Day 341 “Miss Campus”: “I will come up with one desert a week using fruits from Tohoku, and eat it.”

Well, I don’t see anything startling here. There are some points that I’m sure many would care to differ on… eg. the workers brought the reactors under control (is he REALLY talking about Daiichi?), a year later, he says the crisis probably wouldn’t have “spun out of control” – um, are we not facing a 70% chance of a “large” quake in the very near future which MAY be, once again, along the coast of northern Japan?

This article appears to be putting the whole affair in the past tense in order to qualm the public’s fears. However, it gives no hard evidence that the public’s fears should be allayed just yet.

AP Interview: Japanese official who outlined worst nuclear scenario blames plant’s design

 TOKYO — The government official who outlined Japan’s worst-case scenario for the unfolding nuclear disaster last March defended how his study, warning that millions of people might have to flee, was kept secret.
Read the entire article at:

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Massive levels of radioactive cesium detected at quarry near Fukushima plant

FUKUSHIMA — Massive levels of radioactive cesium have been detected from gravel at a quarry near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, after high radiation was detected at buildings using gravel from the same quarry, prefectural officials said.

The Fukushima Prefectural Government examined samples of the gravel from the quarry in the town of Namie after inspecting the site on Jan. 20.

Tests detected up to 214,200 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram of gravel, far above the levels at other quarries operating in the evacuation zones around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. About 60,000-210,000 becquerels of cesium was found in most of the gravel that had been kept outdoors at the quarry since the disaster.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120216p2a00m0na006000c.html

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Over 1 Million Bq/kg of Radioactive Cesium from the Mysterious Black Dust in Minami Soma City

Minami Soma City assemblyman Koichi Ooyama discloses the result of the test of the mysterious black dust found in locations in Minami Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture.
A blogger whom I featured before, “Night that never ends”, has been measuring radiation on the strange, black dust he finds in many locations in Minami Soma City, mostly on the road surface. His geiger counter (Inspector) measures all alpha, beta, gamma radiations and x-ray, and his measurement on the surface of this black dust was 295 microsieverts/hour.

Assemblyman Ooyama apparently sent the sample to Professor Tomoya Yamauchi of Kobe University. Professor Yamauchi did the test, and here’s the result, from Assemblyman Ooyama’s blog:

Cs-134: 485,252 Bq/kg
Cs-137: 604,360 Bq/kg

TOTAL: 1,089,612 Bq/Kg

Converting the total number to Bq/square meter,

1,089,612 × 65 = 70,824,780 Bq/m2

“Night that never ends” says in his blog this substance is very light-weight and blows off easily. He is finding it all over Minami Soma. He has asked the construction workers if it is from asphalt used in roads. The workers say no. To see the image of this black dust, go here.

“Night that never ends” says he has alerted the City Hall, and Mr. Ooyama indicates there will be a meeting with the city officials on this finding.

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Mayor of Fukushima town proposes split storage of tainted soil

NARAHA, Fukushima — Naraha Mayor Takashi Kusano has suggested building two intermediate storage facilities for radiation-tainted soil and other waste instead of one as the government had requested, it has been learned.

The idea was put forward out of fear that municipalities’ opposition to construction of a single facility could delay decontamination efforts and people’s return to their homes, sources say.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120216p2a00m0na002000c.html

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Governors slam Tepco’s price hikes

Kyodo

The governors of Tokyo and nine other prefectures submitted a petition Wednesday calling Tepco’s planned electricity rate hikes “extremely regrettable” and urged the utility to first accelerate efforts to restructure and rationalize its operations.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. intends to raise electricity charges for companies an average of 17 percent starting in April, and also hopes to increase rates for household users in the near future to cover fuel costs driven up by having to rely more heavily on thermal power.

Price hikes would effectively force consumers to pay for Tepco’s errors and the central government’s lax oversight of the nuclear power industry, the 10 governors said in the petition submitted to the central government, Tepco and the government-backed Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund.

“Although the direct cause of the accident at the Fukushima complex was the earthquake and tsunami, we cannot deny it is also a man-made disaster, given (the plant’s) insufficient safety measures and the responses to the accident,” the petition reads.

It was signed by the governors of Tokyo, Yamanashi, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Shizuoka and Nagano prefectures.

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So much for green tea?

So much for breathing?

City in Shizuoka Pref. begins trial burning of debris from Iwate

SHIZUOKA (Kyodo) — Shimada city in Shizuoka Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, began Thursday a trial incineration of debris from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster that it has accepted from a town in Iwate Prefecture to confirm the safety of the operation.

If it finds little danger from radiation and formalizes its plan to accept debris from Iwate’s Yamada town next month, it will be only the second local government after Tokyo to dispose of rubble from disaster areas. While a number of other local governments have indicated similar plans, they face opposition from local residents.

 [snip]
Provided that the cesium concentration in incinerated ash is up to 500 becquerels per kilogram and other standards are met, Sakurai will announce by the end of March whether to formally accept the debris from Yamada. The results of the trial are due out by March 24.
Read the entire article at:
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This, more than the crisis at Daiichi, gets me depressed. There really is no hope for the future if these are the parents who will raise the next generation. 

Ministry of Agriculture Enlists “Miss Campus” from 9 Universities to Be “Eat and Support East Japan” Ambassadors

The Japanese government is going to make these young women eat food from the nuclear-disaster affected Tohoku and Kanto to support the recovery.

This is simply beyond my comprehension. Some on Twitter call it “student mobilization”, just like during the World War II; the government knowingly putting young people in danger so they can remain in their positions a while longer.

From Sankei Photo News (2/15/2012):

ミスキャンパスが震災復興の応援大使  農水省

“Miss Campus” to become “ambassadors” to support the disaster recovery, says Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

東日本大震災の被災地の農林漁業を支援しようと、農林水産省は15日、青山学院大や学習院大などのミスキャンパス9人を「食べて応援学生大使」に任命した。9人は震災復興に加え、食料自給率の向上に向けた活動も展開していく。

To support the agriculture, forestry sand fisheries industries in the disaster-affected areas, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries appointed 9 “Miss Campus” (beauty queens) on 9 campuses including Aoyama Gakuin University and Gakushuin University as “Eat and Support student ambassadors” on February 15. The nine young women will participate in activities not only for the disaster recovery but also for improving the food self-sufficiency rate.

東京・霞が関の農水省で開かれた任命式で、鹿野道彦農相は「食にさらなる関心を持って活躍してほしい。国産の農林水産物の魅力を、食料自給率向上の鍵を握る多くの若者世代に伝えてもらうことを期待している」と述べた。

In the swearing-in ceremony at the Ministry in Kasumigaseki, Tokyo, Minister Michihiko Kano said to the students, “I would like you to play an active part with keen interest in food. I am looking forward to your effort to appeal the charm of domestically grown agricultural, forest and fishery products to the younger generation, as they are the key to improving the food self-sufficiency.”

メンバーは任命にあたってそれぞれ抱負を披露。成蹊大の蛇川真菜さ(20)は「東日本の食材をもりもり食べます」、立教女学院短大の藤田美沙さん (22)は「東北の果物を使った米粉スイーツを毎週1個考え、食べていきます」と意気込んでいた。(写真は、「食べて応援学生大使」に任命され、鹿野農相と記念写真に納まるミスキャンパスたち=15日午後、農水省)

Upon being sworn in, each member spoke of their plans. Miss Seikei University (age 20) said, “I will eat food items from east Japan heartily”. Miss Rikkyo Women’s College (age 22) said enthusiastically, “I will come up with one desert a week using fruits from Tohoku, and eat it.” (Photograph of “Miss Campus” members with Minister Kano, February 15 afternoon)

“Charm” of domestic produce? You mean radionuclides are a charm?

Agricultural products like rice and vegetables from Tohoku and Kanto are contaminated with radioactive materials in varying degrees. You don’t want to eat fish caught off the coast of Tohoku and Kanto if you don’t want to eat cesium and strontium (and God knows what else). Fruits from Tohoku are particularly bad, with kiwis, blueberries regularly exceeding the provisional safety limit (500 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium). Peaches, apples, persimmons have all been found with radioactive cesium. Mushrooms are routinely found with radioactive cesium easily exceeding the safety limit.

I wonder what the Ministry offered these women in return. As Haruki Madarame famously said, “It’s about money”. If not money, it should still be something of value, enough to offset the potential health risk of promoting recovery by eating Tohoku and Kanto produce.

From the Ministry’s webpage, it seems a photo magazine called B.L.T. is involved in the project. Maybe these young women get to pose for the magazine, and that will be the reward for them…

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 Via ENENEWS at:

http://enenews.com/tepco-will-no-longer-monitor-thermometer-temperature-remains-steady-around-220°c-to-stop-added-water-injections-if-govt-says-its-reasonable

Tepco no longer monitoring thermometer — Temperature remains steady around 220°C — Will stop added water injections if gov’t says it’s reasonable

Title: TEPCO reports reactor thermometer problem to govt
Source: NHK
Date: Thursday, February 16, 2012 17:28 +0900 (JST)

[…] Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, reported the analysis of the problem at the Number 2 reactor to the government’s nuclear safety agency on Thursday. […]

The utility said it’s highly unlikely that temperatures could rise so high unless at least 60 percent of the melted nuclear fuel in the reactor were concentrated near the thermometer. […]

TEPCO says the thermometer will no longer be monitored. The firm says it will comprehensively examine data, including other thermometer readings and radiation levels in the reactor’s containment vessel, to determine whether a state of cold shutdown is achieved.

The utility plans to reduce water injections into the reactor to a level at which such injections were done before the thermometer readings began rising, if the nuclear safety agency says that doing so is reasonable.

Read the report here

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‘Long-period’ quake warning urged

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120216a2.html

Staff writer

Experts reviewing the impact of “long-period ground motion” on tall structures such as high-rises following the March 11 earthquake are calling for creating a new system that would enhance warnings in the event of a major temblor and subsequent aftershocks.

Unlike the direct impact of an earthquake, long-period ground motion can at times be amplified by geographical conditions and other factors. Such slow-cycle tremors can impact a much greater area and cause serious damage, especially to large structures such as oil tanks and tall buildings.

The experts, operating under the Meteorological Agency since November, revealed Tuesday that people in skyscrapers in Tokyo, 400 km from the epicenter, felt intense shaking compared with people at ground level.

A survey of approximately 800 people in Tokyo conducted by the group found that more than 80 percent of those above the 20th floor of buildings around Tokyo Bay found it hard to remain standing when the quake hit on March 11.

That by definition would equal upper 6 on the nation’s seismic intensity scale to 7, even though Tokyo on that day was registered as upper 5.

“I knew that there was an earthquake on the coast of Miyagi Prefecture, but there wasn’t any information regarding the impact on Tokyo. The jolting was extremely intense,” a person who was in a Tokyo skyscraper March 11 responded.

“An adjacent building was swaying so hard that I feared it might hit our building,” another respondent said.

Numerous people in the upper levels of high-rises in Tokyo felt symptoms akin to sea-sickness, according to the survey.

The Meteorological Agency panel also found that even those inside tall buildings constructed on firm stratum in western Tokyo felt the amplified shaking. More than 50 percent of people above the 20th floor of Kogakuin University in Shinjuku Ward found it difficult to remain on their feet, the survey showed.

Elevators in high-rise buildings located as far away as Osaka also shut down due to the nature of the long-period ground motion.

The agency aims to continue studying the phenomenon and seek measures to predict it. The panel set fiscal 2013 as the target to launch warnings of long-period ground motion that would include the level of intensity in tall buildings.

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