August 29 - 31

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. Joys of Japan .
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from Hiroshima
to Fukushima
still the joys of japan

this ravaged land
still a joy to behold;
rice wine

Johnny Baranski / facebook


and the new leader of the DPJ is
Noda Yoshihiko  野田佳彦
most probably becoming the next prime minister

Noda profile - NHK
Yoshihiko Noda is 54 years old.
He is a 5th term Lower House member of the governing Democratic Party. He was first elected to the Diet in 1993 as a member of the now defunct Japan New Party.
Noda ran for the Democratic Party President in 2002, but was defeated by Seiji Maehara.
Noda was appointed as senior vice finance minister under the cabinet of Yukio Hatoyama, and has served as finance minister in the Kan administration.
Noda initially intended to become the leader of the DPJ by securing support from the current party executives.
But after Maehara also ran for the race, Noda pledged to overcome differences among party members and establish unity.

. The Political Situation .  INFO .


August 29, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011 - NHK
No cesium detected in seawater near No.3 reactor
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says no radioactive cesium was detected in seawater around the No.3 reactor on Saturday. This was the first time the substance was not detected since the monitoring began.
Cesium levels around the No.2 reactor were down slightly from those detected on the previous day.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, monitors the concentration of radioactive substances in seawater near the water intakes of the plant and offshore.
Seawater collected near the water intake of the No.2 reactor on Saturday recorded 0.077 becquerels of cesium-134 per cubic centimeter, which is 1.3 times higher than the government-set safety limit.
It also contained 0.075 becquerels of cesium-137, or 0.83 times the limit. Both figures were slightly down from the levels found on the previous day.
In April, the level of cesium-137 in seawater near the water intake of the No.2 reactor was found to be 1.1 million times the safety limit. Since then, the density has declined, and recently is leveling out.
Seawater sampled near the water intake of the No.3 reactor did not contain any cesium-134 or cesium-137.
No radioactive materials were found in seawater taken from 7 locations along the coast and offshore.

Monday, August 29, 2011 13:06
Rice shipments begin in Fukushima
Rice farmers in Fukushima Prefecture have begun shipping early-harvested rice after it cleared tests for possible radioactive contamination. Rice is Japan's staple food.
The first batch of newly harvested rice was loaded onto trucks at a farm in Koriyama City on Monday.
Earlier this month, Fukushima checked radiation levels of early-harvested varieties of rice at paddies of all rice growers in the prefecture. Test results confirmed the safety of all the checked rice, although a small amount of radioactive cesium was detected in rice grown at one location.
A farmer who shipped his rice on Monday said he feels relieved as he is able to offer safe rice to consumers. But he said the early-harvested variety accounts for only 5 percent of his crop, so he is still worried if he can ship other varieties, including the mainstay Koshihikari brand.
The freshly harvested rice will be available in local super markets from Tuesday.

Monday, August 29, 2011 14:36
New DPJ president elected
The Democratic Party has chosen Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda as its new President. He is set to succeed Naoto Kan as Prime Minister.
Noda won 215 votes of the valid 392 in a runoff on Monday afternoon. Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda obtained 177.
The runoff was held after none of the 5 candidates succeeded in securing a majority in the first round of voting by the party's Diet members.
In the first round, Kaieda won 143 of the valid 395 votes, followed by Noda with 102 votes, former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara with 74 votes, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Michihiko Kano with 52 votes and former land and transport minister Sumio Mabuchi with 24 votes.

Monday, August 29, 2011 14:57
Workers enter Fukushima Daini containment vessel
Workers have entered a containment vessel at the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant for the first time since it was hit by the March quake and tsunami.
Tokyo Electric Power Company said it sent workers into the containment vessel housing the No. 4 reactor on Monday. They are checking for possible damage, plus measuring radiation levels and the temperature inside.
TEPCO says it wanted to carry out the inspections as pressure inside the containment vessel had increased at one time after the disaster.
TEPCO says the condition of the No.4 reactor has been stable since a cold shutdown was achieved 4 days after the disaster by using an external power supply.

Monday, August 29, 2011 20:26
Map of radiation levels on farmland released
Japan's agriculture ministry has unveiled a map of radiation levels in agricultural areas. It shows levels of radioactive cesium are higher than the government-regulated standard in some areas.
The ministry drew up the map based on analysis of soil samples taken at 580 locations in 6 prefectures including Fukushima where the tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant is located.
The map released on Monday shows radioactive cesium exceeding the regulated level of 5,000 bequerels per kilogram in 9 locations. Vegetables and fruit are grownin the farmland.
The government has banned rice planting on farmland contaminated with radioactive cesium higher than 5,000 bequerels per kilogram, following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The map shows contamination of 8,571 bequerels on a field in Date City and 6,882 bequerels in Iwaki City, both in Fukushima Prefecture.
In areas where rice planting has been prohibited, including Namie Town and Iitate Village in Fukushima, the map shows radioactive cesium of over 20,000 bequerels per kilogram.
The agriculture ministry plans to increase monitoring around the highly contaminated farmland.

Monday, August 29, 2011 21:43
High radiation levels on land near Fukushima plant
The education and science ministry has identified land near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant where radiation levels are higher than IAEA-designated emergency levels.
The ministry released a map on Monday showing the contaminated land. It conducted a survey for radioactive cesium at some 2,200 locations mainly in Fukushima Prefecture in June and July.
The map shows 29.46 million bequerels of cesium on one-square-meter land in a location in Okuma Town, several hundreds meters from the nuclear plant.
The figure exceeds the IAEA standard of 10 million bequerels per square meter under which people are required to temporarily evacuate.
Two other monitoring spots northwest of the nuclear plant were also found contaminated with radioactive cesium exceeding the IAEA level.
In the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, people in areas contaminated with 555,000 bequerels of cesium per one square meter were required to temporarily relocate.
The latest survey has identified contaminated land outside the government's no-entry zones in Fukushima Prefecture that is similar to Chernobyl.

. . . . . Japan Times . . . . .

Tepco eyes 10% rate hike for spring
Power bills in Tokyo may climb by over 10 percent next year as Tepco attempts to cover its Fukushima-triggered return to thermal power by raising rates.

Town in Iwate elects new mayor
The town of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, elects a former official to fill the void left by the death of its mayor in the March 11 quake and tsunami.

Cesium in incinerator dust across east Japan
High levels of cesium isotopes are cropping up in dust at 42 incineration plants in seven prefectures, including Chiba and Iwate, an Environment Ministry survey of the Kanto and Tohoku regions shows.
... Local governments have been instructed to temporarily store their ash and dust at disposal sites until the panel reaches a conclusion.

METI faces reform in energy policy revamp

The feudal lords of power
The inherently arrogant nature of the electric power industry in Japan came to light recently when Kyushu Electric Power Co. tried to influence a public hearing on whether to allow the company to resume operation of its Genkai nuclear power stations in Saga Prefecture. Kyushu Electric urged its employees and subcontractors to submit a large number of emails in support of resumption.


August 30, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 07:11 - NHK
Power-cutting requirement to end early
The Japanese government plans to end early the power-cutting requirement imposed on large-scale electricity users in the east and northeastern part of the country affected by the March 11th disaster. Power shortages were expected this summer as many power stations had been damaged.
Big electricity users have had to reduce their energy consumption by 15 percent.
For users in the Tokyo Electric Power Company service area, the government plans to end the measure on September 9, two weeks ahead of schedule. It said the peak summer heat is over and the possibility of a power crisis is low.
It will also end the power-reducing requirement for those in the areas damaged by the disaster, one to two weeks earlier than scheduled.
However, it is still calling on companies and households to continue to save power. It is concerned that a lingering late summer heat may be more intense than expected.
The government will announce the plan on Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 13:52
Radiation limit to be lowered for Fukushima staff
Japan's health ministry will restore the cumulative radiation exposure limit for emergency workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to the original 100 millisieverts this autumn. The current limit is 250 milisieverts.
The ministry raised the exposure limit soon after the nuclear accident in March to secure enough time for workers at the plant to bring the situation under control.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Health Minister Ritsuo Hosokawa said he wants to return the legal limit to the previous level by autumn.
The ministry says 103 workers who started at the plant just after the accident have been exposed to cumulative radiation of more than 100 millisieverts.
But it says all staff who began work from April on have been exposed to less than 100 millisieverts.
Based on the reduced exposure, the ministry has concluded that there is no longer a need to maintain the higher provisional radiation limit.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 14:22
Noda elected PM by both houses of Diet
The new leader of the main governing Democratic Party, Yoshihiko Noda, has been elected Japan's 95th Prime Minister in both houses of the Diet.
The Lower and Upper Houses of the Diet voted to elect Noda on Tuesday afternoon. Noda was chosen as the new DPJ leader on Monday.
He succeeds Naoto Kan, who resigned earlier in the day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 14:44
Govt signals early end to power saving
Japan's mandatory power saving for heavy users will come to an end in September earlier than scheduled.
The government announced on Tuesday that it will lift the mandatory power cuts as the peak summer heat is over.
A legally mandated 15 percent cut was put in place July 1st due to expected power shortages after the March 11th disaster in eastern Japan. The curb covers factories and other heavy power users in the regions of Tohoku and Kanto including Tokyo. Electricity for these areas is supplied by Tokyo Power Electric Company and Tohoku Electric Power Company.
The cuts were originally due to last until September 22nd for areas covered by Tokyo Electric and September 9th for areas covered by Tohoku Electric.
The government now says power saving will come to an end on September 2nd in Tohoku and September 9th in Kanto.
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda told reporters that demand-supply situation has been improving and that users particularly in the disaster-stricken Tohoku region want the mandatory cut lifted earlier.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 18:22
Paddy decontamination method tested
Japanese researchers have begun testing a method for removing radioactive substances from paddies in an evacuation zone near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The National Agriculture and Food Research organization is conducting the test in Iitate Village, more than 30 kilometers northwest of the troubled plant, at the request of the government.
On Tuesday, the researchers used a power shovel at a paddy to break up about 3 centimeters of surface soil that had been hardened with a solidifier. The soil was then collected using a vacuum hose.
The researchers are to check the remaining soil for radiation to determine the effectiveness of the method.
Before the test, the level of radioactivity at the paddy was 12,000 becquerels per kilogram of soil, or more than double the limit at which planting is prohibited.
The head of the researchers said they will analyze data from the test to determine whether the method can be used to help resume farming in the area.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 20:06
TEPCO announces standards for compensation
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has announced new standards for compensating those affected by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
TEPCO on Tuesday announced the standards based on midterm guidelines compiled by a government panel on August 5th.
The standards cover damage inflicted from March 11th to August 31st.
The compensation includes that for travel expenses up to about 65 dollars per trip per person for government-ordered evacuations within Fukushima Prefecture. Lodging fees up to about 104 dollars a night for such evacuations are also covered.
The utility says it could compensate beyond the standards in some cases.
The company is also to provide to evacuees compensation of about 1,300 dollars a month for mental suffering, as well as that for medical fees for injuries and illnesses caused by evacuations. Income lost due to evacuations is also to be covered.
The utility is to finish procedures for current tentative payments on September 11th and start sending out new application forms on September 12th, with the aim of starting payments as soon as early October.
TEPCO is also to fully compensate farmers, fishermen and small and medium-sized businesses for damage, including harm due to rumors. The firm is to send necessary forms in September. TEPCO has already paid about half of what farmers have claimed in provisional compensation.
The utility did not disclose an estimate of the total compensation that the new standards entail.
TEPCO is expected to carry out full-fledged compensation procedures with the help of a government-backed entity.
The number of personnel dealing with compensation matters is to be increased 5-fold to 6,500, to ensure a quick and fair response.

. . . . . Japan Times . . . . .

Noda victorious in race for prime minister
Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda wins the Democratic Party of Japan presidency and will replace Naoto Kan as prime minister, becoming the ruling party's third leader since taking power in 2009.

New leader pledges to cooperate with rivals

Markets relieved by Noda but obstacles remain

First Fukushima rice batch shipped after passing tests !!!

Japan's 'silent tsunami' severs parental ties, wrecks children's lives
Since March 11, more than 82,000 children have lost contact with one parent due to divorce.

Cesium Mapping in Fukushima
セシウム汚染土壌マップ発表 文科省、原発百キロ圏内

source : www.asahi.com


August 31, 2011

. The Political Situation .  INFO .

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 06:16 - NHK
TEPCO finds possibly active faults near Fukushima
Tokyo Electric Power Company suspects there are 5 active faults near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that could affect the crippled plant if they cause a tremor.
TEPCO made the discovery after the Japanese government requested utilities and nuclear agencies to reexamine faults around nuclear plants.
The directive followed a strong earthquake on April 11th from a fault thought to be inactive, 50 kilometers from the Fukushima plant.
TEPCO said on Tuesday that geological deformations were observed for the first time at 5 faults, suggesting they are active.
The utility will continue drilling to investigate the conditions, though the firm believes any tremors would be within the quake-resistance standard.
Besides TEPCO, two nuclear agencies reported 9 faults near their nuclear facilities in Ibaraki Prefecture that could be active.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 10:34
Higher floors sustained greater quake damage
Firefighting authorities say higher floors of houses and office buildings in Tokyo sustained more damage than lower levels when the March 11th earthquake shook the metropolis.
The Tokyo Fire Department surveyed about 1,200 households and 1,220 businesses to see how much damage was done to the interiors of buildings.
The Tokyo area registered up to 5-plus on the Japanese seismic scale of zero to 7 during the magnitude 9.0 quake. Tokyo was about 370 kilometers from the epicenter.
22 percent of households and 20 percent of business operators said they saw furniture tumble or shift by more than 60 centimeters.
By level, damage occurred in around 17 percent of residences on the first and second floors, while the ratio reached about 47 percent for those on the 11th floor or higher.
As for businesses, around 36 percent of those on the 6th to 10th floors sustained damage in comparison to about 15 percent for those on the first and second floors.
The Tokyo Fire Department will set up an expert committee to work out measures to ensure safety on higher floors. The panel is expected to release its findings next March.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 11:17
80% of Japan's reactors out of service
Another nuclear reactor in Japan will soon be shut down for regular inspections, leaving nearly 80 percent of the country's reactors out of service.
Kyushu Electric Power Company says it will begin work on Wednesday to halt operations at the No.2 reactor at the Sendai nuclear power plant. The reactor will be shut down by Thursday morning.
The utility wants to restart the reactor in 4 months, after exchanging fuel rods and making detailed checkups on turbines.
But it is unclear when the company can restart the reactor, as well as another one at the plant which remains out of service although regular checkups have been completed.
After the Fukushima accident, underhanded practices of power companies and the government have come to light.
Kyushu Electric and other utilities reportedly tried to influence government-sponsored town meetings in favor of nuclear energy, and mobilized people behind the scenes to win local approval for nuclear power generation.
Such practices have spurred public distrust in utilities and government oversight of the nuclear industry.
After the Sendai No.2 reactor is shut down, 42 nuclear reactors among 54 in Japan will be out of service.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 20:38
TEPCO presents plan to extract melted rods
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has announced a plan to extract melted nuclear fuel rods at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
TEPCO presented the 9-stage plan on Wednesday to an expert panel of the Atomic Energy Commission, which is discussing a process to decommission the plant's reactors.
The first 3 stages of TEPCO's plan are devoted to removing radioactive materials from the reactors' buildings to repair containment vessels and stop water leaks.
The utility plans to then put water in the vessels and take pictures to determine the amount of nuclear fuel that has leaked from the reactors.
In the final stage, the company plans to fill the vessels with water and use robots to extract the rods. Extraction of fuel rods that have leaked outside of reactors has never been performed at any nuclear plant.
TEPCO faces the tough challenges of coping with high levels of radiation and developing highly efficient robots.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 18:38
Farmers in 11 prefectures seek damage from TEPCO
Farmers' groups from 11 prefectures in eastern Japan have sought fresh damages totaling nearly 140 million dollars from the operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Groups of farmers have filed for damages from Tokyo Electric Power Company every month since April.
On Wednesday, representatives from 11 prefectures --the largest number ever, including first-time participants Miyagi, Yamagata, Niigata, Saitama and Shizuoka prefectures -- met Tokyo Electric President Toshio Nishizawa at the company's main office.
They demanded compensation for beef, tea leaves and other products that have been banned from shipment or whose prices have plunged due to radiation contamination.
The farmers' demands for payments since April have added up to 750 million dollars.
Tokyo Electric has said it would make payouts every 3 months, but farmers who are strapped for cash demanded the payments be made more regularly.
The head of the farmers' group in Miyagi, Akio Sugawara, said they want the utility to respond with sincerity to their request for monthly payouts, because they cannot wait for 3 or 4 months.
Tokyo Electric's managing director Naomi Hirose said monthly payouts are almost impossible, considering that the company has so many groups and individuals to compensate. But he said the company would study the farmers' request.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 19:09
SDF's major disaster relief activities end
Self-Defense Force units ended most of the aid missions they had undertaken in northeastern Japan following the March 11th earthquake and tsunami on Wednesday.
The SDF had deployed as many as 107,000 personnel to 7 disaster-hit prefectures, including Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
They have been engaged in search and rescue operations and have helped prepare meals for survivors at evacuation centers.
The SDF has also been instrumental in attempts to cool the crippled reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant by spraying water from the air and ground.
The size of SDF deployment had been gradually reduced in line with the needs of local residents and evacuees.
The SDF will continue to keep about 200 personnel in Fukushima Prefecture to help decontaminate residents who temporarily return to their homes in exclusion zones near the nuclear plant.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 19:57
Evacuation centers close in northeastern Japan
More and more evacuation centers have closed in northeastern Japan, nearly 6 months after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the region.
Fukushima Prefecture's largest evacuation center, which housed about 2,500 people at one time, closed on Wednesday.
The March 11th disaster and subsequent nuclear crisis forced some 73,600 residents in the prefecture to evacuate to 410 shelters.
The prefecture has decided to close all of them by October, saying it is securing temporary housing for the evacuees.
Nine evacuation centers in the prefecture were closed on Wednesday alone, leaving 9 housing several hundreds of evacuees still operating.
In Iwate Prefecture to the north, the last major evacuation center also closed on Wednesday, when evacuees left a school gymnasium in Yamada Town for temporary housing.
After the disaster, the prefecture set up about 400 shelters that housed more than 45,000 residents.
The government of Miyagi Prefecture says that as of Wednesday evening, 3,711 residents had stayed in shelters at 138 locations in the prefecture.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 22:23
2 workers showered with highly radioactive water

Tokyo Electric Power Company says 2 male workers at its troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were showered with highly radioactive water by mistake.
The accident occurred on Wednesday morning.
The two subcontracting workers were suddenly splashed with water leaking from a container whose valve was not shut. The container was part of the contaminated water processing system.
TEPCO says one of the 2 workers was found to be exposed to 0.16 millisievelts of radiation, which is higher than the safety limit, and was decontaminated.
The other, who was wearing a raincoat, was exposed to 0.14 millisievelts of radiation, a slightly smaller dose than the other man.
The utility says that the 2 workers did not complain of symptoms such as burns and they had no internal radiation exposure.
TEPCO is investigating how the accident occurred.
Last Sunday, 2 TEPCO workers at the plant were exposed to radiation by mistake while they were replacing parts of the contaminated water processing system, which is key to bringing the crippled reactors under control.

. . . . . Japan Times . . . . .

Tepco-area power-saving order to end early on Sept. 9
The mandatory curb on electricity consumption for most of Tepco's service area will be moved forward from Sept. 22 to Sept. 9 after determining the hot weather has passed its peak and that people and companies have done a good job of reducing their usage.

Leukemia claims Tepco worker
A man in his 40s who worked for a week in August at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s radiation-leaking Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has died of acute leukemia, but it was not caused by exposure to fallout, Tepco said Tuesday.
... his internal exposure was zero ... A doctor who diagnosed the man said the leukemia was not caused by radiation, Okazaki added. ... The ministry's criteria also put the incubation period to develop symptoms of acute leukemia at one year.

Fukushima day care center hot spots

Disaster spurs more firms to embrace telecommuting



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1 comment:

  1. Ripples and lines