April 21, Thursday

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. Ganbaro Japan ! with Daruma san  


Gabi reports:

A rather cold morning, with frost on the green leaves.

The 20 km zone around the plant is now off limits.
(see NHK bulletin below.)

27,601 are dead or missing.

Radioactive iodine found in breast milk of Japanese mothers.

. . . . .

Just saw an amazing feature on TV.

A man had escaped high up at Kinkazan island 金華山 , situated before Ishinomaki town and Ojika Peninsula..
He kept taking photos of the tsunami as they came into the inlet, from both sides at once, clashing in the middle in front of his eyes.
Even tsunami-experts have never seen this kind of document before.
It looked like a scene from a biblical movie.

"Golden Flower Mountain"
Kinkasan is considered one of the three holiest places in the Tohoku region.
The Koganeyama jinja Shinto shrine 黄金山神社 is devoted to the gods of wealth, Ebisu and Daikoku.
According to legend, if you pay a visit to the shrine once a year for three consecutive years, you will have no financial difficulties for the rest of your life.

. WKD : Kinkazan, cutting antlers in May .  

. . . . .

. . . . . at 17:18
Earthquake M 5.3, off the coast of Miyagi

The many aftershocks cause landslides and damage in many parts of Tohoku now.

. . . . . at 22:37
Strong Earthquake M 6.0 off Chiba coast
and many aftershocks


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Thursday, April 21, 2011 00:34
Fukushima accident likely caused by blackouts

A Japanese nuclear safety official says the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was likely caused by electricity blackouts as a result of tsunami and not by shock of the earthquake.
National Nuclear Safety Commissioner Osamu Oyamada 小山田修 made the remark at a news conference on Wednesday in the city of Fukushima after inspecting the plant.
Referring to accounts of the accident by the plant manager and workers, Oyamada said the reactors were apparently shut down without any hitch.
He said the reactors and their buildings did not likely incur serious damage caused by the quake itself and that they were intact immediately after it.
But he said there are no gauge readings or other data available to prove this assumption.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 06:08
Levels of radioactive water rising despite efforts

The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant continues to transfer highly radioactive water near a reactor to a storage facility.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says work has been underway since Tuesday to move 10,000 tons of highly contaminated water accumulated in the turbine building of the Number 2 reactor to an on-site waste processing facility. The water has been pumped into the facility at a rate of 10 tons per hour.
TEPCO says the toxic water level in a tunnel near the turbine building was 2 centimeters lower as of 6 PM on Wednesday. But it says because there was no change in the water level in the basement of the turbine building, the leaking of toxic water into the basement appears to be continuing.
The utility company also says the water level in a tunnel linked to the Number 3 reactor has been rising several centimeters a day for the past week. The water is expected to rise to about one meter below the ground level soon.
The company says water levels are also rising in the Number 5 and 6 turbine buildings.
TEPCO says an estimated 67,500 tons of contaminated water are now in the Number 1, 2 and 3 reactors alone, hampering efforts to restore the reactors' cooling systems.
The utility says at the Number 1 reactor, some cooling water poured in has likely evaporated.
High radioactive levels detected in reactors
Robots have detected high levels of radioactivity inside the reactor buildings of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. The plant operator says the radioactivity must be reduced to allow work inside the buildings to bring the crisis under control.
Tokyo Electric Power Company surveyed the interiors of 3 reactor buildings on Sunday and Monday using robots equipped with dosimeters and cameras.
TEPCO says that over 50 minutes the robots found18.9 millisierverts of radioactivity in reactor Number 1 and 6.46 millisierverts in Number 2. The levels are hazardous to humans even over a short period. Levels of radioactivity were not available in the Number 3 reactor.
Video footage also suggests various difficulties that could hamper operations inside the buildings.
Footage of the Number 3 reactor shows steel plates and other debris scattered on the floor following the hydrogen explosion of March 14th. The doors of the circuit box were open, raising fears that the power system has been damaged.
TEPCO says humidity inside the Number 2 reactor was 94 to 99 percent, fogging up the robot's camera lens.
The company says the humidity indicates that radioactive steam leaked into the building. It says it will need to install air conditioners to ventilate and clean the air of radioactivity before people can work there.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 06:08
Govt to set up no-entry zone near Fukushima plant

The government is to ban local residents from entering within 20-kilometers of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant from midnight Thursday.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan is to inform the governor of Fukushima Prefecture of the new no-entry policy when he visits the prefecture on Thursday.
The government asked residents within 20 kilometers of the plant to evacuate after the March 11th earthquake. But some have been returning home to recover belongings.
The government says the new move is aimed at protecting the health and safety of the residents.
From Thursday midnight, anyone entering the banned area will be eligible for fines.
The government plans to allow one member of each household in the evacuation zone to temporally return home between May and June.
They will visit houses in buses for a maximum of a few hours to recover cash, bank deposit books and other belongings, and later be screened for radiation.
But permission to return will not be given to residents with homes 3 kilometers from the plant, pregnant women and children under 15.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 06:08
Ban urges Japan to be open about Fukushima

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has urged Japan to quickly act and provide full information with regard to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Ban and the head of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, inspected the Chenobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine on Wednesday -- 6 days before the 25th anniversary of the Chenobyl disaster. They visited the site after attending an international nuclear conference in Ukraine.
After the inspection, Ban told NHK that the Japanese government should take every possible measure as quickly as possible regarding to the Fukushima crisis, in cooperation with the IAEA.
He called on Japan to provide all information about the Fukushima accident to the international community so as to make these data available in reviewing safety standards of nuclear power generation.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 07:38
Stories related to March earthquake

A penguin chick has hatched in a zoo from an egg laid one hour before the massive quake hit northeastern Japan on March 11th.
Nasu Animal Kingdom in Tochigi Prefecture says a pair of cape penguins took turns sitting on the egg for more than a month before the chick was born on Tuesday.
The zoo named the baby penguin Akari meaning light, as a symbol of hope for the future. The new-born was moved to an incubator on Wednesday.
Zoo keeper Takuya Horie says the parents kept the egg warm through the quake and many aftershocks. He said he wants the baby to grow up healthy.
The chick is expected to make its debut at the zoo early in May.
In Saitama Prefecture, a group of local hotels and tourist boarding houses have started a new service, hoping to support quake-struck areas.
40 businesses in the prefecture's Chichibu area now provide their guests with Japanese sake brands made in hardest-hit areas such as Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures.
Some guests immediately ordered the sake.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 10:40
Japan makers express concern at NY auto show

Japanese automakers are expressing concern about their US sales in the wake of the March 11th quake, as they are being forced to cut production due to a parts shortage.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 12:07
Keidanren to save power by more than 25 percent

The Japan Business Federation, or Nippon Keidanren, says it will save electricity to cope with expected power shortages this summer in Japan.
Keidanren has set a target to reduce electricity usage by more than 25 percent compared to peak usage during the summer.
Under the power-saving plan, Keidanren will have all its 350 employees take 16 days off from August 6th through 21st.
Other steps include switching off some lights, stopping some elevators, and cutting in half the number of copiers available.
These actions will be taken at its offices from July to September.
日本経団連 / 日本経済団体連合会

Thursday, April 21, 2011 12:24
Govt bans residents from evacuation zone

The Japanese government is legally enforcing a no-entry zone within 20 kilometers of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant from midnight Thursday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano made the announcement on Thursday morning. The legally-controlled off-limits zone covers about 27,000 households in 9 municipalities.
The government had already instructed residents within the area to evacuate.
Edano said the no-entry zone is aimed at protecting the health and safety of local residents, some of whom have been returning home without sufficient radiation safety measures.
From Thursday midnight, anyone entering the banned area could be subject to fines.
The government also said it would allow one member of each household to temporarily return to their homes in the off-limits zone. But it has decided not to allow visits for residents living within 3 kilometers of the nuclear plant.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 12:33
SDF may transfer people out of no-entry zone

Japan's Self-Defense Forces are studying the possibility of helping transfer people out of the 20-kilometer zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Self-Defense Forces and local municipalities have found that several tens of people are still living in the area, which will be designated a legally-controlled, off-limits zone on Friday. They are people who are unable to evacuate by themselves such as the elderly or those in need of nursing care.
Self-Defense Forces are considering transferring these people out of the area with their vehicles if they are requested to do so by the local governments.
They are also considering taking people to their homes in the off-limit areas on temporary visits and then decontaminating them for radiation after the trip.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 12:55
Radioactive water transfer continues

Work to remove highly radioactive water near a reactor to a storage facility is underway at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex.
Work to pump out 25,000 tons of contaminated water from the Number 2 reactor turbine house and tunnels began on Tuesday.
Plant operator the Tokyo Electric Power Company says that as of Thursday morning, 450 tons of water had been moved to the waste processing facility.
Tokyo Electric says there have been no leaks or other problems so far and that the water level in the tunnel is down three centimeters since work began.
Tokyo Electric says it plans to continue pumping water at the current rate of 10 tons per hour for around 10 more days, and then add more pumps if things go well. The firm says it will transfer a total of 10,000 tons by mid-May.
But water around the Number 2 reactor is only part of the 67,500 tons of radioactive water that Tokyo Electric estimates to have accumulated at the plant.
The utility says radioactive water in the tunnel of the Number 3 reactor facility has been rising by several centimeters a day for the past week, and is soon likely to reach one-meter below ground level.
Tokyo Electric is also closely monitoring rising water levels in the turbine buildings of the Number 5 and 6 reactors. It says ground water could be seeping in.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 12:58
Kan pledges state compensation for Fukushima

Prime Minister Naoto Kan says his government will take responsibility in compensating residents affected by the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Kan made the remark in his talks with Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato during a visit to the prefecture on Thursday.
Governor Sato asked the prime minister and the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, to bring the situation under control quickly so that the local residents who have been forced to evacuate can return home.
The governor urged the central government and TEPCO to take responsibility in paying damages. Local residents are affected not only by the nuclear crisis but also by rumors that local products are contaminated with radioactive materials.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Governor Sato referred to the soon-to-be enforced 20-kilometer no-entry zone around the plant. He said the understanding of local communities is a prerequisite in enforcing the zone.
Prime Minister Kan then visited the national nuclear disaster task force based in Fukushima. He said the central government has to make further all-out efforts so that local residents can rebuild their lives at home.
Kan encouraged officials at the task force, asking them to step up their efforts in helping revitalize Fukushima and the rest of Japan in what he said might be a long battle.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 14:20
JR Tohoku Line resumes full operation

A main railway line connecting Tokyo with the northeastern part of Japan resumed full operation on Thursday, 40 days after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. ...

Thursday, April 21, 2011 15:13
TEPCO estimates 520-ton radioactive water into sea

Tokyo Electric Power Company says radioactive substances that leaked into the sea at the damaged Fukushima plant over six days from April 1st are estimated at 4,700 terabecquerels. This is 20,000 times more than the annual allowable limit at the complex.
At a news conference on Thursday, Tokyo Electric said it calculated the total amount of leaked water assuming that the leak began on April 1st. The leak of contaminated water from a pit of the Number 2 reactor was found on April 2nd and was stopped four days later using liquid glass.
The utility firm said that 520 tons of the high-level radioactive water is likely to have leaked into the sea during the period.
The estimated level of radiation in the water is roughly one 7,000th of what the power company puts as the total amount of radiation that has been released so far from the Number 2 reactor core and its spent fuel pool.
Levels of iodine 7.5 million times the safety limit were detected on April 2nd near the water intake of the Number 2 reactor. Tokyo Electric has since set up underwater barriers near the intake to prevent the spread of radioactive water in the sea.
The radiation level of seawater in the area has been gradually falling and, as of Tuesday, the iodine level was 1,200 times the limit.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 16:48
Japan asks OECD to help stop fears of radiation

Japan has asked the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, to stop other countries' curbing of Japanese imports based on unscientific fears of radiation.
Japan's trade and industry minister Banri Kaieda made the request at a meeting with visiting OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria in Tokyo on Thursday. ...

Thursday, April 21, 2011 17:13
Briefing on Japan nuke accident given to China

Japan's government has held a meeting in Beijing to brief China about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident to ease concerns over the safety of food imports and travel to the country.
An official of the Japanese embassy said that shipments of agricultural products and seafood from the area around the plant are currently banned and only safe food is being sent to markets. ...

Thursday, April 21, 2011 18:28
Kan:govt does all it can to end nuke crisis

Prime Minister Naoto Kan says his government will do all it can to put the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant under control so that evacuated people will be able to return home quickly.
Kan on Thursday visited Fukushima Prefecture to hold talks with Governor Yuhei Sato and meet evacuees housed in shelters. The quake-damaged plant is located in the prefecture.
The prime minister told reporters that he understands the evacuees' strong wishes to return to their homes as soon as possible.
Kan said that the government will assist Tokyo Electric Power Company -- the plant's operator -- to implement its program to overcome the crisis quickly.
On the no-entry zone within 20 kilometers of the plant, Kan said that the government will come up with a plan to allow residents to temporarily return home.
Concerning a plan to expand the evacuation areas, the prime minister said he expects a decision will be made as early as on Friday, after obtaining agreement from local authorities.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 18:35
Evacuees visit their home

Evacuees from near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant drove to their homes on Thursday before a no-entry zone covering their areas goes into operation at midnight on Thursday.
Police checked the driving licenses of car drivers at a checkpoint about 20 kilometers from the power plant and asked where they are going.
In the afternoon, people carrying clothes, appliances and other goods from their homes were seen driving through the checkpoint on their way back to evacuation centers.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 18:49
Edano: breast milk to be checked for radiation

Japan's government is to check breast milk samples for radiation.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano announced the measure on Thursday, but said radiation leaked from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has had no impact on breastfed infants.
Edano told reporters that although radioactive substances were reportedly detected in some samples, the levels were far below safety limits.
He said there is no need for excessive worry, and that the government instructed the health ministry to carry out the checks to alleviate concerns among breastfeeding mothers.


Voices from around

. The Daily Reading List .  

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. Japan Times, April 21  

. . . . .

Small amounts of radioactive iodine found
in breast milk of 4 women

A citizen’s group concerned about the impact on mothers and babies of the radioactive leaks from a crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture said Wednesday that small amounts of radioactive iodine have been found in the breast milk of four women living east or northeast of Tokyo.

Of the samples provided by the four women, the breast milk of the mother of an 8-month-old baby in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, contained the highest level of 36.3 becquerels of radioactive iodine per kilogram, but no radioactive cesium was found, the group said.

The Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan has not set safety levels for radioactive substances in breast milk, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. But the reading was below the safety limit of 100 becquerels per kg for tap water consumption by infants under 1 year old.

‘‘We cannot yet determine safety, but infants drink breast milk,’’ said Kikuko Murakami, who heads the group. ‘‘We want the government to conduct an extensive investigation swiftly.’‘

The samples of around 120 to 130 milliliters each were offered by nine women in Chiba, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures on March 24 and 30. The group had them analyzed at a private-sector radiation measurement company.

According to the group, milk from a woman in Moriya, Ibaraki Prefecture, contained 31.8 becquerels of radioactive iodine, but the second test for her showed a lower reading of 8.5 becquerels.

Milk from two women in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, contained 8.7 and 6.4 becquerels.

Meanwhile, no radioactive iodine was detected in the breast milk of four women in the city of Fukushima, the town of Tanakura in Fukushima Prefecture, Shiroishi in Miyagi Prefecture and Tsukubamirai in Ibaraki Prefecture.
source : www.japantoday.com

. . . . .

Japan as a Nuclear State
The Nuclear System and the Mentality that Underpins It
by Gavan McCormack

The following paper, which draws on and updates a 2007 Japan Focus article, was written for Le Monde Diplomatique, where it was posted online in French early in April 2011.

This article offers a general overview of the nuclear era that began in Japan less than a decade after the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and may well have been brought to its close by the events at Fukushima six and a half decades later. The Hirohito imperial broadcast of 15 August 1945 announcing the Japanese surrender and calling on the Japanese people to unite to “endure the unendurable” is now matched by the Akihito imperial television address of 16 March, calling on people to unite in the face of catastrophe and help each other through the crisis. Two days after the Akihito address, the government announced that the “Great East Japan Earthquake” disaster was to be elevated from level 4 to level 5, on a par with Three Mile Island, and three weeks later, on 12 April, it raised it again, to level 7, the maximum on the international scale for nuclear incidents, alongside Chernobyl.
Successive generations of Japan’s bureaucratic, political, corporate, and media elite have insisted that Japan pursue the nuclear power path at all costs. In retrospect, they drove the country forward, as the elite of the Kwantung Army drove it in the pre-war era, towards disaster, ignoring, coopting, or crushing all opposition.3 Only now, facing the costs—human, environmental and economic—the long-postponed debate opens.
Just over a decade from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, at the time of Eisenhower’s “atoms for peace,” Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission drew up its first plans. The 1967 Long-Term Nuclear Program already incorporated the fuel cycle and fast breeder program in them. By 2006, the Ministry of Economics, Trade, and Industry (METI)’s “New National Energy Policy” set the objective of turning Japan into a “nuclear state” (genshiryoku rikkoku).
Nuclear power generation grew steadily as a proportion of the national grid, from 3 percent of total power in 1973 at the time of the first oil crisis to 26 percent by 2008 and around 29 percent today. The country’s basic energy policy calls for the ratio of nuclear, hydro and other renewables (nuclear the overwhelming one) to be nearly 50 per cent by 2030. Under the Basic Energy Plan of 2010, 9 new reactors were to be built by 2020 (none having been built since the 1970s in the wake of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl), and 14 by 2030, while operating levels of existing reactors were to be raised from 60 percent as of 2008 to 85 percent by 2020 and then 90 percent by 2030.
source : www.globalresearch.ca


07 one branch in light
. Photo : Gabi Greve .

cherry trees bloom -
their petals fall like tears
upon the ravaged earth

Lisette Root



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  1. Safe Energy Handbook
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