June 16, Thursday

[ . BACK to TOP of this BLOG. ]

. image by Raymond .

The World - Pray for Japan


Gabi reports:

Strong rain forecast for much of the Pacific Coast.

Summer is not really here yet, the rainy season is still on in most parts, and yet there are already patients with heat stroke.
This is the reverse side of trying to save energy by not using airconditioning.

. . . . .

A strong earthquake struck early Thursday off an island in the Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea. No tsunami warning was issued, but the shaking was felt hundreds of miles (kilometers) away.
. Reference .

. . . . .

The waste incinerator in Ota ward, Tokyo, is producing ashes with radioacitve content. (So are other incinerators in Japan, I need to get the official information.) 2.7 microsievert per hour (the daily limit seems to be set at 2.8 for now).
They have not enough containers to store these ashes ...
June 8, 2011 news
. Source:  hatsukari.2ch
In May we had already read reports about this:
Japanese officials detect radioactive incinerator ashes in Tokyo, other prefectures
. May 13, Friday .

Many people in Tokyo bought geiger counters, but the various small models give different readings from the same spots.
Some ward offices lent their bigger counters to people who want to check their garden and the way their children walk to school.
Up to now, the huge area of Tokyo had only one geiger counter on top of a high building (constructed at a time when fallout from the cold war was expected). This situation is not enough to cover the needs of the parents today, after Fukushima.
New ways to measure and show measurements on the internet are now coming up every day, including private people, universities and ward offices.

Independent Radiation Measurements from Tokyo
with a digital RM2021 Geiger counter, microsieverts per hour (µSv/h).
private source : counter from Suginami ward


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

Thursday, June 16, 2011 07:45
TEPCO tests water treatment facility
The operator of the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant has begun testing a complex system to decontaminate highly radioactive wastewater.
More than 110,000 tons of the toxic wastewater has accumulated at the plant after months of using water to cool overheating nuclear fuel. The water is hampering work to bring the facility under control.
TEPCO is struggling to find storage space for the water, which is accumulating at a rate of 500 tons daily.
The treatment system combines 4 devices, including those made by French and US makers. The French-made device uses a special chemical agent to treat the contaminated water. The US-made device is designed to remove radioactive cesium. Tuesday's testing showed it reduced cesium by one-3,000th.
TEPCO plans to reduce the level of radioactive substances to one-10,000th before moving decontaminated water to temporary tanks.
Technical problems delayed the test by 4 days.
TEPCO to begin work for cooling fuel pool
At the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, work is likely to begin Saturday to install a circulatory cooling system for the fuel pool of the Number 3 reactor.
Operator Tokyo Electric Power Company has been pouring water onto the fuel pool from outside once every 4 days. But it estimates that the temperature is still above 60 degrees Celsius.
TEPCO plans to install a heat exchange device to cool the water and then return it to the fuel pool.
If work goes smoothly, then full operation of the circulatory cooling system is expected to start early next month. TEPCO says it wants to lower the temperature to around 40 degrees Celsius about a month later.
ays after the outbreak of the nuclear accident at the plant in March, 2 Self-Defense Force helicopters dumped seawater over the Number 3 reactor to cool the fuel pool.
A similar circulatory cooling system has already been installed for the Number 2 reactor, and it planned for the Number 1 and 4 reactors. But the outlook for Number 4 is unclear because a hydrogen blast damaged its piping, a vital component in the cooling system.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 07:45
Nuclear operators submit safety reports
The Japanese operators of 2 nuclear reprocessing facilities have submitted reports on their strategies for dealing with loss of power sources, in the wake of the Fukushima crisis.
Japan Nuclear Fuel operates a nuclear reprocessing plant in Rokkasho Village, Aomori Prefecture, and Japan Atomic Energy Agency operates an experimental reprocessing plant in Tokai Village, Ibaraki Prefecture.
In separate reports to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency in Tokyo on Wednesday, the companies detail their safety measures to avoid hydrogen blasts in the event of an external loss of power.
The measures include installation of air compressors to vent hydrogen, generated when fuel rods cannot be cooled, and the use of fire trucks to pour water into the spent nuclear fuel pools.
The Agency called the measures appropriate but told the operators to prepare for cases of severe accidents. It advised them to secure protective clothing and kits for workers and communication tools in case of emergency.
The agency asked them to submit new reports by next Wednesday.
Japanese power companies are trying to improve safety measures, following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 07:45
Kan resolved to enact natural energy law
Prime Minister Naoto Kan says he is determined to enact an energy-related bill in the current session of parliament despite calls for him to step down.
Kan was speaking on Wednesday night at a meeting to discuss the creation of a framework for power companies to invest in natural energy sources.
... The Prime Minister jokingly said he will tell his opponents in the Diet that if they really hope to see him resign early, they should agree to enact the bill. Kan was referring to legislators who are calling for him to step down because of his handling of the March 11th disaster and the Fukushima nuclear accident.
. The Political Situation .

Thursday, June 16, 2011 07:45
APEC meeting in Sendai on disaster management
APEC officials will discuss corporate disaster management when they meet in the Japanese city of Sendai in August.
The 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum plans to hold the meeting, sponsored by Japan and the United States.
The theme of disaster management for businesses follows the tsunami and quake that struck eastern Japan, affecting companies inside and outside the country.
Government and other officials will discuss how to secure parts when suppliers are hit, and how to help disaster-hit companies in developing nations.
The United States, this year's APEC chair-country, proposed the meeting in Sendai, Miyagi, close to the disaster zone.
The outcome of the discussions will be summarized in a report to the APEC summit in Hawaii in November.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 08:57
Air conditioning to be reduced at subway stations
Tokyo Metro says it will turn off daytime air conditioners at subway stations starting from July, following a request from Tokyo Electric Power Company to save electricity.
The subway operator says it has decided to temporarily stop off-peak air conditioning at 100 of the 137 Tokyo stations equipped with air conditioning systems.
Tokyo Metro aims to reduce the daily use of electricity by 15 percent from that of last summer, from July 1st through September 22nd.
The company will continue to cut train services by around 20 percent, except for rush hours.
During peak use, station temperatures will be lowered to 29 degrees Celsius from the current 31 degrees, and set two degrees lower at 26 degrees in carriages, for the comfort of passengers.
Tokyo Metro says it cannot achieve a 15 percent energy cut simply by reducing the number of train services.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 11:04
US nuclear regulatory body debates plant safety
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission or the NRC has debated if the drawing up of guidelines for severe catastrophes at nuclear power plants should be left to efforts by the nuclear industry.
In a meeting on Wednesday the commission's executive director for operations, Bill Borchardt, said that the situation at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is improving, but that full stability is still several months away.
In their discussions on improving nuclear plant safety in the United States, it was reported that the nuclear industry's voluntary guidelines for serious accidents are not being sufficiently implemented.
The commission has found that some nuclear power plants lack enough facilities and equipment, and their workers are not properly trained.
Currently plant operators can decide on their own whether or not to reinforce vents which lower pressure inside the reactor containment vessels.
The commission members discussed if the reinforcing of vents should be subject to government regulation. They also discussed whether backup electricity is sufficient in case of a power outage to nuclear power plants.
The commission plans to announce in mid-July an interim report based on the lessons from Fukushima.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 12:07
Radioactive material detected in Iwate pastures
The Iwate Prefectural Government has again detected a radioactive substance above the state limit in pasture grass in several areas in the prefecture. The prefecture asked farmers in the areas to refrain from feeding the grass to their livestock.
The prefectural government found on Tuesday radioactive cesium exceeding the limit of 300 becquerels per kilogram in grass collected from pastures in four areas, including Tono 遠野 and Otsuchi おおづち町 . The areas are located about 150 to 200 kilometers north of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The Iwate government plans to conduct more detailed examinations in the four affected municipalities.
The testing comes after cesium exceeding government standards was measured in pasture grass collected in two areas in the southern part of the prefecture earlier this month.
The Iwate government also took closer measurements of radiation levels in grass harvested in nine districts of the two areas. The government found the levels of radioactive cesium exceeded the criteria in six districts.
High levels of radiation in pasture grass have also been reported in Fukushima Prefecture, which hosts the troubled nuclear plant, and neighboring prefectures.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 13:28
TEPCO testing water decontamination system
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is carrying out a final test run on a system to decontaminate highly radioactive water that is building up at the plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Company began testing the system just past Wednesday midnight ahead of putting it into full operation on Friday.
TEPCO sees the water treatment system, which combines 4 different devices, as key to dealing with the huge volume of radioactive water that is hampering work to bring the plant under control. ...
More than 110,000 tons of radioactive water has accumulated at the plant as a result of continuous water injections to cool the overheating reactors. With water building up at the plant at a pace of 500 tons per day, TEPCO is running out of storage.
The main facility that is being used to store the radioactive water is expected to become full on Thursday.
The plant operator plans to reduce radiation in the water to between one-1,000th and one-10,000th current levels using the new treatment system before transferring the water to makeshift tanks at the plant.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 15:17
Japan launches new search for quake missing
A new large-scale search for missing people in the disaster-hit areas started on Thursday, almost 100 days since the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
Some 4000 police officers, Self-Defense Force personnel and firefighters are operating in cities and towns including Ishinomaki, Kesennuma and Minami Sanriku, in Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan.
In Ishinomaki, where about 3100 people died, police shoveled sludge and moved broken furniture out of homes to follow up on clues into the missing.
In Miyagi Prefecture alone, about 4700 people remain unaccounted for. The search will continue until Saturday, which marks 100 days since the disaster.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 18:09
Yokohama checks school lunches for radiation
Yokohama City, located hundreds of kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, has begun radiation testing of vegetables for school lunches.
The city started the tests on Thursday in response to parents' concerns about whether food served in school is safe for their children, given the widespread fallout from the Fukushima plant.
Yokohama plans to test one type of vegetable per day before using it the next day. The city also plans to release the test results on its website.
On Thursday, technicians at a lab in the city cut up 2 kilograms of green peppers and put them in a machine for measuring radiation. A city official says all food purchased by the city is safe for children, but that it decided to conduct the tests to reassure parents.
Several other municipalities in Tokyo and surrounding areas have already started or plan to soon start similar tests.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 18:09
Govt sets policy to handle radiation sludge
The government has announced guidelines on how to dispose of sludge that contains radioactive material.
Radioactive material has been detected in sludge from waste water treatment plants in many areas, mainly in eastern Japan, since the crisis began at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The guidelines released by the government's nuclear disaster taskforce on Thursday say disposal facilities with filters will be used to prevent radiation leaks from fumes that are created when sludge is burned or dissolved.
They say sludge containing radiation of more than 100,000 becquerels per kilogram will be stored at facilities tightly shielded by substances like concrete.
But the taskforce will continue discussions to determine how to ultimately dispose of it.
The guidelines say sludge measuring over 8,000 to 100,000 becquerels of radiation can be buried in waste disposal sites, after steps are taken to limit nearby residents' annual exposure to 10 microsieverts or lower.
They also say sludge bearing readings of 8,000 becquerels or less can be buried after thorough waterproofing measures have been taken, as long as disposal sites are not used for housing purposes.
The government has informed 13 relevant prefectures of the decision.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 18:13
TEPCO: Opening door of No.2 reactor is safe
Tokyo Electric Power Company plans to open the doors to the reactor Number 2 building at the Fukushima Daiichi plant for ventilation, to lower humidity and start restoration work.
Tokyo Electric said on Thursday that an air purification device, which has been working since last Saturday, has reduced radioactive concentration inside the building to levels that have little impact on the nearby environment.
The utility said the concentration of radioactive iodine in the air has been reduced to about one-10th of former levels and radioactive cesium to about a quarter, as of Wednesday night. Tokyo Electric assesses that the impact of the door-opening on the environment around the plant will be sufficiently below the permissible annual limit for ordinary people of one millisievert.
The utility plans to open the doors after obtaining approval from the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and local governments.
An initial stage of the planned restoration work will include staff surveying radiation levels and adjusting gauges.
Inside the reactor Number 2 building, the humidity has been extremely high, due to moisture apparently from the containment vessel and spent-fuel storage pool, and is hampering restoration work.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 19:28
Govt to designate new evacuation spots near plant
Japan's government plans to help some residents in Fukushima evacuate on an individual basis. Their houses are not in evacuation areas but are located where radiation levels exceed the threshold of 20 millisieverts a year.
The government's nuclear accident task force announced on Thursday a plan to designate which houses will need to be evacuated in such areas.
The government estimates that accumulated levels of radiation in some spots in cities near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, including Date and Minami Soma, will reach the yardstick for one year. The task force says it is not appropriate to issue an evacuation order or restrict industrial activities in entire areas.
The government plans to ask relevant municipalities for cooperation in evacuating pregnant women and children, primarily.
Edano said data gathered from certain parts of Minami Soma city, about 20 km from Daiichi, and Date city, about 50 km from the nuclear plant, are currently being assessed and that the government would recommend evacuation on a household basis.
He also said that those wanting to evacuate, including adults and those who were not pregnant, would receive firm government support.
"We will respond flexibly and lift evacuation recommendations if radiation levels decline," Edano said.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 19:45
Fukushima cuts off welfare to 160 families
Three local governments in Fukushima Prefecture have cut off welfare to about 160 households who received compensation for the nuclear plant accident and donations for survivors of the March 11th disaster.
The decision was based on a directive issued by the Health and Welfare Ministry last month. The directive says that if the total amount received exceeds the minimum needed for basic necessities, the excess is regarded as income and makes the recipient ineligible for welfare.
Minami Soma City cut off payments to about 150 of its 400 households on welfare. The other municipalities are Naraha and Iwaki.
The municipalities say the households can apply to get back on welfare as soon as they run out of money.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 19:53
Foreign visitors to Japan fall 50% in May
The government says that the number of foreign visitors to Japan halved in May from a year ago due to the March 11th disaster. The figure has now fallen for 3 straight months.
An estimated 358,000 people visited Japan for business or sightseeing last month. That's a 50 percent drop but smaller than the all-time-worst fall of 62 percent posted in April.
Among Asians, Hong Kong visitors dropped the most at over 70 percent. They were followed by Malaysians at 60 percent, South Koreans and Singaporeans at more than 50 percent, and Chinese at nearly 48 percent. Outside Asia, the number of visitors from Germany fell by almost 60 percent and from the United States by 37 percent.
The government says foreigners are still staying away because of the ongoing nuclear crisis in Fukushima.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 20:24
Radioactive water still threatens to overflow
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is under pressure to ensure the flawless operation of a system to decontaminate radioactive water, which threatens to overflow.
More than 110,000 tons of the highly radioactive water has accumulated in the nuclear complex. The amount is growing by 500 tons a day as fresh water is injected into reactors to cool them down.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it's vital to put the water treatment system into full operation on Friday, as scheduled. Any delay in launching the system could cause contaminated water to overflow within 2 weeks.
TEPCO admits, however, that water may leak from pipes connecting devices, even if the system works as planned.
To block leaks, preparations are under way to build more storage tanks and to install a US-made back-up filtering device. But the tanks will not be installed until next month at the earliest and the back-up device is unlikely to be mounted before August.
TEPCO has also yet to decide how to dispose of radioactive waste generated during the decontamination process.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

Tokyo ups radiation checks to 100 sites
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government kicks off a weeklong program to measure radiation levels in the air at 100 locations, instead of just relying on one central monitoring site since the Fukushima nuclear crisis erupted in March.
... At a park in Toshima Ward, the first location under the program, three employees measured 0.06 microsievert of radiation 1 meter above the ground and 0.07 microsievert at 5 cm above ground, against the legal limit of 1 millisievert per year for the general public.

Applications to deregister cars lost in tsunami soar
In the three prefectures, at least 230,000 automobiles are estimated to have been damaged in the tsunami, and many of them will likely be designated as "lost" in the deregistration process.

Revision of energy policy needed but keep nuclear power, think tank says
The nation must drastically revise its medium- and long-term energy policy in light of the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, but completely abandoning the atomic power program "would rob the nation of its strength," an independent think tank led by former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone said Wednesday.

Danish crown prince visits disaster-hit city
Crown Prince Frederik from Denmark in Higashi matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture.

Shinkansen quake survivability key selling point

Next recovery package 'at least' \10 trillion, Maehara says
The next spending package will be on "a considerably big scale" because deflation needs to be terminated on top of rebuilding from the March quake and tsunami, Seiji Maehara, 49, said in an interview last week.

Growth around zero after quake: Yosano
Economic and fiscal policy minister Kaoru Yosano suggested Wednesday the government will downgrade its estimate of economic growth in fiscal 2011 to around zero percent from an earlier forecast of 1.5 percent due to the negative impact of the March 11 disaster.
"Usually there is no big difference between the government projection and the average of private sector forecasts," Yosano told reporters, referring to the recent average for predictions by 22 think tanks and financial institutions of 0.2 percent growth in real gross domestic product for the year through next March.
The Cabinet Office is due to release a revised outlook report next month. ...

Hokuriku Electric seeks power savings
With all nuclear power plant operations halted in its service area, its power supply capacity is only 4.8 percent above a projected peak demand in July and 1.9 percent in August, against 8 percent required for stable supply, the company said.

'Green curtains' surge in face of power shortage

Sales of gear to grow "goya" gourd vines that provide shade for buildings have jumped ninefold this year at Rakuten Inc., the nation's largest online retailer.
Morning Glory are also popular.
... Toray Industries Inc. helped develop the cooling fabrics.
... The changes in living habits are spreading beyond apparel choices and gardening.

Son takes on atomic future with solar plans
Billionaire Masayoshi Son 孫正義
Son, the 53-year-old chief executive officer of Softbank Corp., plans to build solar farms to generate electricity with support from at least 33 prefectures. In return, he's asking for access to transmission networks owned by the 10 regional utilities and an agreement that they buy his electricity.

. . . . .

Japan finds radiation traces in whales
Japanese whale hunters have found traces of radioactive caesium in two of the ocean giants recently harpooned off its shores in the Pacific Ocean, a fisheries agency official said Wednesday.
Two mink whales (minke whales) culled off the northern island of Hokkaido showed readings of 31 becquerels and 24.3 becquerels of caesium per kilogram, he said, adding that the cause may be the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
The level is far below the country's recently-set maximum safe limit for seafood of 500 becquerels per kilogram, he said.
source : news.yahoo.com


Nuclear Regulatory Chairman Gregory Jaczko

an expert insists
but the facts are different ...
rain down the drain

Check out the first comment below.

rain on my roof -
I sleep all day
with my cats



[ . BACK to TOP of this BLOG. ]


  1. U.S.: spent fuel pool never went dry in Japan quake
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Water used to cool radioactive waste at the stricken nuclear complex in Japan did not dry up, as earlier feared, U.S. regulators said Wednesday in a reversal of a claim that pitted U.S. officials against Japan in the days after that country's nuclear disaster.

    U.S. officials, most notably Nuclear Regulatory Chairman Gregory Jaczko, had warned that all the water was gone from one of the spent fuel pools at Japan's troubled nuclear plant, which would have raised the possibility of widespread nuclear fallout. Loss of cooling water in the reactor core could have exposed highly radioactive spent fuel rods, increasing the threat of a complete fuel meltdown and a catastrophic release of radiation.

    Japanese officials had denied the pool was dry and reported that the plant's condition was stable.

    On Wednesday, U.S. officials said newly obtained video shows that the spent fuel pool at Unit 4 at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex probably did not go dry, as Jaczko had insisted in March.
    U.S. officials never have fully explained why Jaczko made the claim but said it was based on information from NRC staff and other experts who went to Japan after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

  2. Anonymous6/18/2011

    by Al-Jazeera-English
    Fukushima: It's Much Worse Than You Think
    Scientific experts believe Japan's nuclear disaster to be far worse than governments are revealing to the public.
    by Dahr Jamail

    According to Gundersen, the exposed reactors and fuel cores are continuing to release microns of caesium, strontium, and plutonium isotopes. These are referred to as "hot particles".

    "We are discovering hot particles everywhere in Japan, even in Tokyo," he said. "Scientists are finding these everywhere. Over the last 90 days these hot particles have continued to fall and are being deposited in high concentrations. A lot of people are picking these up in car engine air filters."

    Radioactive air filters from cars in Fukushima prefecture and Tokyo are now common, and Gundersen says his sources are finding radioactive air filters in the greater Seattle area of the US as well.