March 31, Thursday

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Help Japan Now .

source : www.japantrends.com

. . . . .

spring at the beach -
to stopp the leakage
with sandbags ?

At the power plant in Fukushima, TEPCO is piling up sandbags and concrete around the mouth of the tunnels and trenches to prevent the overflow of radioactive water into the sea..


Gabi reports:

. Daily Radiation Levels  

Somethingl curious we found yesterday:
The radiation levels in Germany are higher than those in Tokyo.

Frankfurt - 0.162
Tokyo - 0.109

. German Radiation Measurements

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Smoke again from the nuclear plant in Fukushima Daini, Fukushima Number two, the second plant (not to mix with the second reactor at Daiichi, the first plant) ...
Fukushima II Nuclear Power Plant (福島第二原子力発電所)
Fukushima Dai-ni, located in the town of Naraha and Tomioka in the Futaba District of Fukushima. It has four reactor units, 1 to 4.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

With radioactive water still leaking from Plant 1, the government urged TEPCO to step up its efforts to identify the source and stop the leaking. More monitoring will have to be done in more far away areas now.

More airlines reduce the flights to Japan because lack of passengers. Now Russia is among them too. Khabarovsk - Niigata weekly flights are stopped, and Vladivostock will follow soon. Even flights to Narita might be affected.

. . . . .

After Chernobyl, April 26, 1968 :

. Life in Chernobyl zone  

. . . . .

11,417 confirmed deaths
16,273 still missing

And President Obama stresses his support for nuclear power, which amounts to one-fifth of the American power supply.

. . . . .

Designers try to help with aid and donations

. Graphic design .  

A huge tobacco plant in Tohoku is out of order, and the supply of cigarettes had dropped about 30%. Many vending maschines are now empty.

. . . . . at 16:15
Earthquake M 6.0, off the coast of Miyagi
It was felt all the way to Hokkaido.


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 20:32 (last night)
Areva CEO arrives in Japan to help at Fukushima
The CEO of French nuclear reactor maker Areva says she will meet with Japanese officials to improve the situation at the quake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Speaking to an NHK reporter on her arrival at Narita Airport, near Tokyo, on Wednesday afternoon, Anne Lauvergeon pledged full cooperation. She brought along a team of experts, the first such group to arrive from France since the outbreak of the incident.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company and the Japanese government asked Areva -- one of the world's largest nuclear energy firms -- for technical support to remove highly radioactive water at the Fukushima plant. The contaminated water has hampered restoration work.
France is the world's second largest operator of nuclear power plants.
Soon after the accident in Fukushima, France sent Japan mobile radiation monitors, generators and protective clothing.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 21:02 (last night)
Smoke from Fukushima Daini nuclear plant
Tokyo Electric Power Company says smoke was seen coming out of electrical equipment in the turbine building at the No.1 reactor of the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant.
The Daini plant is located about 10 kilometers south of the crippled Daiichi plant.
The company says an alarm was activated at around 5:50 PM on Wednesday to show an abnormality in the electrical equipment on the 1st floor of the turbine building.
Company workers confirmed smoke was being emitted from equipment which supplies power to a motor pump that collects outdoor water.
The company says the workers turned off the motor and that the smoke stopped at around 6:13 PM.
The company is investigating cause of the smoke, and suspects trouble with the electric equipment.
It says all 4 reactors at the plant are safely shut down with their temperatures below 100 degrees Celsius.

. . . . . Now to Today, Thursday

Thursday, March 31, 2011 07:56

Troubles at Fukushima plant persist
Workers are still struggling to resolve the problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant where the disposal of radioactive water is hindering cooling efforts.
The chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Company, Tsunehisa Katsumata told reporters on Wednesday that it is uncertain when cooling functions can be restored to stabilize the situation at the plant.
He also said he doesn't think residents who have had to evacuate their homes near the plant will be able to return for several weeks.
Radioactive iodine and cesium have been found in water coming from a tunnel outside the turbine building of the No.1 reactor and in the basement of the turbine buildings of reactors No.1 to 4.
Work to pump the contaminated water into the turbine condenser came to a halt at the No. 1 reactor after the condenser became full.
Meanwhile, work to pump water out of the basements of the No. 2 and 3 reactors has yet to begin.
Some 600 tons of water inside the tunnel at the No. 1 reactor is to be moved to a tank near the No. 4 reactor, but no plan has yet been made to pump the radioactive water from the basements of the No. 2 and 3 reactors.
Radioactive iodine measuring 3,355 times above the safety standard was found in seawater near the power plant on Tuesday.
The power company plans to monitor radiation levels in the ocean by collecting additional seawater samples 15 kilometers offshore.
On Wednesday, it measured radiation levels in the air in 23 locations within a 20 kilometer radius of the plant.
Though external power has been restored to the central control room of the No. 1 reactor, more checks must be made of key equipment and instruments before the electricity is turned on.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 07:57
Test to contain radioactive dust
Teams working on the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are going to use a synthetic resin to try and prevent radioactive dust from becoming airborne or being washed into the sea.
The hydrogen explosions earlier this month at the Number One and Three reactors spread contaminated dust and debris over a wide area.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company will begin sprinkling synthetic resin in certain places from Thursday. The resin is water-soluble and it is hoped that it will contain the contaminated dust.
TEPCO will use 9000 liters of synthetic resin to produce a 60000 liter solution. It will be sprinkled around the Number four and six reactors using water trucks.
TEPCO will study whether the sprinkling prevents the dispersal of radioactive material. If successful, it will expand the scope of the sprinkling.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 08:01
Areva to help TEPCO remove contaminated water
The head of the Japanese subsidiary of the world's largest nuclear energy firm says he is ready to help remove contaminated water from the crippled Fukushima plant. ...
. and
IAEA to dispatch marine analyst to Fukushima
The UN nuclear watchdog has decided to dispatch a marine environment expert to Fukushima to analyze seawater surrounding the troubled nuclear power plant.
Participants at an International Atomic Energy Agency meeting in Vienna on Wednesday agreed to send an additional staff member from the Marine Environment Laboratory in Monaco to Japan this week.
The decision is in response to a request by the Japanese government. It comes as seawater near the Fukushima Daiichi power plant has been found to contain high levels of radiation.
The specialist will join Japanese experts on board a survey ship on Saturday to assess the radiation levels in waters surrounding the power plant.
The IAEA has so far dispatched 15 experts to Japan to measure the radiation levels in the air, foodstuff and soil in Fukushima and the Tokyo metropolitan area.
It says it will provide more staff as requested by the Japanese government to examine the effects of the radiation leak.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 08:01
Serious fuel shortage haunts disaster areas
Disaster-hit northeastern Japan still faces acute shortages of gasoline and other fuels due to damaged transport and distribution systems.
Wholesaler Showa Shell Sekiyu revealed that as of Wednesday, it has been able to supply just 60 percent of its orders. It says it will increase the number of tankers to meet demand.
Meanwhile, 75 percent of 382 gas stations affiliated to the wholesaler in the Tohoku area have resumed business.
But the company says operations are still stalled in some cities in Miyagi prefecture, devastated by the March 11th tsunami.
Wholesaler, JX Nippon Oil & Energy says 80 percent of its 1200 gas stations are operating, while Idemitsu Kosan says that 60 percent of 460 stations are back in business.
Oil wholesalers say efforts to ship fuel to the regions from the Japan sea coast are taking time and shortages will likely continue.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 12:06
Radiation in seawater at new high :
Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says 180 becquerels per cubic centimeter of radioactive iodine-131 has been detected in seawater sampled on Wednesday at a location 330 meters south of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The level is 4,385 times higher than the legal standard, and far above the 3,355-times level detected on Tuesday.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 12:57
Plant workers rushing to remove contaminated water
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, is stepping up efforts to remove radioactive water pooled around reactors at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The water has been hampering work to cool the reactors.
Water contaminated by high-level radiation has been found inside turbine buildings at the No.1 through No.4 reactors, as well as in tunnels outside the buildings.
On Thursday, workers began transferring about 150 tons of contaminated water from the No.1 reactor tunnel to a storage tank to prevent it from flowing out to sea. They have so far lowered the water level in the tunnel by about one meter.
They're also expected to finish emptying tanks into which water from turbine condensers would be transferred, so the condensers could then take contaminated water from the turbine buildings at the No.1 through No.3 reactors.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says work to remove contaminated water from the No.3 reactor turbine building basement finished on Thursday morning.
Tepco continues to transfer radioactive water from the turbine building at the No.2 reactor.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 13:29
IAEA reports high radiation outside exclusion zone
The International Atomic Energy Agency says radiation levels twice as high as its criterion for evacuation were detected in a village 40 kilometers from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
This is outside the 20 kilometer exclusion zone and the 20-to-30 kilometer alert zone where the Japanese government advises voluntary evacuation.
The nuclear watchdog reported the findings at a meeting of its members in Vienna on Wednesday.
The IAEA said its experts measured levels of Iodine 131 and Cesium 137 in soil around the plant between March 18th and 26th.
It said measurements in Iitate Village, 40 kilometers northwest of the Fukushima plant, was double the IAEA operational criteria for evacuation and that it has advised Japan to carefully assess the situation.
In Tokyo on Thursday, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters that the government has been notified by the IAEA of its radiation findings.
Edano said the reported radiation levels in Iitate will not have an immediate impact on human health but could be harmful if exposed over a long period of time. He said the government will closely assess the long-term impact and take appropriate action.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 16:42
G20 calls for assistance to Japan
Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 economies have called for joint efforts to stabilize the foreign exchange system and to help Japan recover from the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami.
The officials met on Thursday in the Chinese city of Nanjing for a seminar on international monetary system reforms. The event was organized by France, which holds G20's chairmanship this year.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in an opening speech that G20 nations must cooperate by learning a lesson from the major effects of Japan's earthquake on the global economy and energy policy.
Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said that global economic recovery from the 2008 financial crisis remains fragile and Japan's earthquake has further intensified uncertainties about prospects for the global economy.
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the G7 joint market interventions on March 18th were intended to prevent extreme movements of the Japanese currency, which could harm Japan's economic recovery.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 19:10
First haul of fish since quake served to evacuees
In quake- and tsunami-hit Iwate prefecture, a group of local fishermen has gone fishing for the first time since the March 11th tremor.
Six fishermen in Ofunato city on board 2 different boats left the port shortly after 6:00 on Thursday morning as a gesure of encouragement to the people of the disaster- stricken city.
About 2 hours of operations inside the bay allowed them to capture some 500 rockfish.
The hauled fish were delivered to a community hall-turned shelter where they were cooked and served to evacuees staying there.
A woman in her 60's said she was able to eat fish for the first time since evacuating, and it really tasted good.
The city's fishing port is also known for its scallop and seaweed aquaculture, and for its gillnet fishing.
The port was hit hard by the tsunami. Aquaculture facilities were heavily damaged, and most of the industry's fishing boats, numbering around 300, were washed away, with the exception of only 9 vessels.
. . . . . and earlier
US giving Japan time on trade pact after disaster
The US government says it understands that Japan may have to delay its decision on a US-backed free trade pact as it deals with the aftermath of the quake and tsunami.
The Japanese government had previously said it would decide by June whether to join negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. But it may now delay the decision as it prioritizes reconstruction.
Speaking to an audience in Washington on Wednesday, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Japan should now focus on relief work in the quake-hit areas.
But he expressed hope for Japan to eventually decide on joining the pact, saying that the US will welcome Japan when it is ready.
Kirk also spoke of US efforts to persuade Japan to lift its restrictions on US beef imports. Japan's rules allow only meat from cattle aged 20 months or younger due to fears over BSE.
Kirk said Japan fully understands US concerns and is aware of the growing discontent in the United States with Japan's position.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 19:10
Tokyo stock ends fiscal 2010 12 percent lower
The Tokyo Stock Exchange ended the final trading day of fiscal 2010 on Thursday with its key index 12 percent lower than what it was a year ago.
The Nikkei average closed at 9,755, up 46 points from Wednesday.
This month's major earthquake and tsunami caused the index to fall over 1,000 points in just one day.
Market players are focusing on how the nuclear crisis in Japan will be contained. Stock prices are under pressure because of fears that the problem could drag on.
The share price of Tokyo Electric Power has fallen to one-fifth what it was before the onset of the nuclear emergency. The price is hovering at a 48-year low.
Looking ahead, market sources say stock prices will remain unstable because many investors believe the disaster will leave the Japanese economy stagnant for the time being.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 19:10
Affected regions yet to receive cash donations
Donations of more than 860 million dollars have been raised in Japan for those affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. However, little progress has been made in discussions on how to distribute the funds as the damage is too extensive for local authorities to grasp.
Almost 3 weeks after the quake, Japanese Red Cross Society has so far received donations worth about 716 million. About 146 million dollars has been donated to the welfare corporation, the Central Community Chest of Japan. The total amount is far greater than the donations collected within the same period after the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake that struck Kobe and neighboring areas in western Japan.
Committees set up by affected prefectures and related organizations are supposed to decide how to allocate the donations to each stricken region.
However, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures have been unable to grasp the extent of the damage and have yet to set up such committees. The total number of the dead and missing in the 2 prefectures continues to rise.
The Japanese Red Cross Society and Central Community Chest of Japan are proposing setting up a single committee to centralize efforts to distribute the funds.
Shunsuke Mitsui of the Japanese Red Cross Society says that in the Great Hanshin Earthquake, the first round of cash distributions was made 20 days after the quake. He says Friday marks 3 weeks after the disaster in northeastern Japan, but it's unclear when the distributions can start.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 19:36

US to send emergency response unit to Japan
The US military is sending Marines specialized in responding to nuclear emergencies to Japan to help deal with the trouble at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Japan's Self-Defense Force Joint Chief of Staff Ryoichi Oriki announced the measure on Thursday.
Oriki said US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has approved the sending of the 140-member Chemical Biological Incident Response Force.
The unit is trained in search-and-rescue operations and clearing highly radioactive nuclear materials.
Oriki said the unit will not necessarily take immediate action, and that the Self-Defense Forces hope to share information with them and study how it can be put into use when needed.
The US military has provided a barge capable of carrying large volumes of fresh water to keep reactors at the plant cool. It has also sent nuclear experts to Japan as part of efforts to resolve the crisis.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 19:37
Nuclear watchdog defends its decision
Japan's nuclear safety watchdog says it sees no reason to change the zone for which the government advised residents to stay indoors or evacuate voluntarily.
The Nuclear Safety Commission made the remark to reporters on Thursday, following reports by the IAEA that radiation levels twice as high as its criterion for evacuation were detected in soil at a village outside the zone.
Commission member Seiji Shiroya said evacuation criteria in Japan are decided according to how much radiation people would be exposed to, not radiation levels in the ground. He said the IAEA's findings should be used as references, but that the commission's decision on the zone is correct.
Shiroya said the commission studies various factors, including radiation levels in the air and amounts of airborne radioactive substances taken into the body through breathing and eating.
He said the IAEA probably measured radiation on a grass surface with available equipment, but that he believes the commission's figures are more accurate when considering the effect on the human body.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 19:37
Radiation monitors not given to each worker
NHK has learned that Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has not provided every worker at the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant with radiation monitors, breaking government rules.
High levels of contamination have been detected at the Daiichi power complex following a series of hydrogen explosions that have scattered radioactive substances.
TEPCO says the quake destroyed many radiation monitors, so in some work groups only leaders have them, leaving others struggling to manage exposure.
The government requires companies to provide each individual worker with a radiation monitor when working under such conditions.
One worker who helped restore electricity to the plant, says each man must have been exposed to different levels of radiation, and that he has no idea how much contamination he was exposed to.
TEPCO says that those without monitors are assigned to low-radiation work, and that safety measures are in place.
The health ministry says exposure to large amounts of radiation is always a possibility during a nuclear power plant accident. It adds if the claims are true it is a serious problem, and that it plans to investigate the company's safety management.

Thursday, March 31, 2011 19:43
Work continues to remove contaminated water
Tokyo Electric Power Company is continuing its efforts to remove radioactive water pooled in the basement of the turbine buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The presence of water contaminated by high-level radiation at the Number 1 through Number 3 reactors is hampering work to restore the reactors' cooling systems.
It is not easy trying to extract the water because some of the tanks into which it is to be fed are themselves full.
By Thursday morning, work was over to empty a tank into which contaminated water from the turbine building of the No. 3 reactor will be stored temporarily. On the same day, a similar operation to empty a tank started at the No.1 reactor.
Work is also continuing to remove contaminated water found in tunnels just outside the No. 1 reactor building.
On Thursday, work began to transfer the water from the tunnel to a storage tank to prevent it from flowing out to sea.
Tepco says that by the day's end, the water level in the tunnel has lowered by about one meter.
Tepco will install monitoring cameras to keep track of the water levels in the tunnels to prevent any overflow.
Also on Thursday, unfavorable weather conditions forced Tepco to postpone a plan to spray a synthetic chemical on the radioactive debris scattered on the grounds of the plant as a result of a series of explosions at the plant in mid-March. Tepco is hoping that the adhesive chemical will prevent the radioactive dust from being carried away by winds.


Voices from around

. The Daily Reading List .  

. Japan Times, March 31, selected articles  

. . . . .

Japan urges calm over food export fears
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan called on the world not to impose "unjustifiable" import curbs on its goods as French President Nicolas Sarkozy was due to arrive on Thursday, the first leader to visit since an earthquake and tsunami damaged a nuclear plant, sparking the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.

In a briefing to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Japan said it was monitoring radioactive contamination to prevent potential food safety risks and would provide the WTO with quick and precise information.
"In return, Japan asked members not to overreact," said a WTO official.
.. But the International Atomic Energy Agency said radiation measured at a village 40 km from the nuclear complex exceeded a criterion for evacuation.
... Japan has ordered an immediate safety upgrade at its 55 nuclear power plants, its first acknowledgement that standards were inadequate. A Reuters investigation showed Japan and TEPCO repeatedly played down dangers at its nuclear plants and ignored warnings, including a 2007 tsunami study from the utility's senior safety engineer.
... TEPCO will test sprinkling synthetic resin in some areas of the Daiichi complex to prevent radioactive dust from flying into the air or being washed into the ocean by rain. The resin is water-soluble, but when the water evaporates, it becomes sticky and contains the dust.
source : news.yahoo.com

. . . . .

. . . a new buzzword : decommission

Reactors may take three decades to decommission
Damaged reactors at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant may take three decades to decommission and cost operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. more than ¥1 trillion, engineers and analysts said.
source : japantimes.co.j


Robbers never strike at the homes of the poor;
Private wealth does not benefit the entire nation.
Calamity has its source
in the accumulated riches of the few,
People who lose their souls for ten thousand coins.

Zen priest Ikkyu 一休
source : magicnutshell.blogspot.com


white masks
the sweeping tsunami
steals smiles

Don Baird, California


Emergency Relief - Japanese Red Cross Society

source : www.jrc.or.jp

. . . . .

twothousand eleven -
no gentle spring dusk
this year



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  1. Anonymous3/31/2011

    Liebe Grüße nach Japan.
    von Berlin

  2. Anonymous3/31/2011

    Es tut mir so leid, was Japan alles durchmachen muss -- und Ihr leidet
    Ich soll von Europa aus ganz viele Gruesse nach Japan schicken --
    so viele meiner Freunde beten regelmaessig fuer Japan. Teils auch deshalb, weil sie mich sehr stark mit Japan assoziieren und ihnen das
    Land deshalb viel bedeutet. Ich war selbst erstaunt darueber.
    a friend

  3. Anonymous4/01/2011

    How about damming it with razor wire, barbwire ?-("