Day 378 Oh no, you don’t!

Hamaoka nuclear plant operator to review new reactor plan

NAGOYA, March 24, Kyodo

The operator of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant is reviewing a plan to build a sixth reactor there and has dropped mention of a time frame for starting it up in a report it will shortly submit to the government, company sources said Saturday.

Chubu Electric Power Co. has found it difficult to give any time frame regarding the new reactor at a time when many utilities have shelved plans to build new nuclear units nationwide in the wake of the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the sources said.

The utility announced a plan in 2008 to build a sixth reactor at the Hamaoka plant in Shizuoka Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo. It has said the envisioned new plant would start operating in around 2020 in every annual report submitted to the government since on its power supply plan.

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Oi reactors pass stress test, safety panel says


Staff writer

The Nuclear Safety Commission approved on Friday the results of the first-stage stress test for two reactors at the Oi power plant in Fukui Prefecture, clearing another key condition for bringing them back online.

The brief approval meeting sparked outrage among the nuclear foes present.

The Friday approval is the first from the safety commission, a government nuclear advisory body, for the stress tests now being conducted by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, the country’s main nuclear regulatory body under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

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5 excellent articles today from EX-SKF. Please click on the links to read the entire stories:

1.4 Million Bq/Kg of Radioactive Cesium in Swallow’s Nest in Okuma-Machi, Fukushima

The Ministry of the Environment, whose mandate also includes protection of animals, says “There is no effect on humans” if one stays away far enough.

What about the birds, having grown up in a nest with 1.4 million becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium with 2.6 microsieverts/hour surface radiation?

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1,640 Millisieverts/Hr Radiation in #Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 2 Bldg

When Quince the robot entered the reactor building to measure the radiation levels on the 1st floor of Reactor 2 building, the radiation levels were in 2 digits.

Now, carbon-based colleagues of Quince (TEPCO and Toshiba) entered the same building, and they got to detect 1,640 millisieverts/hour (or 1.64 sievert/hour) radiation on the second floor.

TEPCO and Toshiba employees entered the Reactor 2 building to conduct the survey in preparation for installing the thermometers to replace the current ones that are failing fast. The survey was done on March 15, 16, 21 (this may be Quince only), and 22.

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Recovery and Recontruction Marathon in High-Radiation Minami Soma City in Fukushima on March 25, Featuring Elementary School Boys and Girls

If you thought the women’s “ekiden” road race that took place in Fukushima City last year was bad, you haven’t seen this thing.
Minami Soma City, where one of the “black dusts” found on the road surfaces throughout the city has3.43 million becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium (and who knows what else), will hold a marathon and “ekiden” road race in the city to show to the world the recovery and reconstruction of Minami Soma City. Unlike the women’s road race in Fukushima City where the youngest girls who could enter the race were 13-year olds, the Minami Soma marathon event will have elementary school kids running the 2-kilometer course.

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“Money” Is the National Government’s Official “Policy” on Wide-Area Disposal of Disaster Debris

As Chugoku Shinbun reports (3/24/2012) on the meeting between the Shimane Prefecture officials and the Ministry of the Environment, as long as money from the national government is coming to them the local governments will stop worrying.

Why is the Shimane prefectural government pressuring the municipalities in Shimane to accept disaster debris? The prefectural government doesn’t want to miss out on the gravy train, but it has to beg the municipalities probably because the prefectural government does not have the incineration plant of its own.

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Hong Kong to Resume Import of Meat, Eggs from Fukushima and Other Affected Areas

Hong Kong will resume importing the meat and eggs from Fukushima Prefecture and 4 other prefectures in Kanto most affected by the nuclear fallout.

Why? Because there will be an official government piece of paper accompanying the meat, attesting the safety from radiation contamination. Bureaucrats will be bureaucrats, whether it’s Japan or Hong Kong. Formality is all that matters.

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Bystanders who assist in emergency first aid may be covered by insurance

The Tokyo Fire Department announced on March 23 that it is considering a new insurance system that would cover the medical expenses of bystanders who assist with first aid in emergencies.

If the system, which has been temporarily named “Bystander Insurance,” is approved, it will be implemented in April 2013, becoming the first of its kind in Japan.

The move is part of the fire department’s efforts to promote public participation in first aid in cases of natural disasters or accidents, officials said. Despite various measures to improve public assistance, over the past five years bystanders have helped administer first aid in only 2 percent of medical emergencies.

According to a fire department survey conducted on Tokyo residents last August, 18.8 percent of respondents said that the reason why they were not willing to assist with first aid was “likelihood of being held responsible in case of failed treatment.” Another common answer was, “fear of infection and other potential risks,” which accounted for 9.4 percent of responses.

Under the Fire and Disaster Management Act, the government is responsible for covering all medical expenses of people who contract infections or suffer other health consequences when giving first aid. In cases where such a person sees a doctor after helping give first aid and no health abnormalities are detected, however, he or she must bear the cost of the checkup themselves.

If the new system is implemented, it will cover medical checkup expenses regardless of whether infections had or had not been detected. It may further cover lawsuit fees resulting from failed first aid attempts, sources say.

(Mainichi Japan) March 24, 2012

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Japan draws up plan for severe nuclear accidents

Japan’s nuclear agency has compiled a basic plan on regulating power plant operators to prevent serious accidents beyond anything assumed probable.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency formulated its view after consulting with scientists on preventing severe accidents. The view is to be incorporated into new safety regulations after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The document says accidents that lie outside one’s assumptions could occur.

It calls for measures at each stage of severe accident, such as damage to nuclear fuel rods and the release of a large amount of radioactive substances.

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Asahi Interview: Official radiation measurements are wrong — Contaminated soil removed near monitoring post — Radioactivity now many times lower


Follow-up to: Author, farmer expose manipulation of radiation data — “Employees wash monitoring post by high-pressure water and changed the whole soil”

Title: Fukushima farmer says government got it all wrong
Source: AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
Date: March 24, 2012

Nobuyoshi Ito […] 68-year-old former systems engineer […] is now determined to prove that official radiation measurements are not only wrong, but that the government’s decontamination project is futile. […]

Iitate was particularly unfortunate as wind swept the radioactive plume released from the crippled reactors directly toward the village. As it passed overhead on March 15, it rained, pelting radioactive particles onto fields, forests and valleys, “fixing” them into the ground. […]

As soon as the snow and frost had melted, he planted sample batches of rice, cabbage, radish, corn and other vegetables in the contaminated fields and contacted several universities to see if they would help him measure levels once the crops were harvested. All refused. […]

He is also concerned that the local government is trying to play down radiation levels in the village in a bid to encourage people to return. According to his regular measurements, someone working outdoors on a farm for eight hours a day would receive 29 millisieverts a year of radiation, well over the international average of 1 millisievert. Ito says the soil has been removed near the town hall’s monitoring post, used for official figures on radiation levels in the town. Before it was removed, the monitor showed levels that were a third or half of what Ito was measuring. Now they are more than 10 times lower. […]

Read the in-depth report here

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Evacuated Fukushima students say tearful goodbyes as temporary lodgings close

Hikaru Niitsuma, second from right, and other evacuated students wipe away tears as they exchange good-byes after a closing ceremony at the BumB Tokyo Sports Bunka-kan in Tokyo's Koto Ward on March 23. (Mainichi)

Hikaru Niitsuma, second from right, and other evacuated students wipe away tears as they exchange good-byes after a closing ceremony at the BumB Tokyo Sports Bunka-kan in Tokyo’s Koto Ward on March 23. (Mainichi)

Students from Fukushima Prefecture have bid a final farewell to the Tokyo facility that has been their home away from home since their evacuation from nuclear disaster-affected areas.

The BumB Tokyo Sports Bunka-kan in Tokyo’s Koto Ward wrapped up its mission on March 23 to accommodate students forced to leave regions worst-hit by the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

During a closing ceremony on the same day, the last 11 students at the facility exchanged teary good-byes. At one point, some 30 students were living there.

“It seemed long but short. I will definitely study hard,” said Hikaru Niitsuma, a 17-year-old from Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, now studying at Adachi Technical High School in Tokyo’s Adachi Ward.

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Mystery of lost Fukushima radiation emails ‘a major cover-up’

The Fukushima Prefecture government apparently deleted emails with reports on data vital to safely evacuate people from that area, according to fresh appeared revelations. But as Pepe Escobar told RT, it is unlikely Japan will investigate.

It appears that in March 2011 the Fukushima Prefecture requested the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to send emails with the radiation data registered in the first five days after devastating tsunami.

The System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI), which was responsible for analysis, sent emails to Fukushima Prefecture government, but they have all disappeared.

There are two possible versions as to might have happened. The first is that officials deleted files because they took too much space on the server. The second, that the prefecture’s government deleted the emails while analyzing them.

“At the time, everything was in a state of confusion. We can’t confirm who deleted the emails,” an official at the prefecture’s disaster management  headquarters said, as cited by

“It sounds, it looks…like a major cover up,” journalist Pepe Escobar told RT. He added it does not take much “to solve this mystery.”

“You need one IT-guy. You send this IT-guy to the Ministry of Education, to the Nuclear Safety Tech in Tokyo and to the Fukushima Prefectural headquarters for disaster response. You will find who sent these emails, who received these emails, because there are logs for all this operations.” 

However, Escobar says, it is unlikely Japanese authorities will ever investigate the case – “everyone will bow and nothing will be solved.”

And the reason is in what Escobar calls the “cultural element”. 

“Japan is really ritualistic and secretive society.” And “considering the fact that nobody in Japan wants to lose face over a monster disaster like Fukushima,” he says, he is not sure “anything is going to happen.”

When asked why they never shared it with local governments or the public, the Fukushima prefecture authorities said they did not release the data because it was the job of the national government to give the data to the public and local governments.

And the excuse that emails were deleted because of lack of space on servers, Escobar says, is “probably for the late ’80s – early ’90s, but not for 2012.”

Anyway, “it is up to Japanese public opinion to ask questions,” Escobar concluded.


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