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Friday, one week after the disaster at 14:46
pray 4 japan
source : pray4japan.slmame.com
snowed in again -
I dare not turn on
what will the news show this morning?
minus 4 centigrade and a centimeter of snow in my valley.
Mariko reminds me:
The quake should be rememberd by the time
the number four is pronounced SHI ...
the same as death, death, death
Geiger counter in Tokyo at 5:40 : 13.79 cpm (as usual)
Whow, and now to the news ...
take a deep breath and read this ...
Radiation levels lowered after water injection
(details are below in the NHK bulletin).
And IF IF IF all goes as planned,
the cooling system will be restored later in the day.
. . . . .
So much for the GOOD news.
Power shortage and rationing will go on in Kanto.
. . . . .
Some Japanese friends are calling and ask:
"Are you giving up now?
Sell the property and head back to Germany?
we never thought of this. We are here for better
and now for worse.
We share the joy and the pain of the Japanese people.
. . . . .
. . . . . at 9:45
Earthquake M 5.4, off the coast of Ibaraki
The aftershocks seem to get a little lesser, though.
. . . . . at 14:00
Just home from some errands, turning on the TV to see the plant sprayed from a tank car for a while, then white ?steam rising up. At least they are working at now, not in the evening, as they told us in the morning.
Anywhay, you really feel to be there LIFE, just up on the hill next to it ... quite eerie ...
And let us hope they are successfull today.
The death toll is at confirmed 5,692 deaths,
9,506 people are still missing.
Later in the day
confirmed 6,548 deaths
10,354 remain missing.
I have been out og home today most of the time,
Bulletins from NHK Online
source : www3.nhk.or.jp
Thursday, March 17, 2011 17:54 (yesterday)
Japan's government has raised the radiation exposure limit for police and Self-Defense Force personnel to allow them enough time to engage in an operation to cool reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
On Thursday, the limit was raised to 250 millisieverts, in an emergency measure applying only to the ongoing nuclear crisis. The limit for government employees in emergency situations had been 100 millisieverts.
The Self-Defense Forces and police are getting involved in an operation to inject seawater into the reactors using helicopters and other means, to stop overheated fuel rods from melting and causing radiation leaks.
The change follows the health and labor ministry's decision on Wednesday to raise the exposure limit for nuclear contract workers to 250 millisieverts.
The ministry says it believes the new limit represents the maximum tolerable exposure level for human health.
Thursday, March 17, 2011 21:20 (yesterday)
High radiation level detected 30km from nuke plant
Japan's science ministry says radiation levels of up to 0.17 millisieverts per hour have been detected about 30 kilometers northwest of the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Experts say exposure to those levels for 6 hours would result in absorption of the maximum level considered safe for 1 year.
The government has instructed residents living within a 20 to 30 kilometer radius of the plant to stay indoors.
The ministry gauged radiation from 9:20 AM to 3:00 PM on Thursday at 28 spots, in areas 20 to 60 kilometers from the plant.
The ministry also observed radiation levels of 0.0183 to 0.0011 millisieverts per hour at most of the observation points.
It says these levels are higher than normal but pose no immediate threat to health.
. . . . . and now today
Friday, March 18, 2011 02:54
Radiation levels lowered after water injection
Radiation levels dropped a little on Thursday at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant after a water injection by pump trucks.
In a news conference early Friday, Tokyo Electric Power Company says the radiation levels at the west gate of the power plant was down by nearly 20 points to 292 microsieverts per hour at 8.40 PM on Thursday.
The figures follow an hour-long operation by police and Self-Defense Forces to inject water from pump trucks into the No. 3 reactor building. It's possible the level of pool water used for cooling nuclear fuel was reduced.
At 11 PM the radiation level dropped again to 289 microsieverts per hour.The company says it saw steam billowing from the building after the water injection, which suggests the operation had some success.
Friday, March 18, 2011 02:56
Cooling system to be restored as early as Friday
The operator of the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant says the outside power lines to the cooling systems of the reactor might be connected as early as Friday.
Tokyo Electric Power Company disclosed this at a news conference on Thursday night.
The 3 reactors at the plant lost cooling capabilities due to a power outage and failure of emergency power generators after the quake and tsunami.
The firm began to set up power lines from the high-voltage cables near the plant on Thursday, saying a large amount of electricity is needed to recover the reactor cooling systems.
The company says the new power lines will be connected to a makeshift transformer, and then to the cooling system of the No.2 reactor. They say the system seems to have less damage than the other reactors.
The company originally planned to work on the power line on Thursday, but the high radiation levels and lengthy water-injecting operations forced a delay.
Friday, March 18, 2011 02:56
Tokyo Electric Power released on Thursday an image of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant taken the previous day.
It says the image convinced them to prioritize the No.3 reactor, where the spent fuel pool appeared to be in greater trouble.
The utility firm says the aerial image was taken at 4 PM on Wednesday.
The firm says it believes that the shining white object below the crane is the surface of the spent fuel cooling pool.
They concluded that the No.4 reactor's pool still contains water to cool down the nuclear material.
But the image shows white smoke billowing from the No. 3 reactor, and shows a serious damage to the roof and walls.
They could not confirm whether the No.3 reactor's cooling pool still contains water. This convinced them to make it a priority for water injection.
The outcome of the operations by Self-Defense Forces and the police is not yet clear.
Friday, March 18, 2011 05:53
More than 285,000 people are taking refuge in quake-ravaged northern and eastern Japan as of Thursday evening.
The evacuees are wide-spread in more than 2,000 shelters in 15 quake-hit prefectures.
In the northeastern region, which includes the 3 hardest-hit prefectures, 265,000 people are taking refuge at 1,900 shelters.
The quake did not spare the Kanto region, Tokyo and its surrounding areas. More than 20,000 people are taking shelter at around 300 places.
Friday, March 18, 2011 05:56
TEPCO laid a new power line to the plant on Thursday, but has yet to connect it to the No.2 reactor due to efforts to douse it with water. The utility plans to link the cable to the reactor on Friday.
Tokyo Electric says that if it can send electricity to the cooling systems of the 3 reactors, it will be able to resolve the problems at each of the reactors. The utility says it wants to restore power to the reactors as soon as possible.
Friday, March 18, 2011 07:45
France-based nuclear energy firm AREVA has sent special protective gear to Japan for workers battling to resolve the nuclear crisis at a power plant.
The company sent 10,000 protective suits, 20,000 pairs of gloves, and 3,000 masks on Thursday. They are due to arrive in Japan on Friday night.
At the Japanese government's request, French utility EDF also plans to send 100 tons of boric acid to Japan as early as Friday. The substance is necessary to prevent nuclear fission.
Friday, March 18, 2011 06:57
More foreign nationals are advised to leave Japan temporarily in response to the nuclear crisis at a power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo.
The US State Department began operating chartered aircraft on Thursday night for family members of government officials and other American citizens who wish to leave Tokyo. The US military also plans to arrange chartered jets for families of troops stationed in Japan.
The British government is calling on its nationals in Tokyo and areas to the north of the capital to consider leaving Japan. It's chartering airplanes for those who cannot get tickets for regular flights.
The Russian government says it will have family members of staff at its Embassy and Consulates General depart from Japan by the end of this week.
The governments of Germany, France, Italy, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Switzerland, and Sweden are also calling on their citizens to leave Japan.
Friday, March 18, 2011 11:24
Japan's nuclear safety agency says radiation levels at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are dropping slightly after fire engines shot water into one of the reactors.
Self-Defense Force fire trucks sprayed water into the spent fuel storage pool of the No. 3 reactor on Thursday evening, in a bid to cool it down.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told reporters on Friday that the radiation level at the plant's west gate was 271 microsieverts per hour at 7:30 AM.
The figure is 38 points lower than before the water injection, and 21 points lower than immediately after the operation.
The Agency said it cannot immediately confirm that the SDF water-spraying operations have led to the decline in radioactivity.
It added that efforts are continuing to restore the cooling functions of the plants' No. 1 and 2 reactors and their spent fuel storage pools on Friday, and those for No. 3 and 4 on Saturday.
Friday, March 18, 2011 13:13
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it hopes to restore power to two of its troubled reactors by Saturday to activate the cooling systems in a bid to prevent the nuclear crisis from worsening.
It is aiming at restoring the cooling systems at the No. 1 and No.2 reactors. It has so far installed a distributor panel at an office next to the No. 1 reactor. It is now trying to connect the power line to a transformer at the No. 2 reactor via the No. 1 reactor.
The workers are carefully watching radiation levels, which remain high -- up to 20 millisieverts per hour at some points.
Tokyo Electric says it hopes to complete laying the cable on Friday afternoon and to connect power lines to the two reactors by Saturday.
Friday, March 18, 2011 14:19
The Self-Defense Forces have started the second day of their operation to cool down one of the spent-fuel storage pools at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Seven high-capacity fire engines were dispatched to the plant on Friday, to inject a total of 50 tons of water into the storage pool of the No.3 reactor.
On Thursday, the SDF sprayed water into the pool from the air and ground, using helicopters and fire engines.
It decided to repeat the ground operation on Friday, as the pool's water level is thought to be still low despite the previous day's efforts.
Friday, March 18, 2011 17:38
High radiation detected 30km from nuke plantJapan's science ministry says relatively high radiation levels have been detected on 2 consecutive days about 30 kilometers northwest of the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The radiation measured 170 microsieverts per hour on Thursday and 150 microsieverts on Friday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says the government will take appropriate measures if this level of contamination continues in the area for a long period. But he says this would be unlikely.
Radiation was measured for 2 hours from 10AM on Friday at 18 spots in areas 30 to 60 kilometers from the plant in Fukushima Prefecture.
The highest reading of 150 microsieverts per hour was detected at around 1:30 PM local time, about 30 kilometers northwest of the plant. The location is within the zone where residents have been instructed to stay indoors.
Readings of 170 microsieverts were recorded at the same location at 2 PM on the previous day, Thursday.
Experts say exposure to this amount of radiation for 6 to 7 hours would result in absorption of the maximum level considered safe for one year.
The ministry also observed radiation levels of 0.5 to 52 microsieverts per hour at other observation points within a 30 to 60 kilometer radius of the plant. It says these levels are all higher than normal, but not an immediate threat to health.The government has evacuated residents living within a 20 kilometer radius of the plant, and instructed those in a 20 to 30 kilometer radius to stay indoors.
Friday, March 18, 2011 19:47
Japan's Foreign Ministry has received urgent inquiries about roughly 500 foreign nationals who remain unaccounted for since the quake and tsunami struck Japan exactly one week ago.
Friday, March 18, 2011 20:01
Nuke plant disaster rating raised to Level 5
The Japanese government raised its rating on Friday of the problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to the same level as the 1979 Three Mile Island accident.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency revised upward its evaluation of the severity of the disaster by one notch to Level 5 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale.
Level 5 is the third highest on the 8-notch scale and the worst for any nuclear accident to have happened in Japan.
The agency says it raised the rating because more than 3 percent of the nuclear fuel has been damaged and radioactive material is leaking from the plant.
The disaster's initial rating of Level 4 was the same as the fatal criticality accident that occurred at a nuclear fuel plant in Ibaraki Prefecture in 1999.
Friday, March 18, 2011 21:24
Japan's Self-Defense Force units have for the 2nd day shot water at one of the reactors at the disaster-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Work to restore power to the compound is also underway.
On Friday afternoon, SDF units used special fire engines to discharge tons of water at the plant's No.3 reactor.
A storage pool for spent nuclear fuel rods has lost its cooling function, raising the risk of a massive radioactive leak.
Water was also discharged by the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, which runs the plant.
TEPCO's office in Fukushima says that following the cooling attempts, radiation levels fell slightly 500 meters northwest of the No. 3 reactor.
It says post-operation readings taken as of 2:50 PM stood at 3,339 microsieverts per hour, compared to 3,484 microsieverts at 1:50 PM, before the work began.
TEPCO cautioned that the decline is small and a close analysis is needed before any judgment can be made about the effects of the operation.
This is the 2nd straight day that SDF units have released water at the No.3 reactor. The operation on the previous day took place from the air and ground.
On Friday, work to restore electricity at the Daiichi plant also went into full swing. Securing an external power source could allow the reactors to regain their cooling functions, which are considered vital to put them under control.
Friday, March 18, 2011 21:24
The government says an outside power source is unlikely to be available at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for some time, although electricity is urgently needed to cool the reactors.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said on Friday that the installation of power cables at the Number One and Number 2 reactors is expected to be completed on Saturday. The operation to add power cables at the Number 3 and Number 4 reactors is likely to end on Sunday.
The agency said, however, that it will take some time to confirm the safety of the damaged facilities.
The government and Tokyo Electric Power Company have been scrambling to restore power at the plant to restart the cooling systems for the reactors.
The earthquake and tsunami on March 11th severed the plant's electricity supply and destroyed its emergency generators.
Voices from around
Japanese engineers strive to restore power to avert
Japanese engineers raced on Friday to restore a power cable to a crippled nuclear power plant in the hope of restarting pumps desperately needed to pour cold water on overheating fuel rods and avert a catastrophic release of radiation.
Officials could not forecast when the cable might be connected, but said work would stop on Friday morning to allow helicopters and fire trucks to resume pouring water on the Daiichi plant, about 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.
"Preparatory work has so far not progressed as fast as we had hoped," an official of plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) told a news briefing, adding that a cold snap was hampering the effort, as was the need to constantly check radiation levels were safe for the engineers to work.
The National Police Agency said on Friday it had confirmed 5,692 deaths from the quake and tsunami disaster, while 9,522 people were unaccounted for in six prefectures.
Read a copy of the full article in my library :
source : news.yahoo.com
WHO finds Japan radiation spread localized,
no immediate threat
The World Health Organization believes the spread of radiation from a quake-crippled nuclear plant in Japan remains localized and does not pose an immediate risk to human health, Michael O'Leary, the China representative of WHO said on Friday.
Officials fear a major breakout of radioactive pollution from the plant could pose a serious health risk, and China and other nearby countries have stepped up monitoring of radiation levels.
source : www.reuters.com
quote (around 16:00)
Japan weighs need to bury nuclear plant
Japanese engineers conceded on Friday that burying a crippled nuclear plant in sand and concrete may be the only way to prevent a catastrophic radiation release, the method used to seal huge leakages from Chernobyl in 1986.
Officials said they still hoped to fix a power cable to at least two reactors to restart water pumps needed to cool overheating nuclear fuel rods. Workers also sprayed water on the No.3 reactor, one of the most critical of the plant's six.
It was the first time the facility operator had acknowledged that burying the sprawling complex was an option, a sign that piecemeal actions such as dumping water from military helicopters were having little success.
"It is not impossible to encase the reactors in concrete. But our priority right now is to try and cool them down first," an official from the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co, told a news conference.
Millions in Tokyo remained indoors on Friday, fearing a blast of radioactive material from the complex, 240 km (150 miles) to the north, although prevailing winds would likely carry contaminated smoke or steam away from the densely populated city to dissipate over the Pacific Ocean.
Radiation did not pose an immediate risk to human health outside the vicinity of the plant, said Michael O'Leary, the World Health Organisation's representative in China.
"At this point, there is still no evidence that there's been significant radiation spread beyond the immediate zone of the reactors themselves," O'Leary told reporters in Beijing.
Graham Andrew, his senior aide, called the situation at the plant "reasonably stable" but the government said white smoke or steam was still rising from three reactors and helicopters used to dump water on the plant had shown exposure to small amounts of radiation.
. . . . . "The situation remains very serious, but there has been no significant worsening since yesterday," Graham Andrew said.
source : news.yahoo.com
quote (3/17/11 at 4:10 PM)
Japan’s Nuclear Crisis:
The Worst-Case Scenarios Explained
In the absence of a clear picture from the Japanese government of what is happening at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, a number of experts have stepped in to offer their take on what is currently unfolding and the worst-case scenarios that might occur. Tennessee State University's Dr. Michael Allen spent his early career at Sandia National Labs performing simulations of the world's worst nuclear-reactor accidents, including what happens when nuclear fuel is no longer submerged in water. (Yesterday, U.S. authorities in Japan said the pools of water in Unit 4 containing spent fuel rods, which are different from the reactor cores, had boiled dry.) Allen told the Knoxville News Sentinel that he's unsure whether a full-scale meltdown is inevitable, but he explained how it might occur.
Allen said the situation was likely to play out for a long period of time: "These things could go on for months. You could lose all six of the reactors." If workers are unable to get cooling water into the reactor vessel, as they're trying to do with helicopters and water cannons, heat from the decaying fuel would boil away any water. If that happens, Allen says, "It'll melt through it like butter."
The effect of that would be a "high-pressure melt injection" into the water-filled concrete cavity below the reactor. The sudden injection of the ultrahot contents of the reactor into cold concrete would be "like somebody dropped a bomb, and there'll be a big cloud of very, very radioactive material above the ground," Allen said.
Should these events happen, the best outcome would be for the winds to blow east and push the radioactive plume over the Pacific Ocean, he said. "It (the radioactivity) will fall out in the ocean and everything will be fine," he said. If, however, the radioactive cloud moves toward Tokyo and other cities, the result would be worse than Chernobyl.
The U.K.'s chief scientific officer, professor John Beddington, also spoke to the British Embassy in Tokyo and had a different, slightly more optimistic take on what would happen if that injection occurs, based mostly on how far the radioactive cloud would spread.
You get some radioactive material going up to about 500 metres up into the air. Now, that’s really serious, but it’s serious again for the local area. ... If you then couple that with the worst possible weather situation i.e. prevailing weather taking radioactive material in the direction of Greater Tokyo and you had maybe rainfall which would bring the radioactive material down do we have a problem? The answer is unequivocally no. Absolutely no issue. The problems are within 30 km of the reactor. And to give you a flavour for that, when Chernobyl had a massive fire at the graphite core, material was going up not just 500 metres but to 30,000 feet.
While both Beddington and Allen's analyses are focused on the reactors themselves, the New York Times says that the most danger actually lies with those spent fuel rods rather than the reactor cores, according to figures provided by Tokyo Electric Power. The electric utility said that a total of 11,195 spent fuel-rod assemblies were stored at the site. Spent fuel rods generate less heat than newer ones, but there are strong indications that they have begun to melt and release extremely high levels of radiation. The result could be a similar scenario that Allen and Beddington sketched out, but with far more nuclear material.
source : nymag.com/daily
Tsunami and Nuke Disaster:
How Human Arrogance Intensifies Suffering
By Arun Gupta
. . . . . Japan’s tragedy, on the other hand, stems more from the hubris of overdevelopment.
Its government spent billions of dollars building seawalls that were overwhelmed by devastating waves of water. Critics warned against siting nuke plants on the coast precisely because they would be exposed to the earthquake-tsunami combination. “But the government gives [nuclear] power companies wide discretion in deciding whether a site is safe,” according to the New York Times. In the case of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, diesel generators for back-up cooling were placed below a seawall and knocked out of commission by a tsunami that topped the barrier.
This era of mega-disasters should be making us aware of the insanity of our economy. The one silver lining to Japan’s cloud of deadly radiation is that it may dispel the specious argument that nuclear power is the answer to global warming. But even if it does, we need to dispense with the logic behind this argument: that we can solve one crisis of capitalist development with another capitalist fix.
. . . MORE
source : www.alternet.org
. . . . .
U.S. donations not rushing to Japan
The natural disaster in Japan and the threat of a nuclear catastrophe are dominating world headlines. But beyond the shock and sympathy, everyday Americans' financial response to the crisis is so far oddly subdued.
Charities in the U.S. have raised $49 million for the Japanese cause in the six days since the tsunami hit — a small percentage compared with other recent disasters that caught worldwide attention.
"Japan is a highly developed industrialized nation and doesn't appear to be in great need. Haiti and Indonesia, these are countries that were for the most part very poor countries," Rooney said. "You see these disasters hitting and think, 'Oh gosh these countries really need something.' "
source : yourlife.usatoday.com
. . . . .
from my files
. View of Sir John Beddington
Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government
Something to warm your heart
. Letter from Sendai
Many are the names
that have been preserved for us
in poetry from ancient times,
but mountains crumble and rivers dissapear,
new roads replace the old,
stones are buried and vanish in the earth,
trees grow old and give way to saplings.
Time passes and the world changes.
The remains of the past are shrouded
Matsuo Bashoo: Oku no hosomichi
Tr. Donald Keene
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