September 13 - 20

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full moon night -
all the empty beaches
of Tohoku


. Typhon Talas - more damage .


September 13, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011 22:19
Explosion occurs at French nuclear facility
The French nuclear safety agency says an explosion occurred at a nuclear processing plant in the suburb of Nimes in southern France on Monday.
The blast took place at a furnace in the nuclear waste processing center in Marcoule.
One person reportedly died and 4 others were injured.
Officials at the facility say there has been no radioactive leaks, and that there is no reactor at the site.
Local media say no evacuation orders have been issued for residents living near the facility.
The nuclear safety authority says nuclear waste is processed at the facility.
A fire that broke out briefly has been extinguished.
The nuclear safety authority is investigating how the blast occurred.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 08:50
Kan calls for revision of nuclear energy policy
Former Japanese prime minister Naoto Kan has called for a comprehensive revision of the country's nuclear policy.
Kan said in an interview with NHK that Japan's reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel and disposal of nuclear waste is 10 to 20 years behind schedule but no policy review has been conducted.
He urged the government to have thorough discussions on the matter and set a direction as soon as possible.
Kan said French Prime Minister Francois Fillon told him at the G8 Summit in May that France can accept spent nuclear fuel, reprocess it and return the fuel to Japan.
Kan said he conveyed the proposal to ministers and government offices in charge of nuclear energy. But he said that asking France to reprocess spent fuel would lead to the end of research and development for fuel recycling in Japan.
He added that the government has yet to reach a conclusion on the matter.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 05:55
Edano:Create society not reliant on nuclear power
Economy and industry minister Yukio Edano says Japan should become a society that can live without nuclear power before it can have a national debate on the need for such energy. Edano was giving his first news conference since taking office on Monday.
He said the swift development of alternative power sources and the promotion of energy saving measures could lead to a society that does not rely on nuclear power.
He said a public debate on the necessity of nuclear plants should be initiated at that time.
Edano also called on Japan to keep reducing gas emissions, but said there should be a fresh discussion of its stated target of a 25 percent cut from the 1990 level by 2020. He said the emissions target should be reconsidered as Japan reviews its energy policy following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Referring to possible power shortages this winter, Edano said the government hopes to allow some of the country's idled nuclear plants to be restarted.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 11:00
TEPCO submits blacked-out manual to Diet committee
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has submitted its accident manuals to a Diet committee with most of the contents blacked out.
The Lower House special committee investigating the nuclear disaster has asked the industry ministry to order the utility to resubmit the manuals in their original form, as required by law.
The committee had asked TEPCO to submit its procedural manuals for accidents by the end of last week.
The company turned in manuals that had been heavily redacted. Then, on Monday, it presented 3 pages, including a cover sheet, containing an index of actions to be taken in serious accidents.
But most of the index was blacked out and TEPCO collected the papers immediately after the meeting.
The company explained that its manuals contain restricted information covered by intellectual property rights. It said the information cannot be made public because nuclear materials must be safeguarded.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under the ministry says it will consider what action to take.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Burglaries surge in Fukushima no-entry zone
Police say the number of burglaries in the no-entry zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant has sharply increased in the last 6 months since the nuclear accident.
The National Police Agency says about 720 burglaries were reported within the 20-kilometer radius of the plant in Fukushima Prefecture from March through August.
That's about 26 times higher than the same period last year when just 27 cases were reported.
Police believe some burglars looted deserted houses and shops before the area was made off-limits, while others have since entered the zone without permission.
But in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, north of Fukushima, the number of burglaries during the same period fell from a year ago.
Police are stepping up patrols and setting up surveillance cameras along roads leading to the no-entry zone to try to prevent crimes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 15:41
Noda: Rebuilding, fiscal reform top priorities
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda says that rebuilding the disaster-hit northeast and balancing economic growth and fiscal reforms are his Cabinet's top priorities.
In his first policy speech in the Diet since taking office earlier this month, Noda stressed his determination to tackle the challenges brought on by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
Noda told the plenary sessions of the Lower and Upper houses on Tuesday that he aims to have the current generation shoulder the cost of reconstruction.
To this end, he said he will try to cut government spending, sell off national property, and consider temporary tax increases. Noda also pledged to bring the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant under control.
He said the government will carry out massive decontamination projects, adding that Fukushima's revival is essential for Japan to regain international credibility.
Noda also warned that public debts cannot continue to be left to future generations. He expressed determination to tackle revenue reform, and did not rule out a consumption tax increase.
The prime minister stressed that economic growth and fiscal reconstruction must be undertaken simultaneously. He said he will draw up a national revival strategy by the end of the year, and set up a panel of experts to coordinate and implement key policies.
Noda added that he aims to submit bills related to tax and social security reform during next year's ordinary Diet session, and seek opposition cooperation in policy discussions.
On diplomacy, Prime Minister Noda said that with Japan's security environment becoming increasingly unclear, the government must be prepared to respond quickly to any kind of crisis. He pledged to build a system of defense with emphasis on responsiveness and mobility, in line with the country's new defense guidelines.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 15:42
Evacuated village aims to return home in March
The irradiated village of Kawauchi in Fukushima Prefecture says it aims to decontaminate the area, restore lifelines and bring all its residents back by next March.
Mayor Yuko Endo announced the recovery plan before the village assembly on Tuesday.
The village and its hinterland are designated as either being inside the 20-kilometer no-go zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant or areas where residents must be prepared to evacuate in an emergency.
90 percent, or 2,800 of the villagers, have left.
Local governments must submit recovery plans as a condition for the central government to lift the emergency evacuation areas.
The Kawauchi plan calls for thoroughly monitoring underground water for radioactive substances. Decontamination of schools and other areas is to be completed before the end of the year. Once the government gives the all clear, the village plans to build temporary housing for the 350 residents who are from the no-go zone.
Kawauchi is the first of the 5 municipalities in Fukushima under emergency evacuation orders to announce a recovery plan.

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

Noda taps Edano for trade minister
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda appoints former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano to replace trade minister Yoshio Hachiro, who stepped down after only eight days in the post over his controversial remarks on the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Tepco sends applications for crisis damages


IAEA to get report on plan for better regulatory system

Nation could get 43% of power from renewable energy by '20, report says

Maeda eyes Eco-point plan to revive Tohoku

Hosono to reshape nuclear policy


Tohoku mental health care

Quake jolts corporate practices

Portraits of Japanese children and young people living with the ongoing consequences of the Fukushima Daichi nuclear accident
"I want to be smaller, and fly and ride a rabbit,
because everyday I can’t go out much,
and I don’t have the chance to touch a rabbit."
Mitsuki, 8, Koriyama, Fukushima.
Her situation
The levels of radiation in Koriyama are so high that most parents and schools are not allowing children to play outside at all, even though soil has been removed from many school grounds.
Look at her painting HERE
source : strongchildrenjapan.blogspot.com


September 14, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 07:50 NHK - setsuden
August power output marks record drop
Japan's electricity output in August marked a record year-on-year drop for the month, amid fears of power shortages after the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
The Federation of Electric Power Companies in Japan said on Tuesday that the total amount of electricity generated by 10 utilities in August had declined by 12.1 percent from a year earlier.
Power generation in Japan has declined for 6 straight months.
The government had asked individuals and businesses in areas served by the Tokyo and Tohoku power companies to reduce consumption due to concerns about possible shortages following the nuclear accident.
The federation said the voluntary power-saving efforts by households and companies were a factor behind the drop.
It added that the rate of utilization of nuclear plants declined to 26.4 percent in August, the lowest since data collection began in 1977.
Many nuclear reactors in Japan remain idle after the accident at the Fukushima plant, even though safety checks have been completed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 18:06
Expert panel starts discussing decontamination
An expert panel has begun discussing effective ways to remove radioactive materials from areas near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Experts on radiation and soil pollution on Wednesday attended the first meeting of the panel set up by the Environment Ministry.
Environment Minister Goshi Hosono told the panel that decontamination is Japan's top priority, and that the country faces the challenge of decontamination on an unprecedented scale.
In Fukushima Prefecture, municipalities near the plant have launched their own efforts to decontaminate buildings and soil.
The government plans to launch a model decontamination project in 12 of the prefecture's municipalities before focusing on severely contaminated areas early next year.
The panel is to discuss how much topsoil must be scraped away for effective decontamination, as well as standards and methods for municipalities' temporary storage of radioactive soil.
The ministry plans to draw up basic guidelines for decontamination, including specific methods, this year, based on the panel's discussion.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 20:19
March 11 tsunami waves reached 39.7m high
The Japan Society of Civil Engineers says the height of the March 11 tsunami reached 39.7 meters in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture.
The finding was reported to a meeting of the Society on Wednesday.
The Society's committees and working groups are examining the March 11 tsunami from various angles and considering necessary measures against possible future tsunamis.
The Society had said the highest tsunami waves on land were 40 meters. But, based on the findings from 6 months of research, it changed the number taking into account the height of the tide at the time.
The Society said it is necessary to remake the breakwater with a stronger structure to minimize possible damage in the future.

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

Noda to face grilling about appointments
Opposition parties prepare to grill Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in the Diet over his Cabinet appointments, most notably trade minister Yoshio Hachiro, who stepped down after joking about the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

METI aims to wean nation off nuclear power: Edano
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will take the initiative in promoting renewable energy so Japan will be less dependent on nuclear power, new chief Yukio Edano says.

Tohoku students to talk of quake at Summer Davos

Japanese to swim to Taiwan to show thanks for quake aid

Subsidies eyed to encourage bigger farms

Fukushima man opts to be guinea pig

. Nobuyoshi Ito is skeptical .

Denuclearize despite the gaffes

No rush to turn to renewables


September 15, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011 06:12
March 11 tsunami caused unprecedented fire
A survey has found that Japan's March 11th tsunami triggered at least 130 fires, destroying 5.65 million square meters of the northeastern prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima. That's the worst case on record.
Fires are sparked when fuel from tanks and ships, drifting after the tsunami, are ignited by vehicle batteries or other sources. Once lit, flames spread quickly as tsunami debris hinders fire-fighters.
Fire departments from the 3 prefectures told NHK that of the 131 fires reported, 100 were in Miyagi, 22 in Iwate and 9 in Fukushima. The largest damaged area was some 3.14 million square meters in Otsuchi Town, Iwate, followed by about 2.45 million square meters in Kesennuma City, Miyagi.
A total area of around 5.56 million square meters was reported to have burnt in 4 cities and towns.
Similar fires occurred when major earthquakes hit the central prefecture of Niigata in 1964 and the northern prefecture of Hokkaido in 1993. Over 50,000 square meters was consumed by fire in each event.
But the March 11th earthquake and tsunami destroyed an area about 100 times larger, making it the worst on record. The figure is likely to rise as the fire departments continue their survey.

Thursday, September 15, 2011 06:12
TEPCO spraying water directly into No.2 reactor
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has begun injecting water directly onto the spot in the No. 2 reactor where the fuel is believed to be located after melting down in the pressure vessel.
Tokyo Electric Power Company has been spraying water continuously into the reactors since the March accident to cool them down.
As of 11AM on Wednesday, the bottom of the No.2 reactor was 114.4 degrees Celsius, compared to 84.9 degrees at the No.1 reactor and 101.3 at the No. 3 reactor.
TEPCO thinks the temperature at the No.2 reactor remains higher because the injected water is not cooling the place where the melted-down fuel is located.
On Wednesday, the utility began using pipes located above where the fuel is believed to be, along with an existing pipe, to diversify the coolant passages as the exact spot where the fuel is, remains unknown.
TEPCO says the temperature at the No. 3 reactor has dropped since the same method was introduced early this month.
The firm hopes to achieve a cold shutdown with the temperatures of all the reactors being kept stable and below 100 degrees by January.
It will adjust the amount of water being sprayed and monitor the change of reactor temperatures to find out the most effective way to cool them down.

Thursday, September 15, 2011 09:51
Plant workers fail to evacuate despite exposure
At least 4 workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant failed to evacuate even though their radiation monitor indicated levels of beta rays exceeding the set limit.
The workers were replacing equipment in the plant's wastewater processing system on Wednesday. Their beta ray counter indicated levels above the evacuation benchmark of 5 millisieverts per hour, but the workers did not evacuate and continued repairs.
Beta rays can not easily penetrate the skin and the legal limit of exposure in case of emergency is 1,000 millisieverts per hour.
The 4 workers' level of exposure is believed to have been 9.5 millisieverts at maximum, which poses no immediate health risks.
The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, is looking into why the workers failed to leave despite hearing an alarm. It has also begun checking 17 other people who were working nearby for exposure to beta rays.
Late last month, 2 Tokyo Electric workers were exposed to high levels of beta rays. Another 2 workers were contaminated when they were accidentally sprayed with radioactive wastewater.

Thursday, September 15, 2011 11:07
Government promotes solar power in idled farmland
Japan's agriculture ministry has decided to ease regulations so that idle farmland can be used for renewable energy generation.
The government is promoting the use of alternative energy after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. But one of the challenges is securing enough land for solar power and other types of renewable energy.
Ministry officials say they will revise a farmland law so that 400,000 hectares of idle land nationwide can be used for the power generation business.
They also plan to set up a fund to help land owners and agricultural organizations start up companies engaged in wind and solar power generation on idle farmland.
The ministry estimates that 20 percent of the nation's electricity supply could be produced if 170,000 hectares of that land are used for renewable power generation.
It aims to submit necessary bills to next year's ordinary Diet session.

Thursday, September 15, 2011 14:01
Infants to be tested for radiation exposure
Minamisoma City in Fukushima Prefecture has decided to include infants and small children in tests for radiation taken into their bodies.
Parts of the city are designated as evacuation zones following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Since July, the city has been testing residents for internal radiation exposure, but infants and small children were excluded as the equipment did not fit them. It has been studying other test methods for them.
A city-run general hospital, working with a Tokyo-based medical firm, has decided on a method to measure amounts of radioactive substances in urine and began accepting applications on Thursday.
The new test will be provided free of charge for children 6 years old and under. Results will be mailed about 2 weeks after urine samples are received.
A mother said she has not been allowed to go outside with her baby, adding she wants to have her baby tested as soon as possible.
An official at the hospital said many parents must be worried about the health of their children, and that he hopes the tests would ease their concerns.

Thursday, September 15, 2011 18:41
March 11 insurance payments to hit a record high
Insurers say the final payout for structural damage from the March earthquake and tsunami will top a record 15 billion dollars.
The 25-member General Insurance Association of Japan released the projection on Thursday. The figure is 15 times the previous high from the 1995 Kobe earthquake.
Association Chairman Shuzo Sumi told a news conference that as of Wednesday nearly 15 billion dollars had been paid out in about 690,000 claims.
He said insurers are still processing about 800 new claims per day. When all the claims are dealt with, total payments will likely exceed 15 billion dollars.

Thursday, September 15, 2011 20:38 - setsuden
New fuel cell can supply 70% of household demand
A major Japanese oil wholesaler says it has developed a fuel cell system that supplies 70 percent of a household's daily electricity needs.
JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation says the home-use device is 10 percent more energy efficient than conventional models.
The device produces electricity and hot water through a chemical reaction with hydrogen and oxygen. It will sell at around 35,000 dollars in October.
Critics say such systems don't work during power failures, a drawback revealed during the March 11th disaster.
President Yasushi Kimura says his company plans to solve that problem by selling the product with a storage battery system that keeps working even during blackouts, as early as next summer.

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

Tepco to raise power charges up to 15% for three years
Tepco plans to raise electricity charges 10 to 15 percent for three years starting next April in an attempt to turn around its business following the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Cesium in sea may return in 20 to 30 years

DPJ's tightened grip on information raises eyebrows
Following a recent verbal misstep that led to the resignation of industry minister Yoshio Hachiro, the Democratic Party of Japan and the government have begun tightening their grip on information disclosure. ...

New mayor's warnings fell on deaf ears
When the March 11 quake struck, mayoral candidate Yutaka Ikarigawa was preparing for a speech on the streets of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture.
... Believing that a large tsunami could engulf the town within 10 to 15 minutes, the 60-year-old Ikarigawa urged people to immediately evacuate to higher ground — even carrying some to safety on his back.

Iwate survivors wonder, worry about future
. Reconstruction Efforts - INFO .

March 11 disasters a turning point for Japanese civil society
... The absence of a strong independent third sector in this country is possibly one of the major factors that results in the lack of cohesion and creative policy debates and the absence of dynamic political leadership. ...


September 16, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011 05:37
7.4 quake hits near Fiji
A magnitude 7.4 earthquake occurred near the Fiji islands in the south Pacific at 19:31 UTC on Thursday, or 7:31 on Friday morning, local time.
The Japanese Meteorological Agency says the possibility of a tsunami is low.

Friday, September 16, 2011 06:50
Cesium found in industrial waste
Industrial waste at 6 incineration facilities has been found to contain radioactive cesium at levels that exceed the government-set limit for disposal.
Following the nuclear accident in Fukushima, the ashes of garbage from private homes were found to contain levels of radioactive cesium, well above the limit of 8,000 becquerels per kilogram. The contaminated garbage was treated at waste disposal plants in the Kanto and Tohoku regions.
The Environment Ministry had asked 16 prefectures in the Tohoku, Kanto and Koshin-etsu regions to examine ashes from woodchips and other industrial waste.
Out of the 110 incineration facilities tested, levels of radioactive cesium exceeded 8,000 becquerels per kilogram at 4 sites in Fukushima Prefecture and one each in Iwate and Chiba prefectures. The highest measurement was 144,420 becquerels per kilogram at one facility in Fukushima.
These facilities were found to be temporarily keeping the ashes without disposing of them in landfill sites.
Since the 6 facilities had been storing the waste material outdoors before incineration, the Environment Ministry plans to examine other facilities that follow similar methods.

Friday, September 16, 2011 11:14
Govt. to prepare medical-industry hub in Fukushima
Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry has announced plans to create a cutting edge hub for medical and nursing related businesses in Fukushima to promote reconstruction in the area.
The government is to subsidize companies in Fukushima that research and develop cancer drugs, medical equipment and nursing-care robots. By promoting more investment, it hopes to create the world's largest facility for cancer treatment and research and other medical related development.
The plan is to entice companies to set up plants in Fukushima to help in the recovery from the March disaster. Visiting patients are also expected to have a positive economic impact on the region.
The industry ministry will seek funding for the project in the 3rd supplementary budget for the current fiscal year. Related ministries and agencies will be asked to loosen regulations for companies operating in the sector.
Medical related industries had begun setting up in Fukushima before the disaster, and there were calls for the government to help revive that trend.

Friday, September 16, 2011 18:07
TEPCO injecting more water into 2 reactors
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is injecting more water into 2 of the plant's reactors in an attempt to lower their temperatures below 100 degrees Celsius.
As of 5 AM Friday, the bottom of No.2 reactor measured 114.1 degrees Celsius and that of the No.3 reactor 103.3 degrees. The temperature at the No.1 reactor was 85.3 degrees.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has been injecting water continuously into the 3 reactors since the March accident. The utility is aiming at a cold shutdown of all reactors by January next year, with stable temperatures below 100 degrees.
Earlier this month, TEPCO began boosting injections of cooling water into the No.2 and No.3 reactors by using overhead pipes in addition to the pipes on the reactors' sides, to see if this would help lower temperatures.
As the new method showed some benefits, TEPCO began on Friday afternoon to increase the water flow by one ton to a total of 7 tons per hour for the No.2 reactor, and by 5 tons to 12 tons per hour for the No.3 reactor.
The company says it will continue monitoring temperatures and make adjustments as necessary. It also indicated it may inject more water into the relatively stable No.1 reactor.

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

U.N. faults Japan for weak crisis prep
Japan was "too modest" in projecting emergency scenarios for the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant before the March 11 quake and tsunami struck, the United Nations says.

Reprocessed nuclear waste returns to Japan
A ship carrying the first shipment of highly radioactive waste to be processed since the Fukushima disaster returns to Aomori Prefecture from Britain for disposal.

Obama urged Kan to move faster on nuclear security

Nishikawa seeks better safety tests for reactors

Big swath of Fukushima tainted

Tiger Mask donates Geiger counters

Kick-starting green energy


September 17, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011 22:33
Tropical storm Roke bearing down on west Japan
. Typhoon 15 Roke .

. . . . . at 4:26
Earthquake M 6.3, Off Iwate

. . . . . at 6:08
Earthquake M 5.9, Off Iwate

. . . . . at 6:36
Earthquake M 5.7, Off Sanriku

. . . . . at 7:41
Earthquake M 5.7, Off Sanriku

. . . . . at 16:34
Earthquake M 5.6, Off Iwate


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

Tepco plans to sell 280 properties to raise Yen 200 billion
Tokyo Electric plans to sell 280 properties to raise \200 billion for compensation payments as it faces lawsuits over the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Edano won't rush restarts
Newly appointed trade and industry minister Yukio Edano said he won't set a time frame for deciding whether to restart halted nuclear reactors currently undergoing stress tests.

Ban hopes Noda will share Fukushima lessons at U.N. talks

Hong Kongers share postdisaster insights

Accelerate reconstruction


Sunday, September 18, 2011

. . . . . at 2:55
Earthquake M 5.3, Off Sanriku

. . . . . at 16:04
Earthquake M 5.9, Off Sanriku

Today, temperatures rose above 35 degrees centigrade in some parts of Japan.
Others were hard hit by the influence of typhoon 15, Roke, which is hanging around Okinawa since September 12.

. Typhoon 15 Roke .


Sunday, September 18, 2011 14:59 - NHK
Future radiation levels forecast on electronic map
A group of Japanese researchers has drawn up an electronic map which shows changing radiation levels at about 2,200 locations in a 5-year period.
The map was made by a research group led by Professor Isao Tanihata at Osaka University's Research Center for Nuclear Physics.
The group calculated estimated radiation levels at each of about 2,200 points over the next 5 years based on data released by the education and science ministry.
Most of the locations are in Fukushima Prefecture, where a nuclear accident was triggered in March by the massive earthquake and tsunami.
The group took into account the level of radioactive cesium, which drops as time passes.
By using Google Earth services, the group forecast the level at individual sites and point of time with a bar graph. Possible changes in level naturally caused by rain and wind and the decontamination effort are not included.
For example, the map shows that a radiation level of 4.36 microsieverts per hour detected in June in Kawamata Town about 30 kilometers northwest of the troubled plant will fall to 1.75 microsieverts 5 years later.
Professor Tanihata hopes that the map will help state and local authorities to work out a specific plan to decontaminate areas to get people to return to their hometowns.
The map will be made public at the research center's Website on Monday.

Sunday, September 18, 2011 22:23
Cesium detected in 4% of tested rice
Radioactive tests on rice have been completed in more than half of the Tohoku and Kanto regions, and radioactive cesium has been detected in 4 percent of the samples. But the highest level detected so far is about a quarter of the government's safety limit.
Based on the interim results, shipments of rice have started in municipalities in 15 prefectures.
A preliminary examination is conducted while the rice is still growing and another test is carried out after the harvest. Rice can only be shipped if the amounts of cesium in the post-harvest test are below the government-set safety limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram in all the locations within a municipality.
Preliminary tests have been completed in 7 prefectures, but not in Fukushima or Miyagi.
Radioactive cesium has been detected in 72 places so far, including 64 locations in Fukushima Prefecture, where the Fukushima Daiichi power plant is located. But the highest level detected was 136 becquerels per kilogram, which is about a quarter of the government's safety limit.
The main test is being conducted in 17 prefectures, and has been completed in more than half of them. Radioactive materials were detected in rice harvested in 22 locations. But the highest level detected so far is 101.6 becquerels per kilogram, or one fifth of the government's safety limit.
With the preliminary and main tests combined, the results are known for more than 60 percent of the test locations. Radioactive materials have been detected in 94 locations, or 4.3 percent of the total.
Shipments of rice have started in municipalities in 15 prefectures, including all 52 municipalities in Chiba Prefecture.
In Fukushima Prefecture, shipments of ordinary rice have started in 2 municipalities, and those of early-harvested rice in 20 municipalities.

Distrust of government standards fuels avoidance of Tohoku food
On the meat shelves of a supermarket in Tokyo's Koto Ward, the packages for domestic beef display "inspection complete" seals, a reflection of the new realities of food safety in Japan.
But customers simply walk past the section.
Although the seals are meant to reassure customers that the products have passed radiation checks to confirm their safety, consumers remain wary about the government's standards.
"When I purchase beef, I buy Australian. I don't want my children to take in radioactive materials," said a 41-year-old homemaker with a 3-year-old child.
A 33-year-old mother of a 4-year-old said she only buys meats and vegetables from western Japan.
It's not just Japanese beef that consumers are avoiding. Vegetables, fruits and rice from the Tohoku region are also being given the cold shoulder.
... "As the government's standards are vague, I cannot trust them," she said.
... Daichi wo Mamoru Kai (Group to protect the Earth), a Chiba-based organization that delivers food materials, started selling its "Kodomotachi e no Anshin Yasai Set" (a set of safe vegetables for children) in July at a price of 1,980 yen (about $26), including delivery fees.
source : www.asahi.com


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

Tepco scraps plan to hike power charges 10 to 15%

Tokyo Electric Power Co. decides to scrap its plan to raise electricity charges 10 to 15 percent from next April amid increasingly harsh criticism by government officials and the public.

More quake orphan benefits sought
More than half of the families who have taken in about 230 children orphaned by the March 11 disasters have applied for government benefits under the kinship foster care program.

Political elite can't stand outsiders


September 19, 2011

Earthquake kills 2 people in India
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9 hit a remote Himalayan region in northeastern India and Nepal on Sunday evening.

. . . . . at 3:32
Earthquake M 5.1, Off Fukushima


Monday, September 19, 2011 05:59 - NHK
IAEA to adopt action plan to ensure reactor safety
The UN nuclear agency is due to adopt an action plan aimed at stepping up safety at nuclear power plants around the globe by conducting regular inspections.
The International Atomic Energy Agency will hold an annual ministerial meeting in Vienna for 5 days starting on Monday.
The meeting is expected to endorse an action plan that was adopted at a board meeting last Tuesday in response to the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan caused by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The voluntary plan calls for the agency to send inspectors to reactor operating nations to check the safety of their reactors at least once over the next 3 years, to be followed by regular inspections.
The plan also calls on relevant governments to set up rapid-response teams to deal with nuclear emergencies in efforts to strengthen their nuclear crisis control.
During the meeting, Japan's nuclear crisis minister, Goshi Hosono, will brief other members about his government's plan to bring the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant under control. A special session will be held for the participants to exchange views on ways to deal with the crisis of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Monday, September 19, 2011 05:59
Japan's Foreign Minister to visit New York
Japan's Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba will visit New York to meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and attend a UN nuclear safety meeting.
... On Thursday, Gemba is scheduled to co-chair a UN meeting on nuclear safety and security.
He is expected to explain that his government will do its utmost to bring the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant under control, and to contribute to the improvement of reactor safety.

Monday, September 19, 2011 05:59
Japan to offer products from disaster areas as ODA
Japan's Foreign Ministry hopes to use products from the country's northeast that was hit by the March 11th quake and tsunami to aid developing countries.
The Foreign Ministry filed a budget request worth more than 220 million dollars with the government, which is working on a third supplementary budget bill for fiscal 2011.
The Ministry says it wants to use part of the requested budget, worth about 65-million dollars, to buy industrial products, including wheelchairs, and marine food products made in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures, to provide them free of charge to developing countries.
The Ministry says it hopes the program will also help stop radioactive-related rumors from affecting shipments and sales of those products overseas.
Sales of products made in the country's northeast have been hurt by such rumors since the nuclear crisis began at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in the same region.
The Ministry also requested the equivalent of about 52 million dollars to set up a rapid quake and tsunami reporting system for nations in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Rim region.
The Ministry says it also wants the equivalent of about 13 million dollars to invite experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency to assess and advise on radiation surveys the government plans to conduct.

Monday, September 19, 2011 09:28
Siemens to leave nuclear industry
German industrial and engineering giant Siemens is withdrawing from the nuclear industry following the German government's decision to phase out nuclear power generation.
Chief Executive Peter Loescher revealed the plan in an interview in the edition of the German weekly magazine "Der Spiegel" published on Sunday.
Loescher said the company will no longer be involved with construction of nuclear power stations. He said the decision is the company's answer to the clear positioning of Germany's society and government for a pullout from nuclear energy.
He said the company will still produce steam turbines and other parts for non-nuclear facilities such as gas-fired power stations.
Siemens is the first major nuclear power equipment manufacturer to withdraw from the nuclear industry.
The German government decided in June to shut down all of the country's 17 nuclear reactors by 2022 in light of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan in March.

Monday, September 19, 2011 12:44
Fukushima evacuees drive to homes in no-go zone
Some evacuees from the no-entry zone around the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant have been allowed to briefly visit their homes in private vehicles.
Residents of Kawauchi Village have begun driving home to retrieve some of the belongings they left behind during the evacuation in March. Two hundred and 25 people from 90 households are scheduled to visit their homes on Monday.
This is the second chance for evacuees to briefly go home. Only two people per household were allowed to go the first time, and they were taken on buses. This time, evacuees can use their own vehicles and can take as many people as the vehicles can carry.
Some early arrivers were seen reporting at a village facility. The village is providing them with two-way radios for emergency communication.
A 66-year-old man returned with his wife from Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo. He said he had borrowed a truck from an acquaintance so he could get his bed.
The vehicles will be tested for radioactive contamination when they come out of the no-go zone. They will be decontaminated if the amount of radioactive substances exceeds new and stricter limits.
Home visits in private vehicles are due to continue until late November.
Kawauchi Village Mayor Yuko Endo said it is sad that people have to go through tests and procedures just to go back to their own homes.

Monday, September 19, 2011 13:42
Japanese nuclear energy experts discuss Fukushima
Japanese experts on nuclear energy are discussing ways to contain the nuclear accident in Fukushima at their first conference since the accident.
The Atomic Energy Society of Japan started a 4-day conference in Kitakyushu City, southwestern Japan, on Monday.
Society president and University of Tokyo Professor Satoru Tanaka said in an opening address that the society finds it extremely regrettable that the accident in Fukushima has had such a huge impact on the people of Japan and caused them such great worry.
Professor Hisashi Ninokata of Tokyo Institute of Technology, who leads a subcommittee investigating the accident, said even experts had had too much confidence in the safety of Japan's nuclear power generation. He said the society should face the accident squarely and work hard to contain it.
During the morning session, Japanese nuclear experts discussed how to contain the Fukushima accident and help affected areas recover.
About 7,000 atomic energy experts at universities, research institutes, and power companies are members of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan. The society postponed its annual conference after the accident in Fukushima.

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

Tokyo faced evacuation scenario: Kan
Early in the Fukushima crisis, the government was told 30 million people would have to evacuate the Tokyo area in a worst-case scenario, former Prime Minister Naoto Kan reveals.

Bavarian opera spooked by radiation
Some 80 members of the Bavarian State Opera have refused to join its tour of Japan next Friday because of radiation concerns posed by the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, sources close to the Munich-based opera company said Saturday.

Ministry eyes power plants in parks


September 20, 2011

. Typhoon 15 Roke .
Strong rain in most parts of Japan.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011 07:00 - NHK
Hosono: Cooling down to be achieved this year
Japan's minister in charge of the nuclear disaster says reactors at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi plant will be cooled to below 100 degrees Celsius within this year.
Goshi Hosono spoke at the International Atomic Energy Agency's annual ministerial meeting on Monday.He thanked the international community for assisting Japan in dealing with the accident at Fukushima.
Hosono said that decontaminated water has been successfully used to cool down the troubled nuclear reactors, bringing the temperature close to 100 degrees Celsius. He also said spent nuclear fuel pools have been cooled in a stable manner.
Hosono also said the spent nuclear fuel has been steadily cooled and will fall below 100 degrees by the end of this year, instead of early next year as initially predicted. When the reactors and spent fuel have been cooled below 100 degrees, radiation emissions can be kept very low.
The minister also said Japan will work with the IAEA to remove radioactive materials from areas near Fukushima Daiichi.
He explained the plan to separate the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency from the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, saying it will be merged with the Cabinet Office's Nuclear Safety Commission to create a nuclear safety agency under the Environment Ministry by next April.
IAEA to send experts to Japan
The International Atomic Energy Agency says it will send experts to Japan to cooperate in the removal of radioactive materials in Fukushima Prefecture.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano made the remarks on Monday in Vienna. He was responding to a request from Japan's nuclear crisis minister, Goshi Hosono. ...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 07:21
Nobel laureate leads Tokyo anti-nuclear rally
Tens of thousands of people rallied on Monday in Tokyo to pressure the Japanese government to scrap nuclear power plants.
Nobel prize-winning author Kenzaburo Oe, economic critic Katsuto Uchihashi, and public figures called for people to take the streets.
Oe said in a speech the use of atomic energy will inevitably have devastating and costly consequences. He asked participants to let politicians and the Japan Business Federation know citizens are determined to resist nuclear power plants.
Uchihashi warned a new myth is emerging that suggests further technological progress could make nuclear power facilities safe. He told participants to be on guard.

After the rally, thousands of people marched through the streets carrying placards. Some said they want children to be protected from radiation exposure.
A teacher from Kanagawa Prefecture said his school is measuring radiation levels on its property. He added he cannot be indifferent to the nuclear power issue. He also said he wants to help teachers in Fukushima Prefecture in their fight to abolish nuclear power plants.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Nuclear experts rethink their future
Japan's nuclear energy experts are discussing how complacency contributed to the accident at the country's Fukushima Daiichi power plant. They started a 4-day conference on Monday. It is their first major gathering since an earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear crisis.
The Atomic Energy Society of Japan meeting is happening in the southwestern city of Kitakyushu. The event was postponed after the March 11th disaster.
Participants include university professors, researchers and workers from the nuclear energy industry.
Professor Hisashi Ninokata of the Tokyo Institute of Technology is leading the Atomic Energy Society panel that's investigating the Fukushima accident.
He told a morning session that experts placed too much confidence in Japan's nuclear power generation and created a nuclear safety myth. He said the Atomic Energy Society should face the accident head-on and work hard to contain it.
In the afternoon, experts discussed the future of the nuclear energy community. Audience members asked questions.
One participant said the Fukushima disaster occurred because experts did not address the safety risks they knew existed. Another said nuclear officials should cultivate a culture that is more open to public dialogue.
Atomic Energy Society President Satoru Tanaka said experts did not question nuclear safety, even though they had numerous opportunities to do so. The University of Tokyo Professor argued the Society shares responsibility for failing to correct the rigid views of the government and nuclear industry. He promised to continue improving the way experts interact with the public.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 14:43
Fukushima evacuation warnings to be lifted
The government's evacuation advisories in areas 20 to 30 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may be lifted by the end of the month.
Residents of 5 municipalities that are mostly in the zone are required to be prepared to evacuate quickly in case of emergency.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura announced on Tuesday that the 5 municipalities have all submitted their own recovery plans, and he thinks conditions to lift the advisories have been met.
He said the government will hear views from the Nuclear Safety Commission and then is likely to decide to lift the advisories by the end of September.

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

Concerns halt Fukushima fireworks use
A plan to use fireworks made in Fukushima Prefecture is scrapped at a festival in Aichi after residents voice radiation fears.

Noda to stress need for nuclear plants at U.N.

Masses turn out to protest nuclear power !!!

Restructuring for the future, not rebuilding the past
... The aftershocks have sent tremors far beyond the areas directly hit by the natural disaster. But the widely accepted notion of a "triple disaster" of the earthquake, ensuing tsunami and nuclear crisis is a misconception, obscuring the fact that the afflicted areas had already been suffering from deep structural problems for decades. ...
... The 1995 quake primarily struck Kobe, a single densely populated city of 1.5 million inhabitants where 13.5 percent of residents were aged 65 or older; the Great East Japan Earthquake hit hundreds of kilometers of coastline in mostly rural regions with a population of nearly 7 million, 22 percent of whom were older than 65.


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. . Japan Times



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