June 7, Tuesday

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source : tabimama.blogspot.com


Gabi reports:

Germany to end nuclear power by 2020
The German government plans to phase out all nuclear power plants in the country by 2020, a decision that could cost millions of euros in losses every year for the utility industries.
Germany's utility companies want "swift and complete" abolishment of nuclear power in the wake of the disaster at Japan's Fukushima reactors, says their umbrella organization.
. Reference .

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first hot day -
no donation money to buy
an electric fan

Almost tree months after the catastropy, and yet many evacuees have not received any support money, or just a tiny bit, while the Red Cross has amassed a huge amount of money. The rate of distribution is not clear, but now people are getting angry.
Yesterday was rather hot, and in the shelters they begin to need some sort of cooling. If people need to buy electric fans for their own home, they need money to do so, since many are out of work and income since March 11.

see also the comments below

"We don't want to be forgotten," Watanabe said.
"We want to go home."

. . . . .

Villages and towns, even private people are beginning to measure the radioactivity around their places. Official meters are often about 7 meters high on some official building. Now they measure on the ground, in 50 cm, 1 m and 1.5 meters, to see it from the size of children. Parents demand better information about the schoolground, local kindergarden or park.
Private homes further away than the 30 km zone measure high levels of radiation, especially around the raingutters. They want to be approved as evacuation zones, in order to get some compensation should more damage happen.


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

Tuesday, June 07, 2011 05:40
IAEA chief to propose tougher nuclear safety
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says he will propose measures to strengthen nuclear safety at the upcoming high-level international talks, following the accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Yukiya Amano 天野之弥 made the remarks in his opening speech at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting on Monday.
He said the IAEA sent a team of experts to Japan last month to assess safety issues relating to the accident.
He said the team is now preparing its final report to be submitted to the IAEA's Ministerial Conference in Vienna, starting June 20th.
After the IAEA session, Amano told reporters that he believes the ministerial meeting will become a cornerstone for global nuclear safety after the Fukushima accident.
He said he wants to recommend practical safety plans based on lessons learned from the accident. He suggested the IAEA will aim to form a global nuclear safety framework at the meeting later this month.
The Board of Governors agenda includes the Fukushima problem and a UN resolution on Syria's suspected nuclear program.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011 05:40
Japan to separate nuclear bodies
The Japanese government will restructure its nuclear-related organizations to clarify roles and responsibilities in the event of a nuclear disaster.
NHK has obtained a draft of a report that the government plans to submit to the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety later this month.
The report says the government will make the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, the country's nuclear regulator, independent from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
The report also says that Tokyo Electric Power Company should improve the design of its nuclear plants to ensure that cooling can be carried out in the event of a serious accident.
The height of the storage pools for spent nuclear fuel in the troubled Fukushima Daichi plant has hampered efforts to cool the reactors.
The report also says that the government will carry out a study on nuclear safety, with the help of the international community, to identify ways to strengthen global nuclear safety.
The government's nuclear disaster taskforce will review the draft report on Tuesday.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011 05:40
More hydrogen produced than TEPCO's estimate
Japan's nuclear safety agency says about 800 to 1,000 kilograms of hydrogen was produced in each of 3 reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant soon after the March 11th earthquake.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency studied data provided by Tokyo Electric Power Company last month.
The agency says about 1,000 kilograms of hydrogen was produced at the No. 1 reactor when the fuel rods began to be exposed 2 hours after the quake and the metallic fuel containers oxidized one hour later.
The same phenomenon took place at the No. 3 reactor some 43 hours after the quake, resulting in the production of 1,000 kilograms of hydrogen.
Hydrogen explosions blew the top off the No. 1 and 3 reactor buildings.
A smaller explosion at the No. 2 reactor damaged the suppression pool. The agency has not determined the cause of the blast, but calculates that about 800 kilograms of hydrogen was formed there 77 hours after the quake when fuel rods were damaged.
The agency's calculations are 1.3 to 2.3 times more than TEPCO's original estimate.
The agency says the hydrogen is likely to have damaged the reactor buildings and containment vessels.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011 12:16
IMF, World Bank to hold 2012 meetings in Tokyo
The International Monetary Fund and World Bank announced on Monday that they have picked Tokyo for their annual meetings scheduled for October 2012. ...
Japan has been seeking to host the meetings to stress its reconstruction efforts from the quake and tsunami disaster in March.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011 12:16
Labor ministry inspectors to visit Fukushima plant
Labor ministry officials will inspect the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant later on Tuesday to investigate why 2 workers were exposed to radiation exceeding government safety limits.
A team of 4 officials will also interview safety control managers.
The probe follows the revelation by plant operator TEPCO that the 2 workers were exposed to over 250 millisieverts, the elevated emergency limit introduced by the government after the nuclear crisis began.
The 2 men were on duty in the central control rooms of reactors No.3 and 4. They told authorities that they weren't wearing protective masks when reactor No.1 was shattered by a hydrogen explosion, one day after the March 11th quake and tsunami.
One of the labor ministry inspectors said Tuesday's visit is aimed at finding out the reasons for the high exposure, and determining if TEPCO could be held legally responsible.
The utility has also been instructed to carry out detailed radiation checks on everyone working long-term at the disabled plant, and report the results by Friday.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011 12:58
Japan's FM seeks nuclear standards review
Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto 松本剛明 has called for an international review of nuclear safety guidelines and more global support for countries hit by nuclear accidents.
Matsumoto spoke to foreign ministers at the Asia-Europe Meeting, or ASEM, in Hungary on Monday.
Matsumoto also stressed the need to facilitate the International Atomic Energy Agency's efforts to raise the safety of nuclear power plants across the world to the highest possible level.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011 13:03
Govt panel on nuclear accident holds 1st meeting
A new government panel has decided to set up 4 teams to investigate the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The investigation and verification committee met for the first time on Tuesday in Tokyo. It consists of 10 experts from various fields, and 2 technological advisors.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan told the meeting that he wants the panel to broadly examine technological and other issues, such as the closed inner circle that makes nuclear-related decisions. He also singled out the fact that the industry ministry is responsible for both the promotion and regulation of nuclear power.
The committee's head and Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo, Yotaro Hatamura 畑村洋太郎, said his panel needs to convincingly answer the public's questions. But he stressed the panel will not aim to clarify who is responsible for the accident.
The panel's 4 teams will discuss the technical problems of the accident, background social issues, the national regulation system of nuclear safety and other issues.
The panel members are expected to visit the Fukushima Daiichi plant this month. The panel plans to compile its interim report by the end of this year and finalize it after the nuclear reactors are under control.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011 13:50
Monitoring of beach radiation begins in Ibaraki
Ibaraki Prefecture, south of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, has begun monitoring radiation levels at its beaches to ensure safety before this summer's swimming season.
Last year, more than 1-million 750-thousand people visited Ibaraki's beaches, but the number of visitors this summer is feared likely to decline due the nuclear disaster.
On Tuesday, officials visited Ajigaura beach in Hitachinaka City. They took samples of seawater from 1 to 1.5 meter deep for monitoring. They also checked radiation levels at 5 locations onshore.
The prefecture is to complete testing at all 17 beaches by mid-June and release the results.
It also plans to carry out similar checks later this month and in July.
An official told reporters he hopes the test results will ensure the safety of swimming beaches in Ibaraki Prefecture and that many people will visit there this summer.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011 14:03
Inspections begin at Fukushima nuclear plant
Labor ministry officials have begun onsite inspections at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, to investigate why 2 workers were exposed to excessive levels of radiation.
A team of 4 inspectors arrived at the plant on Tuesday afternoon to check working conditions and interview safety control managers.
The probe follows revelations by the Tokyo Electric Power Company that the 2 workers were exposed to over 250 millisieverts of radiation -- an elevated emergency limit introduced by the government after the nuclear crisis began.
The 2 men were on duty in the central control rooms of reactors No.3 and 4.
They weren't wearing protective masks when reactor No.1 was hit by a hydrogen explosion, one day after the March 11th quake and tsunami.
The health and labor ministry plans to instruct TEPCO to improve conditions, if Tuesday's inspections turn up problems with workers' safety management.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011 14:32
Kaieda:Nuclear plants to resume operating in July
Japan's industry minister says that power companies will be allowed to resume operations of nuclear plants in July after completing regular inspections.
Banri Kaieda told reporters on Tuesday of possible summer power shortages due to the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The disaster has provoked many prefectures, cities and towns that host nuclear plants to insist that government safety standards be beefed up to ensure their safety before the resumption of operations. Several plants have completed regular check-ups and are waiting for the green light to restart from local governments.
Kaieda said Japan's economy must have a stable supply of electricity.
He said after having eased the concerns of host municipalities, he wants to allow plants that meet safety standards to restart.
Kaieda said that the green light will be given in July, the peak month for electricity demand in Japan.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011 14:49
30,000 temporary houses to be completed
Japan's land and infrastructure minister Akihiro Ohata 太田昭宏 says that over 30,000 temporary homes for evacuees from the disaster in March will be completed on Wednesday, about 1 week behind a government target.
Ohata apologized for the delay on Tuesday, telling reporters that construction has been hampered by bad weather.
He also said the government will work hard to build faster to fulfill a pledge by Prime Minister Naoto Kan that all evacuees who want temporary homes will have one by the middle of August.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011 15:45
French confectioner reopens shop in Miyagi Pref.
A French cake-maker, whose shop in northeastern Japan was damaged by the March 11th tsunami, has reopened and is selling treats using local ingredients.
Vincent Dromer and his Japanese wife opened the shop in Shiogama City, Miyagi Prefecture, last year but was forced to close it after the tsunami. The couple returned to France for a while because of radiation fears.
Dromer has since returned to Shiogama and on Tuesday, he reopened the shop nearly 3 months since the tsunami struck.
The Frenchman is using locally produced salt as a hidden flavor to make his treats. The salt, called "moshio," is made by drying seaweed after immersing it in sea water.
Many people came to buy the cakes. Dromer said he is happy to see his customers again.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011 18:30
Energy-saving cooking device show opens in Tokyo
An exhibition of energy-saving food processing devices has opened in Tokyo.
The event held by the Japan Food Machinery Manufacturers' Association began on Tuesday, with over 600 makers attending.
The event is being held ahead of planned restrictions on power consumption at factories in northern and central Japan this summer, due to possible power shortages following the March 11th disaster.
On display is a pancake maker that emits less heat than conventional ones and a hydraulic fish scaler designed to reduce power consumption by around three-quarters.
The exhibition also includes panels showing how much power can be saved by changing settings of refrigerators and air conditioners.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011 19:25
Okamis promote trips in Japan
A group of Japanese female innkeepers (okami) have appealed for people to make more trips around the country to increase the number of guests at inns and hotels.
The female innkeepers, or okamis, from 38 prefectures attended a promotional event at Shinagawa Station in Tokyo on Tuesday. The event was organized by an association of hotels and Japanese style inns in the country.

The okamis, wearing traditional happi costumes, handed out round fans to passersby and called on them to make sightseeing trips during the summer holidays.
The association says the number of overnight guests has decreased by about 20 percent from a year earlier, after the March 11th disaster. It also says some inn owners have been forced to close their businesses.
An okami from quake-hit Miyako City in Iwate Prefecture said her inn was flooded in the tsunami but that she was able to resume business in April. She said an increase in the number of travelers will help rebuild the affected areas.
Another, from Nikko City in Tochigi Prefecture, said guest traffic has decreased in the wake of the nuclear accident in neighboring Fukushima Prefecture. She said that although her inn is open for business, there have been few guests so far this season.

. . . . .

. . . and one more news item

Japan to test imported perishable food for E.coli
Japan plans to begin checking imported perishable foods next week for E.coli, as an outbreak of the deadly strain continues to spread in Europe.
The E.coli scare has spread to 13 European countries and there have been fatalities, mainly in Germany, due to kidney failure.
Japan's health ministry will test one percent of imported vegetables, meat, fruit and other perishables at its 31 quarantine offices across the country.
Health minister Ritsuo Hosokawa 細川律夫 says he is taking the outbreak seriously and that the minister's strict checking will secure the safety of imported foods in Japan.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels .  

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Japan Times :

DPJ pushing LDP ties after Kan resigns
Prime Minister Naoto Kan's ruling Democratic Party of Japan on Monday again started exploring the possibility of forming a coalition government with the main opposition party after his expected exit possibly this month.

NISA doubles early fallout estimate

NISA on Monday more than doubled its estimate of the radioactive material ejected into the air in the early days of the Fukushima nuclear crisis to 770,000 terabecquerels.

Probe poised to take Tepco to task
Shortly after 7 a.m. on March 12, Prime Minister Naoto Kan confronted Masao Yoshida, director of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, at the compound in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture.

Plutonium found in soil at Okuma
It is the first time plutonium ejected by the stricken facility has been found in soil beyond its premises since the March 11 megaquake and tsunami led to a core meltdown there.

GSDF colonel recounts fearing for life in Fukushima reactor blast
Col. Shinji Iwakuma, leader of the GSDF's Central Nuclear Biological Chemical Weapon Defense Unit.

Incineration of rubble OK'd amid radiation risk
While the ministry already allows 10 municipalities where contamination levels from the prefecture's stricken nuclear plant are low enough to handle debris under normal procedures, it has decided to expand the eased limits to other parts of the prefecture outside the nuclear no-go zone and evacuation areas.
... As of Friday, the ministry estimates 23.82 million tons of rubble were created by the disasters in coastal areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima alone.


Larry from New York writes:

There was a Reuters 'newsbrief' about Japanese politicians in a Friday newspaper here in NYC. The short article said that Prime Minister Naoto Kan survived the no-confidence vote by offering to resign once the worst of the nuclear crisis has been dealt with.

I don't know much about Japanese politics, but I know about American politicians. So here is my senryu (with apologies to Issa):

from speech to speech
the politician's words just

(I like to translate 'chimpunkan' as 'gobbledygook')


Happy Haiku Forum



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  1. Anonymous6/08/2011

    cont :

    The report acknowledged a lack of independence for Japan's nuclear regulator, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, and pledged to improve safety oversight, as recommended in the IAEA report last week. Bureaucracy and division of responsibility by several government agencies also delayed decision-making, the report said.

    The report also said accident management measures, which are left up to operators' voluntary effort, should be made legally binding. Accident management guidelines have not been reviewed or improved since being introduced in 1992, it said.

    Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda promised to share all available data about the accident and cooperate with the IAEA.

    "Our country bears a serious responsibility to provide data to the international community with maximum transparency and actively contribute to nuclear safety," he said.

    The report comes a day after NISA said twice as much radiation may have been released into the air as earlier estimated. That would be about one-sixth of the amount released at Chernobyl instead of the earlier estimate of one-tenth.

    NISA said its analysis used a different method than had been employed by the plant's operator last month and is believed to "better reflect reality."

    Also Tuesday, a 10-member government-appointed panel of experts launched a separate investigation into the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986. The panel is expected to look into a wide range of areas, including TEPCO's corporate culture, Japan's nuclear safety myth, government regulatory functions, and the accident's effect on the economy and food safety.

    After Chernobyl, Japan stepped up nuclear safety measures but that effort did not last long, Hosono acknowledged.

    "We should never repeat the same mistake," he said.


  2. Anonymous6/08/2011

    Japan says it was unprepared for nuclear disaster
    Japan admitted Tuesday it was unprepared for a severe nuclear accident like the tsunami-caused Fukushima disaster and said damage to the reactors and radiation leakage were worse than it previously thought.

    In a report being submitted to the U.N. nuclear agency, the government also acknowledged reactor design flaws and a need for greater independence for the country's nuclear regulators.

    The report said the nuclear fuel in three reactors likely melted through the inner containment vessels, not just the core, after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant's power and cooling systems. Fuel in the Unit 1 reactor started melting hours earlier than previously estimated.

    The 750-page report, compiled by Japan's nuclear emergency taskforce, factors in a preliminary evaluation by a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency and was to be submitted to the IAEA as requested.

    "In light of the lessons learned from the accident, Japan has recognized that a fundamental revision of its nuclear safety preparedness and response is inevitable," the report said. It also recommended a national debate on nuclear power.

    The report said the flaws in basic reactor design included the venting system for the containment vessels and the location of spent fuel cooling pools high in the buildings, which resulted in leaks of radioactive water that hampered repair work.

    The report said the vents lacked filtering capability, causing contamination of the air, and the vent line interferred with connecting pipes.

    Desperate attempts by plant workers to vent pressure to prevent the containment vessels from bursting repeatedly failed. Experts have said the delay in venting was a primary cause of explosions that further damaged the reactors and spewed huge amounts of radiation into the air.



  3. Anonymous6/08/2011

    Shelter life takes mental toll on Japan evacuees

    KORIYAMA, Japan – Life in evacuation shelters is taking a severe psychological toll on those left homeless by Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, a situation likely to worsen as tens of thousands face the prospect of staying at least the rest of the year in temporary housing.

    Though the suffering is spread out along Japan's ravaged northeast coast, the problem is particularly severe for Japan's "nuclear refugees," who were forced to flee from homes near the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and have been told to expect to remain in limbo for the next nine months, at least.

    "I have pretty much given up," said 63-year-old Eiichi Kogusuri, who lives in one of the country's biggest shelters, a sports arena housing nearly 1,000 refugees in the city of Koriyama, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) away from the nuclear plant.

    "All I do every day is eat, sleep and watch TV," he said. "Every day seems so long. I'm in my 60s, I have no work. I have nothing to hold on to and I'm too old to start over."

    Hiromichi Watanabe, a health official for Tomioka, a town of about 16,000 near the nuclear plant, said the condition of the evacuees from his town is deteriorating. Tomioka's residents have scattered all over the country, but many remain in shelters in Fukushima because they do not want to be completely uprooted.


  4. Anonymous6/08/2011

    cont ... shelter life ...

    Nearly three months after the disaster, evacuation shelters in and around Fukushima remain full.

    "They can't think ahead to the future, and this is very hard psychologically," Watanabe said. "They don't know when they can go home. Families have been broken up. We need a solution."

    According to government tallies, 98,500 people remain homeless and live in about 2,000 shelters around the country. That number pulls together both those who lost their homes in the March 11 quake and tsunami, and those who were forced to leave the 20-kilometer (12-mile) no-go zone set up around the Fukushima nuclear plant.

    Some evacuees have found lodging with family or friends, while some others have been fortunate enough to move into government-supplied shelters, including prefabricated homes or hotels and hot springs resorts that have been rented out for that purpose. More prefab homes are being built, but not enough to meet demand.

    Watanabe said psychologists have been called in to check on evacuees and are now making regular rounds at most major shelters. Medical doctors are also treating evacuees who show symptoms of depression.

    "There is no doubt that we are seeing people dealing with a greater amount of stress," said Akinobu Hata, the director of the Fukushima Mental Health and Welfare Center. "Mainly, it is not serious mental illness, but rather complaints stemming from bouts of depression or other issues from daily life."

    In the first two months after the disaster, nearly 3,000 evacuees in the disaster zone were hospitalized for symptoms related to stress, fatigue or poor sanitation and hygiene, according to a Kyodo News survey of hospitals. That does not include people who required treatment but not hospitalization, or who have been hospitalized since early May.

    Hata said Fukushima is relying increasingly on local resources as medical teams from outside the region have begun to return home. The need among Fukushima's evacuees, however, is not diminishing.

    to be cont:

  5. Anonymous6/08/2011

    cont ... shelter life ...

    Recovery is under way along the northeastern coast, as towns clean themselves out from under the rubble of the destruction and begin to rebuild. But at Fukushima Dai-ichi, the situation remains unstable and radiation levels continue to be relatively high in some locations. The government has suggested it will not even consider lifting the evacuation order around the plant this year.

    "It's really hard," said Kogusuri, a single truck driver from Tomioka who lost both his home and his job. "It's like everything is just stuck where it is and you can't move forward."

    Kogusuri said life in the shelter is regimented: communal and often crowded bathing areas, strictly defined meal times, lights out at 10 p.m. He has his own partitioned space, which is just barely big enough to lie down in but provides a modicum of privacy.

    The floors in the gymnasium are hard, and only curtains separate the occupants. Out of courtesy to others, there is little talking, no music and no laughter.

    Kogusuri's shelter is among the best in the disaster zone, relatively new, spacious and spotless. In other areas, evacuees still huddle on school or community center floors, with little or no air conditioning or heat, and far more restricted access to food, toilets and baths.

    Even at the arena in Koriyama, however, officials said colds are common, particularly among young children, and insomnia is the rule.

    More importantly, the fatigue of shelter life is wearing evacuees down mentally — especially the elderly, who make up a disproportionate number of the evacuees.

    Health officials say the unfamiliar surroundings have exacerbated symptoms of Alzheimer's disease among some older evacuees, while others who had been able to get around by themselves have become bedridden.

    Watanabe, the Tomioka health official, said it is particularly difficult for evacuees to see the rest of the country move on, since they themselves cannot.

    "We don't want to be forgotten," he said. "We want to go home."