April 4, Monday

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Gabi reports:

Another cold morning, minus 1 centigrade in my valley, there might have been snow in Tohoku last night.

The levels are still going down.
. Daily Radiation Levels  

Putzmeister concrete pumps from Germany
They are the largest pumps of this kind and have already been used in Chernobyl.
They have a long boom of 70 meters to work from afar.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Fukui Prefecture in Kansai has
14 reactors inside a roughly 60-km radius
. Kansai : Could it happen here?  

. . . . .

The power plant at Fukushima is still a great problem.
But let us not forget, this was not a "nuclear accident" to start with. It was a super-strong earthquake (which the plant seems to have withstood somehow) and then a super-tsunami (which whiped out equipment that should not have been placed there outside in the first place!)
So human misplanning plays a great part in this still enfolding catastrophy.
Once the leaking radioactive water is dammed in, many questions to improve the safety of reactors in general need to be adressed.

. . . . .

Due to the electricity power crisis, Toyota may reduce its car output about 40.000 vehicles.

The fishermen along the coast are doing their best to get going.
Boats will be repaired, the rest needs to be scrapped. Once the harbour is usable, the fish markets will have to be re-installed. But all of this needs a lot of financial support.
"Fishing is my life, fishing is my job, fishing is all I can do" said one old fisherman, standing beside the debris of his boat.

. . . . .

Many have evacuated, but some elderly have returned to their homes, even without water and electricity. In one fishing village, two young girls have taken on the job to provide them with food and drink. Every day three times they put on their bamboo-woven rucksack-baskets, walk up the hill to the evacuation school. There they take in the provisions: One carries 60 Onigiri rice balls, the other girls gets 30 bottles with a drink. Now they walk up and down the slopes to the homes of the elderly, distributing the rice and drink to each home. They do this three times a day, and they get their own food at the shelter too. At night they walk back to the home of their grandfather, where the family has taken refuge for now..

. . . . .

In the evening around seven NHK announced that TEPCO has started to release low-level radioactive water into the sea.
(see below).


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Monday, April 04, 2011 01:01
78 bodies found in Japan-US search
A 3-day operation by Japan's Self-Defense Forces and the US military to search for the missing after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami has found 78 bodies.
The operation that ended on Sunday involved about 25,000 troops, more than 60 vessels and 120 aircraft. It covered Pacific coastal areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. The Japan Coast Guard and police also took part in the operation.
Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, lists more than 2,700 people as missing. In Kamaya district of Ishinomaki City, about 50 Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force troops searched in waist-high water.Three weeks after the disaster,
more than 15,000 people are still missing.
More than 12,000 people have been confirmed dead in the March 11th earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan.
About 81 percent of bodies have been identified and are being handed over to families.
Police say more than 15,000 are missing, based on reports made by people who have lost contact with relatives. The number of dead and missing exceeds 27,600.
More than 161,000 people were taking refuge shelters in quake-ravaged northern and eastern Japan as of Sunday evening, evacuees are staying in shelters in 17 prefectures.
Most of those people are from Fukushima Prefecture. They left their homes because of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Monday, April 04, 2011 05:27
NISA: Stemming leak will take months
Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said a full-scale recovery of cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is needed to stem the leakage of radioactive substances, but that work will take several months.
A senior official of the agency, Hidehiko Nishiyama 西山英彦, made the comments at a news conference on Sunday.
Highly radioactive water was found inside turbine buildings and also in tunnels under the plant.
The radioactive water is flowing directly into the sea.
The agency said it will take several months to remove the contaminated water in the turbine buildings and to take measures to protect workers from radiation.
At a news conference on Sunday, the independent Nuclear Safety Commission also pointed out that it will take months to stem the leakage and restore cooling systems.
The commission said rubble and high radiation levels in some parts of the plant will hamper work.

Monday, April 04, 2011 06:49
TEPCO to examine route of radioactive water leak
Tokyo Electric Power Company has tried to stop the leakage of radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the sea by obstructing the route of contaminated water. But no improvement was reported on Sunday. The company is going to make another attempt to block the stream on Monday.

Highly radioactive water was found leaking directly into the sea from a crack in a concrete pit on Saturday.
On Sunday, TEPCO poured a polymer absorbent into a duct leading to the pit in the hope of blocking the leak. The polymer material expands when it absorbs water.
But TEPCO didn't see much change in the amount of water flowing into the sea.
On Monday morning, TEPCO said workers have started pouring a colored liquid into a tunnel linked to the pit, so they might be able to retrace the exact route of the contaminated water.
The company says it will make another attempt to block the flow of the water.
The company is also considering hardening the area around the cracked pit using chemicals if its next efforts fail.

Monday, April 04, 2011 12:26
TEPCO trying to spot leak
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, is continuing its efforts to identify the exact route of the highly radioactive water flowing into the Pacific from its damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex.
TEPCO poured a white liquid into a tunnel leading to a concrete pit where the contaminated water is leaking through a crack. This operation was undertaken to determine the exact route the water is taking to the ocean from the pit, located near the plant's Number 2 reactor.
Monday's work follows a failed attempt on Sunday to stop the flow of contaminated water by injecting a polymer absorbent into a duct connecting the tunnel with the pit. TEPCO says it will inject the chemical again to block the duct as soon as it has identified the leakage route.
The utility company has also been working on removing radioactive water from the basements of the turbine buildings for two of the plant's reactors.
The radioactive water in the condensers for the two reactors is being transferred to storage tanks. As soon as the condensers are emptied, the water from the reactor will be drained into them to allow work to begin to restore the reactors' cooling systems.
Work to remove the water was begun on Sunday at reactors Number 1 and 2. A similar operation will start at the Number 3 reactor on Monday.
As a temporary measure, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency is considering setting up silt barriers near a water intake for the Number 2 reactor.

Monday, April 04, 2011 12:38
Govt did not reveal high level radiation estimate
It has been learned that the Japanese government withheld the release of computer projections indicating high levels of radioactivity in areas more than 30 kilometers from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The estimates were made on March 16th following explosions at the plant by an institute commissioned by the government using a computer system called SPEEDI. The system made its projections on the assumption that radioactive substances had been released for 24 hours from midnight on March 14th, based on the available data.
But the government was reluctant to reveal the SPEEDI projections, and did not release them until March 23rd.
The released data showed that higher levels of radioactive substances would flow over areas to the northwest and southwest of the plant.
The estimates showed that the radiation would exceed 100 millisieverts in some areas more than 30 kilometers from the nuclear plant if people remained outdoors for 24 hours between March 12th and 24th.
That is 100 times higher than the 1 millisievert-per-year long-term reference level for humans as recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says it did not release the projections because the location or the amount of radioactive leakage was not specified at the time.
Professor emeritus Shigenobu Nagataki of Nagasaki University, says the government should release more data about the dangers of possible radiation exposure and draw up evacuation plans and other measures together with residents.

Monday, April 04, 2011 12:47
Fukushima puts voluntary ban on shiitake
The Fukushima prefectural government has urged farmers in Iwaki City to halt shipments of shiitake after one sample of the mushrooms tested was discovered to contain radioactive substances exceeding the legal limit.
Radioactive iodine and cesium were detected in outdoor-grown shiitake collected in Iwaki on Friday. The city is located about 40 kilometers south of the quake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
One of the samples of the mushrooms tested had 3,100 becquerels of iodine per kilogram.
That is above the national limit of 2,000 becquerels. Cesium was measured at 890 becquerels, above the safety level of 500 becquerels.
No radioactive substances above the legal limits were detected in shiitake and other mushrooms grown indoors in Iwaki.
A Fukushima prefectural government official told reporters on Sunday night the central government has given no orders but that the local government decided to ask 23 shiitake farmers in Iwaki to voluntarily refrain from shipping their produce.
This is the first detection of higher-than-legal levels of radioactive materials in mushrooms since the earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 11th.

Monday, April 04, 2011 13:16
Edano: Radiation leak into sea must be stopped
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano expressed concern on Monday about the cumulative effects on the sea of possible long-term radiation leakage from the plant.
He said he is urging Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant's owner, to act quickly to prevent the spread of contamination in the sea.
Edano said he has instructed the utility to undertake multiple operations to stem the leak, including blocking the leakage route on the ground and containing the radioactive water from the ocean side.

Monday, April 04, 2011 13:16
Radiation levels drop or remain flat
Radiation levels continue to drop or remain flat on Monday morning in many locations around the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
In Fukushima City, about 65 kilometers northwest of the power plant, 2.51 microsieverts per hour of radiation was detected.
The reading in Koriyama City, also in Fukushima Prefecture, stood at 2.21.
Both figures are higher than
the normal levels of 0.04 to 0.06 microsieverts per hour, but lower than that on Sunday.
The reading stood at 0.49 microsieverts per hour in Kita-Ibaraki City and 0.07 microsieverts per hour in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture.
Higher-than-usual levels of radiation were also observed in other locations, including Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward and main cities of Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures.
Authorities say these levels of radiation do not pose health risks.

Monday, April 04, 2011 15:12
Radiation standards for food maintained
Japan's health ministry has decided to maintain its current radiation limits for food despite calls by farmers to ease them.
The ministry set tentative maximum allowable levels for radiation in food several days after the earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The levels were based on the maximum level a person may be exposed to in one year, according to the Nuclear Safety Commission.
The government banned shipments of vegetables and milk from Fukushima and 3 other prefectures after radioactive substances were detected in them.
In some cases, the government simply advised the public not to consume certain foods.
A health ministry council determined on Monday that the commission's standards on permissible radiation levels are indeed a reasonable basis for setting food safety levels from a standpoint of consumer health.
The ministry says it will set limits for radiation in food for specific areas of a prefecture rather than for an entire prefecture. Affected local governments have been asking that the shipment bans and other regulations be limited to smaller areas.

Monday, April 04, 2011 18:17
Low radioactive water released to sea
Tokyo Electric Power Company is releasing radioactive wastewater into the sea from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as part of efforts to stabilize the troubled plant.
The utility started releasing 11,500 tons of wastewater on Monday evening.
The company says the level of iodine-131 in the wastewater is about 100 times the legal limit. But the plant operator says if people ate fish and seaweed caught near the plant every day for a year, their radiation exposure would be 0.6 millisievert. It adds the annual permissible level for the general public is one millisievert.
Wastewater will be released to make room for highly contaminated water from the No.2 reactor complex.
Radioactive water 100,000 times the normal level in an operating reactor has been found in the turbine building. This is also hampering efforts to cool the damaged reactors.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says the government approved the operation plan, as removing the water from the No.2 reactor is a more urgent matter.
Edano calls the operation an emergency measure to ensure the safety of the plant. He adds that the government told the utility to monitor radioactivity in the seawater and closely track the environmental impact.

Monday, April 04, 2011 18:57
Radioactive water continues to leak
Radioactive water continued to flow into the ocean at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Monday, and its source remains unknown.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company discovered on Saturday that the contaminated water appeared to be gushing from a crack in a concrete pit near reactor Number 2.
TEPCO first tried to pour concrete into the crack to halt the leak, but the attempt failed.
On Sunday, the company injected a mixture of absorbent polymers, sawdust and newspaper to try and clog the flow, but this has yet to absorb the water.
On Monday, workers tried to see if they could trace the pathway of the leak by dumping into the system a powder dye designed to turn water a milky white.
The colorant was poured into a tunnel leading to the pit, but no white water has appeared so far.
TEPCO now thinks the radioactive water may be coming from another source and is considering different strategies to find out where.
If efforts to plug the leak continue to fail, the company will next try to set up undersea silt barriers near the reactor's seawater intake ducts to prevent radioactive water from spreading in the ocean.
The barriers would have fiber curtains attached with weights that would extend to the sea bottom and contain the contaminated water.

Monday, April 04, 2011 17:58
100 residents in no-go zone refuse to evacuate
At least 100 residents are reportedly staying at their homes within the exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Residents within a 20 kilometer radius from the power plant continue to go in and out of their homes to pack their belongings or tend their livestock.
The Ground Defense Force and local authorities have been making the rounds to ask these residents to evacuate. But they have been unable to convince them to leave saying it is for personal reasons.
They include a man likely in his 70s, who said he cannot leave his dog behind. His wife agreed to evacuate on Saturday. The couple lives 19 kilometers south of the power plant.
Another elderly man, who claims to be against nuclear power plants, said he prefers to stay as he does not have long to live anyway.
GDF troops and local officials say they will continue to convince these residents to leave the area.

Monday, April 04, 2011 19:38
Kitazawa thanks US for its relief mission
Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa 北沢俊美 visited a US aircraft carrier to express his gratitude for US assistance in relief operations in northeastern Japan in the wake of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
Kitazawa on Monday visited the USS Ronald Reagan, which is currently deployed off Iwate Prefecture, one of the hardest-hit areas.
He told about 2,000 crewmembers that he had never felt so gratified in having the United States as an ally.
Kitazawa said he is convinced that the joint disaster relief operation will be remembered by the people of both countries and help deepen the Japan-US alliance.
US Ambassador to Japan John Roos, who accompanied Kitazawa, said he had recently visited the disaster-hit areas and was moved by the mental strength of the survivors.
Roos also said the US personnel engaged in the relief mission are proud of their role to help their Japanese friends.
The United States mobilized an unprecedented 20,000 personnel for the relief mission, which was named Operation Tomodachi-- which means "friend" in Japanese.

Monday, April 04, 2011 21:21
High radiation outside indoor advisory zone
Radiation measurements have exceeded levels at which people are advised to stay indoors in a town outside the 30-kilometer radius of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The science ministry continues to monitor radiation levels in areas where residents have not been advised by the government to evacuate or stay indoors.
The monitoring detected 10.3 millisieverts of radiation at one location in Namie Town, some 30 kilometers northwest of the plant.
The amount is calculated on the assumption that a person has remained outdoors for 11 consecutive days through Sunday.
The finding is higher than the 10 millisieverts the government views as the criteria for remaining indoors.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says that as the radiation level was only detected in a limited area, it has no intention of expanding the indoor advisory zone at present.
A nuclear expert has pointed out that the government should explain the details of the finding to the residents.

Monday, April 04, 2011 21:03
Fukushima may affect global climate tactics
The chief of the UN's climate change agency says the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan may affect international efforts to curb global warming.
Christiana Figueres was speaking at a news conference on Monday in the Thai capital of Bangkok, where an international meeting on climate change is under way.
She said it is natural for all nations concerned to reconsider their nuclear energy plans following the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Figueres said she is waiting to learn what conclusions are reached. She added that Japan has yet to report on a possible review of its goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.
Her remarks come as Japanese Vice Minister of the Environment Hideki Minamikawa, who is taking part in the Bangkok meeting, told reporters on Sunday that if Japan fails to build more nuclear plants as planned, its target for reducing greenhouse gases would be subject to review.

Monday, April 04, 2011 21:03
Seawater's radiation levels remain high
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says radiation levels in seawaters near the plant are falling but remain high.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says the level of radioactive iodine-131 found 330 meters south of a water outlet of the plant's No. 1 to No 4 reactors was 4,385 times the legal limit on Wednesday last week.
The level has since been declining. Iodine-131 measured in the same area on Sunday was 630 times the limit.
The radioactive material measured 30 meters north of the outlet of the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors was 240 times the national limit, compared with 3,000 times the limit recorded last Friday.
In a related story, the health ministry says 4,080 bequerels of radioactive iodine was detected in one kilogram of sand lances, a kind of fish, caught in waters off Ibaraki Prefecture, south of the troubled plant.
The ministry says this level of iodine does not pose health risks, but that it will establish provisional national standards for iodine in fish as soon as possible.

Monday, April 04, 2011 21:59
TEPCO putting radioactive water in the sea

Tokyo Electric Power Company has begun disposing of wastewater containing low-level radioactive substances into the sea from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in a bid to stabilize the plant.

TEPCO began releasing a total of 10,000 tons of wastewater on Monday evening. It also started disposing of 1,500 tons of low-level contaminated groundwater near the Number 5 and Number 6 reactors later in the evening.

The utility company says the release is aimed at making room in facilities to store the more highly contaminated water from the Number 2 reactor's turbine building and a nearby tunnel, as the contaminated water is hampering restoration work.

The company says the level of iodine-131 in the wastewater is about 100 times the legal limit. But the plant operator says that if a person were to eat fish and seaweed taken from near the plant every day for a year, the radiation exposure would be 0.6 millisieverts. It adds that the annual permissible level for the general public is one millisievert.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency approved the disposal of the wastewater as an emergency measure. The agency says it will strengthen its monitoring of the seawater to limit any adverse effects caused by the disposal.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the government approved the plan because removing the water from the No.2 reactor is a more urgent matter.

Edano called the operation an emergency measure to ensure the safety of the plant.
He added that the government told the utility to monitor radioactivity in the seawater and closely track its environmental impact.

. . . . .

Is this the beginning of the end ?
To be continued tomorrow.


Voices from around

. The Daily Reading List .  

Fukushima nuclear plant must be scrapped, says PM
source : World News Network .

. Japan Times, April 4  

. . . . .

Gov't aware of possibility of reactor core's meltdown before quake
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The government was aware of the possibility that the reactor cores of nuclear plants could partially melt down if all power supply equipment was crippled, making it impossible to cool down the cores' nuclear fuel, even before the March 11 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, according to last May's lower house minutes.
... Although the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 reactors of the Fukushima plant automatically shut down after the March 11 massive quake, the subsequent tsunami paralyzed backup power sources, leading the plant to lose the ability to cool down nuclear fuel with water.
... Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said 70 percent of nuclear fuel at the No. 1 reactor and 33 percent of nuclear fuel at the No. 2 reactor appears to have been damaged, with fuel at the No. 3 reactor partially damaged.
source : mdn.mainichi.jp

. . . . .

7-year-old newspaper 'editor' revives optimism in shelters
“Electricity is back!” and “We are grateful for the food!”
... Risa Yoshida, a first year student at the Minami-Kessanuma Elementary School in Miyagi prefecture, launched the colorful Fight! newspaper with a single thought in her mind: to revive optimism among the evacuees living in emergency shelters as a consequence of the devastating March 11 earthquake.
... The first edition, handwritten and in vivid color, read:
“There are many inconveniences right now, but let’s do our best to overcome them!”
source : www.japantoday.com

. . . . .

video streaming clips from Japan
source : NicoNico Douga at google images

. . . . .

Japan’s Hard-hit Sake Brewers Pleading For Help, Extra Sipping
Henry Sidel
The founder of New York-based Joto Sake LLC, Sidel was on a sales trip to promote the jizake, or artisanal sakes, he imports from eight top small breweries (kura), in different parts of Japan. It took him two days to track them all down.

Tales of entire breweries washing away, toppled sake-filled tanks, collapsed roofs and thousands of broken bottles are compiled and translated in a preliminary report on sake expert John Gauntner’s www.sake-world.com website. The Tokyo-based American warned in an email that he hasn’t been able to confirm them all.
... Still, what about the rice and water for next year’s sake?
“Water comes from deep wells, so it is not affected,” said Gauntner. “And the best rice is grown in the western half of Japan, not near the nuclear power plant.”
source : www.bloomberg.com



sudden as its ruin --
Japan will blossom soon
like a cherry tree

Fred Masarani


shiitake shrine -
can our prayers help
with radiation ?  

Shiitake Shrine 椎茸神社
at Fukushima 福島県

There are various shrines for the Shiitake mushrooms in Japan.



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  1. Anonymous4/04/2011

    Liebe Gabi,
    ich bedanke mich ganz herzlich für Deine Mühen.
    Meine Familie und ich denken sehr viel an Japan
    es ist unvorstellbar, kaum zu fassen. Man steht so hilflos da, wir verfolgen die Nachrichten und sind so oft den Tränen nahe.
    . . . aus Deutschland

  2. apitherapy, healing with bee products ...
    my goodness Gabi it would be a story if instead of pollen the bee somehow collects radioactive dust..on its little boot collector..
    i am not saying this to be fatalistic but just the truth of it and the how the story would unfold. Of course we desire that Japan heals itself with help from the world.

  3. Anonymous4/04/2011

    The more information that comes out, the more I understand the reaction of the French and Americans.

  4. Anonymous4/04/2011

    Old friends pass away, new friends appear.
    It is just like the days.
    An old day passes, a new day arrives.
    The important thing is to make it meaningful:
    a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day.

    Dalai Lama

  5. Anonymous4/04/2011

    In some mysterious and wonderful way we are part of everything. And in that same mysterious and wonderful way, everything is a part .In order to experience this, we must be aware of how limited our senses are eyes, ears touch, smell, taste. These senses help us to function in the Seen World.
    What we see is interpreted by our minds and put inside our belief system, and this can become our reality. But there also exists an Unseen World.
    In this world we experience connectedness; we experience the mystery; and we experience another whole point of view. If we pay attention to both the Unseen World and the Seen World, our belief systems will print in our mind a new and wonderful reality.
    We will see and know we are a part of everything trees of japan.

  6. Let us all pray for PEACE IN THE WORLD.
    Please help.

    I have been praying and sending spiritual vibrations all over the world and I now need your help.

    A Prayer for World Peace by Jane Goodall .


  7. Anonymous4/05/2011

    mushrooms and radiation...
    I've seen the mushroom shape associated with radiation before, sadly. It's good that the indoor mushrooms showed normal.

  8. "It's Better with your Shoes Off"
    by Anne Cleveland, published by Tuttle in 1955. top drawer cartoons showing what it was really like living in Japan for gaijin after the war.