Day 313 Shattering illusions (we hope!)

Just a word to folks reading this blog, you are WELCOME to drop me a message. From Kasugai to Mountain View to Melbourne to Bangkok. There’s a link on the left that says, “Leave a comment.” You don’t have to give your name or any ID. I’d love to hear from you!

Ok, on to the day’s events…

First this, from EX-SKF… worth reposting all of it!

Slow and Rude Awakening of Japanese Citizens Over the Nuclear Crisis

They are nowhere near the majority ( who eat any food and go anywhere without a single worry about radiation contamination), probably not even 10% of the population. But thanks to the net and particularly the social media like Twitter, the Japanese people now have a direct tool to observe how the officialdom works, firsthand.

The most recent case in point happened yesterday, over the so-called “public hearing” held by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The public hearing was about the approval of the result of the so-called stress test of one of the nuclear power plants operated by Kansai Electric Power Company (Ooi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture, in the so-called “Nuclear Ginza”).

NISA and the Ministry clearly thought it was conducting a routine “public hearing” where the experts would rubber-stamp the conclusion already reached by the Agency which is staffed with employees from companies in the nuclear industry on temporary assignments and where the public, if any were there, were supposed to sit there quietly to observe the proceedings. Yesterday, NISA was to ascertain the safety of the Ooi Nuke Plant, paving the way for the re-start, and was expecting a smooth sailing. It did ascertain, but it was decidedly not a smooth sailing.

The citizens who went to the public hearing didn’t want to just sit and listen, and sensing trouble the NISA quickly moved to close off the meeting, telling the citizens to watch the proceedings on a monitor in a separate room. When the citizens said no, and didn’t obey NISA’s order to stay in the separate room and entered the conference room, the Agency called in the police.

Then the order apparently quickly went to the media to report the incident as it was happening and paint the protesters as lawless and rude. Here’s one typical report by Nippon Television News (1/18/2012); just about every sentence is incorrect:

18日夕方、経産省の原子力安全・保安院の協議に反原発派の団体が乱入し、警察が出動する騒ぎとなっている。

An anti-nuclear group has forced its way into a meeting held at the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under METI, and the police has been called in.

保安院は18日、大飯原発(福井・おおい町)3・4号機の運転再開の判断の前提となるストレステストの妥当性について話し合い、全国で初めて「妥当」とする判断を示す予定だった。しかし、反原発を掲げる市民団体らが別室に設けられた傍聴席から会議室になだれ込んで協議を妨害したことから、経産省は警察の出動を要請したという。

The NISA was expected on January 18 to discuss the appropriateness of the stress test that would be used to determine whether to re-start the Reactors 3 and 4 at Ooi Nuclear Power Plant (Ooi, Fukui Prefecture) and to declare it would be “appropriate” to re-start the plant. However, the citizens’ groups who were against nuclear power plants barged in to the conference room from the separate room set aside for the public [to monitor the proceedings] and disrupted the proceedings, so the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry called the police.

警視庁によると、市民団体らは建物内で座り込みを続けている。

According to the police, the citizens’ groups are doing the sit-in inside the building.

The reality was:

  • It was not an organized “group” of anti-nuke protesters but a bunch of citizens, including people from Fukushima Prefecture who were exercising their right as citizens to participate in a “public hearing”;
  • They lined up and obtained the tickets to participate in the hearing;
  • The meeting was open to public, but the NISA decided to move the public to a separate location to avoid interruption;
  • They didn’t barge in violently as portrayed by the MSM, didn’t interrupt the proceedings, but they were asking questions as concerned citizens.

And how do we know that? Because an independent media (IWJ) was net-casting the whole thing live, and people were tweeting, watching the netcast live.

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yukio Edano, whose refrain as the chief cabinet secretary was “There is no immediate effect from radiation” (he now says he only meant for a couple of days or weeks at most), called the citizen’s behavior “unacceptable” and said that “some of the commissioners are being forced to remain in the room”. How dare the lowly citizens interrupt the government scientific proceedings beyond their comprehension?

Two commissioners left the meeting in protest when the NISA did hold the meeting 4 hours later in a separate room shutting out the citizens entirely.

As Sankei Shinbun (1/18/2011) reports:

関西電力大飯原発のストレステスト(耐性検査)に関する経済産業省原子力安全・保安院の専門家会議の委員のうち、井野博満東京大名誉教授ら2人は18日、保安院が傍聴を認めずに会議を開催したことに抗議し、会議を欠席した。

Two commissioners on the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency’s expert panel to assess the stress test conducted on Ooi Nuclear Power Plant operated by Kansai Electric Power Company left the meeting in protest. Hiromitsu Ino, professor emeritus at Tokyo University and another commissioner protested against the NISA’s decision to hold the meeting without the public attending.

井野氏は「保安院は(傍聴を認めないのは)前回の会合で不規則発言があったためというが、議事が数分遅れた程度。そんなことを理由に傍聴者を排除するのはおかしい」と強調。

Ino emphatically said, “The reason for NISA not to allow the public to attend the meeting was supposedly some irregular remarks [from the public] in the previous meeting. But that only delayed the proceedings by a few minutes. It is absurd to exclude the public for such a flimsy reason.”

元原子力プラント設計技術者の後藤政志委員も「国会でもヤジは飛ぶ。そんなことも許容できないなら保安院はさらに信頼を失うだろう。傍聴者を締め出し、密室でやるような議論には参加できない」と述べた。

Commissioner Masashi Goto, a former nuclear power plant engineer, said “You get heckled in the Diet. If NISA cannot tolerate such a minor thing, the agency will further lose credibility. I cannot participate in a meeting behind closed doors where the public is shut out.”

井野氏は、保安院が大飯原発のテスト評価を妥当としたことに対し「総合的安全評価というが、ほんの一部の評価をしただけだ」と批判した。

Ino also criticized the decision by NISA that the stress test for Ooi Nuke Plant was appropriate. “They say it was a comprehensible safety evaluation, when in reality only a small portion was evaluated.”

Professor Ino is the one who said the other day thata Containment Vessel at Fukushima II (Daini) Nuclear Power Plant was broken from the March 11 earthquake.

Some on Twitter are still incredulous that the police was on the government’s side, not on the citizens’ side. Other long-held beliefs in a trust-based society that have been shattered, at least for a portion of the population, since March 11, 2011 include:

  • The government of all levels, from national to municipal to an unofficial unit of “self-governing” neighborhood association, exist to protect citizens;
  • The government officials don’t lie, for the most part;
  • Producers and distributors are honest, caring about the safety and quality of the products that they produce and sell;
  • Food in Japan is safe, and the government will make sure it remains that way;
  • The police is there to protect citizens;
  • Public hearing means the public get to voice their opinions;
  • They can trust the experts because they are from prominent academic institutions in the country;
  • They can trust the politicians because they are from prominent academic institutions in the country;
  • They can trust school teachers because they are from prominent academic institutions in the country;
  • If it is reported in the mass media, it must be true;
  • Nuclear power plants are safe.
  • and on and on and on…

The list is endless and still growing. Too bad it took one of the worst nuclear accidents in history for the citizens to realize they’ve been had.

 

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Short story…

I happened to be in a hotel lobby having coffee today. At the next table were a group of doctors in town for a meeting, I suppose. They were talking about diabetes. I caught the eye of one of them and struck up a conversation. Eventually, I was able to ask a question that I’ve been thinking about. Among the news reports, I remember reading that childhood diabetes in Belarus increased after the Chernobyl disaster. I asked her if that was possible.

I don’t know much about the condition, so she explained that there is a Type I form of diabetes that is more or less a condition from birth, your pancreas doesn’t function normally, or perhaps a predisposition to develop the disease later on in life, inherited somehow  (sorry – I am NOT a doctor!) as opposed to Type II (and others?) that are related to lifestyle (exercise, food intake, etc.).

She explained that yes, it is possible for radiation to have an effect on children around the time of birth or afterwards, but she said that without knowing more about the data, she couldn’t not be sure that it means that Chernobyl was the causing agent of the rise in childhood diabetes in that case.

Oh, that I had a medical background so I could understand the studies that have been done after Chernobyl. 

[See, for example:

Chernobyl Children’s Project International:

http://chernobyl.typepad.com/chernobyl_childrens_proje/2010/02/aid-for-diabetic-children-in-chernobyl-contaminated-gomel.html

and

http://www.chernobyl-international.org/documents/chernobylfacts2.pdf ]

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Reactivation of nuclear reactors depends on political decision

Gov. Issei Nishikawa of Fukui Prefecture, which hosts the Oi Nuclear Power Plant, said that stress tests are insufficient as a criterion to determine whether the reactors can be reactivated. “It’s nothing but a simulation. No clear standards have been set for how the results of such tests can be used to determine whether operations at the reactors can be resumed.”

The senior METI official says, “It should be ultimately left to a political decision.” (By Daisuke Nohara, Tokyo Economic News Department, and Daisuke Ando, Fukui Bureau)

 Read article at:
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TEPCO failed to link data device to backup power

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/20120119_20.html

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it failed to supply emergency electricity to a devise that sends information on the reactors to a government nuclear safety agency.

Tokyo Electric Power Company revealed this at a news conference on Thursday.

The device ceased to send real-time data because it was not connected to a backup power supply and lost electricity immediately after the March 11th 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The device provides key information including reactor temperatures and radioactivity levels near buildings to the government-controlled Emergency Response Support System, or ERSS.

The lack of real-time data may have affected the government’s immediate response to the disaster.

TEPCO says it had planned to connect the device to an emergency power source in November 2010 — 4 months before the March 11th disaster. The utility says it did not complete the procedure as an available cable was too short to connect the device.

TEPCO adds that it discussed a date for connecting the device with the government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. But TEPCO says it did not see connecting the device to emergency power as an urgent task.

Senior agency official Yoshinori Moriyama says the agency plans to ensure that all nuclear plants across Japan install backup power and that the agency will diversify methods of data transmission.

Thursday, January 19, 2012 14:28 +0900 (JST)

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http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-19/tepco-cut-backup-power-at-fukushima-before-crisis-sankei-says.html

Tepco Cut Backup Power at Fukushima Before Crisis, Sankei Says

by Chisaki Watanabe

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) disconnected an emergency power source at its Fukushima nuclear plant four months before the earthquake and tsunami in March last year wrecked the station, the Sankei newspaper said.

The supply was cut during maintenance work in November 2010 and wasn’t reconnected, the paper reported, without citing the source of its information.

The backup would have provided power for transmitting temperature and radiation data from monitors near the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant’s reactors and helped assess the severity of the situation once the main electricity supply was knocked out, the Sankei said.

Tokyo Electric is checking the Sankei report and can’t immediately comment, spokeswoman Ai Tanaka said.

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TEPCO uses endoscope to look inside crippled Fukushima reactor

TEPCO fails to clearly see inside damaged reactor

With video at:
More details of what they DID find:

Result of endoscope operation on 1/19/2012

http://fukushima-diary.com/2012/01/result-of-endoscope-operation-on-1192012/

and at:

Reactor 2 Containment Vessel Endoscopy Photos

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Most households living in high-radiation apartment building want to move

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120119p2a00m0na008000c.html

[snip]

According to an official of the company that manages the building, the owner “wants to continue renting out the apartments in the building after it has been decontaminated.” The official said the company has not been contacted by the city government about any compensation. “We feel sorry for the residents,” the spokesperson said.

Although the evacuees’ rents are covered by the national government according to a disaster victim relief law, there are no past examples of evacuees needing to be moved again. The Fukushima Prefectural Government and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare have indicated that they will likely not cover moving costs.

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Radioactive Construction Sites: 1,000 Sites May Have Used “Contaminated” Crushed Stones in Fukushima

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/radioactive-construction-sites-1000.html

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 Hmmm.

Ibaraki firm develops portable dosimeter to help market ‘Fukushima rice burgers’

Computer Associated Laboratory Inc. President Tatsuo Nemoto shows off a newly-developed radiation measuring device. (Mainichi)

Computer Associated Laboratory Inc. President Tatsuo Nemoto shows off a newly-developed radiation measuring device. (Mainichi)

An IT company in Ibaraki Prefecture has developed a portable dosimeter capable of measuring up to around 100 becquerels of radiation in 1 kilogram of rice or other farm products within three minutes without damaging the farm produce, setting the stage for a local non-profit group to sell “Fukushima rice burgers.”

Article continues at:
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Japan to seek data from Ukraine on effects of Chernobyl accident

TOKYO, Jan. 19, Kyodo

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2012/01/137334.html

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 Uhhhhhhh……. Do you really think that is such a good idea?????

JR is going to prepare special containers only to carry radioactive debris

Japan Railway (JR) is planning to have a special container for radioactive debris.
One train will carry 500 tons of debris.
They state they won’t carry the debris which is more radioactive than the legal limit but the containers are supposed to hermetically pack the debris.

(Source)

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Radioactive Firewood Resulted in 43,780 Bq/Kg Radioactive Ashes in Nihonmatsu City

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/01/radioactive-firewood-resulted-in-43780.html

[snip]

It is OK to bundle firewood or charcoal that exceed the safety standard with firewood or charcoal that does not exceed the safety standard, and sell the bundle as long as it is not shipped across the prefectural border. [What’s the point of that?]

To dispose the ashes of unknown radioactive cesium density, do not use as soil amendment in gardens and farmlands. Dispose them appropriately as waste products.

How?

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From ENENEWS at:

Asahi: People eating more radiation, but not in danger — 96% of Fukushima residents ingested cesium on Dec. 4, 56% in Tokyo area -Study

Source: AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
Date:January 19, 2012

The median daily intake of radioactive cesium from meals eaten by families in Fukushima Prefecture is more than 11 times the

SOURCE: Asahi AJW

level in the Kanto region near Tokyo but still well within safety standards, according to a study.

The median intake from three daily meals in Fukushima Prefecture, home to the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, was 4.01 becquerels compared with 0.35 becquerel in the Kanto region around Tokyo, according to the joint study by The Asahi Shimbun and Kyoto University’s Department of Health and Environmental Sciences. […]

The Asahi Shimbun and Kyoto University conducted the study on the basis
of samples, provided by 53 households, of all food and drink items
consumed by a household member on Dec. 4. […]

However, there is currently no clear-cut boundary below which health effects from low radiation doses have been ruled out by scientists. […]

Akio Koizumi, a professor at Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Medicine who conducted the study

  • “Even the cesium level in Fukushima Prefecture is sufficiently low”
  • “It did not turn out to be so high as to give rise to concern about its health effects”
  • “The total cesium content in meals tends to be thinned out, because food ingredients circulating in the market come from a variety of regions”
  • “The latest figures are not so large that one should immediately review the choice of food ingredients”
  • “It is essential to have a well-balanced diet to disperse the risks”

According to the chart, 25 of 26 people in Fukushima ingested cesium, 9 of 16 in Kanto (Tokyo area), and 1 of 11 in Western Japan.

The test only looked at 3 meals eaten on Dec. 4, 2011.

It appears that the families knew of the testing before preparing their meals.

No mention of other radionuclides released from Fukushima, like strontium-89 or -90

Read the report here

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