Day 363 Keep running’ up that hill… with no problem!

aichiborasen

Folks from the Aichi Vulnteer Center have begun their run from Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture to Higashibetsuin in the city of Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, a distance of about 758 kilometers (470 miles). The event will culminate in Higashibetsuin with the display of candles, one for each person who perished in the Tohoku earthquake on 11 March, 2011. The main candle will be lit from around 14:45pm on Saturday, 10 March, by the final runner in the relay.

There will also be a classical concert, radio DJs, a hiphop dance performance, photography exhibit, a junior high school speech contest, and  discussion titled “What the media does not tell you about Fukushima and hibakusha.”

For further information, see the aichiborasen web site at:

http://0311yell.aichiborasen.org/index.html

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://twitcasting.tv/aichiborasen/embed/3945599-480″></script&gt;

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More photos comparing 3.11 with the improvements seen a year later at:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46430477#.T1fpMWKfEZl

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Interdisciplinary conversations about Fukushima & the NE Japan Disaster

Online Forum

3.11 Virtual Conference: Looking back to look forward
11-12 March 2012
Begins 11 March, 8:00 a.m., Japan Standard Time (6:00 p.m., March 10, EST)

(A description of this virtual conference, and our general invitation to join the conversation is provided on our CONFERENCES page–please view this first if you have not seen the announcement.)

 More details at:
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Fukushima One Year Later

Download a printer-friendly PDF:

Fukushima One Year Later

An Interview with Daniel P. Aldrich

By Laura Araki
March 6, 2012
The March 2011 earthquake in Japan has had a significant impact not only on cities in the Tohoku region but also on the state of domestic nuclear energy generation. The government and public responses to the Fukushima disaster have brought the safety of nuclear energy into the spotlight.

NBR first spoke with Daniel Aldrich, an expert on nuclear energy in Japan, Japanese civil society, and Japan-U.S. relations, five months after the crisis to better understand the impact of the disaster on Fukushima and the surrounding areas.

Now at the one-year anniversary of the March 11 earthquake, NBR followed up with Dr. Aldrich to discuss the ongoing recovery efforts and the greater implications this crisis has had on Japan’s nuclear future. Dr. Aldrich is currently an Associate Professor of Political Science at Purdue University and an American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

As we approach the first anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake, can you reflect on the general outlook on the recovery of affected communities?

One year after the compounded disaster in Tohoku, many of the communities affected by the event have successfully cleaned up the debris, torn down or fixed damaged homes and businesses, and removed the wreckage which defined their physical landscape after the tsunami. The popular press has been filled with stories of long-absent residents who have returned to their hometowns to help with the process. Roads which were blocked have been returned to normal, volunteers have worked to replant trees wiped out by the water, and contractors have recycled damaged buildings into their components.

Article continues at:

http://www.nbr.org/research/activity.aspx?id=219

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One year on, Chiba Prefecture faces mountain of problems including incinerated ash

Incinerated ash wrapped in tarps fills a parking lot at the Matsudo Clean Center in Chiba Prefecture. (Mainichi)

Incinerated ash wrapped in tarps fills a parking lot at the Matsudo Clean Center in Chiba Prefecture. (Mainichi)

CHIBA — Chiba Prefecture was overwhelmed with a wide variety of misfortunes and problems in the last year.

Fifteen people in the city of Asahi were killed or are still unaccounted for following the huge tsunami triggered by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake, and about 70,000 households along the Tokyo waterfront and Tone River took the brunt of liquefaction.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120309p2a00m0na018000c.html

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Gov’t recognized meltdown possibility hours after tsunami hit plant

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Japanese government was aware of the possibility of a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on the very day the complex was hit by the earthquake and tsunami last March, a summary of the meetings of the government’s nuclear emergency headquarters showed Friday.

The possibility was pointed out by an unidentified attendee at the first meeting convened for about 20 minutes from 7:03 p.m. on March 11 last year, after the plant was hit by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake at 2:46 p.m.

The summary suggests that the government, from the beginning of the accident, had in mind the worst case scenario that may occur at the plant, about 220 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, but was reluctant to actively disclose information to the public.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120309p2g00m0dm086000c.html

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Life getting worse for many Fukushima residents: Mainichi poll

In this Saturday, Feb. 25 photo, Date citizens attend a seminar held by Date City and the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) in Date in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

In this Saturday, Feb. 25 photo, Date citizens attend a seminar held by Date City and the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) in Date in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)

Fifty-seven percent of Fukushima Prefecture residents in a survey by the Mainichi Shimbun say their life has worsened one year after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

The survey shows that 35 percent of Miyagi Prefecture residents and 31 percent of Iwate Prefecture residents also shared the same view, as compared with a national average of 23 percent. Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures were hardest hit by the March 11 natural disasters and subsequent nuclear crisis.

When asked to cite their most serious concerns, 53 percent of Fukushima residents singled out health while 36 percent of Iwate residents and 34 percent of Miyagi residents respectively mentioned jobs and income.

 Article continues at:
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89 Millisieverts Equivalent Dose at Thyroid from a Resident in Namie-machi, Fukushima, Says Hirosaki University Researchers

Professor Shinji Tokonami, Department of Radiation Physics, Institute of Radiation Emergency Medicine, Hirosaki University and his researchers say people who escaped from the coastal areas of Fukushima Prefecture after the accident and people who continued to live in Namie-machi after the March 11, 2011 nuclear accident were found with high levels of radiation exposure on the thyroid.

They tested 65 residents in April 2011, and it is in the news on March 9, 2012. Another case of nearly one-year delay in disclosing the information that would have made the difference if known earlier. Like 11 months ago.

Article continues at:

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Over half of Fukushima residents ‘greatly worried’ about health after nuclear crisis

Satomi Kuroki, a 13-year-old junior high school student, receives a whole-body counter radiation check as doctor Tatsuo Hanai looks on at Minimisoma City General Hospital in Minamisoma, just outside the 20-kilometer (12.5 miles) evacuation zone around the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Satomi Kuroki, a 13-year-old junior high school student, receives a whole-body counter radiation check as doctor Tatsuo Hanai looks on at Minimisoma City General Hospital in Minamisoma, just outside the 20-kilometer (12.5 miles) evacuation zone around the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Over half of Fukushima Prefecture’s residents worry greatly about their health due to the ongoing nuclear crisis at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, a Mainichi Shimbun poll has indicated.

The survey, conducted on March 3 and 4, covered all prefectures across Japan including Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, which suffered the most damage in the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year. It found that 54 percent of residents in Fukushima Prefecture were “greatly worried” about the potential health effects of radioactive materials from the nuclear plant — twice the national average of 27 percent.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120309p2a00m0na014000c.html

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3.43 Million Bq/Kg of Radioactive Cesium in “Black Dust” in Minami Soma City, Fukushima

Whatever this substance is, the number is extremely high.

About this “black dust” in Minami Soma, see my past posts, hereherehere.

Minami Soma City’s Assemblyman Ooyama reportson his blog (3/8/2012):

試料:ID:080 鹿島区ジサ原C
Cs-134 1,498,000 ± 1,586 Bq/kg
Cs-137 1,932,900 ± 2,481 Bq/kg
TOTAL 3,430,900± 2,945 Bq/kg

It seems to be part of the report by Professor Tomoya Yamauchi of Kobe University who did the measurement. Mr. Ooyama lists the result of 11 samples tested by Professor Yamauchi.

The NGO in Minami Soma, HCR, seems to have some kind of a fallout with the assemblyman’s volunteer group over the “black dust”, and they’ve been making rather wild announcements (telling residents that the black dust was plutonium, when there was no alpha emission was detected, for example). I am still trying to get the overall picture on this matter.

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Nuclear disaster taskforce minutes compiled

The government has released pieced-together minutes from its task force meetings after the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant began on March 11th of last year.

On that day, the earthquake and tsunami knocked out external power and disabled the plant’s backup generators. Then Prime Minister Naoto Kan declared a state of emergency at the nuclear plant, and presided over the first meeting of the task force on the evening of March 11th. But it was recently discovered that no minutes of that or subsequent meetings had been taken.

In response to public criticism, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency interviewed those who had taken part in the meeting and studied their notes in order to prepare the minutes, which were released on Friday.
The minutes of the task force’s first meeting show that an unidentified participant spoke about a worst-case scenario. The participant said meltdowns could occur if the core temperatures of the reactors were to rise after backup cooling batteries were exhausted, after about 8 hours.

Article continues at:

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/20120309_22.html

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No. 1 plant’s stability doubted, as damage to melted cores, quake vulnerability remain unknown

Noda’s definition of ‘safe’ questioned

Staff writer
Third in a series

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda assured the nation in December that the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant crisis had been reined in, but as the true extent of the damage inside the crippled reactors remains unknown a year on and with the complex still appearing vulnerable to another major quake, the government and Tepco’s claims that the facility is secure are being questioned.

News photo
Holding the line: Wrecked reactor buildings 3 (left) and 4 are seen at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station in the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Feb. 28.POOL

Reactor engineers and seismologists believe another nightmare meltdown scenario is unlikely, but say the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. still face massive obstacles and a host of challenges in decommissioning the plant, including decontaminating the wrecked reactor buildings and plugging cracked containment vessels. Even then, scrapping the plant conceivably could take more than 30 years.

Article continues at:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120309f1.html

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57 percent of evacuees didn’t apply for compensation due to confusing forms: survey

Fifty-seven percent of evacuees living in temporary housing and visited by the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund said they have not applied for compensation because the forms were confusing or for other reasons, according to survey results released by the fund on March 8.

A consultation team from the fund made of lawyers visited 131 temporary housing areas from October 2011 to February of this year and received 9,015 requests and complaints, including ones made by phone. Of them, 6,088 related to the contents of compensation payments. The most common complaint, totaling 2,611, was that compensation of 100,000 yen per person for mental stress and increased cost of living was insufficient. The next most common, at 1,496, was that compensation over the value loss of property has yet to be decided.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120309p2a00m0na013000c.html

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Worsened situation of Japanese sea food

Posted by Mochizuki on March 8th, 2012

Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Korea announced contaminated Japanese sea food is increasing.

From last April to the end of 2011, they measured cesium from 21 imported sea food (148.8 tones) from Japan, but it’s already 32 imported sea food (881.3 tones) from the beginning of 2012 to 3/2/2012. Most of them are mackerel and Alaska pollack.

The highest reading was 97.9 Bq/Kg from pollack but because they were all under the korean safety limit, all of them have been distributed in Korean market.

Source

放射性物質の検出例増加 韓国で日本産水産物
2012.3.8 14:17 [韓国]
韓国農林水産食品省は8日、今年に入り、日本から輸入された水産物について、東京電力福島第1原発事故の影響とみられる微量の放射性物質が検出される事例が増加したと明らかにした。

同省によると、昨年4月から同年末までに日本から輸入された水産物のうち、放射性セシウムなどが検出されたのは21件(148・8トン)だったが、今年は3月2日現在で32件(881・3トン)。魚種別ではサバやスケトウダラがほとんどを占めた。

検出値は、ほとんどのケースで1キロ当たり数ベクレル程度だが、中にはタラから97・9ベクレル検出された例もあった。いずれも韓国の安全基準値以下で、流通が禁止された例はない。(共同)

And this from EX-SKF:

Fish Imported from Japan Found with Radioactive Cesium in South Korea

From TBS News (3/9/2012):

韓国、日本産水産物 セシウム検出増える

South Korea finding more marine products from Japan with radioactive cesium

韓国に輸入された日本産の水産物から、放射性物質が検出されるケースが増加していることが分かりました。ただ、いずれも基準値以下のため、市場に流通しています。

It has been revealed that an increasing number of marine products from Japan imported to South Korea have been found with radioactive materials. Since the levels are below the safety limits, they are being sold in the marketplace.

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/03/fish-imported-from-japan-found-with.html

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Signboard built amid ruins in disaster-stricken Ishinomaki becomes symbol of hope

In this photograph taken on April 11, 2011, Kenichi Kurosawa and a friend write

In this photograph taken on April 11, 2011, Kenichi Kurosawa and a friend write “Hang in there, Ishinomaki!” on a signboard they built amid rubble in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture. (Mainichi)

Kenichi Kurosawa stands in front of the signboard in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 4, 2012. Almost a year after the disasters, the board is now surrounded by a reconstructed parking lot, where Kurosawa has painted another message:

Kenichi Kurosawa stands in front of the signboard in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 4, 2012. Almost a year after the disasters, the board is now surrounded by a reconstructed parking lot, where Kurosawa has painted another message: “We will rebuild (the city).” (Mainichi)

ISHINOMAKI, Miyagi — “Hang in there, Ishinomaki!”

Amid remnants of houses, shops, and memories in the city of Ishinomaki, destroyed by the magnitude-9 earthquake that struck off the northeastern coast of Japan, triggering a series of massive tsunami on March 11, 2011, a signboard was built to give hope to people in the desire that one day their nightmare would end.

Today, almost a year after the devastating calamities, the board is still at its original place, having become a symbol of Ishinomaki residents’ struggle to reconstruct their city.

 Article continues at:
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Number of suicides jumped shortly after March quake in 2011

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The number of suicides rose sharply in May last year, a police survey showed Friday, and the government suspects that economic hardship in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake was responsible for the spike.

The number of suicides in May jumped 21.2 percent to 3,375 from the same month a year earlier after staying at relatively low levels through March, according to the National Police Agency.

The total number of people who took their own lives in 2011 declined 3.3 percent to 30,651, the lowest number since the country’s suicides exceeded 30,000 a year in 1998, it said.

Article continues at:

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120309p2g00m0dm085000c.html

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Plutonium-241 of Fukushima Origin Found 32 Kilometers from the Plant, Says National Institute of Radiological Sciences After Nearly One Year

The National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS) knew about it since May last year, but decided to keep quiet. Why? It’s yet another case of the researchers waiting until their data collection is published in a peer-review scientific magazine (the paper is linked at the bottom of the post).

For the NIRS researchers, their data has just been published in the UK’s Scientific Reports (electronic version), reports Kyodo News (3/8/2012):

放射線医学総合研究所(千葉市)は、東京電力福島第1原発から北西や南に20~32キロ離れた福島県内の3地点で、事故で放出されたとみられるプルトニウム241を初めて検出したと、8日付の英科学誌「サイエンティフィック・リポーツ」の電子版に発表した。

The National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS, in Chiba City, Chiba) published the result of their measurement of plutonium-241 at three locations in Fukushima Prefecture 20 to 32 kilometers northwest and south of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in the electronic version of the UK’s science magazine “Scientific Reports” issued on March 8, 2012.

人体に影響のないレベルだが、プルトニウム241は他の同位体に比べて半減期が14年と比較的短く、崩壊してできるアメリシウム241は土壌を経由して主に豆類に取り込まれやすい。放医研は「内部被ばくを避けるためにも 原発20キロ圏内での分布状況を確かめる必要がある」としている。

The level [of plutonium-241] will not affect human health. Plutonium-241 has relatively short half life of 14 years compared to other isotopes of plutonium. It decays into americium-241, which is easily absorbed through soil into legumes. The NIRS says “To avoid internal radiation exposure, it is necessary to survey the spread of plutonium-241 inside the 20 kilometer zone around the plant.”

Article continues at:

http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2012/03/plutonium-241-of-fukushima-origin-found.html

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L.A. Times: Speculation that “supercritical fission event” occurred at Fukushima reactor irradiating plutonium, says nuclear expert — Explosion so massive investigators found fuel rod fragments a mile away

http://enenews.com/l-a-times-speculation-that-supercritical-fission-event-may-have-occurred-at-fukushima-reactor-irradiating-plutonium-explosion-so-massive-investigators-found-fuel-rod-fragments-a-mile-away-ex

Follow-up to: Just-Published Study: Plutonium being found away from Fukushima is from nuclear fuel fragments blown out after explosions

Title: Plutonium near Fukushima plant poses little risk, study says
Source: Los Angeles Times
Author: Amina Khan (Ralph Vartabedian contributed to report)
Date: March 8, 2012
Emphasis Added

[…] In the area around the Fukushima plant, preliminary testing hadn’t turned up signs of new plutonium isotopes in the soil. Unlike cesium-137 and other radioactive isotopes, plutonium can’t vaporize and travel through the air. But it’spossible the force of the hydrogen explosions blew out a little plutonium in the form of particulate matter.

[…] near Fukushima, the researchers found that the ratio of plutonium-241 to plutonium-239 was much higher than expected. They said it was a clear sign that fresh plutonium must have been deposited in the area. […]

Robert Alvarez, a former senior policy adviser in the U.S. Energy Department

  • “They were irradiating plutonium in Unit 3, which experienced the biggest explosion”
  • The explosion was so massive that investigators found fuel rod fragments a mile away, leading to speculation that a supercritical fission event may have also occurred
  • Much remains unknown one year after the disaster
  • Authorities can’t say exactly where breaches occurred in the reactor vessels and spent fuel pools that caused contaminated water to flood the plant’s lower levels

Lead author Jian Zheng of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Chiba, Japan

The amount of plutonium-241 released from the power plant was about 1/10,000th that from the 1986 Chernobyl accident in Ukraine.

Dale Klein, a former Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman

  • Fukushima was no Chernobyl
  • [Klein is] co-author of a report on Fukushima for the American Nuclear Society. That report says the long-term health risks of the radioactive fallout probably would be minimal.

Read the report here

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