Day 297 Russian Roulette with the food again, Henry?

We’re still on holidays here in Japan, so I had the day off and just lounged around, waiting for quakes and things which, fortunately, as of 7:45 pm, have not erupted.

Besides organizing my sock drawer, I did something else useful today. I went back through this blog… wa~~y back to day 1, March 12, 2011, and copied the first 70 entries, pictures and all, to a Word doc. It was quite interesting. I was just beginning to learn words like microsievert, containment vessel, and that there were varieties of something called Cesium. I will gather some of them and re-post at some time.

Reading (or rather, being read to) a book in Japanese by Hirose Takashi and Akashi Shoujiro on the 3-11 disaster, the cover-up, the consequences of our inaction, and the future that awaits women and children from Fukushima to Tokyo. It is not pretty.

For anyone who has followed the Chernobyl disaster, you are fully aware of the effects of low-level radiation on that populace. Most were evacuated to areas far away from the NPP. Here in Japan, with THREE reactors having melted THROUGH their containment, the government is casually saying to those who were affected that simply by washing off the roofs and scraping the top few centimeters of topsoil, the people of Fukushima will be able to get on with their lives as normal. And the nice people who were evacuated will soon be able to return home. This is occurring in places where, near Chernobyl, no one was allowed to return, ever.

Such is the state of affairs in Japan.

So, let’s lead off today’s news summaries with a video clip. It’s part 3 of a 5-part seminar held at San Francisco State University 11 April of last year (uploaded 30 Jun). This is a radiation biologist, speaking about her experience in Chernobyl. I share her fears of what is awaiting the people in Fukushima and surrounding prefectures that were and still are in the path of the plume.

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According to Mainichi News, TEPCO is admitting that the level of water in the tank for the No. 4 reactor was dropping by 8 to centimeters/hour, when the normal rate is about 1.6 centimeters/hour.

TEPCO says water level in tank at Fukushima nuclear dropped due to quake

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For several years now we have enjoyed eating Koran nori (a kind of seaweed) with our morning meal. It has a fresh taste, quite different from Japanese (nori) because it is prepared with sesame oil and sometimes with a mild chili pepper. It is crisp and delicious.
And today I find this from Mochizuki over at Fukushima-diary.com… Someone is recording 0.76 microSv/h from seaweed from South Korea. Lovely. Back to playing Russian Roulette with our food again, eh, Henry? [http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/01/breaking-news-0-76-microsvh-from-sea-weed-from-korean-east-coast/]
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And another entry from Mochizuki, this time about reactor #4, the one with the (most?) unstable Spent Fuel Pool (SPF). TEPCO is attempting to dismantle part of the building. They have shored it up to a point, but one view is that by doing so, it could add too much weight to the building. In any case, #4 is in a very precarious situation. If another aftershock hits, it could cause the SPF to fall, and if that happens, well, let’s pop the champagne and put Peggy Lee on to sing, “Is that all there is?” 

Former plant engineer talks Tepco is taking a chance for reactor 4

Posted by Mochizuki on January 2nd, 2012
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If you really want to know what is happening in parts of Japan, have a look at this. EX-SKF has translated part of a blog being kept by a former high school teacher who is now living in Koriyama City, “where the air radiation level is three times that of Minami Soma” (i.e. everyone should have been evacuated long ago).

Report from Fukushima (2) Minami Soma: A Woman Speaks Out on Her Health Problems in Post-Accident Fukushima

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Here’s one that I should include here in total, but I will give you the first couple of paragraphs and let you jump over to the site to read the rest. Let the people know there is imminent danger? No, it might cause a panic. Ha!

Yomiuri: The Government Knew It Would Be 170-Km Radius Forced Evacuation if Fukushima Had Another Explosion

Old news that Yomiuri Shinbun snuck in on December 31, 2011 says it would have been a forced evacuation in the areas within the 170-kilometer radius from the plant if another hydrogen explosion had taken place at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

It was in the report submitted by the Japan Atomic Energy Commission under the Cabinet Office on March 25, 2011. And what did the PM and his ministers do? They sat on it, lest the information might cause panic.

Read the entire article at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/yomiuri-government-knew-it-would-be-170.html

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EX-SKF writes about Iran and its first nuclear fuel rod. At the end of his column, he has a few lines that caught my eye:

By the way, Iran’s first commercial nuclear power plant, Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant on the Persian Gulf, uses the VVER reactor, a Russian (Soviet)-designed pressurized water reactor. Dr. Jassem al-Awadi, a geologist at the University of Kuwait, saysthe plant sits at the junction of three tectonic plates.

One thing from history is very clear. People never learn from history, even the most recent one.

Read the article at: 

Iran Produced Its Furst Nuclear Fuel Rod

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And today, yet another gentle reminder about the shifting plates on which we live, this time from Asahi.com. This warning is directed at the area from Chiba up to Tohoku. The other warnings are more dire, expressly stating a quake similar to the 9.0 will hit either the Tokai, Nankai, or Tonankai area:

Researchers: 30% chance of magnitude-9 quake in 30 years

BY SHIGEKO SEGAWA STAFF WRITER

2012/01/03

Chances are 30 percent that a magnitude-9 earthquake will strike along the Japan Trench between the Tohoku region and Chiba Prefecture within the next 30 years, a government research council said.

http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201201020026.html

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And finally, this, from The Japan Times. The headline makes it sound as though “the people” are up in arms about continuing nuclear power as a source of the nation’s energy, and that they even have a say in deciding the nation’s policies. From my observation, there is a solid group of people who definitely are vociferously concerned, another smaller group that is wavering, and a large portion who believe what they see on television talk shows, what little is printed on the front page of the Yomiuri, or what they hear their neighbors say (or not say, is more likely). I hear very few people around me ever raise the issue. Here in the Aichi area, it’s as though Tohoku is a completely different island, that what has happened there is in no way related to life in western Japan. I am afraid to ask what it will take for them to wake up…

 

Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012
News photo
Where to start?: Members of an investigative government panel view the crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant in June.KYODO PHOTO

 

NUCLEAR AWAKENING

Fukushima meltdowns set nuclear energy debate on its ear

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120103f1.html

Staff writer
Second of five parts
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