May 05, Thursday

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Golden Week in Japan

Carp Streamers (koinobori) to support Tohoku

. Boys' Festival (tango no sekku) .   

carp streamers -
so much debris still
by the riverside

. . . . .

There is a small village with about 100 inhabitants, most are 65 or older, on the coast of Miyagi. None of the villagers was victim to the tsunami.
Well, this village is a striking example of precautions. For years, they have bi-annual exercises for tsunami evacuation to an elevated place above the village, where all can run on foot. In the house, there are blankets and pillows for each one, brought from their own homes.
There is food for 3 days and containers to keep drinking water fresh for three years. Each time they eat the old food and bring new rations, so the food is always fresh.
This time, they all run up to the shelter and lived quite happily, since they were not dependent on electricity. They could use firewood from the nearby forest and water from the river for washing.
This is an example that showed how proper preparedness over many years can save so many lives.


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Thursday, May 05, 2011 01:24
TEPCO to set up device to cool reactors
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will start setting up a system around mid-May to help cool the facility's No.1 reactor.
Tokyo Electric Power Company plans to circulate water in the reactor's containment vessel with the use of tubes that are already in place.
The water will be sent to a heat exchanger that will be installed near one of the reactor building's entrances.
Then the water will be pumped through a cooling tower outside the building before being returned to the containment vessel via the tubes.
TEPCO will first start purifying the radioactive-tainted air in the building on Thursday at the earliest. Then it will carry out a visual check on the tubes on Sunday.
The utility says it is uncertain how long the air-purifying work will take and how much damage will be found in the tubes.
The company says the system is expected to circulate about 100 tons of water per hour to cool down an estimated 1,500 kilowatts of heat radiating from fuel rods in the reactor.
It says once the new system is put into operation, it should lower the temperature of the fuel in the reactor to below 100 degrees Celsius within a few hours to a few days.

Thursday, May 05, 2011 01:30
Govt to decide on evacuees return in early 2012
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan says his government will determine early next year whether evacuees who live around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will be able to return home.
Kan visited a facility in Kazo, near Tokyo, on Wednesday where residents from Futaba are taking shelter. The town is located in the 20 kilometer no-entry zone around Fukushima Daiichi.
The Prime Minister told Futaba Mayor Katsutaka Idogawa that he understands the residents are suffering great hardships.
Kan also said Fukushima Daiichi is expected to be brought under a certain level of control early next year if Tokyo Electric Power Company's plan works.
TEPCO announced in April it aimed to achieve a steady reduction of radiation at the nuclear plant within 3 months. In 6 to 9 months, workers will get the release of radioactive materials under control and cool down the reactors.

Thursday, May 05, 2011 01:30
Japan wants import restrictions lifted
Japan's Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda has urged China and South Korea to lift their import restrictions on Japanese farm products.
Noda made the request on Wednesday when he met China's Vice Finance Minister Li Yong and South Korea's Minister of Strategy and Finance Yoon Jeung Hyun. They spoke in Hanoi during a meeting of finance ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations and their countries.
Noda said that since the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, Japan has only shipped products that have been confirmed safe by radioactivity tests.
After the meeting, Noda told reporters he believes his request was understood. He said China's Li nodded and South Korea's Yoon assured him his country will not impose any excessive regulations.
Noda also spoke about the economic outlook in Japan. He noted there are still power shortages and that supplies for some industries, especially the auto sector, are low.
But he said the economy is expected to recover following a brief slump as reconstruction projects begin.

Thursday, May 05, 2011 09:12
Stabilizing cooling systems in Daiichi not easy
A team of workers will enter the No. 1 reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Thursday for the first time since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The workers will set up a purifier for the radioactive-tainted air in the building. This is being done ahead of work to build a system to restore the cooling functions in the reactor.
Earlier, Tokyo Electric Power Company disclosed plans to restore the cooling system by circulating water in the reactor's containment vessel with the use of tubes that are already in place. It hopes to begin the work inside the reactor building by mid-May.
However, the company faces many challenges before the work to set up the system can begin.
They include whether the purifier will be able to filter the air to a level that will allow workers to remain inside for long periods.
Even if workers manage to enter, radiation levels may remain high near where a water circulating system is to be installed. The workers may need to clean the pipes with water and contain radiation with lead sheets. They may also have to change some damaged pipes and valves, which could be time-consuming.
Also, to circulate water inside the containment vessel, the water must reach the height of the fuel rods. But if pressure within the vessel is eased too much, another hydrogen explosion may occur.
TEPCO says the announced plan is the most promising one, even though there are still many problems. The company says it wants to restore the cooling system at the No.1 reactor by settling the issues one by one.

Thursday, May 05, 2011 09:14
TEPCO president visits Fukushima
The president of Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has again apologized to communities affected by the emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Masataka Shimizu visited officials in Hirono in Fukushima Prefecture on Wednesday.
The town has set up a disaster relief headquarters in neighboring Iwaki city. Shimizu apologized to Hirono Mayor Motohoshi Yamada.
Shimizu promised to bring the situation at Fukushima Daiichi under control as soon as possible so people can go home.
Shimizu also visited the mayor of Namie, north of the nuclear plant.
Mayor Tamotsu Baba told the TEPCO President he cannot understand why it has taken so long for him to visit and apologize.
One of evacuees said he wants to know exactly how high radiation levels are in Namie Town.
President Shimizu later told reporters he will try to provide local people with more radiation data.

Thursday, May 05, 2011 12:56
Workers enter reactor building
A team of workers has entered the Reactor Number One building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant for the first time since the hydrogen explosion the day after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
On Thursday morning, two workers entered the building to install a purifier for the radiation-contaminated air.
Workers will be divided into groups of three, and each group will work for about 10 minutes to install eight air ducts. The workers wear 13-kilogram air tanks, as high levels of radioactive substances have been detected in the building.
Their work precedes the installation of a system to circulate cooling water within the reactor.
Tokyo Electric Power Company plans to begin operating the air purifier later in the day.
The operator says it will take about three days to vent the contaminated air, filter it, and return purified air to the building. It hopes to lower the radiation level so that workers can remain inside for longer periods.
According to the utility's plans, workers will enter the building as early as Sunday to check for damage to the pipes and valves to be used in a cooling system. The company hopes to launch work to circulate water and remove heat from the reactor by May 16th.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

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Japan Times :

Workers set to enter reactor 1 building
Eight workers are scheduled to be the first to enter the reactor 1 building of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant since it was ripped apart by a hydrogen blast the day after the March 11 tsunami, Tokyo Electric Power Co. says.

Worst case feared in early hours of Fukushima crisis
The government assumed a worst-case scenario of "significant public exposure" to radiation when workers were struggling to bring a nuclear reactor under control at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant a day after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

U.S. official urges beefed-up disaster teamwork

Realistic safety debate not nuke sector, regulator forte
Nearly 10 years after Tokyo Electric Power Co. first assured the government the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was safe from any tsunami, regulators were just getting around to checking out the claim. The move was too little, too late.
But even if there had been scrutiny years before the fury of the earthquake-powered wave swamped the six atomic reactors at the power plant on March 11, it is almost certain the government wouldn't have challenged the unrealistic analysis that Tepco had submitted in 2001. A review of the nation's approach to nuclear plant safety shows how closely intertwined relationships between government regulators and industry have allowed a culture of complacency to prevail.
Regulators simply didn't see it as their role to pick apart the utility's raw data and computer modeling to judge for themselves if the plant was sufficiently protected from tsunami.
The policy amounted to this: Trust plant operator Tepco — and don't worry about verifying its math or its logic.




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1 comment:

  1. Adrian Hamilton:
    Japan may be showing the way to the world

    Do not give up Japan, says the slogan in the hotels on the buses, offices and even some of the rubbish trucks in Tokyo. According to a Japanese friend, a more accurate translation would be, "Hang on in".

    Either way it's a bit late for the foreigners who've simply deserted Tokyo and most of the rest of the country. "Flyjin", instead of the usual "gaijin", is the word coined for them. Not that fleeing is a phenomenon limited to outsiders. There are plenty of rich and not-so-rich Japanese who have deserted Tokyo for safer climes.

    Nobody seems to be blaming them too much. Most Tokyoites understand perfectly well the reasons for escape, given the continuing threats of aftershocks and nuclear meltdown. It won't be until November that the Fukushima plant will be brought fully under control, and not for a year that there will be any relief from further quakes.

    Two months after the cataclysm, with the country enjoying the so-called Golden Week of holidays, there are distinct signs of returning confidence, although not, one notices, of optimism. People learn to live with uncertainty, as we know from years of IRA and then Jihadist terrorism.
    "For years," says my friend, "we've been told that we had to lessen dependence on oil by building western-designed nuclear stations, that we had to liberalise our economy, that we had to encourage immigration and let the free market rule.

    "Now we find that nuclear technology is dangerous. There will be no new plants in Japan. Concentrating suppliers on the cheapest has left companies such as Toyota severely hurt when plants have been damaged by the earthquake. Foreigners who have come here have been leaving the country. The free-market philosophy has not worked well."