May 11, Wednesday

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The third month after the shock starts !

two months later -
nothing can erase
these memories

. Remember March 11, 2011, 14:46  

24,829 people are dead or missing.
14,949 people are confirmed dead:
- 8,941 in Miyagi,
- 4,400 in Iwate,
- 1,544 in Fukushima.


Gabi reports:

It is now two months since the great earthquake, tsunami and reactor crises.

It has been raining all night, more or less strong, and will continue to do so until tomorrow as Typhoon Nr. 1 still lingers in Okinawa.

this long day -
only the pounding rain
on my tin roof

. . . . .

Shimane Prefecture Governor Zenbe Mizoguchi and Saga Prefecture Governor Yasushi Furukawa said the power plants in their prefectures will remain shut down until more clear guidance about safety measures from the government is gained.

America is stepping up its efforts to inspect the nuclear reactors and improve safety regulations.

To combat the shortage of energy in summer, some auto firms now plan to work during the weekends and close on two days during the week, probably from July to September.
Other industries are also aiming at a rotating system.

. . . . . at 19:00
I have to log off. A thunderstorm is coming our way.
More rain. More rain.


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Govt demands financial efforts of TEPCO

The government has demanded Tokyo Electric Power Company make as much effort as it can if the company is to receive state financial help in paying compensation over the accident at its nuclear plant in Fukushima.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda and other related ministers discussed on Tuesday what efforts TEPCO needs to make.
The government called for the company's utmost efforts to streamline its operations and cut costs, except for expenses necessary for a stable supply of electricity.
It also called on the utility to allow an independent panel to carry out a survey on its management finance for tighter asset assessment and a review of its expenses.
The demand was conveyed to the company on Tuesday evening.
Earlier in the day, TEPCO asked the government for its financial help to make sure the company can offer compensation.
The company said its chairman, president and other board members will decline their salaries and bonuses for the time being. It also said it will sell securities, properties and other assets to raise funds.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 04:28
TEPCO slipping behind schedule to contain accident
Nearly one month has passed since the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant announced a schedule to contain the accident. But Tokyo Electric Power Company is finding it difficult to stick to the plan.
TEPCO announced the schedule on April 17th, detailing 51 measures to be implemented over the next 3 months for the 1st stage.
The most important steps involve the cooling of the reactors. These include pumping water into the reactors, injecting nitrogen into the containment vessels to prevent a hydrogen blast and filling them with water, as well as a study on the possible installation of heat exchangers.
Workers have entered the No.1 reactor building to prepare to inject water into the containment vessel. On Tuesday, they started calibrating the water gauges, and a plan has been drawn up to install a heat exchanger.
However, none of these measures have been carried out at the other reactors, apart from pumping water into them.
The high levels of radiation detected inside the No.1 building could force TEPCO to change its work plan.
A clear strategy for containing the problem is yet to be seen 2 months after the nuclear accident occurred.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 07:02
Gov't: Burying contaminated soil into ground works
The Japanese government plans to inform schools in Fukushima Prefecture that burying radiation-contaminated topsoil into the ground is an effective way to reduce its radiation level.
The education and science ministry concluded this after conducting an experiment at a school in Fukushima City on Sunday. The ministry says that burying contaminated soil 50 centimeters underground reduced the overall radiation level by 90 percent.
After the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, schools in the prefecture have been restricting outdoor activities. Radiation levels in soil at all the schools, except for one, remain within the official limit for children playing outdoors.
Schools in the cities of Koriyama and Date have removed the topsoil in their schoolyards as a precaution. But schools have not been able to get the soil transported away from the premises because of the lack of government disposal guidelines for irradiated soil.
The government will report its latest findings to the prefecture's education board and the Nuclear Safety Commission on Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 09:43
Survivors' lives two months on
Survivors of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan say they still face difficulties in their daily lives 2 months on.
NHK surveyed 435 people living in evacuation centers and elsewhere in the hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
More than 450,000 people were living in shelters just after the quake, but the number has now dropped to about 120,000. Many evacuees left the shelters saying they were tired of living in groups. Some facilities were closed or merged.
Asked what bothered them the most, 38 percent of those in the shelters cited a lack of privacy.
32 percent of the people living in their homes cited not being able to bathe and a lack of utilities as their main concern.
34 percent of those staying with relatives or living in apartments said the lack of access to information, including notices from their municipalities, is a problem.
One woman in Rikuzentakata city, Iwate Prefecture, said she is living at home because her father refused to stay in a shelter. She said the water and electricity are still off and that she can only bathe once every 4 or 5 days at facilities provided by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 10:21
60% of reactors off the grid

Almost 60 percent of the commercial nuclear reactors in Japan are currently shut down due to the March 11th disaster or routine inspections.
The unusually high figure will have a significant impact on the nation's power supply this summer.
Japan operates 54 reactors, 32 of which were not operating as of Wednesday. 14 were suspended after March 11th and 18 are undergoing regular inspections.
Kyushu Electric Power Company postponed the restarting of 2 reactors at its Genkai plant in Saga Prefecture after the accident in Fukushima. And the utility began a periodic inspection on Tuesday of another reactor at the Sendai nuclear complex in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan.
The company is now working out measures to ensure a stable power supply during the summer, despite the fact that half of its 6 reactors are suspended.
Chubu Electric Power Company is expected to halt the operation of 2 reactors at the Hamaoka plant in central Japan as early as this weekend. The move follows a government request to shut them down due to the risk of a major earthquake.
Six other reactors in the county are also scheduled to undergo routine inspections by the summer.
Decisions by power companies and local governments on whether or not to resume reactor operations are likely to have a significant impact on the nation's power supply this summer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 12:49
TEPCO apologizes again 2 months after accident
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant has apologized again, 2 months after the massive earthquake and tsunami that crippled the nuclear facility.
On Wednesday, senior official of Tokyo Electric Power Company or TEPCO, Junichi Matsumoto, told a news conference the firm regrets that those forced to evacuate the area around the plant have not been able to return home.
Matsumoto admitted to some delays in implementing the utility's plan to bring the troubled plant under control. But he said no major obstacles have arisen so far.
He said TEPCO will announce its assessment of the progress it has made on May 17th, one month into its restoration plan.
At the No. 1 reactor, where the most progress has been made, work to calibrate the water gauges continued on Wednesday. Similar work on the pressure gauges is expected to start the same day.
This work is part of preparations to fill the reactor's containment vessel with water, leading to a stable cooling of the reactor.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 14:19
TEPCO accepts conditions for state support
Tokyo Electric Power Company has accepted government conditions for state support in compensating people affected by the accident at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
TEPCO reached the decision on Wednesday at an extraordinary board meeting, and the same day conveyed it to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
The government had earlier asked the utility not to set a ceiling on compensation payments in advance, to make thorough streamlining efforts, and to accept a third-party investigation of its finances among other conditions.
The government now plans to finalize a framework for compensation this week.
It aims to establish a new entity to help TEPCO pay damages by seeking financial contributions from all nuclear power plant operators.


Voices from around

Japan Times :

Evacuees briefly return home in no-go zone
Residents of the village of Kawauchi, which sits in the no-go zone surrounding the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, briefly return home to pick up personal belongings.

Tepco turns to government for cash
Embattled Tokyo Electric Co. President Masataka Shimizu officially asks the government to help shoulder the burden of compensating people affected by the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Hamaoka impact will be far-flung
The decision by Chubu Electric Power to shut down the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture is testament to the long-lasting and far-reaching impact of the March 11 megaquake.

Suspension without a vision
Chubu Electric Power Co., which serves central Japan around Nagoya, decided Monday to suspend all operations at its Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture in response to Prime Minister Naoto Kan's call Friday for the suspension for safety reasons.
Although Chubu's decision will cause power shortage, serious discussions must be held over whether the construction of the bulwark can justify resumption of the Hamaoka plant operations. Hamaoka is Chubu's only nuclear power plant and has provided about 12 percent of the utility's total power supply.
Chubu's decision will cause power shortages and may affect the whole Japanese economy. Still the power shortage problem should not distract attention from safety questions.

Naoto Kan to give up executive salary

Opposition rejects Kan's recovery efforts

High tides inundate sunken towns

'No plan to dump N-waste overseas'

Mayor to approve Onagawa restart

. . . . .


The Japanese Embassy in Denmark arranges a lively and succesful Sakura festival in late April/early May when the cherry trees blossoms (sakura means cherry flower).
After the devastation of the earthquake and following tsunami, great consideration has been given as to whether to hold the 4th Copenhagen Sakura Festival or not.

Taking place at a green lawn full of cherry trees, placed in Copenhagen at the waterside very close to the little mermaid.

I've been there a couple of years doing origami together with the Danish-Japenese Society (http://www.dansk-japanskselskab.dk/).

This year we have been folding 1000 cranes for Japan. This made it into the Danish TV news Sunday evening, look here:

Hans from Denmark



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1 comment:

  1. Japan PM declines pay until nuclear crisis ends

    Japan PM declines pay until nuclear crisis ends AFP – Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said he will not accept his premier's wage until the crisis …

    by Shigemi Sato Shigemi Sato – Tue May 10, 9:44 am ET

    TOKYO (AFP) – Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Tuesday he would not accept his premier's wage until a crisis at the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant is over and pledged a full review of the country's energy policy.

    Kan was speaking hours after about 100 villagers who fled their homes near the stricken plant made brief but emotional return journeys into the rural no-man's land in radiation suits and masks to pick up personal belongings.

    Japan was plunged into a nuclear crisis by the March 11 quake-tsunami that hit the plant, causing partial reactor meltdowns, explosions and radiation leaks in the world's worst atomic accident since Chernobyl 25 years ago.

    The centre-left leader in a televised press conference signalled that Japan would maintain nuclear power but also boost the role of renewables, making them key pillars of the energy policy of the world's number three economy.

    Kan said that "along with the plant operator, TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company), the government bears a great responsibility for the nuclear accident as it has pursued a nuclear energy policy".

    Apologising to the nation, he said: "I have decided to give up my annual allowance as prime minister from June, until we can see the prospect of a solution to the nuclear accident."

    Kan was set to forego his 1.6 million yen (about $20,000) monthly premier's wage, but was to keep his lawmaker's wage of nearly 800,000 yen ($10,000), the cabinet office said.

    Earlier Tuesday TEPCO said its president Masataka Shimizu and other directors would also return their remuneration "for the time being".