Kyodo: Pipe connected to Reactor No. 4 drops off — 1,000 times more radioactive water leaked than first reported
Date: Feb. 1
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday that 8.5 tons of radioactive water leaked from the No. 4 reactor of the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi power plant because a pipe connected to the reactor dropped off […]
The water contains radioactive materials as it is mixed up with water that is in contact with the fuel in the spent fuel tank. […]
Read the report here
6 liters vs 8.5 tons: “About 6 liters of water were found to have leaked onto the floor” – Kyodo
Hibakusha: Now is the time to discuss radioactive ‘black rain’
“It’s hardly bearable, absurdly inadequate …” said a disappointed Seiji Takato, secretary-general of Saeki-ku Kuroi Ame-no-kai (Saeki Ward Black Rain Association), on Jan. 23. He was looking at a report numbering about 160 pages in an annex of his home in the suburbs of Hiroshima, which he also uses as his office.
The report, which lists figures that “experts” had analyzed, was delivered at a meeting of a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry panel three days earlier. The panel was reviewing the areas where residents are entitled to medical assistance in connection with their exposure to the “black rain” fallout from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.
Takato talked about the experiences of those who were exposed to black rain in Hiroshima. A 71-year-old man who died of lung cancer in November last year had complained of feeling languid because of anti-cancer drugs. At the time he said, “It’s the same feeling as the one I had when exposed to the rain.”
He also said a 71-year-old woman suffering from cirrhosis of the liver feels “a sense of mission” in trying to make the national government admit the causal relationship between the black rain and health damage.
“Unless we make the government acknowledge the black rain’s effect on health, the responsibility for damage caused by the Fukushima nuclear crisis will also be blurred,” he quoted the woman as saying.
Heavy snow in Japan affecting wide areas
Heavy snow is affecting wide areas of Japan, an avalanche at a hot spring resort in Akita Prefecture, northern Japan, has killed 3 people.
A 40-meter stretch of snow on a mountain slope near Tamagawa hot spring in Senboku city collapsed at around 5PM Wednesday, crushing 3 structures housing bedrock baths.
3 people who were in the baths–a man and two women–were rescued and taken to a hospital, but were later pronounced dead.
The structures, which are about a 15-minute walk from an inn, were reportedly buried under 1.5 meters of snow.
Snow around the hot spring was 2.87 meters deep as of 6PM Wednesday.
Heavy snow has stranded more than 100 cars on a main road in Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan.
Prefectural officials say traffic has been stalled since Wednesday evening on a nearly 40-kilometer stretch.
The stranded cars include a school bus carrying 6 junior high students. All of them were evacuated to a nearby building.
The prefecture has mobilized about 20 plows to clear snow and free the vehicles.
Aomori Governor Shingo Mimura has asked the Self-Defense Forces to dispatch disaster relief units.
Meteorological Agency officials say more heavy snow is expected across wide areas of Japan onThursday.
The officials say a winter pressure pattern is gaining strength, bringing snow along the Sea of Japan coast in northern and western Japan.
The fresh snow will add to the already massive snowfall that has hit the country this winter.
As of Thursday morning, Ohkura Village in Yamagata Prefecture had about 3.6 meters of snow. About 1.3 meters of snow had piled up in Aomori City.
Weather officials are calling for caution about traffic disruptions, avalanches and snow-related accidents.
Thursday, February 02, 2012 11:18 +0900 (JST)
Fukushima farmers furious over lack of consideration in decontamination subsidies
FUKUSHIMA — Municipalities and farmers in Fukushima Prefecture are furious at the national government for ignoring the state of local farmland in extending subsidies for decontamination of areas tainted with radioactive substances.
“A huge machine like that can’t enter my rice paddy,” lamented a farmer who saw a large machine and a tractor during a demonstration of decontamination work at a rice paddy in Koori, Fukushima Prefecture, in mid-December last year.
Article continues at:
City-Wide Decontamination in Minami Soma, Fukushima, Price Tag 40 Billion Yen (US$525 Million)
And the contract to “decontaminate” the entire city is soon to be awarded to one joint venture headed by one of the largest construction companies in Japan by the city’s decon committee headed by Professor Tatsuhiko Kodama of Tokyo University.
Something doesn’t sit very well with me.
The annual budget of Minami Soma City for the fiscal 2011 year (that ends on March 31) is total 50 billion yen, with the main budget of 28 billion yen, the supplementary budgets of 13 billion yen, and budget for government corporations 9 billion. Of the main budget, only 9 billion yen is from the city tax, and the national and prefectural subsidies (allocated according to the population) and the proceeds from municipal bond sales.
40 billion yen decontamination project is expected to last for 2 years, to be paid for over three years starting 2011 fiscal year. The amount of money for the next two years would eat up more than half of the main budget, but the city is not paying any of that any way. The cost will be borne by the national government, who will bill TEPCO, who then will bill the national government, who will then tax the citizens.
Endless money for big businesses and the well-connected small businesses and politicians who can facilitate the joint ventures.
Big, national general contractors are indeed preferred over the local contractors when it comes to “recover and rebuild” Fukushima and other disaster-affected Tohoku because of supposed expertise and lower cost over the long run. I doubt that even they have accumulated enough “expertise” in “decontamination” since March 11, 2011, but it doesn’t quite matter anyway.
What counts is having a big, national construction company well-connected with the national government come into town and hire subcontractors from the local, small contractors well-connected with the city politicians. Just like good old times in the bubbly days in the 1980s. From building nuclear power plants to city-wide decontamination, there is nothing that big, Japanese general contractors cannot do, given enough money.
And for selling nuclear reactors or melting furnaces and incinerators to process radioactive disaster debris, count on Hitachi. Or selling nuclear reactors or or leasing gamma cameras or selling household appliances for the temporary housing for the evacuees, count on Toshiba.
Teaming up with big businesses is a very familiar territory for any municipal government. The only odd thing about Minami Soma’s decon business is that the committee to select the JV is headed by Professor Kodama, whose angry speech in the Diet criticizing the lack of response by the national government to the radiation contamination did trigger a response from the government.
Probably it wasn’t quite a response that the professor was anticipating.
Just a friendly reminder of what the “decontamination” as defined by the Ministry of the Environment is: “It is like a cleaning job of stubborn dirt or stains“, using scrubbing brushes, deck brushes, pressure washers, screw drivers, gloves, rubber boots, bags, rakes …. Oh and masks are optional.
Article continues at:
From Greenpeace Japan at:
Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) was voted as the second worst company of the year in an internet poll sponsored by Greenpeace and the Berne Declaration, as part of the annual Public Eye Award. The annual award, which is held in conjunction with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is designed to “remind the corporate world that social and environmental misdeeds have consequences.” Eighty-eight thousand votes were cast in TEPCO’s favor, citing the company for “grossly neglect[ing] the structural safety of its atomic power plants in order to cut costs,” a move that ultimately led to three nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.