May 24, Tuesday

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CARTE POSTALE 33 : Aidons le Japon ! エドンルジャポン
Help Japan !

source : bibibobo


Gabi reports:

rumors spread
on the internet -
Fukushima spring

Travel firms feel pinch, pitch in after disasters
For the travel industry, the March 11 disaster could hardly have struck at a worse time. The threat of radiation — paired with travel warnings that reached as far south as Tokyo — hit home with prospective holidaymakers.
source : Japan Times, Skye Hohmann

. . . . .

. . . . . at 12:14
Earthquake M 5.8, off the coast of Sanriku

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Placido Domingo offered a donation to quake-hit Japan, handing it to the Japanese consul in Los Angeles.

. "Japan Day in Manhatten . "  

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Graduates from Tohoku universities have a hard time finding jobs, since many peviously agreed jobs have been cancelled. Many young people are moving out of the region.


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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 07:05
Heat exchangers to be installed at No. 2 reactor
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will install 2 heat exchangers at the Number 2 reactor building on Tuesday to lower the temperature of the spent fuel pool.
Last Wednesday, Tokyo Electric Power Company workers entered the reactor building to check radiation levels. But high humidity prevented them from staying longer than 14 minutes.
The humidity is thought to stem from the high temperature of the spent fuel pool and steam from the suppression pool which may have been damaged by explosions after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
TEPCO plans to reduce the humidity by installing exchangers in the building next to the reactor.
The utility says it hopes to start using the exchangers this month to reduce the pool's temperature from around 80 degrees Celsius to about 40 degrees Celsius within a month.
TEPCO hopes to install exchangers at the No. 1 and 3 reactors next month and at the No. 4 reactor in July.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 07:05
Kan to talk nuclear safety at G8
Prime Minister Naoto Kan will leave for France on Tuesday to attend the G8 summit where he is expected to discuss nuclear safety.
The meeting will be held in Deauville, Normandy on May 26th and 27th. Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama 福山哲郎 told NHK that the prime minister will emphasize the country's readiness to disclose information about events at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Fukuyama also said the prime minister will explain Japan's new energy policy, which increases its focus on renewable energy and energy saving.
Kan plans to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy and US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of his 6-day visit to Europe.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 07:05
UN to investigate Fukushima radiation effect
A UN body says it will study the effect of radiation from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant using data provided by the Japanese government.
The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, or UNSCEAR, made the decision at a regular meeting at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on Monday.
The organization says it will spend one year analyzing radiation data from the Japanese government to discern the effect on humans and the environment. It will report interim results to the UN General Assembly by May next year.
UNSCEAR, comprised of scientists from 21 countries, has conducted long-term studies on survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is also monitoring the impact on human health of the Chernobyl accident in 1986.
UNSCEAR Chairperson Wolfgang Weiss told reporters that, based on the obtained data, he does not think the Fukushima accident has affected residents' health so far.
But he emphasized that people around the plant must be monitored for a long time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 09:42
Student orchestra stages charity concert
A student orchestra staged a charity concert on Monday at a college near Tokyo, to support the reconstruction of areas hit by the March 11th disaster.
The event was proposed by world renowned conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy, who is an honorary guest professor at Senzoku Gakuen College of Music.
After observing a moment of silence, the students performed selections from Mozart and Sibelius, with Ashkenazy conducting.
The orchestra included 15 students from quake-hit Miyagi and Iwate prefectures. Their enthusiastic performance drew roars of applause.
Ashkenazy said that he wanted to help as a musician, and was very happy to see the audience enjoy the young people's performance.
Aya Yamaguchi, a clarinet player from disaster-hit Sendai, said some of her friends and relatives are still missing.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 11:38
Meltdowns also at No.2, No.3 reactors
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says findings show that fuel meltdowns may have occurred at the No.2 and No.3 reactors within days of the March 11th earthquake. But it says both reactors are now stable at relatively low temperatures.
Tokyo Electric Power Company said earlier this month that fuel rods at the plant's No.1 reactor had melted.
The utility says a cooling system failure at the No.2 reactor 3 days after the quake led to a sharp drop in its water level.
Workers tried pumping in water from a fire engine, but the injection wasn't enough and the fuel rods likely became exposed.
Most of the fuel is thought to have melted down and collected at the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel by 8 PM on March 15th. That's about 101 hours, or 4 days, after the earthquake.
At the No.3 reactor, TEPCO says the fuel could have reached a state of meltdown at around 3 AM on March 14th, about 60 hours after the quake.
However, TEPCO says there is still a chance the damage to the fuel rods is limited.
It says if the water gauges inside the 2 reactors are accurate, their readings show there were sufficient levels of water in the pressure vessels to prevent a total meltdown.
TEPCO still looking into emergency cooling system
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is still unable to determine how long an emergency cooling system at the Number 1 reactor remained off after the March 11 earthquake.
Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Company spoke to reporters on Tuesday about the system, which can function without external sources of power.
Operating records at the plant show that the system turned on automatically 6 minutes after the earthquake, at 2:52 PM, and halted 11 minutes later, at 3:03 PM. The system was back on more than 3 hours later, at 6:18 PM.
TEPCO says that based on hearing from workers, it has confirmed that the system was manually shut down at 3:03 PM.
It said this step was made based on a manual, in order to prevent damage to the reactor, because the temperature of the water to cool the No.1 reactor had dropped sharply.
TEPCO says the system may have been turned on in the 3 hours until 6:18, but that it cannot clearly determine the course of events based on studies of circuits and interviews with workers.
The utility firm says at this point it cannot determine to what extent the emergency system was functioning, and that it will continue investigating.
The firm also said that data taken in the 30 minutes after the earthquake show no irregularities in all safety features of the Number 1 to 3 reactors such as emergency power sources and in major facilities of the plant.
On May 16th, TEPCO disclosed the plant's operating records from immediately after the earthquake. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has instructed the firm to submit a report after analyzing them further and assessing their effects on nuclear safety.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 14:00
Govt to set up panel to probe Fukushima accident
The Japanese government has decided to set up a panel to investigate the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku announced that the investigation and verification committee will be headed by Yotaro Hatamura, Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo.
The 70-year-old Hatamura has been involved in probing serious accidents, including a 2005 train derailment where 106 passengers and driver were killed. He advocates "failure science" -- learning from past failures to prevent recurrences.
Sengoku added that as many panel members as possible will be chosen among people who have not worked in atomic power related fields, in order to carry out an impartial investigation.
The panel is to compile an interim report by the end of the year.
Sengoku says Tokyo Electric Power Company, related administrative organizations, Prime Minister Naoto Kan and other cabinet members will be subject to investigation without exemption.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 16:36
Yosano lowers 2011 growth forecast to 0.6 %
Japan's economic and fiscal policy minister says the nation's economic growth is likely to slow down significantly this fiscal year because of a decline in industrial production after the March 11th disaster.
Yosano said the growth rate will likely fall to about 0.6 or 0.7 percent, down nearly 1 percentage point from a previous estimate.
The government last December predicted real growth of about 1.5 percent for fiscal 2011, which started in April.
Yosano said businesses will take time to fully restore disrupted supply chains and resume normal output of cars and other products.
He said power shortages and weak consumer sentiment are among the negative factors behind the slower economic growth.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 17:52
Govt concerned over nuke crisis impact on economy
Japan's government has left its basic economic assessment unchanged, while expressing concern over the negative impacts of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear accident on the domestic economy.
In its monthly economic report for May, released on Tuesday, the Cabinet Office lowered its evaluation of corporate earnings, capital investment and housing construction.
The report says corporate production is falling due partly to disrupted supplies of industrial parts, which is leading to a decline in exports.
The report concluded that the economy is showing continuing signs of weakness, and maintained its April assessment, which was downgraded for the first time in 6 months following the disaster in March.
The government says the ongoing nuclear accident could further increase consumer reluctance to spend and hurt Japan's tourism and retail industries. It adds that overseas fears of radiation may also undermine exports of Japanese farm and industrial products.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 19:11
Cattle moved out of evacuation area
Residents in an evacuationarea near the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have started moving their cattle to a neighboring city.
Katsurao village 葛尾 is helping livestock farmers move their animals as it aims to complete the evacuation by the end of May. More than 400 cows are still in the village.
The transfer of about 170 cows from the village to neighboring Tamura City started on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, small amount of radioactive cesium was detected in beef processed from cows carried from Katsurao Village to Aomori Prefecture.
The cattle transfer from the village to Tamura City is to continue through this week.
Many livestock farmers in other communities under evacuation orders have stayed on their farms, as they have animals to take care of.
Fukushima prefectural government is trying to evacuate them, by seeking places to move their animals, or urging them to sell the livestock.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 19:12
Meltdowns also at No.2 and No.3 reactors
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says fuel meltdowns are believed to have occurred at the No.2 and No.3 reactors within a few days after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The utility said on Tuesday that data analysis shows the No.2 reactor may have lost its cooling system shortly after 1:00 PM on March 14th, 3 days after the quake.
If all the fuel rods were exposed, they would have started melting at around 8:00 PM that day. By 8:00 PM on March 15th --- some 101 hours after the quake --- much of the fuel would have melted and collected at the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel.
The No.3 reactor likely lost its cooling system at around 2:00 AM on March 13th. Fuel would have begun melting at around 9:00 AM that day, and most of it would have dropped to the bottom of the vessel by 3:00 AM on March 14th --- about 60 hours after the quake.
The possibility of a meltdown would have been the same even if the rods were partially submerged in water.
Nearly half the fuel rods at the 2 reactors would have melted down within a week of the March 11th disaster.
Tokyo Electric says it had assumed from the start that the fuel roads were damaged, but had focused on cooling the reactors rather than assessing the extent of damage.
Goshi Hosono, who serves as advisor to the prime minister, said the delay in publicizing the extent of damage may have been inevitable.
But he expressed remorse over the government's overly optimistic response to the crisis.
Masanori Naito 内藤正則 of the Institute of Applied Energy says analysis of data on the reactors' conditions is easy, and could have been completed in a day.
He says the analysis should have been done much earlier, as it would have provided important clues to long-term cooling and other measures.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 20:52
NISA wants measures to stop seawater contamination
Japan's nuclear regulatory agency has instructed the operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to take additional measures to prevent further leakage of radioactive water into the sea.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, found on May 11th that highly radioactive water was flowing into the sea through a pit near a water intake for the plant's No. 3 reactor.
TEPCO estimates that 250 tons of contaminated water was discharged in 41 hours, and that it contained 20 terabecquerels of radioactivity -- about 100 times more than permitted annually at the plant.
In April, contaminated water with about 4,700 terabecquerels -- 20,000 times more than the annual limit -- was discharged into the sea from the No. 2 reactor.
TEPCO is trying to plug pits at the plant with concrete and studying the feasibility of building a system for purifying seawater near the water intake.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency ordered TEPCO to also survey other places at risk of radioactive leakage and take preventive action.
The agency has also asked TEPCO to wrap up a plan for storing and treating radioactively contaminated water at the plant by June 1st.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

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Japan Times :

Facility for tainted water almost full
A nuclear waste disposal facility for storing radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant is nearly full, raising fears it could overflow unless new storage is found.

Kan denies he pulled plug on seawater
Prime Minister Kan denies allegations he ordered Tokyo Electric to pause seawater injections for an overheating reactor at the Fukushima power plant a day after the crisis began on March 11.

IAEA experts ready to start investigation
A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Japan on Monday morning to conduct a fact-finding tour and assess safety issues at the radiation-leaking Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

At least 44 welfare commissioners dead, missing in three prefectures

Preparation saved one island's residents
The tsunami triggered by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake swept away half of about 50 houses on Nonoshima Island, one of the group of Urato Islands north of Sendai.
But none of the approximately 80 residents on the island was killed by the tsunami, thanks to a disaster prevention map and an evacuation route created more than half a century ago.
... In the scant 30 minutes that elapsed between the quake and the arrival of the massive tsunami, town officials knocked on the doors of every home, urging residents to evacuate.

Success mixed when it comes to planning for disasters
... Breakwaters and seawalls that were built along the coastal areas of the Tohoku region were destroyed by the waves, unable to prevent them from swallowing up houses, factories and schools.
Thousands of people didn't escape despite the tsunami warning system.
How can tsunami be prevented from inundating land?
What kinds of emergency drills are held?
more questions and answers:

Japan's GDP takes a hit

Difficulty awaits in reconstruction
Council chairman Makoto Iokibe


early summer -
a glimpse at the sunny side
of life 

A few moments with the weeds in my garden.



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  1. Anonymous5/24/2011

    To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully,
    do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never; in a word to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--
    this is to be my symphony.

    William Henry Channing

  2. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Concerned U.S. forced to offer support in nuclear crisis

    With the Japanese government slow in responding to the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, U.S forces provided it with a list of detailed support measures, according to an internal government document obtained by The Asahi Shimbun.

    The list included not only technological support measures, but also offers of equipment and measures to prevent the spread of radiation.

    The document shows that Washington apparently had doubts about Japan's abilities to deal with the nuclear crisis and thought it is necessary to make an all-out involvement.

    "The U.S. stance is that, assuming the worst-case scenario, it will be prepared for everything," said Kyoji Yanagisawa, a former Defense Ministry official and former assistant deputy chief Cabinet secretary. "On the other hand, Japan adheres to the 'myth' that nuclear power plants are safe and believes that the current situation is not a worst-case situation. The list shows the difference of the sensitivity toward the crisis between the two countries."

    According to Japanese government sources, the U.S. Pacific Command presented the list of support measures to the prime minister's office through the Defense Ministry immediately after Ground Self-Defense Force helicopters sprayed water on the Fukushima plant on March 17.

    Earlier that day, U.S. President Barack Obama had promised Prime Minister Naoto Kan that Washington would help Japan deal with the nuclear plant crisis.


  3. Anonymous5/25/2011

    Major support measures proposed by U.S. forces to the Japanese government

    (** denotes measures that were actually implemented. - denotes measures not implemented.)

    1. Management and decontamination of radioactivity

    ** Provision of protective suits

    - Dosimeters

    ** Protective masks

    - Filters

    - Potassium iodide tablets

    - Offer of decontamination facilities

    - Dispatch of engineers for radiation management

    ** Support by the Department of Energy

    ** Taking photos or video footage by unmanned aircraft

    ** Radiation monitoring

    ** Sampling of water

    2. Stabilization of nuclear power plant

    ** High-capacity pumps that contain electric source devices

    ** Hoses

    ** Remote-controlled vehicles and aircraft

    - Offer of mobile generators

    ** Measuring radiation above reactor buildings by unmanned aircraft

    - Dispatch of engineering battalions

    3. Humanitarian and rear-echelon support

    - Hospital ships

    - Vehicles and aircraft for military purposes

    - Dispatch of landing ships

    4. Support concerning science and technology

    - Devices for atmospheric measurements

    - Radiation detection by devices for measuring radiation in the air

    ** Working out maps of contaminated areas on ground surfaces by unmanned reconnaissance devices

    asahi shinbun

  4. Sad to say, they spread faster than ever before. Unfounded or founded, information goes light-speed these days.