Day 319 All sorts of fallout as a result of FD1

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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