Day 370 What is a “visit”?

Does anyone know what the word “visit” means in relation to studying contamination of biomass via a dispersal model of oceanic current? Hmmm.

The above video was found at:

This is what they have describing the research:

Radioactive Seawater Impact Map (update: March 2012)

We use a Lagrangian particles dispersal method to track where free floating material (fish larvae, algae, phytoplankton, zooplankton…) present in the sea water near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station plant could have gone since the earthquake on March 11th. THIS IS NOT A REPRESENTATION OF THE RADIOACTIVE PLUME CONCENTRATION. Since we do not know exactly how much contaminated water and at what concentration was released into the ocean, it is impossible to estimate the extent and dilution of the plume. However, field monitoring by TEPCO showed concentration of radioactive Iodine and Cesium higher than the legal limit during the next two months following the event (with a peak at more than 100 Bq/cm3 early April 2011 for I-131 as shown by the following picture).

(see the web site for the TEPCO data)

Assuming that a part of the passive biomass could have been contaminated in the area, we are trying to track where the radionuclides are spreading as it will eventually climb up the food chain. The computer simulation presented here is obtained by continuously releasing particles at the site during the 2 months folllowing the earthquake and then by tracing the path of these particles. The dispersal model is ASR’s Pol3DD. The model is forced by hydrodynamic data from the HYCOM/NCODAsystem which provides on a weekly basis, daily oceanic current in the world ocean. The resolution in this part of the Pacific Ocean is around 8km x 8km cells. We are treating only the sea surface currents. The dispersal model keeps a trace of their visits in the model cells. The results here are expressed in number of visit per surface area of material which has been in contact at least once with the highly concentrated radioactive water.

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And I have another question….

Did anyone happen to see this today? (and actually the past week or so.. or longer? I haven’t been following it that closely.)

It’s the “real time” radiation dose map at:

Why are the levels in red (“excess” according to the legend) around Hitachinaka (and Tokaimura – home of a uranium reprocessing facility)? Could someone please drop me a comment and explain why the levels are shown in red and not in orange as they are in other areas along the eastern coast of Japan?

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TEPCO says Fukushima Daiichi Reactor 4 Spent Fuel may be more damage than previously estimated

Posted by Lucas W Hixson on March 15, 2012 in EditorialsFeaturedLucas Whitefield Hixson · 0 Comments

The Mainichi reports that based on new underwater surveys, TEPCO says that the spent fuel in Fukushima Daiichi Reactor 4 may have undergone further damage since it was last inspected in April 2011.  Tokyo Electric Power Co. said that visibility in the pool is only about 1 meter, far less than the approximately 5 meters the utility was able to see through last spring.  TEPCO plans to use a camera that can move underwater to conduct a more detail survey and consider ways to improve the situation, company officials said, adding they were not sure whether the water was clouded by algae or other substances floating inside or there was a problem with the camera.

Article continues at:

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How can we best support these farmers????

Anguished Fukushima farmer says ‘no’ to nuclear power

In this March 24, 2011 file photo, farmer Sumiko Matsuno, left, and her friend harvest carrots on her farm to eat since she fears no one will buy them with the radiation fallout in Fukushima. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

In this March 24, 2011 file photo, farmer Sumiko Matsuno, left, and her friend harvest carrots on her farm to eat since she fears no one will buy them with the radiation fallout in Fukushima. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

JINSEKIKOGEN, Hiroshima — One Fukushima farmer used a recent organic farming conference here to state his vehement opposition to the restart of idled nuclear reactors.

Takashige Watanabe, a 62-year-old farmer, and his 59-year-old wife Eiko, grew organic rice and vegetables on their 0.5-hectare ancestral farmland in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, until the March 11, 2011 outbreak of the Fukushima nuclear crisis. That evening, with the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant only 3 kilometers away, the couple hastily evacuated, taking virtually nothing with them. They finally settled at a house rented by the Fukushima Prefectural Government in Aizuwakamatsu after taking shelter at three different places.


In her speech at the farming conference, Eiko said sorrowfully, “Were we wrong to believe the safety myth put out by TEPCO? In order not to have any more victims, we must break with nuclear power generation and nuclear reactors must not be restarted.”

Article continues at:

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U.S. gov’t adviser proposed using explosives to tackle Fukushima crisis

TOKYO, March 16, Kyodo

An informal panel of experts in the U.S. Department of Energy suggested using military explosives to bring the crisis under control at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, one of the panel member and physicist Richard Garwin told Kyodo News.

”I wanted to make a hole through the great shielding slabs, which are more than a meter of reinforced concrete, and one of the opportunities was to use the military shaped charge,” Garwin said in a telephone interview, referring to the proposal he made to Energy Secretary Steven Chu at the panel meeting on April 5.

Although the idea was not adopted in the end, such an extraordinary proposal of using a shaped charge, an explosive shaped to focus the blast energy in one direction, reflects the sense of alarm within the U.S. government that the situation at the Fukushima complex would worsen if the cooling system failed.

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Radioactive Wild Rabbit in Yamagata Prefecture

A wild rabbit caught in Yonezawa City in Yamagata Prefecture was found with 560 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium, exceeding the national provisional limit of 500 becquerels/kg (until April 1).

City officials think the rabbit migrated from Fukushima Prefecture.

From Yomiuri Shinbun medical section (3/15/2012):

野ウサギ 規制超すセシウム…山形 野生動物からは県内初

A wild rabbit found with cesium exceeding the safety limit in Yamagata, the first in the prefecture in wild animals

Article continues at:

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Kyodo: Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 visibility deteriorating — Major drop over past month — No where near what’s needed “to work at removing nuclear fuel”

Title: Water in Fukushima plant’s No. 4 spent fuel pool may be less clear
Source: Kyodo
Date: 23:38 15 March

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant said Thursday that the clarity of water inside the spent fuel pool of the No. 4 unit may have deteriorated based on a survey conducted by a camera.Tokyo Electric Power Co. said that visibility in the pool is only about 1 meter, far less than the approximately 7 meters needed to work at removing nuclear fuel from the pool as part of the process of scrapping the four reactors severely damaged by last year’s nuclear accident.

About a month ago, the utility known as TEPCO was able to see about 5 meters through the spent fuel pool water. […]

Read the report here

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What else they were opposed to? Mustn’t upset the sheep, you know.

Nuclear safety agency opposed expansion of safety measures in 2006

The government's new radiation contamination map site is seen in this screen capture taken on Oct. 18. (Mainichi)

The government’s new radiation contamination map site is seen in this screen capture taken on Oct. 18. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency proposed freezing studies started by the Nuclear Safety Commission in 2006 to expand the disaster mitigation zone around nuclear power plants in the event of a disaster, to bring Japanese regulations into compliance with international standards, according to emails released Thursday by the commission.

The agency, under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, argued that expansion of the zones ”could cause social unrest and increase popular anxiety,” the emails showed.

The commission, an independent body supervising nuclear safety regulation, did not enlarge the zones after considering the matter in 2006. It now appears the outcome was a result of the agency’s repeated complaints.

But if the commission had gone through with the expansion, the chaotic developments surrounding the evacuation of people following the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in March last year might have been mitigated, people familiar with the matter said.

 Article continues at:
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The following, 

Published: March 16th, 2012 at 12:00 am ET
By ENENews

Fukushima Report reveals fire created “8 square meter hole in the wall” at Reactor No. 4

Title: Takahashi_FUKUSHIMA_REPORT, The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Disaster: What Happened in March 2011

Source: World Federation of Science Journalists
Author: Mariko Takahashi, Asahi Shimbun, senior staff writer (science correspondent)
Date: 6-13-11

Fire at Shutdown Unit 4

The series of accidents continued. At Unit 4, which had been out of service for regular inspection at the time of the quake, an explosion was heard in the early morning on March 15, and at 9:38 a.m. a fire was reported. Flames broke out on the fourth level of the building; the fire died down on its own by 11:00 a.m. but it created a 8 square meter hole in the wall. Why would a fire break out at the shut down Unit 4? Presumably, it originated in the fuel storage pool.

The nuclear reactor buildings each contain a deep pool where the fuel rods are kept temporarily. All of the fuel rods in Unit 4 had been moved to this pool. Including spent fuel, the pool contained about 1,300 rods, the largest number at any of the six Fukushima No. 1 units. Spent fuel continues to generate decay heat, so a cooling system is ordinarily in operation to stabilize the temperature in the pool. Because of the electricity blackout, however, that system had ceased to function.

The water in the pool, which is usually 40 degrees, had risen to 85 degrees by the evening of the 14th. It is most likely that the water had evaporated, leaving the fuel rods exposed, and that the interaction of steam with the alloy covering the rods had been producing hydrogen. With hydrogen forming, conditions must have been ripe for either an explosion or fire. The level of radiation on the grounds of the power plant mounted sharply from the morning of March 15. The highest level was recorded on the inland side of Unit 3 soon after 10:00 a.m., reaching 400 millisieverts (mSv) per hour at its highest. That figure, if expressed by the microsievert unit used thus far, would be 400,000 μSv.

Read the report here

The author has an article today in Asahi’s AJW: Reality check on the consequences of Fukushima nuclear accident

Takahashi’s previous articles for Asahi have also reinforced the nuclear industry’s point of view:

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Holes in radiation decontamination law leave some Fukushima residents in doubt

Local bodies in Fukushima are quickly drawing up decontamination plans under a new law as the government embarks on a full-scale cleanup in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. Yet some residents have voiced doubts about the decontamination work, which is overshadowed by a mountain of issues not envisaged under the law.
Article continues at:
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100-year-old barrel starts new life in tsunami aftermath

Children play inside a barrel that was washed out of a soy sauce manufacturer in Miyagi Prefecture by tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake. (Mainichi)

Children play inside a barrel that was washed out of a soy sauce manufacturer in Miyagi Prefecture by tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake. (Mainichi)

ISHINOMAKI, Miyagi — A barrel used to brew soy sauce until it was swept away by tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake has gotten a new lease on life in a playground.

The barrel, which measures about 1.7 meters in diameter and is 1.6 meters tall, had been in use at soy sauce maker Kimura Shoyuten in the Miyagi prefectural city of Ishinomaki to brew soy sauce and miso soy paste. Third-generation owner Gonya Kimura, 73, who is shutting down the firm shortly before its 100th anniversary, is delighted that a barrel that supported the business has been given new purpose, albeit in a different role.


The barrel was put on its side, and fixed to the ground with rope. There’s a hole on one side that some children use as a handhold to get on top of the barrel, while others use the barrel as a goalpost when playing soccer.

“The shop is gone but one barrel lives on,” Kimura says. “I apologize that it’s one of the oldest ones we had, but play with it however you’d and take care not to hurt yourself.”

Read the entire article at:

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Washington Man Directs New Japan Disaster Documentary


No Alternative Text

March 9, 2012

An Everett, Washington, man is excited for the U.S. premiere Friday of his documentary about last year’s devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan. The first-hand account will also get its Canadian premiere in Vancouver, B.C., Saturday night, almost precisely one year after the disaster.

Thirty-one-year-old Chris Noland’s film is called “Surviving Japan.” In some places, the movie is almost a video diary of Noland’s experiences during and after the earthquake.

At the time he was working as an English instructor in Tokyo. Noland brought his video camera along as he volunteered for weeks at a time to help clean up tsunami-ravaged communities.

Noland said making the film has greatly increased his own empathy for humanity and “It taught me that if everything broke down in society that people would actually come together and help each other.”

The movie’s premieres in Seattle and Vancouver coincide with twin conferences focusing on Japan’s nuclear disaster. The 90-minute film is also under consideration for the Seattle International Film Festival this coming May.

On the Web:

“Surviving Japan” trailer:

See the Film in Vancouver, B.C.:

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio

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