April 27, Wednesday

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Hakata ningyoo ippo seridasu haru no nai

this Hakata doll
is taking one step forward -
earthquake in spring

Kimura Mikan 木村みかん
source : www.haisi.com
haiku about earthquake 春の地震 : はるのなゐ


Gabi reports:

A warm morning finally, but looks like rain.
Afternoon with strong rain, thunder and more rain.

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The sumo wrestlers promised to make donations for 10 years to come, to support the children who suffered from the earthquake and its aftermath.
UNICEF will also provide support for the children of Tohoku.

The Emperor and Empress are visiting Minamisanriku town and get a first-hand look at the tsunami destruction. They also visit shelters in Sendai.

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We saw a feature about Nikko, a famous tourist spot, completely empty. Most reservations have been cancelled, many souvenir shops had to close down, half-bancrupt. Some family-shops still keep going and hope for more tourists in the golden week, but prospects are slow.

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Critical thinking crucial in the information age

Ignorance is the root of all evil, according to Plato, who also famously gave us a still-current definition of its opposite: knowledge. For Plato, knowledge is "justified true belief." That definition is worthy of consideration as we reflect on the perils of ignorance in the 21st century.

Plato thought that three conditions must be met in order for us to "know" something: the notion in question must actually be true; we must believe it (because if we do not believe something that is true, we can hardly claim that we know it); and, most subtly, it must be justifiable - there must be reasons why we believe the notion to be true.
source : Japan Times

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Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 06:29
Quake-hit residents digging home wells

Residents of a devastated city in northeastern Japan are having wells dug at their homes to secure water for domestic use.
Water supplies have been cut off in most areas of Rikuzentakata City in Iwate Prefecture since seawater flowed into reservoirs in the March 11th quake and tsunami disaster. Many of the residents have to rely on water trucks and water piped from the mountains.
There is no prospect of tap water being restored in the near future, and people are having wells dug at their homes so they can wash and do laundry.
71-year-old Atsushi Saito had a company dig a well in the backyard of his home. On Tuesday, a drilling platform found water 14 meters underground.
Saito said he is glad to see the water coming out and he wants to take a bath, as he has had few opportunities to have one since the disaster. He said the well is the first step in rebuilding his life.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 06:29
Experts: Quakes increased before March 11 disaster

Experts say increased seismic activities in the Pacific Ocean in recent years may have been a sign of the massive quake of March 11th.
The Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction, which consists of experts from universities and research institutes, met on Tuesday to discuss last month's quake and tsunami. A Tohoku University research group said seismic activities started to increase off eastern prefectures from Miyagi to Ibaraki about 3 years before the massive quake.
Nagoya University Professor Koshun Yamaoka said research by a national institute shows that the focuses of small quakes in the 2 days before March 11th gradually moved closer to the focus of the massive earthquake.
Professor Yamaoka said these seismic activities may have been an indicator of the mega-quake that followed.
The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan said coastal areas of Miyagi and Chiba prefectures sank during the huge quake, but some rose 5 to 8 centimeters afterwards. The authority said tectonic plates have continued to shift since the massive quake.
CCEP Vice Deputy Chairman and Tohoku University Graduate School Professor Toru Matsuzawa told reporters that relatively big earthquakes struck off Japan's northeast during a short period in the past, but the huge quake was beyond prediction. He said his group will closely monitor seismic activities and tectonic movements.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 06:29
Ban Ki Moon calls for nuclear safety

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has called for nuclear safety at a special meeting to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.
At the UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday, a memorial ceremony was held in front of the Japanese Peace Bell. ...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 09:05
Water may be leaking from No. 4 reactor fuel pool

The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says water may be leaking from the spent fuel pool of the No. 4 reactor.
More than 1,500 spent fuel rods are stored in the pool, the largest number at the site.
TEPCO, has been injecting water daily into the pool to make up for the loss of cooling function and prevent the fuel rods from being exposed and further damaged.
TEPCO has poured in 140 to 210 tons of water over each of the last few days. The company found that water levels in the pool were 10 to 40 centimeters lower than expected despite the water injections.
The walls of the reactor building supporting the pool were severely damaged by a hydrogen explosion last month. TEPCO says the pool may have been damaged by the blast as well.
According to a schedule announced earlier on containing the ongoing emergency, TEPCO plans to install concrete pillars to support the fuel pool by around July to increase its earthquake resistance.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 10:38
Science ministry releases Fukushima radiation map

Japan's science ministry has for the first time released a map projecting estimated cumulative radiation exposure near the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The contour map shows the amount of annual cumulative radiation that a person would be exposed to by staying outdoors for 8 hours per day through March 11th, 2012.
It's based on readings at 2,138 points near the quake and tsunami-hit Fukushima Daiichi complex on or before last Thursday, including areas within 20 kilometers of the plant.
Earlier this month, the government's Nuclear Safety Commission released an estimated cumulative radiation map that only gave figures for areas outside the 20 kilometer radius.
This was when the commission proposed its plan for the government to call on residents within high-level zones to evacuate within about one month. The evacuation zone included areas farther than 20 kilometers from the plant where annual radiation exposure is expected to reach 20 millisieverts or more.
The science ministry says the estimated annual levels on its map, based on the latest figures, are mostly lower than those on the commission's map.
Goshi Hosono, a senior member of the government's nuclear taskforce, says it's unlikely the new map will prompt a change in the evacuation areas.
The science ministry says it will update its data twice a month on its website. It also says it plans to release a map of radiation levels in the soil.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 11:35
Japan: Please don't overreact

Japan's UN Ambassador Tsuneo Nishida has asked other countries not to overreact to risks associated with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident.
Nishida was addressing a meeting in New York on Tuesday marking the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, arranged by Ukraine and other countries.
Nishida said Japan is receiving extensive support from the International Atomic Energy Agency and will continue to work with the international community to contain the Fukushima accident.
He asked UN member countries not to overreact in such ways as limiting travel to Japan.
Nishida said the accident in Fukushima is not as serious as the one in Chernobyl. He said that unlike that incident, the Japanese reactors themselves have not exploded, and that far less radioactive substances have been released.
Delegates from other nations said Japan's explanations have been transparent and that some countries are overreacting.
The United Nations will hold a ministerial-level meeting on nuclear safety in Vienna in June and a meeting of world leaders in New York in September.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 12:37
TEPCO starts tests for more water injection

Tokyo Electric Power Company has begun testing one of the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to see if it can move forward with its plan to submerge and cool the hot fuel rods.
TEPCO began pumping more water into the No.1 reactor on Wednesday in order to monitor changes in the water depth in the containment vessel and check for leaks.
The test is part of a plan to fill the No.1 and No.3 reactors' containment vessels with water by July, to cool the fuel rods in a stable manner.
TEPCO says it will raise the amount of water injected from 6 to 10 tons per hour for 6 hours, and then to 14 tons per hour. The temperature and pressure in the containment vessel will be monitored for 18 hours.
The utility says it will decrease the flow back to 6 tons per hour by Thursday morning and then send robots into the reactor building to check for leaks.
TEPCO also says it will make sure that the containment vessel, with the added weight of the water inside, can withstand strong aftershocks.
The firm says robots on Tuesday detected radiation levels of up to 1,120 millisieverts per hour inside the No.1 reactor building. It says some contaminated water may be leaking from the reactor into external pipes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 14:31
Woman at nuke plant exposed to excess radiation

A woman working at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant was found to have been exposed to radiation of more than 3 times the legal safety limit.
The woman, in her 50s, showed no health problems in a medical checkup.
Her employer, Tokyo Electric Power Company, says the woman was in charge of managing disaster-related supplies and showing firefighters around the plant's compound.
She worked at the plant for 11 days after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, and was exposed to 17.55 millisieverts of radiation. The figure is more than 3 times the permissible amount for women, which is set at 5 millisieverts per 3 months.
The woman may have inhaled radioactive material when taking off protective gear, as internal exposure of 13.6 millisieverts accounted for much of the total.
The limit for workers at the Fukushima plant was raised from 100 to 250 millisieverts per year after the accident to cope with the emergency. But the limit for women was left unchanged due to their child-bearing possibilities.
Senior official of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, Hidehiko Nishiyama, told reporters it is very sorry that the woman was exposed to excessive radiation. It says it has already reprimanded TEPCO verbally, and plans to order it in writing to find out why this happened and take steps to prevent a recurrence.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 14:41
Radioactive topsoil removed from school grounds

Workers are removing radiation-tainted topsoil from school grounds in the northeastern Japanese city of Koriyama. The city is about 50 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The city began removing the soil on Wednesday at two of the 28 public elementary and junior high schools and daycare centers.
Radiation levels at one of the schools are higher than the central government's new safe limit for children playing outdoors. That limit is 3.8 microsieverts per hour. Other schools are close to the limit.
A heavy machine is used to scrape off the surface layer of the soil after it has been sprayed with water to keep the dust down.
The city will allow resumed use of the school grounds for up to one hour each day, once a safe level of radiation is confirmed.
The city's schools and daycare centers have been restricting outdoor activities due to leaks of radioactive substances from the nuclear plant.
The removed soil is being kept under a cover at the school grounds until it can be moved to a landfill site.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 15:03
Kan: Fishery will be compensated for nuke damage

Prime Minister Naoto Kan says the government will ensure that fishermen receive payment for damages resulting from the release of relatively low radiation-contaminated water into the sea.
Kan on Wednesday met with representatives of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations, at his office in Tokyo.
Federation head Ikuhiro Hattori said it was unacceptable to release massive amounts of contaminated water into the sea from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant without consulting fishermen.
He warned the prime minister that this act could destroy the fishing industry.
He asked the government to prevent any further damage caused by rumors, and to do its best to fully compensate people working in the fishery.
Offering his apology for the damage, Kan said the government is now struggling to get the plant under control as quickly as possible and prevent further releases of contaminated water.
He said the government will deal responsibly with compensation.
After the meeting, Hattori said Kan spoke of a plan to build an underground pool at the site of the plant to store contaminated water. He quoted Kan as saying that a survey near the site found a layer of rock about 46 meters underground that would prevent leaks.
Earlier this month, Tokyo Electric Power Company discharged more than 10,000 tons of relatively-low level radioactive waste water from the plant with government approval.
The utility said that a person eating seafood from the nearby waters every day for one year would only be exposed to a radiation level of 0.6 millisieverts, below the annual permissible level of one millisievert.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 15:05
Radiation monitors delivered to Fukushima schools

The education board of Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, has handed out radiation monitors to local schools and kindergartens.
Some elementary and junior high schools in the prefecture were advised to restrict outdoor activities of students to prevent possible exposure to radiation from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
On Wednesday, radiation monitors were given to 55 educational facilities from kindergartens to high schools.
An elementary school teacher said he will keep a daily log of radiation data, which he hopes will ease concern among children and parents.
The prefectural education board will compile radiation data from schools and kindergartens each week and report the outcome to the education ministry.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 16:53
Kuwait to provide Japan 5 mil. barrels of crude

Kuwait has offered to give Japan 5 million barrels of crude oil to help with the country's reconstruction after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
Kuwaiti Oil Minister Ahmad Abdullah al-Ahmad al-Sabah made the offer in a letter.
The letter was handed to Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda on Wednesday, when he met Kuwaiti Ambassador to Japan Abdul-Rahm al-Otaibi.
Kaieda thanked Kuwait for what it calls a return gift for Japan's assistance during the Gulf War, and said Japan will use the oil for survivors of the disaster.
The ambassador said Japan has helped not only Kuwait but many other countries, and that the international community should assist Japan at times like this.
The amount of oil, worth about 550-million dollars, is more than is used in Japan in one day.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 18:43
Govt council to review disaster preparedness plan

The Japanese government council on disaster preparedness has decided to drastically revise its plans for dealing with earthquakes and tsunamis.
The council, which consists of Cabinet ministers and experts, met on Wednesday for the first time since the March 11th disaster in northeastern Japan.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan stressed the need to examine whether the country was sufficiently prepared for the catastrophic events.
Council member Katsuyuki Abe, Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo, explained that last month's earthquake and tsunami far exceeded the government's estimate made 5 years ago.
He also noted that the tsunami caused damage even in areas that were not on the hazard map drawn up by local governments.
The council decided to set up an investigative panel of experts to take a close look at what happened on March 11th.
The panel will formulate a report over the next 6 months on such topics as new methods of predicting damage and how to prepare for disasters of unexpected scale.
The report will serve as a foundation for the government's review of its basic plan for disaster management, and its measures for dealing with a series of earthquakes expected off central and southwestern Japan.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 19:02
TEPCO unveils plan to process contaminated water

Tokyo Electric Power Company has unveiled details of its plan to process radioactive wastewater at its damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The wastewater has been hampering efforts to restore the reactors' cooling systems.
Tokyo Electric announced on Wednesday it would start building early next month, together with US and French firms, a storage and processing facility for nearly 70,000 tons of highly radioactive water. The utility firm aims to begin operating the system in June of this year.
The contaminated water is believed to be pooled inside turbine buildings and utility tunnels at the plant's 1, 2 and 3 reactors.
Tokyo Electric had earlier said it aims to set up by July of this year a system to remove radioactive substances from the water and reuse it to cool the reactors.
Contaminated water will be put through an oil filter, and the density of radioactive material would be lowered using a mineral called zeolite.
Salt would then be removed from the water so that it could be used to cool the reactors again.
Radioactive waste from this process would be stored inside the nuclear complex, but the utility has yet to consider methods for its final disposal.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 20:02
TEPCO starts test for more water injection

Tokyo Electric Power Company has begun testing one of the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to check its plan to submerge and cool the hot fuel rods.
The utility firm began pumping more water into Reactor Number 1 on Wednesday in order to monitor changes in the water depth in the containment vessel and check for leaks.
After increasing the amount of water from 6 to 10 tons per hour on Wednesday the firm says it has delayed further raising the amount injected due to data showing some instability in the state of the reactor.
The company initially planned to increase the amount to 14 tons per hour at around 4 PM, but is now keeping the injection at 10 tons per hour.
Tokyo Electric plans to examine the possibility of an increase in the water amount again at around 10 PM on Wednesday.
The utility originally planned to decrease the flow back to 6 tons per hour on Thursday morning, and then check for water leaks inside the reactor building by using a remote-controlled robot.
The test is part of a plan to fill the Number 1 and 3 reactors' containment vessels with water by July, to cool the fuel rods in a stable manner.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 20:02
Thailand to send gas-turbine generators to Japan

The Thai government is to soon send 2 gas-turbine power generators to Japan to help restore electricity supplies amid possible power shortages this summer.
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand has been using the Japanese-made generators in times of emergency near Bangkok since 1995.
The government decided to lend the generators for 3 to 5 years free of charge to the Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, at the utility's request.
The 10-meter-long, 4-meter-wide cylindrical generators, each weighing more than 200 tons, were lifted slowly by a crane and loaded onto a trailer truck on Wednesday.
The devices, with total generation capacity of 240,000 kilowatts, are expected to be able to meet the power demand of up to 240,000 households.
Upon arriving in Japan, the generators are to be set up in Tokyo and the neighboring city of Kawasaki, and become operational in August.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011 20:52
Japanese chip maker shows quake-hit plant

Major Japanese semiconductor maker Renesas Electronics has given the media a tour of a plant in Ibaraki Prefecture that was hit by the March 11th earthquake.
Operations at the plant in Hitachinaka City, north of Tokyo, have been suspended after the quake destroyed the plant's ceiling and other areas.
On Wednesday workers were seen making a trial run on the manufacturing lines in the clean room, the heart of the plant. Recovery efforts are under way with the help of up to 2,500 workers a day from carmakers and other firms.
The key auto parts supplier has a 40 percent world market share in microprocessors that control brakes, engines and transmissions. The shutdown of one of its key plants has caused carmakers across the globe to suspend or decrease production.
Renesas plans to resume production at some of the plant's lines from June 15th, aiming at full-scale production by July.
But it is not certain whether output will return to the level of before the quake.
The company says it will manufacture chips at plants in western Japan. It will also contract a Taiwanese firm to make chips in order to secure ample supply.


Voices from around

. The Daily Reading List .  

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times

Nuke plants' backups fall way short
Most nuclear reactors in Japan would fail to achieve a stable condition in the event that all regular power sources are lost, even though plant operators have prepared new backup power sources as well as electric generators amid the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, it is revealed.

Ukraine envoy: '86 accident vastly different

16 prefectures' pastures face radioactivity checks

Tepco said likely to survive crisis

Minamisoma mayor wants to hold rebirth forum

Restaurant sales fall record 10.3%




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1 comment:

  1. The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
    (東日本大震災, Higashi Nihon Daishinsai, literally "Eastern Japan Great Earthquake Disaster", officially named
    the Great East Japan Earthquake, was a 9.0-magnitude undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 14:46 JST (05:46 UTC) on Friday, 11 March 2011.

    The epicenter was approximately 72 km (45 mi) east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tōhoku, with the hypocenter at an underwater depth of approximately 32 km (19.9 mi).