June 13, Monday

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thick fog -
wild boars are dancing
in the bamboo grove

Heavy rain all day, by evening our valley was filled with thick whiteness.
Over there in the bamboo grove we could hear the eerie sounds of the wild boars and the bamboo clonking.


Gabi reports:

Imagine you lost everything and are living in a shelter, without electricity for days.
Here comes the little helper!
Make a bonfire, hang your pan above it, change the heat into electricity, plug in a special battery and here you go, load your handy cell telephone, switch on a light or a fan, use a little electricity.
the hatsuden nabe has been invented.

はつでんなべ 発電鍋 


. Energy-saving ideas . SETSUDEN  

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Citizens from Namie mura are pressured hard to decide about their future. Will they be able to return in the near future and continue their daily life? Or will they have to rebuild in a new region, from scratch, with all the uncertainty of doing it on their own.
新浪江町 Shin Namie cho is a village of prefabricated temporary homes, where many are now living, trying to keep some kind of community and bonding (kizuna).
A sake brewer found some of the important enzyme ingredients for making sake in the ruins of his ancestor's brewery and is now hoping to continue somewhere, hoping the community will be able to drink their favorite ricewine in autumn ...

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NZ quakes leave at least 6 injured
A series of strong earthquakes have hit New Zealand's South Island, leaving at least 6 people injured and about 54,000 households without power.
The US Geological Survey said a magnitude 6 quake struck near Christchurch at about 2:20 PM, local time, on Monday. It was preceded by a 5.2-magnitude quake about 80 minutes earlier.


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

Sunday, June 12, 2011 23:11
Off-site centers unprepared

An NHK survey has found that most of the emergency response centers built near nuclear power plants are not properly equipped to take measures against nuclear contamination.
More than 15 billion yen, or 190 million dollars, was spent to build these so-called "off-site centers" in the wake of a criticality accident at a nuclear fuel processing plant in Tokai Village in Ibaraki Prefecture.
They are meant to be places where central and local government officials as well as police can gather and respond to nuclear accidents.
The off-site center that was built about 5 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant was rendered nearly dysfunctional due to a rise in radiation levels after a power outage.
The office was moved to another location within 4 days.
NHK contacted 14 off-site centers around the country, excluding those in Fukushima and Miyagi Prefectures, and asked them about their levels of preparedness.
More than 90 percent said they did not have filtering equipment in place to prevent radioactive substances from entering the buildings, as required by law.
More than 70 percent said they did not have air-lock type double doors.
Off-site centers are situated between 2 and 13 kilometers from their plants.
The survey also found that, depending on the scale of a presumed accident, some may be affected by nuclear substances and not function properly.
Although all the off-site centers have substitute facilities, 3 of these are in the same locations as the main ones, and 2 had no communications equipment installed.
The government's nuclear safety agency says it is regrettable that the off-site center in Fukushima did not function properly.
It says it plans to conduct a review of how the off-site centers should be set up, based on the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident.

Monday, June 13, 2011 06:03
Excessive levels of strontium detected in seawater
Radioactive strontium that exceeds the government-set safety level was detected for the first time in sea water in the inlet next to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Company,reported that strontinum-90, at a level 53 times higher than the safety standard was detected in samples taken from inside an inlet used exclusively by the nuclear plant, on May 16.
TEPCO also said that strontinum-90 was detected at a level 170 times higher than the standard in samples also taken on May 16, near the water intakes outside reactor number 2. At the reactor number 3 water intakes, the level was 240 times higher than the legal safety limit.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says the result is not beyond their expectations because the substance was detected in an inlet used exclusively by the power plant. They say they will closely monitor the fish and shellfish in the affected area.
TEPCO announced that strontium-90 was also detected for the first time in ground water near the reactors' buildings.
A ground water sample taken on May 18, around reactor number 2, measured 6,300 becquerels per liter. And for reactor number one, the sample showed 22 becquerels.
TEPCO explained it usually takes about 3 weeks to analyze the samples.
With a comparatively long half-life of 29 years, radioactive strontium can accumulate in the bones if inhaled, and poses a risk of cancer.

Monday, June 13, 2011 06:03
March 11th tsunami a record 40-meters high
Japan's Meteorological Agency and researchers have found that the tsunami of March 11th reached heights of up to 40 meters.
The precise height of the waves was not clear because automatic tide-gauge stations were destroyed and blackouts and communication failures occurred at the time of the disaster.
Experts have looked into traces of each tsunami in the affected area and found that around 10-meter waves reached wide areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures.
They also found tsunami reached up to 40.5 meters in Miyako City in Iwate Prefecture, 37.8 meters in Noda village also in Iwate Prefecture, and 34.7 meters in Onagawa town in Miyagi prefecture.
Based on the collected data, researchers are now working on discovering how the giant tsunami was triggered.
Expert: Closer watch on marine life necessary
Professor Takashi Ishimaru 石丸隆 of the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology says the results were expected because smaller amounts of radioactive strontium have already been detected in the sea both near Fukushima Prefecture and farther away.
Although the level of strontium exceeds the government set-safety level, Ishimaru said on Sunday that the impact on the human body should be minimal because the amount is not much larger than that of cesium detected at the same time.
Strontium has properties similar to those of calcium. Ishimaru added further examination should be carried out to find whether the substance is accumulating in fish bones and other marine life.

Monday, June 13, 2011 07:31
Over 60% see no prospect of reconstruction
An NHK survey of municipalities affected by the March 11th disasters has found more than 60 percent of them see little or no prospect of reconstruction.
The mayors of 42 cities, towns and villages in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima responded to the survey.
6 mayors, including those of Otsuchi Town in Iwate Prefecture and Fukushima's Namie Town said there is no prospect of reconstruction.
Another 20 municipal heads said there is little prospect of reconstruction.
Whereas 80 percent of municipalities said they are seeing progress in building temporary housing and in restoring utilities, 90 percent said there was still no prospect of rebuilding industries or employment.
When asked what they expect of the national government, 38 municipal heads said securing enough financial help, and 34 mayors said speedy assistance. 24 said deregulation efforts such as the establishment of a special economic zone.
The survey also asked mayors of 13 municipalities located within a 30-kilometer radius of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, or within the evacuation zone, what the 3 most serious issues are.
10 of them mentioned radiation-related health concerns and residents leaving and dispersing.

Monday, June 13, 2011 12:44
Test-run to be delayed at Fukushima
Tokyo Electric Power Company has further postponed the test-run of a new system to treat highly radioactive water that threatens to overflow from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The operator says it wants to conduct the test-run on Tuesday or later -- more than 4 days behind schedule.
TEPCO had initially planned to start the test-run of the water decontamination system last Friday. The 4 devices include one made by a US firm to remove cesium.
The company had planned to begin the test-run with the US-made device. But the plan was delayed after the discovery of water seepage from a pipe joint and the failure of a pump to siphon water.
On Monday, TEPCO attempted to start a test-run of other devices instead, but the plan proved unfeasible.
The company is now checking if the 5-day test-run period can be shortened in a bid to start operating the system as soon as possible to prevent water from overflowing.
The radioactive water accumulating on the plant's premises could overflow in about 2 weeks. The amount is growing by the day as fresh water is being injected into the reactors in an attempt to cool them down.
TEPCO aims to recycle the treated water to cool down the reactors.
.... LATER
Monday, June 13, 2011 17:11
TEPCO begins operating seawater treatment system
Tokyo Electric Power Company, has begun work to reduce the level of radioactivity in seawater near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The company began full-fledged operation of 2 filtering devices on Monday after a series of test-runs.
The devices are installed near the water intakes of the Number 2 and Number 3 reactors, where high radiation levels have been detected.
The devices are designed to first pump up seawater and then absorb radioactive cesium using the mineral zeolite. The water is returned to the sea as the final step.
TEPCO says each device is capable of treating up to 30 tons of seawater per hour. Tests showed the machines reduced cesium levels by 20 to 30 percent. The company says it will find ways to increase filtering capability.
The devices have been installed inside submerged fences set up near the intakes. The fences were installed in April to prevent radioactive water from spreading to the sea. However, radiation levels higher than government safety standards are being detected outside the fences.

Monday, June 13, 2011 15:53
Farmland in Fukushima no-go zone to be inspected
The national and prefectural governments are to begin inspecting farmland in the no-entry zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant next month.
Fukushima Prefecture says rice planting has been suspended in all areas within the 30-kilometer radius from the power plant. Shipments of agricultural produce from within the 20-kilometer radius no-entry zone also remain halted.
State and prefectural authorities say they decided to study soil in paddies and farmland within the no-go zone in response to growing calls by the residents who say they want to know what's become of their farmland.
The authorities have been carrying out inspections of soil samples within the 30-kilometer zone, but have refrained from checking the soil within the no-entry zone.
Fukushima Prefecture says the results of the inspections will be utilized to determine whether farming can be resumed in these areas once the ongoing crisis at the power plant is contained.

Monday, June 13, 2011 17:11
Joint survey of high radiation areas in Date
City authorities and the central government jointly checked radiation concentrations on Monday in an area of Date City, Fukushma Prefecture 伊達市 , where levels had previously exceeded state set safety limits.
Date is about 60 kilometers from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. A state inspection earlier this month found that accumulated radiation in 3 locations in the city's Ryozen area exceeded the 20 millisieverts per year limit set by the government. Date is located outside the evacuation zone, but some residents have voluntarily left due to the results.
The joint survey on Monday was conducted in response to a request from the city.
Officials conducted measurements in Kamioguni, a district of Ryozen, where high radiation levels had been discovered earlier. The new sampling covered about a 20 meter radius, one meter above the ground.
Sources say the radiation levels shown were below the state limit, but still relatively high.
An official of Date said that as the city has been able to confirm locations of radiation and how to measure them, it will continue conducting surveys on its own to assess the situation fully.
Meanwhile, the central government finished on Sunday its joint survey with Fukushima Prefecture of 645 places in Date. It is planning to announce the results this week.

Monday, June 13, 2011 18:39
Tap water deemed safe by health minister panel
A health ministry panel studying radiation levels in tap water in Japan's northeast and areas near Tokyo has concluded that it contains no safety risks for the time being.
The panel was launched after radioactive iodine, exceeding Japan's safety limit for infants, was detected in tap water in Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures soon after the nuclear power plant accident in March. Since that time, tap water in those areas has remained within safety limits.
The panel, which includes doctors and radiation experts, agreed that the tap water is safe as long as the situation at the nuclear power plant does not dramatically change.
But they noted that more radioactive materials from the power plant will fall during the ongoing annual rainy season and typhoon season that will follow.
They agreed that authorities should maintain their regular safety inspections for several more months.

Monday, June 13, 2011 19:31
Experts discuss measures to counter disaster
Members of a Japanese government panel studying measures to counter earthquakes and tsunami say any disaster management plan should be based on a thorough study of past quakes in Japan.
The panel was set up after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami that hit eastern Japan. It held its second meeting in Tokyo on Monday.
In 2006, the government released a report on estimates of earthquake and tsunami damage near the northeastern Japan Trench in the Pacific Ocean. However, the government did not consider 4 previous major earthquakes, citing lack of accurate data.
One was the Jogan earthquake in Japan's northeastern region in the year 869. Experts say the quake triggered a huge tsunami similar to the one that hit eastern Japan on March 11th.
A panel member said that before the 2006 report, traces of the historic tsunami had already been found in the Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures. These were among the regions hard hit by the recent tsunami.
The member added that if further research had been done more quickly, it could have been used to plan for the March 11 disaster.
Another member said future estimates of disaster damage should reflect past major quakes, even with limited information, if it is scientifically possible.
The panel chairman, Professor Yoshiaki Kawata 河田恵昭 of Kansai University, indicated that it is essential to consider all kinds

Monday, June 13, 2011 20:17
Business leaders stress Japan's recovery efforts
Japanese business leaders are working to ease concerns about the country's economy at an international economic conference in Jakarta, Indonesia.
About 600 business leaders from around the world attended the meetings on Sunday and Monday. The conference is hosted by the World Economic Forum, the sponsor of the annual Davos meeting.
Many Japanese companies have been facing difficulties since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami due to plunging exports and slumping overseas sales.
Executives of Japanese companies told foreign business leaders that Japan's economy has been recovering rapidly since the disaster.
The Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, arranged a meeting to explain the on-going nuclear crisis in Fukushima and the expected power shortages this summer.
The federation said factories in the disaster-hit areas are resuming production, and that supply chains are recovering.
Keidanren Deputy Chairman Atsutoshi Nishida 西田厚聰 said a variety of Japanese economic activities have been supporting growth in Asia. He said he felt that many people are hoping for the return of a strong Japanese economy.

Monday, June 13, 2011 20:57
Growing exposure problems at Fukushima
The health and labor ministry says six other workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may have received radiation doses above the allowable emergency level.
Tokyo Electric Power Company reported to the health ministry on Monday on the results of the latest checks of workers at the power plant.
The ministry says the provisional amount of radiation exposure was up to 497 millisieverts for each of six TEPCO male employees. The maximum allowable dose was formerly 100 millisieverts, but it was raised to 250 after the crisis started.
One of the men was working in the control center, while the other five were performing maintenance work.
Six additional workers received doses of between 200 and 250 millisieverts,
and 88 were exposed to between 100 and 200 millisieverts.
The ministry has instructed the utility to have the workers undergo thorough examinations, saying it is regrettable that so many workers have received such high doses.
In late May, two TEPCO employees on duty at Reactors No. 3 and 4 were confirmed as having received doses more than twice the emergency limit.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

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Japan Times :

High level of strontium found at Fukushima plant
Tepco reports that radioactive strontium up to 240 times the legal concentration limit has been detected in seawater samples collected near an intake at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Kan calls for reform of power industry
Prime Minister Naoto Kan calls for "fundamental reform" and pledges to reduce dependence on nuclear power at the inaugural meeting of a new panel set up to promote sources of renewable energy.

Quake reconstruction panel recommends tax hikes

A government panel responsible for drawing up a blueprint for rebuilding northeastern Japan ravaged by the March quake and tsunami called for hikes in income, consumption and corporate taxes to finance the reconstruction in its draft proposal made public Saturday.


Back from the dead:
Astonishing pictures show how Japan is recovering
just three months after tsunami

Miyako, Iwate 宮古 岩手県
source : www.dailymail.co.uk



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  1. Anonymous6/14/2011

    Shareholders propose Tohoku Electric give up nuclear power

    A group of 232 shareholders in Tohoku Electric Power Co. have proposed that the utility give up nuclear power generation, the utility said Monday.

    In the notice of the general shareholders meeting scheduled for June 29, the group also proposed that the firm stop its investment in the nuclear fuel reprocessing project by Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. and not pay bonuses to the utility's board members.

    Tohoku Electric's board has expressed its opposition to all of the proposals, according to the notice.

    Following the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., groups of shareholders in TEPCO and Kansai Electric Power Co. have also proposed that the utilities give up nuclear power and want the matter discussed at their shareholders' meetings later this month.

    (Mainichi Japan) June 14, 2011

  2. In Nuclear Crisis, Crippling Mistrust

    On the evening of March 12, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant’s oldest reactor had suffered a hydrogen explosion and risked a complete meltdown. Prime Minister Naoto Kan asked aides to weigh the risks of injecting seawater into the reactor to cool it down.

    At this crucial moment, it became clear that a prime minister who had built his career on suspicion of the collusive ties between Japan’s industry and bureaucracy was acting nearly in the dark. He had received a confusing risk analysis from the chief nuclear regulator, a fervently pro-nuclear academic whom aides said Mr. Kan did not trust. He was also wary of the company that operated the plant, given its history of trying to cover up troubles.

    Mr. Kan did not know that the plant manager had already begun using seawater. Based on a guess of the mood at the prime minister’s office, the company ordered the plant manager to stop.

    But the manager did something unthinkable in corporate Japan: he disobeyed the order and secretly continued using seawater, a decision that experts say almost certainly prevented a more serious meltdown and has made him an unlikely hero.

  3. Farmer's suicide note shows Japan's disaster impact
    A farmer's farewell, etched in white chalk, is echoing menacingly through Japan's agricultural sector.

    "Wish there was no nuclear power plant. My endurance has come to an end," the note says.

    The farmer, in his 50s, then killed himself on the land he struggled to maintain since Japan's tsunami and nuclear crisis began.

    The dairy farmer's suicide message was left on the wall of one of the man's barns, members of a local farming bureau said. The man also apologized to his family and friends in the note.
    "The situation here is depressing for everyone," says Ebihara. "We are all in the same situation. Our future with daily farming is unclear, especially since we don't know what the compensation will be. We want TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) or the government to come out with a clear plan for compensation."