Quote of the day (from the Safecast listserv):
It’s quite easy to “harvest” sunflowers, but how to you collect worm excrement?
Including a bit more about the radioactive worms tonight (below). Found this on
[Follow this formula] and in 14 days you have about 10 pounds of beautiful looking castings.
and this at:
Worm populations double each month. In ideal conditions they can reproduce much faster than that: 1 lb of worms can increase to 1,000 lbs (one million worms) in a year, but in working conditions 1 lb will produce a surplus of 35 lbs in a year, because hatchlings and capsules (cocoons or eggs) are usually lost when the vermicompost is harvested.
Wow. They’re going to have to dig up most of the mountains around Fukushima to contain all the radioactive earthworms. Wonder where’s they’re going to put them – and the soil they’re creating…
- = + = + = + = + =
Kyodo: Highest radioactivity levels detected in Aichi since March 14 — Greater Tokyo area also increased (CHARTS)
Title: Translation of Kyodo News Article
Date: Feb 7, 2012 at 18:45
Japanese to English Translation by Rooks
According to MEXT, radiation levels rose from the period of 9am on the 6th to 9am on the 7th across the Kanto and Kansai regions when compared with the previous 3 days.
Fukushima registered at 0.9 μSv/hr and Ibaraki at 0.087μSv/hr. Aichi prefecture measured in at 0.062μSv/hr which was the highest recording since 3/14/2011. On the other hand, Hokkaido decreased to 0.027μSv/hr.
Read the report here
Note that most government measuring devices are located well above ground level, in some cases on top of buildings. Typically, radioactivity increases the closer one gets to the ground. The actual measurements are not the focus — rather what is causing the noticeable spikes, which appear higher than most locations have seen in months.
Radioactive EarthWorms in Japan, #2 STILL HOT, Fukushima UPDATE 08022012
Yomiuri: Melted fuel might have “cracked due to some shock” or “dropped down and changed shape” at Reactor No. 2, leading to recent temperature spike -Tepco
Title: Temperature inside reactor stops rising
Source: The Yomiuri Shimbun
Date: Feb 9, 2012
The abnormal rise in temperature in a reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has stopped, apparently because more water has been injected into the crippled reactor, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co.
[…] the cause of the increased temperature remained unclear. […]
According to TEPCO, the volume of water being injected was far less than usual. It is possible that the way water was injected into the reactor might have changed around the time of the pipe repairs, and that water did not reach some of the fuel.
TEPCO also speculated that the fuel, which had melted and then solidified, might have cracked due to some shock or dropped down and changed shape.
Read the report here
Radioactive Farming: Date City’s Agricultural Committee Forces Farmers to Till the Land, or Else…
Date City in Fukushima Prefecture is located in the high-radiation “Nakadori” middle third of the prefecture. The farm soil is so contaminated that if the rice farmers are to be prohibited from growing rice in the areas that produced rice that contained more than 100 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium last year, nearly 64% of the rice paddies in Date city cannot be cultivated this year (link goes to Asahi Shinbun Fukushima local version 2/8/2012).
So what does the city do? Force the farmers to till the land, or the land will be considered “abandoned”. The city is threatening the farmers who didn’t grow last year to till the land this year if they want to remain farmers.
That’s just ridiculous. It is up to the bureaucrats in local governments to decide how to “decontaminate”, and who will “decontaminate” (i.e. farmers themselves), and force them to grow crops, threatening the farmers that unless they till the land, their land is considered abandoned, and they cannot acquire new land in the future.
The system is set up to punish the farmers like Mr. Ono, who wisely refrained from disturbing the contaminated land last year and did not grow radioactive rice and other crops like other farmers did.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Read entire article at:
Radioactive waste disposal site unveiled to reporters
A temporary storage site for radioactive waste generated under a model decontamination project around the disaster-struck Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant was unveiled to reporters on Feb. 9.
To prevent radioactive materials from contaminating groundwater, temporary disposal sites are lined with waterproof sheets. Materials produced in the decontamination operation — including earth and plant matter — are categorized, packed into thick bags and lifted into the disposal site by crane.
“We are building these (temporary disposal) sites in such a way that, even when full of waste, radiation levels won’t rise in the surrounding area,” a Japan Atomic Energy Agency official in charge of the operation stated.
The model decontamination project started in November last year in 12 municipalities in and around the exclusion zone to find the most effective decontamination and disposal techniques.
Radiation Contamination of Tokyo Bay Already Happening
From Asahi Shinbun (2/8/2012):
A survey by Kinki University has revealed that radioactive cesium has reached the depth of 20 centimeters of the ocean mud in Tokyo Bay. More than 90% of radioactive cesium stays within 5 centimeters from the soil surface on land, but on the ocean floor there are spots where the deeper soil contains more radioactive cesium.
It may be because of the feces of the organisms in the mud that eat the mud containing cesium. Professor Hideo Yamazaki (environmental analysis) says, “It is a good thing that radioactive cesium gets buried deep quickly, when we consider the impact on marine contamination.”
Professor Yamazaki collected the mud on the ocean floor at 4 location near the mouth of River Arakawa that flows into Tokyo Bay last August. Radioactive cesium was found in the mud 24 to 26 centimeters deep. In other locations, the highest concentration of radioactive cesium was found between 12 to 14 centimeters deep. Cesium is considered to have come from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.
I’m not sure if it’s a good thing.
Asahi’s article, since the full version is only available to paid subscribers, doesn’t mention the density of radioactive cesium. But Professor Yamazaki was featured in the NHK documentary on marine contamination (aired on 1/15/2012), and in that documentary the mud collected from the mouth of Edogawa River was found with 872 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium. (I’ll write about the NHK documentary later.)
Prefectural team makes 1st inspection of Fukushima No. 2 nuke plant
A team of Fukushima prefectural officials visited the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant on Feb. 8, marking the first prefectural inspection of the plant since the March 11, 2011 disasters forced it to shut down.
“Right now, the most important tasks are to keep the reactors in cold shutdown and cool the spent fuel rods while preparing safety measures to deal with any unexpected problems,” said the deputy head of the prefecture’s living environment division following the inspection. “I felt that work there to maintain emergency power supplies and prevent flooding of the plant buildings was progressing.”
The reactors at the Fukushima No. 2 plant — about 11 kilometers south of the disaster-struck Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex — stopped automatically when the Great East Japan Earthquake hit and are now in cold shutdown, but the plant was very nearly the site of a second nuclear crisis.
Fukushima No. 2 plant director Naohiro Masuda suggested it’s too soon to discount restarting the reactors there, saying, “Under present circumstances, it’s impossible to say how the reactors here will be dealt with in the future. For now, we have to maintain a steady cold shutdown by transitioning from the temporary cooling equipment we now have in place to proper, permanent equipment.”
Article continues at:
TEPCO Seeks Nod from Energy Agency Head for Rate Hike
Tokyo, Feb. 9 (Jiji Press)–Tokyo Electric Power Co. <9501> President Toshio Nishizawa on Thursday sought the understanding of the head of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy for its plan to raise electricity charges for large-lot business users.
At a meeting with Ichiro Takahara, director-general of the agency, Nishizawa emphasized that the plan to raise power rates in April by an average of 17 pct was “a wrenching decision” to help cover higher fuel costs for thermal power generation.
The operator of the nuclear crisis-hit Fukushima No. 1 power plant has had to depend more and more on thermal power to make up for an output fall stemming from the shutdown of nuclear power reactors in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Along with corporate customers, local authorities in TEPCO’s service area have criticized the company for what they see as an overly large increase. Nishizawa said he hopes to win over users by adopting a number of measures including discount programs.
Takahara asked him to show particular consideration to small businesses, which will be hit hard by any rate increase.