April 1, Friday

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The fourth week after the shock starts !

three weeks later -
nothing can erase
these memories

. Remember March 11, 2011, 14:46  

March eleven -
what is the half-life
of our memory ? 

Today is no day for April fools!


Gabi reports:

It is now three weeks since the great earthquake, tsunami and reactor crises.

Many forums and BLOGs have taken up the earthquake, and especially the Fukushima accident.

Here is the Wikipedia Timeline to follow
with further links to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami

source : Wikipedia Timeline

. . . . .

Yesterday NHK reported that not all workers at the plant had been provided with individual radiation monoitors, as provided by law. TEPCO made excuses ...
. March 31, 2011 - 19:37  

. . . . .

A parcel bomb exploded at an office of a nuclear power industry association in Olten, Switzerland, injuring 2 employees. Swiss has five nuclear plants.

. . . . .

They salvaged a measuring device from the bottom of the sea off Miyagi, close to where the quake originated. It showed that the plate had moved 5 meters up ... which is much more than expected. This caused the huge tsunami.

. . . . .

Matsushima ya

The town itself did not get such a high tsunami, because of the many islands and small entry to the inlay. Still the oyster industry is down to zero. The huge aquarium lost many animals because they could not provide clean water, since many pumps were damaged. Some animals also perished in the salt water.
But the buildings of the famous temples are not damaged.
Now the town tries to get back to its feet until April 28, when the long holiday of the "Golden Week" starts in Japan. The first floor of most shops was covered with mud about 1 meter high and everything is destroyed, but the cleaning efforts are enormous.
Many of the cruising ships are safe and others can be repaired.
Matsushima tries to bring back life to the region, which should spread from here along to the other parts of the devastated coast of Tohoku.
Cheers to the spirit of Matsushima !

Another large aquarium in Iwaki town, about 40 km south of the Fukushima plant, lost most of its fish because they could not provide fresh water and steady temperatures after the earthquake. Larger animals have been evaquated to other zoos and are fine. The building itself moved on a slab of concrete, and they hope to rebuild it soon, to bring some "light for Iwaki Town". いわき市水族館

. . . . .

taron タロン talon, the robot

Hopefully this robot will be able to provide necessary information, measure radiation and spray water where it is needed in the damaged Fukushima plant.

The water plant in Iidate 飯舘村 showed lower levels of radiation, in the safe range.

The atomic power plant near Matsue is revising its plans. In case of evacuation within a range of 20 km, the whole town of Matsue would have to be evacuated ... just imagine that.

. Matsue and Lafcadio Hearn

. . . . . at 19:49
Earthquake M 5.1 in North Akita


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Friday, April 01, 2011 05:09
Tsunami footage of Fukushima thermal plant posted
Video footage of the March 11th tsunami, apparently taken by someone at a thermal power plant in Fukushima prefecture, has been posted on YouTube.
The video was apparently taken from inside the Tohoku Electric Power Company's Haramachi thermal plant in Minamisoma City.
The video shows the crest of tsunami waves approaching from offshore, while emergency alarms ring in the building. The tsunami then reaches the grounds of the plant.
The one-and-a-half minute video ends with a scene of workers running away.
The plant caught fire on the day of the massive quake. Three days later, another fire broke out after leaked heavy oil ignited.
The power plant is located about 25 kilometers north of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
. . . . . and
Caution advised on aftershocks and tsunami
Japan's Meteorological Agency advises continued caution due to powerful aftershocks 3 weeks after a magnitude 9.0 quake hit Japan.
Sixteen aftershocks with the intensity of 5 or higher on the Japanese scale of 0 to 7 have occurred in northeastern Japan since the massive quake.
On Thursday, a magnitude 6.0 tremor jolted Iwate Prefecture, and registered a 5 minus.
The agency says the frequency of aftershocks is decreasing, but that tremors over magnitude 7 on the international scale are still likely.
Such quakes would bring about tremors of an intensity of 6 in areas near their epicenters.
The agency advises people to remain on the alert for aftershocks and tsunami waves.
. . . . . and
Researcher explains how radiation reaches Tokyo
A Japanese researcher explained to NHK how radioactive substances that leaked from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have spread and reached Tokyo and other parts of the Kanto region.
Hiromi Yamazawa, a Professor at Nagoya University graduate school, says that high levels of radiation have reached Kanto at least twice since the nuclear plant accident.
He says the first incidence occurred from March 15th through the 16th. Contaminated air spread widely in Kanto.
The second occurred from the 20th through the 21st.
Contaminated air went south along the coast, and reached Chiba and Tokyo.
The air was then blown northwest to the inland prefecture of Gunma.
Yamazawa says the rain in a broad area of Kanto in the surrounding days deposited radioactive substances in rivers and contaminated water in purification plants in the region.
Yamazawa warns that radiation could more easily flow into Kanto from now to the early summer, due to winds blowing south from Fukushima during these seasons.

. . . . . and
Radiation detected in beef, vegetables
Radiation exceeding safety standards has been detected in beef from Fukushima and vegetables from Ibaraki, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures.
The health ministry says it detected 510 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium, above than the national limit of 500, in round beef from a cow raised in a village in Fukushima prefecture on Wednesday. The beef has not been shipped.
In Hitachi city, Ibaraki prefecture, 8,300 becquerels, or 4 times above the accepted limit, of radioactive iodine was detected in spinach. Spinach and parsley from other parts of Ibaraki were also found to be contaminated with higher-than-acceptable levels of radiation.
Spinach, shungiku, or garland chrysanthemum, and parsley with radiation exceeding acceptable levels were found in Chiba prefecture.
High levels of radiation were also detected in spinach in Tochigi prefecture.
The ministry says these vegetables are not on the market, as producers have not shipped them, either voluntarily or in line with the government's instructions

Friday, April 01, 2011 07:36
TEPCO to ensure radiation monitoring for workers
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it may postpone low priority work at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to ensure radiation monitoring for workers.
TEPCO said on Thursday that the quake destroyed many radiation monitors and that only 320 out of the 5,000 it had prior to the disaster are now available.
The company said that in some work groups only leaders had monitors and that 180 workers had worked without devices on one day.
TEPCO said it may postpone low priority work so no employee has to work without a device.
It also said it will collect radiation monitors from other plants to minimize delays.

Friday, April 01, 2011 12:23
Seabed surge caused tsunamis
Japanese researchers say they have discovered that the seabed rose as much as 5 meters near the focus of the massive earthquake that struck off northeastern Japan on March 11th.
The research team was led by Ryota Hino, an Associate Professor at Tohoku University's Research Center for the Prediction of Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions.
The team analyzed data collected from a water-pressure gauge installed on the seabed 5,800 meters down and at a point 200 kilometers off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture, near the focus of the quake. The focus zone stretches about 450 kilometers north to south.
The data showed that the seabed rose by about 5 meters in the quake.
The researchers said the massive tsunamis were caused by the sudden rise in the seabed over wide areas.
They also believe the tsunami waves grew larger as they approached the coasts and encountered shallower water. They say this caused tsunami higher than 10 meters over wide areas.
Hino said the data on previous major quakes showed that the related seabed elevations were at the most 2 meters.

Friday, April 01, 2011 11:23
Radioactive substances in underground water
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it has detected radioactive substances in underground water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
TEPCO, operator of the plant, has been checking below-ground water on the advice of the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan.
The company says radioactive water was detected beneath the ground near the turbine buildings of five of the 6 reactors. The remaining reactor, No. 4, could not be checked because it was blocked by debris.
TEPCO says radioactive substances dispersed into the atmosphere may have seeped into the soil through rain and sprayed water.
Highly radioactive water has been found in the basement of the turbine buildings and other locations. Damage to nuclear fuel rods in the reactors is believed to have caused the contamination.
The company will further analyze underground water and release the result later on Friday.
In response to the announcement, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters on Friday morning that the government will tighten monitoring of seawater and nearby areas.

Friday, April 01, 2011 11:32

US, Japan forces start massive search
The US military and Japan's Self-Defense Forces have launched a massive operation to find those still missing in the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The joint operation started on Friday, 3 weeks after the disaster. More than 16,000 people remain missing.
In the morning, helicopters of the Ground Self-Defense Force left their base in Sendai City to join the search mission.
Participating in the joint mission are 100 aircraft and 50 vessels from the Self-Defense Forces and about 20 aircraft and more than 10 vessels from the US military.
The Japan Coast Guard, police and fire-fighting personnel are also joining in the rescue mission -- the largest ever in Japan.
The search covers Pacific coastal areas in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, as well as waters up to 20 kilometers from shore. But the operation excludes the area within a 30-kilomter radius of the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which is releasing radioactive substances.
The troops participating in the search operation are focusing their efforts on areas that have not previously been well covered. Rugged coastlines and swamp-like areas created by the tsunami have hindered search activities.
The operation is scheduled to continue for 3 days.

Friday, April 01, 2011 13:30
TEPCO reprimanded over sloppy radiation checks
Japan's nuclear safety agency has reprimanded Tokyo Electric Power Company over its failure to ensure the safety of workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant due to shortages of radiation monitors.
Some teams of workers had to share a radiation monitor, although they are supposed to have one each. Many monitors stopped working after the massive quake.
The agency told reporters on Friday that the practice is problematic. It instructed the plant operator to make sure that workers are able to check radiation levels.
TEPCO told the agency that it has obtained 420 radiation monitors so far. The company explained that work will be suspended if employees do not have their own monitors.

Friday, April 01, 2011 16:59

Makeshift town office construction starts
Construction of temporary local government buildings has started in tsunami-devastated Otsuchi Town in Iwate Prefecture, northern Japan.
Workers using a crane started building six prefabricated structures at a school ground on Friday -- the first day of the new fiscal year in Japan.
Four of the two-story buildings are to be used as a town hall, and one each are for police and fire departments.
The buildings' materials were procured from outside Iwate Prefecture, where they were not available.
The town lost more than 500 people, including its mayor, in the disaster, which also destroyed the town office.
The town plans to move to the temporary buildings as early as April 10th to start full-fledged work toward restoration.
Expert to save tsunami-sodden documents
An expert in salvaging damaged documents has proposed ways to save public records soaked by seawater in tsunami-hit northeastern Japan.
Isamu Sakamoto, a lecturer at Surugadai University in Tokyo, made a study tour of a district legal affairs bureau in Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture on Friday.
He checked the condition of property registry books and other legal files kept by the bureau.
Of the 5,000 documents, Sakamoto found that 1,000 were damaged by muddy water and beginning to show signs of mold. He said he fears bacteria will hasten their decay if nothing is done.
Sakamoto advised bureau officials that such documents can be restored by freeze drying them in a vacuum.
The officials told him they wish to start repair work as soon as possible.
Sakamoto's experience includes a two-and-a-half-year project restoring the Indonesian government's public records in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
He plans to visit other tsunami-hit areas to study the restoration required for documents including clinical charts at hospitals.

Friday, April 01, 2011 19:25
Battle continues for Fukushima
Urgent work is continuing on several fronts to contain the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Efforts to cool down the reactors continued on Friday. A barge provided by the US Navy is preparing to pump large volumes of fresh water by hose to a water tank near the No.1 reactor.
Workers at the plant are replacing seawater with fresh water to cool the reactors and spent-fuel storage pools. The move follows concerns that salt in the seawater could clog up reactor equipment and hamper the flow of coolant water.
Near the No.4 reactor, 400 liters of a synthetic resin solution were sprayed in an experiment intended to solidify contaminated dust and prevent radioactive materials from getting airborne.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company is due to test the solution for about 2 weeks to see if it works.
Workers also face the challenge of removing and safely storing highly radioactive water found in and around the reactors.
On Friday, they emptied the No.2 reactor's condensate storage tank, with the same task at the No.1 reactor due to finish soon after.
The emptied tanks will make room for water from the turbine condenser, which in turn will provide storage space for radioactive water flooding the turbine units.
Contaminated water has also been found in deep tunnels extending from the turbine units of 3 reactors.
To prevent the water from spilling into the ocean, water-level monitors are being installed. The work is due to be completed by Saturday.

Fukushima beef cleared of radioactive cesium
Beef from a village in Fukushima Prefecture that had tested positive for excessive radioactive cesium has been cleared of contamination in a second test.
Japan's health ministry says Friday's new round of testing did not detect any trace of cesium in meat from the same cattle.

Friday, April 01, 2011 20:08
Kan vows to submit disaster-relief budget in April

(Gabi comments: for the first time in a black suit again)
Prime Minister Naoto Kan says his government will submit a draft supplementary budget to the Diet before the end of April, to offer relief and reconstruction support to regions hit by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
Kan made the pledge at a news conference on Friday, exactly 3 weeks after the disaster that devastated northeastern Japan, and also the first day of the new fiscal year.
The prime minister said the top priorities for the year are to extend support to disaster survivors and formulate policies for reconstruction.
He said his government will partially suspend some items in the new year's main budget, and prepare a supplementary budget to channel funds for reconstruction.
The prime minister added that more than one supplementary budget will be needed to meet requirements of different stages of recovery.
He said the first supplementary budget will cover debris-removal, construction of temporary housing, securing employment and steps to revive affected industries.
The prime minister said he will also convene a panel of experts on April 11th to study a blueprint for reconstruction.
He added he has a strong desire for the ruling and opposition blocs to reach beyond party lines to cooperate under his government.
On the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Kan said he is prepared for a long battle, and is determined to win it.


Voices from around

. The Daily Reading List .  

. . . . .

Up to 1,000 bodies left untouched near troubled nuke plant
Radiation fears have prevented authorities from collecting as many as 1,000 bodies of victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami from within the 20-kilometer-radius evacuation zone around the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, police sources said Thursday.

One of the sources said bodies had been
''exposed to high levels of radiation after death.''
The view was supported by the detection Sunday of elevated levels of radiation on a body found in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, about 5 km from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

The authorities are now considering how to collect the bodies, given fears that police officers, doctors and bereaved families may be exposed to radiation in retrieving the radiation-exposed bodies or at morgues, according to the sources.

Local residents have been forced to leave the zone ...
source : english.kyodonews.jp




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  1. Anonymous4/01/2011

    Japan, and especially the Japanese people, are on my mind. I hope things will get back to “normal” very soon....

  2. Anonymous4/01/2011

    There is no night without dawn

  3. Anonymous4/01/2011

    Earth's mantle
    slowly disappears
    It will be gentle sun?

    In our country blossoming trees.

  4. Thank you for all the news and well-balanced info, dear Gabi san.

  5. Anonymous4/01/2011

    Those nuclear plant workers are going to die. Soon.
    I know it. You know it. They know it.
    Most of the rest of the world is fooled by the hazmat suits. So sad. So heroic.

  6. Anonymous4/01/2011

    sometimes NHK don't tell the turuth :(

  7. Anonymous4/01/2011

    March eleven -
    what is the half-life
    of our memory ? 

    That sounds like a koan, and I cannot answer it Gabi san, but you are in my thoughts often.

  8. Anonymous4/01/2011

    Dear Gabi I do pray for your saftey and all the people in Japan love and blessings to you all <3

  9. Anonymous4/02/2011

    What has happened in Japan has awakened a lot of people here in this country to the hidden piles of spent fuel around every major urban area in the country. No one wants to look at the problem. On top of that we have 23 reactors with the exact same design as the ones in Japan all sitting on faults...some faults more dangerous than others but still the same old song and dance that it "couldn't happen here"....

    The half life of our memory is two minutes....
    It's not even that long...
    it's called denial

    You are in my prayers.
    GOD Bless & Keep You
    Under His Wings
    Close to His Heart

    Love+ M.

  10. half-life:
    a split-second

    ...spring morning... a few more buds bloom

    blessings for Japan

  11. Anonymous4/02/2011

    When you come to the edge of all the light you know,
    and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown,
    faith is knowing one of two things will happen:
    There will be something solid to stand on,
    you will be taught how to fly.

    Barbara J. Winter

  12. Anonymous4/02/2011

    uhaia gusaimas
    you are always in my heart and mind


  13. some memories don't have a half life

    the people of japan have genuine courage compassion and humanity in the face of events that leave the mind reeling
    god bless them.
    one brain can't match it.

    where i am that's the best i can offer, and prayers.