May 01, Sunday

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Gabi reports:

May the first -
I am sooo tired
I need a rest

Rain in the morning, but unpleasantly warm for the season.
The forest is slowly showing its shades of early green, trees are swaying in stormy gusts ... the perfect day to go back to bed ...

. . . . .

More than 25.000 people are now dead or missing.

Volunteers are cleaning the graveyards and photos found in the mud. The photos are later put on display in the shelters for people to find their memories.


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp


Sunday, May 01, 2011 09:02
TEPCO official: Fukushima is man-made disaster

A vice president of Tokyo Electric Power Company says he believes the nuclear crisis at Fukushima nuclear power plant is a man-made disaster.
TEPCO vice president Norio Tsuzumi 皷紀男 visited Iitate village in Fukushima Prefecture on Saturday and apologized to about 1,000 villagers who gathered to hear him speak.
When he was asked if he thinks of the nuclear crisis a man-made disaster or a natural disaster, he said personally he thinks it is a man-made disaster.
All of the 6,000 residents of Iitate were instructed to evacuate by late May based on accumulated radiation exposure levels caused by emissions from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
After the meeting with local residents, Tsuzumi explained to reporters why he feels it is a man-made disaster.
He said that some say the nuclear accident in Fukushima was beyond any expectations but personally he thinks adequate precautions should have been in place.

Sunday, May 01, 2011 09:02
Water from 3rd reactor to be transferred
Tokyo Electric Power Company is preparing to transfer radioactive water from the Number 3 reactor of the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Restoration work at the plant has been hindered by highly radioactive water that has been accumulating in the Number 1 to Number 4 reactors.
The utility has given priority to transferring the most highly contaminated water in the Number 2 reactor to a temporary storage site.
The operation was suspended for maintenance on Friday, but resumed shortly after 2 PM on Saturday.
TEPCO dropped a plan to add another pump to quicken the transfer.
The utility says it needs to set aside capacity in the temporary storage site to transfer contaminated water from the Number 3 reactor, as the water level in its underground tunnel has risen by 12 centimeters in one week.
The power company plans to start transferring water from the Number 3 reactor if the water level continues to rise, and is installing a hose that connects the tunnel with the temporary storage site.

Sunday, May 01, 2011 09:02
TPECO to take new measures against disasters
The Tokyo Electric Power Company says it going to implement new measures at the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to protect it from any other tsunami or aftershocks. The work will be completed by late July.
A utility official told reporters on Saturday that it is going to build 12-meter-high temporary levees consisting of stone-filled baskets to protect the plant from any tsunami.
The power company will also fill in the pits leading down to the 4 tunnels on the ocean side of the Number 2 and Number 3 reactors with concrete to prevent highly radioactive water from leaking into the sea.
As a measure to protect the plant from aftershocks, TEPCO will set up a steel pillar at the bottom of the spent-fuel storage pool of the Number 4 reactor, and reinforce it with concrete.
A hydrogen explosion last month damaged the wall of the reactor building, weakening its quake resistance.
An advisor to the prime minister and a senior member of the government's nuclear taskforce, Goshi Hosono, says a magnitude 8 aftershock may happen off the coast where the plant is located.
He says aftershocks and tsunami pose a big threat to the work being done to stabilize the situation at the plant.

Sunday, May 01, 2011 10:35
More workers to be sent to Fukushima

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is studying the possibility of sending more employees and former employees to the plant.
People who have previously worked at the plant and who have been trained in nuclear-related matters, such as radiation monitoring, are the potential candidates. About 3,000 people are believed to qualify.
About 1,000 workers of Tokyo Electric Power Company and its contract companies are currently working at the power plant to bring it under control.
TEPCO laid out a plan on April 17th to stabilize the reactors in 6 to 9 months. But the work is expected to take a long time and the radiation level is high.
On Saturday, 2 workers were found to have been exposed to more than 200 millisieverts of radiation.
Another 30 workers or so were exposed to radiation in excess of 100 millisieverts.
The government recently raised the legal limit for radiation exposure during an emergency from 100 millisieverts to 250 millisieverts.
The power company considers it necessary to have more people on site to proceed with the operation while ensuring the safety of the workers.

Sunday, May 01, 2011 11:01
Fukushima: measures against tsunami

Tokyo Electric Power Company will implement new measures at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to protect it from any other tsunami or aftershocks.

It will build temporary levees on the ocean side and fill part of the tunnels with concrete.

Q: This is the video image taken near the nuclear power plant on March 11th when the massive earthquake hit northeastern Japan.

Tsunami more than 20 meters high hit the cliff.

Q: Aftershocks occur frequently in the area of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. There is concern that aftershocks and tsunami will hinder restoration of the cooling functions of the reactors.
Q: Officials of the power company held a news conference on Saturday.

"The company will build levees on the southeastern side of the plant to protect it from tsunami."

Q: The temporary levees against tsunami will be built at these locations.
Q: They will be on the ocean side of Number 3 and Number 4 reactors.
Q: How are the levees going to be made?
Q: Steel baskets will be used.
Q: The baskets will be filled with rock.
Q: And the rock-filled baskets will be piled up.
Q: The levees will be 12 meters high. The work will begin within several days and is expected to be complete in mid-June.
Q: The second measure against tsunami is to reinforce the underground tunnels of the Number 2 and Number 3 reactors.

Water in the tunnels is contaminated with highly radioactive material.

Q: Work is needed to prevent the water from leaking into the sea at the time of a tsunami.
Q: TEPCO plans to fill in the pits leading down to the 4 tunnels on the ocean side of the reactors with concrete.
Q: This is the cross-sectional view.
Q: The work will be done by late May.
Q: Next is a measure against aftershocks.
A hydrogen explosion damaged the walls of the Number 4 reactor building, and weakened the quake resistance of the spent fuel storage pool.

TEPCO will set up steel pillars underneath the storage pool and reinforce it with concrete by the end of July.

Advisor to prime minister Goshi Hosono
"Aftershocks and tsunami will hinder the work to control the critical situation at the plant. Each measure will be verified for its validity against aftershocks and tsunami as it is put into place."

Sunday, May 01, 2011 12:56
TEPCO moving contaminated water to tanks
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant plans to begin transferring highly radioactive water accumulated near the Number 6 reactor to a temporary storage tank.
TEPCO, is expected to start moving the water in the turbine house of the No. 6 reactor to the tank on Sunday afternoon.
At the Number 2 reactor, TEPCO continues to pump out highly radioactive water that has accumulated in a tunnel connected to the reactor to an on-site waste processing facility.
TEPCO says about 2,560 tons of the water has been moved into the facility since work began on April 19th.
The company says the surface of the water in the tunnel was 84 centimeters below ground level as of 7AM on Sunday, down 4 centimeters since the work began.
The utility adds that radioactive water in the tunnel of the Number 3 reactor facility has been rising for several days, and reached 90 centimeters below ground level at 7AM, 2 centimeters higher than the figure a day before.
To prevent the water from overflowing from the tunnel, TEPCO is preparing to transfer the water to the waste facility by connecting the 2 locations with a hose.
TEPCO also says that a woman employee in her 40s was exposed to radiation of 7.49 millisieverts, 1.5 times the national legal limit, while she was working at an in-house medical office of the Fukushima plant.
The woman continued to work there until March 15th, 4 days after the disaster, then she was moved to another office within Fukushima Prefecture. She is described as having no apparent health problems resulting from the exposure.
TEPCO says it is the second case of a woman worker being exposed to radiation exceeding the legal limit, and that no woman has been allowed to work at the plant since March 23rd.

Sunday, May 01, 2011 23:20
Cesium found in sludge
Relatively high levels of radioactive cesium have been detected in the sludge from a waste water treatment plant in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture.
The prefectural government is tracking some of the sludge that has been shipped out of the prefecture to be used in making cement.
The prefecture's investigation found that the sludge contained 26,400 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram.
The solidified slag made from it contained 334,000 becquerels per kilogram, which is 1,300 times the level before the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The prefecture says rain likely washed radioactive substances from the surface of the ground into the sewer, and they became concentrated through processing.
The sludge from the facility is transported out of the prefecture and used to produce cement.
The prefectural government will suspend the recycling and track the sludge that has been shipped since the accident to determine how it has been used.
The land and transport ministry says it will report the incident to the Nuclear Safety Agency, and coordinate with the Environment Ministry and other relevant organizations to find ways to process the sludge safely. The sludge must be kept at the facility until a solution is found.
The ministry says there is no precedent for this, but that it will decide soon what to do.

Sunday, May 01, 2011 23:20
Kan: safety measures insufficient
Prime Minister Naoto Kan says the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company failed to fully address safety issues that had come to light before the March 11 disaster.
An accident last June at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant caused by the loss of outside power and the subsequent drop in the water levels of a reactor was taken up at Sunday's Upper House Budget Committee meeting.
In response to a question on whether sufficient safety measures had been taken, Kan said nuclear plants operate on the assumption that emergency diesel generators will maintain a reactor's cooling functions when outside power is cut off.
He said the fact that such a back-up system failed to work properly has serious implications.
Kan said measures were not taken despite previous accidents and warnings, and that he must admit that the utility and the government failed to fully deal with the situation.
He also suggested that he will study the possibility of setting up an alternative capital to take over Tokyo's role in an emergency, saying that measures must be taken to secure the continuity of the capital's central functions.

. . . . . . . . . .

Sunday, May 01, 2011 09:02
Sightseeing boat resting on roof to be removed

Authorities in Iwate Prefecture will start work to remove a sightseeing boat that was carried by the March 11th tsunami and ended up on top of a two-story building.
The 27-meter long luxury cruiser owned by Kamaishi City was in a dockyard in neighboring Otsuchi Town for regular inspection when the tsunami hit the area. The boat came to rest about 400 meters inland on the roof of a Japanese-style inn.
A university professor and others had requested local authorities to preserve the boat as a symbol of the disaster for future generations.
However, the authorities decided against the idea, citing the danger of the 200-ton boat falling off the roof. The city plans to remove it with a crane by the end of the week.

Sunday, May 01, 2011 09:02
Non-nuclear nations call for safer nuclear power
Foreign ministers from 10 countries without nuclear weapons have agreed that international cooperation should be promoted to improve the safety of nuclear power plants.
They held the second non-nuclear state conference in Berlin, Germany, on Saturday, followed the first last September in the US. ...

Sunday, May 01, 2011 09:02
Disaster relief budget passes Lower House
Japan's Lower House has unanimously passed a first supplementary budget aimed at rebuilding regions hit by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The bill, totals 4 trillion, 15.3 billion yen, or about 49 billion dollars. It is expected to pass the Upper House on Monday.
The budget covers public works to restore roads, ports and agricultural facilities, as well as disposal of debris and construction of temporary houses.
The budget is significantly greater than that for the 1995 Hanshin Earthquake.
Deliberations will take place on Sunday and Monday at the Upper House Budget Committee.
Then, the bill is expected to be approved at its plenary session on Monday.
Related bills, including one that calls for the diversion of funds originally earmarked for the public pension system, passed the Lower House and were sent to the Upper House on Saturday.
Saturday's Lower House plenary session was the first in 49 years to be held during the week-long spring holiday.

Sunday, May 01, 2011 09:02
Minute levels of radiation detected in breast milk
Japan's Health Ministry says it has detected a minute amount of radioactive materials in breast milk in 7 mothers in central and northeastern Japan. The ministry says the amount does not pose a danger to their babies' health.
The ministry on Saturday released the results of a study conducted in Fukushima, Tokyo and other 3 prefectures in Kanto region from last Sunday through Thursday.
The ministry says breast milk samples from a mother in Iwaki City of Fukushima Prefecture contained 3.5 becquerels of radioactive iodine per kilogram and 2.4 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram.
Up to 2.8 becquerels of radioactive materials per kilogram were also detected in 6 mothers in 2 other prefectures.
Japan has no regulatory levels to determine the health risk from radioactive substances in breast milk. But it sets the safety levels for babies' consumption of milk and drinking water at 100 becquerels of radioactive iodine per kilogram and 200 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram.
The detected amount in the samples was much lower than the regulatory levels and the ministry says it is too minute to have any impact on babies' health. It also says mothers who are breast-feeding should not be overly concerned.
Professor Nobuya Unno of Kitasato University says it is necessary to carefully analyze how and for how long radioactive materials will affect breast milk when mothers drink water and eat food that contain such substances.

Sunday, May 01, 2011 23:20
Shareholders want nuclear plants closed
A group of Tohoku Electric Power Company shareholders will submit a motion calling for the closure of the company's nuclear plants.
220 individual stockholders decided on the move ahead of the company's annual shareholders' meeting at the end of next month.
The investors are demanding that the utility state in its agreement with shareholders that it will close its nuclear power plants and end its investment in a reprocessing plant in Aomori Prefecture and similar projects.
The shareholders say the problems at the Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was a warning that accidents at any nuclear plant can lead to dangers that cannot be contained by any one company.
They will deliver documents on the demand to the company on Monday. The subject is expected to be discussed at this year's shareholders' meeting.
The move comes after the firm measured tsunamis higher than expected and strong tremors at its Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture during the March 11th earthquake and the aftershock on April 7th.
The Tohoku Electric Power Company declined to comment on the move. But it said it had safely suspended operations at its power plants and that it will improve its risk management and strengthen measures to check its equipment.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

Tepco pair caught radiation overdose

Volunteers rush to help Tohoku

Three years eyed to remove disaster debris

52 nursing homes in Iwate, Miyagi shut after disaster

The lowdown on sieverts and a healthy diet

Tohoku charity a minefield for Japanese celebrities

. . . . .

Gov't estimates 3 years for removal of debris from disaster areas
The Environment Ministry estimates that it will take three years for the three prefectures in northeastern Japan worst hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami to finish removing massive piles of debris left by the disaster, the ministry said Saturday.

Up to around 24.9 million tons of debris mainly from collapsed houses are assumed to be scattered around Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, according to the ministry. The amount is about 1.7 times the debris seen in the 1996 Great Hanshin Earthquake.

The actual amount of debris is expected to be larger as the assumption does not include rubble from wrecked vessels and vehicles.
The removal process is expected to be delayed due to the lack of temporary disposal sites for rubble, according to the ministry.

The Iwate prefectural government said it will need some 3 million square meters of land to temporarily store a total of 6 million tons of debris scattered around the prefecture, but has been able to secure only 40% of the land needed so far. The prefecture has relatively little flat land because of its deeply indented coastline.
Meanwhile, the Miyagi prefectural government said it has secured land to pile up about 16 million tons of debris. It plans to secure about 4 million square meters of land in its public windbreak forests for incineration and crushing of rubble in the near future.
source : www.japantoday.com


haru no mizu 春の水 waters of spring


waters of spring!
in the hells we humans make
you too must suffer!

From Japanese Death Poems:

hito-iki ni kono ajiwai zo haru no mizu

One gulp,
a taste of nectar!
Water in the spring.

--Kimpu, trans. Yoel Hoffman

Hoffman comments:
"Water in the [season of] spring" ('haru no mizu') is a seasonal image in haiku,
yet it hints as well at 'shinimizu', the water given to a dying person."

water of spring,
good to the last drop?

Larry Bole



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  1. It is time to target who calls the shots in Japan when disaster strikes
    By ROGER PULVERS / Japan Times

    Why did it take so long for any Japanese Cabinet ministers to make their presence felt on the site of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant — and what does this tell us about the decision-making process in Japan?

    On April 9, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda was the first one to do so, when he met Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato and subsequently visited the nuclear facility in that prefecture. He promised the governor to "speed up, and raise the quality and quantity (of aid)" to the stricken districts.
    Indeed, one could well mimic Prime Minister Naoto Kan's now famous dictum in response to the dearth of concrete information coming from Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the company responsible for the nuclear plant:
    "What in the hell is going on?"

    Actually, this catastrophe, with its aftermath of makeshift decision-making, tells us a great deal about the way in which business and government leaders in Japan deal with crises — a modus operandi that almost always starts with it being compartmentalized to decide whose crisis it actually is.

    After that, the traditional, three-pronged response is to deny that there is a crisis, while apologizing for it just in case it later becomes undeniable; to silence all those who might speak out about it; and finally, to wait until everything blows over.
    When Prime Minister Kan bluntly complained about the lack of information coming his way, he knew all too well that it was still trickling up through various locks — locks on a canal, that is. One is opened for information to flow through, then closed before the next lock is opened, and so on. That is why even the prime minister cannot take things into his own hands from the very beginning, since, at first, any disaster is treated as a local event, confined to one or a few prefectures. Then, if necessary, it is seen as a national disaster. Finally, if the effects cannot be contained, it becomes a disaster for the Asian region or the whole world.
    But the real lesson in all of this for Japan is that all its institutions of commerce and government must henceforth have only one obligation — and that is to the welfare of the populace and, through them, the world.

    If that lesson is learned and its remedies institutionalized, then we might be able to say, with some assurance,
    "No more Fukshimas!"


  2. "Enjoy your break. This is a great collection of information. Thanks."

  3. Anonymous5/02/2011

    Hi Gabi, enjoy Golden Week, you have done such a sterling job of keeping us informed over the last few weeks, hope the good weather cheers you all up.

  4. Anonymous5/02/2011

    I hope you find time to rest Gabi san, you are probably working way too hard!

  5. Anonymous5/02/2011

    ime to de-stress, perhaps ...
    have a nice day, Gabi


  6. this gentle day -
    alone with the bees
    and the butterflies


    . . . . .

    It might have been one of those magic days of calmess and contemplation, Gabi san... they are the best days in life :)
    . . . . .
    Your haiku expresses a simplicity as necessary as breathing and in our world today sometimes so complicated. Thank you.

  7. Japan Disaster Relief Fund - BOSTON

    Doctor Deployment to Soma City, Fukushima, Japan

    Report of Doctor Deployment to Soma city

    Four doctors, Drs Izumo, Watada, Makinodan and Ashitate, from Boston-Japan Medical Relief Initiative (BJMRI) left for Soma city in Fukushima prefecture to provide medical supports to evacuees from coastal areas engulfed by tsunami on March 11th.