October 2011

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October 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cesium fallout map illustrates Kanto levels - JT

The science ministry's latest aerial monitoring over Chiba and Saitama prefectures confirms that radioactive cesium released from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant has contaminated parts of the Kanto region.

Govt to check radiation levels outside 20km zone
Evacuee kids' thyroids need monitoring
and more:
and more as October passes on :
. Radiation Problems - INFO .

Monday, October 03, 2011 05:39
Gov't panel to submit report on TEPCO finance
A government panel will present a report calling on Tokyo Electric Power Company to review its costs before it considers raising utility fees.
The report will be submitted to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Monday. The advisory panel has been investigating the financial situation of the company to ensure the company is able to pay compensation to victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The report will ask the company to cut its costs by about 9 billion dollars. The cost cutting includes sales of TEPCO assets.
The report will also ask the company to review its high cost structure, pricing system, and the way the system is managed, before considering a possible hike in utility fees.
The company may be forced to raise utility fees, if it continues to have financial difficulties from April 2012 onward.
After the submission of the report to the government, a business program for TEPCO will be drafted. The company will have to follow the program if it is to receive financial assistance from the government.
This will lay the groundwork to ensure TEPCO can make compensation payments to the victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Monday, October 3, 2011 - JT
Tepco concludes own crisis manual useless
A report concludes that Tokyo Electric's emergency manual was useless for handling the Fukushima crisis and disputes the belief that a hydrogen explosion damaged the No. 2 reactor.

Monday, October 03, 2011 16:46 - NHK
TEPCO forecast 10-meter tsunami
Government documents show that the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant predicted in 2008 that a tsunami over 10 meters high could hit the plant, which was only designed to withstand tsunami of 5.7 meters. But it failed to report this to the government until just before the March 11th disaster.
At the request of NHK, the government on Monday released a simulation report by Tokyo Electric Power Company.
TEPCO had predicted that waves between 8.4 and 10.2 meters high could hit all 6 reactors at the plant in the event of an earthquake similar to one that devastated the area in 1896. But the prediction was not conveyed to the government's nuclear safety agency until March 7th, just 4 days before the plant was crippled by tsunami.
In the report, TEPCO also said it would begin examining the plant's tsunami-resistance measures in April of this year. It said it planned to deal appropriately with the matter by around October of 2012, when academics were expected to review their tsunami evaluations.
TEPCO official Junichi Matsumoto says the company did not feel the need to take prompt action on the estimates, which were still tentative calculations in the research stage.
But a Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency official says it is regrettable that TEPCO did not start work on its tsunami measures right after it made the estimate 3 years ago. He said TEPCO should have called on experts to discuss its calculations in public.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tepco cost cut goal said well short of target - JT
Tokyo Electric should double its cost-cutting plan if it expects to get help compensating victims of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, a government panel warns.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011 - NHK
TEPCO ordered to draw up safety guidelines
Japan's nuclear watchdog has ordered the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to draw up clear safety guidelines to oversee its work to get the plant under control.
Tokyo Electric Power Company is striving to bring the disabled reactors to a state of cold shutdown by next January, and then to begin preparations for their decommissioning.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says it wants TEPCO to set down the specific post-emergency nuclear safety protocols that will direct its work over the coming 3 years.
The agency says the key objective will be to prevent any additional discharge of radioactive substances and to drastically reduce radiation levels at the plant.
It says TEPCO should identify ways to pinpoint and control radioactive hot spots, and take steps to prevent hydrogen explosions.
The agency also wants the utility to report by mid-October how it aims to secure safety while using decontaminated water to cool down the reactors.
The agency says it will ask experts to review the adequacy of the guidelines that TEPCO comes up with.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011 - NHK
TEPCO demands only 50% disclosure of manuals
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has finally submitted its accident manuals in their original form to Japan's nuclear safety agency. But the Tokyo Electric Power Company maintains that only half of the documents' contents should be made public.
In mid-September, TEPCO submitted its procedural manuals for nuclear accidents to a Lower House committee investigating the Fukushima accident. But the utility blacked out most of the contents.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency later instructed TEPCO to submit the originals for 3 types of manuals for accidents of varying scale. The agency also asked the utility how much of the contents could be made public.
TEPCO now says that about 50 percent of the material should remain secret. It also says it wants to disclose just 10 percent of a manual for dealing with serious accidents.
TEPCO says this is because the manuals contain information covered by intellectual property rights. The company also says its manual for dealing with serious accidents includes information on important facilities. It says the documents cannot be made public because such facilities could become potential targets of terrorist attacks.
The nuclear safety agency says it will consider the validity of TEPCO's argument, and will aim to disclose the manuals by the end of October.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Genkai No.4 nuclear reactor stops operation
A reactor at the Genkai nuclear power plant in western Japan was shut down automatically on Tuesday, following a technical glitch with the unit's cooling system.
Kyushu Electric Power Company, the plant's operator, says no one was hurt and there have been no changes in radiation levels monitored near the plant.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says the Number 4 reactor at the plant stopped operations at around 1:40 PM on Tuesday, after abnormalities in the steam condenser of its cooling system were signaled by equipment.
Tuesday's suspension has left the utility with only one of its 6 nuclear reactors in operation.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 - NHK
Japan to work with IAEA decontamination experts
The Japanese government says it is ready to work with the International Atomic Energy Agency in removing radioactive materials around the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The government's chief spokesman, Osamu Fujimura, made the remark on Tuesday ahead of a visit by a team of IAEA experts who will arrive in Japan on Friday.
Fujimura said Japan will cooperate with and learn from international experts in decontamination. He said he hopes their visit will help the process to move faster and more efficiently.
The government says it also hopes to establish the best way to clean up radioactive substances so it can be shared by other nations.
The 12-member team is to make the 9-day visit at the request of Japan's nuclear crisis minister, Goshi Hosono.
The team will travel to Fukushima Prefecture to watch the decontamination process and give advice before compiling a report.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - JT
Return to contaminated areas?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 - NHK
Iwate rice hits stores
Newly harvested rice from Iwate Prefecture hit stores on Wednesday. The rice has cleared tests for radioactive contamination from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, about 150 kilometers away.
A department store in Morioka city held a tasting event for the popular Hitomebore brand of rice. It also gave the first 200 customers 300 grams of rice free.
A woman customer said rice is the most delicious soon after it is harvested. She said she's relieved that no radioactive substances were found in the rice.
The wholesaler organizing the event said the Governor of Iwate has declared the prefecture's rice crop free of radioactive contaminants. He said this year's crop is not only safe, but is high quality.
The quality of Iwate rice is better than usual this year thanks to the hot summer, though harvesting was delayed by September typhoons. The price is also higher.
Rice harvested in Iwate last year has almost sold out because of fears that this year's harvest would be contaminated.

..... Wednesday, October 5, 2011, at 19:06
Earthquake M 5.1 North Nagano prefecture

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 - NHK
Construction of seawall begins at nuclear plant
A Japanese electric power company has begun building an anti-tsunami embankment at a nuclear power plant on the Sea of Japan coast.
Hokuriku Electric Power Company on Wednesday started construction of a reinforced concrete seawall at the plant in Shika Town, Ishikawa Prefecture. The wall is 4 meters high, 700 meters long, and sits 11 meters above the sea level.
A 15-meter-high tsunami caused flood damage at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following the March 11th earthquake. After the disaster, the government instructed utilities to take anti-tsunami measures.
Hokuriku Electric plans to install a new drainage gate to minimize damage to plant facilities in case seawater manages to climb over the wall and flood the plant.
Other emergency safety measures to be taken by the utility include installing an extra pump to cool reactors with seawater and a power source to operate a valve for venting steam out of reactors.
The company intends to complete construction by the end of March 2013.
Progress on nuclear plant seawalls
In response to the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the government instructed the nation's power companies on March 30 to take urgent safety measures to prevent damage from tsunami.
The utilities are preparing their anti-tsunami measures, including the construction of seawalls.
45 of the 54 reactors around the country are planning to build seawalls.
Construction is expected to be completed as early as spring 2012, or in the next 3 years at the latest.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011 - NHK
Reserve fund for nuclear plant sites sitting idle
Japan's Board of Audit has asked the trade and industry ministry to review unused reserve funds earmarked for municipalities where construction of sites of nuclear power plants are planned. The ministry is holding some 860 million dollars' worth of unused grants, which the board of audit says are unnecessary.
The grants are part of a program that started some 40 years ago designed to help develop municipalities where nuclear power plants are to be built. Such municipalities can use the money to build roads, social welfare facilities and sports facilities. ...

Thursday, October 06, 2011 - NHK
Earthquake hits Kumamoto
A strong earthquake has hit the southwestern Japanese prefecture of Kumamoto.
The Meteorological Agency says the quake registered 5-plus on the Japanese scale of zero to 7. It struck at 11:33 PM in the Kumamoto region.
The focus of the magnitude 4.5 quake was about 10 kilometers deep.

Thursday, October 6, 2011 - JT
70% of the public's donations delivered to disaster victims
Nearly 70 percent of public donations sent in the wake of the March earthquake and tsunami have been distributed to people in the Tohoku and other affected areas, welfare ministry data show.

IAEA team to help decontaminate area around nuclear plant

Nurseries take kids to play at site with lower radiation

Panel to suggest provisionally hiking annual radiation exposure limit
A government panel reviewing radiation limits for the general public will propose that the government increase the current 1 millisievert annual exposure level to an interim limit between 1 and 20 millisieverts, panel sources said Wednesday.

Friday, October 7, 2011 - JT

Tokyo guarantees debris plan is safe

A plan to help rebuild the Tohoku region has sparked controversy in Tokyo since the metropolitan government said it would burn and store debris and other waste from the area that could be tainted with radiation from the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

Cesium surges in ash halt Kashiwa incinerator
An incinerator in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, has been shut down following the discovery of high levels of radioactive cesium in incinerated ash, a city official said Thursday in the first such case since the March nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima Prefecture.

Local disposal for radioactive waste

Fukushima desolation worst since Hiroshima, Nagasaki

Friday, October 07, 2011 18:15 - NHK
TEPCO starts sprinkling decontaminated water
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has started sprinkling decontaminated water on the premises of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
TEPCO on Friday began spraying the water onto trees cut down and piled on the plant's compound. The utility says dry trees could catch fire spontaneously.
The water was taken from facilities for temporary storage of water with low levels of radioactivity that had accumulated in the basements of 2 reactor turbine buildings. The buildings did not incur major damage in the March disaster.
The facilities contain about 17,000 tons of such water, and are filled to nearly 90 percent of their capacity.
TEPCO removed salt and radioactive substances from the water before the sprinkling process, and says levels of cesium and other radioactive substances in the water are below government standards for public beaches.
The company also says local communities and fishery associations approved the operation.
TEPCO plans to release 100 tons of decontaminated water daily on about 1.2 million square meters of land in the compound.

Saturday, October 8, 2011
Okutama cesium level seen spiking - JT
The science ministry's aerial monitoring of Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture finds highly contaminated areas in the capital's northwest area, but most of the areas surveyed are within normal levels.

Radiation fears send fish hauls spiraling

Helping hand for Tepco


Saturday, October 08, 2011 12:04 - NHK
US eases travel alert around Fukushima N-plant
The United States has eased its evacuation advisory for US citizens in Japan regarding the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The State Department advised US citizens on Friday to stay more than 20 kilometers from the plant -- in line with a no-entry zone set by the Japanese government.
The previous US advisory recommended avoiding areas within 80 kilometers of the plant. But the State Department warned pregnant women, children, and older people not to stay within 30 kilometers of the plant.
The US alert also includes some areas and spots outside the 20-kilometer no-entry zone, as the Japanese government has advised residents there to evacuate.
The State Department says it updated the advisory based on additional data released by the Japanese government.
Japan last week lifted an evacuation advisory for municipalities mainly located in a ring between 20 and 30 kilometers from the plant.

Saturday, October 08, 2011 13:22 - NHK
Removal of hydrogen starts at Fukushima plant
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Saturday afternoon began to remove hydrogen that has built up in pipes connected to the No.1 reactor.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, last month found that the level of hydrogen inside pipes connected to the No.1 reactor containment vessel accounted for between 61 and 63 percent of the total gas present.
TEPCO says an explosion is unlikely as there is no oxygen in the pipes now.
It adds that Saturday's work will not pose any risk of explosion as nitrogen is to be injected into the pipes to lower hydrogen levels.
TEPCO explains that it will use special hoses that do not generate static electricity to prevent an explosion while releasing hydrogen outside the reactor building.
Following a government instruction, TEPCO is planning to check the level of hydrogen in pipes linked to the No.2 and No.3 reactors.

Saturday, October 08, 2011 - NHK
Hosono inspects debris left by March disaster
Environment minister Goshi Hosono has visited a northeastern city to study ways to dispose of a huge amount of debris left by the earthquake and tsunami in March.
Hosono paid a visit to Miyako City in Iwate Prefecture on Saturday.
Under an agreement with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, debris left in the city will be transferred to Tokyo for disposal.
But other disaster-hit municipalities are still unable to find any local governments willing to accept part of the debris because of concern over storage capacity or handling problems, especially in regard to radioactive substances stuck to the wreckage.
Hosono told Miyako Mayor Masanori Yamamoto that the central government views clearing disaster-hit areas as a top priority for reconstruction.
Speaking to reporters, Hosono said he plans to visit both other municipalities in disaster-hit prefectures in northeastern Japan and those outside the prefectures that could accept debris.
Hosono said the government is going to do all it can to promote debris disposal outside the disaster-affected prefectures.
Hosono also visited a temporary storage site where he was briefed on a plan to transfer 500,000 tons of debris remaining in Iwate Prefecture to other places outside the prefecture.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

U.S. cuts Fukushima plant travel alert to 20 km - JT
The United States eases its evacuation advisory for American citizens in Japan, advising them to avoid areas within 20 km of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, in line with the Japanese safety standard.

Tsunami signs at nuke plant village stoke safety fears
The village is home to Tohoku Electric Power Co.'s Higashidori nuclear power plant.
Shimokita Peninsula

Sunday, October 09, 2011 08:58 - NHK
Temperatures drop at Fukushima damaged reactors
New footage of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi plant has been released by the Tokyo Electric Power Company. No steam is seen leaving the No.2 and 3 reactors, which indicates that internal temperatures have dropped.
On Saturday TEPCO released video footage taken from above the No. 1 through No. 3 reactor buildings between Monday and Thursday.
As for the No. 1 reactor building, a hydrogen explosion collapsed its roof, blocking a clear view of the inside.
The video shows that the No. 2 reactor building suffered no major damage to its pipes and other equipment.
However, inside the No. 3 reactor building debris are scattered everywhere.
TEPCO confirmed that no steam is presently being released from reactors No.2 and 3.
In August, the 2 reactors were emitting steam.
Officials say the temperature inside the No. 3 reactor dropped below 100 degrees Celsius 3 weeks ago, followed by a decline in temperature at reactor No.2.
TEPCO believes that the drop in temperatures has led to the reduction in steam.
Photos of the central control rooms for No. 1 and 2 reactors were also released.
The maximum radiation level in the control rooms is 0.01 millisieverts per hour.
Removal of hydrogen continues at Fukushima plant
Tokyo Electric Power Company will try to remove more hydrogen from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Sunday. The density of the gas increased in pipes connected to the No. 1 reactor after a significant drop on Saturday.
Last month, TEPCO found that hydrogen had built up inside pipes leading to the No. 1 reactor containment vessel and its density was between 61 and 63 percent of the total gas present.
This poses a problem because releasing high densities of hydrogen outside the reactor building could cause another explosion.
On Saturday, TEPCO spent one hour removing hydrogen, while at the same time injecting nitrogen to the pipes to reduce the risk of an explosion.
About half an hour later, the company found the percentage of hydrogen had dropped to nearly zero.
However 2 hours later, the density was measured at 3.9 percent. Even though TEPCO says an explosion is unlikely, hydrogen at a density of over 4 percent could cause a blast when mixed with oxygen.
TEPCO believes that the hydrogen level rose because gas accumulated in the upper part of the pipes may have redistributed internally.

Sunday, October 09, 2011 - NHK
Iwate fishers sell oysters at traditional hut shop
Oyster farmers in northeastern Japan have served grilled oysters to customers for the first time since the March 11th disaster. The dish is a specialty of a town that was destroyed by tsunami.
The oyster sale is part of a 2-day event in Iwaizumi, Iwate Prefecture to promote local seafood and matsutake mushrooms.
The event features 27 booths and is being held to inform people about the ongoing reconstruction of Iwate's coastal areas.
The oysters come from the nearby town of Yamada.
People in Yamada have been struggling to get the oyster farms back into operation because many facilities were destroyed by tsunami. But they managed to harvest just enough oysters for the occasion.
A visitor from Shizuoka Prefecture in central Japan said he was buying oysters to help support the disaster-hit area.

Sunday, October 09, 2011
Thyroid checkups begin for Fukushima children
The Fukushima prefectural government has begun thyroid examinations for children in an effort to assess the health impact of the nuclear accident.
The examinations will cover around 360,000 youths aged 18 or younger as of April 1st.
Their health will be monitored for their lifetime. Radioactive iodine released from the damaged nuclear plant could accumulate in children's thyroid glands, raising the possibility of cancer.
On Sunday, 150 children from some municipalities in the government-designated evacuation zone, such as Iitate Village and the Yamakiya district of Kawamata town, underwent ultrasound examinations for tumors or other problems at Fukushima Medical University.
The results are expected to be mailed to them in about a month.
The prefectural government says it plans to have all the children examined by 2014.
After that, it says the children will undergo a thyroid check every 2 years until they turn 20, and will be examined once every 5 years after that age.

Sunday, October 09, 2011
IAEA radiation team arrives in Fukushima
A team of radiation experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency has visited Fukushima Prefecture to exchange views with members of the Japanese government decontamination task force.
The 12-member IAEA team has been in Japan since Friday to give advice on ways to effectively clean up radioactive substances, at the request of Environment Minister Goshi Hosono.
The team includes IAEA experts on radiation protection and radioactive waste as well as Russian experts with knowledge of the 1986 Chernobyl accident.
The team arrived in the prefecture on Sunday morning and exchanged views with prefectural officials and members of the government decontamination task force.
The head of the Japanese task force, Masaru Moriya, said it is essential to make living space safe through decontamination, as tens of thousands of people are still living in shelters.
Moriya said he hopes members of the IAEA team will give advice from a technical viewpoint based on their knowledge of and experience in decontamination.
The IAEA team's leader, Juan Carlos Lentijo, said the team will inspect demonstration experiments for decontamination and try to make a useful report to Japan and the rest of the world. Lentijo is general director at Spain's nuclear regulatory authority.
The team will later visit Minami Soma City to inspect areas for the government's model decontamination projects. For the remaining 2 days, the team will also visit Date City and Iitate Village.

Nuclear stress test survey
An NHK survey shows that more than 40 percent of the country's prefectures and municipalities hosting nuclear power plants approve of the government's stress tests to confirm the safety of idle nuclear reactors. But nearly 80 percent were cautious about resuming their operation.
NHK received survey replies from all 29 prefectures and their municipalities that host nuclear power plants, excluding Fukushima Prefecture, in late September.
41 percent of them approved of the tests, while 14 percent disapproved. 45 percent were undecided.
But 79 percent of the prefectures and municipalities said they want to be careful about the timing of resuming operations at their idle reactors.
The results are similar to a survey taken in June before the introduction of the stress tests, indicating that the tests have not helped to win the public's understanding toward resuming operations.
Meanwhile, 2 villages said they want to resume operations at their nuclear reactors as soon as possible. These were part of the 21 percent in favor of continuing nuclear power generation.
A Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency official said nuclear experts will examine the stress-test results and publish the information. The official added that he will make sincere efforts to explain the tests to local residents.
. . . . . BUT
Stress tests not likely nuclear safety criteria
An NHK survey shows that nearly 60 percent of the country's prefectures and municipalities hosting nuclear plants say it is important to gain the understanding of local communities to permit the resumption of idle reactors. But less than 20 percent say they will put priority on the results of the government's stress tests on nuclear reactors.
NHK received survey replies in late September from all 29 prefectures and their municipalities that host nuclear power plants. Fukushima Prefecture was not included in the survey.
41 percent approved of the stress tests, while 14 percent disapproved. 45 percent were undecided.
Even among those that approved, many said the government abruptly introduced the tests and that their contents have not been made clear.
Answering multiple-choice questions on what factors they consider important in deciding on restarting reactors, 59 percent cited local consent and 45 percent said explanations from the government. Only 17 percent said the results of the stress test will be important.
In July, the central government decided to carry out the new safety assessment in an effort to reassure residents.
Yoshinori Moriyama of the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said his agency wants to make the testing process more open and explain the situation to local residents.


Monday, October 10, 2011

. . . . . at 11:46
Earthquake M 5.6 off Fukushima

Fukushima begins child thyroid checks
- JT
Fukushima starts ultrasonic thyroid exams for the prefecture's 360,000 children aged up to 18 as part of efforts to monitor the health conditions of young people amid the nuclear crisis.

Tepco guarding its ground
Recent moves by Tokyo Electric Power Co. vis-a-vis Tepco's Management and Finance Investigation Committee, an independent government panel, show how the power company has tried to avoid being forced to sell large chunks of its assets.

Monday, October 10, 2011 - NHK
Hydrogen level falls at Fukushima plant
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says the level of hydrogen in a pipe at the No. 1 reactor has become low enough to make an explosion unlikely.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, on Sunday finished removing hydrogen from inside a pipe connected to the reactor's containment vessel.
The utility had been injecting nitrogen into the pipe to remove hydrogen since Saturday.
Last month, the hydrogen levels inside the pipe were found to account for between 61 and 63 percent of the total gas present, posing a risk of explosion.
TEPCO says the hydrogen level is now low enough and even if it were to rise again, it would not exceed 4 percent -- the lowest level that poses a risk of explosion.
On Sunday evening, TEPCO cut 2 points of the pipe to allow the installation of a device that filters radioactive substances inside the containment vessel.
The cutting operation was about 2 weeks behind the schedule the company set for its plan to contain the nuclear accident at the plant.
TEPCO says it wants to install and start operating the device as early as possible.

Symposium on post-disaster reconstruction held - NHK

Monday, October 10, 2011
Japan Sea coast gets tsunami monitoring system
Japanese meteorologists will use newly deployed GPS technology to issue tsunami warnings more quickly and accurately for the Japan Sea coast.
The land ministry has installed three Global Positioning System-based tsunami monitors off the northern prefectures of Aomori, Akita and Yamagata.
The monitors use buoys located about 20 kilometers offshore and radio waves from satellites to detect tidal changes and predict tsunamis before they hit shore.
The new system, scheduled to start Tuesday, enables the Meteorological Agency to monitor tsunamis in the Japan Sea for the first time.
Installation of the technology brings the number of GPS-based tidal monitors in Japan to 15 and the overall number of tsunami monitoring posts to 187.
The agency says it hopes the GPS-based systems will help it to provide better tsunami warnings.
The agency was able to revise predicted heights of the March 11th tsunami upward based on readings of GPS meters off the Pacific coast.


. October 11, 2011 - Remembering -
October 12, 2011


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Yokohama tests soil for radioactive strontium
Officials in Yokohama City are testing soil for radioactive strontium following a report from a local resident in September that the substance had been detected in sediment on the roof of an apartment building.
In September, radioactive cesium more than 80 times the government-set limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram was found in sediment collected from roadside ditches in Yokohama City, which is near Tokyo.
The city later removed sediment from the area.
But the city decided to retest the sample for radioactive strontium due to the request of a local resident.
The resident said a private testing institution had detected 195 becquerels of strontium per kilogram -- more than 6 times the government safety limit -- in the rooftop sample.
The science ministry says radioactive strontium can accumulate in bones if inhaled and that it poses a cancer risk.
The ministry added that it has found strontium in the soil in Fukushima Prefecture, site of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. But the agency says it has conducted few checks for the substance outside the prefecture because the amounts detected in Fukushima Prefecture were very small.
Yokohama is located about 250 kilometers from the Fukushima plant.

Yokohama finds high strontium-90 levels - JT
Radioactive strontium exceeding normal levels has been detected in sediment from atop an apartment building in Yokohama, according to municipal officials.

High radiation in Tokyo residential area - NHK
A sidewalk in Setagaya ward, in the western part of Tokyo, has shown a radiation level of 2.707 microsieverts per hour, much higher than other areas in the same ward.
Setagaya ward made the 10-meter by 1-meter area on the roadside off limits, as elementary school children walk by on their way to and from a nearby elementary school.
The ward tried to decontaminate the spot earlier this month by using a high-pressure washer, but it only brought down the highest radiation reading by about 0.1 microsieverts per hour.
The ward is consulting experts to figure out what to do about the highly contaminated area.
Radiation from this small patch in Setagaya would accumulate to 14.2 millisieverts per year, which is lower than the government designated evacuation level of 20 millisieverts per year.
............ and later Thursday, October 13, 2011
High radiation level affects school routes
Tokyo's Setagaya Ward has changed school routes in order to keep children away from the small area where a relatively high level of radiation has been detected.
On Thursday morning, about 10 teachers and local officials stood at an intersection to redirect children on their way to a nearby elementary school.
Some children were accompanied by their parents. A mother of a first-grader said she is worried that her child may have passed along the radiation contaminated site every day for over 6 months since the Fukushima accident.
The ward had already made the 10-by-one-meter area along a sidewalk off limits after announcing the finding on Wednesday.
But the ward decided to change school routes in response to concerns voiced by parents.
A ward official said the changes in the school routes will stay in place until the ward determines what caused the high level of radiation and decontaminates it properly.
Setagaya hotspot unrelated to Fukushima
High levels of radioactivity observed in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward have been found to have nothing to do with the nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
Experts commissioned by the ward reported a level of 3.35 microsieverts per hour at a 1-by-10-meter area at a sidewalk near a residential fence on Thursday. A maximum of 2.707 microsieverts per hour had been detected in the location a week before.
Later on Thursday, the experts found what seemed to be the source of the radiation -- 3 or 4 old jars in a wooden box left in a storage space under the floor of a vacant house facing the sidewalk.
The jars were reportedly dirty and black, and measured about 8 centimeters long and about 6 centimeters wide.
The radiation level of the bottles reportedly exceeded 30 microsieverts per hour -- higher than the maximum that could be measured with the experts' devices.
After obtaining permission from the house's owner, the experts measured radiation levels on the premises.
The ward says it will take steps to eliminate the radiation while consulting the science ministry and other authorities.
(Seems to me, the more they measure, the more ghosts will come out of the closets!)

Thursday, October 13, 2011 10:03 - NHK
Drill confirms safety of Fukushima nuclear plant
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says the facility could be kept safe even if its reactor-cooling system is knocked out by another huge earthquake.
Tokyo Electric Power Company conducted a drill on Wednesday based on the scenario that its pumps and tanks were damaged by a magnitude-8 quake near the plant. It was the first such drill since trouble began at the plant in March.
Reactors at the plant must receive a continuous injection of water to be kept in a state of cold shutdown, with temperatures below 100 degrees Celsius.
During the drill, about 40 workers attached a 300-meter hose to a fire truck, and pumped up seawater to inject into the reactors.
It took about an hour and 10 minutes for water to resume being injected into a mock facility after fire trucks arrived at the scene.
Tokyo Electric says water injection at the three reactors, No.1 through No. 3, could be restarted in about 3 hours.

Tokyo ward passes ordinance on stranded commuters - NHK
A ward in central Tokyo has passed an ordinance asking local firms to keep employees in company buildings after disasters such as major earthquakes to prevent confusion on streets.
The Minato Ward assembly on Wednesday unanimously adopted the ordinance describing responsibilities of companies to help minimize such confusion. The ward has many small and mid-sized businesses. ...

Thursday, October 13, 2011 17:36
Underwater debris videotaped and analyzed
Researchers have found that the tsunami that devastated the town of Minamisanriku in Miyagi Prefecture on March 11th has left heavy debris scattered on the seabed along the coast.
They say their findings, based on video footage taken with underwater cameras, will provide clues toward rebuilding aquaculture farms destroyed in the disaster.
Reviving oyster and wakame seaweed farms in Shizugawa Bay poses a huge challenge to residents of Minamisanriku.
A research group comprising of scientists from organizations such as the University of Tokyo filmed the seabed in 61 locations along the Shizugawa Bay in September.
The University of Tokyo Ocean Alliance learnt that the heavy debris, including what appears to be a steel frame measuring several meters long, lay at the sea bottom, as well as tires and driftwood tangled in ropes and nets.
The underwater debris will hamper efforts to build new aquaculture farms along the coast.
The head of the ocean alliance, Tamaki Ura, says knowing beforehand what kind of debris lie underwater will lead to swift removal.
He expressed hopes that the state and local governments will utilize such methods to ensure an effective recovery of fishing and breeding grounds.


Thursday, October 14, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011 07:23 - NHK
Radium may be cause of radiation in Setagaya
The Japanese education ministry says the high level of radiation detected in a residential area in Tokyo is likely to have come from radium 226, and has nothing to do with the nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
High levels of radiation were found at a patch of sidewalk in Setagaya Ward in Tokyo about a week ago.
Dozens of glass jars were found in a wooden box under the floor of a house facing the sidewalk by experts commissioned by the ward.
The ministry sent the experts to investigate, and a high level of radiation, 600 microsieverts per hour, was detected on the surface of the jars.
The jars contained a powder. The experts put the glass jars in a lead box which blocks radiation and moved it away from the residential fence.
The level of radiation at the fence then dropped from around 3 microsieverts per hour to 0.1 to 0.3 microsieverts.
Analysis of the energy of the radiation revealed that the radioactive material is highly likely to be radium 226 which is used for cancer treatment and fluorescent paint.
The education ministry will investigate why the substance was there without permission.
The radioactive substance will be removed from the house on Friday and be stored in a secure place.

Friday, October 14, 2011 13:11
Education ministry compiles booklets on radiation
The education ministry has published booklets designed to provide students with basic knowledge on radiation, in response to increasing calls for such materials in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear plant accident.
The ministry released the 20-page booklets on Friday. There are three versions, targeting students in elementary, junior high, and high school.
The books focus mainly on basic information on radiation, its effects on human health, and ways to protect oneself from radiation exposure.
The Fukushima accident is only referred to in the preface. The text does not mention the cause or any other details of the accident.
The book for elementary school pupils explains the unit "sievert", which measures the extent of damage the human body receives from radiation exposure. It also explains that the average radiation exposure from Japan's natural environment is about 1.5 millisievert a year.
The booklet for junior high schools explains the difference between internal and external exposure, using charts to show how radiation exposure affects human health.
After the accident in March, parents urged schools to teach children basic facts on radiation. In responding to those requests, the ministry compiled the booklets in cooperation with experts on radioactivity and radiation exposure.

Friday, October 14, 2011 11:54
Radioactive cesium found in mushrooms in Kanto
Yokohama City has stopped using dried shiitake mushrooms in school lunches after detecting 350 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium in its stocks.
The city said on Thursday that it discovered the contamination during its screening of ingredients for school lunches.
Also on Thursday, 830 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium, exceeding the government's limit of 500 becquerels, was detected in shiitake mushrooms grown outdoors on logs in a city in Ibaraki Prefecture.
The city is about 170 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Earlier this week, shiitake mushrooms containing radioactive cesium above the official limit were found in 2 cities in Chiba Prefecture.
Restrictions have been imposed on shipments of mushrooms grown by the same method in these cities.
Yokohama says the radioactive cesium detected in the city was below the government's limit, but it has decided not to use dried shiitake in children's lunches for some time.

Friday, October 14, 2011 13:11
Hot spot in Funabashi City
Funabashi City, in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, says relatively high levels of radiation have been detected at a local park. The city said a citizens' group reported on Wednesday that the radiation levels in the park were measured at up to 5.82 microsieverts per hour.
The city conducted its own measurements at the site on Thursday, and got maximum readings of 1.55 microsieverts per hour, one centimeter above the ground.
The city removed the surface soil at the site, and plans to conduct more detailed inspections.
Separately, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said on Friday that the central government is responsible for decontamination work.
He added that the environment ministry, the science ministry, and the Cabinet Office will discuss the issue later on Friday.

Earthquake drill held in Tokyo Bay area
Firefighters have held drills in the Tokyo Bay area to prepare for major earthquakes that could cause massive damage to ships and facilities.
Fire departments of Tokyo and municipalities around the bay held the annual drills on Friday, in cooperation with shipping companies and others.
The drills were based on the possibility of a magnitude-7 earthquake hitting the capital.

Friday, October 14, 2011 21:10
IAEA team reports to nuclear crisis minister
Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency have advised the Japanese government on how to effectively remove radioactive substances resulting from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
On Friday, the team of experts in radiation-related fields submitted a 12-point report to Japan's Environment Minister, Goshi Hosono.
In the report, the IAEA team recommends preferentially decontaminating areas where high levels of radiation have been detected.
Since their arrival a week ago, the 12 experts have inspected decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture being carried out by both central and local government.
The team leader, Juan Carlos Lentijo, told Hosono that as Japan is facing a very serious challenge, he hopes the report will help enhance its decontamination measures.
After the meeting Hosono said that, as a whole, Japan's decontamination efforts are going in the right direction. He added that further clean-up operations will take the report's advice into account.

Fukushima declares rice is safe - JT

300-year-old house to be preserved in museum after surviving tsunami



Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011 06:34 - NHK
Radioactive cesium found in plankton off N-plant
High concentrations of radioactive cesium have been found in plankton from the sea near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Researchers from Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology collected plankton in waters up to 60 kilometers from the coast of Iwaki City in July. They found 669 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium in animal plankton from waters 3 kilometers offshore.
They say a wide range of fish feed on animal plankton and that the contamination could accumulate in the food chain and have a more serious impact when its gets into relatively large fish.
The research group's leader, Professor Takashi Ishimaru, says the plankton were so heavily contaminated because sea currents continuously carried contaminated water southward from the nuclear plant. He says detailed studies are needed to determine how long the effect on fish will continue.

March disaster debris may reach Hawaii next year
US researchers say some of the huge amount of debris that has been drifting in the Pacific Ocean as a result of Japan's disaster in March may reach Hawaii next year.
Nikolai Maximenko, senior researcher at the University of Hawaii's International Pacific Research Center, says a huge amount of debris was spotted by a Russian training ship heading for Vladivostok from Hawaii in late September.
The debris was found in a wide area in the northern Pacific Ocean about 3,200 kilometers east of Japan and about 900 kilometers west of the Midway Islands.
Japanese fishing boats, fishing nets, housing materials, plastic products, and appliances such as television sets and refrigerators form part of the debris.
A piece of a demolished fishing boat clearly shows the word "Fukushima" written in Japanese.
Maximenko says measures should be taken as a large amount of debris can be a threat to vessels and can have an adverse impact on marine ecosystems.

Seismologists discuss 3/11
Japanese earthquake experts, at their first symposium since the March 11th disaster, have discussed improving ways to provide society with information on major earthquakes.
The Seismological Society of Japan hosted the 4-day meeting at Shizuoka University in central Japan. The gathering ended on Saturday.
At the beginning of the final session, 500 participants offered a silent prayer for the victims of the March disaster. Many of the scholars expressed regret that they were unable to predict the March 11th earthquake.
Tohoku University Professor Toru Matsuzawa said the experts thought that an earthquake off the Tohoku region would have had a magnitude of no more than 8, based on data accumulated during the last 100 years. He said an unconventional approach would have been necessary to predict an earthquake of such magnitude.
Professor emeritus Katsuhiko Ishibashi of Kobe University has been warning about the potential risks earthquakes pose to nuclear power plants.
He said seismologists are responsible for informing the public about the risks of natural disasters that are likely to hit their local areas. He said people have no way of knowing the truth if the scholars remain silent, adding that they must disclose everything they know.
The group will complete a report on their earthquake studies by next spring.

Monday, October 17, 2011 15:10
Disaster-hit sake brewer celebrates 1st shipment
A sake maker in Iwate, northeastern Japan has celebrated the first shipment of its new products after losing its brewery in the huge tsunami 7 months ago.
Suisen lost its factory, office, and 7 employees when the tsunami hit Rikuzentakata City and devastated the region. Last month, it began producing "nigorizake" or unrefined sake after borrowing the brewery of a company in the inland city of Ichinoseki.
At a ceremony on Monday, employees observed a moment of silence and then loaded trucks with the new sake.
Forty-five thousand cans of sake were shipped to supermarkets and liquor stores in Iwate Prefecture.
The label of the 180-millliter can has a picture of a pine tree that has become the symbol of Rikuzentakada's restoration. It is the only pine tree among 70,000 that survived the tsunami. The trees were in an area of the city called Takadamatsubara considered a scenic spot in the region.
Suisen President Yasuhiko Konno says the company was driven by the passion to recreate their sake rather than rebuilding their brewery. He said their new products are perfect although the flavor is a bit different from their previous sake.
Suisen is a leading brewer in Iwate that was founded in 1944.

Back to School in outside 20-kilometer no-go zone
Some schools in Minami Soma City, Fukushima, have resumed classes after being closed during the earthquake-triggered nuclear crisis.
Five of the city's 12 elementary and junior high schools reopened at their original locations on Monday, following the lifting of an evacuation advisory.
The government lifted the advisory last month for 5 municipalities located outside the 20-kilometer no-go zone around the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Minami-Soma is the first to restart classes.
At one elementary school, students wearing face masks were driven to school by their parents. Trumpet shells from a traditional local festival were sounded in a ceremony celebrating a fresh start.
Students are supposed to wear face masks to and from school and to limit outdoor activity to 2 hours a day.
But school officials say that only 4 in 10 students have come back, as many evacuated families remain outside the city.

Temporary medical center opens in Kamaishi
Residents of a community in Iwate Prefecture have a new medical center after all the town's clinics were damaged by tsunami that hit northeastern Japan in March.
The temporary center housing 3 clinics opened in the Unosumai district of Kamaishi City on Monday with a ceremony attended by about 40 people, including city officials.
The head of one of the clinics, Kiyoshi Fujimaru, said he will work hard for local residents after being unable to provide medical care for the past 7 months.
His internal medicine clinic in neighboring Otsuchi Town was damaged in the March disaster. The other 2 clinics are staffed by local doctors and doctors from a prefectural hospital.
Ever since tsunami swept away 2 clinics and damaged a 3rd in Unosumai, residents have had to travel more than 10 kilometers to receive medical care.

Tokyo radiation scare turns out to be radium stored under house floor - JT
Bottles and test tubes emitting high radiation from a house in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, contain a white powdery substance believed to be radium-226, an ingredient used in luminous paint.

Kids' texts vague on nuke crisis perils

Kyushu Electric chiefs to get pay cuts over reactor PR scandal

Stable power supply draws firms to Aichi

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011 15:00 - NHK
Fukushima workers to win Spain's Asturias award
Five representatives of workers who helped to contain the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant will attend a ceremony of Spain's prestigious Prince of Asturias Award next week.
This year's award for concord will be given to police officers, firefighters, and Self-Defense Forces personnel who battled to cool the damaged reactors and helped to evacuate residents from around the plant.
The representatives include Self-Defense Force member Shinji Iwakuma, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department's Yoshitsugu Oigawa, and the Tokyo Fire Department's Toyohiko Tomioka.
The award ceremony will be held in Oviedo in northern Spain next Friday.
The Prince of Asturias Award was created in 1981. Individuals and organizations are annually honored for their achievements in scientific, cultural, and social fields.
In Fukushima, people from the plant operator and related companies are still working to bring the troubled plant under control.

Boat, other tsunami debris found drifting off Midway - JT
A small boat registered in Fukushima Prefecture was among debris from the March 11 tsunami sighted in the North Pacific Ocean more than 3,000 km from Japan, a Hawaiian research group says.

Don't look back, Tohoku: It's time to look far beyond the Japanese box

... One of the themes of the program revolves around Kenji's vision of a contented and prosperous Tohoku. After the tragedy of March 11 that left many areas of this northeastern region of Japan unlivable, Kenji's message of compassionate sacrifice for the good of others, as exemplified by the resolute survivors and those volunteering there, is touching the hearts of millions both in Japan and far beyond.
... But nothing prepared me for the shock of coming down into the town. It was gone. The large three-story Maiya Supermarket, gutted. The four-story City Hall building, gutted, its top-story Venetian blinds hanging out of glassless windows like collapsed spider webs. The police station, the sports center — where children took refuge and died — the museum, the library with enormous stacks of books covered in sand piled against the wall, the hospital with an abandoned wheelchair amid the rubble ... it all comprised a collage of chaos and unimaginable loss.
... Donkusai (slow-witted) and akanukenai (unrefined) are two adjectives that have often been bandied about over a century and a half of Japanese development. Norio Akasaka of Gakushuin University in Tokyo, an expert on Tohoku history, has said that many people in that part of the country are all too aware of their role
"to supply Tokyo with soldiers from their men,
prostitutes from their women, and
rice from their farmers."
... Tohoku has the people — now seen in their true light as resilient, industrious and mindful of the natural beauty of their homeland — and the cultural amenities to be the Scotland of Asia.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011 05:54 - NHK
Cold shutdown will be achieved within this year
The Japanese government and Tokyo Electric and Power Company say that a cold shutdown of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will be achieved by the end of this year.
It will be included in a revised timetable for containing the nuclear crisis that will be issued on Monday.
They say the temperatures around the No.1, No.2, and No.3 reactors are less than 100 degrees Celsius and the amount of radioactive material being emitted has dropped to about half the level of a month ago.
The latest survey showed estimated radiation levels of about 100 million becquerels per hour.
Also a giant polyester covering for the No.1 reactor building will be completed by the end of October.
The government and TEPCO say measures to achieve the state of a stable cold shutdown are progressing steadily.
On Monday TEPCO will submit to the government nuclear safety measures that will apply to its work to maintain a state of cold shutdown over the coming 3 years.
Goshi Hosono, the minister in charge of the nuclear disaster said in September that they would try to achieve cold shutdown by the end of this year. It had originally been planned for January next year.

Polyester covering installed at No.1 reactor
A covering of thick polyester sheets has been attached to steel frames at the damaged No.1 reactor building at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Company plans to complete the covering and verify its effectiveness by the end of October.

The work which began in late June is designed to decrease the release of radioactive materials into the air. The No.1 reactor was severely damaged in a hydrogen explosion in March.
A large crane was used to attach the sheets to the steel frame encasing the reactor building. The utility company will conduct a test-run to see how the system captures radioactive materials from the building with a filter.
It estimates the system should be able to remove about 90 percent of the radioactive materials.
Release of the radioactive materials into the atmosphere needs to be reduced before residents who have evacuated can return to their homes.
TEPCO is considering installing covers on the No. 3 and 4 reactors which were also damaged.

Lithium-ion cells created without rare metals
A Japanese research group has developed lithium-ion batteries without using rare metals.
Lithium-ion batteries are used in computers and mobile phones. Cobalt, which is a type of rare metal used in the batteries, is produced in a limited number of countries and its price fluctuates significantly.
The researchers, including Osaka University Associate Professor Yasushi Morita and Osaka City University professor Takeji Takui, used trioxotriangulene, an organic material produced from petroleum, instead of cobalt.
The group says the new batteries can store nearly double the amount of electricity compared with existing models.
Their discharge capacity will be reduced by about 30 percent after using about 100 times. But the production method is less costly and the new batteries are lighter at the same time.
Associate Professor Morita says the new batteries could pave the way for the development of lighter devices such as smart phones for longer use. He adds that he hopes to apply the method to car batteries and make improvements through cooperation with companies.

Revising evacuation status
Japan will begin discussions earlier than originally planned on redefining which areas are subject to evacuation orders.
Such discussions became feasible on Monday when the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company, at their monthly progress review, revised their timetable for bringing the nuclear crisis under control.
According to the revised plan, the second stage, involving a state of cold shutdown of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, will be achieved by the end of this year, one month earlier than originally targeted.
The revised timetable says temperatures around the Numbers 1, 2, and 3 reactors are less than 100 degrees Celsius, and that the amount of radiation being emitted has dropped to about 100 million becquerels per hour.
This is about one 8-millionth of the level when the crisis began, and about half that of a month ago. It also says additional radiation exposure in areas just outside the plant is estimated at 0.2 millisieverts per year at the most.
But many problems remain, as the government has yet to announce the details of the decontamination work that must be done in areas affected by the evacuation orders.

TEPCO reports measures to ensure cold shutdown
Tokyo Electric Power Company has submitted a report to the government on the steps it will take to ensure a state of cold shutdown at its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency had asked TEPCO to outline its nuclear safety measures over the coming 3 years. The utility aims to bring temperatures at all its reactors to below 100 degrees Celsius over the next few months.
It said on Monday that additional pumps to inject water into the nuclear reactors would be set up inside turbine buildings, and existing hoses replaced with stronger ones.
The utility maintains that even if an earthquake and tsunami were to halt the water-injection systems, they could be resumed within 12 hours to prevent major accidents.

Aftershocks threatened No. 4 fuel pool -JT
The Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization said it carried out a simulation that showed some 1,500 mostly spent fuel rods at the plant's No. 4 reactor building could start breaking up in two hours if aftershocks further damaged the pool and caused cooling water to escape ...


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Contaminated materials storage
The government has indicated that it will soon present a plan on how long contaminated materials from the Fukushima nuclear accident will need to be stored at temporary storage sites.
Senior government and regional officials met on Monday to discuss ways to handle problems caused by the nuclear contamination.
Fukushima officials said they cannot set up temporary storage sites for the contaminated materials, such as soil removed from polluted areas, unless they know how long the materials will be stored before being moved to mid-term storage facilities.
Nuclear crisis minister Goshi Hosono said the government will present a timetable this month.
Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato called for a change in procedures for those applying for compensation for losses related to the nuclear accident.
He said those affected must complete application forms prepared by Tokyo Electric Power Company, and that the procedure puts the sufferer at a disadvantage.
Reconstruction minister Tatsuo Hirano replied that the procedure may not be neutral.
(We saw some huge mountains filled with the throw-away white suits they use to enter the radiation zones ... another mountain of waste to take care of.)

TEPCO identifies risks that could cause meltdown
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says the water-injection system, which has external pipes, is the area that's most likely to cause possible problems in future.
The external system was built as an emergency response to the meltdown that occurred after the March 11 disaster.
Tokyo Electric Power Company has calculated the risks to the water-injection system which could lead to the cooling water supply being stopped, resulting in another meltdown. TEPCO analyzed 7 scenarios where the state of a reactor in cold shutdown is undermined due the water supply stopping for more than 18 hours.
Cold shutdown means the temperature of the reactors is below 100 degrees Celsius, and stable. The cases include damage to the water-injection system and external power outages.
TEPCO found that the highest risk involves a case where the water-injection system is swept away by a massive tsunami and the water supply to the reactors stops.
The second most dangerous scenario is where the water-injection system is destroyed and the resumption of the system fails.
The company found that outside pumps and pipes that were built as an emergency solution after the nuclear accident are 10-times more likely to sustain damage than conventional ones inside the building.
TEPCO plans to reinforce the emergency facilities to maintain the water supply in case of a huge tsunami.

Fukushima City begins decontamination work
Fukushima City has launched a massive campaign to clean up radioactive materials, with the ultimate goal of decontaminating all homes and public facilities.
The city is located about 60 kilometers from the disaster-stricken Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Decontamination work began on Tuesday morning in the Onami district, where radiation levels are relatively high. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was on hand for about 20 minutes to inspect the work in Onami.
A team of professional workers used water jet cleaners to clean roofs and ditches. They also cut away vegetation in gardens and removed a layer of top soil.
Fukushima City's ultimate goal is to decontaminate 110,000 households, public facilities, and roads near schools by the end of fiscal 2012.
The city plans to ask residents and volunteers to help clean up areas where radiation levels are not too high.
Securing the necessary manpower and space to store radioactive waste are among the key challenges.

High radioactivity measured at Tokyo school

A radioactivity level higher than that of areas near the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant has been detected at a Tokyo elementary school.
A level of 3-point-99 microsieverts per hour was observed 5 centimeters above ground just beneath a rainwater pipe on Monday at the school in Tokyo's Adachi Ward. Radiation levels in Fukushima City about 60 kilometers from the plant were around 1 microsievert per hour on Monday. The ward is about 210 kilometers from the plant.
Ward authorities plan to remove soil and trees from the school area and measure radiation in ditches at about 800 locations including schools, parks and other public facilities.
The school's principal says he was stunned to hear about the radiation and cancelled physical education classes and other activities in the schoolyard for the day.

Rice shipped from city in Fukushima
Farmers in Nihonmatsu City in Fukushima Prefecture have started shipping rice from this year's harvest after radioactive contamination levels dropped below the government-set limit.
Two trucks carrying 24 tons of rice left a local agricultural cooperative in Nihonmatsu on Tuesday. The city is about 35 to 70 kilometers from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
In September, a preliminary check of a sample of pre-harvest rice in the city found 500 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram -- the same as the government limit.
Rice shipping was allowed after all samples harvested at 288 locations were found to have radioactivity levels below the limit. The highest level among the samples was 470 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram.

Cold shutdown in sight for yearend: road map - JT


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - NHK
Japanese anti-nuke group marks 55th anniversary
A Japanese anti-nuclear organization has marked the 55th anniversary of its founding.The members have renewed their determination to work for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
The Japan Confederation of A-and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations met in Tokyo on Tuesday. The average age of the survivors is over 77. About 130 of them began the meeting by praying for the 210,000 victims of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Second and third-generation descendants of survivors also took part in the meeting. Genki Isobe, who is 31, spent 10 years making a documentary about his late grandfather's campaign to seek recognition for sufferers from radiation-induced illnesses. The documentary will be shown at a film festival in Tokyo next month.
Isobe's grandfather died last year. Isobe hopes the film will help him to continue his grandfather's fight against nuclear weapons.
The group adopted a communique which stated that it will continue to inform people about nuclear disarmament and how nuclear weapons created hellish experiences in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 18:28
Radiation monitoring by drone begins in Fukushima
A city near the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has begun monitoring radiation levels of farmlands and forests with a small unmanned helicopter.
The move comes after the central government lifted an evacuation advisory for parts of Tamura City and 4 other municipalities outside the 20-kilometer no-entry zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant at the end of last month.
On Wednesday, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency began monitoring radiation using the drone at the request of the city. The agency tested a 300-meter-long, 150-meter-wide area of a rice field from a helicopter equipped with a measuring instrument about 20 meters above the ground. It also carried out tests on forests.
Data transmitted by the helicopter is reportedly translated into radiation levels 1 meter above the ground and indicated by instruments at ground level. Aircraft are suitable for measuring radiation levels of large areas and other locations that are difficult for people to access.
In the areas of Fukushima Prefecture where the evacuation advisory has been lifted, residents had previously been advised to stay indoors and prepare for emergency evacuation. But many residents decided to evacuate their homes.
The tasks facing Tamura and the 4 other municipalities are decontamination and radiation monitoring for both residents and evacuees.

Municipalities decline nuclear power subsidies

Four Japanese municipalities have demonstrated their opposition to nuclear power by declining government subsidies for hosting nuclear plants.
The government this week began receiving yearly applications for subsidies from municipalities where nuclear-related facilities are located.
About 12 billion dollars have been allocated since the program started in 1974.
NHK has learnt that, in a rare move of opposition, 4 out of the 44 municipalities that host nuclear facilities around the country plan to skip the application this year.
One of them, Minamisoma City in Fukushima Prefecture, has demonstrated its anti-nuclear stance by refusing to accept subsidies for the planned Namie-Odaka power plant to be operated by the Tohoku Electric Power Company. The city has been affected by the crisis at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Minamisoma City Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai said the city has made clear its rejection of nuclear power as part of its recovery plan. Sakurai added the city will demand that the central government subsidize renewable energies.
Neighboring Namie Town has also declined subsidies related to the Namie-Odaka plant. The town said building new nuclear power facilities is not reasonable when Fukushima Prefecture and others are working to remove existing plants.

Adachi school drainpipe has mini hot spot - JT
High levels of radiation are found at a public elementary school in Adachi Ward, Tokyo, near the end of a downspout from the roof of a machine room for the school's swimming pool.

Farmers stuck with radioactive rice straw

Farmers in eight prefectures have 7,200 tons of rice straw containing radioactive materials, and there are currently no plans to dispose of it.

Hokkaido utility axes plutonium plan

Noda views cleanup in Fukushima

Yen 700 billion sought for Tepco redress

Radioactive cesium detected in Tokyo tea leaves -NHK
Radioactive cesium in levels above the government standard has been detected in tea leaves produced in Tokyo and Saitama, north of the capital. The contamination is believed to have been caused by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government says 3 brands of tea leaves grown in northwestern Tokyo have been found to contain 550 to 690 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram. The government limit is 500 becquerels.
The Saitama prefectural government says it found 504 to 2,063 becquerels per kilogram in locally-grown leaves of 97 brands.
The samples tested by the prefecture were not early-picked leaves, which are said to be more likely to contain radioactive material. The prefecture had already found that such leaves of 14 brands contained radioactive cesium above the limit.
The authorities have asked the producers to dispose of their tea leaf stocks.

Keene: Miracle will happen in northeastern Japan - NHK
One of the world's top experts on Japanese literature, Donald Keene, says a miracle will happen in disaster-hit northeastern Japan.

Keene told reporters in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, on Wednesday that he shuddered when watching the March 11th tsunami on TV.
He said that during his stay in the region, he wants to see what escaped destruction and how survivors are living rather than what the tsunami has swept away.
Keene also said a miracle will happen, as people in northeastern Japan are determined to rebuild their lives just like those in Tokyo after the end of World War Two.
After March 11th, Keene moved to Japan from the United States. He said that he would become a Japanese citizen and live out his days in Japan in a show of love for the country.
The 89-year-old Professor Emeritus of Columbia University is known for translating into English Japanese literary works, including those written by playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon and novelists Osamu Dazai and Yukio Mishima.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

. Radiation Problems - INFO .

Thursday, October 20, 2011 - NHK
Ship washed ashore by tsunami returns to sea
A huge freighter washed ashore in Iwate Prefecture by the March 11th tsunami has returned to sea.
The bow of the 2,300-ton ship had been sitting on a road near Kamaishi Port for about 7 months after being thrust through a bank of the port.
On Thursday, a crane vessel capable of lifting a 4,000-ton ship docked side by side with the freighter. The freighter was lifted using 32 wires and slowly winched back to sea over the course of about one hour.
Emergency repairs will be conducted if divers find damage to the bottom of the hull. The ship will then be moved to a factory in Hiroshima Prefecture, western Japan.
Kamaishi City Vice Mayor Tadamitsu Wakasaki said he hopes that the removal of the freighter will help accelerate the city's reconstruction. The ship was blocking traffic and slowing reconstruction.

Thursday, October 20, 2011
Nuke committee drafts disaster-response revisions
Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission has drafted a plan for expanding areas that should be fully prepared against nuclear accidents to within 30 kilometers of nuclear power plants, from the current 10 kilometers.
A working group at the commission drew up the draft plan, following the March accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant when the government had ordered residents living within 30 kilometers of the plant to evacuate or to stay indoors.
The plan calls for designating areas within a radius of about 30 kilometers of nuclear plants as Urgent Protective Action Planning Zones, or UPZ. The definition of the UPZ is in line with the emergency-response requirements proposed by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The working group calls for designating areas within 5 kilometers of plants as precautionary action zones, where residents need to immediately evacuate in the event of an accident.
The group also wants residents within a radius of about 50 kilometers to be prepared to take action to prevent internal exposure to the thyroids, for example by taking iodine tablets.
The committee plans to further study the revision plan, together with experts and municipalities.
If implemented, major reviews of anti-nuclear disaster programs by local governments will be required, as the number of municipalities involved will be around 130, about 3 times more than the current figure.

Thursday, October 20, 2011
Fukushima assembly OKs reactor decommission
The assembly of Fukushima prefecture has adopted a petition calling for the scrapping of all 10 nuclear reactors in the prefecture. The prefecture hosts two Tokyo Electric Power Company-run nuclear stations, one of them severely damaged by the March disaster.
The petition adopted by a majority vote on Thursday was submitted by a civic group in June, following the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
The petition urges the decommissioning of all reactors run by Tokyo Electric Power in the prefecture -- six at the Daiichi plant and four at the Daini plant.
This is the first time in Japan that a prefecture hosting nuclear plants has voted to adopt such a petition.
Tokyo Electric has concluded it will decommission four reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant that suffered severe damage in the March disaster. But the utility has yet to come up with detailed plans for the remaining six reactors.

Fishing boat maker in Miyagi receives big orders
A leading Japanese boat maker is busy filling orders for fishing boats following the loss of over 25,000 small fishing craft nationwide in the March tsunami.
Yamaha Motor Company is doing the work at a makeshift factory it recently converted from an indoor tennis facility in Miyagi Prefecture, one of the areas hit hardest by the disaster.
To meet customers' needs, 20 workers at the factory are customizing fishing boats built elsewhere in the country.
Yamaha says that from now through next March, it plans to deliver 2,800 boats -- 11 times its sales last year. The company plans to almost double the number of workers at the factory in November to speed up the work.
Yamaha says the number of orders started to rise sharply after the government introduced subsidies for fishing cooperatives ordering ships for their members.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Statue lost in tsunami, found afterward — twice
The 24-cm wooden statue of Kannon, the goddess of compassion, was also lost and found after powerful tsunami devastated the town in 1933, killing more than half of its 613 residents.
... it was washed away in the March 11 tsunami disaster and then recovered.

source : Japan Times

Greenpeace pushes for better fish radiation disclosure
Panasonic Corp. plans to sharply scale down its money-losing TV business by reducing production of plasma display panels and cutting more than 1,000 jobs, according to company sources.

Friday, October 21, 2011 17:16
Miyagi farmer delivers rice to disaster victims
A farmer in disaster-hit Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, has given his rice harvest for this year to people living in temporary housing.
The farmer and local junior high school students visited about 200 temporary houses in his community on Friday to deliver nearly 2 tons of rice.
He used to grow rice in part of his paddy with students in a training program.
But this year they used borrowed land, as his paddy was damaged in the March tsunami.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cabinet OKs \12.1 trillion third extra budget to fund reconstruction work
The Cabinet approves a \12.10 trillion third extra budget for fiscal 2011 to finance reconstruction work in the disaster-hit northeast.

Fukushima OKs petition to decommission reactors

Two boys found with high internal radiation exposure

"Kotatsu" heaters delivered to disaster survivors - NHK
Volunteers are delivering traditional Japanese heaters to survivors of the March 11th disaster, before the start of the harsh winter.
On Friday, evacuees welcomed the arrival of the "kotatsu" heaters at the playground of a junior high school in Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture.
The kotatsu is a low table with an electric element fitted to its underside, and a quilt to cover the thighs. The heaters are being jointly provided by Lion's Club groups in Okayama and Taiwan.
The volunteers delivered kotatsu and a letter of encouragement to occupants of housing units in the playground.
The 2 groups plan to donate 600 kotatsu to the Kesennuma evacuees.

Miyagi farmer delivers rice to disaster victims
A farmer in disaster-hit Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, has given his rice harvest for this year to people living in temporary housing.
The farmer and local junior high school students visited about 200 temporary houses in his community on Friday to deliver nearly 2 tons of rice.
He used to grow rice in part of his paddy with students in a training program.
But this year they used borrowed land, as his paddy was damaged in the March tsunami.


Sunday 23, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011 - NHK
Govt to make airports better prepared for tsunami
Japan's transport ministry has drawn up guidelines to protect the country's airports from tsunami.
More than 1,400 people were stranded at the airport in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, for 3 days after the March tsunami struck. The guidelines advise airports to work out an evacuation plan and guide passengers to terminal or other buildings in the event of a tsunami.
The guidelines also call for airport operators to stockpile food and blankets in safe places to prepare for the possibility of the airport being isolated following a tsunami.
The guidelines also advise airport authorities to guide passenger aircraft to head for terminals when the aircraft are waiting to take off or after they land. But the guidelines say pilots can go ahead with a takeoff, depending on the situation.
Airports would serve as posts of rescue activities and transport of emergency relief goods. Airport authorities are also advised to resume operations for emergency aircraft within 3 days of a disaster by making plans in advance to clear away wreckage and restore electricity.

Cost-cutting unit locks sights on Monju reactor - JT

Mini hot spot emerges in Kashiwa
57.5 microsieverts per hour was detected in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture

Fukushima power plant video shows progress - NHK
Tokyo Electric Power Company has released new footage of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It reveals the progress made over the 7 months since the March 11th disaster.
The video taken on October 12th by TEPCO workers shows roads that have been cleared of debris and a makeshift levee constructed along the coast.
On the west side of the compound, holding tanks have been set up to store salt water left over from the process of treating highly radioactive wastewater in the reactors. Each tank can hold 100 thousand liters.
However, in areas around the No. 3 and 4 reactors, buildings are still left with collapsed walls and broken windows.
TEPCO explained that there were not many workers seen in the footage because it was taken during lunch break. The operator says that on weekdays 3,000 workers are employed at the facility.

Post-Fukushima, 'they' can no longer be trusted -- if ever they could


Monday, October 24, 2011

Earthquaek M 7.2 Eastern Turkey . at 02:13
The epicentre was at the village of Tabanli, north of Van city.

Kashiwa hot spot linked to Fukushima
The radiation at a new hot spot in Chiba Prefecture is coming from cesium from the Fukushima disaster, the science ministry says, contradicting earlier municipal assurances.

Japan, France to cooperate on nuclear safety - NHK
The prime ministers of Japan and France have agreed to cooperate in improving the safety of nuclear power plants.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met French Prime Minister Francois Fillon in Tokyo on Sunday.

Japan to study ocean debris from disaster
Japan's Environment Ministry says it will start tracking the millions of tons of debris that have been drifting in the Pacific Ocean ever since the March 11th tsunami.
The ministry says it will analyze satellite photos as well as wind and wave data to simulate routes that the flotsam is likely following. It plans to launch the study by the end of March 2012. Japan will provide information on the findings to countries that are likely to be affected.
Japan's National Institute for Environmental Studies estimates that about 3 million tons of debris was washed out to sea by the March disaster.
Wreckage from northeastern Japan, including the remains of houses and fishing boats, has been found drifting over a wide swath of the Pacific Ocean.
Last month, a Russian training ship heading for Vladivostok from Hawaii found a Japanese fishing boat and nets in the northern Pacific, about 3,200 kilometers from Japan.
The Environment Ministry says concerns are mounting in Japan and abroad about the impact the debris may have on the environment and on maritime traffic safety.
It says it hopes the study will provide details so that it can study what measures can be taken.

Auditors call for quays to be more quake-proof
Japanese auditors have asked the land and infrastructure ministry to take measures to ensure that quays across the country can withstand strong earthquakes.
The Board of Audit made the request after its survey found that some dock facilities may be unable to continue functioning as channels for emergency supplies if a major quake hits.
The auditors checked more than 90 quays that had been reinforced before the government revised its quake-resistance standards in 1999.
The survey showed that no quake-resistance tests had been conducted on 28 of them.
It also showed that 15 wharf cranes in Kobe and other places lack shock-absorbing devices. Kobe was hit hard by a powerful quake in 1995.

Jidai Matsuri - Festival of the Ages in Kyoto
Survivors of the March 11th disaster who are living in Kyoto were invited to watch the parade. A woman said she had to evacuate her hometown in Fukushima Prefecture because of the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant, but the beautiful parade made her feel less homesick.
. Jidai matsuri 時代祭 (じだいまつり) "Festival of the Ages" .

Nuke energy experts discuss technological issues
Nuclear energy experts will be organizing a summary of lessons learned from the Fukushima plant accident. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency brought together the 6 specialists for their first panel meeting on Monday.
During the meeting, the group emphasized that Japanese nuclear power plants should have multiple power sources. They said the plants would then be able to maintain electricity during an earthquake or other emergency.
Hokkaido University Graduate School Professor Tadashi Narabayashi said plant operators should also arrange emergency power supplies with other utilities.
Reactors at the Fukushima plant experienced meltdown after they lost outside power due to the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The experts said it was a grave situation that electrical equipment malfunctioned after the plant was hit by the tsunami. They stated that operator Tokyo Electric Power Company should examine why the equipment failed to work and take measures to prevent a recurrence.
The experts plan to conclude their discussions by next March. The agency hopes to reflect the discussions for regulations by a new nuclear safety agency to be launched in April.

Parts of TEPCO's accident manuals made public
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has made public a large portion of Tokyo Electric Power Company's procedural manuals for nuclear accidents.
These are the manuals that the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant earlier submitted to the Lower House with most of the contents blacked out. The company had insisted the information had to be kept secret in order to protect its intellectual property rights, and because disclosure could open its facilities to terrorist attack.
Based on the law, the nuclear safety agency ordered TEPCO to resubmit the manuals without redaction.
The 200 pages of documents released on Monday are from the accident procedural manuals used for Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. All their contents were made public, except for individuals' names.
The documents show that TEPCO had not made sufficient preparations to cope with critical nuclear accidents.
In the March 11th tsunami, almost all electricity sources for the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi were lost after the batteries and power supply boards were inundated.
The documents reveal that TEPCO did not envision such a power failure or any kind of prolonged power loss. It assumed that in a serious incident, emergency power sources would be available to vent pressure in the reactor containment vessels or to carry out other safety procedures.
The agency says it decided to make the manual public because transparency is necessary to find the cause of the Fukushima nuclear accident and to establish better safety measures for the future.

Hotspot Hotline (see Radiation)


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tsunami steps saved Tokai from meltdown - JT
A nuclear power plant in Ibaraki avoided a station blackout from the March 11 tsunami thanks to a sea wall it had almost finished extending.

Kashiwa's hot spot just one of many to come, expert says
The hot spot in Chiba Prefecture has residents alarmed now that they know the radiation is probably from Fukushima, but an expert says more are out there.

Tohoku revival said best aided by NPOs

Parts of TEPCO's accident manuals made public - NHK
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has made public a large portion of Tokyo Electric Power Company's procedural manuals for nuclear accidents.
These are the manuals that the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant earlier submitted to the Lower House with most of the contents blacked out. The company had insisted the information had to be kept secret in order to protect its intellectual property rights, and because disclosure could open its facilities to terrorist attack.
Based on the law, the nuclear safety agency ordered TEPCO to resubmit the manuals without redaction.
The 200 pages of documents released on Monday are from the accident procedural manuals used for Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. All their contents were made public, except for individuals' names.
The documents show that TEPCO had not made sufficient preparations to cope with critical nuclear accidents.
In the March 11th tsunami, almost all electricity sources for the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi were lost after the batteries and power supply boards were inundated.
The documents reveal that TEPCO did not envision such a power failure or any kind of prolonged power loss. It assumed that in a serious incident, emergency power sources would be available to vent pressure in the reactor containment vessels or to carry out other safety procedures.
The agency says it decided to make the manual public because transparency is necessary to find the cause of the Fukushima nuclear accident and to establish better safety measures for the future.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tepco manuals point to critical safety lapses - JT
Newly disclosed manuals for workers at the Fukushima No. 1 plant highlight Tepco's lack of preparedness for an emergency and were a major factor that caused the meltdowns after the March disasters, a review by The Japan Times shows.

Power station sitting on active faults
Active faults under Tohoku Electric's Higashidori nuclear power complex in Aomori Prefecture are grounds for a reassessment of the plant's seismic safety, a recent study says.

Japan's Lower House computer network hacked - NHK
A computer server used by Japan's Lower House lawmakers has been hacked. The House launched an investigation team on Tuesday.
Lower House officials say they were notified in late August that PCs connected to the chamber's computer network were infected with a virus. It was later found that PCs used by 3 lawmakers had been infected.

Yokosuka conducts nuclear accident drill
The city of Yokosuka near Tokyo held its annual drill on Wednesday for evacuating in a nuclear accident.
The drill started 3 years ago in response to deployment of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George Washington to a US naval base in the city.
About 70 people including residents and firefighters took part in the drill. Firefighters urged residents to stay indoors, assuming abnormally high levels of radiation around the US base.
At the nuclear-related emergency response center in Yokosuka, city officials practiced using detectors to check residents for radioactive contamination.
The US Navy did not take part in the drill and denies there is any possibility of radiation leaking outside the base.
But it will hold a drill in December with Yokosuka and others to prepare for the possibility that workers on board the aircraft carrier become exposed to radiation.

Municipalities divided over nuke plants restart

Japanese municipalities hosting nuclear power plants are divided over whether reactors that are currently offline should resume operations.
An association of host cities and towns held a meeting in Tokyo on Tuesday. Mayors and officials from 15 communities attended.
The main issue discussed was resuming power generation at reactors which have been idle since the March accident at Fukushima Daiichi.
44 of 54 nuclear reactors in Japan are currently offline. They have no prospects of being restarted soon after data errors were found in safety stress tests required before bringing them back online.
Complicating the issue is the manipulation of public opinion on nuclear power at explanatory meetings for local residents that came to light in summer.
Some municipalities demanded the restart of reactors to benefit their economies after their safety is confirmed.
But others remained cautious, preventing the association from reaching a conclusion.
One representative noted the cause of the Fukushima accident has not been confirmed. Another said neither the central government nor power utilities have clarified their policies on the future of nuclear power in Japan.

Nuclear fuel recycling costs
Japan's Atomic Energy Commission says it may cost twice as much to recycle nuclear fuel for power generation as it would to discard the spent fuel as waste.
At a meeting on Tuesday, the commission calculated the cost of recycling spent nuclear fuel and extracting plutonium. The cost was estimated at 1.98 to 2.14 yen per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated.
The cost of discarding the spent fuel as waste was about 1 to 1.35 yen per kilowatt-hour.
This is about half the cost of recycling nuclear fuel, which has been a pillar of Japan's nuclear policy.
The government is under pressure to review its nuclear policy in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Tuesday's cost projections may affect the course of discussions on the matter.
The country's nuclear fuel recycling efforts are already being called into question by a series of problems at a nuclear reprocessing plant in Rokkasho village in northern Japan.

Food safety fair features radiation monitors
An annual food safety exhibition has opened in Tokyo with devices for measuring radiation on display for the first time.
Machines that use a conveyor belt to run food past a radiation sensor proved very popular on Wednesday. They can check an item's radiation level in 12 seconds, which means a number of foods can be tested in a short time.
The devices are in high demand from farmers' cooperatives, beef processors and restaurant chains, despite a minimum price tag of 56,000 dollars.
Also on display are small devices that check foods placed in a beaker for radioactive substances. They are intended for companies and even housewives. The most inexpensive types cost about 9,000 dollars.
An official at a confectioner said the company wants to learn how to take steps to alleviate consumers' fears on its own.
An official from a manufacturer of radiation monitoring devices said the company wants to help farmers dispel rumors that their products may be contaminated.
The exhibition runs through Friday.

Kansai Electric to submit stress test result

Kansai Electric is likely to submit to the government on Friday the results of a safety test on one of its halted nuclear reactors.
Kansai Electric would become Japan's first power company to do so.
80 percent of nuclear reactors in Japan have been halted since the March accident at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. In July, the government decided to mandate new safety assessments, called "stress tests," before the reactors could be restarted.
The tests involve computer simulations to see whether the nuclear power plants could withstand major earthquakes and tsunami.
Kansai Electric plans to submit the results of a stress test on the No.3 reactor of its nuclear plant at Oi, Fukui Prefecture.
But the move does not mean the reactor will be restarted immediately.
The government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency will spend months screening the stress test results before a final go-ahead would be given by the government. Briefings for local governments and residents will also be required as part of the process.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tsunami debris drifts toward Hawaii - JT

Tokai No. 2 leaks 22 tons of water !!!

Tsunami film shown at N.Y.C. festival

Tokyo to accept rubble from Nov. 2

Agency tsunami warning to skip heights

Tepco staff on front lines feel victims' anger

Mental health center for children in disaster zone
Japanese mental health experts will set up a psychological care center to help children who survived the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
Psychiatrists and therapists decided to establish the new center in Tokyo, to make up for a shortage of mental health professionals in areas affected by the disaster.
Many children in northeast Japan continue to show signs of psychological instability, such as crying at night or not playing outside.
The center will start by sending experts to affected areas on a long-term basis by the end of December. It will work with 44 mental health organizations across Japan in the process.
The center will also provide training to teachers in affected areas on how to deal with the children.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Hibakusha: Swap reliance on atomic energy for renewables - JT

TEPCO to request 12 bil. dollars in public aid
Tokyo Electric Power Company is set to request public financial aid to pay compensation to those affected by the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
The request will be included in TEPCO's special business plan to be submitted to the government as early as Friday. Sources say TEPCO is expected to incur nearly 580 billion yen, or about 7.6 billion dollars, in net losses for the business year through next March.
The major reasons they cite are sharp rises in fuels costs for thermal power generation and the expenses associated with the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The firm plans to ask for around 11.8 billion dollars in assistance from a government-backed institution to help pay compensation to people and businesses affected by the nuclear accident.
The business plan will also include management restructuring steps. TEPCO plans to lower the interest rates on corporate pensions for retirees from the current maximum of 5.5 percent to about 2.25 percent.
The government will scrutinize whether the amount of financial assistance is appropriate and whether TEPCO's system to pay compensation will work properly.
A government-sponsored institution will provide TEPCO with financial help if the business plan is approved.

Director Wim Wenders talks to Fukushima residents

World-renowned German film director Wim Wenders has asked residents of Fukushima Prefecture to raise their voices to prevent another nuclear crisis.
Wenders has received global accolades for his films, especially his masterpiece "Wings of Desire". He is visiting Japan for the Tokyo International Film Festival which is premiering his new film Pina, an homage to the late contemporary dancer Pina Bausch.
On Thursday, Wenders spoke to fans at a cinema in Fukushima City. He asked what support he can give to people like them who are suffering. The director said he visited Iitate village in the prefecture. The locale has been under an evacuation advisory since the accident at the nearby Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Wenders compared the village's scenery to heaven, but radiation levels in the area are unbelievably high. He called on people to continue talks with him, saying he is willing to help.
Wenders plans to visit other areas hit by the March earthquake and tsunami to speak with disaster survivors.

Govt to lower radioactive intake limits
Japan's health ministry is set to lower its radiation limits for food to one millisievert per year as early as April. The figure is one-fifth the current level.
The ministry set provisional radioactivity safety limits on foodstuffs at 5 millisieverts per year after the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March.
This would translate into 500 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram in meat, fish, vegetables and cereals such as rice.
The tentative limits were based on the levels which are said to have no health effects even when a person consumes foods with radioactive materials for one year.
The ministry decided to lower the limits to match international standards as radioactive substances detected in foodstuffs have been falling since the accident.
On Thursday, Japan's Food Safety Commission recommended that cumulative internal radioactive exposure from food during a person's lifetime be limited to no more than 100 millisieverts.
The new safety limits would result in stricter standards for each food item, and are likely to fall within the levels recommended by the commission.
The ministry's panel is to start deliberating the issue next week to set standards for each food item.

Japanese group develops handheld decontaminator
A group of Japanese researchers says it has developed a handheld device capable of removing radioactive substances using laser beams.
The machine was created by researchers from the Wakasa Wan Energy Research Center in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan.
The device uses laser beams moving at a high speed to scrape off radioactive substances attached to the surface of pipes and other objects at nuclear power plants. The dust is then collected inside the machine.
The researchers say that, since only the surface is scraped off, the machine generates one thousand times less radioactive waste than conventional methods.
The device is about 30 centimeters high and wide, and 40 centimeters long. The team says it is the world's first portable radiation decontaminator.
When the researchers began developing the machine 7 years ago, they meant it to be used to reduce radioactive waste from nuclear plants, and also in the decommissioning of a prototype test reactor in Fukui Prefecture, known as Fugen.
The device is expected to be used in the operations to remove radioactive substances from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was badly damaged in the March 11th tsunami.

Kansai Electric submits stress test results

Kansai Electric Power Company has submitted to the government the results of a computer-simulated safety test on one of its halted nuclear reactors.
The government mandated that so-called "stress tests" must be conducted before idle reactors across the country could be restarted. The utility is the first to report its results.
A Kansai Electric official, Masanori Kataoka, visited the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency on Friday to deliver the test results on its No.3 reactor at Ohi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture.
The utility says a reactor maker's simulation showed that the reactor could withstand an earthquake 1.8 times the intensity and a tsunami 4 times the height of the estimated maximums for the area.
80 percent of the nuclear reactors in Japan have been shut down since the March accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Fuel retrieval at Fukushima to start in 10 years

Japan's Atomic Energy Commission says it aims to start retrieving melted nuclear fuel rods from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant within 10 years.
The Commission's expert panel on Friday presented a draft report on the timetable for scrapping the plant. The report says decommissioning will start with repairing the containment vessels of the No.1 to No.3 reactors, where meltdowns occurred.
The vessels will then be filled with water to block radiation released from the melted fuel.
The commission also plans to start moving spent fuel rods from pools at the No.1 to No.4 reactors to another pool in the plant within 3 years. This will take place after the reactors achieve a state of cold shutdown.
The report projects that the decommissioning will take more than 30 years to complete.
The timetable is longer than that for the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in the United States, because the containment vessels were damaged at Fukushima along with the pressure vessels that house fuel rods.
In the 1979 Three Mile Island accident, about 70 percent of the reactor's fuel rods melted. Fuel retrieval began 6 years after the accident and lasted for 5 years.
The work at Fukushima is expected to be longer and more difficult, because the extent of the damage is more severe and workers will have to repair 4 reactors simultaneously.

Over 80% of Japan's reactors offline
Forty-four of Japan's 55 nuclear reactors are currently idle, mainly for safety inspections.
Eighteen of them are undergoing stress tests mandated by the government. But none are expected to resume operations soon because the nuclear plant accident in Fukushima has raised safety concerns among local authorities hosting nuclear plants.
Of the 10 reactors still running, 4 will be shut down for routine inspections by year-end. The rest are scheduled to go offline by early next year.
If none of the reactors restart, Japan will have no active nuclear power plants within several months.

Tohoku recovery bill endorsed
The government will submit a bill to the Diet on Friday to promote recovery in regions hit by the March disaster. The bill includes tax breaks and various measures to ease regulations.
The bill was approved at the Cabinet meeting on Friday.
It's designed to accelerate recovery efforts in 222 municipalities in 11 prefectures affected by the disaster.
New businesses set up in these areas by March 2016 that employ five or more disaster survivors will be exempt from corporate taxes for five years.
Regulations on land development, including those on land for farm use, will be relaxed to allow flexible redevelopment on condition that the plans secure the approval of local panels, governors and mayors.
Marine farming corporations with a local hiring ratio of at least 70 percent will be given fisheries rights on a priority basis.
Procedures for changing bus and train routes in these areas will also be simplified.
The bill also contains a provision on establishing state subsidies to promote the region's recovery.
The government wants the legislation to be enacted as soon as possible.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Panel lowers limit of radiation in food

Health minister Yoko Komiyama announces that the government will lower the allowable amount of radiation in food products from 5 millisieverts per year to 1, but some experts are puzzled.

Fallout levels twice estimate: study
The Fukushima nuclear accident released double the amount of cesium-137 into the atmosphere than the government initially estimated, reaching 40 percent of the total emitted during the Chernobyl disaster, a preliminary report said.

Reactors 1-4 to take 30 years to scrap: panel

Tepco eyes 30% cut in pensions to help pay nuke compensation

Mr. Noda lays out tasks
..... As for the Fukushima nuclear fiasco, it is urgent for the government to thoroughly decontaminate areas polluted by radiation, as Mr. Noda said. He should tell Tokyo Electric Power Co. to simplify the procedure for nuclear fiasco victims to get compensation. They are angry at long, complicated forms they have to fill out.

Fukushima reactor building gets new covering - NHK
One of the crippled reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant finally has a cover in place that will help lower radioactive emissions.
The operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company, had been building the casing for the plant's No. 1 reactor since late June. The reactor had been damaged by a hydrogen explosion following the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The cover is 54 meters high, 47 meters wide and 42 meters deep. It has a ventilation system that filters out radioactive substances.
TEPCO says that during pilot tests, the system removed more than 90 percent of radioactive cesium from the reactor.
The company says the cover will allow it to move nearer to its goal of containing radioactive emissions from the No. 1 reactor.
TEPCO is considering installing similar covers for the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors when debris removal is completed after next summer. Both reactor buildings were damaged by the explosions.
Radioactive emissions need to be lowered before local residents who were evacuated following the earthquake and tsunami can return home.

Another radioactive spot not related to Fukushima
Alarm has been voiced by residents of Setagaya Ward in Tokyo who live near highly radioactive spots that are not related to the nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
The science ministry carried out a close check in response to a report from local residents about a highly radioactive spot at the parking lot of a supermarket in Hachimanyama, Setagaya.
The ministry reported detecting radiation of up to 170 microsieverts per hour at a height of 1 meter above the ground. It says the level of radiation was detected at 2 spots, one at the parking lot covered with asphalt and the other at a sidewalk.
The ministry suspects radioactive material underneath the asphalt caused the reading, but that it is unrelated to the nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
The ministry says it will have the asphalt torn off to determine the material and then remove it.
While officials from the science ministry were measuring the level of radiation in the area on Friday, a woman passer-by said it worries her because her child goes to a junior high school nearby. She said she wants to get accurate information as soon as possible.
Two weeks ago, radiation of up to 2.707 microsieverts per hour was observed at another spot in Setagaya Ward. Officials determined the source of radiation to be jars contained in a wooden box under the floor of a vacant house. Analysis showed the radioactive material may be radium 226, which is used for cancer treatment and fluorescent paint.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

80 volunteers help scrub radiation
Around 80 volunteers from across the country gather in the city of Fukushima to begin decontaminating areas affected by radioactive materials emitted by the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

(I wonder, since they do not wear any protective gear, how serious is the situation? or are they the next victims?)

Loans worth $8.4-bil allowed delayed repayment - NHK
Financial institutions allowed deferred repayment and other easing measures for more than 8.4 billion dollars of loans extended to those affected by the March disaster in northeastern Japan.
The Financial Services Agency surveyed 41 banks in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures. The survey found that around 20,000 individuals and companies affected by the disaster were able to change the terms of bank loans or temporarily defer repayment.
The agency has requested banks to accommodate the needs of such borrowers.
It is also calling on those who are unable to repay housing loans to use a mortgage waiver system set up for disaster sufferers.

Fukushima pollution much larger says French report
French researchers say the amount of radioactive cesium that has leaked from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean is 20 times larger than the plant operator estimated.
The French government's nuclear research institute, IRSN, released its contamination report on Saturday.
It calculates that 27.1 thousand terabecquerels of radioactive cesium 137 had leaked into the ocean as of the middle of July. The largest amount was released by early April from a pit at the Number 2 reactor and other plant facilities.
The French institute says the amount is about 20 times the estimate made by Tokyo Electric Power Company. The report says the nuclear accident caused significant water contamination, but radioactive substances will be dispersed by ocean currents.
Nevertheless, the institute is calling for ongoing testing of marine products as leakage from the nuclear facility continues to pollute the nearby ocean.

Beaujolais Nouveau arrives in Japan
The first batch of 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau wine has arrived in Japan.
The young wine is made from grapes harvested in the Beaujolais region of central France. It goes on sale around the world on November 17th.
A plane carrying 4 tons of the French wine landed at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Saturday evening. Until last year, it arrived at Narita airport.
The Beaujolais was inspected by custom officials before being delivered to importers.
Importers say they expect to bring in more than 7 million bottles, nearly the same level as last year.
They say this year's wine is especially smooth as the grapes ripened 3 weeks earlier than last year thanks to good weather conditions.


Monday, October 31, 2011

The last day of October, beginning with a bit of light rain . . .

No summer '12 power-saving order, just peak-time rate hike

The government will try to avoid issuing a power-saving order next summer by hiking electricity rates for high-demand hours and taking other countermeasures

Fukushima shiitake cesium spikes

Monju focus to shift to research

Fukushima officials leave for Chernobyl - NHK
A delegation from Fukushima Prefecture is en route to 2 former Soviet republics to investigate how they have dealt with lingering radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.
Fukushima University organized the 8-day trip to Ukraine and Belarus. More than 30 medical experts and municipal officials are participating, including Yuko Endo, the mayor of Kawauchi, a village near the disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
On Tuesday, the group will meet Belarusian officials in charge of disaster reconstruction and view the various kinds of devices being used to measure radiation.
The group will also visit the Chernobyl nuclear plant as well as schools and hospitals in areas where radiation levels remain high.
The group hopes to learn what decontamination measures have been taken and how the health of local residents is being monitored.
Kawauchi Village Mayor Endo says the delegation has a lot to learn from the Chernobyl accident, such as when the evacuees were allowed to return home. He says he'll try to make the best of the trip to rebuild his village.

Disaster zone expecting fewer trainee doctors
Hospitals in quake-struck northeastern Japan are seeing a drop in the number of medical school graduates wanting to undergo training at their facilities.
Under Japan's clinical training system, medical students must complete 2 years of residency to be fully certified as doctors, but can choose where to train.
The health ministry says the number of new doctors who have applied to train at hospitals from next April in the 3 worst-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima is down by 10 percent from the previous year.
The number of doctors applying to hospitals in Miyagi has plunged by 15 percent. Hospitals in Fukushima, where a nuclear accident has yet to be contained, have only received 61 applicants for 146 openings.
The drop comes despite the health ministry's appeal on its website for trainee doctors to make visiting tours to hospitals in the northeast.
The ministry says it may add more information online, such as profiles of the hospitals that are still seeking trainees.

Public concern about nuclear accident preparedness

A survey conducted by NHK shows that many local governments support a plan to expand the disaster preparedness zone around nuclear power plants to 30 kilometers.
The government's Nuclear Safety Commission called for a wider zone following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Currently, only residents living within 10-kilometers of nuclear plants are required to take emergency preparedness measures.
Last week, NHK sent questionnaires to 142 local governments across the country located within a 30-kilometer radius of nuclear power plants, except for Fukushima. All of them responded. 70 percent approved of the plan to expand the zone.
Only 20 percent felt they are prepared to take effective measures in case of a nuclear emergency.
Asked what they're worried about most, 58 percent said transport procedures for an evacuation. 50 percent said measures to take care of the sick and elderly and 36 percent said ensuring adequate evacuation routes.
On specific issues, some governments said they were concerned about how they could manage an expanded anti-disaster zone with a large population and a concentration of industry. Some said they would not be able to secure enough experts and funds to make sufficient preparations for nuclear emergencies.


Welcome to the IPPNW Bike Tour Japan

In August of 2012, 30 brave young activists will cycle through southern Japan to show their solidarity with the victims and survivors of nuclear weapons, nuclear testing, uranium mining, nuclear energy and nuclear accidents in the past 60 years.

source : www.ippnw-students.org


. October 11, Remember March 11 .


. . Bulletins from NHK WORLD . .
. . Japan Times - JT . .



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1 comment:

  1. Oct. 07, 2011

    TOKYO —

    A worker at Japan’s disaster-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant died Thursday, its operator said, adding that the death was not necessarily related to radioactive leaks.