May 23, Monday

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source : Children’s Hunger Fund help-japan


Gabi reports:

A rainy day just starting.
In the evening, they announced the beginning of the rainy season in Kyushi, and it will be here in Okayama soon.

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Most trains in Japan are now constructed with windows that do not open and have no curtains, since they all use airconditioning in summer. But whow, when it comes to energy saving or the aircon is not available because of an accident.
Long hot summer on track :


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

Sunday, May 22, 2011 23:18
TEPCO didn't follow Fukushima emergency manual
NHK has learned it is highly likely that the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant did not follow the procedures to prevent a hydrogen explosion.
NHK obtained the manual for the No.1 reactor, where the hydrogen blast occurred on March 12th, one day after the tsunami destroyed the reactor's cooling system.
A failure of the cooling system causes the pressure inside the reactor's container vessel to rise and generates the risk of a hydrogen explosion.
The manual calls for releasing air from the vessel when the pressure is projected to rise to 853 kilopascals -- double the operating limit.
A venting operation is necessary to prevent the vessel from being damaged, which could lead to the leakage of a large amount of radioactive substances.
The manual NHK has obtained shows that the pressure inside the vessel was close to the level that requires a venting operation 13 hours before the explosion occurred.
But the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, did not start the operation until 6 and a half hours before the explosion, and the operation was carried out just one and a half hours before the blast because it was hampered by high-level radioactivity.
A former nuclear plant engineer, Masashi Goto, says the utility should have released air when the pressure rose close to twice the operating limit.
Goto says if the company had done this, the amount of hydrogen leaked from the reactor core to the container vessel would have been smaller, reducing the risk of an explosion.
Tokyo Electric declined to comment, saying it is evaluating its decision to release the air.
TEPCO to install heat exchanger at No.2 reactor
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it will install a heat exchanger this week to lower the temperature of the spent fuel pool at the Number 2 reactor.
Workers of the Tokyo Electric Power Company entered the Number 2 reactor building last Wednesday to check radiation levels. But high humidity prohibited them from staying more than 14 minutes.
The humidity is believed to be caused by the high temperature of the spent fuel pool and steam from the pressure vessel, which may have been damaged.
TEPCO plans to reduce the humidity by setting up a heat exchanger in a building next to the Number 2 reactor.
The firm told the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency about the plan on Saturday to request its approval.
It said it hopes to reduce the temperature of the pool from a peak of 80 degrees Celsius to about 40 degrees Celsius in one month.
The utility also plans to install heat exchangers at the Number 1 and 3 reactors next month and at the Number 4 reactor in July.

Monday, May 23, 2011 08:15
Quake caused no major damage to reactors
Tokyo Electric Power Company has found from its data that the March 11th earthquake caused no safety abnormalities at the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant until the tsunami came.
The plant operator is expected to submit its analysis of data following the quake in a report to the government on Monday.
TEPCO's data was intact from the time the quake hit until the tsunami arrived and destroyed all power sources. But afterward, data was only gathered at times when batteries and other power sources were used.
TEPCO undertook its analysis using the available data and interviews with plant workers.
The plant operator concluded the quake caused no major damage to the main piping and other parts of the reactors. TEPCO found no safety abnormalities at any of the reactors until the tsunami hit.
At the No.1 reactor, where a meltdown is suspected, workers may have manually shut down the reactor's emergency cooling system immediately after the quake. It is said that the operation subsequently caused problems for cooling the reactor.
TEPCO has gone through a manual on the operation of the reactor cooling system and investigated why it took nearly 3 hours to restore the system. The findings are expected to be included in the report.

Monday, May 23, 2011 05:16
Japan, China, S.Korea hold business summit
Business communities in Japan, China and South Korea have agreed to work together to build a cooperative system on disaster management to learn lessons from the March 11th natural disaster.
Business groups from the 3 countries issued a joint statement after a meeting in Tokyo on Sunday. The meeting was held in conjunction with the trilateral summit.
The leaders of the 3 countries were invited to a luncheon. Kan told participants that much of Japan, including the capital, is fully functioning and that Japanese products including farm produce are safe and of high quality. He expressed hope that businesses will buy Japanese products and that people will visit Japan for sightseeing.
The chairman of the Japan Business Federation, Hiromasa Yonekura, said the Japanese business community has been making its utmost efforts in the aftermath of the disaster. It's been working with the government to respond to electricity shortages, and to restore production and supply chains. Yonekura said economic activities are steadily recovering.
The joint statement calls for an early conclusion of a three-way free trade pact. It says public and private sectors in the 3 countries will work together to build a system to support affected areas and infrastructure reconstruction in the event of a disaster, and to share disaster preparedness.
The statement was handed to the leaders of the three countries.
Kan to urge G8 not to restrict Japanese produce
Prime Minister Naoto Kan will call on Group of Eight leaders to take a scientific approach to safety evaluations of Japanese products in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
At least 60 countries and territories are still restricting imports of Japanese food and other items.
At the G8 summit to be held in France later this week, the Japanese prime minister will ask leaders to respond calmly to groundless rumors about Japanese products.
Kan plans to explain about the nuclear accident and the Japanese government's response.
On Sunday, the leaders of Japan, China and South Korea agreed on the need to take a scientific approach to safety evaluations of Japanese products.
The same day, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced China's plan to scale back its restrictions on imports of Japanese food and farm produce. China will also stop requiring Japanese exporters to submit radiation test certificates, except in the cases of dairy products, vegetables, and seafood.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan is scheduled to set priorities in a debate on reforming Japan's social security and tax systems.
Kan will attend a meeting of the government and the ruling coalition parties on Monday. The meeting will study proposals to reform social security and taxes.

Monday, May 23, 2011 09:50
New video shows tsunami damage at nuclear plant
New video footage from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant gives a clearer look at the external damage from the March 11th tsunami and subsequent hydrogen explosions.
It was filmed from a vehicle by a plant worker over the weekend.

In the footage, the collapsed No.4 reactor building appears first. To the north is the No.3 reactor building, which also collapsed, and the No.1 reactor building, whose steel frame is exposed near its roof.
The ground around the No.4 turbine building is littered with twisted steel frames and other debris. A smashed vehicle is embedded front-first in the ground.
The footage also shows newly built prefabricated structures, heavy machinery and workers in protective clothing.
The tsunami in March severely damaged a facility that pumps in seawater for the plant's cooling system.
Near the No.1 reactor, an oil tank swept away by the tsunami is blocking a road.

Monday, May 23, 2011 09:52
TEPCO measures radiation above reactor buildings
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is attempting to measure radiation levels directly above the Number 1 and 4 reactors.
Tokyo Electric Power Company wants to see how much radioactive material is still being released from the reactors 2 months after the disaster.
To take the measurements, it is using a small instrument attached to the arm of a crane pump that's about 50 meters tall.
On Sunday afternoon, for about 20 minutes, the instrument measured radioactive substances in the air about 5 to 10 meters above the Number 1 reactor building. TEPCO will disclose the results of the analysis as early as Tuesday.
The area above the Number 4 reactor will be measured on Monday afternoon.
As part of TEPCO's timetable to stabilize the situation at the plant, it plans to cover the reactor buildings with a type of polyester sheet to stop diffusion of radioactive substances into the air. It will use the latest measurement data to check the feasibility of the plan.

Monday, May 23, 2011 11:46
Many residents still remain in Iitate, Kawamata
飯舘村 . 川俣町
About half the residents living in parts of Fukushima Prefecture where an evacuation order is in place have still not left one week before the government-set deadline runs out.
On April 22nd, the government ordered people in Iitate Village and a part of Kawamata Town to leave by the end of this month because of radiation exposure from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Officials have been placing priority on evacuating households with infants and small children.
But only about half of the 7,800 residents have followed the order one month after it was issued.
Some residents remaining in the areas say emergency shelters are far from their work places and their children's schools. Others say they will lose their jobs if they move away.
People in areas with relatively low levels of radiation hope to delay their evacuation until temporary housing is completed in the summer.
The officials say they will continue to urge the remaining residents to leave. But meeting the deadline will be difficult, as the evacuation order is not legally binding.
The 2 communities are located outside the 20 kilometer radius around the crippled nuclear plant. The central government earlier instructed residents living inside the 20 kilometer zone to evacuate.

Monday, May 23, 2011 12:59
Work to reinforce No.4 reactor building to begin
Work is beginning on Monday at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to reinforce the structure supporting the No.4 reactor's spent fuel pool.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant's operator, says the work is necessary to install a cooling system for the stored spent fuel.
An explosion that occurred 4 days after the March 11 earthquake damaged the spent fuel pool inside the building housing the No.4 reactor.
TEPCO's plan calls for building a new concrete structure under the pool to prevent its bottom from falling out. 30 steel columns will be set up on the second floor of the building to support the new structure.
Workers are to enter the building on Monday. They will shield the heat exchanger to prevent high levels of radiation from affecting workers, remove walls that might hinder their activity, and erect a scaffold.
TEPCO says it hopes to erect the columns next month and complete the reinforcement by the end of July.
The utility's latest plan for putting the reactors under control has an end-of-July deadline for the installation of a water recycling system for cooling the No.4 reactor's spent fuel pool.
The water inside the pool remains hot, at around 80 degrees Celsius.

Monday, May 23, 2011 14:36
Boat washed ashore by tsunami moved back to sea
A fishing boat washed ashore by the March 11th tsunami has been moved by a floating crane to waters off Miyagi Prefecture.
The 800-ton tuna fishing boat had been on a road near Kesennuma port since the tsunami struck more than 2 months ago.
The floating crane docked about 50 meters away lifted the ship 3 meters above the ground on Monday morning. Nearly 100 people watched the boat being moved.
The ship's owner, Noriyuki Suzuki 鈴木紀之, says he became emotional when he saw the symbol of devastation being returned to the sea. Suzuki says he will repair the ship and go fishing again.
The floating crane will be used to move other vessels that were washed ashore near the port.


Monday, May 23, 2011 15:24
SDP wants nuclear power plants scrapped by 2020
The opposition Social Democratic Party is proposing that Japan should scrap all nuclear power plants by 2020.
It says domestic electricity needs can be fully covered by natural energy sources by 2050.
The Social Democrats have put together an action plan for changing the country's energy policy.
The party says some of the 54 reactors in Japan are at risk of being damaged by earthquakes and tsunami or have already exceeded their lifespan of 40 years. It says they will all have to be shut down by 2020.
The SDP says the government should promote solar power, hydropower and other natural sources of energy through deregulation.
The opposition party suggests that utility firms should separate generation and distribution as part of the deregulation measures.
The SDP says that alternative energy sources should be able to supply Japan's electricity needs by 2050.
It says the supply and demand imbalance during the transition period can be made up for with existing thermal and hydraulic power facilities.
The Social Democratic Party says it will soon present the plan to the government to push for a shift in energy policy.

Monday, May 23, 2011 17:32
TEPCO shares hit a record low
On the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Monday, Tokyo Electric Power Company shares fell by about 9 percent from last Friday. The closing level was 334 yen or about 4 dollars. This is the lowest rate since the utility firm was listed in 1951.
The drop is attributed to TEPCO's announcement on Friday of losses totaling 1.2 trillion yen or about 14 billion dollars for the business year ending in March. This is the biggest ever for a non-financial Japanese firm. The utility is also facing huge compensation payouts for damage caused by the nuclear accident at its Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Market sources say unstable movements of TEPCO shares will continue due to unclear bailout plans. It's unclear if state and financial institutions will have to carry the burden of compensation payments.

Monday, May 23, 2011 18:09
Companies in no-go zone begin radiation checks
Companies in a village near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that have been granted permission to continue operations have begun daily monitoring of their workplace radiation levels.
The government expanded the 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the plant last month, due to the risks associated with long-term radiation exposure. Residents of Iitate Village, 30 kilometers northwest of the plant, must evacuate by the end of May.
But the government has allowed 9 companies in the village to continue operations on the condition that they monitor and report their workers' exposure to radiation.
A local precision equipment maker began conducting worker radiation checks on Monday.
Some 60 employees received instructions on how to use a radiation dosimeter. They then measured and recorded their radiation levels.
The company's workers are to take exposure readings on a daily basis before going home from work.
The company says it is also using various strategies to reduce the amount of radioactive matter that enters the factory, such as keeping windows closed and moving outdoor air conditioning units above the ground.

Monday, May 23, 2011 20:18
Kan shows readiness to revise reconstruction bill
Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan has indicated that he's ready to revise a basic bill on reconstruction measures for areas hit by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
Kan attended on Monday a session of a Lower House special committee deliberating the government-backed bill and a counter bill submitted by the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party.
Kan said he is ready to adopt the good points in the counterproposal and hopes that Diet debate will result in a better bill.
The government bill centers on the creation of a task force comprising all cabinet ministers to be in charge of reconstruction. The opposition bill seeks the creation of an agency that integrates officials from government offices.
Also at the session, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano explained his earlier remark on a possible debt waiver from financial institutions for Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Edano said the remark reflected his view that taxpayers will not support an injection of public money into the utility unless its creditors agree to forgive their loans.
He also said a debt waiver will not be a condition for the government to provide financial support to help the utility pay damages to people affected by radiation leaks from the plant.

Monday, May 23, 2011 19:25
Contaminated water removal to be suspended soon
The operator of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant is continuing the transfer of highly radioactive water from 2 reactor buildings to storage facilities within the compound, but the facilities are expected to become full within 3 or 4 days.
About 47,000 tons of contaminated water has accumulated in the turbine buildings and utility tunnels, hampering Tokyo Electric Power Company's efforts to bring the plant under control.
TEPCO is pumping a total of 14,000 tons of such water from the Numbers 2 and 3 reactors to the storage facilities. But one of the facilities is expected to reach its capacity in 3 days and the other in 4 days, forcing the transfer to be suspended.
TEPCO says it is studying whether it is possible for the storing facilities to accept additional radioactive water for the time being, until it starts operating a new facility.
The new facility is designed to lower the radiation level of the contaminated water on a full-fledged basis, and then use the water to cool the reactors. The facility is expected to be completed by mid-June.
The utility says the levels of the remaining contaminated water at the 2 reactors remain almost unchanged and that there is no immediate risk that the radioactive water will leak into the ground or the sea. TEPCO says it is monitoring operations closely to prevent any leaks.
TEPCO reported that it had discovered contaminated water leaking into the sea in April, and again earlier this month. The utility has since taken measures to prevent further leaks.

Monday, May 23, 2011 19:03
Toshiba to enter wind-power business
Toshiba Corporation will enter the wind-power generation business through the acquisition of a major South Korean wind turbine maker.
Sources say Toshiba has agreed to acquire about a one-third stake in Unison Company by buying new issues of the company's convertible bonds over a 12-month period.
Toshiba's investment is expected to total about 37 million dollars. Toshiba's entering the wind power business signals a likely shift in focus for the company to renewable energy.
The company has positioned the nuclear power generation business as one of the main pillars of its growth strategy, and is aiming for sales of 12 billion dollars in fiscal 2015.
But the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is expected to cause countries around the world to review their nuclear-power policies, and Toshiba will likely have no choice but to review its business goals.
Toshiba is also negotiating with a US maker of geothermal power generators, aiming at a technology alliance.

Monday, May 23, 2011 21:29
Parents demand lower radiation limit for children
A group of parents of school children is calling for lowering the government-set radiation limit for children.
The group is from Fukushima Prefecture, where a crippled nuclear power plant is posing the danger of nuclear contamination.
On Monday, members of the group visited the education ministry and submitted a petition bearing more than 15,000 signatures.
After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident, the government set the yearly limit for accumulated external radiation for children undertaking outdoor activities at 20 millisieverts.
The parents have been pointing out that the government safety level is too high for children and are demanding that it be lowered to 1 millisievert per year.
One millisievert per year is the level recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection as a long-term annual reference level for humans.
The parents say the government should take as many measures as possible to reduce children's radiation exposure, such as removing contaminated topsoil from schoolyards.
A ministry official admitted that the 20-millisievert yearly level is not necessarily an appropriate limit for children. The official told the group that the ministry wants to consider all possible measures to reduce radiation risk.

Monday, May 23, 2011 23:16
Panel to determine damage guidelines
A state panel drawing up a framework for compensation over the ongoing crisis at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has heard from various industries on damage caused by unfounded rumors about the risks of radiation.
The panel will compile as early as next week its 2nd set of guidelines on various types of damage, including that caused by such unfounded rumors (fuuhyoo higai 風評被害).
In its fifth meeting on Monday, the panel heard from representatives of several industrial sectors, including farming, fishing, tourism and construction.
Representatives of the hotel industry said groundless rumors have forced tourism businesses in Fukushima Prefecture to suspend operations or close down.
They added that the number of tourists from overseas has dropped significantly outside Fukushima as well.
The construction industry pointed out that firms were asked by leasing companies to buy leased construction machinery or make the leases permanent, because the machinery had been contaminated by radiation.
Panel members said it is necessary to determine whether hotel cancellations were prompted by rumors about the nuclear accident, or whether people opted against traveling out of consideration for the victims of the March 11th quake and tsunami.
The panel will compile the guidelines by its next meeting on the 31st of this month if things go smoothly.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

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Japan Times :

Kan, Wen, Lee bolster disaster plans
Prime Minister Kan and his Chinese and South Korean counterparts agree to cooperate more on nuclear safety, disaster management and other programs in light of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Tamura residents challenge hot zone for short trip home
Over 120 residents from the city of Tamura don white protection suits and masks to spend two precious hours at their homes in the Fukushima radiation zone.

Wage cuts for reconstruction
。。。the Kan administration plans to reduce the wages of national public servants. It aims to use the savings from wage cuts to rebuild the Tohoku-Pacific areas devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.


hinanjo no sanpatsu o matsu kusa no fue

waiting for a haircut
at the emergency shelter -
notes blown on a grass blade 

. Source:  isobekai



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  1. Nuclear plant workers suffer internal radiation exposure after visiting Fukushima

    The government has discovered thousands of cases of workers at nuclear power plants outside Fukushima Prefecture suffering from internal exposure to radiation after they visited the prefecture, the head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

    Most of the workers who had internal exposure to radiation visited Fukushima after the nuclear crisis broke out following the March 11 quake and tsunami, and apparently inhaled radioactive substances scattered by hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

    The revelation has prompted local municipalities in Fukushima to consider checking residents' internal exposure to radiation.

    Nobuaki Terasaka, head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, told the House of Representatives Budget Committee on May 16 that there were a total of 4,956 cases of workers suffering from internal exposure to radiation at nuclear power plants in the country excluding the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, and 4,766 of them involved workers originally from Fukushima who had visited the prefecture after the nuclear crisis. Terasaka revealed the data in his response to a question from Mito Kakizawa, a lawmaker from Your Party.

    The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said it received the data from power companies across the country that measured the workers' internal exposure to radiation with "whole-body counters" and recorded levels of 1,500 counts per minute (cpm) or higher. In 1,193 cases, workers had internal exposure to radiation of more than 10,000 cpm. Those workers had apparently returned to their homes near the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant or had moved to other nuclear power plants from the Fukushima No. 1 and 2 nuclear power plants.

    According to Kakizawa, one worker at the Shika Nuclear Power Plant operated by Hokuriku Electric Power Co. in Ishikawa Prefecture returned to his home in Kawauchi, Fukushima Prefecture, on March 13 and stayed there for several hours. He then stayed in Koriyama in the prefecture with his family for one night before moving out of Fukushima. On March 23, he underwent a test at the Shika Nuclear Power Plant that showed his internal exposure to radiation had reached 5,000 cpm. He was thus instructed by the company to remain on standby. The radiation reading dropped below 1,500 cpm two days later, and then he returned to work.

    Another male worker in his 40s told the Mainichi that he had waited at his home, about 30 kilometers from the crippled nuclear plant, following a hydrogen explosion at one of the troubled reactors. He later went through a test which showed his internal exposure to radiation had reached 2,500 cpm. "I think most of the radiation derives from iodine (which has a short half-life), and therefore the radiation reading is expected to drop. But I am worried," the man said.



  2. ..bravo Gabi..
    for all that you do.. your devotion to the Haiku Way is truly admirable..