Day 368 Microbes, Henry?

Fixed the typo of yesterday. Oops.

Someone sent me this link today. Thought it was fascinating. This visualization from the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio shows how the ocean currents were flowing around the globe from June 2005 through December 2007.

Today’s news items…

First, it would appear that no one filled in the Prime Minister on the events (worldwide) of 11 Mar. (If not, he could read the international papers that reported on THOUSANDS marching against nuclear power.)

What part of NO does he not understand?

Noda seeks local support for reactor restart

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has pledged to seek public support for restarting nuclear reactors in the country after the Fukushima nuclear plant accident last March.

Article continues at:

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The government has released its “safe” levels of cesium in food and drink at:

The new levels will be in force from April of this year.

The clip above from the government pdf shows that until now, the allowable level for drinking water has been 200 bq/kg but will be 10 bq/kg from April.

Milk was 200, will be 50 bq/kg.

Vegetables, grain, meat, eggs, fish, other: was 500, will be 100 bq/kg.

Baby food was 200, will be 50 bq/kg.


Compared with allowed concentration of Cesium in Ukraine (until 1 Jan 1991)

Drinking water: 2 bq/kg (yes, that’s two)

Vegetables: 40 bq/kg

Milk: 100 bq/kg

Fish and fish products: 150 bq/kg

Eggs: 6 bq/kg

Infant food: 40

These Ukraine data above and the table below from Kyoto University at:

(via Google translate)

(AL-97), Bq / kg, Bq / l strontium 90 and cesium-137 concentration allowed in drinking water Food and Table 8




Bakery products and bread 20


Potato 60


Vegetables (root vegetables, leafy vegetables) 40


Fruit 70


Meat and meat products 200


Fish and fish products 150


Milk and dairy products 100


Eggs (per month) Six


Drinking water Two


Condensed milk 300


Powdered milk 500


Strawberry, wild mushroom (raw) 500


Strawberry, wild mushroom (dry) 2500


S medicinal plants 600


Other 600


Infant food 40


* Until January 1, 1991) 4 Bq / l.

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Over at EX-SKF, there’s a good post today:

Faces of Workers at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant

Kazuma Obara is a 26-year-old photo-jouralist who went inside Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant in August last year. His work has been featured in foreign media including UK’s Guardian.

He’s holding an exhibition in Osaka right now, on the one-year anniversary of the nuclear accident.

Read the entire article at:

Here is the news report from Kansai TV that EX-SKF links to:

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A question, if I may… Is this article supposed to indicate that because the spread of radiation was not (initially, i.e. pre-share-the-debris-burden) as great as that of Chernobyl, we can assume that it will be easier to “clean up”? Um, why are they not including the Pacific Ocean in the area that was (and is being) contaminated? There is no soil at the bottom of an ocean? Hmm, I thought there was a bottom somewhere. Guess it’s completely water. Still, after all, far less contamination than in Chernobyl, so no need to worry. Tell that to the shrimp.

Reach of soil contamination from Fukushima nuke disaster less than half Chernobyl’s

Soil contamination stemming from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant extends less than half as far from the plant as equivalent contamination from the 1986 Chernobyl accident, it has been learned.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry has announced results of a survey on the distribution of cesium-137 and other radioactive materials in soil following the outbreak of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, and its comparison with figures from Chernobyl.

After the Chernobyl explosion, soil containing over 1,480 kilobecquerels of cesium-137 per square meter was detected in a 30-kilometer radius from the plant, and was further found in a range extending 160 to 250 kilometers north-northeast from the power station.

In comparison, such high levels of cesium-137 were found only in about a 30-kilometer-long swathe extending northwest from the Fukushima No. 1 plant, with the highest concentration found 32.5 kilometers away in the town of Namie.

Article continues at:

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More from EX-SKF:

Radioactive Materials in Soil May Already Have Reached 30 Centimeters Below Surface, JAEA Says

Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s researchers say radioactive materials that remained on the top 5 centimeters of the soil for the first 3 months of the nuclear accident may have already migrated down to as deep as 30 centimeters.

It may be difficult to decontaminate, says the agency who happens to be in charge of the government pilot project to decontaminate within the no-entry zone and planned evacuation zone in Fukushima, using joint ventures by the largest construction companies in Japan. (For more on the confused state of this pilot program, see my post on NY Times article.)

But on the other hand, it’s been too late anyway in Fukushima, Miyagi, and areas in Kanto with significant amounts of radioactive fallout (except for Miyagi, whose data is still not disclosed, if it exist), where farmers tilled the land in spring last year to grow vegetables and rice upon encouragement from the government.

From Kyodo News (3/14/2012):

地中30センチにまで浸透か 放射性物質、除染に影響も

Radioactive materials may have migrated to 30 centimeter deep in the soil, may affect decontamination efforts

Article continues at:

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Study claims Tokyo newborns had ‘safe’ 1,140 microsievert thyroid dose — Only counted food and water — Did not include inhaled radioactivity — Did not include first 10 days when iodine and other short-lived isotopes peaked

Title: Scientists: Radiation doses at safe levels in Tokyo
Source: AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
Date: March 13, 2012
Emphasis Added

Radiation doses from tap water and foods consumed by Tokyo residents following the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant remain at safe levels, scientists at the University of Tokyo said March 12.


However, the study may not give the full picture.

“Doses from exposure to radioactive iodine between March 18-20 last year [What about March 12-17?], immediately following the nuclear disaster, cannot be neglected,” [Michio Murakami, project lecturer at the university] said. “But we have not been able to evaluate them reliably because of the scarcity of data.”

The scientists estimated the doses of internal exposure to radioactive iodine and cesium from the intake of beverages and food during a one-year period from March 21, 2011 […]

The calculations are based on the results of an analysis by the Bureau of Waterworks of the Tokyo metropolitan government, the health ministry and other agencies on the radioactive content of tap water, dairy products, vegetables, seafood, tea and other items. They also took into account the health ministry’s data on the average intake of different food groups by age bracket. […]

When those measures were taken into account the topical thyroid gland doses of internal exposure to radioactive iodine were evaluated at 1,140 microsieverts for newborns, 970 microsieverts for infants and 280 microsieverts for adults. […]

Read the report here

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High cesium levels detected in mud at Fukushima dam lake

Mud at the bottom of a dam lake near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is heavily contaminated with radioactive cesium, government research has shown.

Tsukuba University professor Yuichi Onda, commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to conduct the survey, released the findings at a symposium on March 13.

Onda’s team detected radioactive cesium of some 3 million becquerels per square meter at the bottom of the Horai Dam lake, about 60 kilometers west-northwest of the nuclear plant, along the Abukuma River in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture. The level was 10 times higher than those of nearby reservoirs, and was roughly equivalent to soil contamination levels in the 20-kilometer radius exclusion zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant.

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TEPCO Is Sending Its Own Employees to Survey the Basements of Reactors 2 and 3 at #Fukushima

 Expected radiation exposure for the 30-minute work: 10 millisieverts per person.

Article continues at:

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Some reactor containers stand risks of faster deterioration

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The pressure containers of older nuclear reactors in Japan have more copper as impurities that could cause faster-than-expected deterioration, affecting their service lives but not necessarily posing an immediate danger, government and power industry sources said Tuesday.

Among Japanese reactors for which the copper content of steel pressure vessels has been made available, the No. 1 reactor of the Tsuruga nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture, which began operating in 1970, has the highest content at 0.24 percent, 24 times the lowest content of 0.01 percent, the sources said.

Copper content ranges from 0.16 percent to 0.23 percent for other reactors completed in the first half of the 1970s, and drops below 0.1 percent for reactors that began operating later due to technological advancement, the sources said.

Copper atoms, if frequently exposed to neutrons arising from nuclear fission, could work to weaken pressure vessels, said officials at the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry.

Article continues at:

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Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Leak from the Pipe at SARRY Looks Like It Was Caused By a Bad Weld

Remember the leak from SARRY in February? TEPCO released the analysis of the pipe that leaked highly radioactive water from the Toshiba’s cesium absorption system, and it sure looks like a bad weld, from the photos of inside the pipe.

It is particularly bad on the left side of the rust. The leak occurred BELOW the weld, but the bad weld may have contributed to the rust and corrosion of the pipe.

Strangely, TEPCO does not blame the weld. The company blames sodium hypochlorite (bleach) which is injected in the water to “prevent the microbially caused clog” (from their document, page 3) to have caused corrosion.

If you’re wondering “microbe??”, it’s because TEPCO mixes the treated water with the filtered river water and inject the water back into the reactor.

Read the entire article at:

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From Nuclear Free Planet at:

Isotopic evidence of plutonium release into the environment from the Fukushima DNPP accident

This is a very disturbing report from Nature about plutonium releases from the Fukushima accident. It is appalling that it has taken almost a year for any in depth look at this given reacter #3 was burning MOX fuel, 6% of which contains plutonium oxide. The issue of plutonium laced debris has been brought up and buried several times, both figuratively and literally. In light of some things discussed here, this highlights even more strongly the need to immediately stop moving contaminated debris around Japan and dumping or burning it (or both).

Read article here:

Nature Scientific Reports: Isotopic evidence of plutonium release into the environment from the Fukushima DNPP accident

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More about Cyndi…

Cyndi Lauper’s staying power disaster-tested and still in tune


Cyndi Lauper is admired in Japan for not running away after last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The American singer was back to show the Japanese people that she hasn’t forgotten them.

Lauper had arrived in Tokyo on March 11, 2011, just as the massive quake struck northern Japan. She stayed to perform her concerts as planned, even though fears of radiation from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant caused many other performers and visitors to flee. She said she stayed to console survivors with her music.


Lauper said the government “should come clean with what the real deal is” so people know the truth. “When you don’t know, you are fearful, and you feel powerless. Information is power.”

Read the entire article at:

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Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan launches sweeping Tohoku recovery effort

A year has passed since the March 2011 quake and tsunami ravaged Japan, and while the initial shock has faded — along with much of the media coverage — for the communities that lived through them, the disasters are an ongoing reality. So while the charitable outpouring for Japan that followed the waves was phenomenal, the question a year on is: What’s needed now? The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan (CCCJ) believes it has an important part of the answer.

Article continues at:


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