July 6, Wednesday

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the catfish, the rooster -
all come to help reconstruction
in Tohoku

. Clay Dolls from Aizu, Fukushima .


Gabi reports:

Maybe we get a break in the rain today. But no, after a quiet afternoon it started raining agai around four and will continue until tomorrow evening.

Kan under increasing pressure to resign
. The Political Situation .  INFO .

Plaintiffs demand decommission of Hamaoka reactors

. Hamaoka Power Plant . INFO .

And now we have a new buzz word "stress test" simulations for power plants.
see below.
ストレステスト (耐性試験) 原子力


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

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 01:53
Panasonic unveils rechargeable LED light
Japanese electronic giant Panasonic has unveiled new products to help people cope with the anticipated power blackouts this summer. Japan is facing serious power shortages after the earthquake on March 11th.
Panasonic's new LED light can be recharged with the high-efficiency solar panel measuring 6 by 13 centimeters. It glows for nearly 60 hours when fully charged. The internal batteries store electricity and can power a radio or other appliances.
The company has also released a small storage battery that weighs about 3 kilograms and can be used as an emergency power source at home.
Executive officer Yukio Nakashima says the disaster has changed consumers' lifestyles and has increased the demand for products that can work in blackouts.
He says he wants to develop similar products for overseas markets.
The competition for home appliances for emergency use is expected to heat up, as other makers are entering the market.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 07:11
Parts of reactor cover arriving at Fukushima plant
Sections for covers that will contain radioactive materials released from the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant have begun arriving at the site.
The covers will be installed at the No.1, 3 and 4 reactors. Buildings housing these reactors sustained severe damage from hydrogen blasts triggered by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
Pillars, beams and other parts are being pre-assembled at a port 50 kilometers away from the plant. The concrete bases of the structure will be delivered on Wednesday with more sections arriving from mid-July.
The operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company, says it hopes to complete assembly work by late September using a crane with a 140-meter long arm.
Reducing radiation released from the reactor buildings is crucial to getting the crisis under control.
This month, TEPCO will estimate the current amount of radiation released from the reactors. The figures will be used as a reference to gauge the effectiveness of the covers when they are installed.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 07:11
Survey: 55% of firms can meet 15% reduction target
About half of the firms in a new survey can meet the power-saving target set by the Japanese government to cope with electricity shortages this summer.
Private research firm Teikoku Databank conducted the survey late last month. It collected responses from about 4,900 firms that use Tokyo Electric Power Company and another utility in the disaster-hit northeastern region.
The government is asking businesses and homes to cut their power consumption by 15 percent from last year's peak demand.
Fifty-five percent said they can reduce their electricity use by 15 percent or more.
Ten percent said they do not know how much they will be able to save.
Nineteen percent said they will not be able to achieve the goal. Many of them are small and medium-sized businesses in the retailing and manufacturing sectors.
Sixty percent of these firms said they have to keep stores and offices open. Thirty-one percent said their power-saving efforts will be limited because they need to keep machines running.
Twenty-seven percent said they cannot afford to replace lights and air conditioners with eco-friendly models.
The research firm says the overall power-saving effects in the business sector will be significant thanks to the expected contribution by large consumers of electricity.
It adds that the power-saving targets are weighing heavily on smaller businesses.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 08:33
Radioactive strontium to be closely monitored
Japan's science and technology ministry says tests have found no radioactive strontium in the seabed off the northern Pacific coast.
The test follows last month's detection of the radioactive material in the seabed near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The operator of the plant took samples 3 kilometers off the coast at 2 locations -- 20 kilometers south and north of the plant. Radioactive strontium can cause cancer as it accumulates in bones if inhaled.
No radioactive strontium was found this time in samples taken at 6 locations between 10 and 30 kilometers off a section of the Pacific coast that includes Fukushima Prefecture and two prefectures to the south and north.
The Nuclear Safety Commission, an independent body advising the ministry, says more evidence is needed to prove that no strontium has reached these locations.
The current system cannot detect amounts below 0.8 becquerels of strontium per kilogram of soil. It has advised the ministry to use a method that can detect smaller amounts of the radioactive substance.
The fisheries ministry is also testing marine products caught off Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures, near Tokyo, but found no strontium.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 11:58
Gov't plans additional nuclear safety tests
Japan's industry minister Banri Kaieda says the ministry will do stress tests at nuclear power plants to assure local residents they are safe.
Kaieda was speaking to reporters on Wednesday. The additional stress testing is in response to concerns expressed by residents around nuclear plants that are still not operating after regular inspections, following the nuclear accident in Fukushima.
They include Kyushu Electric Power Company's Genkai plant in southwestern Japan.
Kaieda said he is convinced the Genkai plant is safe but additional testing for nuclear stress will be done with the help of the Nuclear Safety Commission.
The minister said the testing will refer to the experience of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and he hopes it will be done soon.
He said all the nuclear plants will be tested, with priority on those already undergoing routine checks. He said he aims to accelerate the scheduling of this work.
Municipalities could oppose restarting nuclear plants in their areas until details about the tests are clarified. This could affect electricity supply during the summer months.
Kaieda said the government will deal with the issue responsibly, to prevent disruptions in power supply.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 12:41
TEPCO says reactor cooling on target at 80 percent
Tokyo Electric Power Company says its system for recycling highly-radioactive water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is operating slightly below target at 80 percent capacity.
The company says it will try to stabilize operation at 80 percent, rather than raising the target to 90 percent as planned.
The process of decontaminating and re-circulating wastewater to cool the damaged reactors began on June 27th.
It was disrupted 3 times last week, partly due to human error. Filtering of wastewater was just 55 percent of capacity at the start. The power company must stabilize the cooling system to get the nuclear crisis under control.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 12:27
Background on nuclear stress tests
The so-called "stress tests" on nuclear reactors were introduced by the European Union following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says the tests are designed to determine how well nuclear power facilities can withstand earthquakes and tsunami.
The tests involve simulated quakes and tsunami whose strength is gradually raised to check their effects on the plant and its functions. The goal is to identify a facility's weakness so countermeasures can be taken to prevent another nuclear disaster.
In the EU, the quake simulation is carried out by electric power companies, followed by checks by each country's nuclear safety regulators. The results are then evaluated by experts from other countries.
The tests began in June for all of 143 nuclear reactors in operation in the EU. The evaluations will be completed by April next year.
At a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency last month, ministers agreed that the tests should be carried out at all reactors around the world.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 13:37
New makeshift bridge completed in Minami Sanriku
The opening of a makeshift bridge on a road running through a town devastated by the March 11th earthquake is offering residents hope.
The 70-meter bridge in Minami Sanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, opened on Wednesday. The 2-lane bridge accommodates vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.
A sign on it reads: "The bridge leading tomorrow." The sign was recommended by construction workers to show their hope for the town's recovery.
The land and infrastructure ministry began construction of the new bridge in May. The previous makeshift bridge had only a single lane for vehicles and was prone to traffic jams.
The new bridge is on a north-south highway running through town. It is expected to improve local traffic conditions and volunteer activities.
A mother who drives her child to daycare says she used to have to wait 5 minutes to cross the previous makeshift bridge. She says the new bridge has made her feel a bit more optimistic.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 15:12
Kan apologizes for Matsumoto's resignation
Prime Minister Naoto Kan has acknowledged responsibility for appointing former reconstruction minister Ryu Matsumoto, but repeated his willingness to remain in power until the Diet enacts 3 key bills.
At a meeting of the Lower House Budget Committee on Wednesday, Kan apologized for what he called unpleasant remarks made by Matsumoto, which offended victims of the March 11th disaster. Matsumoto resigned on Tuesday.
Kan said new reconstruction minister Tatsuo Hirano has worked as a deputy for Matsumoto, and that he is from a disaster-hit area. The prime minister expressed hopes that reconstruction efforts will progress further under Hirano.
Kan also said he is doing his best to draw up bills and policies necessary for rebuilding.
He said the functions of the local governments hit by the disaster have been extremely impaired, and that he will try to improve them as long as he stays in power.
Kan also referred to remarks he made in June about his intention to resign after overseeing measures related to the disaster and the Fukushima nuclear accident.
He reiterated that he wants to enact 3 key bills before stepping down. Those are a 2nd extra budget plan for the 2011 fiscal year, a bill on issuing deficit-covering government bonds, and another bill aimed at promoting renewable energy.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 16:28
Microbes used to remove cesium in water and soil
Japanese researchers have found that microbes could help remove cesium from water and soil, raising hopes for their use in decontamination efforts around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
A team led by Professor Ken Sasaki of Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin University has for 10 years been studying ways to remove metals using microbes called phototrophic bacteria.
Such removal is possible because negative ions on the microbes attract positively charged metals. The team recently experimented with 2.5 grams of cesium mixed in water, and about 90 grams of microbes.
The cesium dropped to one-twelfth its original density in 24 hours, and was gone by the third day. The same effect was confirmed in soil.
The team says the microbes could very likely also remove radioactive cesium from around the plant, and plans to test soil and water in Fukushima Prefecture to put the method into practical use.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 17:48
Fishermen urge caution on special economic zone
Japanese fishermen are urging the government to be cautious in setting up a special economic zone to help rebuild the fishing industry in disaster-hit northeastern Japan.
The plan was first proposed by Miyagi Prefecture Governor Yoshihiro Murai and has been included in the government's blueprint for reconstruction.
The special economic zone is designed to invite private investment, but local fishermen are concerned that the scheme might lure businesses that ignore local ways of life.
On Wednesday, about 250 fishermen from across the country took part in a meeting in Tokyo hosted by a national federation of fisheries cooperatives.
The participants adopted a resolution saying they cannot condone the introduction of a special economic zone that could disrupt local communities.
The head of the federation, Ikuhiro Hattori, said the initiative threatens long-established rights of fisheries cooperatives to control local fishing.
He said fishermen are opposed to the forcible entry of businesses that have no regard for local customs.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 19:15
Wastewater filters not working to capacity
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it will look into why the filters in its cooling system to recycle radioactive wastewater are working at a rate far below the initial estimate.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says about 14,670 tons of wastewater had been decontaminated as of 10:00 AM on Wednesday.
The filters were processing 43 tons of wastewater per hour, which is 14 percent below the initial estimate of 50 tons per hour.
This has resulted in the filters working at just 76 percent capacity over the week through Tuesday. That is 4 percentage points below the initial target.
Recycling of wastewater is key to cooling the reactors.
But if the process takes too much time, the utility's schedule for bringing the nuclear crisis under control could be delayed.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011 20:25
Kan orders new rules to restart nuclear reactors
Prime Minister Naoto Kan has ordered members of his cabinet in charge of supervising nuclear plants to set new rules on restarting reactors after regular inspections.
He made the remarks at a meeting of the Lower House Budget Committee on Wednesday.
Kan said under the current rules, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and the industry minister can make a judgment on whether a nuclear reactor should allowed to be restarted after regular checkups.
But the prime minister said he thinks that the public will no longer be convinced with the current system. Kan said he ordered industry minister Banri Kaieda and nuclear crisis minister Goshi Hosono to draw up new regulations to judge whether reactors should be restarted and allowed to continue operating.
He added that the new rules should include the so-called "stress test" advocated by the International Atomic Energy Agency in order to fully convince the public.
At the meeting, Akira Kasai of the opposition Communist Party said it is inconsistent for the government to say it will draw up new rules, while it has already asked local municipalities to allow the restarting of the Genkai power plant in southwestern Japan.
Asked whether the government will withdraw its request for restarting the Genkai plant, Kan said the resumption of its operations should be judged under new rules if the assessment under the current ones is not sufficient.
The prime minister hinted that he will not make a hasty judgment about restarting the Genkai plant.
Wednesday, July 06, 2011 20:35
Govt to conduct stress tests at all nuclear plants
Japan's government plans to conduct stress tests at all of the country's nuclear power plants on the initiative of Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
Kan on Tuesday night instructed industry minister Banri Kaieda to conduct the tests. Kaieda announced the plan on Wednesday morning.
The tests are to be carried out in response to concerns expressed by residents around nuclear plants that are still not operating after regular inspections.
The tests are to be modeled on simulations introduced by the European Union for its nuclear power plants following the Fukushima nuclear accident.
The EU's tests were designed to determine the plants' ability to withstand stress such as that from massive earthquakes and tsunamis.
The tests also assess plants' preparedness for serious situations such as loss of all power and reactor cooling systems.
Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, overseen by the industry ministry, says the safety of Japan's nuclear plants has been secured, and that the planned tests are only for assuring local residents.
But local governments are expected to delay their decisions on allowing utility firms to resume operations of suspended nuclear reactors until the tests and assessments are completed.

Thursday, July 07, 2011 02:57
Tokyo parents demand safe school lunch
Parents of schoolchildren have petitioned the mayor of Tokyo's most populous ward to take measures to secure the safety of school lunches.
They met Nobuto Hosaka, the chief of Setagaya ward, at the ward office on Wednesday to submit a letter of request and a list of signatures. The parents took the action amid rising concerns about school lunch safety among parents in the wake of the ongoing nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
In their letter of request, the parents asked the ward to not only set up a checking system to detect radiation in vegetables, fish, milk and other foodstuffs used in school lunches but also to procure these items only from limited areas.
They handed the mayor a list of about 6,000 signatures in support of their requests.
The mayor told them that no milk has been found tainted with radiation so far and that the harvest areas of foodstuffs will be disclosed at all schools in the ward.
One of the parents said they cannot trust the safety of food, although the authorities have explained that the current provisional legal limit for radioactive substances in food are higher than in other countries. The parent said they all want the ward to set its own rules.
Hosaka said he understands the parents' concerns and promised to convey their requests to the national government.


Voices from around

Japan Times :

Reconstruction minister quits after week
Ryu Matsumoto resigns as reconstruction minister just a week into his stint after drawing flak for insulting two governors in the disaster-hit Tohoku region he was tasked to rebuild, and his exit drives Prime Minister Naoto Kan into a deeper political quagmire.

Tohoku riled by Matsumoto's shortcomings


45% of kids sustained thyroid radiation
Around 45 percent of children in Fukushima Prefecture checked by the prefectural and central governments in late March experienced thyroid exposure to radiation, although in all cases in trace amounts that officials said didn't warrant further examination.

Noda: Pass bond bill or nation goes bust

Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda says the government may run out of money as early as October unless a bill authorizing bond sales is passed in the Diet.

Tepco hit up for rumor damages
A tourism body in Ibaraki Prefecture is seeking about ¥1.8 billion in compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Co. for losses stemming from people's fears of radiation, even though such damages are not covered in a government redress guideline.
The compensation, demanded in a letter filed with the utility's local branch Monday, is based on estimated damage to tourism up to the end of May. The body comprising nine organizations plans to lodge claims for losses from June as well.
The group said the number of tourists and related income decreased due to what it said were groundless rumors amid the nuclear crisis.

LDP planning major energy policy rethink

Tepco pledges Yen 300,000 more to each evacuee

Summer holiday travelers to slip

Utility seeks support toward Hamaoka restart
. Hamaoka Power Plant . INFO .

Crisis may worsen lack of nuclear skills

Cabinet OKs Yen 2 trillion quake-aid budget

Nippon Life mulls more Tepco loans

Geneva's oldest private bank eyes doubling assets held by Japanese


The Voices of Ten Million: Anti-Nuclear Petition Movement Launched in Japan

A group of Japan’s most prominent public intellectuals have launched a movement to amass ten million signatures calling for an end to Japanese nuclear power. The group, which includes Uchihashi Katsuto, Ooe Kenzaburo, Ochiai, Kamata Satoshi, Sakamoto Ryuichi, Sawachi Hisae, Setouchi Jakucho, Tsujii Takashi and Tsurumi Shunsuke, also plan a nationwide series of protests on September 11, the six month anniversary of the tsunami and the beginning of the Fukushima crisis.

We are determined to take actions for a “peaceful and sustainable society”, reconsidering our lifestyles that exploit nature and waste limitless energy, and focusing on natural energy.

For that purpose, we set the following goals:
1. Cancellation of construction plans for new nuclear power plants
2. Planned termination of existing nuclear power plants, including the Hamaoka nuclear power plant.
3. Abolition of “Monju” and nuclear reprocessing plants which use plutonium, the most dangerous radioactive material.
We will achieve these goals in order to save our own lives, and fulfill our responsibilities to the future children.
We will hold the “Goodbye to Nuclear Power Plants” Rally as follows. Please join with your friends and families.
Date: September 19th, 2011, Starting at 13:00
Place: Meiji Park, Tokyo (Five minutes walk from JR Sendagaya station, two minutes walk from metro Oedo line Kokuritsu Kyogijo station (Exit E25)
Expected number of participants: 50,000(There will also be a parade after the rally.)
source : japanfocus.org



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  1. Meltdown:
    What Really Happened at Fukushima?

    It’s been one of the mysteries of Japan’s ongoing nuclear disaster: How much of the damage did the March 11 earthquake inflict on Fukushima Daiichi’s reactors in the 40 minutes before the devastating tsunami arrived? The stakes are high: If the quake alone structurally compromised the plant and the safety of its nuclear fuel, then every other similar reactor in Japan is at risk.
    But what if recirculation pipes and cooling pipes, burst, snapped, leaked, and broke completely after the earthquake -- long before the tidal wave reached the facilities, long before the electricity went out? This would surprise few people familiar with the 40-year-old Unit 1, the grandfather of the nuclear reactors still operating in Japan.
    The authors have spoken to several workers at the plant who recite the same story: Serious damage to piping and at least one of the reactors before the tsunami hit. All have requested anonymity because they are still working at the plant or are connected with TEPCO.

    more by
    Jake Adelstein and David McNeill


  2. cont.

    The reason for official reluctance to admit that the earthquake did direct structural damage to reactor one is obvious. Katsunobu Onda, author of TEPCO: The Dark Empire (東京電力・暗黒の帝国), who sounded the alarm about the firm in his 2007 book explains it this way: “If TEPCO and the government of Japan admit an earthquake can do direct damage to the reactor, this raises suspicions about the safety of every reactor they run. They are using a number of antiquated reactors that have the same systematic problems, the same wear and tear on the piping.”