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. . Bulletins from NHK WORLD
. . Japan Times
August 1, 2011
. . . . . at 2:36
Earquthake M 5.4, off the coast at Urakawa, Hokaido
. . . . . at 4:34
Earthquake M 4.5, off the coast of Miyagi
. . . . . at 22:44
Earthquake M 5.7, off the coast of Iwate
. . . . . at 23:58
Earthquake M 6.1 Suruga Bay
Kanto was shaken quite a bit, with a strength felt weak 5 in Shizuoka prefecture. It was felt all the way from Miyagi (Sendai) to Tottori in Western Japan.
This is getting closer to the Hamaoka Power plant in Shizuoka, but so far (it is now 7 in the morning) there have been no reports of major damage.
The 6.1-magnitude earthquake at 11.58 p.m. local time (1458 GMT) was centered in Suruga Bay, about 32 kilometers (19 miles) south of Shizuoka, the capital city of Shizuoka Prefecture. It struck about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).
source : channel6newsonline.com
Monday, August 01, 2011 05:59 - NHK
Cesium leveling out at the Fukushima reactor No.3
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant said on Sunday that the level of radioactive cesium in seawater around the Number 3 reactor has shown no signs of increasing since Saturday.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has been constantly checking the level of radioactive substances at water intakes in the plant and offshore.
On Saturday, seawater collected near the water intake of the Number 3 reactor recorded 1.3 becquerels of cesium 134 per cubic centimeter, which is 22 times higher than the national legal limit.
Cesium 137 was 17 times the limit at 1.5 becquerels. But the recorded level hasn't changed since Friday.
In May, high levels of radioactive water were poured into the area around the intake and shortly afterwards cesium 134 levels 20,000 times higher than the legal limit were detected there. Levels of the radioactive substance have been decreasing since then.
In addition, cesium-131 was not detected from seawater collected from the intake of reactor Number 2 on Friday and Saturday, although it reached 7.5 million times the limit in April.
TEPCO says it conducted investigations at 4 other spots in coastal waters. It also said that radioactive cesium was detected in one of the coastal waters but was below the legal limit.
The utility says it believes that radioactive water is no longer leaking since levels of radioactive substances have stayed relatively flat.
Monday, August 01, 2011 10:06 - NHK
Chiba, Tochigi to test rice for cesium traces
The Chiba and Tochigi prefectural governments say they will test the rice harvested in their prefectures for radiation.
The decision comes after radioactive cesium was detected in rice straw, vegetables and compost following the Fukushima nuclear accident.
Farmers in Chiba and Tochigi planted rice seedlings in their fields after the accident and are voicing concerns over possible contamination due to fallout from the Fukushima plant.
Officials in Chiba, where harvesting is expected to begin as early as August, say they will sample unmilled rice from one to several farms in each rice-growing municipality to measure radiation levels.
They say they will not allow any farms in a municipality to ship their rice unless the tests show that the radiation readings of samples from the area are within the safety limit set by the central government.
Tochigi authorities plan to have each area submit a sample for testing. They say they will also purchase 2 special devices to detect radioactive cesium, although they are still discussing the details of the testing method with the government.
In Tochigi, rice harvesting will start in early September.
The 2 prefectures are the first in Japan to announce that they will test rice for radioactive cesium.
Monday, August 01, 2011 18:45
Govt bans beef cattle shipments from Iwate
Japan's government has ordered Iwate Prefecture to suspend shipments of all beef cattle, after radiation levels above government standards were detected in some beef from the region.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Monday that the ban was issued to the governor of Iwate after levels of radioactive cesium above the standard were found in beef from 2 municipalities.
Edano said the government will ensure that cattle farmers receive appropriate compensation, adding it will swiftly lift the ban for beef whose safety is confirmed.
Iwate is the third prefecture to face a beef shipment ban after Fukushima and Miyagi. Some cattle in Iwate were fed rice straw contaminated with radioactive cesium.
Authorities have confirmed that beef from 6 such cattle was contaminated with high levels of cesium.
The government will require the inspection of all beef from farmers who shipped meat contaminated with high levels of cesium or used tainted rice straw. Other farmers are asked to check their first beef to be shipped to market. The government says it will allow beef shipments when radiation levels are confirmed to be below the standard.
Iwate ships about 36,000 beef cattle a year. The prefecture says it will check all cattle for radiation exposure before shipment.
The government will also ask the prefecture to temporarily reduce the number of shipments to match its inspection capability.
Monday, August 01, 2011 19:15
Govt to check rice for radiation
Japan's government is to ask rice-producing regions to check their crops for radiation before and after harvest.
The government plans to provide local authorities with details of the tests this week. The tests are designed to ensure that rice on the market will be free of radioactive cesium believed to come from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The government says it will suspend rice shipments if levels of cesium exceeding the safety limit are detected.
All 6 prefectures in the Tohoku region, northern Japan, have decided to test their rice for radiation. Tokyo and 12 other prefectures also say they will carry out or consider radiation checks.
Radioactive cesium has been detected in rice straw, vegetables and compost in wide areas following the accident at the Fukushima plant.
Farmers have voiced concern that their rice may be contaminated, because it was planted after the accident.
Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo will start tests soon, as the region's harvest begins in early August.
Monday, August 01, 2011 21:00
Highly radioactive water flows into another place
Highly radioactive water has been found in the basement of a building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant near the storage facility for contaminated water.
Tokyo Electric Power Company said on Monday that it discovered about 700 tons of contaminated water on Saturday in the basement of an on-site building.
The utility said the water contained 19,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium 134 per cubic centimeter, and 22,000 becquerels of cesium 137 --- both very high levels.
Until June, the building was connected by a hose with another building where highly radioactive water is now being stored. The buildings are located next to each other and are part of the plant's waste disposal facility.
The utility is investigating how the leakage happened but says it has already started the work to stop the contaminated water from leaking out of the building.
4 killed, 2 missing in torrential rain in Japan
Torrential rains in central and northeastern Japan have left 4 people dead and 2 missing, after one more death was confirmed on Monday.
The rains last week and through the weekend in Niigata and Fukushima Prefectures have burst river banks and caused flooding in many areas. More than 7,400 homes have been damaged.
Huge mudflows have also inundated rice paddies in Niigata Prefecture, a key rice growing area. This is expected to affect the region's harvest.
In the major rice producing city of Tokaichi, torrents of water, mud, and driftwood entered rice paddies along a river after it overflowed its banks.
Niigata Prefecture says the rain has damaged at least 1,042 hectares of farmland and rice paddies in 13 municipalities.
The full extent of damage will become clear as more reports from affected areas reach prefectural authorities.
. . . . . Japan Times . . . . .
Iwate to join cattle ban; hundreds more suspected tainted
Iwate Prefecture will be ordered to stop shipment of all beef cattle after excessive cesium is found in a sixth animal and hundreds more are found to have been shipped for slaughter.
Power unions donate Yen 100 million to DPJ
Energy plan shakeup
Japan finally seems to be shifting from nuclear power
August 2, 2011
Tuesday, August 02, 2011 06:33 - NHK
No-entry decontamination to start next month
Japan's minister in charge of the nuclear crisis says full-scale decontamination measures will begin next month for the 20-kilometer evacuation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Goshi Hosono made the remark on a commercial TV channel on Monday.
Hosono said the government will begin decontamination on a large scale and continue monitoring radiation levels. He said the government is aiming for a complete cleanup of the evacuation zone.
The minister added that radioactive materials must be removed from the zone so that residents can return home by early next year. January will mark the end of the second stage of a plan to achieve a cold shutdown of the damaged nuclear reactors.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011 06:33
APEC Sendai to discuss corporate role in disasters
Members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation will discuss corporate responsibilities in the event of disasters. The conference is to start Tuesday for two days in the northeastern city of Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, which was hit hard by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
About 100 experts and government officials from 18 countries and regions met at a reception in a hotel on Monday. ...
Tuesday, August 02, 2011 06:33 - NHK
Highest radioactivity level detected at nuke plant
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it has detected 10,000 millisieverts of radioactivity per hour at the plant. The level is the highest detected there since the nuclear accident in March.
Workers of Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, on Monday measured the extremely high level of radioactivity near pipes at the bottom of a duct between the No.1 and neighboring No.2 reactor buildings.
According to the science ministry's brochure, if a human received 10,000 millisieverts, they would likely die within a week or two.
TEPCO has restricted access to the site and the surrounding area.
The utility says the workers taking measurements on Monday were exposed to up to 4 millisieverts.
The utility says the high level of radioactivity was detected because the pipes were used to vent air containing radioactive substances from the crippled No.1 reactor on March 12th.
The utility had detected a maximum of 1,000 millisieverts per hour outdoors in debris, and also found a maximum of 4,000 millisieverts per hour indoors in one of the reactor buildings.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011 09:39
Nuclear agency's meddling revealed again
Another case of questionable conduct by Japan's nuclear regulator has come to light. A former official of the nuclear safety agency has admitted asking a regional utility to mobilize its people for a government symposium on nuclear power 5 years ago.
One of the agency's former section chiefs told NHK that he made the request to an executive of Shikoku Electric Power Company ahead of the symposium in Ehime Prefecture.
The former section chief said he pushed the utility to take part actively in the event by posing questions and expressing opinions. He said he wanted its participation because opponents of nuclear power had prevented constructive debate at a similar symposium the previous year.
The former section chief denied that his aim was to manipulate public opinion. Still, Shikoku Electric mobilized retired employees and people from its affiliates, providing some of them with samples of the desired questions and opinions.
The theme of the symposium was the planned use of mixed uranium-and-plutonium fuel at the utility's nuclear plant in the prefecture. Back then, the company was waiting for local approval to start this method of power generation.
Earlier, another utility --- Chubu Electric --- reported that the nuclear safety agency had asked it to make sure that questions in favor of nuclear power be asked at a government symposium in 2007.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011 17:55
Govt sets new criteria for contaminated fertilizer
Japan's government has laid down a new set of criteria for the use of fertilizers that may be contaminated with radioactive cesium.
On Tuesday, the agriculture ministry urged farmers not to use humus and compost that contain 400 becquerels of cesium per kilogram or more.
It also called on them not to use livestock feed containing 300 becquerels of cesium per kilogram or more. For fish feed, the limit was set at 100 becquerels per kilogram.
The ministry says it will notify local governments how to measure cesium in fertilizers as soon as possible.
Last week, the agriculture ministry asked famers and fertilizer producers in 17 prefectures in eastern and central Japan to voluntarily refrain from using or selling compost and humus made from fallen leaves possibly contaminated with radioactive cesium.
This was after humus shipped from Tochigi Prefecture was found to be contaminated with radioactive substances.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011 18:07 - NHK
Govt bans shipments of Tochigi beef cattle
Japan's government has ordered Tochigi Prefecture to suspend its shipments of beef cattle due to fears of radioactive contamination.
The government ordered the ban on Tuesday after beef from 4 head of cattle shipped from 2 municipalities in the prefecture was found to contain unsafe amounts of radioactive cesium.
Cesium contamination was also detected in rice straw used to feed beef cattle in the prefecture.
Tochigi is the fourth prefecture ordered to suspend beef cattle shipments, following Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate.
The government says it will allow resumption of shipments if radiation levels of all beef from farms whose shipments and feed were contaminated, as well as beef from other farms, fall below the government standard.
Tochigi says it will test all of its beef cattle, but the prefecture ships up to 55,000 head of cattle per year, and fewer than 30,000 can be processed locally.
The government is to ask the prefecture to draw up realistic plans for resuming shipments, such as limiting the number of cattle to be shipped.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011 19:33
Govt to conduct comprehensive radiation monitoring
Japan's government has decided to start comprehensive radiation monitoring this year by coordinating organizations that have been checking radiation levels since the Fukushima nuclear accident in March.
The government decided on the plan on Tuesday in response to criticism about difficulty in referring to results of such checks by various ministries, agencies, prefectural governments and utilities.
The plan divides monitoring activities into 6 fields including air, water, farm soil and grass, and food.
Organizations are to be in charge of monitoring and analyzing results in each field and proposing concrete measures.
The government is to set up about 250 monitoring points across the country and draw up maps showing radiation levels at children's facilities, such as schools and public libraries.
The science ministry is expected to set up a website to provide such data by mid-August.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011 21:04
Nissan develops EV-based home power supply system
Nissan Motor has developed a power supply system using electric vehicle batteries for use during blackouts.
The system is able to provide an average household with enough electricity to ride out a blackout for up to 2 days.
It connects batteries with distribution switch boards, to allow households to run air conditioners and other electric appliances in the event of a power outage.
Nissan aims to put the system into practical use by spring next year after completing tests.
The automaker says it was inspired by a stream of inquiries and requests from residents in areas where power shortages occurred due to the March 11th disaster, and stepped up efforts to develop the system.
. . . . . Japan Times . . . . .
Two-phase tests set to check rice
The farm ministry is planning a two-phase rice test to check this year's crop for radioactive contamination from the leaking power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.
Iwate beef cattle shipments banned
The government bans all beef cattle shipments from Iwate Prefecture after detecting cesium over the state limit from a number of cows.
Saga chief sought to spin reactor talks
Power saving goal hit on 50% of July weekdays / setsuden
August 3, 2011
Wednesday, August 03, 2011 10:19 - NHK
Shimane Prefecture to test all beef cattle
Another local government in Japan says it will conduct radiation checks of all beef cattle to ease consumer concerns about food safety.
Shimane Prefecture in Western Japan said on Tuesday that it will blanket-test cattle starting as early as next week.
The local government decided to run tests after radioactive cesium exceeding government safety levels was detected in rice straw used for feed at a farm in the prefecture in late July.
Although subsequent tests of beef cattle found far lower levels of radioactivity than the government standard, prices of beef from Shimane have plummeted and wholesalers are avoiding all beef cattle from the prefecture.
Officials of the prefecture say all processed beef will undergo preliminary screening, and meat registering 250 becquerels per kilogram or more of radioactive cesium, or half the government safety level, will be tested further.
A senior agricultural official of the prefecture says it decided to conduct the tests to stop unfounded rumors from spreading. He said the prefecture will ask the national government to fully fund the tests.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011 10:19
Fukushima to begin beef cattle buy-up next week
A plan by the Fukushima prefectural government to buy up beef cattle from farmers will be launched as early as next week. Producers there have been unable to ship their cattle after beef in the region was found to be highly radioactive.
The cattle are believed to have been fed rice straw contaminated with radioactive cesium exceeding the government limit.
Fukushima Prefecture has decided to buy back beef cattle that have become too old for shipment due to the shipping suspension in place since last month.
On Tuesday, a producers' group agreed with the Fukushima prefectural government that it would set up a consultative body as early as next week to process applications. The body will purchase beef cattle from farmers and the prefectural government is to provide subsidies.
But the producers and the prefecture failed to agree on purchase prices, and will continue discussions.
A senior official of the producers' group said the number of beef cattle ready for shipment is on the rise and farmers are struggling with how to feed and manage the animals. The official said the buy-up plan needs to be implemented without delay.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011 12:44 - NHK
Nuclear compensation bill enacted
Japan's Diet has approved legislation to help Tokyo Electric Power Company compensate victims of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The Upper House of the Diet approved the bill on Wednesday with majority support from both ruling and major opposition parties.
Under the law, an entity will be established to help the utility pay compensation to people and industries affected by the nuclear disaster.
Other utility firms that operate nuclear power plants are expected to contribute funds to the new organization. The government will also issue special bonds to inject public funds into the body.
The government now plans to select personnel and work out details of the new entity with a view to setting it up by early September at the latest.
The government also aims to have an expert panel step up its efforts to evaluate assets of Tokyo Electric.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011 13:54
Govt comes up with plan for a new nuclear watchdog
The Japanese government plans to create a new nuclear safety agency, in order to separate regulatory functions from the industry ministry which promotes nuclear energy.
The government has been reviewing the current nuclear administration following the Fukushima nuclear accident.
The draft plan calls for detaching regulatory functions of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency from the industry ministry, and establishing a new nuclear regulatory body under the Environment Ministry.
The new body would be in charge of initial responses to nuclear accidents and radiation monitoring as well as control of radioactive substances.
It would also be responsible for taking measures against nuclear terrorism in coordination with public security authorities.
The Nuclear Safety Commission, currently under the Cabinet Office, would be renamed and placed under the new nuclear watchdog as its advisory organ.
On Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters that he believes the plan is one option. He said the government must comprehensively study the plan to review the independence, neutrality and feasibility of the new body.
Edano said it will take time to overhaul Japan's nuclear administration, and that an organizational change could be implemented in stages.
He added officials share the view that the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency should be separated from the industry ministry around April next year.
The government plans to finalize the plan shortly and submit related bills to the Diet early next year.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011 17:34
Cattle farmers demand compensation from TEPCO
Japanese farmers have staged a protest in front of Tokyo Electric Power Company's headquarters in Tokyo, demanding compensation over a ban on beef shipments due to fears of radioactive contamination.
About 350 cattle and rice farmers from across the country took part in the protest on Wednesday against the operator of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The rally was organized by a nationwide group of farmers after the discovery of high levels of radioactive cesium in beef caused a ban on cattle shipments from 4 prefectures, including Fukushima and Miyagi.
To highlight the fact that their animals were fed contaminated rice straw, the protesters displayed cattle and straw on a truck in front of the headquarters. The items were borrowed from a farmer in Chiba, east of Tokyo, where beef shipments are not banned. The farmers demanded the utility pay compensation for damages caused by the ban and harm from unfounded rumors.
After the demonstration, about 30 farmers handed a letter stating their demands to a TEPCO official.
The official apologized to the farmers for causing serious trouble, and said the company will compensate them fairly based on surveys conducted by the central government and municipalities.
A farmer who raises beef cattle in Fukushima said she is angry that the utility has not yet paid any compensation to those who have been ruined by the ban.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011 17:50
Government to test rice for radioactivity
The Japanese government says that rice harvested in the coming months will be tested for radioactivity.
The agriculture ministry announced at a meeting of rice farmers on Wednesday that rice grown in areas with high levels of radioactive cesium in the soil will be tested both before and after harvest.
If the amount of cesium in the post-harvest test exceeds the government-set safety level of 500 becquerels per kilogram, shipments of rice from that area will be banned.
Farmers will be obligated to dispose of the banned rice. Tokyo Electric Power Company, the owner of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, is to pay compensation to the farmers.
The government says 14 prefectures from northeastern through central Japan will be subject to the inspections.
Tests will also be carried out in areas where more than 1,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram in the soil or more than 0.1 microsieverts of atmospheric radiation have been detected.
Other municipalities will be asked to refer to the government guidelines when carrying out tests on a voluntary basis.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011 19:07
Discussions begin on how to scrap Fukushima plant
A government-appointed panel has begun discussing the timetable for decommissioning the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
About 30 people, including members of the Atomic Energy Commission and officials from the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, took part in the panel's initial meeting on Wednesday.
Yuichi Hayase, who joined US researchers in studying the accident at Three Mile Island in 1979, briefed the participants on how that plant was brought under control.
Hayase explained that it took 11 years to extract all the fuel rods, as workers were coping with the world's first nuclear meltdown. It was also necessary to develop remote-controlled robots and technology to process contaminated wastewater.
Panel members discussed middle- and long-term challenges in the decommissioning process, such as how to repair the reactor containment vessels and decontaminate the buildings by remote control to enable extraction of the fuel rods.
One expert cited the need for long-term training of specialized personnel, while another said international expertise is essential in drawing up the timetable.
Kyoto University Professor Hajimu Yamana 山名元 , who heads the panel, said he expects longer preparations for extracting the fuel rods, because the reactor cores at Fukushima are more badly damaged than at Three Mile Island.
The panel plans to finalize the timetable by early next year, at the end of the second stage of the process to bring the plant under control.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011 21:02
Nagasaki mayor calls for nuclear-free NE Asia
The mayor of Nagasaki has urged the Japanese government to start efforts to denuclearize Northeast Asia, as the first step toward creating a nuclear-free world.
Mayor Tomihisa Taue met with Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Mayor Taue said he has been garnering signatures from municipality chiefs across the country for a petition calling for Northeast Asia to be denuclearized. He said he has collected more than 100 signatures so far. He said the Japanese government should support the movement in order to start denuclearization efforts.
Foreign Minister Matsumoto said US President Barack Obama called for a nuclear-free world and that the Japanese government has been making serious efforts toward achieving nuclear arms control and non-proliferation.
He says it will be not easy to realize such a world but that the government will take the will of the mayors seriously.
After the meeting, Taue told reporters that no progress will be made toward scrapping nuclear arms as long as people only call for abolishing such weapons without taking any specific action.
He says showing the efforts of Japan, the only country attacked by nuclear bombs, to realize a nuclear-free Northeast Asia will become a step toward reaching the next stage.
. . . . . Japan Times . . . . .
NISA linked to other faked support for nuclear power
A former senior official of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency acknowledges that NISA asked Shikoku Electric Power to have its employees attend a government-sponsored symposium on atomic energy in 2006.
NISA raps Tepco for lax ID checks of employees at Fukushima No. 1
APEC workshop focuses on disaster preparedness
Compensation law is flawed
August 4, 2011
Thursday, August 04, 2011 07:57 - NHK
Evacuation orders to be lifted in late August
The government says it wants to lift evacuation advisories in a few weeks for areas 20 to 30 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
A recovery timetable released on Wednesday proposes lifting the evacuation notice later this month or early next since the situation at the plant has improved.
The plan covers areas between 20 and 30 kilometers from the plant. Residents there are currently advised to stay indoors and prepare for emergency evacuation.
Many residents there have been forced to evacuate, and schools and hospitals are closed.
The government says it will begin negotiations with local municipalities later this week and ask them to draw up reconstruction plans.
The measures are expected to include reopening hospitals and other public services and decontaminating schoolyards.
The government says it will support each local government to help them bring residents back home.
Thursday, August 04, 2011 07:57
TEPCO reports cooling system's reliability
The operator of the Fukushima power plant says it could restart injecting water into its crippled reactors within 3 hours after mechanical problems or power failure halt the plant's cooling system.
Tokyo Electric Power Company made the claim in a report to the industrial ministry's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency on Wednesday.
The agency asked TEPCO to report how it will deal with the failure of the cooling system, which recycles decontaminated radioactive water as coolant for reactors.
The report says TEPCO could restart the system within 30 minutes of a loss of power or the water pumps breaking down by using extra pumps and emergency generators.
If problems occur simultaneously, TEPCO says it will use fire engines to restart injecting coolant water within 3 hours.
The report admits that if the circulation of coolant water is suspended for several hours, temperatures in the reactors could climb high enough to cause radioactive releases, or another hydrogen explosion.
The company says it would increase the amount of coolant water to the maximum levels in such an emergency.
TEPCO's report is expected to help the government review an emergency evacuation advisory for local residents.
Thursday, August 04, 2011 09:47 - NHK
TEPCO to attach hoses to improve water filter flow
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will attach makeshift hoses to its wastewater filtering system to help improve the water flow.
Tokyo Electric Power Company has been filtering highly contaminated wastewater to remove radioactive material and salt, and then pumping the water back into the reactors as coolant.
But the filters have been working at about 35 percent below capacity, likely because metal piping connecting the tanks has been narrowed by mud.
The utility therefore plans to stop the system for nearly 12 hours on Thursday and attach bypass hoses at 2 locations.
TEPCO has also installed a new device to remove radioactive cesium, in addition to the one currently in use. It plans to start test-running the device on Saturday, and begin full operation next Monday.
TEPCO aims to improve the efficiency of its water filtering system to lower wastewater pooled in facility basements to safe levels as soon as possible.
The utility says it plans to achieve this for the No.1 and No. 2 reactors in early September.
Thursday, August 04, 2011 11:05
Japan plans to dismiss top nuclear officials
The Japanese government plans to dismiss 3 top officials in charge of nuclear power policy over their handling of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda announced the move in a hastily arranged news conference on Thursday.
Kaieda said the ministry will soon carry out a major personnel reshuffle. He added he had been considering a restructure for about a month.
The 3 officials are the Vice Minister of the Economy, Trade, and Industry Ministry, Kazuo Matsunaga 松永和夫; the Director General of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, Nobuaki Terasaka 寺坂 信昭（; and the Director General of the Natural Resources and Energy Agency, Tetsuhiro Hosono 細野哲弘. The ministry oversees the 2 agencies.
Thursday, August 04, 2011 11:05
Radiation limit for children will be lowered
The Japanese government says the yearly radiation limit for school children will be lowered as early as this month.
The government has set the limit for accumulated external radiation for children involved in outdoor activities at 20 millisieverts per year, in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident.
But many parents and teachers want the figure to be lowered. Some schools are restricting outdoor activities by their pupils even if radiation levels are below the government-set standard.
Education Minister Yoshiaki Takaki will visit an elementary school in Fukushima Prefecture on Thursday. He will inspect progress on work to replace the topsoil of its schoolyard and talk to school staff.
The ministry says it will make a final decision based on the outcome of the minister's tour and results of radiation monitoring in the areas near the troubled Fukushima plant. The limit will be most likely lowered in late August, when the ongoing summer recess is over.
Thursday, August 04, 2011 17:15
2m tsunami waves caused severe structural damage
Japan's government has created a map of destruction by the March 11th tsunami showing that the severity of structural damage increased significantly in areas where waves exceeded a height of 2 meters.
The map made by the Land and Infrastructure Ministry shows the height of waves and severity of damage for every 10,000 square meters along a vast stretch of Japan's northeastern coast.
The map uses 4 different colors to indicate the height of waves on a scale ranging from below 2 meters to over 8 meters.
It shows that in areas hit by waves under 2 meters, less than 35 percent of buildings were completely destroyed, but that in areas with higher waves, the rate surged to over 70 percent.
The ministry is to provide the data to local governments in the disaster zone to help them plan reconstruction to prevent damage by future tsunamis.
Thursday, August 04, 2011 21:21
Nuke plant hosts call for quick end to crisis
Local communities hosting nuclear power plants in Japan have urged the government to thoroughly investigate the Fukushima accident to determine its cause.
An association of 25-member municipalities held its annual meeting in Tokyo on Thursday.
Many community heads complained that they cannot explain to their constituents the need for nuclear plants while the government's energy policies remain unsettled. They also urged the government to quickly end the problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear station.
Others called on the government to set up a professional nuclear watchdog, after separating the current Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency from the industry ministry.
Industry minister Banri Kaieda apologized for the enormous trouble that the crisis in Fukushima has caused to other municipalities with nuclear power plants.
He said the government is determined to pour all its efforts into handling the accident.
. . . . . Japan Times . . . . .
New ministry home eyed for nuke agency
The government may separate the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and merge its functions into a new agency to be created under the Environment Ministry, according to a minister's draft plan.
NISA scandal widens to two more utilities ！！！
A former senior official of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency acknowledges that he asked two more power companies to mobilize their employees for government-sponsored symposiums on nuclear energy, in the latest revelations of alleged attempts to manipulate public opinion.
Law on nuclear disaster compensation is enacted
August 5, 2011
Friday, August 05, 2011 05:46 - NHK
Nuclear reactor to shut down for inspection
A nuclear reactor at a power plant in Niigata Prefecture, central Japan, will be shut down soon for a regular inspection. As a result, 39 reactors, or over 70 percent out of the total of 54 in the country, will be out of service.
The No.1 reactor at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant 柏崎刈羽原発 will reduce power output starting Friday afternoon and stop it entirely early Saturday morning for a 2-month inspection.
It is the first reactor run by the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, to undergo an inspection since the nuclear accident at the Fukushima power plant. After the reactor is shut down, only 3 of the Tokyo-based company's 17 reactors will be in service.
Another reactor at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant is scheduled for a regular inspection from late August.
TEPCO plans to increase output at its thermal power plants, but is also calling for the continuation of ongoing energy-saving efforts.
Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida 泉田裕彦 has said he won't decide whether he will agree to restart the reactors until the cause of the accident at the Fukushima plant is disclosed.
Friday, August 05, 2011 07:42
Gov't to buy up all cesium-contaminated beef
The Japanese government is set to buy up all beef contaminated with radioactive cesium that has already reached the distribution chain. It will include beef with radioactive cesium at levels within the national safety limit.
The agriculture ministry decided on the plan as an additional measure to support beef cattle farmers. It is expected to announce the move soon.
Under the plan, the government will buy about 3,500 head of cattle which are suspected to have been fed rice straw containing cesium in excess of the safety limit. They will be incinerated. The government will also expand subsidies to beef cattle farmers.
Farmers who are unable to ship their cattle due to restrictions will receive 50,000 yen, or about 630 dollars, per head of cattle regardless of the cattle's age.
The government will also provide financial support to prefectures that are buying up beef cattle which have become too old to ship due to the ban.
The government is already buying up beef containing unsafe levels of radioactive cesium that reached the market through private organizations. The new measure is in response to calls for more support by farmers.
Friday, August 05, 2011 14:18
Utilities to be probed for influence peddling
Industry minister Banri Kaieda says an independent panel has begun investigating allegations that nuclear safety regulators repeatedly tried to influence public symposiums on the use of nuclear energy.
On Friday, Kaieda told reporters that a third-party task force is looking into claims that the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency intervened in town meetings with the help of local power companies.
He said the panel will thoroughly investigate allegations that Chubu and Shikoku electric power companies, under the agency's instructions, lined up participants and requested that they ask prearranged questions in favor of nuclear power.
He added that Japan's other major utilities will also be subject to investigations for potentially engaging in similar dubious conduct.
Kaieda said that he wants the task force to propose a set of guidelines on to what extent the government should be involved in organizing public symposiums.
Asian markets tumble
Share prices in other Asian markets also plunged across the board on Friday, following the nosedive in New York.
Yen rises again on global doubts
In Tokyo, the yen has strengthened further against the dollar as global share prices plunged on growing concerns about the world economy.
The overnight drop of more than 500 points from the Dow Jones Industrial Average in New York prompted dollar-selling on the Tokyo Foreign Exchange on Friday.
The dollar was trading in the mid-78 yen range in Tokyo on Friday evening, more than one yen down from the same time Thursday.
The drop comes after the dollar rose by about 3 yen to touch the 80-yen level on Thursday following market intervention by Japanese authorities to stem the yen's surge.
Market analysts warn that the yen may appreciate further depending on US employment data due out later on Friday.
Friday, August 05, 2011 19:32
Panel compiles nuclear compensation guidelines
A Japanese government panel has updated its guidelines on compensating people affected by the nuclear accident in Fukushima. Nearly 5 months into the disaster, full-scale payments are now likely to start.
The panel of experts finalized what they call interim guidelines at a meeting on Friday, after releasing a set of rules on compensating evacuees and businesses affected by widespread fears of radiation.
The guidelines broaden the range of such businesses to include cattle farmers in 17 prefectures where rice straw with excessive levels of radioactive cesium was distributed as feed. Also now eligible are green tea producers in 8 prefectures where radioactive substances turned up in tea leaves.
Travel agents in Fukushima had been included as eligible due to domestic tour cancellations, but the new guidelines add agents in 3 neighboring prefectures. Travel agents whose foreign customers canceled trips after March 11th are to be compensated regardless of prefecture.
Exporters are to receive damages for merchandise produced or shipped but rejected or restricted by foreign governments due to radiation fears.
The guidelines' release comes 2 days after the Diet enacted a bill to launch a new entity to help nuclear plant operator TEPCO begin full-scale compensation payouts.
TEPCO has already started paying provisional damages to people affected by the nuclear accident. But the recipients and others have complained that the payments are too small and too late.
Disney Resort operator posts biggest sales drop
The operator of the 2 Disney amusement parks in Japan says it posted its biggest quarterly sales decline because of the March 11th earthquake.
Oriental Land said on Friday that sales in the April-June period stood at around 620 million dollars, down 43 percent from a year ago. ...
Friday, August 05, 2011 21:21
Japan to continue nuclear exports
The Japanese government says it will continue exporting nuclear technology for now, despite Prime Minister Naoto Kan's recent remarks calling for a review of the nation's nuclear policy.
The Japanese cabinet approved on Friday a document confirming that Japan should continue ongoing negotiations and uphold past agreements.
The document says Japan should provide its nuclear power technology to countries that wish to use it, while ensuring the highest standards of safety.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano later told reporters that the government's decision is not inconsistent with the prime minister's recent remarks.
Edano said what is important is to compile policies on nuclear technology cooperation at an early date, based on conclusions drawn from the Fukushima nuclear accident.
Until the March accident, the government had been promoting nuclear plant exports as part of the nation's growth strategy.
. . . . . Japan Times . . . . .
Nuclear policy trio face ax
Industry minister Banri Kaieda announces he is firing three senior nuclear officials over the mishandling of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
State rolls out rice disposal rules
Tepco makes little headway in decontaminating water
Italian reporter caught in media glare
Pio d'Emilia, an Italian journalist and long-term Tokyo resident who has been Prime Minister Naoto Kan's friend for about 20 years, has suddenly been put in the spotlight of the Japanese media for reportedly influencing Kan's position on nuclear power and his remote connection with an extreme leftist group. ...
Restoring Tohoku railway lines
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