April 26, Tuesday . Chernobyl

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. Chernobyl, April 26, 1968 .  


Gabi reports:

Still getting down :
. Daily Radiation Levels  

I will be out for most of the day.

. . . . .

Yesterday a strong sudden gale hit Ibaraki, it looked like a tatsumaki tornado in America and blew off some roofs, scattering cars parked in front of a supermarket and a few more damages.

Toyota will reduce the production of cars in South America, due to shortage of car parts supply.

. . . . .

Tepco has agreed to reduce the salary of its managers and 3.000 employees, to secure money for their payments. This might get them an equivalent of about 660 million dollars. They will also not hire new workers and sell some of their stock. But the compensation sums to the displaced people around Fukushima are enormous. Damage to farming, fisheries and industry are still growing.

. . . . .

An intensive search around the Fukushima plant with about 120 police officers. As they siffed through the debris, sometimes using heavy maschinery, you could see the smokestacks of the reactor behind the mountains. In some homes, the laundry was still hanging on the balcony, since people left in great haste.
Pets are also wandering through the area.

. . . . .

. . . . . at 13:01
Earthquake M5.2, off the coast of Fukushima

. . . . . at 21:12
Earthquake M5.0, southern Ibaraki


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Nations mark 25 years since Chernobyl disaster

Delegates have discussed nuclear safety at an international conference to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster on April 26th.
Representatives from 60 organizations and countries gathered in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Tuesday.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon stressed that the accidents in Chernobyl and Fukushima show a need for a global re-think to ensure the peaceful use of nuclear energy and maximum safety.
Japan's State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Chiaki Takahashi, expressed his country's willingness to swiftly provide information on the Fukushima incident to dispel international concerns.
Ukraine appealed for international assistance, saying the aging concrete "sarcophagus" enclosing the stricken Chernobyl reactor is at risk of collapsing.
The European Union, the United States, Russia, and other countries pledged 785 million dollars in additional aid to help Ukraine build a huge arch-shaped structure over the sarcophagus.
The conference underlined the fact that it takes a long time and massive sums of money to bring a nuclear accident under control.

. . . . .

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 07:54
Radioactive water in No.3 and 4 reactors rises
The operator of the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says the level of radioactive water has risen in the Number 3 and Number 4 reactors.
The levels of radioactive water in the power plant are hampering efforts to restore its functions. Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, is moving highly radioactive water from the tunnel of the No. 2 reactor to a temporary storage facility.
The utility company says the water level in the tunnel of the No. 3 reactor rose to 99 centimeters below the surface as of 6 PM on Monday. That passes the level at which TEPCO plans to remove the water, but it has yet to secure storage space.
The water level in the basement of the No.3 reactor's turbine building also rose by 10 centimeters over 3 days.
TEPCO says a survey last Thursday found an increase in the density of radioactive substances in the water in the basement of the No. 4 reactor's turbine building.
The company says the levels of cesium-134 and 137 increased about 250-fold and iodine-131 increased about 12 times compared with one month ago.
TEPCO says contamination of this level requires them to prioritize the transfer or disposal of the water.
The water level in the No. 4 reactor's turbine building rose by 20 centimeters in 10 days.
TEPCO says water used to cool the No. 3 reactor could be leaking into No. 4 as their turbine buildings are connected.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 07:54
Fukushima Daiichi plant rewired

Tokyo Electric Power Company has rewired the power grid at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to secure a supply of electricity in case of another strong quake.
The company completed work to connect the cables for the No.1 and No.2 reactors to the grid for the No.5 and No.6 reactors on Monday evening. The plant's 6 reactors had been supplied with electricity in pairs from external power sources.
The work is aimed at ensuring that if any one of the 3 outside sources is cut off, the others can be used to cool the reactors.
During the work, external power to the No.1, No.2 and No.5 reactors was suspended for a few hours, but there were no problems.
TEPCO decided to rewire the power grids after all 13 of the plant's emergency generators were disabled when a tsunami hit the plant on March 11th. The blackout led to 4 of the 6 reactors overheating.
In addition, a major aftershock on April 11th temporarily cut off the external power supply, causing the pumping of water into the 4 reactors to stop for about 50 minutes.
The company already finished connecting the cables for the No.1 and No.2 reactors to the grid for the No.3 and No.4 reactors on Tuesday of last week.

With the completion of Monday's work, all the reactors are now able to get electricity from external power sources if their own supply lines break down.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 09:59
Newspaper apologizes over Snow White cartoon

The International Herald Tribune has apologized for publishing a cartoon that depicts Walt Disney's Snow White looking skeptically at an old woman offering her an apple and asking, "Do you come from Japan?"
The newspaper issued a statement in Monday's edition saying the cartoon, published on March 21st, was offensive to the Japanese and that its selection was a lapse in judgment the newspaper regrets.
The Japanese Consulate General in New York had lodged a protest after seeing the cartoon, which has Snow White holding a newspaper with the headline "Japan nuclear radiation."
The Consulate said the Japanese government rigorously screens food products and prohibits distribution of any items that do not meet strict safety standards.
A spokesman for the Consulate welcomed the International Herald Tribune's quick expression of regret.
Yasuhisa Kawamura said the diplomatic protest was made because the cartoon could stir unfounded anxieties over the safety of foods from Japan and harm the reputation of Japanese products.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 10:45
Govt was unaware of hydrogen explosion risk

An advisor to Prime Minister Naoto Kan says no one in the government knew of the risk of a hydrogen explosion in the initial stages of the emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The disclosure was made on Monday by Goshi Hosono, who is a governing party lawmaker and senior member of the government's nuclear taskforce.
Hosono referred to a hydrogen blast that shattered the No.1 reactor building one day after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. The blast occurred after workers began venting air from the reactor containment vessel to reduce pressure inside.
Hosono said he was not aware of a single nuclear expert who warned of the risk of a hydrogen blast following the venting operation. He said nitrogen inside the reactor container was supposed to prevent such explosions.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company also told reporters that hydrogen is supposed to be processed within the containment vessel, and that such an explosion is not assumed in a reactor building.
Large amounts of radioactive substances were released into the environment as a result of the hydrogen blast.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 12:49
TEPCO prepares to fill No.1 reactor with water

Remote-controlled robots are being used to look inside one of the disabled reactor buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, before workers begin pumping more water into the reactor.
Tokyo Electric Power Company is planning to fill the No.1 reactor and then its container with water by mid July, to submerge the fuel rods and cool them down stably.
To prepare for the operation, TEPCO sent robots inside the reactor building on Tuesday morning to check for leakage and other damage.
If no problems are found, the utility plans to increase the amount of water being fed into the reactor on Wednesday, on an experimental basis.
The water feed is due to be increased from the current 6 tons per hour to a maximum of 14 tons.
Workers will monitor changes in temperature and pressure, to see whether the reactor container can safely hold the water.
Robots will then enter the building again, to check for signs of seepage.
The government's nuclear safety agency says TEPCO also needs to determine whether a water-filled reactor container can withstand strong aftershocks.
TEPCO hopes to fill up the No.1 and No.3 reactor containers by mid-July, as part of its recently announced schedule for containing the nuclear accident.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 12:50
Official: Fukushima radiation release falling

Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission estimates the amount of radioactive release from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant at around 1 terabecquerels per hour as of Sunday. A government advisor says he thinks the amount is gradually falling.
The commission announced its latest estimate on Monday, and compared the level to the 154 terabecquerels per day on April 5th.
Kenkichi Hirose, a Cabinet Office advisor in charge of the Nuclear Safety Commission, told reporters that he believes the amount of radioactive release has been declining judging from the current conditions of the plant.
Radioactivity is measured in becquerels, and a trillion becquerels is a terabecquerel.
A huge amount of becquerels does not automatically translate into a similar level of sieverts, which is a unit for measuring the likely medical impact of the radiation on an individual.
When Japan raised the severity rating of the Fukushima nuclear disaster on April 12th, the commission announced its estimate that 630,000 terabecquerels of radiation had been released into the atmosphere from March 11th till April 5th.
At that time, the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency offered its own calculation of 370,000 terabecquerels.
The agency said its estimate is about one-tenth of what was released in the 10 days following the Chernobyl accident on April 26th, 1986, and the Nuclear Safety Commission's estimate is even higher.
The figures for Fukushima involve radioactive iodine 131 and cesium 137.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 12:50
Radioactive water level unchanged at No.2 reactor

The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says the level of radioactive water in a tunnel at the No.2 reactor is unchanged.
TEPCO, has prioritized the operation to transport water from the No.2 reactor. The level of radiation there is especially high and the contaminated water is hampering other work to bring the crisis under control.
TEPCO says the water was 89 centimeters below the top of the tunnel at 7 AM on Tuesday. The level has been about the same for the past few days.
TEPCO also says the contaminated water levels are rising in the tunnels at the No.3 and No.4 reactors.
It says water was 98 centimeters below the top of the tunnel at the No.3 reactor, a rise of 3 centimeters in 24 hours. TEPCO has set one meter as the standard level at which it should begin removing the contaminated water.
At reactor No.4, the water was 115 centimeters from the top of the tunnel, a rise of 5 centimeters in 24 hours.
But TEPCO has not found a location to store contaminated water from these 2 reactors. It will continue to carefully monitor the situation.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 14:14
TEPCO begins initial compensation payments

The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has begun initial compensation payments to people forced to evacuate their homes to avoid radiation leaking from the plant.
TEPCO, said before it compensates them in full it should make initial payments to evacuees, who need funds for the time being.
The utility says it will pay the equivalent of about 13,000 dollars to each household, or 9,000 dollars to people who live alone, to a total of 50,000 households.
TEPCO says it will take about 2 weeks from the time it receives an application until the money is deposited into an account.
It says it has so far mailed or distributed 30,000 applications and gotten back about 5,000 of them as of Tuesday.
The firm says it is visiting evacuation centers and making every effort to have residents apply quickly.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 14:27
School topsoil to be removed in Fukushima

The city of Koriyama in Fukushima Prefecture plans to remove radiation-tainted topsoil from school grounds to allow children to resume outdoor activities.
Koriyama City, some 50 kilometers west of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, will start taking away the top one to 2 centimeters of topsoil from schoolyards this weekend. The institutions subject to the measure are 15 elementary and junior high schools and 13 nursery schools.
The city plans to allow these schools to restart using their grounds for up to one hour daily after confirming their safety by measuring radiation.
The city has restricted outdoor activities at public schools since the central government announced its radiation safety limit for schools last week.
Prisoners donate more than 20-mil yen
Prisoners all over Japan have donated the equivalent of more than 260,000 dollars to people affected by the March 11 disaster.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 17:05
Desalting of tsunami-hit rice paddies begins

Work to remove salt from rice paddies that were covered by tsunami waves following the March 11th earthquake has begun in northeastern Japanese prefectures.
Japan's government estimates that 23,600 hectares of farmland in 6 prefectures along the Pacific coast were covered by seawater.
On Tuesday in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, farmers channeled fresh water from a repaired irrigation canal into a rice paddy, used a tractor to mix the water with soil, and drained the water.
By repeating this process several times, farmers hope to lower the density of salt in paddies that were not heavily soaked by seawater, and plant rice in late May -- about a month later than usual.
The desalting process has begun in Iwate Prefecture as well.
On Tuesday, the Cabinet approved a bill stipulating that the government would shoulder 90 percent of the cost of the procedure.
Agriculture minister Michihiko Kano told reporters that removing salt from all affected farmland is expected to take about 3 years.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 17:46
Work begins to remove boats sunk by tsunami

Work has begun to remove fishing boats sunk by the March 11th tsunami at a port in northeastern Japan.
The harbor at Yamada town in Iwate Prefecture is clogged with debris and sunken boats, impeding the resumption of fishing operations.
On Tuesday, divers attached cables to the submerged vessels and a crane lifted them to a barge for removal to a temporary storage site.
Some of the cables snapped, as the boats are heavy with seawater.
Local authorities say they need to clear at least 30 fishing boats from the port and areas around it, and that the work would continue for several weeks.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 18:34
Resin spraying starts at nuclear plant

At the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, workers have begun spraying a chemical hardening agent to prevent the spreading of radioactive dust.
Radioactive dust is scattered on the plant's compound as a result of hydrogen explosions at 2 of the plant's 6 reactors in March.
The plant's operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says 3-week test-spraying of the agent proved that it keeps radioactive dust from being blown away.
TEPCO plans to spray 1-million cubic meters of the agent on the 500,000-square-meter compound by the end of June.
The test-spraying was done by workers using a hose, but a remote-controlled vehicle will be used for further spraying to minimize workers' radiation exposure.
The spraying is to be followed by work to cover reactor buildings with huge filter sheets to prevent further releasing of radioactive material into the environment.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 19:01
TEPCO to fill No.1 reactor with water

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has checked the interior of the No.1 reactor for leaks, before increasing the level of water in order to cool the fuel rods.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, plans to finish filling the No.1 and No.3 reactor containment vessels by mid-July in order to submerge the fuel rods and cool them down stably.
The utility is currently pumping 6 tons of water per hour into the No.1 reactor. Some of that water is turning into steam, then turning back into water and pooling inside the containment vessel.
The water is now believed to be about 6 meters deep.
In order to submerge the fuel rods, TEPCO must pump more water into the vessel and make the pool about 18 meters deep.
On Tuesday, the utility sent remote-controlled robots inside the reactor building to check for leaks and other damage. No major problems were found.
TEPCO plans to increase the amount of water being fed into the reactor to 14 tons per hour starting on Wednesday, on an experimental basis.
Workers will monitor changes in temperature and pressure to see whether the reactor container can safely hold the water, while robots will enter the building again to check for leaks.
The government's nuclear safety agency says TEPCO also needs to determine whether a water-filled reactor container can withstand strong aftershocks.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 19:27
Governor inspects Onagawa nuclear power plant

Officials of the Miyagi prefectural government have conducted safety checks at Onagawa nuclear power plant, which shut down automatically following the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
A group of about 15 officials, including Governor Yoshihiro Murai, visited the plant located in the prefecture on Tuesday. The plant is operated by Tohoku Electric Power Company.
All 3 reactors at the plant remain shut down, and one of 2 power cables linking to the cooling system generator at the No.2 reactor has been rendered useless due to flooding.
Murai inspected the damage, and asked utility officials about safety measures at the plant.
The governor then visited, and offered encouragement to, some 150 evacuees taking shelter in a gymnasium at the plant after the tsunami caused damage to their homes.
He later assured local residents that the plant's reactors are in safe shutdown.
Asked about the timing of the restart of the plant, Murai said he believes it's impossible to get rid of all nuclear power plants immediately.
He said his decision will be based on whether the plant can clear new standards to be set up by the state government.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 19:27
Radioactive water carried from No.2 reactor

The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has said it is giving top priority to transferring highly contaminated water from the No.2 reactor.
Radioactive water in reactor buildings and other areas of the plant is hampering work to bring the accident under control.
TEPCO, says the radiation level in a tunnel at the No.2 reactor is especially high, and is transferring the water to a temporary storage site.
Bur the firm has also found high levels of radioactive substances at the site of the No. 4 reactor.
Last Thursday it detected 8,100 becquerels of cesium 137 and 7,800 becquerels of cesium 134 per cubic centimeter in the water in the turbine building's basement. The radioactive levels were about 250 times higher than a month before.
TEPCO says the contaminated water levels are rising.
At the No.3 reactor, the contaminated water level in a tunnel is also rising. The firm says the water was 98 centimeters from the top of the tunnel as of Tuesday morning.
TEPCO sets one meter as the limit at which it should begin removing contaminated water, but it has not yet found a location to transfer the contaminated water to.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 19:27
Chernobyl activist visits Japan on anniversary

The representative of a group that supports survivors of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident has called on Japan to remember the disaster.
Pavel Vdovichenko took part in a rally organized by an anti-nuclear power group in Tokyo on Tuesday, the 25th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear catastrophe. He is visiting Japan at the group's invitation.
Vdovichenko said that tens of thousands had to evacuate after the reactor at the Chernobyl plant, then in the Soviet Union, exploded, spreading radiation to air and soil some 180 kilometers away.
He said many people are still suffering from the aftermath of the accident, and that the disaster should never be forgotten for the sake of victims.
Vdovichenko stressed that the Chernobyl accident and the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant should be treated as one big problem. He said people need to stop and think about what atomic power really means to prevent more accidents

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 19:57
Fukushima farmers protest near TEPCO headquarters

Farmers affected by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have demanded that its operator put it under control and compensate them as soon as possible.
About 200 vegetable and dairy farmers from Fukushima, Chiba, Ibaraki and other prefectures took part in the protest in front of the headquarters of the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, in Tokyo on Tuesday.
The farmers displayed vegetables and milk cows, shipments of which have been banned due to radiation concerns, and demanded sufficient compensation for damage caused by the bans and rumors.
TEPCO officials apologized to the farmers for causing trouble, saying the firm is trying to settle the crisis and will compensate them with help from the government.
Milk shipments from 2 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture remain banned, as are shipments of spinach, cabbage and other leafy vegetables from the entire prefecture.
In a related move, farmers in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, say the accident has so far cost them 530-million yen, or about 6.5-million dollars.
The estimate was reported by a task force set up by agricultural cooperatives in the prefecture at an inaugural meeting on Tuesday.
The loss is attributed to bans on shipments of 6 kinds of vegetables from part of the prefecture between April 4th and 22nd, consumer reluctance to buy vegetables from Chiba, and a fall in prices. The farmers plan to seek compensation from TEPCO.


Voices from around

. The Daily Reading List .  

. . . . .

Japan Times

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NISA OKs estimates of Tepco sea leaks

Evacuation shelters a mixed bag

Disaster darkens fisheries' decline



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  1. Anonymous4/26/2011

    Hi Gabi,
    I just want you to know that you and Japan remain in my heart, my thoughts and my prayers.

  2. Farmers protest against Japanese nuke plant owner
    TOKYO –
    More than 200 farmers brought two cows to Tokyo where they shouted and punched the air Tuesday in a protest to demand compensation for products contaminated by radiation spewing from Japan's crippled nuclear plant.

    The farmers from northeastern Japan wore green bandanas and held signs saying "Nuclear disaster is human disaster" and "Stop nuclear energy" outside the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant damaged in the March 11 tsunami.
    "I could not sit still in Fukushima. I want TEPCO to understand our frustration, anxiety and worries over our future," said 72-year-old Katsuo Okazaki, who grows peaches and apples. "My patience has run out. The nuclear crisis is totally destroying our farming business," he said.

    The utility says it will take six to nine months to bring the plant into cold shutdown, a crucial step for allowing the roughly 80,000 people evacuated from a 12-mile (20-kilometer) area around the plant to return home.

    TEPCO will start depositing initial compensation payments of 1 million yen ($12,000) per household on Tuesday into bank accounts of people forced to evacuate due to leaking radiation, Trade Minister Banri Kaieda said.

    Okazaki isn't eligible because his farm is 60 kilometers from the plant, but he still wants compensation from the utility because he fears consumers will shun produce from his region over the long term. He says vegetable growers already have lost a great deal of money because of the nuclear accident.

    "I am constantly worried about this, and feel like my strength is being sapped away," he said.

    "TEPCO, give us back our cows and pigs and chickens," one farmer shouted.


  3. Japan's irradiated waters: How worried should we be?

    By Ken Buesseler, Special to CNN

    Editor's note: Ken Buesseler is a marine radiochemist and senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

    (CNN) -- Twenty-five years ago, I was a Ph.D. student here in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, studying the fate of fallout in the North Atlantic from nuclear weapons testing, when an explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear plant released large quantities of radioactive materials into the surrounding environment. My colleagues and I immediately joined other scientists tracking these radioactive contaminants, which in my case focused on the Black Sea, the closest ocean to the accident site.
    Data released by Japanese scientists show cesium-137 concentrations in the waters immediately adjacent to the reactors at levels more than 1 million times higher than previously existed and 10 to 100 times higher in the waters off Japan than values measured in the Black Sea after Chernobyl. For the oceans, this is the largest accidental release of radiation we have ever seen.
    We know the ocean has the ability to mix and dilute even these alarmingly high concentrations of contaminants. Indeed, just 15 miles offshore the levels of some contaminants, including cesium-137, with its relatively long 30-year half-life, are already 100 to 1,000 times lower than waters near the reactors, and thus pose little direct hazard for human exposure. We also know that over the short-term, isotopes such as iodine-131, which has an eight-day half-life and has been found in milk and spinach, will decay to insignificant levels.
    The groundwater around Fukushima and sediments in the seafloor nearby will likely remain contaminated for decades to come, yet no radionuclide data exist from these sources.


  4. Kremlin head wants new nuclear rules post-Chernobyl

    CHERNOBYL, Ukraine (Reuters) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, speaking at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine, called on Tuesday for new world rules to be drawn up on safety at nuclear plants.

    Medvedev, standing alongside Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich at a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, said the disaster had taught states that they must tell the whole truth to their people.

    The Soviet Union, of which Ukraine was then a part, held back news of the full scale of the Chernobyl accident for several days.

    "The duty of a state is to tell the truth to its people. It must be acknowledged that the (Soviet) state did not always behave correctly," Medvedev said.

    His words took on added poignancy amid Japan's efforts to control the crisis at its Fukushima nuclear plant, which was damaged by an earthquake and tsunami last month.

    Medvedev, echoing words by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, said events in Japan and Chernobyl made it vital to draw up new standards for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

    Studies of the effects on health have been "numerous but uncoordinated and not comprehensive," the International Agency for Research on Cancer said in a statement in Lyon, France, calling for a long-term international research plan.