued to the public underestimated the possible tsunami height.

A panel of tsunami and disaster prevention experts compiled the revised guidelines at its final meeting in Tokyo on Tuesday.

The new guidelines call for the Meteorological Agency to simplify the predicted heights of tsunamis from the current 8 levels to 5. The new levels measured in meters are 1, 3, 5, 10 and over 10 meters.

If an earthquake’s strength is not immediately known, the guidelines call for weather officials to issue a maximum alert without a numerical tsunami height prediction.

Such alerts will describe the possible tsunami either as giant or high, and urge people to immediately take shelter or evacuate.

The Meteorological Agency intends to put the new guidelines in place by the end of the year.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 13:08 +0900 (JST)

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Rather disconcerting, this headline. More disconcerting, you can’t read the article without a subscription…

24% of municipalities have no tsunami evacuation advisory guidelines

TOKYO, Jan. 31, Kyodo

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2012/01/139253.html

 

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Furnace malfunction hobbles Aomori spent nuke fuel reprocessing plant

Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. President Yoshihiko Kawai speaks about the malfunction of a furnace at the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, during a press conference in Aomori on Jan. 30. (Mainichi)

Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. President Yoshihiko Kawai speaks about the malfunction of a furnace at the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, during a press conference in Aomori on Jan. 30. (Mainichi)

AOMORI — A furnace malfunction at a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant here has stalled a planned trial run of the facility, throwing the future of Japan’s nuclear cycle policy into doubt.

Yoshihiko Kawai, president of plant operator Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. (JNFL), announced at a regular press briefing on Jan. 30 that a problem with a furnace at the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant has forced a halt to the preparatory work for a test of the plant before it officially goes into operation. The furnace is designed to mix molten glass with highly radioactive liquid waste.

The cause of the malfunction has yet to be determined, with no prospect of restoring the equipment to operation in the near term, JNFL said. The technical impasse could prompt calls for a review of the country’s nuclear fuel cycle policy, under which spent fuel from conventional nuclear reactors would be reprocessed into MOX plutonium-uranium mixed-oxide fuel for so-called “pluthermal” and “full MOX” reactors.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120131p2a00m0na016000c.html

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Japan-made robots ready for Fukushima mission

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/20120130_27.html

Japanese researchers have completed the development of 2 new robots for work at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The robots, built by researchers at Chiba Institute of Technology and other organizations, will succeed Japan’s first and sole domestic robot that has been used at the damaged reactor buildings since the nuclear crisis began in March 2011.

The first model began its mission at the power plant in June to measure radioactivity inside buildings and take video footage. But, in October, the device got stuck after becoming tangled in cables.

The new models are about the same size as the first one, but they have 6 rolling belts each that allow them to move freely over debris and up and down staircases.

The robots are designed to prevent themselves from getting tangled in cables. They are also connected through wireless communications, in case one, or both, fail to communicate with the main controller through their cables.

One of the 2 robots is equipped with a new device that allows more accurate measurements of radiation levels. The other carries a new scanner to measure 3-dimensional space.

The 2 robots will be deployed at the Fukushima power plant by mid-February.

Monday, January 30, 2012 21:07 +0900 (JST)

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Fukushima I Nuke Plant: TEPCO to Pour Cement-Clay Mix on the Ocean Floor Just Off Water Intake Canals, Will Survey Radioactivity in Fish Nearby

 From Asahi Shinbun (1/30/2012):

東京電力は2月から、福島第一原発1~6号機の取水口付近の海底に、粘土を混ぜたセメントを流し込む。汚染された地下水が敷地から海に流れ出るのを防ぐ遮水壁を作る工事の際に、海底にたまった高濃度の放射性セシウムが舞い上がるのを防ぐのが目的だ。

Starting February, TEPCO will pour cement mixed with clay on the ocean floor near the water intake canals for Reactors 1 thorugh 6 at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. It is to prevent radioactive cesium that exists in high concentration on the ocean floor when the company builds watertight bulkheads to prevent contaminated groundwater from the plant from leaking into the ocean.

4700 terabecquerels of radioactive cesium leaked near the water intake canal for Reactor 2, which was 20,000 times the national standard for allowed oceanic discharge per year. The survey of the ocean around the plant last November found maximum 1.6 million becquerels/kg [wet] of radioactive cesium from the ocean soil.

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/fukushima-i-nuke-plant-tepco-to-po⇄❖⇄❖⇄❖⇄❖⇄❖⇄❖⇄❖⇄❖⇄❖⇄❖⇄❖⇄❖⇄❖⇄❖⇄❖⇄

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Japanese Government Hasn’t Kept Any Minutes of Disaster Response Meetings Since 1995 Kobe Earthquake

It was only 4 days ago that Japan’s PM Noda said “it is regrettable” that there were no minutes kept for the government response team’s meetings ever since March 11, 2011 earthquake/tsunami/nuke accident.

Then it turned out that Miyagi Prefecture and Iwate Prefecture didn’t quite keep record of their disaster response meetings either.

Now it turns out that the Japanese government hasn’t kept any minutes of disaster response meetings since the 1995 Kobe earthquake.

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/japanese-government-hasnt-kept-any.html

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NHK Mistranslates IAEA Remarks and Says “NISA’s Stress Test Evaluation Conforms to International Standard”

NHK reports on the findings of the IAEA during the visit this time to evaluate whether the “stress test” carried out by electric power companies and overseen by Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency was appropriate, particularly in the case of Ooi Nuclear Power Plant.

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/nhk-mistranslates-iaea-remarks-and-says.html


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エール1st

Charity event in Nagoya

For people living in the Aichi area, a charity event will be held on March 11, 2012, in Higashibetsuin, Nagoya. The event is sponsored by the Aichi Volunteer Center.

Main guest: Several members of the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra

Also, there will be a relay run from Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, to Higashibetsuin in Nagoya. Two teams of 10 members each will participate in the 758 km run.

Handmade candles 3-10 in the number of the people who perished as a result of the disaster on 3-11-11 will be displayed. As of December, the number stands at 15,842.

Proceeds beyond the cost of the event will go to supporting children orphaned by the quake and tsunami.

Presold tickets are:

Adults ¥1,000, jr hi/hi school students ¥500, elementary school free

People with disabilities: adults, ¥500, jr/sr hi school students and under, free

Tickets at the event:

Adults: ¥2,000, jr/sr high students ¥1,000, elementary school students, free

People with disabilities: adults: ¥1,000, jr/sr hi school students and under, free

For further information, see the event website at:

http://aichiborasen.org/

or e-mail 0311yell@gmail.com

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Evacuees of Fukushima village report split families, growing frustration

Snow-covered, empty houses are seen in this photograph taken on Jan. 28 in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture. (Mainichi)

Snow-covered, empty houses are seen in this photograph taken on Jan. 28 in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture. (Mainichi)

IITATE, Fukushima — Frustration, deteriorating health, and a growing feeling of unfair treatment are being reported by residents who have evacuated from this village, a local government survey has found.

A survey by the Iitate village government obtained responses from some 1,743 people who have evacuated from the village, which lies within the emergency evacuation preparation zone around the damaged Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. It shows that many residents are experiencing growing frustration and instability due to the nuclear crisis at the plant and an inability to return to the lives they were living before the disaster.

Sixty percent of respondents stated that their health and the health of their families had deteriorated after evacuating, while 39.9 percent reported feeling more irritated compared to before the disaster.

“Stress is causing disputes among many evacuated residents,” Iitate Mayor Norio Kanno told the Mainichi in a recent interview. “Depression and the collapse of families are increasing. There are conflicts between family members, people from different generations, and people who want to return and those who can’t go back,” Kanno said.

According to the survey, over 50 percent of all evacuated residents currently live apart from their families — a factor that authorities believe could be one of the major causes for the building frustration.

A total of 55.7 percent reported living with their children as before the nuclear crisis, while the percentage of those who were forced to separate with their children and evacuate to different locations stood at 21.3 percent. A little over 15 percent reported living with some of their children, while having the others evacuate to a separate place.

Summarizing all responses to questions related to evacuees’ current family status, one-third of all surveyed families live apart from their children, while 50.1 percent live away from other family members (including elderly parents) with whom they lived before the disaster.

The survey also showed that 34.7 percent of the evacuees have suffered salary cuts of 50 percent or more since the outbreak of the nuclear disaster. A total of 36.8 percent reported a lack of sleep, while 17.9 percent reported smoking or drinking more than before they evacuated.

Article continues at:

 

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Someone sent me this link today:

http://www.hinet.bosai.go.jp/hypomap/

Article below is via EX-SKF at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/earthquake-map-of-japan-in-1st-month-of.html

Earthquake Map of Japan in the 1st Month of 2012

(You can’t even see Japan in the first map.)

From the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention website, “Hypocenter map“.

Last 30 days:

Last 7 days:
Last 24 hours:

A lot of Magnitude 4 quakes, and a good number of Magnitude 5 quakes. M5 is moving to the central Japan, right near Mt. Fuji. Numerous small, shallow quakes in western Japan.

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From ENENEWS at:

http://enenews.com/asahi-sources-reveal-about-1000-kinds-of-radioactive-materials-released-from-fukushima

Asahi: Sources reveal about 1,000 kinds of radioactive materials released from Fukushima reactors

Title: TEPCO to ratchet up efforts to decontaminate water

Source: AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
Author: TAKASHI SUGIMOTO
Date: January 30, 2012

To prevent a further contamination of the sea as occurred in December, Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to remove about 1,000 kinds of radioactive materials from water at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, sources said on Jan. 28. […]

including not only cesium, but also strontium, cobalt and manganese, the sources added […]

In December, contaminated water containing strontium whose concentration level was 1 million times higher than the government’s safety standard leaked into the sea […]

Initially, TEPCO considered discharging the water into the sea after purifying it. But it faced strong opposition from the central and local governments to the plan. […]

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Water leaks at 14 points at Fukushima complex

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120130p2g00m0dm010000c.html

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday water leaks from 14 points at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s facilities have been found, leading the operator to suspend the cooling of the spent fuel pool at its No. 4 reactor for two hours.

The leakage is believed to have been caused by freezing due to cold weather, and the leaked water included radioactively contaminated water that has been purified, the utility known as TEPCO said, adding the contamination level is low.

Water temperature in the pool remained almost flat at 21 C, it said.

The government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency instructed the utility to examine details of the leakages and take preventive measures.

TEPCO said around 40 liters of real water leaked from the pool-cooling system of the No. 4 reactor Sunday morning, while probably 600 liters of purified water were found to have leaked from another facility. Water also leaked at other facilities.

It is believed the water did not flow into the ocean, it said.

Temperatures in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, which is located near the Fukushima complex, fell to below minus 8 C early Sunday, TEPCO said.

(Mainichi Japan) January 30, 2012

More on this at:

Fukushima I Nuke Plant: 17 Minor Leaks In Pipes and Valves Found in 2 Days, Freezing Temperature Blamed

All are minor, says TEPCO, ranging from tens of liters to several tonnes, and the water leaked is either pure water, filtered water (river water), or the treated water. None found the way to the ocean, or so TEPCO says.

3 leaks were discovered on January 28, followed by 14 additional leaks on January 29, according to TEPCO. The lowest temperature at the plant on January 29 was -8 degrees Celsius (17.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/fukushima-i-nuke-plant-17-minor-leaks.html

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Gov’t, TEPCO heading for showdown over electricity rate hike

The 17 percent average electricity rate hike for businesses announced by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) — the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant — may face stiff opposition from a government organization overseeing nuclear disaster compensation.

The government’s Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund has said it doubts the utility’s cost-cutting measures following the meltdowns at the nuclear plant have been sufficiently reflected in the rate, and that “parts of the proposed electricity rate calculation standard are inappropriate.”

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120130p2a00m0na008000c.html

 

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Edano wants households to lend their roofs to solar drive

BY TORU NAKAGAWA STAFF WRITER

photo

Rooftop solar panels (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

A program to allow companies to install solar panels on the roofs of private homes will be introduced by the government before the onset of summer, industry ministery Yukio Edano said.

Article continues at:

http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201201280200.html

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I still have a bit of trouble trying to fathom the extent of the aftershocks from  the main group on 11 March 2011. Every once in a while I get out this URL and have a look  – click on the “Since March 11” link in the top centre of the page:

http://www.japanquakemap.com/week

And here’s another site i found today, does something similar. Notice the quote from the site…

Another animated map of Japan earthquake aftershocks

Posted on March 14, 2011 by James
Astonishingly, the number of aftershocks from just this one quake amount to about 90% of the total logged worldwide by the USGS since March 11. Fifteen have been at 6.3 magnitude or above – the strength of the recent Christchurch earthquake.

 

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Giant fault to magnify tsunami found in west Japan

Scientists have found a 200-kilometer-long cliff on the seabed off Kii Peninsula, western Japan. They warn it could magnify the scale of tsunami in the event of a major earthquake.

A team of researchers from University of Tokyo and Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology found the giant fault using a deep-sea research vessel.

They say the underwater cliff crosses neighboring focal zones for major earthquakes that periodically hit western Japan.

The 200-kilometer-long drop-off is up to 1,000 meters tall.

The scientists also determined that the fault drives upward from the boundary of the Philippine Sea Plate and another plate that lies underneath western Japan.

Movement of the fault lines along the plate boundary is believed to magnify major tsunami.

Associate Professor of the university’s Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute Park Jin-Oh said the newly found fault line is evidence that quakes in the area hit simultaneously in the past.

He stressed that the fault should be taken into account when planning the limitation of damage from earthquake and tsunami.

Sunday, January 29, 2012 14:51 +0900 (JST)

FYI, here’s a map of the western part of Japan with it’s nuclear power plants:

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Gov to purchase new cesium detection equipment

Japan’s health ministry will subsidize half the cost of installing highly sensitive radioactive cesium detectors in an effort to strengthen food safety standards nationwide.

Subsidies will be distributed to local governments around the country and tougher safety standards will take effect in April.

Under the new safety standards, general food products will be allowed to contain 100 becquerels of cesium per kilogram, an 80% reduction from the current permissible level.

Baby food and milk will be allowed to contain 50 becquerels and drinking water just 10 becquerels.

The guidelines state if a conventional test detects half the radiation safety level in any food item, then that item should be subject to a stricter screening method.

The health ministry decided that more sensitive equipment is needed, which can detect levels as low as 25 becquerels of cesium.

Some of the devices currently installed in local government offices are unable to measure low levels of cesium or are too slow at taking measurements.

Sunday, January 29, 2012 09:01 +0900 (JST)

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State won’t fund free medical care in Fukushima

Kyodo

FUKUSHIMA — The government will not pay for free medical care to be provided for people aged 18 and younger in Fukushima Prefecture, reconstruction minister Tatsuo Hirano said Saturday.

Free medical care in the nuclear crisis-hit prefecture would raise issues about the role of the national medical care system, and providing fresh funding would thus be “difficult,” Hirano said in a meeting with Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato.

The meeting came after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told Sato in November he would consider making medical care free for the prefecture’s youth, one of the requests the governor made in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

Sato said the decision is “extremely regrettable” and that he will consider using the prefecture’s money, including compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Co., to fund free medical care.

There has been some opposition within the Noda administration to providing exceptional funding for medical needs unrelated to the nuclear crisis.

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Fukushima Governor May Do “Free Healthcare For Fukushima Children” Using the Fund Set Aside for Decon and Health Surveys

After rejection by the national government of the scheme that Fukushima Prefecture has been pushing – free medical care for children under 18 who live in Fukushima Prefecture, the governor of Fukushima says he may do that on his own, using the fund given to Fukushima for decontamination and health survey of the residents.

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/fukushima-governor-may-do-free.html

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Radiation study of wildlife planned in Fukushima

Japan will launch a comprehensive study to monitor the impact of radiation exposure on wild animals and plants around the damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima.

Fukushima Prefecture requested the study, which will be conducted by the Environment Ministry with the cooperation of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences.

Levels of radioactive cesium in wildlife will be tested at 25 locations, both at land and sea. The proposed testing sites include places with high levels of radiation and areas with less radiation for comparison purposes.

The species to be studied include Japanese red pine and bristlegrass, as well as rats, frogs, and mussels.

They were picked from species designated by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, an organization which deals with effects linked to exposure to radiation.

Collection of some species has already begun. Researchers will check plant and animal appearance, chromosomes, and reproductive function for the influence of any radioactivity from the damaged plant.
The rate of germination of seeds will also be studied.

The ministry suggests that the study would have to take into account the effects of weather and other factors on the growth of wildlife. But it says it hopes to provide new insights by accumulating a sizable amount of data.

The ministry plans to compile an interim report by March 2013.

Sunday, January 29, 2012 11:53 +0900 (JST)

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Tokyo Metropolitan Government Stores Radioactive Fly Ashes in Plastic Bags Under Blue Tarp and Sand Bags in a Landfill in Tokyo Bay

Fly ashes from the municipal garbage incineration plant in Edogawa-ku, eastern-most Special Ward of Tokyo, contained radioactive cesium exceeding the standard set by the national government for “safe” and normal burial in a regular landfill (8,000 becquerels/kg). So the Tokyo Metropolitan government said it would put them in a secure, temporary storage until the national government firmly decides what to do with such ashes.

The photographs below show how the Tokyo Metropolitan government securely stores those ashes on the metropolitan landfill in Tokyo Bay.

Photo 1 shows the flexible container bags full of radioactive fly ashes on a platform of bentonite clay. I don’t see any rubber liner below or above the clay.

Then, the dirt is piled on top of the bags, which is then covered with plastic tarps. They put sand bags on top to hold down the tarps, as you see in Photo 2.

Clearly the governor of Tokyo is not thinking about typhoons with heavy rain and wind, or tsunami, or liquefaction from an earthquake. This is a landfill in Tokyo Bay. Sand bags may empty, and blue tarps degrade, but there’s no worrying the 82-year-old governor.

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/tokyo-metropolitan-government-stores.html

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Leftovers: Local gov’ts testing school lunches AFTER children have already eaten -Yomiuri

Title: Radiation testing on school lunches differs
Source: The Yomiuri Shimbun
Date: Jan 28, 2012

[…] According to data compiled by the Fukushima prefectural board of education, 33 of the 59 municipalities in the prefecture test school lunches for radiation.

Using two radiation measuring instruments, the Koriyama municipal government checks school lunches only once a week, although ingredients left over from lunches on the other four school days also are tested. This means that some tests are carried out after the schoolchildren have eaten their lunch. […]

Parents are puzzled why some local governments conduct tests after the children have already eaten lunch, while others do so before lunch.

“It’s strange why municipalities use different testing methods,” a 37-year-old woman living in Koriyama said. “They should test the ingredients before children have lunch.”

The woman, who has a 7-year-old daughter, said that in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant she stopped her daughter from drinking milk with her school lunch. […]

Read the report here

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No minutes at 10 meetings

AP

Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada has acknowledged that the government failed to take minutes at 10 meetings last year on the response to the March 11 disasters and nuclear crisis, and called for officials to compile reports on the meetings retroactively.

The missing minutes have turned into a heated political issue, with opposition lawmakers saying they are necessary to provide a transparent record of the government’s decision-making process.

Okada confirmed Friday that the minutes were not fully recorded at the time and called for them to be written up retroactively by the end of February.

Three of the meetings held during the chaotic period had no record at all, not even an agenda, even though one was a government meeting on the nuclear crisis headed by the prime minister.

[snip]

The public records law requires that minutes or summaries of key government meetings be compiled.

Read the entire article at:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120129a3.html

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Japan ‘is recovering’ from March disaster, Noda tells Davos forum

DAVOS, Switzerland (Kyodo) — Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos on Saturday that Japan “is recovering” from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

In a televised address, Noda also expressed gratitude for the support that Japan received from more than 160 countries and 40 international organizations.

Noda, who also sent a video message to the forum earlier this week, refrained from attending the global gathering in Switzerland because the Japanese parliament is in session.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120129p2g00m0in027000c.htm

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From FukushimaDiary.com

Fukushima Conference in Oregon, USA

Posted by nika on January 28th, 2012

(Thanks to a sharp-eyed reader of our blog I have learned about this conference which may be of interest to you all. It is a one day event in Oregon, USA, and will be streamed live on the web)

The Lessons of Fukushima: A Symposium for Education, Collaboration, Inspiration

February 24-25, 2012

Willamette University
College of Law
John C. Paulus Lecture Hall
245 Winter Street SE
Salem, Oregon 97302

Abstracts/Papers/Written Submissions
Attendees Information
Live Streaming/Digital Recordings

General Information
The disastrous earthquake and tsunami that hit northern Japan on March 11, 2011, drew the immediate attention and sympathy of the international community. Successive meltdowns and malfunctions at the Fukushima nuclear power plants heightened global concern and the disaster continues to unfold one year later with no end in sight. The Fukushima disasters present challenges not only to the Japanese people and nation-state, but to the world at large.

The symposium
This symposium, “The Lessons of Fukushima,” will reflect on this continuing tragedy and the world’s response. What can we learn from Fukushima? What is our collective responsibility as educators, activists, and citizens in the face of this natural and human tragedy? In presenting this symposium, we seek to identify and learn from the global lessons of Fukushima.

Scholars, community advocates, students, citizens, and government representatives are coming together on February 24-25 from Japan, Canada, and the U.S. to share knowledge and perspectives on the broad theme of “The Lessons of Fukushima.” We intend the symposium to function as a vehicle for education and collaboration.

Speakers’ Bios
Linda Isako Angst

Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Lewis & Clark College of Arts & Sciences.

Warren Binford

Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Clinical Law Program at the Willamette University College of Law where she teaches International Children’s Rights and the Child and Family Advocacy Clinic. She frequently publishes in both academic and mainstream publications on issues impacting children. Professor Binford previously lived in Tokyo.

Pablo Figueroa

Studied Social Anthropology at University of Buenos Aires (BA), and East Asian Studies at University of Salamanca (MA). Past and present research interests include ethnic minorities in contemporary Japan, the commodification of mountains in South America and Southeast Asia, and risk perceptions related to global nuclear energy policies. He currently serves as a coordinator for the Contemporary Japanese Studies Program at Waseda University, Tokyo.

Majia Holmer Nadesan

Professor of Communication studies at Arizona State University. She has published 3 books exploring the politics of life in the contexts of autism, childhood, and neoliberal government.

Yoko Ikeda

Has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the Graduate Center of CUNY.

Anna Tilman

Vice-President of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health (IICPH), a non-for-profit organization based in Toronto, Ontario. She has a B.A. in Mathematics and Physics and M.A. in Medical Biophysics, from the University of Toronto. A former professor of mathematics at Seneca College in Toronto, Ontario and Senior Fellow at York University, Faculty of Environmental Studies, she is an environmental activist and researcher working on air pollutants, toxics chemicals in particular, mercury, and nuclear issues. She has been working on raising public awareness about the health and environmental effects of all aspects of the nuclear chain and has recently written a series of articles “On the Yellowcake Trail” for the magazine Watershed Sentinel. Amongst other nuclear-related activities, she is participating in efforts to oppose Ontario Power Generation’s proposal to build four new nuclear reactors at Darlington, refurbish other reactors and the development of a Deep Geological Repository for nuclear waste.

Brett L. Walker

Regents Professor at Montana State University, Bozeman, and Research Specialist and Visiting Professor at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He specializes in Japanese environmental history, the history of human health, and the history of East Asian science. His books include The Conquest of Ainu Lands: Culture and Ecology in Japanese Expansion, 1590-1800 (2001), The Lost Wolves of Japan (2005), and Toxic Archipelago: A History of Industrial Disease in Japan (2010). He has also co-edited books on Japanese environmental history, including Japan at Nature’s Edge: The Environment of a Global Power, forthcoming from the University of Hawai’i Press.

Prof. Katsuya Endo

Tokyo International University,Professor of Education
Vice President(2001~2009),Special Advisor to the President(2010~)
Keio University(M.Ed),Seattle University(M.Ed)
International Christian University(ICU:completed doctoral course)
Prof. Endo was born in Fukushima city and enjoyed Fukushima until 18 years(high school).

SPONSORS
Center for Asian Studies, Willamette University
Center for Sustainable Communities, Willamette University

CONTACT US
wbinford@willamette.edu
rloftus@willamette.edu
cmccaffr@willamette.edu

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Yamanashi had a bit of shaking today….

07:39 — 5.0

07:43 — 5.5

07:46 — 4.1

07:48 — 2.7

08:04 — 4.1

08:07 — 3.3

10:58 — 2.6

12:45 — 2.7

13.19 — 2.7

Many folks are concerned because the epicenter is not all that far away from Mt. Fuji (an active volcano that has not erupted since 1707).

The quakes were in the area of Mt. Omuro, which is about in the middle of the map below, with Mt. Fuji in the bottom let corner and Tokyo in the top right corner:

This picture of Mt. Fuji today (below) was posted on http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/01/m5-class-of-earthquake-hit-japan-4-times-in-2-hours/ :

It looks like steam is splashing from 2 locations.

Meteorological bureau held an emergency press conference to deny the connection between the series of earthquake to eruption of Mt.Fuji. This statement is making people more anxious because Japanese government has been deceiving its own people about Fukushima accident.

 

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200 km-long active fault found on seabed off Kii Peninsula

TOKYO (Kyodo) — An active fault around 200 kilometers in length, which is believed to have caused massive earthquakes in the past, has been found on the seabed off the Kii Peninsula on the country’s main island of Honshu, researchers at the University of Tokyo said Friday.

Once the fault, which lies on the Nankai Trough, moves, it could cause a magnitude-8-level earthquake, they said, adding they have found a cliff several hundred meters high on the seabed that was created as a result of the fault’s movement in the past.

 Article continues at:

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Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Full of Untrained, Migrant Workers, TEPCO Says Subcontractors Are Supposed to Train Them

Tokyo Shinbun is a regional newspaper covering Kanto region of Japan. It has been reporting on the Fukushima accident and resultant radiation contamination in a more honest and comprehensive manner than any national newspaper. (Their only shortcoming is that their links don’t seem to last for more than a week.)

Their best coverage on the subject, though, is not available digitally but only in the printed version of the newspaper. But no worry, as there is always someone who transcribes the article and post it on the net for anyone to see.

In the 2nd half of the January 27 article, Tokyo Shinbun details what kind of workers are currently working at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant: migrant workers young (in their 20’s) and not so young (in their 60’s), untrained, $100 a day. Some of them cannot even read and write.

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/fukushima-i-nuke-plant-full-of.html

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“Hitomebore” in Japanese means “Love at first sight”

Two Ways to Sell Contaminated Fukushima Rice: Sell Direct, and Discount for Wholesalers

 http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/two-ways-to-sell-contaminated-fukushima.html

No matter what the governments (national, prefectural) or the agricultural co-op (JA) in Fukushima say about the “safe” rice from Fukushima through vigorous testing, there are just too many ways that Fukushima rice that are contaminated with radioactive cesium can slip through and reach the consumers, without the consumers knowing that they are contaminated to a degree that they may not be comfortable eating it.

One way to sell directly to consumers, like in this case in Fukushima: “Mochi” rice (sticky rice used to make “mochi”) containing 1110 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium had been sold at a farm stand in Date City, Fukushima.

From Jiji Tsushin (1/27/2012):

福島県は27日、同県伊達市の農家が生産したもち米から国の暫定規制値(1キロ当たり500ベクレル)を超える放射性セシウムが検出されたと発表した。濃度は1110ベクレル。県によると、この農家のもち米のうち57.5キロが昨年11月上旬までに市内の直売所で販売された。直売所は回収を呼び掛けている。

The Fukushima prefectural government announced on January 27 that radioactive cesium exceeding the provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg) was detected from “mochi” rice produced by a farmer in Date City in Fukushima Prefecture. The density was 1110 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium. According to the prefectural government, 57.5 kilograms of this rice had already been sold by the first half of November 2011 at a direct sales depot in the city. The direct sales depot is calling for the return of the rice.

Return? Most likely the rice has been already eaten as “mochi”.

I totally fail to sympathize with the farmer who sold the rice at the direct sales depot. By 2011 fall, it should have been obvious, even to people in Date City, that their houses, farmlands were heavily contaminated. The city was measuring the radiation levels in the city and finding “hot spots” everywhere.

Another way is being practiced by the Fukushima JA: Reduce the wholesale price so that the distributors can get a fat margin, thus incentive for the wholesalers to push Fukushima rice. I’m sure they will be glad to oblige, because they mix and match with other rice from other parts of Japan anyway.

Also from Jiji Tsushin (1/27/2012):

JA全農福島(福島市)は2011年県産米の一部銘柄について、卸業者への売り渡し価格(相対取引価格)を引き下げる方向で調整を始めた。複数の業者筋が27日明らかにした。早ければ30日にも実施の方向。東京電力福島第1原発事故を受けた風評被害で販売が低迷する中、価格引き下げによる消費喚起が狙いとみられる。

The Fukushima Branch of the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Association (JA) has been coordinating with the wholesalers to lower the wholesale price of some brands of rice produced in Fukushima in 2011. A multiple wholesalers disclosed the news [to reporters] on January 27. The new price will be effective as soon as January 30. As the sales has slumped due to the baseless rumors after the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, the Fukushima JA may be aiming at stimulating the sales by lowering the wholesale price.

県中央部に当たる中通りコシヒカリ(60キロ当たり)、海沿い中心の浜通りコシヒカリ(同)はいずれも1500円引き下げ、それぞれ1万3800円、1万3700円に、同県産ひとめぼれ(同)は500円下げ、1万3500円とする案が有力。会津産コシヒカリは据え置く方向。

The wholesale price of “Koshihikari” from Nakadori (central Fukushima) and from Hamadori (coastal Fukushima) will be lowered by 1500 yen to be 13,800 yen and 13,700 yen per 60-kilogram bag respectively. “Hitomebore” brand produced in Fukushima will be lowered by 500 yen to 13,500 yen per 60-kilogram bag. The price for “Koshihikari” produced in Aizu region (western Fukushima) will not change.

I do not think it is likely that the wholesalers will pass on the savings to the retailers, if the past is any indication.

There are just too many channels through which the rice will leave Fukushima, as the Fukushima JA handles only 23% of rice produced in Fukushima anyway.

By the way, the Fukushima JA has decided on the rice growing policy in Fukushima for 2012 crop. The only areas that they say they will disallow the planting of rice are the areas that produced rice that exceeded 500 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium.Everywhere else, even in those areas that were unlucky to be found with rice that had radioactive cesium between 100 and 500 becquerels/kg, the JA will allow the rice growing after “thorough decontamination” of the soil.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

We know what “decontamination” they are talking about, don’t we? The rice farmers in Fukushima who grew rice last year (almost all of them) tilled their contaminated land before planting last year, mixing up the radioactive cesium, strontium and whatever other nuclides that landed with the then-clean soil underneath. Most likely they did the autumn tilling before the snowfall last year already. Most locations weren’t even tested for radioactive materials in soil.

How do you decontaminate such land? It certainly won’t be accomplished by thinly scraping the soil surface. Remove the top 30 centimeters? No that won’t be enough, because rain may have driven radioactive materials further down. Top 1 meter then? The productive part of the soil will be gone.

 

Antinuclear activists refuse to move tents from gov’t land

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Antinuclear activists rejected a call by the industry ministry to remove their tents from its precincts by 5 p.m. Friday, and continued a four-month-old occupation of ministry grounds to press their demand for the closure of all nuclear power plants in Japan.

The activists said they will not move the tents until the government promises not to allow idled nuclear reactors to resume operating. The ministry said it will not try to evict the activists by force but continue to ask them to remove the tents voluntarily.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120128p2g00m0dm013000c.html

 

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Japan’s plutonium stockpile builds as nuke fuel cycle policy hits dead end

Japan’s stockpile of plutonium had reached 45 metric tons by the end of 2010, inviting suspicion from the international community about what Japan intended to do with the fissile material. As a result, much hope has been pinned on a MOX fuel reactor being built in northern Japan to eventually consume that excess plutonium.

MOX fuel is a mix of plutonium and different uranium oxides produced as waste by conventional reactors, and the Japanese government had hopes that plants that can burn it — like one now under construction by the firm J-Power in Oma, Aomori Prefecture — would become the foundations of a new nuclear fuel cycle. That cycle, which would see the spent fuel from conventional nuclear plants used again in MOX-burning plants, has yet to come close to fruition. Meanwhile, reprocessing of spent fuel into plutonium has continued apace, making the entire program a symbol of policy inconsistency.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120128p2a00m0na013000c.html

 

Famed Aomori fishing port lives in shadow of new MOX fuel nuclear plant

J-Power's

J-Power’s “full MOX” nuclear plant is seen under construction in Oma, Aomori Prefecture, on Dec. 27, 2011. (Mainichi)

OMA, Aomori — This town at the top of Aomori Prefecture is known nationwide for its tuna, and indeed the first tuna fish auctioned at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market in 2012 was hauled in by Oma fishermen. There is, however, something else afoot here that has thus far escaped much attention: the building of a MOX fuel-based nuclear plant.

Construction of the reactor was started in 2008 by the Tokyo-based energy firm J-Power, and is designed to burn only MOX fuel — a mix of plutonium and different oxides of uranium produced as waste from conventional reactors. Called a “full MOX” reactor, it will be the world’s first light-water reactor of its kind to go into commercial service. It is also projected to have the greatest electricity output of any reactor in Japan, at more than 1.38 million kilowatts, and is a major link in Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle policy.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120128p2a00m0na012000c.html

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Edano not banking on nuclear energy this summer

BY TAKESHI KAMIYA STAFF WRITER

Economy minister Yukio Edano said he does not expect any nuclear power plant to be operating this summer, but thermal power and conservation efforts should be enough for the nation to get by.

See article at:

http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201201270255.html

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Professor cites Aomori coast as possible tsunami source

January 26, 2012

By SHIGEKO SEGAWA / Staff Writer

At least three seismic source areas may have been generating magnitude-9 class temblors about once a millennium off eastern Japan between Hokkaido and Ibaraki Prefecture, new research suggests.

One site is off the Shimokita Peninsula in Aomori Prefecture, a location that has drawn little attention so far.

Kazuomi Hirakawa, a research professor of geography at Hokkaido University, published his finding in the February issue of Kagaku (Science) magazine, put out Jan. 26 by Iwanami Shoten Publishers.

Until now, the government’s Central Disaster Management Council had only considered a potential M9-class earthquake striking off southern Japan between Shizuoka Prefecture and Kyushu.

The Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion, another government-affiliated body, also anticipates a shock of a similar scale striking beneath the seabed off eastern Japan near the source of the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake.

After that disaster, Hirakawa reviewed deposits of sand and other substances carried ashore by tsunami in the distant past.

One lesson of the March 11 disaster was that tsunami can swamp areas farther inland than conventionally thought.

Hirakawa compiled data from areas ranging from Hokkaido to Miyagi Prefecture and evaluated the locations of seismic source areas that can generate giant tsunami.

The source area off eastern Japan between the Rikuchu region and the Shimokita Peninsula, one of the three sites he hypothesized about, was estimated from traces of tsunami that traveled as far as the innermost part of Uchiura Bay in southwest Hokkaido about 3,000 years ago and another in the 12th or 13th century.

The time that has elapsed since the last event in the area could mean another disaster is imminent, Hirakawa said.

Another source area off eastern Japan between the Joban and Rikuchu regions corresponds to the source of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the 869 Jogan earthquake.

The other source area off Hokkaido between Cape Erimo and Nemuro contains the source of an M8-class earthquake expected to hit off southern Hokkaido. It may have been the origin of the Keicho Sanriku tsunami that devastated the Tohoku region in 1611, Hirakawa said.

“Aside from ‘giant’ tsunami that recur once a millennium, there are also ‘great’ tsunami that hit once every several centuries, so more studies are needed,” Hirakawa said.

By SHIGEKO SEGAWA / Staff Writer
The Asahi Shimbun

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Many articles to cover today. Catching up on some from yesterday that I didn’t have time to include.

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Japan may avoid electricity-saving even if no reactors operating

TOKYO, Jan. 27, Kyodo

The Japanese government may be able to avoid issuing an order to restrict electricity usage next summer, even if the nation has no atomic power supply at that time, industry minister Yukio Edano said Friday.

His comments came at a time when all of Japan’s 54 commercial reactors are expected to be suspended in April, unless the reactors that are currently idle for scheduled checkups become operational by then.

”Of course, if all the nuclear power plants are not operating, the demand for and supply of electricity are expected to be significantly severe,” Edano told reporters. But he also said, ”There is a good chance that we can get through without issuing a restriction on electricity usage.”

Article continues at:

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http://enenews.com/major-study-saltwater-used-in-fukushima-reactors-causing-unprecedented-phenomenon-forms-tiny-uranium-compounds-able-to-travel-long-distances-also-concerns-about-how-much-this-will-increase

Journal: Unprecedented phenomenon from using saltwater in Fukushima reactors — Forming new uranium compounds able to travel long distances…

Title: How sea water could corrode nuclear fuel
Source: UC Davis News & Information

Japan used seawater to cool nuclear fuel at the stricken Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant after the tsunami in March 2011 — and that was probably the best action to take at the time, says Professor Alexandra Navrotsky of the University of California, Davis.

But Navrotsky and others have sincediscovered a new way in which seawater can corrode nuclear fuel, forming uranium compounds that could potentially travel long distances, either in solution or as very small particles. The research team published its work Jan. 23 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This is a phenomenon that has not been considered before,” said Alexandra Navrotsky, distinguished professor of ceramic, earth and environmental materials chemistry. “We don’t know how much this will increase the rate of corrosion, but it is something that will have to be considered in future.”

Japan used seawater to avoid a much more serious accident at the Fukushima-Daiichi plant, and Navrotsky said, to her knowledge, there is no evidence of long-distance uranium contamination from the plant.

Related Articles:

Uranium in nuclear fuel rods is in a chemical form that is “pretty insoluble” in water, Navrotsky said, unless the uranium is oxidized to uranium-VI — a process that can be facilitated when radiation converts water into peroxide, a powerful oxidizing agent.

Peter Burns, professor of civil engineering and geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame and a co-author of the new paper, had previously made spherical uranium peroxide clusters, rather like carbon “buckyballs,” that can dissolve or exist as solids.

In the new paper, the researchers show that in the presence of alkali metal ions such as sodium — for example, in seawater — these clusters are stable enough to persist in solution or as small particles even when the oxidizing agent is removed.

In other words, these clusters could form on the surface of a fuel rod exposed to seawater and then be transported away, surviving in the environment for months or years before reverting to more common forms of uranium, without peroxide, and settling to the bottom of the ocean. There is no data yet on how fast these uranium peroxide clusters will break down in the environment, Navrotsky said.

Read the report here

Follow up to “Navrotsky said, to her knowledge, there is no evidence of long-distance uranium contamination from the plant”:


Title: Fukushima radiation could be ocean risk
Source: UPI
Date: Jan 26, 2012

Seawater used to cool nuclear fuel at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant after the 2011 tsunami could have corroded the fuel and spread radiation, scientists say. […]

Uranium in nuclear fuel rods is in a chemical form that is “pretty insoluble” in water, [Professor Alexandra Navrotsky of the University of California, Davis] said, but when radiation converts water into peroxide, a powerful oxidizing agent, uranium can be converted into uranium-VI, which in seawater is stable enough to persist in solution or as small particles.

The uranium-VI could form on the surface of a fuel rod exposed to seawater and then be transported away, surviving in the environment for months or years before reverting to more common forms of uranium and settling to the bottom of the ocean, researchers said. […]

Read the report here

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http://enenews.com/us-diplomat-its-not-stable-fukushima-daiichi-is-in-really-bad-shape-us-govt-was-privately-terrified-over-crisis

US Diplomat: It’s not stable — Fukushima Daiichi is in really bad shape — US gov’t was “privately terrified” over crisis

Title: US ex-diplomat pulls no punches on Japan
Source: AFP

[…] Since [Kevin Maher] was unceremoniously removed from his position last year, the veteran US diplomat on Japan has gone on the offensive with biting criticism on issues from Tokyo’s political paralysis to the Fukushima nuclear disaster. […]

Maher […] dismissed the government’s declaration last month that it had stabilized the leaking reactors. […]

Maher said that the US government was privately terrified over the unfolding crisis. […]

Maher said that he watched in horror as he saw television footage of a sole helicopter dropping water on the stricken plant.

Maher said that the United States was even looking at whether it would have to evacuate some 100,000 Americans […]

Statements by US Diplomat Kevin Maher

  • “It’s not stable […] Tokyo is safe, but Fukushima Daiichi is in really bad shape.” (recently said at the Heritage Foundation)
  • “I remember sitting on a task force many a time thinking, ‘Who the hell is in control in Japan?’ The government’s not doing anything”
  • “Is that the best Japan can do? Frankly what happened is the US government called in the Japanese ambassador and said, look, you have to take this stuff seriously. We don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Read the report here

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CNN: Outrage as animal carcasses litter region around Fukushima plant — “It’s shameful” says kennel worker (VIDEO)

Title: Fukushima’s animals abandoned and left to die
Source: CNN
Date: Jan 26, 2012

When you stand in the center of Japan’s exclusion zone, there is absolute silence. […]

78,000 people were evacuated out of this area, believing they would return within a few days.

[…] thousands of people left with their dogs tied up in the backyard, cats in their houses and livestock penned in barns.

Nearly a year later, animal carcasses litter the region.

Cows and pigs starved to death, their bones still in pens. Dogs dropped dead with disease. A cat skull sits on a neighborhood road.

[…] animal rights activists call it an outrage.

“It’s shameful,” says Yasunori Hoso with United Kennel Club Japan. “We kept asking the government to rescue these animals from the beginning of the disaster […]”

[…] dogs now reside at the UKC Japan shelter near Tokyo. 250 dogs and 100 cats, all from the exclusion zone […]

Unfortunately, he added, the owners can’t live with their animals because they are homeless themselves.

Read the report here

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Fukushima agricultural group proposes tougher restrictions on rice planting

Agricultural organization JA Fukushima Chuo-kai on Jan. 26 announced plans to toughen restrictions on rice planting in radiation-contaminated areas this spring if decontamination work in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis proves too difficult.

The organization said it planned to restrict spring rice planting in areas whose harvests last year had radiation levels exceeding 100 becquerels per kilogram, if decontamination work in those areas is judged to be too challenging.

 Article continues at:

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“Decontamination” Defined by Ministry of the Environment Is Nothing But a General, Thorough Cleaning by Hand

according to Sankei Shinbun, who has been unabashedly pro-nuclear energy and in favor of dispersing radioactive materials throughout Japan via the disaster debris to share in the “pain”.

The paper has an article about the meeting between the Ministry of the Education officials and the heads of the municipalities within the 20-kilometer radius “no entry zone” where the heads of the municipalities received the information from the Ministry about their lot – whether they can return after the decontamination work by the national government or not.

But that isn’t the interesting part of the article.

At the end of the article, there is a separate section that the newspaper writes about what “decontamination” is, according to the Ministry of the Education….

[snip]

After decontamination (part 1): About the stone pavement in front of the village office that the Self Defense Force kindly took trouble to decontaminate for us. Right after the decontamination work on December 20, the radiation level was 1.57 microsievert/hour. On December 29 it was 2.87 microsieverts/hour. On January 10, it was 3.26 microsieverts/hour. I told you so, it’s no use. The gaps between the stones are filled with dead leaves [again].

He is not angry that the radiation didn’t go down. He is angry that the government needlessly exposed these young SDF soldiers who are from the bases inside Fukushima to high levels of radiation.

So far, two workers doing exactly what the Ministry of the Environment defines as “decontamination” have died in Date City and Hirono-machi in Fukushima Prefecture. The deaths have nothing to do with radiation, the government tells us, without giving any further details about the cause of their deaths.

If the government ever measured the density of radioactive materials in the soil and dead leaves that it made these workers and the SDF soldiers remove by hand in places like Iitate-mura and Date City, it hasn’t bothered telling us.

By the way, Sankei Shinbun categorizes articles related to the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident and the radiation contamination problems with the label “Radiation Leak”. At least Yomiuri and Asahi use “Nuke Plant Accident” as their label.

 Read the entire article at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/decontamination-defined-by-ministry-of.html 

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And STILL the gov’t thinks it can actually wash away the radioactive material….

Japan aims to end decontamination work in some evacuation areas by 2014

Workers remove snow from the roof of a community center in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, on Jan. 21. (Mainichi)
Workers remove snow from the roof of a community center in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, on Jan. 21. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Environment Ministry said Thursday it plans to complete decontamination activities in part of the evacuation zones around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant by March 2014 but left unclear when evacuees would be able to return to their homes.

The ministry plans to start cleaning houses, offices, farm lands and others located in areas with an annual radiation dose of up to 50 millisieverts from around July, according to a road map unveiled the same day. Ministry officials said the government intends to bring the radiation level down to 20 millisieverts or lower.

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Testing centers inundated with requests to check gravel for radiation

Radiation testing facilities have been inundated with requests to check gravel after it was revealed on Jan. 15 that high radiation levels were detected in gravel quarried near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and used in construction projects across the prefecture.

Article continues at:

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TEPCO to spend 1 tril. yen over 10 yrs toward scrapping reactors

In this March 24, 2011 file aerial photo, taken by a small unmanned drone and released by Air Photo Service, the damaged Unit 4 of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant is seen in Okumamachi, Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan. (AP Photo/ Air Photo Service)
In this March 24, 2011 file aerial photo, taken by a small unmanned drone and released by Air Photo Service, the damaged Unit 4 of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant is seen in Okumamachi, Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan. (AP Photo/ Air Photo Service)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to spend about 1 trillion yen in the first 10 years of the decades-long process toward scrapping the crippled reactors at its Fukushima Daiichi power plant, an estimate drawn up by the utility and a state-backed bailout fund showed Thursday.

The estimate covering the period through fiscal 2021 suggests the beleaguered utility known as TEPCO would need much more funds to complete the decommission process, which is expected to take up to 40 years and would involve the highly difficult task of removing the melted nuclear fuel from three reactors.

According to the estimate, TEPCO will set aside 427.5 billion yen for fiscal 2011 as expenses to cool the stricken reactors and dealing with radioactive water accumulating at the plant, while expecting to spend 325.3 billion yen by fiscal 2013.

TEPCO is also expected to earmark 47.3 billion yen and 55.5 billion yen for fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015, respectively, and 25 billion yen annually in the following years to prepare for the task of taking out the melted fuel.

Based on a work schedule toward decommissioning, announced December, the plant operator would start removing the fuel stored in the spent fuel pools of the Nos. 1 to 4 units by fiscal 2013 and the melted fuel from the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors by fiscal 2021.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120127p2g00m0dm031000c.html

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Freedom of press hurt by nuclear crisis: group

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120127a3.html

Staff writer

Freedom of the press in Japan fell last year to a ranking of only 22nd in the world, from 11th the year before, due to “excessive restrictions” on reporting the Fukushima nuclear crisis, according to the global nonprofit group Reporters Without Borders.

While three countries ruled by dictatorships, Eritrea, Turkmenistan and North Korea, continued to occupy the bottom three places, countries known for respecting the basic freedom of the press, including Finland, Norway and the Netherlands, retained the top positions, the Paris-based group announced Wednesday.In its 10th annual rankings, Japan placed 22nd out of 179 nations studied.

“Japan coverage of the tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear accident gave rise to excessive restrictions and exposed the limits of the pluralism of the country’s press,” the organization said in a news release.

In the aftermath of the devastating March 11 quake and tsunami, the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. have faced harsh criticism over slow disclosure of information about the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

Confirmation of reactor meltdowns came months after they actually happened, and the amount of radioactive materials released from the plant was later revised sharply higher.

As for the overall view in the past year, crackdowns on protest movements in the Arab world caused big changes in the group’s evaluations.

“This year’s index sees many changes in the rankings, changes that reflect a year that was incredibly rich in developments, especially in the Arab world,” the group said.

For example, Tunisia rose 30 places to 134th in the index. Libya, where the regime of Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown, rose to 154th.

Elsewhere in the world, the United States saw its position fall by 27 places to 47th after many journalists covering Occupy Wall Street protests were arrested, according to Reporters Without Borders.

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From FukushimaDiary at:

http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/01/most-of-the-cattle-were-already-consumed-before-they-were-checked/

Most of the cattle were already consumed before they were checked

Posted by Mochizuki on January 25th, 2012
By 1/25/2012, only 35% of the cattle fed with contaminated hay were checked, the rest of 65% of the cattle are likely to be consumed.

In July of 2011, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare decided to trace and check the cattle which were fed with contaminated hay (more than 300Bq/kg) after they were distributed.
It was 4626 cattle, distributed to 15 prefectures. However, by the time of 1/25/2012, about 65 % (2996 cattle) have not been checked yet. Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is suspecting they were already consumed by when they decided to trace and check .

Source

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and this…

http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/01/cesium-is-biologically-concentrated-in-trees/

Cesium is biologically concentrated in trees

Posted by Mochizuki on January 25th, 2012

It was reported that cesium reaches inside of the trees and get concentrated at the meeting held in Minamisoma.
It was to discuss about the effect of radiation to the forest.

It was held by Soma area forest association on 1/24/2012.
About 100 members attended at it.
Prof.Hayasi Takahisa from Tokyo University of Agriculture introduced his study about exposed trees in Soma shi or Minami soma shi.
His study showed, contamination gets worse near the bottom of the mountains higher than 400m.

He measured radiation level of Japanese cedar or Japanese cypress.
The result showed that the contamination level went up to a few hundreds or thousand Bq/Kg inside of the trees not only the skin. However, it is not cleared the difference of the types of trees yet.

Note:The original article was published by NHK Fukushima but it is already taken down.http://www3.nhk.or.jp/error/error.html

Source

セシウム樹木内部に浸透

東京電力福島第一原発から放出された放射性物質が
森林に及ぼす影響について説明する会合が相馬市で開かれ、
放射性セシウムが樹木の内部にまで浸透していたとする
調査結果などが報告されました。

この会合は林業経営の今後の参考にするため、
相馬地方森林組合が24日に開いたもので、
相馬市などの山林の所有者およそ100人が参加しました。
講師に招かれた東京農業大学の林隆久教授は
相馬市や南相馬市などの山林を調査した結果、
標高4百メートル以上の山のふもとで
放射性物質による汚染が悪化する傾向があると報告しました。

そして、採取したスギやヒノキなどを詳しく調べたところ、
表面の樹皮にとどまらず、
樹木の内部にまで放射性セシウムが浸透し、
濃度は数百から数千ベクレルに達したことなどを説明していました。
参加者からはどのような種類の木が
放射性物質を多く吸収するのかといった質問が寄せられ、
林教授は「樹木の種類による吸収量の違いなどはわかっていません。

サンプルがあれば、測定して結果をお知らせします」などと答えていました。

参加した78歳の男性は
「山林経営を続け、子や孫に継いでもらいたいと考えている。
国や東京電力には山林の除染にも力を入れてもらいたい」と話していました。

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Tokyo University Seismologists: 70% Chance Within 4 Years That M7 Earthquake Hits Tokyo Region

70% chance within 4 years, 98% within 30 years. It’s all about statistics.

The Insurance Journal carried an AP story about the study done by the researchers at Tokyo University on a potential M7 earthquake in Kanto region within 4 years.

After forking out the record payout after the March 11, 2011 earthquake/tsunami, the insurance industry worldwide may be very interested in knowing more about such a study coming from a premier university well-aligned with the national government in Japan.

People in the Tokyo region (metropolitan areas and Kanto) don’t seem to care. It’s like “What’s new?”

Article continues at:

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(Video) What Happened to Chernobyl Children 7 Years after the Accident (from a Japanese TV program in 1993)

When it was someone else’s problem (Chernobyl), Japan was telling the truth about the effect of radiation, particularly on children.

Tokyo Brown Tabby’s translation and captioning of a TV program from 1993:

Ironically, the female newscaster has morphed into one of the strongest proponents (even today) of nuclear power generation. The journalist on the right has remained a journalist; he was seen investigating and reporting from the high-radiation areas in Fukushima, right after Reactor 1 blew up at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

Tabby’s description of the Youtube video:

This video is from a Japanese evening news program broadcasted on Nihon TV, seven years after the Chernobyl accident (around 1993).

I hope the families in Fukushima who still hesitate to voluntarily evacuate their children will watch this and change their minds.

The original video is at:http://youtu.be/tWWICnIQE9k

German version is at 007bratsche’s channel:http://youtu.be/_9F9M1Sq7KI
French version is at kna60’s channel:http://youtu.be/oWvQT6ei8C0

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http://www.avaaz.org/en/stand_with_fukushima_mothers/?cJaIfab

24 Hours to Stand with Fukushima Mothers 

Posted: 25 January 2012
It’s outrageous! — the Minister of the Economy has just ordered the eviction of the Fukushima mothers peacefully camping outside METI to demand a radiation-free future for their children. We have just24 hours before police move in to tear down the tents, it’s up to us to stop them now!

Minister Edano is bowing to bullying from the powerful nuclear industry — they are furious that the brave mothers’ hard efforts are working. Their struggle has captured public attention and across the country people are speaking out to end unsafe nuclear energy. Buttheir fight for their children’s lives will be crushed unless we now all support these courageous women and stop their eviction.

We have only one day! Let’s flood Mr Edano’s inbox with thousands of messages now, calling on him to revoke his eviction order. It’s time that our politicians put people and safety before profit.Send a message to stand with the Fukushima mothers now at:

And if you would like to call, here are the numbers:

Main METI switchboard:
(TEL)03-3501-1609
(FAX)03-3501-6942

Minister Edano’s METI office:
(TEL)03-3508-7448
(FAX)03-3591-2249

Minister Edano’s district office:
(TEL)048-648-9124
(FAX)048-648-9125

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Japan kept silent on worst nuclear crisis scenario

In this March 12, 2011 image made from video from NTV Japan via APTN, smoke rises from Unit 1 of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture. (AP Photo/NTV Japan via APTN)

In this March 12, 2011 image made from video from NTV Japan via APTN, smoke rises from Unit 1 of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture. (AP Photo/NTV Japan via APTN)

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese government’s worst-case scenario at the height of the nuclear crisis last year warned that tens of millions of people, including Tokyo residents, might need to leave their homes, according to a report obtained by The Associated Press. But fearing widespread panic, officials kept the report secret.

The recent emergence of the 15-page internal document may add to complaints in Japan that the government withheld too much information about the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

It also casts doubt about whether the government was sufficiently prepared to cope with what could have been an evacuation of unprecedented scale.

[Maybe the sentence should read in the present tense… “whether the government IS sufficiently prepared to cope with what might yet be an evacuation of unprecedented scale.”]

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120126p2g00m0dm045000c.html

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Radioactive gravel tied to more prefabs

Kyodo

FUKUSHIMA — It is highly likely that radiation-tainted gravel quarried near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant was used to build three temporary housing complexes in Fukushima Prefecture, sources said Wednesday.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is investigating the gravel’s distribution routes and recently discovered that two companies probably used it to make concrete while erecting the three housing complexes.The Fukushima Prefectural Government is currently running tests to confirm whether the contaminated gravel, which was shipped from the Futaba Saiseki Kogyo quarry company, was actually used to construct the complexes, the sources said.

The prefectural government said its inspections to date have confirmed that no contaminated concrete was used at 179 locations they have checked with construction companies across Fukushima Prefecture.

Article continues at:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120126a1.html

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This from EX-SKF today:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/1117-children-over-30-of-3739-tested.html

1143 Children (Over 30%) of 3765 Tested for Thyroid Abnormalities in Fukushima Had Lumps or Cysts (Updated)

(UPDATE: The document issued by the Fukushima Prefecture’s expert committee is here (PDF, in Japanese).

Total number of children tested: 3765
No. of children found with lumps 5.1 millimeter or larger: 26
No. of children found with lumps less than 5.1 millimeter: 56
No. of children found with cysts 20.1 millimeter or larger: 0
No. of children found with cyst less than 20.1 millimeter: 1086
No. of children with no lumps, cysts: 2622

There are children who have both lump and cyst.

============================================

Waaaiiit a minute…

I was looking for more information on the post I wrote about the lumps on the thyroid 5.1 millimeters or bigger in diameter found in 0.7% or 26 children out of 3765 children tested in Fukushima Prefecture. I was specifically looking for information on the number of children who had any lump at all.

I’ve just found it in an unlikely place: Fukushima Minpo, local Fukushima newspaper. I thought they would obfuscate, but they have the details. The article looks like it is a part of a longer article; it is possible it is abbreviated from the article in the print version of the newspaper.

It turns out,

Total number of children tested: 3765
No. of children found with lumps 5.1 millimeters and larger: 26 (0.7% of total)
No. of children found with lumps smaller than 5.1 millimeters: 1117 (29.7% of total)

1143 children, or 30.4% of children tested, were found with lumps of varying sizes.

From Fukushima Minpo (1/25/2012):

検討委員会では、浪江、飯舘両町村、川俣町山木屋地区の18歳以下を対象にした甲状腺検査の結果が報告された。3765人のうち、「直ちに二次検査を要する」と判断された県民はいなかった。

At the expert commission, the result of the thyroid test was reported. The test was done on the children below the age of 18 in Namie-machi, Iitate-mura, and Yamakiya District of Kawamata-machi [all planned evacuation zone]. Of 3765 children, there was no one who was deemed necessary to immediately go through further testing.

直径5・1ミリ以上のしこりなどが確認され、二次検査の対象となったのは26人(0・7%)だったが、検討委座長の山下俊一福島医大副学長は「原発事故に伴う悪性の変化はみられない」と説明している。二次検査が不要の3739人(99・3%)のうち、1117人(29・7%)は5・0ミリ以下のしこりなどが確認されたが、県は「良性」と判断している。

26 children (0.7%) have been found with lumps with 5.1 millimeters or larger in diameter, and will go through further testing [at some time]. However, Shunichi Yamashita, the head of the commission and the vice president of Fukushima Medical University explains, “There is no malignant change due to the nuclear plant accident”. Of 3739 children who will not need further testing (99.3% of children tested), 1117 children (29.7%) have been found with lumps 5.0 millimeters or less in diameter. But the prefectural government has decided they are “benign”.

甲状腺検査は県民健康管理調査の一環で、浪江、飯舘両町村、川俣町山木屋地区で先行して行われた。他の地域では順次、実施している。

The thyroid testing is part of the Fukushima residents health management survey, and was carried out in Namie, Iitate-mura, and Yamakiya District of Kawamata-machi first. For the other areas, it has been on-going.

It decidedly does not look totally OK to me, and the explanation by the Fukushima officials sounds suspect.

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An interesting contest is going on over at publiceye.ch

Six companies have been nominated as The Worst, and the site is taking votes. The companies are Barclays, Vale, Sygenta, Samsung, Freeport, and yes, our very own…

TEPCO!

Care to stop by and cast your vote?

http://www.publiceye.ch/en/vote/

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I heard a new one today… someone at work was talking about “Gempatsu Rikon”, or Nuclear Power Divorce. It’s where the wife and children move out of the affected city, leaving the husband behind to carry on making the money to support the family.
A different kind of fallout from this disaster.

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Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120125a8.html

Fallout from Fukushima No. 1 on rise

Kyodo

The amount of radioactive materials released from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has risen this month compared with December, Tepco said.

The amount so far has come to 70 million becquerels per hour, compared with 60 million becquerels in December, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday, adding that the increase is attributable to the displacement of radioactive materials that had settled on facilities and equipment as a result of work conducted near reactors 2 and 3.

Tepco has recently probed the inside of the container vessel for the No. 2 reactor with an industrial endoscope and conducted scrap work around reactor 3.

While the amount of radioactive materials released from reactor 1 decreased to one-fifth the level in December, the amount of materials from the other two each increased by 10 million becquerels per hour, Tepco said.

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This, from http://boingboing.net/2012/01/24/a-view-inside-a-nuclear-reacto.html

A view inside a nuclear reactor

By  at 6:13 pm Tuesday, Jan 24

This is not a metaphorical view inside a nuclear reactor. This is for real-real.

This month, the good folks at TEPCO sent a remote-controlled endoscope and thermometer into the containment vessel of Fukishima’s crippled reactor #2, hoping to learn something about the level of cooling water, the state of the fuel rods, and the temperature in the reactor. The view is obscured by steam, the effects of radiation, and (are you sitting down) actual goddam gamma rays just whizzing by. According to the PBS Frontline blog, those are the little streaks and flashes that you see in this video.

The probe revealed corroded piping and dripping humidity, but did not reveal the water’s surface level, which TEPCO had expected to be as high as four meters. The containment vessel was flooded with seawater during the reactor meltdown when other attempts to cool it failed. Current water levels inside the reactor remain unknown.

The probe’s thermometer function proved more revealing; it recorded the interior temperature at 44.7 degrees centigrade (112 degrees Farenheit), demonstrating that the unit’s own thermometer, thought to be off by as many as 20 degrees, is still functioning accurately.

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Other tidbits worth reading…

 

Fukushima Farmers Angry at New Safety Standard for Radioacte Materials in Food As “Too Strict”

“With the new, stricter safety standard, we cannot farm”, they say.

A small portion of Japan’s consumers would say “YES!!!”, while the majority would feel bad that they are not doing enough to support the poor farmers in Fukushima Prefecture. “They are victims of TEPCO and the government!” they say. “It’s not their fault that radioactive materials have fallen (and continue to fall) on their farmland.”

It’s not their fault, but it’s their choice to farm on a contaminated land and possibly produce contaminated food, just like last year, and sell it to people outside Fukushima, just like last year while they say they cannot let their small children and grandchildren eat it.

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/fukushima-farmers-angry-at-new-safety.html

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Rah Rah Land Called Fukushima: “Let’s All Feel Safe and Secure in Fukushima” Forums Being Held

All-out PR campaign by the national government and the Fukushima prefectural government for the people in Fukushima who remain is on.

As part of the campaign, the Fukushima prefectural government is holding “forums” for the residents in locations inside Fukushima so that the residents can feel safe and secure, without worry, living in radioactive Fukushima.

[snip] 

from a pamphlet handed out in Koriyama City (which has places of high radiation readings, by the way) for the “Safe and Secure Forum”

Q: If the contaminated soil after decontamination is buried, is there a danger of it contaminating the groundwater and soil around it?

A: It is generally known [and accepted] that once cesium is attached to the soil, it will remain attached to the soil surface and won’t dissolve easily. Therefore, it is not very likely that the contaminated soil will contaminate the groundwater or the soil surrounding it.

Q: Are there health risks from radiation exposure other than cancer?

A: Health risks such as heart attacks and cataracts have been discussed at the ICRP. However, such health risks only appear in the case of high radiation exposure exceeding 500 millisieverts. We believe there is no need to consider them in the low-level radiation exposure.

Oh really. No cancer, no heart attack, no cataract that the residents in Fukushima may suffer in the future is radiation-related, and that’s the declaration here.

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/rah-rah-land-called-fukushima-lets-all.html

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“Nuclear Regulatory Agency” Will Be the Name of a New Agency That Will Oversee the Nuclear Industry in Japan

Why the name? Because it sounds just like the US counterpart, Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (As if it’s a good thing.)
The original idea for naming the new agency was to use the word “Safety” instead of “Regulatory”. But the word “safety” has become such a dirty word in Japan over the last year (much like “hope” and “change” in the US over the past 3 years) the Noda administration, which seems to care very much (many say “only”) about how it appears in the eyes of the international “community” (whoever that is), has decided not to use the word “safety” for the name of a new agency that will be created under the Ministry of the Environment (of all places).

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/nuclear-regulatory-agency-will-be-name.html

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Radioactive Ashes: IAEA Says Japanese Government’s Approach to Bury 8,000 Bq/Kg Ashes in Conventional Landfills In Line With International Practices

As residents in municipalities are speaking up against receiving disaster debris contaminated with radioactive materials, the municipalities are quite happy ignoring the residents, citing the Ministry of the Environment’s assurance that everything is under control and safe.

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/radioactive-ashes-iaea-says-japanese.html

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A Rich Haul of Skipjacks in Katsuura Port in Chiba Prefecture, First of the Year

The first haul of skipjacks for the year at Katsuura Port in Chiba Prefecture was five times as big as the normal haul.

The other day, fishermen in Kesennuma Port in Miyagi started shipping oysters because they grew too big too fast.

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/rich-haul-of-shipjacks-in-katsuura-port.html

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This, from ENENEWS at:

Japan Professor: “Inconceivable” that no records were kept by gov’t early on in Fukushima crisis — Top official says records will be ‘created’ soon

Title: Minutes of past gov’t meetings on Fukushima crisis to be created
Source: Kyodo
Date: Jan 24, 2012

Japanese industry minister Yukio Edano on Tuesday apologized for the government’s failure to take minutes of meetings of a taskforce dealing with the Fukushima nuclear crisis and said that he has instructed the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency to compile them soon based on notes taken by meeting attendees. […]

Background:
NHK: No records of gov’t meetings on Fukushima — Decided evacuation zones, food restrictions, more — Violation of law? — Also missing for meetings with Tepco (VIDEO)
Fukushima Worker: Absolutely gov’t has the meeting records — Wonder why they hide it?

“I will have (the agency) make utmost effort” to have the minutes ready for release “next month at the latest,” Edano said. […]

Read the report here

Title: Japan task force kept no records of nuclear crisis response
Source: Reuters
Date: Jan 24, 2012

Japan’s energy minister admitted on Tuesday that no records were kept of top level discussions in the critical early days on how to respond to the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 25 years. […]

Kenji Sumita, an emeritus professor at Osaka University who specialises in nuclear engineering

  • “It is inconceivable that there were no records kept. It may have been difficult to keep official logs during the extreme confusion after the crisis, but they could have taken simple memos”
  • “Perhaps there were some goings on that the participants did not feel comfortable being made public”

Read the report here

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TEPCO to shut down another reactor, to leave only 1 in service

A photograph shows the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant in  Kashiwazakiand Kariwa, Niigata Prefecture.(Mainichi)
A photograph shows the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant in Kashiwazakiand Kariwa, Niigata Prefecture.(Mainichi)

NIIGATA (Kyodo) — The No. 5 reactor at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture will be suspended for scheduled checkups in the early hours of Wednesday, leaving only one out of a total of 17 reactors run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. in service, the utility said.

All 17 reactors will go offline by the end of March with the No. 6 reactor at the plant to be shut down by then for checkups, the utility known as TEPCO said.

Among Japan’s 54 commercial reactors, only three reactors, except those of TEPCO, are currently in operation — the No. 3 reactor at the Tomari plant in Hokkaido, the No. 3 reactor at the Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture, and the No. 2 reactor at the Shimane plant in Shimane Prefecture.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120125p2g00m0dm023000c.html

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File this one under “Never-ending story….”

Sunflower oil pressed from nuke disaster no-go zone seeds almost radiation-free

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120125p2a00m0na009000c.html

Sunflower oil pressed from seeds harvested in a village in the Fukushima nuclear disaster no-go zone had almost no cesium contamination, a government research center has announced.

The National Agricultural Research Center (NARC), part of the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), pressed 8.9 kilograms of seeds harvested in autumn last year from the prefectural Fukushima Agricultural Technology Centre in Iitate. The village was evacuated in June last year due to radioactive contamination from the Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant.

Before pressing, the dried seeds were contaminated with 81.4 becquerels of cesium per kilogram. After they were machine pressed, however, the resulting 1.3 kilograms of oil contained only 2.58 becquerels of cesium per kilogram. Furthermore, when passed through a filter — standard practice in vegetable oil manufacturing — the contamination dropped to nearly undetectable levels, at less than 1.1 becquerels.

The lees left after the pressing, however, registered 117 becquerels per kilogram, a contamination level requiring careful disposal.

“We now know at what rate radioactive cesium makes it from the seeds into the oil,” said Kenichi Yakushido, a senior researcher at NARC, where they are also working on technology to turn vegetable oils into biodiesel. “We have to take caution in how we dispose of the lees, but we’d like to try the same experiment with other oil seeds like canola.”

(Mainichi Japan) January 25, 2012

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Remains of child tsunami victim identified and returned to family

An altar where the identified remains of the boy were kept is seen at Myokoin in Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture, on Jan. 24. (Mainichi, image partly modified)
An altar where the identified remains of the boy were kept is seen at Myokoin in Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture, on Jan. 24. (Mainichi, image partly modified)

The remains of a five-year-old boy who died in the March 11 tsunami have been identified and were returned to surviving relatives on Jan. 24.

The boy was the only known pre-grade school victim of either Miyagi or Fukushima prefectures who was still unidentified.

According to Miyagi Prefectural Police, the boy’s body was found off the coast of Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, in late April. Since June, the boy’s ashes were being kept at Myokoin temple in Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture, where the head temple priest and nearby residents left toys and picture books as gifts.

Miyagi Prefectural Police say that there were 12 requests from parents and other relatives for DNA comparisons against the boy’s remains, and the 12th test came out a match, based on DNA test records of the mother, who also died in the disaster. The boy’s ashes were returned to his grandparents and will be buried by his mother’s ashes.

Ryushin Miyabe, 29, a priest at Myokoin, said, “It’s good that the ashes were returned to where they were meant to be. From now on, his ashes can be prayed for by name.”

The grandparents released a comment saying, “Our grandchild, whose identification we had been waiting anxiously for, has returned to us. We would like to express our thanks.” The child’s name has been withheld by will of the grandparents.

Myokoin still holds the ashes of another unidentified disaster victim. Miyabe says, “There are still many victims who are unidentified, and I hope they can be returned like the boy was.”

According to Miyagi Prefectural Police, of the around 1,800 residents still unaccounted for from the disaster, 423 are unidentified remains. Police are continuing to try to identify the remains with DNA tests and other methods.

(Mainichi Japan) January 25, 2012

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