April 13, Wednesday

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Alex Serban, Romania


Gabi reports:

Not much change:
. Daily Radiation Levels  

13,232 deaths have been confirmed
14,554 are reported missing
More than 28,000 people are dead or missing.

. . . . .

Yesterday, the severity level of the Fukushima plant accident was raised to 7 (from 5), the same as Chernobyl. This is leading to heated dabates.
The facts are (if we can trust the official reports, see NHK bulletins):

No death by radiation until today.
The reactor itself has not exploded.
The volume of radiation leaked so far is 10 percent of that leaked in Chernobyl.
source : NHK world, April 12

How to interpret these facts will give room to many comments in the future, I am quite sure.

Just as I wrote the above, there is the next update from NHK world news, where we read :
IAEA: Fukushima very different from Chernobyl
(see bulletin below at 2011 08:06 )

. . . . .

China, Korea and other countries ask for more detailed information about the ongoing nuclear crisis, to reassure their people it is not dangerous for them.

. . . . . at 10:08
Earthquake M 5.8,
Fukushima Hamadori

About 100 aftershocks with intensities of 4 or higher have been registered in the Tohoku region as well as around Tokyo in the past month.

The beautiful Plum Park in Mito, Kairakuen 偕楽園, is damaged by the many quakes, with huge gaps and cracks in the ground. Part of the walkway sunk down 30 cm before a bridge. It had to close down and might take more than one year to fix all the damage and make it safe to walk again.
The hotels and lodgings in the region getting cancellations for the Golden Week, starting April 29.
Many hotels are damaged by the quake anyway and had to close down.
. . . CLICK here for Photos before the damage !

. . . . .

The duties municipal workers have to fulfill will expand.
. Helping Hands .  

. . . . .

Sendai Airport, which we saw on TV being engulfed in the tsunami, is now back working and a plain from Haneda airport was welcomed today, the first since the earthquake. Plains can only arrive during daytime, since the electricity is not fully working.
So there is one flight Sendai-Haneda and two flights Sendai-Osaka for now. Hopefully by September it will function fully.

. . . . .

There are a few yoghurt producers in our area. They are suddenly very busy, one is producing 2000 extra packets of yoghurt daily now, to be shipped to Tohoku.
Why the sudden increase?
Because a boy survived for a long time in a home with his grandmother, living from the yoghurt in the refrigerator. Now everyone is stocking up on yoghurt.


08 pink sakura joy


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 03:18
Edano: No need to change Fukushima response

Japan's top government spokesman says there will be no change in the way the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is being handled.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano on Tuesday held his first news conference for the international media since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
Most questions from reporters focused on the government's decision to raise the severity level at the Fukushima plant to 7 from 5. Level 7 is the highest rank on an international scale and was also applied to the 1986 Chernobyl accident.
Edano stressed that raising the crisis level does not mean the situation is worsening. He said the upgrade was not due to a new emergency, but is based on the latest analysis of data.
A correspondent for a British magazine, the Economist, said Japanese ministers need to send more information to the world through foreign media outlets.
The correspondent said that politicians should have made more media appearances immediately after the disaster.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 03:18
TEPCO: 1% of radioactive iodine released outside

Tokyo Electric Power Company estimates that about one percent of the radioactive iodine at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been released since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami damaged the facility.
The company on Tuesday announced the estimated radioactivity levels of all substances at the plant's 6 reactors and fuel storage pools at the time of the disaster.
The estimates are classified under radioactive noble gases, iodine or other materials.
81 million tera-becquerels of iodine-131 are believed to have existed at the plant.
The utility says the amount of iodine-131 released outside the plant is about one percent of the total with a margin of error included.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said earlier in the day that 130,000 tera-becquerels of iodine-131 have been released so far.
The company also says that, provided no leak occurred, the level of iodine-131 at the plant had fallen to less than one-hundredth of the pre-disaster level as of Monday.
The level declines naturally, as the radioactivity of iodine-131 falls by half in 8 days.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 07:52
Radioactive strontium detected outside 30km zone

Japan's science ministry says small amounts of radioactive strontium have been detected in soil and plants outside the 30-kilometer zone around the Fukushima plant where the government has advised people to stay indoors. Strontium could cause cancer.
The ministry has been monitoring the level of radioactive substances in soil and weeds in Fukushima Prefecture.
It found 3.3 to 32 becquerels of strontium 90 per kilogram of soil in samples taken from 3 locations in Namie Town and Iitate Village, 30 kilometers from the plant.
An extremely small amount of strontium was also found in plants taken from Motomiya City, Ono Town and Otama and Nishigo Villages. The areas are 40 to 80 kilometers from the Fukushima plant.
Strontium 90 has a half-life of 29 years. It tends to accumulate in bones and could cause cancer.
The ministry says the amount found is extremely low and will not have a negative health impact even if a person ingested one kilogram of the contaminated soil.
The samples were taken between March 16 and 19.
A nuclear engineering expert says the fact that strontium was detected proves that the reactor or spent fuel in the pool was damaged at that point. He says a hydrogen explosion occurred at Reactor 3 around that time and the particles may have been carried by winds.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 07:52
Aftershocks continue

Strong aftershocks from the March 11th earthquake have been jolting the Pacific coast of northeastern Japan since Monday.
The Meteorological Agency is urging people in the region to remain on the alert for further powerful aftershocks.
On Tuesday, a strong quake struck Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures just after 2 PM. Intensities of 6 minus on the Japanese scale of 0 to 7 were registered in some areas.
The agency says that about 100 aftershocks with intensities of 4 or higher have shaken many parts of the northeastern Tohoku region as well as areas around Tokyo in the past month.
It says that 3 earthquakes with a magnitude of over 6.0 were observed on Monday and Tuesday alone.
In areas still recovering from the March 11th quake, the aftershocks have slowed the recovery of essential services. Many households in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, are without water again.
Bottled water has once again disappeared from supermarket shelves.
Iwaki Mayor Takao Watanabe says the city is without basic services again just when it was about to return to normal. He says he is deeply disappointed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 08:06
IAEA: Fukushima very different from Chernobyl

The International Atomic Energy Agency has supported the Japanese government's analysis that the release of radioactive materials from the Fukushima Daiichi plant is on a smaller scale than the 1986 Chernobyl accident.
IAEA Deputy Director General Denis Flory spoke to reporters in Vienna on Tuesday after the Japanese authorities raised the severity level of the Fukushima accident to 7 from 5. This is the highest rank on an international scale and the same level as the Chernobyl accident.
Flory said the accidents at Fukushima and Chernobyl are very different. He said that in Chernobyl the reactor exploded while in operation, but in Fukushima the reactors stopped when the earthquake hit and the pressure vessels housing them did not blow up.
Flory said the Japanese government has provided credible data to the IAEA. He supported Japan's analysis that the cumulative dose is about 10 percent of the one from the Chernobyl plant.
The UN nuclear agency says it will continue to analyze the radiation measurements by the Japanese authorities.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 09:04
China tries to reassure public over nuclear safety

The Chinese authorities are trying to ease public concerns about nuclear safety amid the ongoing problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The government of the Guanxi Zhuang Autonomous Region organized an event in the main city of Fangchenggang on Tuesday to promote the safety of nuclear plants.
A plant with 6 reactors is under construction in the coastal city.
A senior government official said various rumors have been spreading across China since the nuclear accident at the Fukushima plant. The official stressed the need for the public to learn scientific knowledge.
Display boards were set up to explain how the location for the plant is unlikely to be hit by earthquakes or tsunami.
Thirteen nuclear plants are operating and 28 are under construction in China to meet the growing demand for electricity. The Chinese government says it will continue to promote nuclear power generation.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 09:04
High radiation levels in sea off Fukushima coast

The science ministry says radiation levels in seawater off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture are the highest since it began monitoring them about 3 weeks ago.
The ministry says the level of iodine-131 was 88.5 becquerels per liter in a sample taken on Monday in the sea about 30 kilometers east of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The figure is 2.2 times the government's upper limit for wastewater from nuclear facilities.
The level of cesium-137 was also the highest observed so far, but was below the limit.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says the iodine-131 level was 23 times the upper limit in a sample taken 15 kilometers from the plant.
This was the highest figure since TEPCO began taking samples 15 kilometers offshore on April 2nd.
Radiation levels are higher in the sea to the north of the crippled plant.
The government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says radioactive substances seem to be flowing and diffusing northward.
The agency says predicting the course of the flow is difficult and it will step up monitoring in locations where high radiation levels have been detected.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 09:52
US military sharing Fukushima surveillance data

A top US military commander says the United States is sharing photos and surveillance data on the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant with Japan and other countries.
The Chief of the US Pacific Command, Admiral Robert Willard, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that unmanned surveillance aircraft are monitoring the plant every day.
Willard said the aircraft are recording temperature fluctuations near the nuclear reactors and taking photographs.
He also said the military is creating maps of radiation levels near the compound, based on data from sensors aboard the aircraft.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 12:47
Contaminated water level falls 4 cm

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says the level of contaminated water in the tunnel of the No. 2 reactor has dropped 4 centimeters.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says workers at the plant had moved about 250 tons of highly radioactive water from the tunnel into a turbine condenser by Wednesday morning.
It says that as a result, the water level had dropped by 4 centimeters to 95 centimeters below the surface as of 7 AM.
A series of aftershocks delayed the start of the work until after 7:30 PM on Tuesday. TEPCO says it is expected to take about 40 hours to move a total of 700 tons of contaminated water from the tunnel.
The company has been checking another storage facility for damage in order to use it for contaminated water from the basement of the reactor's turbine building.
These efforts are aimed at allowing workers to restore the reactor's cooling system.
TEPCO also says it injected nearly 200 tons of water into the spent fuel storage pool at the No. 4 reactor early Wednesday.
It says an analysis of the water from the pool on Tuesday put the radiation level on the surface at 84 millisieverts per hour and the water temperature at around 90 degrees Celsius, higher than usual.
The company says it will try to identify radioactive substances in the water in the pool and their densities to determine whether the reactor's fuel has been damaged.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 15:56
Fukushima shiitake mushroom ban

Japan's government has banned the shipment of some shiitake mushrooms grown outdoors in eastern Fukushima Prefecture, citing radiation contamination.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Wednesday shipment of those mushrooms from 16 cities, towns and villages in the region will be stopped for the time being.
The ban applies to 2.3 percent of the shiitake mushrooms grown in Fukushima, amounting to 69 tons.
Edano said mushrooms grown indoors in the prefecture are safe. He said the ban will be lifted if radiation levels fall.
Fukushima is Japan's 8th largest producer of shiitake mushrooms with annual shipments exceeding 3,000 tons. As of 2009 there were more than 660 shiitake producers in the prefecture.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 17:37
TEPCO to make temporary damage payments

The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is considering making temporary damage payments to residents around the plant.
President Masataka Shimizu 清水正孝 of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, made this known at a news conference on Wednesday.
Shimizu said he sincerely apologizes to the residents as well as people of Fukushima Prefecture and other areas for the tremendous trouble and worries caused by the serious accident involving leakage of radioactive materials.
He said TEPCO is consulting the government to prepare to address the issue of compensating local residents, based on a law for nuclear damage compensation.
Shimizu also said TEPCO is in the final stages of creating a roadmap to stabilize the power plant and that the firm hopes to announce measures to do so quickly. He said he's well aware that Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a news conference on Tuesday that he instructed the firm to come up with such a roadmap.
Shimizu said he will resign as vice chairman of the Japan Business Federation, or Nippon Keidanren, and as chairman of the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, to take responsibility for the accident. But he said he will remain TEPCO's president for the time being.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 19:33
Work to remove contaminated wastewater continues

Workers at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are continuing efforts to remove highly radioactive water from parts of the facility.
Highly contaminated water needs to be transferred to the plant's waste processing facility from the basement of the Number 2 reactor's turbine building before workers can continue efforts to restore the cooling system.
On Wednesday, workers checked the waste processing facility to make sure it could hold the contaminated water to be transferred.
Work also continued to transfer contaminated water from an underground utility tunnel outside the Number 2 reactor to a turbine condenser.
The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, says the water level in the tunnel was nearly one meter below the ground's surface as of Wednesday morning, dropping 8 centimeters from the previous day.
On Tuesday last week, workers stopped leakage into the sea of highly radioactive water from a concrete pit near the underground tunnel.
Another challenge is how to stop the spread of radioactive material in the sea.
Seawater sampled on Monday 30 kilometers offshore contained 2.2 times the national safety limit of radioactive iodine-131. The level 15 kilometers offshore was 23 times the safety limit. Both figures were the highest yet observed.
On Wednesday, workers put up underwater barriers in the sea near water intakes at the Number 2, Number 3 and Number 4 reactors. The barriers are to be reinforced in the coming days..
TEPCO set to restart Kashiwazaki plant
Tokyo Electric Power Company plans to restart the Number 3 reactor at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture by the end of this year.
The plant's Number 2 through Number 4 reactors have been out of service since the March 11th disaster.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 19:44
Diffusion of radioactive substances predicted

Japan's science ministry says radioactive substances will continue to diffuse to the northeast in the Pacific Ocean for several days after being released from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The ministry conducted a computer-simulated prediction of movements of such substances, based on a seawater survey as well as data on currents in nearby waters.
On April 2nd, levels of radioactive iodine-131 near the water intake of the plant's No. 2 reactor were found to be 7.5 million times higher than the legal limit.
The ministry says the radiation levels are on the decline, but remain high.
The ministry's short-term prediction says the substances will spread from the coast to the northeast, maintaining their levels for several days.
The ministry's long-term prediction says the substances will be carried south by a current 100 kilometers offshore in lowered concentrations, then move east with a rapidly-moving current off Ibaraki Prefecture in about a month.
The ministry said the concentration of radioactive substances in the sea is likely to decrease gradually.
The ministry plans to step up monitoring of the movement of radioactive substances in waters around the plant and release another prediction.

. . . Wednesday, April 13, 2011 21:08
Temperatures rise at No.4 spent fuel storage pool
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says the water temperature in the spent fuel storage pool at the No. 4 reactor in the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has risen to about 90 degrees Celsius. It fears the spent fuel rods may be damaged.
TEPCO took the temperature on Tuesday using an extending arm on a special vehicle. It found the temperature was much higher than the normal level of under 40 degrees.
To cool the fuel, TEPCO sprayed 195 tons of water for 6 hours on Wednesday morning.
The company thinks the pool's water level was about 5 meters lower than normal, but 2 meters above the fuel rods.
TEPCO believes the water level is likely to rise by about one meter after the water spraying on Wednesday.
The company also believes temperatures rose after the loss of the reactor's cooling system.
TEPCO says high levels of radiation at 84 millisieverts per hour were detected above the water surface, where radiation is rarely detected.
The company plans to continue spraying and to analyze radioactive particles in the pool to determine whether the fuel has been damaged.
The storage pool at the No. 4 reactor has housed all the fuel rods that were in operation at the reactor due to massive engineering work there.
TEPCO has sprayed more than 1,800 tons of water on the No. 4 reactor using fire engines and special vehicles since the March 11th crisis. The company feared that fuel rods could cause evaporation of water and put workers at risk of exposure.
University of Tokyo Professor Koji Okamoto says the temperature of 90 degrees indicates that cooling is continuing, although some of the water in the pool may be boiling.
Okamoto says high radiation indicates the possibility of radiation leaks from damaged fuel, and called for the evaluation of water sampling to determine how the situation should be tackled.
The professor says that to prevent further damage to the fuel, it's important to continue cooling the pool while minimizing water leakage from it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 21:08
Most spent fuel not damaged at No. 4 reactor

TEPCO says most of the spent fuel in the storage pool of the No. 4 reactor is apparently undamaged.
At a news conference on Wednesday, the firm said the finding is based on interim results of an analysis of samples taken from the pool water on Tuesday.
But it said levels of radioactive substances including iodine-131 in the samples were higher than those in storage pools under normal circumstances, suggesting that some of the spent fuel may have been damaged.
TEPCO says it found 220 becquerels of iodine-131 per cubic centimeter of water, as well as 88 becquerels of cesium-134 and 93 becquerels of cesium-137. The firm says the materials are usually produced by nuclear fission.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 21:25
Toyota to suspend production in Europe

Toyota Motor will suspend vehicle production at 5 of its European plants for several days from late April to early May due to a shortage of parts.

. Toyota since March 11 .


Voices from around

. The Daily Reading List .  

. Japan Times, April 13  


A new gallery at Haigaonline.
Alexis Rotella : Kimono Prints

In 2007, Alexis was the grand prizewinner of the Kusamakura Haiku Competition and traveled to Japan for the awards ceremony. The experience has often figured in her art and writing since then, especially so in the aftermath of the recent tragedies. "The Japanese people," she writes, "are always in the back of my mind and in a way, by doing these kimono haiga, I am honoring their culture."

Please do visit the exhibition:
.. www.haigaonline.com


second tremor...
secure thoughts all so
suddenly stop

Willie Bongcaron, Manila


Das Lächeln der Japaner, in den Wochen nach dem Erdbeben vom 11.3.2011 der Welt vor Augen geführt, ist erwachsen aus den spezifischen Bedingungen der japanischen Natur und Gesellschaft. Es ist Ausdruck des Bemühens um gesellschaftliche Harmonie. Die Katastrophe im Kernkraftwerk Fukushima und deren Bewältigung wird diese Harmonie und das „Immer nur lächeln...“ auf den Prüfstand setzen.

. Im Land des Lächelns
Von Karl Uwe Richter
Professor, Morioka, Japan
岩手県立大学 (Iwate Prefectural University)

(Uwe ist mein Freund aus der Heidelberger Studienzeit, lange ist es her ...)



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  1. quote from yahoo news:

    Japan raised the assessment of its nuclear crisis to the most severe rating Tuesday, on the same level as the Chernobyl disaster, the world's worst to date. Some answers to questions about the assessment and health and safety concerns:

    Q. Has the situation at the Japanese nuclear power plant worsened?

    A. No. The heaviest radiation leaks at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex occurred in the first days after the March 11 earthquake-triggered tsunami crippled the plant's cooling systems. Workers are trying to lower temperatures in the overheated nuclear reactors, but still don't have full control. Problems persist, like the leak into the ocean plugged last week, but authorities say the radiation leaks are declining.

    Q. If the situation's not getting worse, why did Japan raise its assessment of the crisis?


  2. quote :
    What Does 'Fukushima Is Now as Bad as Chernobyl' Actually Mean?

    Here's a brief explainer to guide through the upgraded severity level on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale. First things first: . ...

    If the level 7 classification puts Fukushima on the same level as Chernobyl, how similar are the crises?


  3. quote :

    The Fukushima nuclear disaster is often touted as being of less concern than the Chernobyl disaster. We are reserving judgement on that, but generally feel the situation is far worse. We base this on facts, not opinion.

    An independent assessment by university researchers from Kyoto University and Hiroshima University finds that the radiation levels are not being correctly reported by the Japanese government nor TEPCO.


  4. . . quote

    Japan says nuclear crisis stabilizing, time to rebuild

    TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan's nuclear crisis is slowly stabilizing and the country must now focus on repairing the damage wrought by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the northeast coast a month ago, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said.

    He was speaking shortly after new data showed more radiation leaked from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the early days of the crisis than first thought.

    That new information put Japan's nuclear calamity in the same category as the world's worst nuclear disaster, Chernobyl, officials said, but the upgrade in its severity rating to the highest level on a globally recognized scale did not mean the situation had suddenly become more critical.

  5. Wow... look back on last years comments.
    Let us continue to hope.
    Spring shines a bright light.

  6. Anonymous4/14/2011

    accident level 7 -
    Good grief... What can one say or do at hearing about something so devastating... Keep silent within, while an invisible killer is at large out there? Tears seem to be counterproductive.

  7. predawn
    I wonder what time it is
    in Japan

    Gabi when I wrote "I wonder about Japan", to me you are a symbol, a personification of Japan's people since you are one I actually know of there and have corresponded with on occasion and read a lot of.
    My prayers are with you, sending all the good energy I can spare. Please be well.