April 23, Saturday

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snow white -
the stuff of fairy tales
and rumors

IHT Snow White cartoon draws protest

The cartoon was carried on the editorial page of the Thursday edition of the International Herald Tribune, which is owned by the New York Times.
source : japantimes.co.jp


Gabi reports:

. . . . . at 0:25
Earthquake M 5.6, off the coast of Fukushima

. . . . .

Radioactivity problems in Europe, North Sea seafood
. Sellafield Plant at the Irish Sea .   
Better check where your seafood comes from!

. . . . .

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited a shelter in Kita Ibaraki and walked along the debris of the fishing village, learning about the problems there.

. Donald Keene becomes Japanese at 88 .  

. . . . .

Along the 20 km demarcation zone around the Fukushima plant things are getting edgy
The fields on the right side of a narrow farming road are off limits and no rice can be planted.
The fields on the left side are fine and rice can be planted.
The old farmer stands in the middle of the road and shakes his head in wonder . . .


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Saturday, April 23, 2011 02:55
ICRP calls for more radiation checks

The chairperson of the International Commission on Radiological Protection says more checks are needed to measure radiation in the Fukushima area.
Claire Cousins told NHK that the Japanese government's decision to raise the permissible level of radiation from one millisievert to 20 millisieverts per year is in line with the levels set by the commission when dealing with emergency situations. ...
Cousins said Fukushima is not comparable to Chernobyl, noting that a far smaller amount of radioactive substances has been released.
She says any effects will be minimal because people have been evacuated from most irradiated areas.

Saturday, April 23, 2011 04:39
Cattle in the restricted zone

Tens of thousands of farm animals have been abandoned in the evacuation zone surrounding the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Many of them reportedly have already died.
Fukushima Prefecture authorities say there were about three-hundred livestock farms with three-thousand cows, 30-thousand pigs, and 600-thousand chickens.
A veterinarian who inspected barns and chicken coops on Friday last week, before the area was designated off limits, says almost all the chickens had died.
He says about 70 percent of the pigs at barns with automatic feeders were alive. But most pigs in other barns were dead.
Most of the beef cattle had been let out to graze, and were still alive. But about 60 percent of the dairy cows in barns had died.
Farmers are asking government to allow them to take the animals out of the area, or permit them to take care of their livestock.
Some farmers are requesting that they be allowed to euthanize the remaining animals.
The agriculture ministry says, however, it will be difficult to allow people to enter the restricted area to euthanize or feed the animals.

Saturday, April 23, 2011 07:20
Reactor 1 water level concerns

The Japanese government has expressed concern about the structural strength of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant's Number 1 reactor. It says the ongoing water injections may be making the vessel less earthquake resistant.
TEPCO, is planning to fill part of the containment vessel with water to cool the reactor.
TEPCO wants the water level to reach the top of the fuel rods in reactors one and three by mid July, so it can cool them under more stable conditions.
At the Number 1 reactor, where fuel rods are believed to be the most seriously damaged, six tons of water are being injected every hour.
TEPCO believes the water is vaporizing, then condensing in the containment vessel.
The water level is now estimated to be about half way up the bulb of the dry well.
TEPCO says the water accumulation will not compromise the structure. But the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says large amounts of water can make the building less earthquake-proof.
The agency says it needs to check whether the suppression pool pipes can withstand higher levels of pressure from the extra water.

Saturday, April 23, 2011 09:03
Japan's farm officials visit Ukraine

Japan's agricultural officials have visited a town near Chernobyl, Ukraine, to learn about its efforts to decontaminate farmland.
Senior Vice-Minister of Agriculture Takashi Shinohara 篠原隆史led the team to Narodici in northern Ukraine on Friday. The town is about 50 kilometers west of the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster.
The Japanese officials hoped to study techniques to improve irradiated farmland around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
In Narodici, rape is grown with the help of a Japanese non-government organization. To harvest less contaminated produce, local people are rotating crops and using special fertilizers.
The team also visited facilities to produce biofuel from canola oil and to extract gas from fermented oil cake.
Shinohara said Japan wants to cooperate with research institutes in Ukraine to improve the soil near the Fukushima plant.

Saturday, April 23, 2011 10:34
Jordanian, Thai doctors to arrive in Fukushima

Doctors from Jordan and Thailand are to work with Japanese doctors in Fukushima to assist evacuees suffering from "economy-class syndrome" and other diseases.
Fukushima Medical University says a 4-member team from Jordan will arrive in Fukushima City on Monday and another from Thailand on May 9th.
The Jordanian team includes a cardiovascular specialist and an ultrasound technician and will stay 3 weeks. Members of the team will focus on examining an increasing number of patients who have problems with their legs due to a prolonged stay at cramped shelters.
The Thai team is scheduled to mainly treat children at shelters for 2 weeks.
The March 11th disaster and ensuing nuclear accident caused a surge in the number of patients in disaster-stricken areas, resulting in a shortage of doctors.
Many countries offered to dispatch doctors, but only one local government has accepted them so far. The reasons given for the hesitation include language barriers and differences in customs. The town of Minami-sanriku in Miyagi Prefecture has accepted doctors from Israel.

Saturday, April 23, 2011 11:01
Facility for evacuated children opened to media

Media reporters have been invited to a facility in Tokyo where children are taking shelter following the March 11th earthquake and Fukushima nuclear accident.
24 young evacuees ranging from elementary school children to high school students are living away from their parents at the sports and cultural facility in Tokyo's Koto Ward.
Their living quarters and sports ground were opened to the media.
7-year-old Keisuke Takahashi from Fukushima Prefecture is now attending a nearby elementary school.
After school, he spends time at the facility doing homework and playing soccer with other children. On Friday, he met his mother, Sachie, for the first time in a month.
Keisuke ran to his mother when he saw her coming in and hugged her while shedding tears.
Sachie says worries about radiation led her to send her son to a safer place. She hopes that the situation will turn better soon so that she can live with him.

Saturday, April 23, 2011 12:23
TEPCO to cautiously inject water in No.4 fuel pool

Tokyo Electric Power Company has decided to be more cautious about the volume of cooling water injected into the spent fuel pool of one of its reactors.
This is due to fear that the reactor building might be further damaged by the weight of the water itself.
The company has been injecting water daily into the spent fuel pools of the reactors to prevent fuel rods from being exposed and further damaged.
At the Number 4 reactor's pool, the water temperature was about 91 degrees Celsius on Friday, more than 50 degrees higher than the normal level, and TEPCO was forced to inject 200 tons of water. Substantial amounts of water will have to be injected daily.
Citing damage to the walls of the building supporting the pool during last month's hydrogen explosion, the power company says excessive water injection could further weaken the structure of the building.
From Saturday, the utility started assessing more carefully the appropriate amount of water to be poured into the pool, using a device to monitor temperature and the level of cooling water in the pool.
1,535 spent fuel rods are stored in the pool of the Number 4 reactor's building, the largest amount at the site.

Saturday, April 23, 2011 15:01
Kitazawa thanks special US nuclear rescue team

Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa has expressed gratitude to a special US military unit that has been dispatched to Japan to stand ready for an emergency at the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Kitazawa visited the US Yokota Air Base in Tokyo on Saturday, where about 150 members of the special US force are standing by to respond to nuclear emergencies.
The US team and Japan's Self Defense Forces have trained together there to prepare for a nuclear emergency.
But as the situation at the plant is being relatively stabilized, the team will soon end the mission and leave Japan.
Kitazawa viewed a joint decontamination drill by US and Japanese troops.
Addressing the troops, he said it is fortunate that the special team never had to go to the plant. But he stressed that the fact the special unit was stationed in Japan reassured the Japanese people. ...


Voices from around

. The Daily Reading List .  

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

17,000 apply for jobless benefits
Nuke insurance said too costly
. Japan Times, April 23 .  



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  1. Japan earmarks first $50 billion for post-quake rebuild

    Japan's cabinet approved on Friday almost $50 billion of spending for post-earthquake rebuilding, a downpayment on the country's biggest public works effort in six decades.

    The emergency budget of 4 trillion yen ($48.5 billion), which is likely be followed by more reconstruction spending packages, is still dwarfed by the overall cost of damages caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, estimated at $300 billion.

    "With this budget, we are taking one step forward toward reconstruction ... and toward restarting the economy," Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

    Unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan, under fire for his handling of the crisis, said Japan would have to issue fresh government bonds to fund extra budgets to come, and suggested he would stay on to oversee the process.

    "I feel it was my destiny to be prime minister when the disasters and nuclear accident took place," Kan told a news conference.

    "I want to work for reconstruction and rebuilding, and present an outline to overcome these two crises. To have that vision in sight is my heartfelt desire as a politician."



  2. Anonymous4/24/2011

    Awesome ku !