June 21, Tuesday

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source : tamis-store


Gabi reports:

paraphrasing a haiku by Fujita Toshio

the paper of the lantern
is damp from radioactive rain -
lily festival

. Lily Festival (yuri matsuri) .

. . . . .

Japanese supercomputer becomes world's fastest

The computer is being developed jointly by Japan's state-backed research institute RIKEN and computer maker Fujitsu.
The nickname "K" draws upon the Japanese word "kei" which means 10 quadrillion. The supercomputer has succeeded in carrying out 8.16 quadrillion computing operations per second in the preparatory stage.
The speed of operations was more than 3 times faster than last year's fastest Chinese computer, and also about 200 times faster than the Japanese computer "Earth Simulator" which took 1st place in 2004.
source : NHK world news

The rainy season has officially begun in Tohoku now.
(see NHK below)

. . . . .

A new table fan that can be charged with a small solar panel
. Energy Saving . INFO


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

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 05:11
TEPCO hopes to resume water decontamination soon
Tokyo Electric Power Company hopes to resume the decontamination process at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant as early as Tuesday.
The water treatment system stopped functioning only 5 hours after its start last Friday, as high levels of radiation were detected around the instruments used for absorbing radioactive materials.
The utility said the radiation levels in the water were much higher than expected.
On Monday, TEPCO conducted tests on different absorbents and concluded that it needs to change them more frequently. It also found that the amount of contaminated water flowing through the system should be varied depending on radiation levels.
The unexpected problems are arising because the US maker of the treatment system has never dealt with such radioactive water.
Goshi Hosono, the prime minister's advisor in charge of the Fukushima accident, said the system has been proven to decontaminate water and he still believes it will be successful.
The resumption of the water treatment system is urgent as facilities to store contaminated water at the Fukushima plant will reach capacity within a few days.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 07:19
IAEA ministers agree to more nuke regulations
Ministers from the International Atomic Energy Agency member countries have agreed to set up a new international framework so that countries can cooperate in the event of an emergency at a nuclear power plant.
More than 900 participants, a record number, joined a 5-day meeting at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna on Monday.
The ministers attended the first-day conference consisting of a plenary session and a working session to discuss the Fukushima accident. They received briefings from the IAEA team and the Japanese government.
The ministerial meeting will continue until Friday and is expected to discuss measures to bolster nuclear safety.
The participants unanimously adopted a ministerial declaration, agreeing that the IAEA will send experts to review the safety of nuclear power plants on a regular basis.
Some emerging economies are reluctant to strengthen safety regulations because of the cost of building and maintaining nuclear plants.

At the beginning of the conference, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano advised Japan to ensure absolute independence of its nuclear regulatory bodies.
He said the agency pointed out 4 years ago that Japan's regulator, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, should be free from other organizations, but said that the country did not revise the regulatory system.
Japan's Economy and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda, who is attending the meeting, said he wants to implement the IAEA's safety recommendation as soon as possible.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 09:53
Kaieda: Nuclear agency could be spun off in 2012
Japan's trade and industry minister has suggested making the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency independent from his ministry in 2012.
Banri Kaieda spoke to reporters after attending Monday's session of the IAEA's ministerial conference in Vienna.
The Japanese government had said earlier in a report to the IAEA that it will review the nation's nuclear regulatory system in the wake of the accident in Fukushima.
Making the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency independent of the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry was among the proposals made to clarify responsibilities.
Kaieda explained launching an independent nuclear regulator requires adjustments with a number of government bodies. He said the government hopes to come up with an overall structure and begin work as soon as possible.
Kaieda said 2012 would be one target. He added the government should keep in mind that an IAEA fact-finding mission will visit Japan next year.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 07:20
Pool reinforcement continues at No.4 reactor
Tokyo Electric Power Company is continuing work to reinforce a spent fuel pool at the Number 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The walls supporting the pool were heavily damaged by a hydrogen blast on March 15th, following the earthquake and tsunami 4 days earlier.
The pool contains 1,535 spent fuel rods and its weakened structure makes it vulnerable to future earthquakes.
TEPCO on Monday completed one stage of the reinforcement that began late last month. 32 iron pillars, each 8 meters tall and weighing 40 tons, were installed beneath the pool on the 2nd floor of the reactor building.
The utility plans to wrap the pillars in concrete by the end of next month.
TEPCO then plans to install the same type of circulatory cooling system used for the spent fuel pool at the No. 2 reactor.
It hopes to lower the temperature of the pool at the No. 4 reactor, which remains high at around 86 degrees Celsius.
But TEPCO found that the March 15th explosion damaged water pipes connected to the pool, which are integral parts of the cooling system.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 10:49
More people in Fukushima fearing contamination
Concerns over radioactive contamination are growing among people living next to the new evacuation advisory zones near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The people live just outside an area in Date and Minami Soma cities that the government last week designated for voluntary evacuation.
On Monday evening, Minami Soma city officials visited the homes of 5 families in Jisabara district, next to the zones.
The officials checked the radiation levels around the houses at the request of the concerned residents.
The highest level recorded was 2.45 microsieverts per hour at 1 meter above the ground in the houses' backyards.
The mother of an 8-year-old girl said she has been worried since the nuclear accident in March. She said she thinks it is a bit late for city officials to address their concerns.
Minami Soma City says it will consult with the central government about the findings.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 13:10
Test at Fukushima plant stops temporarily
The test run of a water decontamination system at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was halted temporarily due to a malfunction.
The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, had resumed testing the system early Tuesday morning after a previous stoppage.
Last Friday, the operation of the entire water treatment system was stopped after only 5 hours of its test-run as higher than expected radiation was detected in US-made equipment for absorbing radioactive materials. It replaced the key elements for their absorption.
The utility says this time a pump for the French-made decontamination equipment automatically stopped at around 7:20 AM on Tuesday, causing the operation of the entire system to halt.
It says the pump is used to add water to decrease the density of chemicals which break down radioactive substances. Apparently its malfunction was caused by too much water.
Tokyo Electric says it resumed operation shortly after Tuesday noon by adjusting the amount of water input.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 16:12
Armitage: Japan's recovery key for global economy
A former high ranking U.S. official says Japan's recovery from the March disaster is crucial for the global economy.
Former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage made the remark during a meeting with Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura of the Japan Business Federation on Tuesday in Tokyo. Armitage is visiting Japan as a member of a U.S. panel studying ways to help with reconstruction.
Yonekura said Japan needs to bolster ties with the global economy to speed up reconstruction. ...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 17:00
Vote on extending Diet session delayed until Wed.
Japan's Diet has delayed a vote on extending its current session due to disagreement within Prime Minister Naoto Kan's Democratic Party over the timing of his resignation.
The Lower House Steering Committee on Tuesday decided to hold a plenary session for the vote on Wednesday, when the session is scheduled to end.
The decision came after the party's executives, including Kan, Secretary General Katsuya Okada and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, failed to agree on how long to extend the session.
Okada said he asked the secretaries-general of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito for cooperation in enacting bills such as one for issuing government bonds, and discussed with them a 50-day extension of the session.
But Kan called for a longer extension to allow his government to pass another bill to promote the use of renewable energy.
The Democrats aim to hold the vote on Wednesday after talks with senior members of other parties.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 18:58
Toyota, other makers to increase hiring workers
Toyota Motor says it will be employing 3,000 to 4,000 temporary workers soon, on the grounds that its car production is recovering from a fall in the wake of the March disaster.
... Japan's Mitsubishi Motors is also studying a plan to employ about 500 additional temporary workers. Honda and Fuji Heavy Industries have decided to increase their workforces.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 18:58
Surveyors re-measuring Japan's post-quake position

Surveyors have begun re-measuring Japan's geodetic data, which were disrupted by the earthquake on March 11th.
The massive quake shifted the ground in northeastern to central Japan. As a result, nearly half of some 100,000 control points across the country for longitude, latitude and elevation slipped by up to 5 meters.
Control points by law serve as basis for setting property boundaries. Precision data is therefore crucial for land measurements, particularly in rebuilding the disaster zone.
On Tuesday, surveyors from the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan used a global positioning system-based device to take measurements at the origin of Japan's longitude and latitude in Tokyo's Minato Ward.
Surveyors believe the origin itself has moved about 20 centimeters eastward.
They plan to reset other control points across Japan so that precise land measurements can be made by October this year.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 18:58
Filtering system tested for full operation
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has resumed testing of a filtering system for decontaminating highly radioactive wastewater at the facility.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company resumed the test shortly after noon on Tuesday. The test began before dawn, but was halted around 7:20 AM after a pump to send water into French-made decontamination equipment stopped automatically. The firm adjusted the amount of pumped water before the resumption.
The firm had begun running the system last Friday night, but stopped it after only 5 hours due to a sharp rise in radiation levels around US-made equipment for absorbing radioactive substances.
The firm plans to continue testing the system for 2 or 3 days before resuming full-scale filtering operations.
The plant's temporary storage facility for radioactive wastewater is expected to overflow in about a week.
Tokyo Electric has therefore begun reducing water input at 3 reactors, and is carefully monitoring them for possible resulting temperature rises.
The firm is also considering transferring highly radioactive wastewater to a makeshift tank for filtered wastewater.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 18:58
Toyota, other makers to increase hiring workers
Toyota Motor says it will be employing 3,000 to 4,000 temporary workers soon, on the grounds that its car production is recovering from a fall in the wake of the March disaster. ...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 20:23
Rainy season begins in Tohoku
The annual rainy season has begun in the disaster-hit Tohoku region in northeastern Japan, where the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station is located.
The Meteorological Agency on Tuesday announced the start of the rainy season in the southern and northern parts of the region, where heavy downpours were seen during the day.
The start of the season is 9 days later than usual in southern Tohoku and 7 days later in northern Tohoku.
Weather officials are advising caution against mudslides, floods, lightning and strong winds in some areas affected by earthquakes since March, as tremors may have loosened the ground.
The agency also says a rain front near the southern coast of Japan's main island Honshu and a cold air mass brought torrential rains to southern Kyushu in western Japan and the Kanto region in central Japan on Tuesday.
The officials say a damp air mass will bring thunderstorms and gusts to western Japan and the Tokai and Hokuriku areas in central Japan on Wednesday.
The agency issued a tornado warning on Tuesday evening for Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures of Tochigi, Ibaraki, Chiba and Saitama.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 20:29
TEPCO officials visit Fukushima governor
Two top executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company have visited the governor of Fukushima to apologize for damage caused by the ongoing nuclear accident.
Outgoing TEPCO President Masataka Shimizu and his successor Toshio Nishizawa, met Governor Yuhei Sato, on Tuesday. Nishizawa, who is now a managing director, will take over Shimizu's job next month.
Shimizu apologized for causing great trouble to people in Fukushima and said he will resign at the end of this month to take responsibility for the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Sato said in reply that the local economy has been devastated, and residents are experiencing immeasurable psychological pain. He asked Shimizu to make sure his firm will pay sufficient damages.
After the meeting, Nishizawa told reporters that he will work to bring the accident under control as soon as possible so that evacuees can return home.
The incoming president said his firm will try to lose no time in paying compensation, with the government's help.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 21:54
No prospect to resume operation of 11 reactors
No prospect has emerged for the resumption of operations of suspended nuclear reactors in Japan even after their regular checks come to an end.
There are 54 reactors in Japan. 35 have suspended operations due to aftereffects of the March 11th earthquake, regular check-ups or government requests.
Eleven of the 35 reactors will complete their regular safety checks by the end of August, but they have not yet obtained consent from the local communities for resuming operation.
Seventeen reactors are now operating, but 5 of them are scheduled to be suspended by August to undergo mandatory regular checks -- once every 13 months -- under a domestic law.
All of the remaining 12 are also to be suspended by early next year for the same reason.
Two other reactors, at the Tomari power station in Hokkaido and at the Ooi plant in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, resumed generating electricity in March after check-ups, but only on an experimental basis.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 22:23
Germany,Switzerland urge tough nuclear regulations
Government representatives of Germany and Switzerland have called for tougher safety regulations to prevent nuclear power plant accidents. Both governments have already decided to give up nuclear energy.
... During the ministerial meeting, many emerging and developing nations and other IAEA members have indicated their policies to continue promoting nuclear power generation, while expressing concern over the accident at the Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

Trade deficit in May second-biggest ever
Japan logs its second-biggest trade deficit ever as exports in May continued to slump amid the disruptions from the March 11 disasters, darkening the outlook for the economy.

DPJ prods noncommittal Kan on exit
Despite nudging by senior members of his party to resign around mid-July after securing a second extra budget, Prime Minister Kan refuses to commit.

Reconstruction agency bill passed
A basic law for rebuilding Tohoku, including plans to form a new agency for the task, clears the Diet an agonizing three months after the March megaquake and tsunami ripped the region.

Tepco water treatment hopes elude

Art aid
sent as therapy for disaster-zone kids

Economy up for first time in four months

Nissan also to break JAMA electricity pact

Sharing Tepco's bill; family's tough choice

Media grasp for words to sum up post-3/11 grit
The disaster was "divine retribution (tembatsu)," proclaimed Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara just days after the Tohoku earthquake.
"The Japanese have become a selfish (gayoku) people. We need to use the tsunami to wash away this egoism."
... A related term that has risen to prominence both inside and outside Japan following the Tohoku earthquake is the concept of jishuku, literally "self-restraint."
... gaman as a "distinctively Japanese mentality, the direct consequence of geography and history,"

Angst-fueled energy policy
The threat of radiation on the lives of people, especially children, resulting from an accident at a nuclear power station is real and must rightly be an important consideration in drawing up plans for power supplies in the future.

Time to give nuke watchdog teeth
the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency
What's the history of NISA?
What role does NISA play?
Why does the DPJ-led administration want NISA spun off from METI?
the Nuclear Safety Commission
How do NSC and NISA differ?
Does NISA bear any responsibility for the Fukushima crisis?
What would happen if NISA was separated from METI?


Atomic Power is too Dangerous!
genshiryoku abuNASUgi!

A pun with the word NASU ... eggplant.

source : geiger-counter.jpn



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  1. Angst-fueled energy policy

    The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster has induced many people to question whether and how far the world should become dependent on atomic power.

    The threat of radiation on the lives of people, especially children, resulting from an accident at a nuclear power station is real and must rightly be an important consideration in drawing up plans for power supplies in the future.

    Those responsible for deciding the direction of energy policy and the most deserving investment recipients must take into account a variety of other factors and must assess carefully the cost/benefits of the choices available.
    ... But burning coal is a major pollutant of the atmosphere and through carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions a significant contributor to global warming and climate change. Pollution and CO2 can be reduced by the use of modern technology, but these can add significantly to costs.
    ... main alternative was hydroelectric
    ... Wind power
    ... Solar may be a better source of power than wind, ...


    US nuke regulators weaken safety rules

    Federal regulators have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation's aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.

    Time after time, officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have decided that original regulations were too strict, arguing that safety margins could be eased without peril, according to records and interviews.

    The result? Rising fears that these accommodations by the NRC are significantly undermining safety — and inching the reactors closer to an accident that could harm the public and jeopardize the future of nuclear power in the United States.

    Examples abound. When valves leaked, more leakage was allowed — up to 20 times the original limit. When rampant cracking caused radioactive leaks from steam generator tubing, an easier test of the tubes was devised, so plants could meet standards.

    Failed cables. Busted seals. Broken nozzles, clogged screens, cracked concrete, dented containers, corroded metals and rusty underground pipes — all of these and thousands of other problems linked to aging were uncovered in the AP's yearlong investigation. And all of them could escalate dangers in the event of an accident.



  3. Anonymous6/21/2011


    Mori, who took over last month as chairman of the Kansai federation, said the disruption of transportation and distribution systems in Tokyo and eastern Japan following the March disaster may also provide an opportunity to reverse a decades-long trend that took investment and influence away from the western region.

    “It’s now clear the whole nation will stop functioning if a big disaster hits the capital,” he said. “The earthquake proved the potential risks of limiting the government’s workings to Tokyo.”

    Mori said the Kansai region, consisting of Osaka and its surrounding prefectures including Kyoto and Hyogo, used to account for almost a quarter of Japan’s electricity consumption when he joined Kansai Electric in 1963. That ratio is now about 17 percent, after the central government shifted its investment to the Tokyo area, he said.


  4. Japan parents launch nuclear 'emergency petition'

    apanese parents living near the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant issued an "emergency petition" on Tuesday, demanding the government do more to protect their children from radiation exposure.

    A coalition of six citizens' and environmental groups called for the evacuation of children and pregnant women from radiation hotspots, stricter monitoring and the early closure of schools for summer holidays.

    They voiced concern that authorities had focused on testing for radiation in the environment and not on people's internal exposure through inhaling or ingesting radioactive isotopes through dust, food and drinks.

    "Since atmospheric radiation levels show no sign of abating, the inhabitants of heavily contaminated areas will continue to endure high radiation doses, both externally and internally," they said in the petition.

    "To minimise such exposure, residents should be evacuated promptly to areas where radiation is less severe. Top priority must be given to infants, children and expectant mothers -- all highly susceptible to radiation effects."

    On Tuesday the six protest groups -- including local citizens, anti-nuclear activists, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth -- launched their
    "Emergency Petition to Protect the Children of Fukushima"
    at the Japanese parliament.