March 19, Saturday

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The second week after the shock

Daruma san ga koronda ... だるまさんがころんだ

Daruma has fallen down, but he will get up.
He falls down seven times, but gets up eight times.

Daruma is a great teacher in times of need.

. Daruma and this Earthquake  


Gabi reports:

We are so exhausted from the last week,
it was hard to get up this morning.

Yet there is not much good news:

The level of the nuclear disaster has been raised to 5 yesterday at 20:00.

Geiger counter in Tokyo not available at 6:30

facebook is not reachable since 7:00 till 10:00. Then off again ...

Read this summary with the lateste updates too.

. One Week After  

Low levels of radiation have been detected well beyond Tokyo, which is 140 miles (220 kilometers) south of the plant, but hazardous levels have been limited to the plant itself.
About 343,000 Japanese households still do not have electricity and about 1 million have no water.

. . . . .

Check out this quake map with all the circles,
adjust for each day of last week.
Select March 11 for a show of force!

. Japan Quake Map  

. . . . .

. Take proper steps to avoid exposure to fallout .

. . . . .

Today again the day is full of rumors.
I try to hang on to the figures provided by the NHK bulletin.

TV at lunchtime said they will provide cooling water for the reactor by evening ... seems we are back to

very soon ... ma mo naku

meltdown メルトダウン
roshin yooyuu 炉心溶融(ろしんようゆう)。

and another word I learned

boohatei ぼうはてい【防波堤】breakwater

They had huge concrete walls at the entries of many small inlets leading to the fishing towns, hoping to protect people from harm
the huge tsunami just destroyed all these walls like matches.

CLICK for original blog.goo.ne.jp

This is a view of Kamaishi 釜石 before the tsunami hit.


This bit of news is hard to believe ...

. Govt 'rejected U.S. offer
to help cool damaged reactors'

The Yomiuri Shimbun


A ship with supplies landed at Sendai harbour and brought petrol and other stuff to the area.

one heartwarming story

Trying to find a temporary home
An elderly couple offered their home to a mother with two young children to stay as long as it takes.
Thus the elderly will not be so alone in their big house (their own children have all left for the city to work long ago) and the "tsunami homeless" have found a new warm nest at least for now. The smile on the faces of the two children, sitting in a living room again, with heating and a big TV to watch what they wanted ... after a week in shelters ...

. . . . .

Geiger Counter at Ota, Tokyo at 14:30: 22.51 cpm

. . . . . at 16:00
We just saw footage of the cooling efforts from yesterday, as the fire-engines and special cars made their way through the debris and poored water in the reactor Nr. 3.
Today at 14:00 they started with another special car and pump car in relais to pump water into Nr. 3, for 7 hours in autumatic mode, to prevent the workers from radiation.
The temperature above all reactors, measured with a ?drone plane, is below 100 degrees celsius.
The electric lines for the other reactors are also almost finished ... almost ...
Spinage leaves from Ibaragi and milk from Fukushima region showed higher levels of radiation and have to be taken out of the market. BUT the levels are not dangerous for the human body ... minister Edano said. (We stand in the living room as we watch the special news ... this is scary ...)

This reminds me of more than 13 years back, when we fought with the people of our village here in Okayama to prevent the construction of a waste incinerator, and high dioxin levels on spinach were the culprit in other parts of Japan with existing waste incinerators.

. . . . .

Rumor has it
that two of the workers inside the plant are already dead (from radiation?).

. . . . .

Earthquake M 6.1 in the North of Ibaraki prefecture
2011年3月19日 18時56分ごろ
It was felt in all of Kanto and up north. We saw the shaking in Mito town, whoooowww .. There surveilance cameras are a great asset for life TV shows.


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Friday, March 18, 2011 22:02 (yesterday)
Expert: No immediate risk but figure is high

Associate Professor Keiichi Nakagawa of the University of Tokyo has suggested that 150 microsieverts per hour would not pose an immediate danger to humans, but the figure is still high.
The specialist in radiology says exposure to 150 microsieverts of radiation every day for up to a month would add up to around 100,000 microsieverts. He says human health could be affected at this level.
However, Nakagawa says people should not worry too much, since the amount of radiation would fall to about 10 percent indoors.
But he adds that the release of radioactive substances from the nuclear plant should be contained as soon as possible, from the viewpoint of preventing unnecessary long-term exposure.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 08:04
WHO: No radiation risk outside evacuation zone
The World Health Organization has said radiation levels outside the evacuation zone in Japan are not harmful for human health.
WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl made the remarks at a regular news conference in Geneva on Friday.

The Japanese government issued an advisory on Tuesday to evacuate from a 20-kilometer radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It also told people living within a 30-kilometer radius to stay indoors.
He said the amount of radiation being reported outside of the evacuation zone continued to be below the levels considered a public health risk.
He said the WHO finds no public health reason to avoid travel to Japan, except to the affected areas, or to recommend that foreign nationals leave the country.
Some countries are encouraging their citizens to leave Japan or are moving their embassies from Tokyo to Osaka.
Referring to an examination of Japanese food imports by some countries, he said he cannot imagine that any food from the quake-damaged areas was able to have been delivered. He said he concludes there is no risk that exported Japanese foods are contaminated with radiation.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 08:04
Residents in the quake-hit area are living in fear of aftershocks and other natural disasters following a magnitude 9.0 earthquake one week earlier.
The Meteorological Agency said on Friday that strong aftershocks will continue with an intensity of 5-minus or more on the Japanese scale of zero to 7.
It cautions the residents about the possibility of a tsunami following large aftershocks.
Most of the quake-hit region is suffering from low temperatures. Some parts are expected to sink to minus 2 degrees Celsius on Saturday morning.
Weather officials are calling on those living in shelters without sufficient clothing to be prepared.

The Meteorological Agency also warns of spring tides likely to last for one week from Saturday.
Many parts of the grounds in the quake-hit areas have sunk, leaving the coastal areas susceptible to flooding from high tides.
The agency says the threat from seasonal high tides is not like that from a tsunami. It says people will have time to act as sea levels increase gradually.
But it warns that people working at estuaries or coastal areas must pay attention to sea levels for around one hour before and after a high tide.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 08:04
TEPCO workers exposed to radiation beyond limit
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will raise the limit of radiation for its workers at nuclear power plants. It says the workers at the Fukushima Daiichi plant have been exposed to more than the current limit of radiation.
The company revealed the information in Tokyo early Saturday.
The company had set a radiation limit of up to 100 milli-sieverts exposure for each shift of emergency work at the nuclear facility.
But many workers engaged in cooling down the reactors after the quake were exposed to more than 100 milli-sieverts.
The power company says it has decided to raise the limit to 150 milli-sieverts for some outdoor workers as the current trouble is unprecedented and demands urgent measures.
The Japanese Health Ministry has already increased the limit to 250 milli-sieverts.
The electric company says it is doing its best to protect workers' health. It says it will not send any worker exposed to more than 100 milli-sieverts to another round of work at the reactors.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 11:11
Radiation levels near the quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant rose very slightly on Saturday morning following the spraying of water into one of the reactors.
Tokyo Fire Department units used 13 fire engines to discharge water into the No. 3 reactor's storage pool for spent fuel rods for about 40 minutes starting at 12:30 AM. This followed similar operations by the Self-Defense Forces and the Tokyo Metropolitan Police.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the plant, said the radiation level at a location about 500 meters northwest of the No. 3 reactor stood at 3,279 microsieverts per hour at 1:10 AM. The reading was up 60 microsieverts from 12:20 AM, before the operation began.

The company says the change is too small to be meaningful and that it will continue monitoring radiation levels for a detailed analysis.
Cooling systems for the fuel rod storage pools at the No. 3 and 4 reactors have failed, raising the possibility that a large amount of radiation could be released.
Tokyo Electric also revealed that an emergency diesel power generator at the No. 6 reactor has been restarted and that the pumping of water to the fuel rod storage pools at the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors has been resumed. Both reactors had lost their cooling capabilities.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 11:11
A second group of 100 Tokyo firefighters is heading for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to join operations to cool down the reactors.
The second contingent will replace the first group of 139 members. Officials say the rotation is designed to ensure the safety of firefighters working in an environment in which high levels of radiation have been detected.
Using a special vehicle that can project water from a height of 22 meters, members of the first group sprayed seawater on the spent nuclear fuel storage pool inside the No. 3 reactor.
Officials say that a total of 60 tons of seawater was successfully sprayed into the building during a 20-minute operation early Saturday morning.
The second contingent, comprising 14 fire engines, is expected to arrive at a staging area near the power plant before noon on Saturday.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 12:54
Water spraying to resume soon (ma mo naku)
Fire fighters are soon to resume spraying water over the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant to cool the troubled reactor.
Workers of the Tokyo Fire Department stationed an unmanned vehicle in front of the plant that can spray seawater from a height of 22 meters.

Officials say this system will prevent firefighters from encountering harmful radiation and they plan to spray water for about 7 hours on Saturday.
They are trying to cool the spent nuclear fuel storage pool above the No. 3 reactor to prevent it from leaking a large amount of radioactive substances.
Earlier on Saturday, firefighters sprayed 60 tons of seawater into the building during a 20-minute operation.
The Tokyo Fire Department has dispatched 44 fire engines and 241 personnel to the site.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 14:07
Cooling function operable at 2 reactors
The government says parts of the cooling systems at 2 of the 6 reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been confirmed to be operable.
The agency also said that a cooling pump, at the No. 5 reactor, has been confirmed to be usable, and that workers started cooling the spent fuel storage pool there at 5 AM on Saturday.
The agency said the radiation level at the west gate of the plant, located about 1.1 kilometers west of the No. 3 reactor, was relatively high at 830.8 microsieverts per hour at 8:10 AM.
But it said the figure fell to 364.5 microsieverts at 9:00 AM.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 17:39
Radiation detected in milk and spinach
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says the government was informed around 5:30 PM on Friday that higher levels of radiation than the legal standard were detected in fresh milk from cows at a dairy farm in Fukushima Prefecture.
He also said that at 11:00 AM on Saturday, the government received information that six samples of spinach tested at a research institute in Ibaraki Prefecture contained higher levels of radiation than the official standard.
Early on Saturday morning, the health ministry asked Ibaraki Prefecture to determine where the spinach samples came from and their distribution route.
The prefecture was also asked to take measures under the Food Sanitation Law if necessary, including a ban on sales.
Edano said the government will conduct further testing taking into consideration the possible links between the higher radiation levels and the accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
He said the test results will be thoroughly analyzed so the government can swiftly determine whether it should take measures, including restrictions on shipments and intakes of the products.
Edano said the level of radiation from the average yearly consumption of the milk in question would be the equivalent of a single CT scan, and around a fifth of this amount in the case of the spinach.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 18:58
GE denies Fukushima power plants had design flaws
The accident at the quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has triggered a debate over the safety of nuclear power in the United States.
An explosion occurred near the suppression pool of the Number 2 reactor on Tuesday, which is likely to have damaged the facility, and another explosion occurred at the building of the Number 1 reactor.
Some US media have quoted experts who point out that the design flaws by the US-based General Electric Company, which manufactured the 2 reactors, made the problem more serious.
Dale Bridenbaugh, who designed and developed nuclear reactors for GE, told NHK that the facilities to house the reactors at the Fukushima plant were made smaller to cut costs, making them structurally vulnerable.
GE, in response, released a statement on Friday, saying that its products meet the US government's safety standards.
The company says its products are designed appropriately in accordance with official guidelines, and improvements have been made.
More than 20 nuclear power plants of the same type as the Number 1 and Number 2 reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi plant are being used in the United States.
The accident has triggered a debate over the safety of nuclear power, and some residents living near the plants want them to be suspended.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 19:15
Kitazawa: Reactors surface temperatures below 100C
Japan's Defense Minister says the surface temperatures of the 4 damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are lower than 100 degrees Celsius.
He said SDF officials measured the temperatures while observing the damage from a helicopter.
Kitazawa said the government's disaster task force reports that a temperature of less than 100 degrees Celsius shows the reactors are more stable than had been expected.
He said Prime Minister Naoto Kan directed him to extensively collect and thoroughly analyze the data from the reactor.
He also said he will continue the assessment on Sunday.
Kitazawa said he believes the sprayed water is filling the spent fuel rod pool to a significant degree.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 20:08
ICAO: No medical grounds for flight restrictions
A United Nations agency says there are no medical grounds for restricting international flights to and from Japan after the massive earthquake and subsequent accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The International Civil Aviation Organization said in a statement on Saturday that international flights to and from Japan can operate normally, except for airports that were directly hit by tsunami.
The organization said there is no need for overseas airports to check radioactivity levels in passengers arriving from Japan. It said that although rising radiation levels have been observed at several Japanese airports, they pose no danger to human health.
A growing number of foreign carriers have cancelled flights to Japan or altered flight routes to allow their crews to stay clear of the country.
The Transport Ministry will convey the ICAO statement to foreign carriers and diplomatic missions in Tokyo and call on them to respond calmly.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 21:07
Expert: Radiation in food unlikely to harm health
Gakushuin University Professor Yasuyuki Muramatsu says it was predicted that high levels of iodine and other radioactive substances would be detected in spinach and other leafy vegetables, as well as grass.
He says washing vegetables thoroughly will help to remove the radioactivity to some extent.
Muramatsu says consumers should not eat the spinach as the detected levels of radiation are well above the legal limit.
But he adds that the standard takes safety into account, and the amount of radiation is unlikely to pose a negative impact on human health, unless the product is eaten consistently.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 21:07
Two reactors connected to external power sources
Two of the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are likely to have power again after engineers managed to install cables.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will do its best to resume the reactors' cooling function by Sunday, but as many parts of the facilities are soaked in seawater. It is not known if this can be done quickly.
Power company engineers finished connecting the No.1 and No.2 reactors to external sources on Saturday evening.
The nuclear plant lost its cooling function for the reactors and the spent fuel rod pool due to malfunctions of emergency power generators after the quake.
The situation could lead to a massive leakage of radioactive substances.
The power company will check the reactors' cooling equipment before deciding whether to use electricity.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says the power company will turn on meters to check the condition of the reactors and then work on the cooling function of the reactors and the spent fuel rod pool.
The agency says the company aims to restore power for the remaining 4 reactors by Sunday.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 21:23

Edano: Fukushima plant situation improving
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is improving. He says unpredictable factors remain but the government will do its best to fix the problem.
He said he believes the water-spraying over the spent fuel rod pool in the No.3 reactor was successful.
He added that the current situation is more stable than before.
Edano said the government will continue to spray water over the No.3 reactor and the Self-Defense Forces are preparing to spray water over the No.4 reactor.
The Chief Cabinet Secretary said the government is trying to fully resolve the problem and create stable conditions by monitoring and cooling down each nuclear reactor at the plant.
He said he cannot give an exact time when power will be fully restored at the plant but the overall situation is improving step by step.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 21:41
Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto has told his South Korean and Chinese counterparts that Japan will continue to keep their countries informed of developments at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
In his meeting with South Korean foreign minister Kim Sung Hwan in Kyoto on Saturday, Matsumoto expressed gratitude for their efforts to support the victims of the disaster. He explained in detail how Japan is trying to cope with the accidents at the power plant. He also promised that Japan will continue to fulfill its obligations to the international community.
Kim said timely information is needed as the South Korea government's instructions to its people are based on the official Japanese announcements.
Matsumoto also referred to the soon-to-be-announced outcome of the school textbook screening held under new teaching guidelines that urge high schools to cover the issue of Takeshima, which is claimed by Japan and South Korea.
He said both sides should make efforts to prevent the matter from affecting bilateral relations.
Matsumoto also met Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi.
Yang said he expects that the people of Japan will overcome their hardship and rebuild the affected areas without fail. Matsumoto told Yang that Japan will provide China with appropriate information on the nuclear plant.
The two leaders agreed that Japan and China should try to improve national sentiment and strengthen their strategic and mutually beneficial relations as next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties. Yang invited Prime Minister Naoto Kan to visit China by the end of the year.
Matsumoto also called for the early resumption of talks on joint gas development in the East China sea. Yang replied that it's necessary to foster an atmosphere that will pave the way for the talks' resumption.

Saturday, March 19, 2011 22:11
Water temperature drops at No.5 reactor
The water temperature is dropping in the spent fuel rod pool of the No.5 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Company restored a power generator at the No.6 reactor on Saturday morning.
One of the 2 generators at the No. 6 reactor has been used since the quake to cool the spent fuel rod pools of the No.5 and No.6 reactors.
But water temperatures rose as the generator could not supply enough power by itself.
The newly restored generator is being used to activate a cooling pump in the No.5 reactor.
The 2 generators can now generate enough power to maintain the cooling functions of the No.5 and No.6 reactors.
The power company measured the water temperature of the No.5 reactor and found it had decreased from 68.5 degrees Celsius at 5 AM, local time, to 63.8 degrees at 2 PM.
The compan said the partial recovery of the cooling functions will bring a sense of safety.
It hopes to fully restore connections to external power sources and stably cool down the reactors.
The company also said it made holes in the roofs of the No.5 and No.6 reactors to remove hydrogen to prevent the explosions that occurred at the No.1 and No. 3 reactors.


Japan Times of Today

CLICK for enlargement

CLICK for enlargement

click for enlargement

. Take proper steps to avoid exposure to fallout .


Voices from around

quote (at 6:00)
Exhausted engineers attached a power cable to the outside of Japan's tsunami-crippled nuclear station on Saturday in a race to prevent deadly radiation from an accident now rated at least as bad as America's Three Mile Island in 1979.

Further cabling inside was underway before an attempt to restart water pumps needed to cool overheated nuclear fuel rods at the six-reactor Fukushima plant in northeastern Japan, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

Japan's unprecedented multiple crisis of earthquake, tsunami and radiation leak has unsettled world financial markets, prompted international reassessment of nuclear safety and given the Asian nation its sternest test since World War Two.

It has also stirred unhappy memories of Japan's past nuclear nightmare -- the U.S. atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Another 1,480 meters (5,000 feet) of cable are being laid inside the complex before engineers try to crank up the coolers at reactor No. 2, followed by 1, 3 and 4 this weekend, company officials added.

... there is an option of last resort under consideration to bury the sprawling 40-year-old plant in sand and concrete to prevent a catastrophic radiation release.
That method was used to seal huge leakages from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Japan has raised the severity rating of the nuclear crisis
from level 4 to level 5 on the seven-level INES international scale, putting it on a par with the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, although some experts say it is more serious.
Chernobyl, in Ukraine, was a 7 on that scale.

Nearly 7,000 people have been confirmed killed in the double natural disaster, which turned whole towns into waterlogged and debris-shrouded wastelands.
Another 10,700 people are missing with many feared dead.
Some 390,000 people, including many among Japan's aging population, are homeless and battling near-freezing temperatures in shelters in northeastern coastal areas.
Food, water, medicine and heating fuel are in short supply.

The Group of Seven rich nations succeeded in calming global financial markets in rare concerted intervention to restrain a soaring yen.
The U.S. dollar surged to 81.98 yen on Friday after the G7 moved to pour billions into markets buying dollars, euros and pounds -- the first such joint intervention since the group came to the aid of the newly launched euro in 2000.
The yen later dropped back to under 81, but it was still far from the record low of 76.25 hit on Thursday.
source : news.yahoo.com

. . . . .

one from yesterday which I got just now

quote March 18, 2011
"Underestimating the Seriousness of the Problem":
Experts Urge Japan to Raise Nuclear Alert Level and Evacuate Wider Area
The Japanese nuclear crisis worsens as Japanese authorities race to cool the overheating reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. Earlier today, Japan raised the nuclear alert level at the crippled plant from a four to a five, on par with Three Mile Island.
This decision has shocked many nuclear experts. “Our experts think that it’s a level 6.5 already, and it’s on the way to a seven, which was Chernobyl," says Philip White of the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center in Tokyo. We also speak with Dr. Ira Helfand of Physicians for Social Responsibility about the long-term health effects from radiation exposure from Fukushima
look at the video that comes with it here
source : www.democracynow.org

another older one
quote (March 17)  
The myth and reality of the Japanese earthquake
BACK in January, Japanese seismologists warned that the tectonic plates colliding beneath the Pacific Ocean off the north-east coast of Japan were poised to slip catastrophically. By their reckoning, there was a 99% chance of an earthquake of magnitude 8.0 occurring off the Miyagi coast, and a 90% chance of one off Ibaraki prefecture, within the next 30 years. They were surprised only by the sheer size of the magnitude 9.0 monster that was unleashed when the plates at last let go on March 11th.
.... Could such a chain of seismic events happen elsewhere in Japan? Many in Tokyo fear that earthquakes may be creeping closer. The Japanese media have drawn attention to a quake of magnitude 6.6 on the far side of the country, between Nagano and Niigata prefectures, and to a quake of magnitude 6.1 in Shizuoka prefecture, both within days of the main quake. But these fairly common events occurred on entirely different tectonic plates. It is hard to imagine how faults on one continental plate might communicate with those on another that is hundreds of kilometres away.
source : www.economist.com


Haiku written in 2010

kobai ni sei to shi no koe desu masuku

red plum blossoms
with voices of life and death —
death masks

Ohgushi Akira 大串章

source : Tr. Fay Aoyagi
Blue Willow Haiku World


I hope my sequence is not getting much longer ...

March 17, evening

waiting for Godot
waiting for the meltdown
waiting for a miracle

upgrading danger from level 4 to level 5

March 19, morning

waiting for Godot
waiting for the meltdown
waiting for another miracle


spring sunshine -
the light and shadow
of meltdown news

written yesterday after a short walk to see plum blossoms

. my short spring sunshine .  


full spring moon -
rays of hope
and fear

The moon hangs there beautifully above my bamboo grove.

But they predict more flooding during this spring moon tide during the night.

Gabi Greve


Daruma from Takasaki 高崎 復興祈願 だるま

Print one out and hang it in your prayer corner!

ganbaro !! Nihon
ガンバロー 日本

がんばろう 日本 Ganbaro Nippon !


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. Daruma and this Earthquake  


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