May 18, Wednesday

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Gabi reports:

Yesterday we had strong thunderstorms almost all afternoon and evening, so I could not use the computer.
Today the air is clear, cold and crisp, the sun just coming up and we hope for sunshine in Tohoku.

Many are wondering about the new plans of TEPCO. With so many more problems, they still want to keep the timeline.
Maybe they anticipated a lot more when they make up the first plan and it might all be done in due time? Meanwhile the people evacuated from Fukushima are worrying about when they might be allowed to go back home.

The German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen has remarked that the 7 aging nuclear reactors in Germany, now offline, should be shut down permanently.


Bulletins from NHK Online
source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 01:50
DPJ to submit tsunami protection bill
Japan's governing Democratic Party has drafted legislation aimed at decreasing the damage from tsunami.
The plan designates March 11th as the Day of Tsunami Disaster Prevention.
It calls for restrictions on housing construction in areas where tsunami are highly likely to occur.
The DPJ plan recommends that buildings should be reinforced in coastal areas to block tsunami waves and stop debris from flowing inland.
It also calls for additional safety measures for nuclear power plants and oil refineries.
The opposition Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito jointly submitted a similar bill to the lower house of the Diet last year.
The Democratic Party intends to use the plan to negotiate with the opposition parties and submit a bill on the matter during the current Diet session.
Smart phones upgraded to receive quake bulletins
Japanese mobile phone companies plan to offer new smartphones that can receive earthquake bulletins, which have been in high demand since the March 11th disaster.
NTT DOCOMO plans to release 8 such phones in the coming months.
KDDI has unveiled 6 such phones, one with improved waterproofing and another with a built-in keyboard.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 01:50
TEPCO releases Fukushima plant videos
Tokyo Electric Power Company has released videos of the damage at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
A clip taken on May 6th shows dents in a tank that supplies water to a reactor suppression pool. An overturned car is lying near the tank.
Another video shows an oil tank that was swept by tsunami and landed near the plant's headquarters about 500 meters from the Number 1 reactor.
Most of the windows in the building are broken and documents are scattered around an office. The mess is believed to have caused by hydrogen explosions that occurred in the early days of the nuclear crisis.
Other footage shows workers closing a dormitory entrance door to prevent the entry of radioactive substances.
The workers decontaminate their protective gear and line up to carry supplies into the building.
Another video captures a vehicle spraying green agents to prevent the dispersal of radioactive materials. It also shows workers putting radioactive debris into a container for removal.
Another clip shows hoses being used to inject water into reactors. The orange one is for reactor 1, the yellow one for reactor 2 and the green one for reactor 3.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 05:53
TEPCO may face more problems in stabilizing plant
Tokyo Electric Power Company is sticking to its plan to bring the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station under control by next January. But the company may face further unexpected problems.
On Tuesday, TEPCO announced a new timeline which reflects the problems that have emerged since it revealed the original road map one month earlier.
It says it will keep to its original schedule of stabilizing the plant sometime between October and January.
TEPCO Vice President Sakae Muto told reporters that on the whole, the work is progressing as expected, although some tasks are taking longer than planned.
But many unexpected problems have occurred since TEPCO released the original plan in April.
A large quantity of water was found in the basement of the No.1 reactor building. Highly radioactive water was found to be leaking into the ocean from the No.3 reactor.
TEPCO told reporters that the barrier set up in the sea near the water intake of the No.3 reactor may be failing to prevent contaminated water from spreading.
The utility said it will use the mineral zeolite to remove radioactive cesium from the sea.
Workers have not been able to enter the buildings of the No.2 and No.3 reactors, making it impossible to restore their cooling functions.
In addition to these obstacles, TEPCO may also face an increase in the amount of radioactive water, highly radioactive work environments, and the possible effects of the rainy season, typhoons and aftershocks.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 05:53
Japan apologizes for radiation concerns
Japan has apologized for releasing radioactive substances into the air and the sea from the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant.
Japan's Senior Vice Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare Kohei Otsuka made the remark at a special meeting of the World Health Organization in Geneva on Tuesday. About 200 representatives from governments around the world attended the meeting.
Otsuka said the Japanese government sets strict standards on food and drinking water to protect people's health from radioactive elements.
A participant asked about the risk of developing cancer.
A Japanese expert replied that the current levels of radiation are too low to cause cancer.
In an interview with NHK, WHO Assistant Director General Keiji Fukuda said the measures being taken by the Japanese government are appropriate.
But he added that there is still a need for research on the possible long-term effects on the health of disaster survivors.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 06:06
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it has halted 24-hour monitoring of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as conditions are slowly stabilizing there.
IAEA to investigate Fukushima nuclear accident
The UN nuclear watchdog will send experts to Japan to investigate the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The International Atomic Energy Agency will dispatch a 20-member team of IAEA officials and experts from the United States, France, Hungary, Indonesia and 6 other countries.
They will visit the Daiichi and Daini plants in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, from May 24th to June 2nd. The Daini plant is now under control.
The experts will investigate the damage caused by the March earthquake and tsunami and the responses taken to deal with the nuclear accident. They will compile their findings in a report.
The report will include the lessons from the nuclear accident and measures to prevent a recurrence.
It will be presented at an IAEA ministerial-level meeting to be held from June 20th.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 09:47
TEPCO to focus on water circulation
Tokyo Electric Power Company's revised plan to stabilize its reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will focus on creating a system to decontaminate and circulate water back into the reactors to cool them down.

TEPCO unveiled changes to its plan on Tuesday after the discovery that the fuel rods in the No.1 reactor had melted. The melting apparently damaged the vessel containing the reactor, and a large amount of water has been found to have leaked out.
The utility has effectively abandoned its initial plan to cool the reactor by filling it with water, and says it will instead install an alternative cooling system.
The system would collect the highly contaminated water in one place, reduce the amount of its radioactive materials, and return it to the reactor as a coolant.
TEPCO says it is preparing to set up a facility at the Fukushima compound to treat the contaminated water and plans to start operating it by June.
The company says it will apply the circulation system to the No.2 and No.3 reactors, where meltdowns may also have occurred. TEPCO hopes to stabilize these by the end of July.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 12:31
Workers enter No.2 reactor building
Workers have entered the No.2 reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant for the first time since an explosion there on March 15th, as part of efforts to bring the reactor under control.
Tokyo Electric Power Company sent 4 workers into the building on Wednesday morning to check radiation levels and other conditions.
The workers wore protective suits and carried air tanks on their backs. TEPCO says their exposure to radiation has been kept between 3 and 4 millisieverts each.
TEPCO says data on radiation levels inside the building is necessary to proceed with the revised plan it announced on Tuesday to cool the reactors.
The plan calls for decontaminating and circulating water leaked from the containment vessels back into the reactors as a coolant.
An unmanned probe of the No. 2 reactor on April 18th was inconclusive because humidity levels of above 90 percent fogged the camera lens and kept the robot from moving forward.
Work is also under way at the No.3 reactor to move highly contaminated water from the turbine building and other areas to a temporary storage facility. The transfer began on Tuesday evening.
TEPCO says about 130 tons of the water is believed to have been pumped out by Wednesday morning. It says the work reduced the water level in the basement of the turbine building to 144 centimeters, down one centimeter from before the transfer.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 12:00
Japan disaster hits US auto output
The US Federal Reserve says production of auto and related parts in the United States in April fell nearly 9 percent from the previous month. A major factor in the decline was the impact of the March 11 disaster in Japan, which disrupted parts supplies. ...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 12:11
Japanese doctors speak in NY about disaster
A group of Japanese doctors is in New York to speak about their work in areas affected by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The aim is to improve understanding about the disaster and convey the need for long-term support.
The event is hosted by doctors from Japan studying in the United States. ...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 13:57
Fishermen claim damages from TEPCO
A fisheries cooperative in Ibaraki Prefecture has demanded more than 5 million dollars in damages from the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The cooperative, based south of the troubled plant, was forced to suspend all fishing for some time after small fish caught off Ibaraki were found to contain radioactive substances exceeding the legal limit.
On Wednesday, delegates of the fisheries cooperative visited the Tokyo Electric Power Company's headquarters in Tokyo, and handed its officials documents supporting their claim.
They demanded 5.2 million dollars, which they say equals losses incurred in March from the nuclear accident.
Vice president of the fisheries cooperative, Isao Ono told reporters that he hopes the power company compensates them quickly.
He added his group plans to ask for further compensation, as fishing has resumed only partly and the fishermen continue to suffer from unfounded rumors due to the nuclear accident.
TEPCO's official in charge of Fukushima accident compensation said the company wants to examine the contents of the demand quickly, and make a provisional payment this month.
Similar compensation claims have been made by agricultural cooperatives, but the latest is the first by a fisheries cooperative.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 16:04
Drinking water supplied from Russia's Far East
In Russia's Far East, a beverage maker has offered to provide drinking water to people in areas devastated by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.
A cargo liner carrying about 50 tons of water left Vladivostok on Wednesday. It is scheduled to arrive at Hamada Port on the Japan Sea next week.
The 32,000 bottles of water will then be distributed to people in the disaster-hit regions.
The water supply is improving in the affected areas, but tap water has not been restored in all locations.
A spokesperson for the beverage maker says that the time is right for people in neighboring countries to help each other.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 17:45
Scholarship for disaster sufferers set up
A scholarship foundation has been set up for children who lost parents in the March 11th earthquake and tsunami that devastated eastern Japan.
The scholarship is to be used for such children's elementary through high school education.
The foundation is asking individuals and companies to donate at least 120 dollars every year for 10 years.
Architect Tadao Ando, who proposed the foundation, met reporters at the education ministry in Tokyo on Wednesday with Nobel Prize-winning physicist Masatoshi Koshiba and the chairman of apparel company Fast Retailing, Tadashi Yanai.
Ando pledged long-term support for the children, saying he was raised by his grandmother and could not go to college.
Koshiba referred to wartime hardship during his early childhood, and said it's important to keep working hard no matter how difficult one's situation.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 18:44
New national park planned for tsunami-hit coast
Japan's Environment Ministry says it will combine parks in three prefectures affected by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami into a new national park that symbolizes the area's reconstruction.
The ministry on Wednesday said the plan is to promote the region's economic reconstruction by developing tourism on the scenic Sanriku coast.
Six parks in Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, including the Rikuchu Kaigan National Park straddling Iwate and Miyagi, are to be made into a single national park.
The new park would have facilities equipped with observation platforms where people can learn about the disaster, as well as trails for emergency evacuation that link beaches to communities and mountains.
As part of efforts to secure regional employment and to promote eco-tourism, the ministry will hire disaster-affected fishermen and farmers as guides.
Officials with the ministry will consult with relevant municipalities to decide specifics of the plan while carrying out clean-up and restoration of the beaches.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 18:44
Smaller firms demand temporary payments from TEPCO
Representatives of groups of small and midsized businesses have demanded that tentative compensation payments from the operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant be paid speedily.
They argue that smaller companies around the power plant have not been able to carry on their businesses due to the accident at the power plant and are suffering serious economic damage.
The demand was made when representatives of the Central Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry and its Fukushima chapter met Tokyo Electric Power Company President Masataka Shimizu in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Shotaro Tago, the chairman of the Fukushima chapter, said that even though people's homes or shops around the nuclear plant remain, the tragedy is that they cannot go there. A no-entry zone has been imposed within a radius of 20-kilometer of the plant. He demanded the utility immediately start temporary payments of compensation for the sake of local communities.
Shimizu replied that he sincerely apologizes for causing trouble. He said his company will faithfully handle compensation after consultation with the organizations concerned. Tokyo Electric plans to decide which companies it needs to compensate and how to calculate the amount by the end of this month.
After the meeting, Tago said that sales since the March 11th disaster at smaller firms near the plant are zero and in addition there are damages from not being able to access their facilities.
New condo offerings fall 27% in April
The number of new condominiums for sale in the Tokyo metropolitan area plunged nearly 30 percent last month compared to a year ago. The decline is attributed to postponed sales and promotions following the March 11th disaster. ...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 18:47
Workers enter No. 2 reactor building
Workers have entered the No.2 reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for the first time since an explosion there on March 15th.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company sent 4 workers into the building on Wednesday morning to check radiation levels and other conditions.
The utility says data on radiation levels in the building are necessary to proceed with a revised plan the firm announced on Tuesday to circulate water leaked from containment vessels back into reactors as coolant.
The workers had to leave the building in 14 minutes because it was filled with steam.
Tokyo Electric says the workers' exposure to radiation was between 3 and 4 millisieverts, which the firm says is not high.
The utility plans to begin operating an air cooling system at the reactor possibly this month, to lower the tempearture inside a pool for spent nuclear fuel that's believed to be one source of the steam.
Tokyo Electric senior official Junichi Matsumoto said steam is building up in the facility because its roof remains intact, unlike the plant's No.1 and 3 units. He said the steam could be reduced by cooling the pool.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 19:39
Unemployment doubles in quake-hit areas
Japan's labor and welfare ministry says more than 100,000 people have lost their jobs in the 3 prefectures that were hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th.
The ministry says 106,461 people applied for unemployment benefits at its job placement centers in Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures during the 2-month period that ended last Friday. That is 2.4 times higher than a year ago.
A total of 46,194 applications were filed in Miyagi, followed by 37,414 in Fukushima and 22,853 in Iwate.
The number of applicants eligible to receive benefits rose by 24,000 from April 25th to May 13th, to 64,389. That's approximately 3 times higher than the same period last year.
The labor ministry believes that many other workers in the 3 prefectures have lost their jobs, but that they have yet to apply for benefits.
It says it will do more to help the unemployed by asking companies to hire workers in the disaster-stricken region.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 19:45
Kan suggests severing NISA from industry ministry

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan says the country's nuclear regulatory agency must be independent from the industry ministry.
Kan told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday evening that it is inappropriate for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency to belong to a ministry promoting nuclear power generation.
He said drastic reform of the longstanding practice in nuclear administration will be discussed at an investigative committee to be launched soon.
Kan also said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak will visit areas devastated by the March 11th disaster to encourage survivors this weekend, when they visit Tokyo for top-level talks.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 20:34
Radioactive material detected in grass in Miyagi
A radioactive substance exceeding the legal limit has been detected in pasture grass in Miyagi Prefecture, neighboring Fukushima Prefecture in which the damaged nuclear plant is located.
1,530 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram were found in a sample collected last Wednesday from a farm operated by the southern town of Marumori 丸森町. The figure exceeds 5 times the legal limit of 300 becquerels.
350 becquerels of cesium were also detected in a sample from a prefectural farm in the northern city of Osaki 大崎市.
Miyagi prefectural government has asked about 6,000 livestock farmers across the prefecture not to feed pasture grass to livestock and not to put cattle out on grazing land.
This is the first time radioactivity exceeding the legal limit has been found in grass or vegetables in the prefecture.
Meanwhile, in the sample from Marumori, 40 becquerels of radioactive iodine per kilogram were detected. The figure is below the legal limit of 70 becquerels.
In the sample from Osaki, no iodine was detected.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

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Japan Times :

Plan to cool reactors revised but not timeline
Tepco, facing more problems at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant than it originally thought, announces a revised road map for bringing the crisis under control.

Reactor worker error comes to light
The emergency cooling system for reactor 1 at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant may have been shut down manually before the tsunami hit on March 11, possibly contributing to the reactor core's meltdown.

Tepco loss to exceed \800 billion
Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to book a group net loss of more than \800 billion for fiscal 2010 as it gears up for dismantling its crisis-hit nuclear power plant.

Vague plan for nuke evacuees
Return home may start in January; Tepco to begin compensation in fall
"The evacuees from the nuclear disaster are victims of the nation's nuclear policy . . . the government will have to properly address the sense of betrayal they must be feeling," Banri Kaieda said.

Chubu Electric negotiating to buy firms' surplus power

More nuclear reactor shutdowns lie ahead

Hong Kong to push safety of Japanese food

Fudai : How one village defied the tsunami


light and shadow
for all the blossoms
all the people 


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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5/18/2011

    ...Grandmother the Earth.
    That power is here all the time.
    It is continuous,
    and nobody controls it.

    -- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

    There are certain powers that the human being has no choice but to obey. We cannot negotiate or barter with this power. Our choice is either to conform or to live out of harmony. Whatever our choice, it will be the end result in our lives that we notice. So it is with the powers of the Earth which produce life.

    The Earth has the life force power. If anyone plants a seed, the seed will grow. The Earth treats everyone equally. The human cannot interfere, only obey. We should all show great respect for the Earth and Her powers.