September 1 -10

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Mar Ordóñez Castro


September 1, 2011

Thursday, September 01, 2011 07:48 - NHK
Removing debris remains a challenge in Tohoku
Local governments in northeastern Japan are still struggling to remove debris from the March 11th earthquake and tsunami, nearly 6 months later.
The Environment Ministry estimates that the disaster left behind some 23 million tons of debris.
The ministry earlier called on cities and villages to remove all the debris in residential areas to temporary storage by the end of August.
It says residential clearance is almost complete in 32 coastal cities and villages in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, except in the no-entry zone near the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
The government's goal is to completely clear the disaster-hit areas by the end of next March.
But 12 local governments, accounting for about one-third of the total, say less than half the debris has been cleared. They say problems with demolishing damaged homes and other structures are holding things up.
The local governments say they need building owners' approval for demolition, and that they do not have enough personnel to do the work. Specialist companies must also be hired to remove asbestos from damaged buildings.
The ministry says it will provide assistance to these local governments after grasping the full picture.

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

Strong typhoon nears Pacific coast
A powerful typhoon traveling west-northwest in waters off the Ogasawara Islands, about 1,000 km south of Tokyo, prompts the Meteorological Agency to issue a warning over storm surges and strong winds hitting the eastern coast.


September 2, 2011

. Typhoon Number 12, Talas .

Friday, September 02, 2011 01:24 - NHK
More radiation exposure at Fukushima plant
Japan's nuclear safety agency has instructed Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, to improve safety measures for workers at the crippled plant.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said another worker at the power plant was exposed to radiation while working on a treatment system for contaminated water on Wednesday.
The government agency said the male subcontractor was sprayed with radioactive water. It noted the water was cleaned off him after the man finished taking a radiation test.
It added the total amount of radiation which the man was exposed to during the shift was below the limit, and that it did not affect his health.
Earlier the same day, 2 other workers were showered with radioactive water while working on a contaminated water processing system.
On Sunday, 2 workers from the power company were exposed to beta rays, which are another type of radiation. The incident revealed that the utility had not set exposure limits for beta rays.
The agency instructed TEPCO to improve safety measures, saying the company failed to make use of past experiences with radiation exposure. It also said the utility company was late in reporting the latest incident.

Friday, September 02, 2011 06:38
Radiation readings in evacuation zones released
The government has released the results of detailed radiation measurements in evacuation zones around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The government measured radiation levels at 2,696 locations inside the 20-kilometer no-entry zone and adjacent evacuation zones in July and August. The measurements, mainly at schools and parks, are being displayed on maps on a government website.
Radiation was the highest at a location in Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture, about one kilometer from the plant. The level there was 139 microsieverts per hour, which translates into more than 700 millisieverts per year.
Areas with radiation exceeding 19 microsieverts per hour extended as far as 32 kilometers northwest of the plant. This figure translates into more than 100 millisieverts per year.
Along coastal areas about 3 kilometers north of the plant, radiation levels were less than one microsievert per hour.
The government will use the data to create plans for removing radioactive substances.

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

Kyushu Electric halts another reactor for checkup
Kyushu Electric Power Co. halts the No. 2 reactor at its Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture for a three-month scheduled check, meaning only 12 of Japan's 54 commercial reactors are now in operation.

Restructuring power distribution
Japan's 10 power companies have enjoyed regional monopolies under government protection, controlling not only electricity generation but also electricity transmission from power stations to transformer substations and distribution to individual users.

Noda Cabinet lineup announced
. The Political Situation .  INFO .


September 3, 2011

Saturday, September 03, 2011 03:03 - NHK
Nearly 90% of Japan's nuke reactors to be halted
One of the reactors at a nuclear power plant in southwestern Japan is due to be halted for regular inspections on Sunday. With the planned shutdown of this and 5 other facilities, nearly 90 percent of the country's nuclear reactors will be offline ahead of winter.
Shikoku Electric Power Company says it will suspend operations of the No.1 reactor at the Ikata power plant for routine checks on Sunday.
The utility wants to restart the plant's No.3 reactor, which has already been shut down for routine inspections. It plans to report on the results of the so-called "stress tests" on the reactor by the end of the month. The government requires the safety test for all suspended reactors before they can be restarted.
Other utilities, including Kansai Electric and Hokuriku Electric, are also conducting stress tests with the goal of restarting halted reactors in anticipation of a rise in electricity demand this winter.
However, there are hurdles to be cleared. The country's 2 nuclear safety watchdogs must screen the results of the tests, and then the central government will decide whether to restart the reactors. Finally, any restart has to be approved by the municipalities hosting the reactors.
Japan's remaining 6 active reactors will be halted for regular inspections by next spring. If the currently suspended reactors are not back online by then, all the country's nuclear facilities will be out of operation.

. Typhoon 12 - TALAS .
set to hit Okayama around 9:00

Noda vows to speed up reconstruction efforts

Business leaders express hope for new Cabinet
Leaders of Japan's major business organizations have responded favorably to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's new cabinet.
. The Political Situation .  INFO .

Saturday, September 03, 2011 22:23 - NHK
Cesium beyond limit found in Chiba, Saitama tea
. Radiation Problems - INFO .

Typhoon expected to hit Shikoku

Kepco called on income tax report


September 4, 2011

life goes on -
cicadas announce
the end of the storm

The Taifun is over in Okayama.
. Typhoon 12 - TALAS .

Tropical storm leaves 9 dead and 32 missing


Azumi to push tax hikes for rebuilding

METI chief vows to restart reactors

Cesium over limit found in tea using Saitama, Chiba leaves


September 5, 2011

Gov't ready to support typhoon-hit areas - NHK
Talas leaves 20 dead, 55 missing in Japan
. Typhoon 12 - TALAS .

Monday, September 05, 2011 06:17
70% of prefectures baffled on nuclear drill
An NHK survey shows about 70 percent of Japanese prefectures with nuclear power plants cannot hold nuclear accident disaster drills this fiscal year or are undecided about doing so.
NHK asked 13 prefectures whether they will hold the drills in fiscal 2011, which ends in March.
In the past the prefectures have conducted annual drills in areas up to 10 kilometers away from nuclear plants in line with government anti-disaster guidelines. The drills were designed to evacuate nearby residents and have the organizations concerned coordinate the process.
But evacuation zones put in place after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March have far exceeded those previously planned by the government.
Three prefectures -- Aomori, Fukushima and Ibaraki -- said they are unable to hold drills this fiscal year. Six prefectures, including Hokkaido and Fukui, said they are undecided about doing so.
They explained that without new government accident guidelines, they cannot plan drills or set evacuation areas.
The remaining 4 prefectures, including Ehime and Saga, said they will hold drills by the end of March by establishing temporary guidelines and by expanding evacuation zones on their own.
The Nuclear Safety Commission aims to review evacuation zones and other policies by the end of October.

Monday, September 05, 2011 16:55
Photo exhibit of 3/11 disaster opens in Tokyo
A photography exhibition in Tokyo is showing images of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami along with reconstruction efforts.
On display are 125 photos taken by professional photographers and newspaper staff. UNICEF is the major sponsor.
One of the photos shows a festival parade with a float brightly lit in an area where rubble still remains. It was taken last month in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture by a photographer who lost his mother in the tsunami. The image depicts people in the disaster-hit region taking steps toward rebuilding their lives.
Many of the photos depict scenes from the March 11 calamity. One shows a tsunami forming a black current as it sweeps away houses and cars.
Photojournalist Kenichi Shindo helped organize the show. He says he hopes visitors will share the anguish and suffering of the survivors through the photos. He also hopes the exhibit will help people think more about this unprecedented disaster.
The exhibition will continue at Tokyo International Forum until Sunday. Similar shows will be held in 11 other countries.

Monday, September 05, 2011 14:56
Tochigi moving radioactive ash to 6 sewage plants
Tochigi Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, has begun moving radioactive sludge from a temporary storage site to several sewage plants, where it can only be kept for the time being.
Following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, high levels of radioactive material were detected in sludge at waste water plants across eastern Japan.
Tochigi Prefecture had incinerated the sludge from its sewage plants at its waste water recycling plant, and melted the ash to reduce its volume. But the amount of ash has reached 1,000 tons, close to the storage capacity.
To deal with the problem, the prefecture decided last month to keep the radioactive waste at 6 of its waste water treatment plants.
On Monday, 50 tons of contaminated ash was being delivered by truck to a sewage plant in Kaminokawa Town. The ash contains around 30,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram.
Tochigi Prefecture says the ash will pose no health hazards to residents or the environment, because it will be covered with water-proof sheets and stored at sites more than 20 meters from the nearest houses.
But the head of a local residents' group says that although they have agreed to the storage, they still have doubts about safety. He said he wants the authorities to be clear about how long they intend to keep the waste at the sewage plants.

Monday, September 05, 2011 16:25
Niigata hotels to accept tsunami survivors
Niigata City has assigned 5 hotels to serve as emergency shelters for residents in the event of a tsunami disaster.
Niigata Mayor Akira Shinoda concluded an agreement with representatives of the 5 hotels on Monday. It calls for the 5 hotels to accept up to 4,000 evacuees when a tsunami warning is issued.
Niigata City is situated in a low-lying area on the Sea of Japan coast. In 1964, many homes in the city were inundated following a tsunami triggered by a major earthquake that hit the region.
The city plans to strengthen its preparations for tsunami by designating more hotels, company buildings and condominiums as emergency evacuation centers.
The mayor expressed hope that the designation will raise awareness among residents that they must evacuate in the event of a tsunami.

Monday, September 05, 2011 16:55
Tuna auction resumed at quake-damaged Choshi Port
Fish dealers at Choshi Port near Tokyo have resumed tuna auctions in a makeshift market that will serve until the facility damaged in the March 11th disaster can be rebuilt.
The auctions began on Monday morning in a building located about 200 meters away from the original market, whose pillars and roof were smashed in the tsunami.
A local fishing cooperative had held auctions at 2 other markets since the disaster, but decided to build their own temporary structure before the autumn fishing season begins.
A senior official of the cooperative says he is glad they have a place for tuna auctions and that the cooperative wants to sell as many fish as possible.


September 6, 2011

Storm toll reaches 33, with 54 still missing

Full-scale reconstruction of expressways begins - NHK
Work to repair expressways in northeastern Japan damaged by the March 11th disaster got underway on Monday.
The quake and its aftershocks caused roads to crack, buckle and collapse at 4,000 locations on 8 expressways in the Tohoku region.
About 70 people involved in the reconstruction gathered at Furukawa interchange in Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, on Monday to pray for safe work. Trucks carrying heavy machines departed for the construction sites.
Repair work began along 4 sections of the Tohoku, Yamagata and Banetsu expressways.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011 07:11 - NHK
TEPCO to build wall off Fukushima Daiichi plant
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant plans to build an iron wall on the ocean side of the plant to prevent radioactive water from leaking into the sea.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says more than 110,000 tons of highly radioactive water remains in the basements of reactor buildings at the plant. There is growing concern that the water may eventually pass via underground water into the ocean.
The utility will use thousands of iron pipes to create an 800-meter-long wall surrounding the water intakes of 4 reactor facilities.
Each pipe, 22-meters long and 10 centimeters wide, will be installed deep below the sea bed to stop the flow of groundwater.
The firm says it will also prepare for a rise in underground water levels around the plant after the wall is built. It says it will closely monitor the level of groundwater and consider pumping it away to prevent overflow.
Construction will begin as early as the end of this year and be completed in about 2 years.
Prevention of sea-water contamination is one of pillars in the company's roadmap to contain the nuclear accident.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011 16:04
Saitama asks tea growers to refrain from shipments
Japan's Saitama prefecture has asked tea producers there to avoid shipping tea made from early picked leaves.
The request came on Tuesday after radioactive cesium beyond government safety levels was detected by the Health Ministry in local tea products.
The ministry found over 500 becquerels of cesium per kilogram of processed tea in inspections earlier this month in Hidaka and Tsurugashima, both in Saitama.
According to the prefectural government, tea in Kawagoe also showed 800 becquerels per kilogram. Separately, 1,240 becquerels of cesium was found in tea from Iruma, in Saitama, in a test conducted by Koganei in Tokyo.
Saitama says the tea tested in Hidaka and Tsurugashima was made from young leaves, and has asked producers and dealers in the prefecture to refrain from shipping tea made from such leaves until they are confirmed safe.
Saitama says it did its own tests but didn't find unsafe levels of cesium. It now says it had not checked early picked leaves.

Tropical storm kills 50, many wait rescue
Tropical storm Talas has left 46 people dead and 55 missing, mainly in western Japan.
The large and slow-moving storm dumped record amounts of rain across western Japan over the weekend.
As of Tuesday afternoon, at least 4,500 people are stranded in 35 communities in the 3 prefectures of Wakayama, Nara and Mie. The Self-Defense Forces have been mobilized to rescue thousands of people stranded in the worst-hit areas.
In the 3 prefectures, more than 24,000 households have been left without power.
The storm has also destroyed at least 93 houses in 8 prefectures.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011 14:57
Hosono promotes radiation reducing technology
Japan's nuclear crisis minister says the government may develop technology to cut radiation and the volume of waste from the Fukushima nuclear accident.
Goshi Hosono told reporters on Tuesday that reducing the volume of nuclear waste will be very important in the decontamination process.
He said there will be no progress in that process unless irradiated soil can be temporarily stored in the contaminated area.
He said it is not fair to nearby residents to leave such waste for long periods, so a storage facility will have to be created in Fukushima prefecture for the mid-term.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011 19:04
Fukushima evacuees pessimistic about going home
An NHK survey shows that more than half of those who fled Fukushima Prefecture after the March 11th disaster think it will be hard for them to return to their hometowns.
NHK surveyed 187 people living in shelters or temporary housing in and outside Fukushima Prefecture nearly 6 months after the earthquake and tsunami and the start of the nuclear accident.
Asked if their plans about where they will live have changed compared to right after the disaster, 26 percent of the respondents said they feel a stronger desire to go back to their hometowns.
But 43 percent said they feel more strongly that they won't be able to go home, while 11 percent said they're resolved not to do so.
Asked why they feel they won't be able to return or wish not to, many cited what they saw on temporary return visits -- run-down houses, deserted towns and high radioactivity readings in their homes.
Many respondents apparently want the government to restore their land to its pre-disaster state if possible, or government support so they can move elsewhere. Asked what they want from the government, 43 percent said thorough decontamination of soil, and 19 percent said they want the government to purchase their property.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011 18:08
Noda to visit areas hit by quake and typhoon
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will soon visit areas hit by the March 11th disaster and a recent tropical storm.
Noda will travel to Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi prefectures on Thursday and Saturday to inspect damage from the March 11th quake and tsunami, and the ensuing nuclear accident. The prime minister will meet with Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato to discuss decontamination efforts.
On Friday, Noda will go to the western prefectures of Wakayama, Nara and Mie, which were hit hard by tropical storm Talas over the weekend.
Fujimura said that during the Democratic Party's leadership election, Noda promised that he would visit Fukushima first if elected prime minister.
He said Noda also hopes to visit Iwate and Miyagi because he is concerned that work to dispose debris from the disaster has not progressed much.
This will be Noda's first visit to local areas since he became prime minister last week.

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

No. 3 reactor cooling down: Tepco
The temperature of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant's No. 3 reactor is below 100 degrees, indicating a cold shutdown may be within reach.

Nuclear crisis minister calls for standards on setting reactor lifespans

Fukushima shows how it tests rice for radiation


Ofunato ships first sauty of the season

Utilities have monopoly on power

Preparing for the next catastrophe



September 7, 2011

Last night I saw a feature about the famous "red paraglider" 赤い翼 documenting Japan. He is from Iwaki and showed the beautiful beaches with their green waters just last year.
Then he flew over the rubble and destruction on April 1, showing it all from a birdL's view - villages all gone ... beaches full of debris ...
And again a few days ago.
Now the beaches were mostly cleared, the bare concrete squares of home basements were showing. Rebuilding could start any time now - BUT - it is still not clear wheather people will be allowed to rebuild on the same spot or have to look for higher ground for the villages - so nothing is happening yet . . .

Flying over the Silk Road :
source : www.youtube.com

Wednesday, September 07, 2011 05:01 - NHK
High dioxin levels found in disaster-zone rivers
Levels of dioxin exceeding the safety standards have been found in rivers and groundwater in 3 Japanese prefectures hit by the March 11th disaster.
The Environment Ministry says it does not think the discovery poses any immediate risk to human health, but it will continue to monitor the toxic chemical.
The ministry checked the sea, rivers and groundwater for dioxins between May and July at 320 locations in 5 prefectures affected by the disaster. The ministry feared that harmful substances may have leaked from factories damaged by the earthquake and tsunami.
It found dioxins exceeding the safety standards at 6 locations in rivers in Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures and in groundwater in Fukushima.
The high dioxin levels could be harmful if the contaminated water is ingested over a long period of time.
All measurements at sea locations cleared the safety standards.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011 05:01
Land to be cleared of radiation for planting rice
Japan's Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry is working towards reducing radiation levels in rice fields near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The goal is to meet government standards. Experiments have been ongoing since May.
One method has been to scrape off the contaminated topsoil from dry paddies. Another involves removing the soil after its been stirred in water-filled paddies. Both methods have substantially reduced radiation levels.
Radioactive cesium per kilogram of soil was reduced from more than 10,000 becquerels down to 2,000 becquerels. These figures fall within the government's guideline of under 5,000 becquerels for rice planting.
The ministry will use these methods in selected fields in the prefecture. It will request special funds from an extra budget planned for the current fiscal year.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011 17:34
Farm minister briefs locals on decontamination plan
Japan's agriculture minister has briefed residents of a village near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on the government's plan to decontaminate local farmland.
Michihiko Kano visited Iitate Village in Fukushima Prefecture on Wednesday to check on experiments his ministry has been conducting since May to remove radioactive material from paddies and other fields.
One experiment involved scraping topsoil from paddies, resulting in a 75-percent cut in radioactive cesium.
Other experiments included stirring water that had filled a paddy and removing contaminated soil from the resulting mixture.
The experiments have helped reduce the levels of radioactive cesium in the area from more than 10,000 becquerels to 2,000 to 3,000 becquerels per kilogram of soil -- low enough for farmers to plant rice.
Kano told Iitate Deputy Mayor Shinichi Monma that the government will go ahead with its decontamination plan as the experiments have proved successful.
Monma welcomed the move, saying villagers cannot return home unless radioactive material is removed.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011 20:56
Weather agency revises tsunami alerts
An expert study group at Japan's Meteorological Agency has compiled improved guidelines for issuing tsunami alerts, in the wake of the March 11th disaster.
Tsunami alerts issued right after the massive earthquake were based on an underestimated height of a potential tsunami.
The new guidelines call for the maximum possible alerts to be given first, when an earthquake strikes with a magnitude of 8 or higher.
The agency predicts such a massive earthquake may either occur near the focus of March's quake, in central Japan along the Pacific Coast, or off the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido.
The guidelines also call for simplifying the predicted heights of tsunamis, as well as using simpler words when warning people to take shelter.
The meteorological agency is to examine, with various municipalities, the wording for tsunami alerts by the end of the year.
It plans to improve the entire tsunami warning system by the end of next year.

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

Iranians craft quake poetry book

The Japan Foundation is promoting a book featuring short poems written by Iranians to encourage people affected by the March quake and tsunami.
"Haikushu: Kibo" ("Haiku Anthology: Hope") contains about 50 three-line poems translated from Persian into Japanese. The short poems are widely called haiku in Iran as they share the same three-line format as the Japanese verse form.
The poems were selected from among about 250 pieces that poetry enthusiasts in Iran composed for an event at the University of Tehran in May. The organizer asked participants to write pieces expressing sympathy for the disaster victims in Japan.
Ghodratollah Zakeri, 35, a Japanese studies researcher at the university who organized the event, noted that Iran also has a lot of earthquakes and that the book conveys the message that Iranians will never forget the people of the disaster-hit areas in the Tohoku and Kanto regions.
The foundation will provide copies of the book mainly to libraries but also to individuals in the disaster areas.

Nuke holdout resolved to stay put

Vines creep across the empty streets of Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, its prim gardens overgrown with waist-high weeds and meadow flowers. Dead cows rot where they were left to starve in their pens. Chicken coops writhe with maggots, a sickening stench hanging in the air.
This once-thriving community of 16,000 people now has a population of one.
n this nuclear no-man's land poisoned by radiation from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, rice farmer Naoto Matsumura 松村直人 refuses to leave despite government orders. He says he has thought about the possibility of getting cancer but prefers to stay, with a skinny dog named Aki, his constant companion.


September 8, 2011

Thursday, September 08, 2011 00:01
Magnitude 5.1 earthquake hits Hokkaido
A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has hit Hokkaido in northern Japan.
The Meteorological Agency says the quake occurred off the coast of Urakawa Town, southern Hokkaido, at around 10:29 PM on Wednesday, Japan Time.
The agency says there is no chance of tsunami. The quake registered a maximum intensity of 5-plus on the Japanese scale of zero to 7.

Thursday, September 08, 2011 05:27
Research team from Fukushima to visit Chernobyl
A group of experts and municipal officials from around the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will visit Chernobyl to learn first-hand about post-nuclear crisis efforts.
The trip is being organized by Fukushima University. It says more than 20 medical and other specialists and municipal officials will take part in the 8-day trip starting on October 31st.
They include Yuko Endo, the Mayor of Kawauchi Village near the disaster-stricken nuclear plant.
The group plans to visit the site of the 1986 Chernobyl accident, as well as schools and hospitals in areas where radiation levels are still high.
The university says the group hopes to meet regional government officials and residents to find out when evacuees were allowed to return home, and what measures were taken to decontaminate the polluted areas.
The group also hopes to learn about the arrangements to check residents' health and the compensation systems for the public.

Thursday, September 08, 2011 12:16
Noda visits damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant
Japan's new Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has visited the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant for the first time since taking office last week.
Noda arrived at a nearby sports facility serving as the government's local disaster headquarters Thursday morning.
Noda met Self-Defense Forces personnel working there. He told them that as chief of the Self-Defense Forces he is proud that their efforts to cool the reactors and decontaminate areas with high radiation have been highly appreciated by the public.
SDF personnel said they were much encouraged.
Then, wearing protective clothing, Noda visited the Fukushima Daiichi power plant and inspected the damaged buildings. Officials briefed him on the crippled nuclear reactors and efforts to bring the crisis under control.
Later, Noda will visit areas near the nuclear power plant where radiation levels remain high, and a primary school in Date City where work to decontaminate soil is underway.
Noda is also to meet Fukushima Prefecture Governor Yuhei Sato and other local leaders.
The Noda government says it is prioritizing efforts to speed reconstruction of areas devastated by the March 11th quake and tsunami, and to put an end to the nuclear crisis.

Thursday, September 08, 2011 16:51
TEPCO to start "stress test" on plant in Niigata
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says it will start "stress tests" on two reactors at its Kashiwazaki-kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture on Friday.
TEPCO said on Thursday that it will start the first stage of the safety assessments on the Number 1 and 7 reactors on Friday. The first stage is required in order to resume operations of the reactors that were halted in order to hold regular safety checks.
The utility wants to use the assessment to confirm safety and obtain the approval of local governments for restarting operations of the reactors.
The governor of Niigata Prefecture, which hosts the plant, is cautious about resumption. Governor Hirohiko Izumida has said conducting stress tests will not lead to the prefecture approving of the resumption of such reactors. He has indicated that his prefecture will not make a decision on the matter until the results of investigations into the Fukushima accident are published.
A TEPCO official said the company wants to confirm the safety of the plant through "stress tests" and explain the results to local communities.
In July, the government introduced an additional safety assessment called the "stress test", following the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. The test uses computer simulations to assess how well nuclear power plants can withstand earthquakes, tsunamis and the loss of external power.
The second stage of the "stress test" will apply to all 48 reactors in Japan, excluding those at Fukushima.

NHK receives award for live tsunami coverage
NHK has received Japan's top journalism award for its live footage of the tsunami striking northeast Japan on March 11th.
... the footage showed the dangers of tsunami and the extent of damage, and helped in evacuation and rescue activities.

Thursday, September 08, 2011 18:59
Noda inspects Fukushima Daiichi
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has visited the Fukushima Daiichi power plant and asked workers there to keep doing their best to bring it under control.
Noda's visit on Thursday was the first since he became prime minister a week ago. Wearing protective clothing, he inspected the damaged reactor buildings.
Speaking before about 200 Tokyo Electric Power and other workers, he thanked them for working day and night since March.
He said thanks to them, levels of radiation in waste water inside the plant have fallen by a factor of 10 million. He said the whole world is waiting for an end to the Fukushima crisis and their efforts are the key.
Noda said he will do his utmost and work closely with them toward achieving the goal of ending the crisis.
Before visiting the plant, Noda dropped by the government's nuclear disaster-response headquarters, in a nearby sports facility. He met Self-Defense Force personnel working there to thank them.
Noda later visited Date City, northwest of the power plant, where relatively high levels of radiation have been detected. He watched officials measuring radiation levels in a ditch and was briefed about decontamination work.

Thursday, September 08, 2011 19:33
Radioactive release into sea estimated triple
A group of Japanese researchers say that a total of 15,000 terabecquerels of radioactive substances is estimated to have been released from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea.
Researchers at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Kyoto University and other institutes made the calculation by adding the estimated amount of radioactivity released from late March through April to the estimated amount of radioactivity released from the plant in April and May.
The combined amount of iodine-131 and cesium-137 is more than triple the figure of 4,720 terabecquerels earlier estimated by Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant operator. The utility only calculated the radioactivity from substances released from the plant into the sea in April and May.
The researchers say the estimated amount of radioactivity includes a large amount that was first released into the air but entered the sea after coming down in the rain.
They say they need to determine the total amount of radioactivity released from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant in order to accurately assess the impact of the disaster on the sea.

Noda: govt to seek legislation to rebuild Fukushima
. Radiation Problems - INFO .

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

Safety check begins on 13 idled reactors
Thirteen of the nearly 30 reactors nationwide idled for regular checks have entered the first stage of the safety evaluation process, one of the conditions for restarting them.

Mental care centers planned for kids orphaned by disaster

The welfare ministry decides to set up mental health care centers for children who lost parents in the March disaster in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.

Nobel laureate Oe urges nation to end reliance on nuclear power

Seifuku Kojo Iinkai ditch the idol prattle for an antinuke message
Seifuku Kojo Iinkai (SKi), which translates to "Uniform Improvement Committee" in English, have caused a bit of a stir on YouTube with its song "Da! Da! Datsugenpatsu" ("Free From Nuclear Power Plant"). On first listen, it's the usual synthesizer-based, straight-to-karaoke pop song you'd expect from any number of Japan's idol groups. Listen to the lyrics, though, and the song tells a different story: "Politicians do not work in (a case like) this, always hanging on to their honor and wealth."
It's a strong message to try and get across to the youth of Japan, but one that isn't unfamiliar in music overseas.
"It is typical for foreign music to have strong messages and expression," says group producer Hiroyuki Takahashi. "SKi sings about issues that matter — or should matter — to teenagers."
Indeed, a look at SKi's repertoire includes songs aimed at teens: "Terebi ni Sayonara" ("Say Goodbye to TV") is about the death of analog television. But a closer look reveals some heavy material as well.
"Some themes for SKi songs include the environment, war and suicide," Takahashi says. "These issues may not easily be accepted (by society), but it is important to express them."
Heavily political songs, however, are not something mainstream J-pop tends to express. While antinuclear demonstrations in Tokyo this summer featured MCs such as Rankin Taxi and Rumi, many major-label acts have refrained from comment. One actor, Taro Yamamoto, parted ways with his management company in a cloud of controversy after a string of antinuclear tweets, which may have scared other celebrities from making similar statements.

制服向上委員会, J-POP

Rising radioactive cesium levels detected in Fukushima child's urine
... On Sept. 7, Fukushima Rokyu Genpatsu o Kangaeru Kai (An association for a study of the aging nuclear power plants in Fukushima) released the results of urine tests on 10 people aged between 6 and 16 who lived in the city of Fukushima at the beginning of the nuclear disaster in March. At the time of the first round of testing on May 20-22, all 10 children were living in Fukushima Prefecture, while at the time of the second round conducted July 22 through 26, nine had evacuated to other parts of Japan.
Results showed cesium levels in the nine children who had left the prefecture had dropped by roughly 20 to 70 percent in the some two months between the tests. Radioactive cesium 137 levels in the one child who had remained in the city of Fukushima, however, had spiked by 11.5 percent as of the July tests.
"We assume the child was exposed to additional radiation through food and drink," a representative of the citizens group said. ...
source : mdn.mainichi.jp


September 9, 2011

. . . . . at 22:38 last night
Earthquake M 5.2, off the coast of Fukushima

Friday, September 09, 2011 14:03 - NHK setsuden
Japan ends 15% power-saving target
Japan ended its mandatory power-saving requirement for heavy users on Friday. The move came ahead of schedule as falling temperatures have reduced the demand for electricity.
The legally mandated 15 percent cut took effect in July to cope with the power shortages caused by the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Plant.
The measure covered factories and other large users in eastern regions, served by the operator of the damaged plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company, and another utility.
To meet the target, businesses adjusted their work schedules. Automakers operated their plants on Saturdays and Sundays, shutting them down on weekdays instead. Households also cooperated by reducing their energy use.
The industry ministry says the efforts prevented the need to ration electricity and helped avoid massive blackouts.
The ministry says it will review the outlook for power supply and demand in view of the uncertainties about restarting nuclear plants that are currently off-line. It will then decide if a similar energy-saving mandate is needed for the winter.

Friday, September 09, 2011 15:06
TEPCO thanks customers for saving electricity
Tokyo Electric Power Company has expressed gratitude for the conservation efforts by electricity users.
A spokesperson read an official statement by TEPCO president Toshio Nishizawa. It said the firm was very sorry for forcing users to reduce their power consumption.
He added that TEPCO wants to thank households as well as large business users for their cooperation.
But the spokesperson declined to comment on the possibility of similar energy-saving measures this winter.

Friday, September 09, 2011 15:30
TEPCO begins stress tests at idled reactors
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has begun stress tests to confirm the safety of its idle nuclear reactors.
TEPCO began the tests on Friday at 2 of the 7 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture.
The utility plans to assess the reactors' earthquake and tsunami resistance through a computer simulation.
Such tests were introduced in Japan after the March 11th disaster caused reactor core meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which is also run by TEPCO.
Other reactors across the country that are idle for regular checkups must also pass such tests before their operations can resume.
TEPCO says it hopes to confirm the safety of the halted reactors in Niigata and brief local authorities on the results.
But Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida says he cannot determine whether the reactors can be restarted until the Fukushima accident is properly assessed.

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

Noda lauds crisis workers in visit to Fukushima
In his first trip to the prefecture since taking office, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda visits the Fukushima No. 1 power plant to heap praise on crisis workers' efforts.

Two Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors to start safety tests

Excessive cesium levels again found in Iwate cows

Kepco's massive solar plant up and running


September 10, 2011

TV is full of features about the THEN and NOW after 6 months.
Many want to rebuild on the old sites of their homes, but get no permission yet.
Train lines in Tohoku are on the hold, since the place of the old stations is in the danger zone and there are no definite plans as to where the new communities will be re-built, and how many will be there to use a train service anyway, sincs many have left the region for good.

The radiation problems in Fukushima are also still looming and young couples consider moving out, just to be on the safe side amongst all the mis-information and lack of useful information.


Saturday, September 10, 2011 08:58 - NHK
Drowning accounts for 90% of tsunami victims
Japan's National Police Agency says more than 90 percent of the victims of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami died by drowning. More than half of those that drowned were aged 65 or older.
Ahead of the six month anniversary of the disaster, the agency announced on Friday an update of its analysis of 15,689 fatalities from the 3 hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
It says 14,204 people drowned when they were swallowed by the tsunami.
The agency says that 4.5 percent of the victims died after being trapped under collapsed buildings or houses, while 1 percent were burned to death.
People in their 70s accounted for most deaths at 24.4 percent followed by those aged 80 or older at 21.8 percent.
In the Kobe earthquake in 1995, nearly 73 percent of the victims were crushed or suffocated by rubble.

Saturday, September 10, 2011 14:19 - NHK
Noda pledges aid for rebuilding Miyagi
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has pledged to consider local needs for rebuilding disaster-hit Miyagi Prefecture in compiling the 3rd extra budget for this fiscal year.
Noda visited Miyagi Prefecture, accompanied by Reconstruction Minister Tatsuo Hirano, on Saturday, one day before it marks 6 months from the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th.
Noda inspected a fish market in Kesennuma City. The market was shut for more than 3 months following the disaster.
Local people asked for government assistance in rebuilding marine products processing plants in an effort to secure employment.
Noda said there will be no rebuilding without creating jobs. He said the government will address the issue in the 3rd extra budget.
Later, Noda met the mayor of Kesennuma City, Shigeru Sugawara. Noda pledged efforts to reflect requests from local residents in the extra budget.
Local authorities are asking the government to establish special reconstruction districts where deregulation will be promoted and to propose a system that would allow them to use state subsidies at their discretion. Noda pledged efforts to expedite restoration and reconstruction.
Noda will visit Iwate Prefecture later in the day, where he will inspect Rikuzentakata City, one of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami.

Saturday, September 10, 2011 22:59
Fukushima students enjoy Samba festival in Gunma
A group of students from Fukushima Prefecture joined a Brazilian samba festival north of Tokyo, on Saturday.
The town of Oizumi in Gunma Prefecture invited more than 70 students of Okuma and Koori towns who had to evacuate from their homes after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The students got to see a colorful samba dance performed by 7 teams of women dressed in bright red and green costumes.
Some of the children took part in the line dancing.
A girl from Koori Town said she enjoyed the dance very much and was cheered up by the performance.
The organizer hosts the annual event in order to bring local Japanese and foreign residents closer together.
Foreigners make up about 6,200 or 15 percent of the population of the town. Most of them are Japanese-Brazilians.

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

Decontamination plan may cost Yen 220 billion
The government plans to spend about Yen 220 billion to clean up residential areas contaminated by radiation from Fukushima's tsunami-hit power plant.

Summer electricity restrictions lifted

Makers of roof tiles ride postquake boom

Massive debate slowed quake aid: Red Cross
The delay in quake aid distribution was caused by an unprecedented 15-prefecture effort to draw up a fair set of criteria for determining the amount of money each person should receive, the Japanese Red Cross Society said Friday.
The donations are being doled out to one person after another, the group said, adding that the Red Cross is extending the aid drive until March 31 because of the dire need for help.
... "We've received criticism that the distribution of donations has been slow and we do see the need to review the issue. But we have been very particular about securing the fairness of the distribution, and we will continue to stick to that principle," President Tadateru Konoe said at Japan Red Cross headquarters in Minato Ward, Tokyo.



. . Bulletins from NHK WORLD
. . Japan Times


source : www.jaaa.ne.jp

spreading rumors -
the good ones, the bad ones,
the unfounded ones

This was inspired by the above advertisement in our morning paper.



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