Day 372 Henry, better ask the Aichi & Australian people first, donchya think?

Aichi Pref. eyes thermal plant premises to accept quake debris

NAGOYA (Kyodo) — Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura said Sunday he is making final arrangements with Chubu Electric Power Co. to build an incinerator and waste disposal site for debris from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami at a local thermal power plant.

Omura told Kyodo News that he decided in late February to help disaster-hit areas in northeastern Japan dispose of the massive amounts of debris still piling up, and has asked the local utility serving central Japan about borrowing part of the premises in Hekinan.

The firm admitted having received such a request from the governor, without elaborating, saying the prefecture is still considering the idea.

If realized, the prefectural government will set up its own safety standards and release results of radiation monitoring during a test run, along with other data, to help win acceptance from the local government and residents, the officials said.

The prefecture has opted to build its own facilities as none of the 54 local municipalities have offered to accept such debris when asked.

The roughly 2.08 million square meter Hekinan plant premises include landfill to dispose of ash from coal burned for power generation.

In a related development, Environment Minister Goshi Hosono told Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai during their talks in Sendai, the capital of the hardest-hit prefecture, that the central government plans to make a disaster-prevention forest on Sendai Plain after reclamation using disaster debris.

The Forestry Agency is considering banking debris for the forest for dozens of kilometers possibly from June, he said.

(Mainichi Japan) March 18, 2012

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80% back phase-out of nuclear power: poll

TOKYO, March 18, Kyodo

As many as 80 percent of respondents to a recent nationwide survey supported or had a relatively favorable view toward phasing out Japan’s reliance on nuclear power and eventually eliminating it, The Tokyo Shimbun daily reported Sunday.

But 54 percent said in the survey last weekend that they would allow idled nuclear reactors to be reactivated as far as electricity demand required as a realistic short-term approach, with 52 of the 54 commercial reactors nationwide now suspended, it said.

As for the government’s support measures for survivors of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, 63 percent had negative or relatively negative views.

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Australia Is “Ideal” for Contaminated Soil and Debris from #Fukushima

Dr. Haruki Madarame, who is resigning as the head of the Nuclear Safety Commission, is remembered by me as having spoke the universal truth when he said “It’s all about money, isn’t it?” when it comes to nuclear waste.

Here’s an ex-minister in Australia, which has been spared with any contamination from Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident, wanting to bring in the contaminated soil and debris from Fukushima to Australia and stored it for the Japanese, in return for the future sales of uranium to Japan and more funding from Japan for the construction projects in western Australia.

The former sports minister now works for a law firm in Tokyo. He also happens to be the chairman of a junior miner. Talk about conflict of interest. And he is proposing to put the contaminated soil and debris on western and southern Australian deserts.

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Nobel laureate Oe calls for halt to all nuclear plants

By SHINJI INADA/ Correspondent

PARIS–At France’s largest book fair, instead of promoting a novel, Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe used the spotlight to call for the immediate abolition of all nuclear power plants.

Oe, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1994, spoke at the “Salon du livre de Paris,” one of the largest book fairs in Europe, which began in Paris on March 16 and runs through March 19.

“What is the most important ethic for humans to act is not to destroy conditions that are necessary for the next generation to live,” Oe said, in calling for the end to nuclear power plants.

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From Ten Thousand Things at:

One-year commemoration of 3.11 disaster spans range of human emotion in disaster-hit region

Tsunami-devastated area near Soma City, Fukushima prefecture (March 10, 2012)

After having traveled to the heavily tsunami-damaged city of Ishinomaki this past November, and then again in January, my partner Sheila and I decided to head up again this past weekend for our third volunteering stint since the disaster struck last March. This time we would be there for the one-year 3.11 commemoration, and frankly speaking, I had somewhat mixed feelings about our decision to visit the city at this time. Even though we had begun forging relationships with local people during our past visits, I felt that as outsiders—those who had neither experienced the disaster firsthand, nor been there to volunteer during the initial weeks and months when the situation was at its rawest—we might be better off participating in a 3.11 remembrance ceremony elsewhere. Still, I reasoned, the volunteer work was carrying on, just as it had every single day over the past year. And so, as our overnight bus pulled away from Tokyo, I pushed the thought out of my mind.

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Post to H-Japan listserv (H-JAPAN@H-NET.MSU.EDU):

Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2012
Subject: Mae Muki: TV messages from Tohoku a year later

For a review of the more academic press coverage of the anniversary, please see Mathew Penny’s “The Fukushima Anniversary: Japanese Press Reactions,”
(, another fine piece of work from Japan Focus.

But the Japanese popular TV coverage this weekend was full of stories about “progress” over the past year and about “hope” for the coming year. They usually take one small space or intuition (a piece of road or a school, for example–to show how much has been done. This often includes a dramatic “before and after” photos comparison. I was talking to a city worker and amateur photographer in Kesennuma who pointed out: “The most important
aspect of the shot is the framing,” because just off frame usually looms the residue of disaster, such as the huge pile of rubble sitting in the woods (90% which is still there)–or the costs of disaster, such as the other schools that have not opened due to loss of life a year ago. “Still, I guess they want to send messages of hope, at least to those in Tokyo.”

In the past few weeks, Tohoku has seen more reporters than it has since golden week; they are crawling all over. The community response ranges from anxiety to disappointment to disgust in reporters’ efforts to “make a story,” which usually means either putting a good face on something that is still very much unresolved; or blaming locals as disorganized, searching for some gossip that suggests that locals are so at odds with each other that they cannot make much progress in recovery; or so backward-looking that they want to just return to what they had before. This is not entirely fair to the media–some TV shows have been better than others, and NHK has done pretty well sometimes–and it is also true, that many do want to simply go back to a past, even though they know it is not viable. But that is what people are saying now in the face of this unwelcome TV attention.

“These last few weeks have been exhausting,” said one young woman in Rikuzen Takata. Evidently, having a camera crew hanging about, even for only a few hours, takes its toll. “Most of these crews come in with their own story even before they know anything.” Someone else said, “I think they write all of these stories in Tokyo before they come.”  Another young mother explained, “The ones who want to hear happy stories, that is hardest because there is not very much happy right now. Maybe before, before we
really knew what it was like to live [in the temporary housing, or more generally, away from home], but now… not too much good to say.” The more competent crews gather enough material to tell their story in few hours; the less good ones need closer to a whole day. It becomes a struggle of wills. “They leave sooner if you tell them what they want.” Another fumed, “It makes me so mad. Just talking to them is dangerous.” Locals, who for a short period were the heroic survivors of the TV shows, now feel ignored or exploited.

This is a change. By summer 2011, closed-mouth Tohoku had many more talkers. “They will never be as noisy as Kobe people, but they are willing to talk, to tell their story,” said another man from Kesennuma who has lived in Tokyo for some years about those in his home village. “Whenever I went back to my hometown, they had stories to tell me. This is a big change from when I used to come home, and they said nothing.” And as one older woman explained in June, “If they have a camera, I will talk to them. They
will tell the others,–“others” being those from Tokyo, the rest of Japan, or beyond. But the faith in the media waned, as the media themselves disappeared over the autumn, and now they return, all wanting to tell the “mae muki” story.  Said the same woman just last week: “Mae Muki.” This means not wanting to look back, at all of this,” she gestured to the still-washed out expanse of what is her town. This year-end marker looks like another chance for Japan to put all of the disaster behind them. “But we are still here.”

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If you’re following the film “Surviving Japan”, there is a new website for the film at:

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Huge offshore wind-power project sparks backlash from Fukushima fishing community

A rendering of a planned offshore floating wind-power installation. (Photo courtesy of Marubeni Corp.)

A rendering of a planned offshore floating wind-power installation. (Photo courtesy of Marubeni Corp.)

The government-sponsored project to build a huge, floating wind-power installation in waters off Fukushima Prefecture has sparked a fierce backlash from local fishermen already hit hard by the ongoing crisis at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

At the request of the Fukushima Prefectural Government, the central government has come up with the idea of floating about 100 windmills in the Pacific Ocean off Fukushima to generate much-needed electricity. But the scheme could force the local fishing industry to restrict its operations, and the Fukushima prefectural federations of fisheries and fish processing cooperative associations stand firmly against the project.

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News Navigator: If a big quake strikes the metropolitan area, where will its epicenter be?

The Mainichi answers common questions readers may have about a potential magnitude 7-class earthquake that could strike directly beneath the Tokyo metropolitan area.

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CBS: “The worst case scenario was happening” at Fukushima — Cores may have burned into earth, releasing untold amounts of radiation if not for sea water injection — You really won’t know what happened until you see inside, says NRC (VIDEO)

Title: U.S. nuclear expert recounts Fukushima disaster
Source: CBS News
Date: March 16, 2012

[…] One of the experts sent into the emergency is Charles Casto. He’s a former nuclear plant operator working for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He was America’s top expert at the scene […]

Casto’s team reported to Washington in this conference call one year ago Friday: “At this point I would see the worse case scenario is three reactors that eventually having, for lack of a better term, a meltdown. So the reactors would likely, eventually, you would eventually breach primary containment and have some kind of release.”

The worst case scenario was happening. […]

“What in your estimation was the key moment that prevented this from becoming a much greater tragedy than it was?” Pelley asked Casto.

“When Yoshida-san put ocean water to the reactors, that was a key moment.”

“Did everyone agree that flooding them with sea water was the right thing to do?” asked Pelley.

“Not everyone agreed,” said Casto. […]

Had he not, we now know the cores may have burned all the way into earth, releasing untold amounts of radiation.

“You really won’t know until you get in there and can get a video camera or some device in there to know what really happened,” said Casto.

“How long would that be?” Pelley asked.

“It could take years to understand exactly what happened.”

Today Fukushima is in a safe condition called “cold shutdown.” […]

More from Casto: Top US Nuke Official: Melted core penetrates concrete at 2 inches per hour — No doubt containment is lost during blackout — Manual tells you everything except how to stop it — Mark I worst of all (AUDIO)

See also: Analysis: Melted fuel completely penetrated concrete in under 15 hours at GE Mark I — Shows little decline in speed (CHART)

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How much plutonium does it take
to overdose a person?

Letter from the Atomic Energy Control Board
(followed by comments from CCNR)


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