June 24, Friday

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Ganbaro Nihon ! Rainbow


Gabi reports:

Saving Energy !
Microsoft said the biggest power cuts can be made by adjusting monitor settings.
. Saving Energy ! INFO .

It was extremely hot today, even in the coolest part of our garden it was 30 degrees centigrade. And down in the village, the parking area of the supermarket was a boiling hell.


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

Friday, June 24, 2011 07:00
High level of radiation exposure estimated
A group of doctors has found that the estimated level of accumulated internal radiation exposure for people living in Fukushima Prefecture has exceeded 3 millisieverts.
The researchers, including doctors who have provided medical care to A-bomb survivors, conducted analysis on the food and urine of 15 residents in Iitate Village and Kawamata Town in Fukushima Prefecture. These areas are about 40 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
They estimate that residents have been internally exposed to up to 3.2 millisieverts for about 2 months, measuring from the date of the accident in March until early May.
Three millisieverts is 3 times higher than the long-term annual limit for ordinary people recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.
One of the researchers, Nanao Kamada 鎌田七男, says people should refrain from eating vegetables grown in the area where high levels of radiation have been detected.

Friday, June 24, 2011 07:00
TEPCO hopes to resume water decontamination
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant hopes to resume the water decontamination process at the plant within several days.
At the nuclear power plant, a water treatment system started operation last Friday, but it ceased functioning after only 5 hours due to a sharp rise in radiation levels in US-made equipment built to absorb radioactive material.
Tokyo Electric Power Company hopes to restart the system and continue the decontamination process by pouring low levels of contaminated water into the equipment to decrease radiation levels.
The decontamination process has been halted several times due to a series of problems.

Friday, June 24, 2011 07:00
Meeting to explain safety measures to be held
The Japanese government will hold a meeting on Sunday in western Japan to explain to local residents about safety measures taken to resume a nuclear power plant in the area. The meeting will be the first of its kind since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
After the accident, most nuclear power plants in Japan have halted operations.
Restarting the plant's 2 reactors, located in the town of Genkai, Saga Prefecture, has the backing of the local mayor. But the prefecture governor is maintaining a cautious stance.
At Sunday's meeting, the safety measures will be explained by officials from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, overseen by the industry ministry. The meeting will be broadcast live on cable TV and the Internet.
The government however has been criticized for its decision to choose only around 7 residents to participate in the meeting. Many local people are saying this will severely limit the wide range of opinions needed from the prefecture.

Friday, June 24, 2011 07:00
Dosimeters will be given to 280,000 children
Fukushima Prefecture has decided to distribute dosimeters to about 280 thousand children to monitor their radiation exposure caused by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Voices of parents expressing concern about their children's health have been growing louder. The prefecture said on Thursday it will give dosimeters to children ranging from infants to junior high school students.
The prefecture will also subsidize cities and villages to replace top soil in the school yards or set up air conditioners in schools.
Some municipalities in the prefecture have already distributed, or decided to distribute, dosimeters to children to monitor radiation exposure.
The prefecture will provide financial help to those municipalities.

Friday, June 24, 2011 07:59
Parents concerned about children's radiation
Parents and teachers in Fukushima Prefecture are skeptical about the government-set level of exposure to radiation for children, especially in relation to outdoor activities. They fear children's health may be affected by radioactive contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The education ministry released a report to the Nuclear Safety Commission on Thursday concerning school yards at 55 locations where high levels of radiation had been detected. It also reported that after the top soil was removed at 41 locations, the radiation level dropped to 0.5 microsieverts per hour on average.
The report also said that all locations had radiation levels under the government-set 3.8 microsieverts per hour. The ministry has said that schools where this level is met can restart children's outdoor activities.
But many parents and teachers in the prefecture are skeptical about the standard set by the ministry.
They say exposure of 3.8 microsieverts per hour is too high compared to the long-term reference level recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection. All schools continue to refrain from outdoor activities or limit them to 1 to 3 hours per day.
The Nuclear Safety Commission member Seiji Shiroya says the standard should not be set unilaterally and that it should be established at a level all, including the parents, can accept.

Friday, June 24, 2011 10:31
Fallen device in Monju retrieved
The operator of Japan's experimental fast-breeder nuclear reactor Monju has successfully retrieved a 3-ton device that fell inside the reactor vessel 10 months ago.
The Japan Atomic Energy Agency says it completed work to recover the fuel-exchange equipment at around 5 AM on Friday. The work took about 8 hours.
In May last year, the Monju reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, resumed operations after a 14-year shutdown. It was closed in 1995 after a sodium leak started a fire.
But 3 months after restarting, operations had to be suspended again after the device fell into the reactor during an inspection. The agency's previous attempts to collect the device failed when it got stuck against the vessel's upper lid.
The operator will now inspect the reactor for damage before restarting it.
The agency had planned to begin generating electricity early this year. But substantial delays now appear inevitable.
Monju was supposed to play a central role in Japan's nuclear fuel recycling program, but its future is now looking increasingly uncertain. The government says it will review its energy policy in the wake of the nuclear accident in Fukushima.

Friday, June 24, 2011 12:51
TEPCO working to prevent overflow of toxic water
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is striving to prevent highly radioactive water from overflowing the facility amid delays in restarting a key water decontamination system.
Tokyo Electric Power Company has been reducing the volume of water injected into the first 3 reactors since Tuesday to curb a further build-up of highly radioactive water at the plant.
On Friday, it further reduced the volume of water injected into the No.3 reactor by 0.5 tons to 9 tons per hour.
But limiting the amount of water could allow the temperature of the reactors to rise.
To aggravate the situation, rain is continuing to fall in the area where the power plant is located.
Last month, accumulated rainfall of 100 millimeters pushed up the water levels by around 50 to 60 millimeters.
TEPCO is plugging holes in the roofs of the turbine buildings and stacking sandbags to prevent rain water from entering the facility.
The power company is continuing test runs of the decontamination system to work out ways to ensure its optimal operation.
It says it has so far processed around 2,500 tons of radioactive water with the system. On Friday, it began work to desalinate treated water with the aim of recycling it to cool down the overheating reactors.

Friday, June 24, 2011 15:00
Severe heat and rain hit many areas of Japan
Eastern and western Japan have been hit by record high temperatures on Friday.
In the City of Kumagaya, north of Tokyo, temperatures rose to 39.3 degrees Celsius around 1 PM, breaking a 20-year-old record for Japan in June.
In some other cities and towns, north of Tokyo, the temperature also exceeded the record of 38.3 degrees set in the city in 1991.
The Meteorological Agency says the scorching weather is being caused by a high pressure system moving in from seas south of Japan. The system is bringing hot air to areas around Tokyo and to the west.
In northeastern Japan, heavy rain is falling over broad areas along the Sea of Japan due to active rain front.
In some areas, more than 300 millimeters of precipitation have fallen since Wednesday.
Weather officials are calling on people stay on alert due to the high temperatures and heavy rain.

Friday, June 24, 2011 15:54
Kan to name Ryu Matsumoto reconstruction minister
Prime Minister Naoto Kan has decided to appoint Disaster Management Minister Ryu Matsumoto 松本龍 as minister in charge of reconstruction for areas hit by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The new post was created under a basic law on reconstruction that took effect on Friday. The law also calls for the launch of a new government agency to support disaster-hit areas.
Since the disaster, the 60-year-old Lower House member has been working full-time for a crisis management taskforce at the Prime Minister's Office.
Matsumoto has also been in charge of supporting disaster survivors by overseeing removal of debris and transport of supplies to evacuation centers.
Kan likely chose Matsumoto for the new post to ensure continuity in post-disaster operations. Matsumoto has also served as environment minister.
Kan is expected to appoint others to take over Matsumoto's current ministerial duties, so he can focus on reconstruction.

Friday, June 24, 2011 18:15
SDF disaster relief pay to be raised
Japan's government has decided to raise the pay of Self-Defense Force members who took part in unprecedented relief activities following the March 11th quake and tsunami, and the Fukushima nuclear accident.
The decision was made at a cabinet meeting on Friday.
SDF members taking part in especially dangerous disaster relief missions currently receive about 40 dollars per day.
The amount is to be raised to about 525 dollars for personnel who took part in spraying water on reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant from the air and ground.
Personnel who searched for survivors within 10 kilometers of the plant are to be paid about 280 dollars per day, while those who recovered bodies in disaster-stricken areas are to be paid 50 dollars per day.
Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa told reporters that the latest mission in northeastern Japan far exceeded the norms of disaster relief. He said the raises were granted due to the missions' severity and psychological burden.

Friday, June 24, 2011 18:36
Mihama Town favors reactor restart
Mayor of Mihama Town in Fukui prefecture says he favors the restart of 2 nuclear power reactors that are currently suspended for regular inspections.
Mayor Jitaro Yamaguchi made the remark on Friday after he met with officials from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which is overseen by the industry ministry.
Agency officials assured the mayor of the safety of the Mihama plant's No. 1 and No. 3 reactors, since emergency security measures were implemented following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Yamaguchi indicated he hopes the 2 reactors will resume operations, although he added that the final decision would depend on the stance of Fukui Prefecture.
Fukui Prefecture hosts 13 commercial nuclear power reactors, the most in the country. Regular inspections of 4 of the reactors are expected to conclude by August.
But the prefectural governor, Issei Nishikawa, has not approved their resumption.
Mihama Town is the first of Fukui's 4 nuclear hosting communities to express a positive stance toward the restart of reactors.

Friday, June 24, 2011 19:16
Train that survived tsunami comes out of tunnel
A railway carriage that survived the March 11th earthquake and tsunami has been removed from a tunnel more than 100 days after the disaster.
Officials of Sanriku Railway on Friday slowly moved the carriage to a station in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture.
The car is one of 4 carriages that plied the southern part of the coastal railway, and the only one that escaped the tsunami. About 10 local residents gathered at the station and applauded when the familiar carriage arrived. Despite its time in the tunnel the car is in good condition.
Train driver Minoru Yasumiishi said he was reminded how much residents of the city cherish the railway, and said he would work hard to help reopen the route.
A Sanriku Railway official says repairing the route will take at least 3 years, but it will maintain the surviving car and return it to service.

Friday, June 24, 2011 19:16
Unmanned helicopter crash lands at nuke plant
The operatorof the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it lost control of an unmanned helicopter during a flight near the No. 2 reactor building, forcing the controller to make an emergency landing on a roof there.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says the remote-controlled light helicopter took off from an observatory south of the Fukushima plant just past 6:30 AM on Friday. Its mission was to collect airborne radioactive substances around the No. 2 reactor building. The utility says its engine failed about 30 minutes later, making it impossible for the aircraft to ascend.
The helicopter -- 50 centimeters long and weighing 8 kilograms -- was found lying on its side on the rooftop.
TEPCO says it did not see any smoke or flames coming from the helicopter when it landed, and neither the craft nor the reactor building was damaged.
It says it plans to retrieve the helicopter using a mobile crane.

Friday, June 24, 2011 19:59
Decontamination system meets performance target
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says a trouble-hit system for decontaminating highly radioactive water at the facility is working as planned.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, said on Friday that the system can reduce the density of radioactive substances in the water to the targeted level of one-100,000th.
The system is seen as the key to reducing the amount of contaminated water threatening to overflow from the plant's compound.
TEPCO said a US-made device for absorbing radioactive cesium continues to perform at one-tenth its intended capacity, even after workers readjusted a faulty valve setting. But the firm says test runs have shown that the targeted level can be achieved when the device is used with a French decontaminator.
TEPCO says about 2,500 tons of radioactive water has been decontaminated so far. On Friday, workers began sending the water through salt-removing equipment.
The firm plans to return the treated water to reactors this month, to establish a stable cooling system that involves circulating the water.
But TEPCO says resuming full operation of the decontamination system may take several more days.

Friday, June 24, 2011 19:59
Ministers agree to boost IAEA powers
The ministerial meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency has concluded its 5-day talks, with Director General Yukiya Amano pledging to strengthen the nuclear watchdog.
The meeting in Vienna was convened to discuss nuclear safety following the accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Wrapping up the meeting on Friday, Amano said the IAEA must do more to ensure the safety of nuclear power plants around the world.
Before his speech, the leaders of 3 working groups reported on their discussions.
They called for the IAEA to conduct regular safety checks of nuclear regulators and the power plants of member countries, as well as unannounced inspections.
However, experts wonder how well the IAEA can assess nuclear safety, since some countries want to restrict the issue to state authorities.
Some countries considering the introduction of nuclear power are not supportive of tighter safety standards.
The nuclear watchdog is expected to draft an action plan bolstering its effectiveness by the time of its annual meeting, scheduled for September.
APEC to discuss disaster prevention in Sendai
Japan will host a meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Miyagi Prefecture in August to discuss disaster management. Miyagi Prefecture was hit hard by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto said on Friday that the meeting, co-sponsored by the Japanese and US governments, will be held in the prefectural capital of Sendai City from August 1st through 3rd.
About 70 government and corporate officials in charge of disaster prevention from 21 APEC member countries are expected to attend the conference.
Japan proposed holding the APEC meeting after the March 11th disaster hit the production and output of domestic businesses, damaging their economic activity both in and outside the country.
Participants are expected to discuss how to prepare for natural disasters so that companies can continue to operate, as well as how to help those in developing nations that are less prepared for such disasters.
Foreign Minister Matsumoto says he hopes the APEC meeting will be a good opportunity to show the international community how the devastated Tohoku region is recovering.

Friday, June 24, 2011 20:40
Simulation model projects radiation diffusion
Researchers say radioactive substances leaked from the Fukushima Daiichi plant will reach ocean waters 4,000 kilometers away from the plant within a year of the nuclear accident.
Using a computer simulation model, Japan's science ministry predicted how the radioactive cesium 137 that leaked from the Fukushima plant will spread in the Pacific Ocean.
The computer image shows that, as of April of next year, cesium 137 will reach eastern waters around 4,000 kilometers away from the Fukushima plant.
The highest concentration is projected at 0.023 becquerels per liter -- that's about 14 times the normal level, but still only one-three-thousandth of safe limits.
3 years after the accident, the radioactive materials are forecast to diffuse further in waters north of Hawaii, lowering concentration levels.
The radioactive substances will reach the US west coast in 5 years. Seven years after the initial accident, the concentration level is predicted to be close to normal.
Masanao Nakano, a senior engineer at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, says that in one year, the radiation concentration level will become so low that eating fish from even the most contaminated areas would pose little danger to health.
Tokyo officials: Radiation levels all below limit
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government says radiation levels at 100 locations in Tokyo pose no health hazard, but that they are reading relatively high in some eastern areas.
Tokyo officials released on Friday the results of radiation monitoring conducted in the week up to Wednesday. The monitoring was carried out in response to public concern about contamination from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Measurements were made at 5 centimeters and one meter above the ground.
The average of the 5-centimeter readings was 0.067 microsieverts per hour. The figure for the one-meter readings was 0.061 microsieverts per hour.
The highest level was detected at an elementary school in Katsushika Ward in eastern Tokyo, where the reading for the 5-centimeter point was 0.19 microsieverts and 0.2 microsieverts for the one-meter point. Both were about triple the average.
Seven other wards near Katsushika also recorded higher-than-average radiation levels.
Tokyo Metropolitan University Associate Professor Tsuguhisa Kato says wind directions and river flows possibly caused radiation levels to rise in eastern areas.
He says residents do not need to worry too much, as the readings are still below the safety limit. He called on the authorities to continue their efforts.
The results are available on the website of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health.
Radiation results in Fukushima City
Radiation levels in parts of Fukushima City, about 60 kilometers from the disaster-stricken nuclear plant, have been found to require further monitoring.
Responding to residents' demands for more information, Fukushima City released on Friday the results of radiation checks conducted on June 17th and 20th at more than 1,000 sites, including public facilities and roads in residential areas.
Six locations, including a park in a municipal housing complex, registered radiation levels of over 3.4 microsieverts per hour when measured one meter above ground. This exceeds the prefecture's threshold for re-checking.
Radiation of over two microsieverts per hour was recorded at 182 sites.
The city said that it re-checked the six sites on Friday, and all locations registered lower radiation.
But the city intends to restrict use of the park in the public housing complex, where radiation of 4.15 microsieverts per hour, which exceeds the central government's limit of 3.8 microsieverts for a park, was recorded 50 centimeters above the ground.
A municipal official says the city will continue monitoring and post the results on its website.
(It was 6.65 at one point in the south of Fukushima! ... see tomorrow ... )
. Saturday, June 25, 2001 .  


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

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Japan Times :

Kan Cabinet entertaining new lineup
Prime Minister Naoto Kan might reshuffle his Cabinet by the end of the month to appoint a reconstruction minister but is also rumored to be thinking of switching some other portfolios.

Fund to track Fukushima health
The government plans to establish a ¥103 billion fund to track the health of all Fukushima Prefecture residents for 30 years, because of radiation leaking from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, government sources said Thursday.
The government plans to allocate ¥78 billion in a second supplementary budget for the current fiscal year and intends to ask plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. to contribute ¥25 billion.

6.7-magnitude quake jolts Aomori, Iwate prefectures


Crown Prince thanks German president for quake assistance

Help on hand for quake-zone fish owners

A Kawasaki-based environmental conservation group is accepting aquarium fish, mostly foreign tropical species requiring well-equipped fish tanks, from owners in disaster-hit areas who can no longer afford the hobby.
The group, Osakana Post, is taking the step as part of its disaster aid, said group leader Mitsuaki Yamasaki, 52.

Sendai overseas flights resume

Sharp vows to boost green sales

Nuke regulatory reform easier said than done

Failure guru probes nuclear crisis for lessons, not culprits

Engineering professor Yotaro Hatamura 畑村洋太郎 has built a career on failure.
... His objectives are similar to those of U.S. President Barack Obama's commission on BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, which in January recommended "urgent reform" of government rules and oil industry practices. The independent Fukushima investigation team has the authority to question Tepco officials and government leaders, including the prime minister....

First Tohoku documentary captures tsunami aftermath
Japan will probably be seeing many more, but "Mujo Sobyo" beats all others as the first documentary on the aftermath of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and tsunami. A 75-minute film shot and made in 50 days and now playing at the Auditorium Shibuya theater in Tokyo (with screenings in Osaka and Nagoya to follow), "Mujo Sobyo 無常素描 (The Sketch of Mujo)" is as simple and unpretentious as its title.
Director Koichi Omiya 大宮 浩一

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in the midst
of chaos, there's clarity ...
there's Japan

sunning ...
a few children look
to the bright side

Don Baird



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  1. What Happened to Media Coverage of Fukushima?
    by Anne Landman

    While the U.S. media has been occupied with Anthony Weiner, the Republican presidential candidates and Bristol Palin's memoir, coverage of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster has practially fallen off the map. Poor mainstream media coverage of Japan's now months-long struggle to gain control over the Fukushima disaster has deprived Americans of crucial information about the risks of nuclear power following natural disasters. After a few weeks of covering the early aftermath of Japan's earthquake and tsunami, the U.S. media moved on, leaving behind the crisis at Fukushima which continues to unfold.

    U.S. politicians, like Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, have made disappointing and misleading statements about the relative safety of nuclear power and have vowed to stick by our nuclear program, while other countries, like Germany and Italy, have taken serious steps to address the obvious risks of nuclear power -- risks that the Fukushima disaster made painfully evident, at least to the rest of the world.
    Efforts to bring problems at Fukushima under control are not going well, either. Japanese authorities only just recently admitted that nuclear fuel in the three damaged Fukushima reactors has likely burned through the vessels holding it, a scenario called "melt-through", that is even more serious than a core meltdown. Months of spraying seawater on the plant's three melted-down fuel cores -- and the spent fuel stored on site -- to try and cool them has produced 26 million of gallons of radioactive wastewater, and no place to put it.


  2. Survey shows disappointment, anger among Fukushima evacuees

    Disappointment toward Tokyo Electric Power Co. for its failure to guard the safety of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and anger at the central government's inept handling of the accident.

    Those are the two major themes that emerge from the results of an interview survey of 407 evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear accident.

    About 90,000 Fukushima residents have evacuated because of the nuclear accident, with about a third of that number moving outside of the prefecture entirely.

    The interviews were conducted with evacuees now scattered around the nation.

    While TEPCO may have provided many Fukushima residents with jobs, the nuclear accident has turned many evacuees against nuclear energy.

    The survey was performed jointly by The Asahi Shimbun and a research team led by Akira Imai, a professor at Fukushima University specializing in local government policy.

    When asked their opinion on the use of nuclear energy, 70 percent of respondents said they were opposed while 26 percent said they were in favor of nuclear energy.