Monthly Archives: May 2012

From ENENEWS at:

*New Discovery* A Hidden Danger of the Fukushima Daiichi Spent Fuel Pool 4 – Crisis Continues

30-minute Broadcast on Fukushima: “If anything happens, this is not just about the end of Japan, probably start of the end of the world” (VIDEO)

Uploaded by Goldieluvmj
Original by Irving Miller
Published on May 29, 2012

*English subtitles available. Click ‘CC’ button in toolbar of YouTube player.

At 23:00 in

Shin-ichi Sano, Author: The world had not choice but to pay attention.

People have said that we must gather expertises from around the world in order to solve the current problem.

Regarding Fukushima, this has to happen, don’t you think?

Indeed. As you say, there is no time for silly arguments.

If anything happens, this is not just about the end of Japan, probably start of the end of the world.

I would like them to realise that we are in such crisis situation.

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From ENENEWS at:


California TV: Seafood industry CEO advises “stay away bluefin tuna” — Worry that radiation could get worse before it gets better

Radioactive Tuna Raises Concerns in Southern California
KMIR Palm Springs
By Angela Monroe
May 30, 2012

After several radioactive Bluefin tuna crossed the Pacific Ocean and ended up off the southern coast of California, many here in the valley are worried about the safety of our seafood. 


“Really shocked that that could even happen, it’s quite scary,” said Palm Desert resident, Sabine Skelton.


Fisherman’s Market and Grill Restaurants CEO Louis Pagano […] has worked in the fish industry all his life, and has some advice for seafood lovers.

“I’d be careful, stay away Blue Fin tuna for the time being, and at that point I don’t see any hazards in any of the other open ocean large swordfish, salmon, sea bass,” said Pagano.

Some people worry the radiation could get worse before it gets better.


Over a year, later the impacts of the Fukushima meltdown are still swimming towards us.


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From ENENEWS at:

Cyanobacteria and alpha radiation detected 350km from Fukushima Daiichi (VIDEOS)

From the website of Koichi Oyama, Minamisoma City Council:

May 26, 2012 in Toyama, Ishikawa Prefecture

Google Translate

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Goshi Hosono Admits to Harvard Professor: “We Should Have Admitted to a Core Melt Possibility”

Goshi Hosono, as the minister in charge of the nuclear accident, met with the Harvard political professor Michael J. Sandel, to whom Hosono said that his government should have admitted a core melt (meltdown) possibility earlier.

Well, the government actually did, very early, like the very next day of the disaster on March 11, 2011. But the Kan administration quickly replaced the official of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency who spoke about the possible core melt in the press conference at noon on March 12, 2011. So they officially admitted, as if by mistake, in the initial confusion. Then, they were busy backtracking from that statement until several weeks later. Even for those who heard and read about the statement, I don’t think it registered on them as people weren’t as educated about things nuclear at that time as they are now.

For that matter, the government, with Mr. Edano as the spokesman, didn’t officially tell the public that there was an explosion of Reactor 1 on March 12, 2011, until after 5 hours had passed.

Article continues at:

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Bombshell: Japan PM says Japan under nuke dictatorship


If George W. Bush stood up before Congress and told the American people that the petroleum industry were run by secret Stalinists whose goal was to destroy America and the world, it would be less surprising than to have former Prime Minister Naoto Kan say that Japan is ruled by a nuclear industry dictatorship, comparing them to the men who bombed Pearl Harbor and led the nation into a war that left the nation in ruins. Japanese leaders rarely speak so bluntly.

Just as interesting is the apparent treatment of the story by the world media. The Voice of America blog, to my surprise, gave the fullest reporting of the comments. Most media outlets gave truncated versions. Der Spiegel gave some excellent contextual reporting, exposing the breadth of corruption through academia, the press, and the Parliament, but has not yet mentioned Kan’s testimony.

The former Prime Minister of Japan, Naoto Kan, has given striking testimony to Parliament, in which he accepted blame for his own poor response during the Fukushima meltdown, but also attempted to obtain some degree of absolution because of the degree of corruption of the nuclear industry. He also urged Parliament to abandon nuclear power. To my surprise, Voice of America had some of the best coverage, reporting Kan saying:

“TEPCO and the Electric Power Companies of Japan have dominated the nuclear power industry for the last 40 years. Through this nuclear clique and the rules they created, they expelled and isolated industry experts, politicians and bureaucrats who were critical, while the rest just looked on because of self-protection and an attitude of peace-at-any-cost. I’m saying this because I feel partly responsible.”

“This nuclear clique, which has been created by the vested interest, is similar to the former Imperial Japanese military. We have to totally destroy and eradicate the organizational structure of the vested interests and (the) influence it has on the public. I think this should be the first step in reforming the nuclear industry.”

Comparing the nuclear industry to the Imperial Japanese military is to call that industry a fascist state.

Article continues at:

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There’s a new article over at Japan Focus entitled:

A Lesson from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident 福島原発事故の教訓 by Yuki Tanaka
It describes the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami, and meltdowns of FD1, the subsequent hardships for the people of Fukushima, the radiation, the psychological and financial stresses of leaving the prefecture, and the effects of “social discrimination”. It calls for the end of nuclear power in order to prevent a similar disaster form happening in the future.
Read the entire article at:
Article includes the following videos:
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 File this under “Say what??!!!!”

Higher rates for households expected to raise extra ¥190 billion for utility

Panel likely to delay start of 10% price hike by Tepco

Staff writer

Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s hoped-for 10 percent price hike for households will probably not kick in on July 1 because a government panel scrutinizing the plan faces no deadline for reaching a judgement, an official in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Wednesday.

“Tepco would have to officially notify the public of the price hike before July 1, which means the panel would have to approve the hike around June 20,” said METI official Manabu Nabeshima. “The panel has raised various concerns. They are basically concerned that Tepco could do more to cut costs.”

Article continues at:



Radioactive Bluefin Tuna Caught Off Coast Of San Diego

Tests Show Tuna Contained Levels Of Radioactive Substances

SAN DIEGO — Across the vast Pacific, the mighty bluefin tuna carried radioactive contamination that leaked from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant to the shores of the United States 6,000 miles away — the first time a huge migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity such a distance.

“We were frankly kind of startled,” said Nicholas Fisher, one of the researchers reporting the findings online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. But even so, that’s still far below safe-to-eat limits set by the U.S. and Japanese governments.


To rule out the possibility that the radiation was carried by ocean currents or deposited in the sea through the atmosphere, the team also analyzed yellowfin tuna, found in the eastern Pacific, and bluefin that migrated to Southern California before the nuclear crisis. They found no trace of cesium-134 and only background levels of cesium-137 left over from nuclear weapons testing in the 1960s.

The results “are unequivocal. Fukushima was the source,” said Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who had no role in the research.

Read the entire article at:

(h/t NuclearFreePlanet)

More on this over at EX-SKF

Radioactive Cesium of #Fukushima Origin in Pacific Bluefin Tuna Off California Coast

 The researchers from Stanford University, California caught 15 tuna fish off the coast of southern California last August and measured radioactive cesium-134 and -137. Nine months later, it is in the news now that their research paper has finally been published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Neither the Wall Street Journal article below, or Reuters’, mentions the exact numbers for radioactive cesium, but Japan’s Kyodo News does:

Cesium-134: 4 Bq/kg
Cesium-137: 6.3 Bq/kg

Read the entire article (including Wall Street Journal article) at:
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From ENENEWS at:

NHK: Fukushima radiation still circling globe — Levels consistently rise and fall in 40-day cycle (VIDEO)

Radioactive materials spread from Fukushima plant
May 28, 2012

Japanese scientists say radioactive substances from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may have been dispersed all around the globe in about 40 days.A research team led by Akira Watanabe, a Fukushima University professor and meteorologist […] say the overall density is declining, but continues to rise and fall alternately in a 40-day cycle.

They say radioactive materials from the Fukushima plant fell to the ground in various parts of the world, carried by atmospheric air flows, and then gradually decreased.


Watch the video here

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New radiation detectors demonstrated on Fukushima rice

A radiation detecting machine is demonstrated in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, on May 28. (Mainichi)
A radiation detecting machine is demonstrated in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, on May 28. (Mainichi)

KORIYAMA, Fukushima — New machines that can quickly detect radiation in bags of rice were demonstrated on Fukushima-grown rice here on May 28.

Five types of machines were demonstrated, scanning 30 kilogram bags of rice on conveyors. The machines can scan and pass or fail a bag based on the amount of radiation detected in as fast as around five seconds.

Article continues at:

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 Ooops, my bad.

Ex-PM Kan apologizes for not preventing Fukushima disaster

Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan apologized for not having been able to avert the Fukushima nuclear disaster as the then leader of Japan, in his first open hearing by a Diet committee investigating the disaster on May 28.

“The disaster was triggered by a nuclear power plant that was maintained as part of national policy, and the government is predominantly responsible for it. I once again apologize for not having been able to stem the disaster as the person responsible for the country,” Kan testified to the Diet’s Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC) as an unsworn witness.

Article continues at:

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Radioactive Japan: Someone Emailed “Go to Hell” to Shimada City, Shizuoka for Burning Disaster Debris

In tea-growing Shimada City in Shizuka Prefecture where the mayor of the city is in the waste management business, they have started to burn the disaster debris in earnest, now that the test incineration in the state-of-the-art melting furnace was done.

Someone was very unhappy about it, and let the city known in no uncertain terms.


According to the city, the emails were sent from the same address between May 20 and 25, and contained the messages like “How dare you continue burning the debris!” and “Go to hell”.

Not that I have much sympathy for the city government, but it is just one example of how divisive the national government’s continued insistence on the wide-area disposal of disaster debris.

These emails could have also been sent by someone who is pro-incineration, to discredit the opponents.

The Japanese society has become not only radioactive but coarse, where pro-nuclear people and experts and anti-nuke counterparts not only go at each other but also scold or ridicule people in the “middle” who are trying to figure out what’s going on. That middle is not a “silent majority”. It is a silent minority dwindling fast, cowed by attacks from both sides.

Meanwhile, a city that is almost bankrupt in Osaka Prefecture wants to accept non-flammable disaster debris. The city, Izumisano City, desperately needs money.

“It’s all about money, isn’t it? If someone says no at 100 million yen, tell them you will double the money. If he still says no, then triple it. If he still says no, there will be someone else who will take that money anyway” – this is the gist of what Dr. Haruki Madarame of the Nuclear Safety Commission said in 2005 while he was still a professor at Tokyo University.

Dr. Madarame was talking about the nuclear fuel cycle and the final disposal site. It’s the same with the disaster debris disposal, with pro-government researchers and the government money.

 Read the entire article at:

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Diet deliberations on Japan’s new nuclear regulatory agency finally begin

Read the article at:

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TEPCO to Do Endoscopy of Reactor 1 Containment Vessel at #Fukushima, in Late August

 After the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization (JNES) published its analysis that the water level inside the Containment Vessel of Reactor 1 at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant may be only 40 centimeters deep, TEPCO announced the plan to probe inside the Containment Vessel with the endoscope, just as they did for Reactor 2.

Article continues at:


Well, it has hit the trees in Fukushima.

And the soil.

And the earthworms.

And the butterflies and moths, and flies, and their larvae, and cicada, and ants, and grasshoppers and other things that birds eat.

And the birds.

And the other wild animals.

And then it will flow into the rivers.

It will continue to flow from the rivers around Fukushima and into the ocean.

And into the algae.

And into the crustaceans and other smaller fish.

And the bigger fish…

 ⚉ ☢ ⚉ ☢ ⚉ ☢ ⚉ ☢ ⚉ ☢ ⚉

From EX-SKF at:

Radioautograph of Japanese Cypress Leaves from Iitate-mura, Fukushima

Dr. Satoshi Mori of Tokyo University has a radioautograph of Japanese cypress leaves that he took from Iitate-mura in Fukushima Prefecture last year in his blog. He says he cannot help feeling pity for the tree:

From Dr. Mori’s blog (5/24/2012):

as I pressed the leaves and took the radioautograph, I couldn’t help feeling pity for the Japanese cypress that was doused everywhere on the leaves and rachis with radioactivity. This image of irradiation may speak more volumes than the mere numerical information.These seeds would have popped out of the female fruits, landed on the ground, and damaging the chromosomes of their embryo buds from internal radiation exposure and the external radiation exposure from the environment (several microsieverts/hour) they would have entered the germinating period and started cell division.

Any biology researcher would think about inhibition of germination due to chromosome disorders, or malformation even if they germinate. If it were animals, they would be the equivalent of miscarriage, stillbirth, malformation, weak constitution due to immune depression. I’ve already reported on the numerous cases of malformed branches and leaves in Chernobyl.

The radioautograph shows the leaves uniformly sprinkled with radioactive fallout and irradiated.

I asked Dr. Mori about specific example of chromosome disorders. He said there are many types of chromosome disorders, including the following:

  • Normal structures (roots, stems, leaves) may not form because cell division is interrupted and cells become callused.
  • Chloroplast may not form in the leaves, and the plant cannot do photosynthesis (no carbon dioxide assimilation); or mitochondria is not formed, and the plant cannot breathe (no oxygen absorption). In either case, the plant will die.
  • Even if the plant survives, it cannot leave offspring if there is a formation disorder of pollens or ova.
    Read the entire article at:

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So… what is the state of Japan’s forests? And where is all the “cleanup” debris of the trees they are creating in the process? Read the latest from Kanagawa Notebook:

Forests in Japan: Under Attack, and Under Construction


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The Challenge (English subtitles)

This episode from the film Stories from Fukushima by Alain de Halleux tells the story of the Kowata family from Minami Soma, a town at the very edge of the 20km exclusion zone.

Seiko Kowata has moved with her two children to Yamagata, while her husband remains in Minami Soma, working and guarding the family home. Son Kento dreams of returning to Minami Soma and playing football with his friends. Daughter Yuko wants never to return….

Find the video at:


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From ENENEWS at:

Tokyo Reporter: Unit 4 like a “battlefield after being bombed” — Questions Tepco’s promise that it will be OK during big quake

Subscription Only: Rubble hinders decommissioning work at Fukushima No. 4 reactor
AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
May 28, 2012

Mountains of rubble stand in the way of decommissioning the No. 4 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, part of an unprecedented challenge facing Japan to decommission four crippled reactors.


A reporter from the Tokyo Shimbun described the scene on the fourth floor as looking like that of a “battlefield after being bombed.”


“Pipes were severely bent,” the reporter said. “Steel frames were also twisted and rusted. It was hard for me to believe such a thick wall was blown off over a wide area.”


The reporter said he was not entirely reassured by the utility’s promise that the structure will be sturdy enough to remain unscathed in another big quake despite no major, visible damage to the wall near the pool.

“TEPCO said that the pool can withstand a temblor equivalent to the quake last year, but I was not convinced of that,” the reporter said.


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TEPCO to remove unused fuel from No. 4 reactor

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has decided to remove 2 unused fuel rods from a storage pool at the No. 4 reactor to look for damage.

This is in preparation for the removal of a large number of the 1,535 used and unused fuel rods stored in the pool, which could pose a threat in the event of another earthquake.

Tokyo Electric Power Company intends to remove the 2 fuel rods from the pool in July. Removal of unused fuel is not as dangerous as taking out used fuel.

If successful, TEPCO plans to start to remove the remainder of the fuel next year.

Article continues at:

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Fukushima Daiichi’s Unit 4 Spent-Fuel Pool Up Close

By Phred Dvorak

The interior of the No. 4 reactor building is seen at the Tokyo Electric Power Co’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture May 26.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. ispulling out the stops to show a skeptical world that the troubled reactors at Fukushima Daiichi — and in particular the “spent-fuel pool” atop reactor Unit 4 — won’t collapse and spill out radioactive fuel during the next big earthquake.

On Saturday, Tepco let a bunch of journalists, as well as Goshi Hosono, the minister in charge of Fukushima Daiichi cleanup, into the Unit 4 building to take a look for themselves.

Article continues at:

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Yukio Edano Blamed Everyone Else for Fukushima Accident Response, Portrayed Himself as Not Knowing Much

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Fukushima Accident Investigation: It’s Naoto Kan’s Turn to Take the Witness Stand in the Diet Commission


Starting out with some good news. Wonder what’s up with the final quarter… maybe they own too much stock in TEPCO?

Three-quarters of Japanese firms oppose nuclear power

(Reuters) – Nearly three-quarters of Japanese companies support abandoning nuclear power after last year’s Fukushima disaster, although a majority set the condition that alternative energy resources must be secured, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

The poll offers fresh evidence of the deep public distrust of nuclear power, the role of which the government is reconsidering after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that wrecked the Fukushima nuclear plant, triggering a radiation crisis that caused mass evacuations and widespread contamination.


Japan’s biggest business lobby, Keidanren, has voiced worries that a rise in electricity costs due to abandoning nuclear power could prompt Japanese companies to relocate overseas, costing jobs and growth.

Read the entire article at:
Um, may I ask something? 1) Wouldn’t it behoove Japanese companies to cut their electricity usage? Walk though a company and you find wasted energy:  old-fashioned lighting fixtures, machines left on when not in use, and the ever-present vending machines???  2) A rise in electricity costs (even if unnecessary, but that’s for another blog entry) would be an excuse for moving abroad. There are far more important reasons why Japanese companies would/are following the U.S.’s lead in the race to the bottom. 
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Just how tall do red onions get, anyway?
Someone sent Uh-Oh a picture of their onion field. They have one that reached over 80 centimeters in height (about 32 inches). They’re wondering if this is usual or not in Aichi Prefecture. Anyone out there know about red onions?
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 From ENENEWS at:

NYTimes: ‘The Web’ has amplified fears that are helping to undermine assurances by Tepco and the Japanese gov’t that Fukushima Daiichi in stable condition

Concerns Grow About Spent Fuel Rods at Damaged Nuclear Plant in Japan
New York Times
May 26, 2012


Fourteen months after the accident, a pool brimming with used fuel rods and filled with vast quantities of radioactive cesium still sits on the top floor of a heavily damaged reactor building, covered only with plastic.

The public’s fears about the pool have grown in recent months as some scientists have warned that it has the most potential for setting off a new catastrophe


The fears over the pool at Reactor No. 4, amplified over the Web, are helping to undermine assurances by Tepco and the Japanese government that the Fukushima plant has been brought to a stable condition and are highlighting how complicated the cleanup of the site, expected to take decades, will be.


 + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
 Also from the article:
Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat whose state, Oregon, could lie in the path of any new radioactive plumes and who has studied nuclear waste issues, is among those pushing for faster action. After his recent visit to the ravaged plant, Senator Wyden said the pool at No. 4 poses “an extraordinary and continuing risk” and the retrieval of spent fuel “should be a priority given the possibility of further earthquakes.”
      “Some outside experts have also worked to allay fears, saying that the fuel in the pool is now so old that it cannot generate enough heat to start the kind of accident that would allow radioactive material to escape.”

Comment from someone on the Safecast listserv:

    …What a totally bogus statement.  Somehow, although it is a wild leap of the imagination to think this is possible, but somehow the spent fuel in the #4 Pool has now aged to where it is no longer able to generate heat or deteriorate.  Really?  Just how would it do that?
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Plenty of photos over at EX-SKF about the reporters who were able to view Unit 4 of FD1 this week (see:
and video at FukushimaDiary (see:
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From ENENEWS at:

Former Fukushima Daiichi Worker: TEPCO screwed up by admitting it’s preparared to spray concrete on spent fuel — “They are really admitting they know that it might collapse!”

Chris Canine on Unit 4 (Health Physics Technician, Chemist and Radiation Safety Instructor with 15 years experience. He has worked at over 20 plants throughout the United States, Japan and Mexico — including Fukushima #1 and #2 in the late 1970′s) 

May 26, 2012 at 10:24 am

If the building is standing they can spray water on the pool and maintain some kind of cooling, enough to get by, especially now that the pool is cooler than 14 months ago.The concrete mixture idea can only be in response to a fuel pool collapse. So they are really admitting they know that it might collapse!! It is a completely crazy idea, those who have said the building would collapse if sprayed [with concrete-like mixture] in a standing pool are correct. But the idea was only generated if the building falls down on the ground. Then this idea might be better than doing nothing with fuel laying on the ground because it would slow the release of radioactive material. But it would mean that this pile would forever be dangerous and some releases would continue for years.

What a “Hail Mary” this is. TEPCO screwed up by admitting this, there have been several stories the last few days that are illuminating much more.

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Was informed of this site today. Some of the folks who are still homeless after 3.11 make these little elephants out of hand towels. According to Senrinomichi:
By adopting an elephant, you give hope to one or more of the hundreds of thousands of people made homeless following the triple disaster which struck north eastern Japan last March.
 See this link for more information (Japanese only)

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Flawed MIT Study Used To Dismiss Need For Nuclear Disaster Evacuations

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Edano sensed TEPCO intended complete pullout from Fukushima plant

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano said Sunday that it was “clear” that Tokyo Electric Power Co. sought to withdraw all its workers from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant at one point in the early days of the crisis last year, contradicting the utility’s claim that it had no such intention.

Testifying to a Diet-appointed panel investigating the nuclear disaster, Edano, then chief Cabinet secretary, said he remembered Tokyo Electric President Masataka Shimizu “stammer” when he asked him over the phone whether the situation might get out of control if all staff were withdrawn from the plant.

“I do not remember the exchanges of words accurately…But it was clear that the company did not intend to leave some (of the workers),” Edano said at the panel’s hearing, which was open to the public.

The utility known as TEPCO has denied it had any intention of withdrawing all of the workers from the plant and has insisted it was trying to remove some staff not directly involved in handling the nuclear crisis.

May 27, 2012(Mainichi Japan)

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Iran has enough uranium for five nuclear weapons, claims US think tank (26 May 2012)

U.S. reveals it has 5,113 nuclear warheads (2010)

Fukushima Daiichi has enough nuclear material to make this discussion have no practical significance.


Wow! Two positive comments in one week! I’m elated 🙂 (Even typed that happy face and all…) Thanks Iidaruth and “J”.

Guess there are live human beings checking this blog every once in a while. THANK YOU!!!!!!!

Ok, on to the news.

Does anyone really trust the JAEC as far as you could throw their sneaky little selves?

Only invite the folks that are in favor of what YOU want. No opposition. And not keeping records (agendas) of the meetings meant no trail. Slick, eh?

Mainichi uncovers more secret nuclear commission meetings

The Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) held secret “study” meetings on the nuclear fuel cycle project in 2004, internal documents obtained by the Mainichi Shimbun have shown.

The revelations come just days after the Mainichi news team discovered similar secret meetings held over 2011 and early 2012, with the latest on April 24. The government has invested vast sums in the badly delayed nuclear fuel cycle project, which foresees reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel into MOX fuel to be burned in special reactors.

The 2004 meetings, attended only by those in favor of the project, were held on 10 occasions up to April that year, while the JAEC was working out the current atomic power policy outline.

JAEC Chairman Shunsuke Kondo is quoted in one of the documents as telling attendees at a January 2004 meeting that the panel would immediately stop such meetings if they came to light, demonstrating the commission’s desire to cover up the secret discussions, which documents now show had been going on for some eight years.

Kondo denied that he had said the secret sessions would be stopped if they were exposed.

“We did hold study sessions, but we never distributed a list of issues on the agenda. Instead, we only studied examples of nuclear power policy overseas, and there’s no problem with that. I never made such a remark (about halting the sessions), but I told attendees to be careful.”

 Article continues at:

And a nice little editorial on this, again from Mainichi at:

Yoroku: Dismantling the ‘black boxes’ of Japanese nuclear power

Japan’s nuclear safety administration, which downplayed the risks of a serious nuclear disaster and failed to take measures against a massive tsunami and loss of power, is responsible for bringing these troublesome black boxes into existence. It’s only natural that the nuclear policymaking process dominated by the “nuclear village” — the name given to the nation’s pro-nuclear collection of politicians, bureaucrats, academics, and utilities — has come to be looked upon with great suspicion.

Now, another black-box scandal in nuclear policymaking has emerged…

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Speaking of smelling fishy, here’s another little item.

What is the definition of “conflict of interest”?

According to Business Ethics at

“We can define a conflict of interest as a situation in which a person has a private or personal interest sufficient to appear to influence the objective exercise of his or her official duties as, say, a public official, an employee, or a professional.”

Source: Chris MacDonald, Michael McDonald, and Wayne Norman, “Charitable Conflicts of Interest”, Journal of Business Ethics 39:1-2, 67-74, August 2002. (p.68)

Today’s assignment, class, is to discuss the possible conflict of interest in the following report of the CHAIRMAN of NHK’S board of Governors taking a position as outside director of TEPCO.

Get it?

Test tomorrow.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

NHK Chairman Sudo set to quit, focus on Tepco


Fumio Sudo, chairman of NHK’s Board of Governors, said he will step down to focus on his upcoming role as outside director of Tokyo Electric Power Co.

News photo
On the move: Fumio Sudo, NHK Board of Governors chairman, announces his intention to step down during a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday. He will become an outside director of Tepco.KYODO

Sudo, a consultant at JFE Holdings Inc., has faced criticism because his plan to double as Tepco outside director and chairman of NHK’s top decision-making body opened up questions about the neutrality of reporting by the public broadcaster.

 Article continues at:

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Retraction? /  Clarification? / EX-SKF’s right on it.

Telephone Game for Nth Time: How “Fukushima’s cesium contamination amounts to four Chernobyls” Came About (It’s False, BTW)

I’ve lost track of how many telephone games there have been since March last year (here’s one, I wrote more in Japanese blog), but here’s the latest, and again it happened thanks to an English article written by a writer working for an English paper published by a Japanese newspaper. This time, it’s Yomiuri’s turn.

Here’s Yomiuri Japanese on TEPCO’s report of 900,000 terabequerels released from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant (part; 5/24/2012):


The total amount of radioactive materials released into the environment from Reactors 1 through 3 (iodine equivalence) is estimated to be 900,000 terabequerels (1 terabecquerel is 1 trillion becquerels), 1.2 to 1.9 times as much as the government’s estimates.

The Japanese reporter correctly notes the number is iodine equivalence.

Here’s Daily Yomiuri, Yomiuri’s English paper, reporting on the same TEPCO report, but with a different focus (part below; 5/24/2012). It is not the translation of the Japanese article but its original article, focusing more on the difference between TEPCO’s estimate and NISA’s estimate. It also focuses only on iodine and cesium-137:

TEPCO combined the two methods and repeated its calculations under different conditions. It reached a final estimate of 400,000 terabecquerels of iodine-131 and 360,000 terabecquerels of cesium-137.

The amount of radioactive substances discharged in the Chernobyl accident in 1986 was 5.2 million terabecquerels.

Not just in the above quote but nowhere in the Daily Yomiuri article does the writer says the number for cesium-137 is iodine equivalence. Either the writer assumes the readers would know the numbers are iodine equivalence, or he/she didn’t know how these numbers were calculated. I suppose you can infer that by looking at the number for the Chernobyl accident, but without the breakdown of the Chernobyl numbers you wouldn’t necessarily realize that Chernobyl number is also iodine equivalence (which it is).

The number for cesium-137 itself, 360,000, is not what TEPCO reported either. TEPCO said “10,000 terabecquerels of cesium-137 times 40 to get the iodine equivalence of 400,000 terabecquerels” for INES evaluation.

But the English sites that read Daily Yomiuri’s article (but not necessarily TEPCO’s press release) naturally compared the numbers this way:

Cesium-137 released from Fukushima: 360,000 terabecquerels
Cesium-137 released from Chernobyl: 85,000 terabecquerels

without realizing the Fukushima number is iodine equivalence, and the Chernobyl number isn’t. Thus the headlines like “Cesium-137 contamination: Fukushima amounts to four Chernobyls” at RT, for example.

But without the 40x multiplier on Fukushima, the numbers are (I use the correct number, 10,000 which would be 400,000 with 40x multiplier):

Cesium-137 released from Fukushima: 10,000 terabecquerels
Cesium-137 released from Chernobyl: 85,000 terabecquerels

Or with the 40x multiplier on Chernobyl to get iodine equivalence, the numbers are:

Cesium-137 released from Fukushima: 400,000 terabecquerels
Cesium-137 released from Chernobyl: 3,400,000 terabecquerels

As one of the readers of the blog commented, the meme, however false, that Fukushima contamination is 4 times worse than Chernobyl seems to have taken a life of its own and is spreading. It’s doubly ironic that it is all thanks to Yomiuri Shinbun, pro-nuke establishment newspaper whose owner Matsutaro Shoriki did all he could to bring about a nuclear Japan and succeeded.

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From ENENEWS at:

Asahi: ‘Major problems’ with radiation testing for children

Subscription Only: Fukushima municipalities forced to go it alone on radiation testing
AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
May 24, 2012


Even if tests are conducted properly, there are still major problems with the reliability of some results. At a meeting of officials of municipal governments and hospitals responsible for WBC checkups and experts at the Fukushima Medical University on April 23, issues with the reliability of tests on young people were discussed.

Although children, who are believed to be more vulnerable to radiation than adults, are being prioritized, the equipment is not designed for them.

Ryugo Hayano, professor of atomic physics at the University of Tokyo who took part in the meeting, said: “WBCs were originally developed for adults. So it is difficult to measure (radiation levels of) small children accurately. We are now studying better methods.”


Earlier in the article, data is reported for tests conducted in Fukushima Prefecture during March 2012:

Cesium above detection limit

  • Adults: 9.9%
  • Children: 0.8%

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Did I miss the answer to her question?

Tepco has no clue for the worst senario of SFP4.mp4

(h/t FukushimaDiary)

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From ENENEWS at:


Mayor: “We are definitely suffering from radiation exposure in our bodies” and want health care — Just 2% of Fukushima residents have had radiation testing by gov’t

Subscription Only: Fukushima municipalities forced to go it alone on radiation testing
AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
May 24, 2012


a shortage of machines to carry out the checks means that thousands of people are still waiting for reassurance.


Many others have struggled to get tests. The Fukushima prefectural government started WBC checks in June 2011, focusing mainly on evacuees. However, the prefecture had to ask them to travel to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s office in neighboring Ibaraki Prefecture and other distant facilities with the appropriate equipment.

In late 2011, it introduced a fleet of vehicle-mounted WBCs that has now increased to six, and by the end of March 2012, a total of 32,000 people, or about 2 percent of the prefecture’s population, had received the prefectural WBC checkups.


“We, the Namie town government, bought a WBC by ourselves because the central government is late in dealing with this health issue. We are definitely suffering from radiation exposure in our bodies, and we want to implement appropriate health checkups for our residents,” [Namie Mayor Tamotsu Baba] said.


In order to measure radiation levels in human bodies accurately, radiation levels in the surrounding environment should be low, but the radiation level in Nihonmatsu city ranges from 0.1 to 0.5 microsievert per hour.

“That level is not low. But we were unable to secure an appropriate place,” said a Namie town government official.


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No “lean” on the property?

Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 4 Bldg Is Not Tilting, Says TEPCO with Data

TEPCO released the 17-page summary of its survey of the Reactor 4 building, as if to respond to the allegations by the experts foreign and domestic that the reactor building is “tilting” and on the verge of collapse. It is only in Japanese right now. (Well that was when I was writing the post. Now they have an unofficial English version. But since it took me long time to put English labels, I’ll present the Japanese version with my labels anyway.)

According to the summary, TEPCO did both the horizontal and vertical measurements, looked for cracks larger than 1 millimeter-wide, and did the non-destructive inspection using Schmidt hammer.

The result of the horizontal measurements have already been published.

The company says one location on the west wall near the elevator shaft has a bulge (33 millimeters), but all the measurement points were well within the spec of the Building Standards Act.

Problem of course is that there is no independent confirmation of the data.

Article continues at:

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 The link below might not show the video on this blog, so please go over to EX-SKF and watch it there or at 

Fukushima I Nuke Plant Press Tour 5/26/2012 by IWJ USTREAM

Yasumi Iwakami’s IWJ has started the USTREAM channel of the tour earlier today, ahead of Nico Nico.

A reporter from Al-Jazeera and a cameraman from Germany’s ZDF are there.

Nico Nico will start shortly, at this link:

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Tsunami-carried motorbike to be shown in US

A motorcycle that was carried away by last year’s tsunami and washed ashore on the western coast of Canada will be shown to the public at a museum in the United States.

The Harley-Davidson motorcycle was found by Canadian Peter Mark last month on a beach on Queen Charlotte Island, about 6,500 kilometers from Japan.

The vehicle’s license plate helped to identify the owner, 29-year-old Ikuo Yokoyama. He lives in a coastal area of Miyagi Prefecture that was devastated by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.

The US manufacturer of the bike had said it will restore the vehicle free of charge and send it back to its Japanese owner.

But the company decided to preserve the bike as it is after the owner expressed the wish that his vehicle will be used to help remind people of the disaster.

The bike will be transferred from the Canadian city of Vancouver to the Harley-Davidson Museum in the US city of Milwaukee.

The company says it will invite the finder of the bike and its owner when it displays the vehicle in the museum.

The Canadian finder told NHK that he understands what the owner wants to do and that showing the bike to many people is a good idea.

May 26, 2012 – Updated 00:01 UTC (09:01 JST)


More on the pediatrician in Koriyama who is trying to do something to help the children who are being exposed to low levels of radiation in that city.

After the earthquake, children feared aftershocks and clung to their mother whenever they felt tremors. Some children stayed close to their mothers all day. The Japanese government recommended the citizens of Fukushima to stay home with the windows and doors closed to avoid radiation exposure. Due to a gasoline shortage, people were unable to use their cars and were obliged to stay home all day, anxious about the present and the future. This drastic change of lifestyle was reflected in children’s facial expressions, behaviors and physical conditions. The authors of this article were afraid that many children would develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Therefore, we consulted Dr. Hisako Watanabe, a child psychiatrist at Keio University Hospital, about the problems in Koriyama. Her advice was to secure a place where children could feel safe, and to take action to prevent them from developing PTSD.


Although we survived the earthquake and its immediate and short-term aftermath, it has been a challenging time. Our success in the face of this adversity can be attributed to two factors. First, we had prepared for a large-scale disaster by establishing the baseball stadium as a primary evacuation facility and holding regular emergency drills at KMCH. Those facilities were our operations center during this disaster. Second, members of the medical association had a good relationship with each other and also with the administration. During this sudden crisis, mutual support and collaboration led to greater success. We again underlined the importance of disaster preparation and setting up a network of daily cooperation. We are now fighting against persistent low-level radiation; the solution has not yet been discovered. Although we had not prepared at all for large-scale radiation exposure, the presence of a child support center provided us a base for the promotion of activities to protect children. The solidarity of various groups working for children will improve the situation for the children of Koriyama.

The above was published in an article in the Keio Journal of Medicine which can be found at:

The Medical Association Activity and Pediatric Care after the Earthquake Disaster in Fukushima

Shintaro Kikuchi1,3 and Tatsuo Kikuchi2,3

1Koriyama City Post-disaster Childcare Project, Fukushima, Japan

2Koriyama Medical Association, Fukushima, Japan

3Kikuchi Pediatric Clinic, Fukushima, Japan

(Received for publication on December 14, 2011) (Revised for publication on January 12, 2012) (Accepted for publication on January 12, 2012)

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Report regarding the number of deaths due to illnesses in “Fukushima children” Changes since the Fukushima accident based on the government’s vital statistics data.

By Seiichi Nakate,  Fukushima Network for Saving Children from Radiation

The number of deaths due to “cardiovascular diseases” has doubled.  (This number includes cardiovascular deaths of children with congenital heart abnormalities.)  This has not been seen in other prefectures which suffered damages from the earthquake/tsunami disaster.  There are also increases in infectious diseases, cancer and leukemia, and pneumonia.

Check out the article and others on this site. Will add to the Blogroll!
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From ENENEWS at:

“Impossibly High”: WHO’s initial report estimated Tokyo AND Osaka infant thyroid dose at 10 to 100 millisieverts — Up to 1 full sievert in Namie

Subscription Only: Tokyo says WHO overestimated Fukushima disaster radiation doses
Asahi AJW
May 24, 2012


In its report, the WHO [World Health Organization] said residents living near the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant northeast of Tokyo were exposed to whole-body doses of between 10 and 50 millisieverts


“The WHO estimates deviate considerably from reality,” said one anxious Japanese government source. “If those figures are taken at face value, that may spread disquiet and confusion among the Japanese public.”


“Overall, (the latest WHO figures) are overestimates,” said Yoshio Hosoi, a professor of radiology at Hiroshima University’s Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine. “In particular, they have sharply overestimated the doses of external exposure and food-derived exposure,” he said.

But the Japanese government’s System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI), which is designed to forecast the spread of radioactive substances, did produce larger thyroid gland dose estimates for 1-year-old infants in some districts of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture.

In that case, the WHO estimates “probably mostly reflect reality,” Hosoi said.


Initial Estimate

The WHO began compiling the dose estimation report last summer. Its first draft, which appeared last November, startled one Japanese government official.

The draft report estimated the whole-body doses for 1-year-old infants at 10-100 millisieverts in Namie and 1-10 millisieverts in Tokyo and Osaka.

The thyroid gland dose estimates for 1-year-old infants were 300-1,000 millisieverts in Namie and elsewhere and 10-100 millisieverts in Tokyo and Osaka.

Tokyo sent health ministry officials to the WHO headquarters and went through diplomatic channels to call for revisions.

“The figures are just impossibly high,” a government official said at the time. “If they are released, that will not only arouse unnecessary anxiety among the Japanese public but also serve as negative publicity.”

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TEPCO: 2-1/2 Times More Fukushima Radiation Released Than Previously Announced

– Common Dreams staff

The nuclear meltdowns at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant released at least 2-1/2 times more radiation than Japan’s government had announced last year, the company responsible for the disaster said in a Tokyo news conference today.

TEPCO: 2-1/2 Times More Fukushima Radiation Released Than Previously Announced.

The severely damaged Fukushima Unit 4TEPCO, set to be nationalizedin July in exchange for a Japanese government bailout, estimated meltdowns at three Fukushima reactors released about 900,000 terabecquerels of radioactive substances into the air during March. The total radiation release at the Chernobyl accident was estimated to be about 5.2 million terabecquerels.

 Article continues at: 

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From ENENEWS at:

“Fukushima amounts to four Chernobyls” of cesium-137 contamination — “It still seems to be just an effort to downplay the real scale of the event”

Follow-up to: Tepco estimates total cesium-137 release from Fukushima at 360,000 terabecquerels — 4 times higher than Chernobyl’s 85,000 terabecquerels

Cesium-137 contamination: Fukushima amounts to four Chernobyls
Russia Today
May 24, 2012

TEPCO’s new estimates suggest that its Fukushima reactor has released more than quadruple the amount of radioactive cesium-137 leaked during the Chernobyl disaster. But the method used to measure the damage may undervalue the hazard even further.

[…] it still seems to be just an effort to downplay the real scale of the event.

The report goes on to compare Fukushima with the Chernobyl accident of 1986, where it says 5,200,000 TBq of “radioactive substances” were leaked into the atmosphere.

The problem is that TEPCO only counts the amount of iodine-131 and cesium-137 leaked from the Fukushima reactor, and compares them to the whole range of isotopes that were discharged at Chernobyl.

And if compared properly, the numbers tell a different story.


Regarding the emission of cesium-137, Fukushima is far ahead its rival. Post-Fukushima estimations suggest that Chernobyl put out a total of 85,000 TBq of caesium-137 over the course of the disaster. The Fukushima reactor, however, has so far released 360,000 TBq of cesium-137, according to TEPCO.


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Hard lessons for U.S. nuclear safety from Fukushima meltdown

By Daniel P. Aldrich, Special to CNN

May 25, 2012 — Updated 0126 GMT (0926 HKT)
the meltdowns in Fukushima have punctured any “100% safe” myths that had survived Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Engineers and planners need to show humility when talking about risks to an ever-more-skeptical public

Read the entire article at:

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This blog is rated G (for all audiences), so I will refrain from calling these people the names that are floating in my head at the moment.

Atomic commission chief admits attendance at secret session on nuclear fuel cycle

Shunshuke Kondo, chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), attended a closed-door meeting on a review of the nation’s nuclear fuel cycle policy on Dec. 8 last year, according to memos obtained by the Mainichi Shimbun.

The revelation comes after the JAEC was found to have held closed-door “study” sessions with only pro-nuclear members in attendance. The JAEC held such secret sessions over more than 20 occasions, and an official of the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, which is in charge of research and development of fast-breeder reactors, also participated.

Article continues at:

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Researchers now predict 70 percent chance of major Tokyo quake within 30 years

The probability of a magnitude-7 earthquake directly hitting the Tokyo metropolitan area within 30 years is 70 percent, a new calculation by University of Tokyo researchers has shown.

Researchers including members of the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute recalculated the probability based on the latest seismic data. They concluded that the probability of a magnitude 7-level earthquake striking directly below the Tokyo metropolitan area is “70 percent within 30 years,” starting from January this year.

Article continues at:

FYI, there was a 3.6 50 km directly beneath Tokyo’s Ward 23 this afternoon at 16:27.

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Radiation didn’t cause Fukushima No. 1 deaths: U.N.

Jiji, AP

Radiation exposure was not responsible for the deaths of six workers helping to contain the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, a U.N. committee said in a preliminary assessment Wednesday.


Thank you, J. I’m encouraged by your comments. And I REEEEEALY appreciate hearing from a reader. Gets lonely out here in Blogland sometimes.

Ok, will hang in there.

At times, will do a bit more commentating than in the past year.

For example, today’s tidbit. Went a bit early to the cafeteria where I work so that I could get in line. Everything they were serving was pork, pork, pork. Hmm, maybe not a good choice right now?

[Cesium level in Fukushima pork exceeds safety standard]

Oh, I know. That’s up in Koriyama (Fukushima). And they won’t sell it now that cesium has been detected, so no need to worry. Uh-huh.

A few months back I remember seeing the cafeteria offering fish from Sanriku. Hmmm, maybe another not-a-good choice?

Glad that I am a lacto-ovo-pullus-pescitarian who is cutting back on the pescitarian part. 

A friend recently said, “Yeah, but there are chemicals in everything. There’s no way you can play it 100% safe. You might not choose vegetables from China or Tohoku, but whatever you eat has had pesticides sprayed on it, chemical fertilizer, irradiated citrus fruit from the U.S., and so on. In today’s world, it’s inescapable.”

True. I just figure that if by not buying certain things I am taking one more bullet out of the Russian Roulette game I play every day with my food. ‘Zat bad?

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Next in today’s headlines:

TEPCO: 900,000 TBq emitted from Fukushima plant

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant estimates that 900,000 terabecquerels of radioactive material have been emitted from the facility.


It estimates that 900,000 terabecquerels of iodine-131 and cesium-137 were released from the plant since the accident.

The figure is 50 percent to 80 percent higher than those released separately by the Nuclear Safety Commission and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, but less than 20 percent of the amount emitted after the Chernobyl accident.

Can’t wrap me wee brain around this. How big is 900,000 TERABEQUERELS?

“Well, we don’t know, but at least it’s less than 20% released at Chernobyl. “

Why is it the MSM has to put this last comment in the article? To drive home the “fact” that the three melt-THROUGHS at FD1 – which are still spewing radiation – is somehow not as bad as the accident as Chernobyl?? They are both ongoing and devastating to the children, the local people, the farmers, the wildlife, and the rest of the planet.

[see also:TEPCO puts radiation release early in Fukushima crisis at 900,000 TBq with its very own phrase, “but far lower than the 5.2 million TBq believed to have been discharged in the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.”]

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Also criminal.

Utilities milking homes; Tepco eyes higher hike

Unlike large-lot users, households have no bargaining power for alternative power sources

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These mothers deserve a lot of respect.

TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2012

Kitakyushu City Hall on May 23: Mothers vs City Officials

First, young mothers with small children (photo from @mama_jp):

The sign says, “Adults should protect the future of children. We’re against disaster debris burning. Protect Kyushu for Japan.”

Professor Yukio Hayakawa’s tweet was: “Mothers in Kitakyushu, have they all gone nuts?”

On his May 23 blog, he proclaimed, “This day will be long recorded as the day when the discrimination against Tohoku has started.”

He probably has not seen this picture of Kitakyushu City officials blocking the passage (photo from @Saikeman):

If he did, he may highly approve of the high-handed way the Kitakyushu City officials have treated the whole issue – from not bothering to tell anyone (residents, neighboring cities) to laughing at the protesters to calling the police to disperse the protesters yesterday. The professor is recommending that Kitakyushu City declare independence from the rest of Japan if the residents want to keep out the disaster debris.

Read the entire article at:

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UN Committee: “6 Deaths at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant Have Nothing to Do with Radiation”

That’s the conclusion of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR). TEPCO and the Japanese government have said as much already.
Article continues at:
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Concerns focus on Fukushima unit stability
May 23, 2012

Whether a pool where spent fuel is stored at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant could withstand another strong earthquake has become a source of growing concern.The concerns among activists, experts and politicians focus on Unit 4, which contains most of the plant’s spent fuel not stored in dry, hardened storage casks, Stars and Stripes reported.

After the 9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami, an investigative report by the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, an independent think tank started to investigate the causes of the plant disaster, cited among risks a loss of cooling water in Unit 4.


public trust in Tepco remains low, Stars and Stripes said, and calls for more efforts to empty and secure Unit 4 continue in Japan and beyond.