December 11 - 15, Remember March 11

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The tenth month after the earthquake starts !

nine months later -
nothing can erase
these memories

. Remember March 11, 2011, 14:46  


. . Joys of Japan .

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Gabi reports:

It is now nine months since the great earthquake, tsunami and reactor crises.

. News from November, 2011 .

. News from December, 2011 .

. . . . . at 10:22
Earthquake M 5.4 - Amami Oshima, Okinawa

Since Yesterday, we have many smaller earthquakes, around M 4 in Tohoku.


Bulletins from NHK Online

source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Season's biggest chill descends across Japan
A severe cold air mass has caused temperatures across Japan to drop to their lowest levels so far this season.
The winter pressure pattern will strengthen until Sunday, with snow expected in northern Japan and in the Hokuriku region.
The mid-winter-like cold air mass prevailing over wide areas of the Japanese archipelago saw Saturday morning lows fall to minus 5.2 degrees Celsius in Morioka, 2.4 degrees in Tokyo, 0.3 degree in Nagoya, and 2.3 degrees in Osaka.
Weather officials say a pressure trough and a low pressure system over the Sea of Japan coast will approach the archipelago, causing the winter pressure pattern to strengthen on Sunday.

Disaster survivors face harsh employment situation
Sunday marks 9 months since the earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan on March 11th. Disaster survivors are facing a harsh employment situation.
In affected areas, 66,366 people were receiving unemployment benefits as of October. Benefits for most of them will start to expire in January of next year.
In the hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima, just 4,527 people found a full-time job in October.
Short-term employment is increasing. But few companies have restored operations to pre-disaster levels, failing to produce enough stable jobs to help rebuild the livelihood of affected people.

The National Police Agency says the number of dead and missing from the disaster in the Tohoku region stood at 19,270 as of Friday.

By prefecture,
Miyagi has 11,385 victims, followed by
Iwate with 6,053, and
Fukushima with 1,826.

Memorial flame cheers March 11 survivors
People in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture, northeast Japan, are coming to a memorial flame on Sunday to pray for quick rebuilding of the area hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami 9 months ago.
Rikuzentakata's residents and a volunteer group from Kobe City, western Japan, held a lighting ceremony at a monument on high ground overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Saturday. They lit the gas light at exactly 2:46PM, the time the quake hit the coastal area.
The flame is a gift from Kobe City, western Japan, which was heavily damaged by the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake. Kobe residents erected a similar type of gas lamp 11 years ago in remembrance of those who perished in the severe tremor.
The fire, dubbed "the Light of Hope", also symbolizes Kobe residents' determination to rebuild their city.
Now it is encouraging the people of Rikuzentakata.
Residents are coming to the memorial to pray for swift recovery and take photos of the flame.
A woman said she felt she had lost her home in Rikuzentakata forever but now wants to rebuild it after having seen the flame.
A local farmer said his rice paddies were inundated by the tsunami and that he is unsure whether he can continue his family business. But he added that he is encouraged by the thoughtful gift from Kobe.

Govt compiles decontamination guidelines
Japan's Environment Ministry has compiled guidelines for the removal of radioactive materials discharged from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The 164-page document with illustrations was disclosed at a meeting of experts on Sunday. It was compiled for residents of cities and municipalities.
The 4-part guidelines cover ways to measure radiation levels and remove radioactive substances. They also show how to collect, deliver and store radiation-tainted soil and other materials.
The decontamination process will be different for buildings, roads, soil and plants.
The guidelines recommend that water volume and pressure for decontaminating buildings should be adjusted as excessive amounts may cause the dispersion of radioactive materials.
It says moss and dead leaves should be manually removed before high-pressure sprays are used to save water.
It adds that the used water should not be drained but collected in buckets.
The guidelines propose the use of separate containers for different levels of radiation-contaminated soil. They also give the safe distances of storage spaces from residential areas.
Ministry officials say they hope the guidelines can facilitate the implementation of a plan to build temporary storage facilities as residents will have a clearer idea of the decontamination process.
The ministry is expected to release the document on Wednesday and explain the details to residents of the Tohoku and Kanto regions.


Voices from around

. Daily Radiation Levels - LIST  

. . . . .

Japan Times:

Meiji ignored tipoffs on cesium in formula
Meiji Co. was tipped off on three separate occasions in mid-November that its milk formula may be contaminated with radioactive cesium, but ignored the information for about two weeks, sources say.

Radioactive water leaks at Genkai
Kyushu Electric says that 1.8 tons of radioactive water leaked in an idled reactor at the Genkai nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture, and draws flak for failing to promptly disclose the incident to local authorities.

Wild monkeys to carry forest fallout monitors
Fukushima University researchers plan to measure forest radiation levels in Fukushima Prefecture by placing special monitoring collars on wild monkeys.

First batch of Miyagi tsunami debris arrives in Tokyo

Tohoku yen contribuitons for whales?
It was a comparatively minor entry in the annual, ritualized battle between pro- and anti-whalers. Japan's whaling fleet pulled out of Shimonoseki port near Nagasaki earlier this week on its way to another controversial four-month Antarctic cull. In the fine print of the 2011 departure, however, was a PR landmine that would detonate and send ripples across the world.
... And how was this new security to be paid for? From money tagged for reconstruction following the triple national disasters in March.
Fisheries Agency officials admitted that roughly ¥2.28 billion would be used from a post-disaster reconstruction fund, earmarked as part of about ¥500 billion in "fisheries-related spending" green-lighted by parliament last month. ...


Monday, December 12, 2011

Full radiation cleanup won't begin until late March
The Environment Ministry says it needs time to obtain landowners' consent and to secure temporary storage sites for contaminated soil removed from irradiated areas.

Health ministry to offer grief counseling to Tohoku orphans

Full decontamination to start in Fukushima in Mar. - NHK
Japan's Environment Ministry says it will delay the start of full decontamination work for no-entry zones and government-designated evacuation zones in Fukushima Prefecture until late March.
A law taking effect next month requires the state to decontaminate areas with high radiation levels. The restricted areas were designated after the March accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The government is now conducting a model project to seek effective ways to clean up the contaminated areas.
The Environment Ministry had said it would start decontamination work for these areas in January or later. However, it revealed on Sunday that full decontamination efforts for houses and farmland will begin in late March.
The ministry said it will start decontaminating infrastructure, including roads as well as water and electricity supply systems, in late January.
The ministry said it will take time to get permission from evacuees to decontaminate their homes and agricultural land. It also cited the difficulty of securing temporary storage sites for topsoil removed during decontamination work.
Regarding areas with annual radiation far above 20 millisieverts, the ministry said it will only start decontamination after launching a new model project to decide ways to do so and ensure the safety of workers.
The government is legally obliged to aim to end the transfer of decontaminated soil to temporary storage spots by the end of March 2014, except for areas with particularly high radiation levels.

Teachers in disaster area suffering depression
A survey has found that one in 3 teachers in the disaster-hit Miyagi Prefecture suffers from depression.
A local teachers' union surveyed 3,375 teachers at public elementary and junior high schools in the prefecture in September and October.
1,029 teachers, or 30.5 percent, said they have experienced mild-to-moderate depression.
The percentage of teachers reporting moderate depression was twice as high in the hardest-hit coastal cities, including Ishinomaki and Higashimatsushima, than elsewhere in the prefecture.
Many teachers complained that their workloads have increased since the disaster.
The teachers' union is calling for psychological care for teachers who are still under substantial stress.

"Kizuna 絆" or "unity" chosen as kanji of the year
The Japanese word meaning "unity" or "the bonds between human beings" has been chosen as the term that best symbolizes 2011.
An organization promoting the use of Chinese kanji characters announced the result of its annual poll.

The character for kizuna was chosen from among a record 490,000 entries.
An event to announce the decision was held in Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. The temple's chief priest drew the character on Japanese paper using a calligraphy brush.
Many who selected the character say it reflects the sense of unity and bonding among the March 11th disaster victims after they received help.
Others say it reaffirms the precious humanitarian support received after the disaster from within Japan and overseas.
Another reason was the unity among the Nadeshiko women's soccer team after they won the World Cup.
The second most popular character is the one meaning "disaster", followed by the character meaning "quake".

All preconditions to declare cold shutdown met
Japan's nuclear watchdog has approved measures that will be implemented over the next 3 years to ensure stability at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Tokyo Electric Power Company's mid-term safety procedures include ways to further cool the damaged reactors, and to prevent possible hydrogen explosions at the plant. TEPCO plans to implement the steps over the next 3 years to achieve the second phase of the time table to put the plant under control.
At a meeting of the Nuclear Safety Commission on Monday, some participants pointed out that the reactors have yet to reach a stable state, and that possibilities of fresh problems remain.
Others called on the utility to monitor the durability of the equipment and facilities it is using to manage the disaster. But the members ultimately approved the safety measures planned by TEPCO.
After the decision, commission chief Haruki Madarame said the utility should implement the measures as soon as possible, as it is difficult to accurately predict what may yet happen in the damaged reactors.
The Japanese government is expected to declare later this week that a state of cold shutdown has been achieved for all the plant's reactors. The government hopes the declaration will lead to a review of current evacuation areas.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

'Miracle pine' loses roots to seawater, dying
The survival of the symbolic pine tree in Rikuzentakata that withstood the March 11 tsunami is thrown into doubt after losing its roots to seawater.

Nuclear utilities face \50 billion disaster fee

Power industry buying influence

Real cause of nuclear crisis
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco), the operator of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Station, has been insisting that the culprit that caused the nuclear crisis was the huge tsunami that hit the plant after the March 11 earthquake. But evidence is mounting that the meltdown at the nuclear power plant was actually caused by the earthquake itself.

Fire under control at Tsuruga nuclear plant
A fire at the Tsuruga nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, western Japan, has been brought under control. There are no reports of radioactive materials having leaked to nearby areas.
Japan Atomic Power Company, the plant operator, says the blaze broke out at 7:45 PM on Monday. A worker had turned on a switch for a spare electrical device located at a water processing facility in the No. 1 reactor.
Workers at the plant managed to put out the fire. No one was injured.
JAPC says there is no radiation leak because the reactor had been closed for inspection. The plant operator says there was a short circuit, and the fire may have been caused by sparks.
The cables were brought in to replace the regular power supply system, which is scheduled for inspection, with an auxiliary power source.
Three other fires have broken out at the plant between March 2010 and October 2011, when workers were welding or using gas burners for maintenance.
JAPC had submitted reports on fire prevention and safety measures to avoid this kind of accident on November 30th.

Over 200 to work at new reconstruction agency
The Japanese government will employ more than 200 people for a new agency to oversee the reconstruction of the areas hit by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
The move follows the Lower House's approval of a bill to create the agency last Tuesday.
The government plans to open the agency in February to reconstruct the disaster zone and coordinate the efforts of other ministries and agencies.
Its headquarters will be in Tokyo with some 140 officials. About 20 people will work at each of the branch offices in the prefectural capitals of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
Officials from other ministries and agencies assigned to the affected areas will cooperate with those in the new agency. The aim is to respond to the requests of local residents as quickly as possible.
The central government says it will recruit workers for the branch offices from employees and retirees in local governments, as well as from the private sector in the region.
It hopes to employ a total of 400 people in the end.

Google uploads street views of quake-hit towns
US search giant Google has uploaded street views of disaster-hit Japanese towns onto the Internet. The company says it wants to show the world the scale of damage caused by the March quake and tsunami.
Google began taking pictures of 82 cities and towns in 6 northeastern prefectures, including Fukushima, from July.
It started sharing the images through its website on Tuesday. They include photos taken before the calamity.
Google says it hopes the photographic records will help research and rebuilding efforts, and also serve as a reminder of the catastrophe for future generations.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

. . . . . at 13:01
Earthquake M 5.2, Gifu, East Mino region
Felt from Yamanashi to Okayama

Evacuations too late outside no-go zone
Residents not evacuated from hot spots outside the no-go zone may have been subjected to high levels of radiation in the first four months of the Fukushima nuclear plant.

No funding for Monju reactor test run

Moms make radiation risks a study - !!!

TEPCO warned against radioactive water leak
Radioactive water leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has earned the operator a reprimand. It was the second seepage from the plant's desalination equipment in less than 10 days.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says the amount was about 30 liters but remained inside the facility housing the machine. The outflow was stopped after valves were tightened.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency warned TEPCO against using the equipment. The agency also asked the company to investigate the cause and take measures to prevent another occurrence.
Earlier this month, about 150 liters of water containing radioactive strontium leaked from the same equipment into the ocean.

Radioactive cesium detected in Tokyo grade school
An extremely high reading of radioactive cesium has been detected on a groundsheet at an elementary school in Tokyo.
Officials of Suginami Ward detected 90,600 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium on the sheet. It was used to protect the school lawn against frost from March 18th to April 6th, soon after the Fukushima nuclear accident. The school is located about 230 kilometers from the nuclear plant.
The sheet's radioactivity level is over 11 times the government's 8,000 becquerels-per-kilogram limit for disposal by burying underground.
The city is considering incinerating the sheet with other garbage.
The school stored the sheet next to a gymnasium until early November. Ward officials who measured radioactivity near the area where the sheet was kept detected 3.95 microsieverts per hour at about one centimeter above the ground.
A mother whose son and daughter attend the school said she is worried that contamination from the nuclear plant is reaching Tokyo, despite the capital's distance from Fukushima. She says she wants a thorough inspection of the school building, including windows and gutters.

Noda to declare cold shutdown at Fukushima plant
The Japanese government will soon declare that a state of cold shutdown has been achieved for all the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The announcement scheduled for Friday will mean the achievement of the second phase of the timetable to bring the plant under control. The timetable, revised in October, aims to achieve this phase by the year-end.
The government has now confirmed that all the conditions have been met.
It says temperatures at the bottom of the reactor pressure vessels and inside the containment vessels have basically fallen below 100 degrees Celsius.
The amount of radioactive materials emitted has also dropped, with radiation levels on the compound's border falling below one millisievert per year.
The government says stable circulatory cooling of the reactors can be achieved with contaminated water, as alternative methods have been secured against malfunctions or accidents.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will make the official declaration that the reactors are in a stable condition at a news conference on Friday.
The government will launch a new body to oversee the completion of the process. It will be led by a Cabinet minister and the president of Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant operator.
It will also release a medium-to-long term timetable for the Daiichi plant, which includes its decommissioning, while helping residents to return home.

Govt releases rules for nuclear fallout cleanup
Japan's Environment Ministry has issued specific rules and procedures for cleaning up fallout from the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The ordinance says the central government will shoulder the cost of decontaminating soil in areas with radiation levels of 0.23 microsieverts per hour or above.
The government is also responsible for disposing of sludge and debris contaminated with radioactive cesium of more than 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.
The ordinance is aimed at accelerating the clean-up work being done by the public sector. The Environment Ministry will next week announce the names of more than 100 municipalities in northern Japan and areas around Tokyo where clean-up efforts are necessary.

Kyushu Electric submits test results of 3 reactors
Kyushu Electric Power Company submitted the results of primary safety assessments for 3 suspended nuclear reactors on Wednesday.
The reports to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency are one of the prerequisites for restarting reactors that have been idled for regular checkups. The other condition is approval of the local municipality.
Kyushu Electric submitted the results of the so-called "stress tests" for two reactors at Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture and one reactor at Genkai plant in Saga Prefecture.
... Meanwhile, Genkai mayor Hideo Kishimoto says resuming operations will not be easy. He wants Kyushu Electric to enact full disclosure practices in addition to making efforts to prevent accidents.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Evacuation proposal shelved 11 days after first blast

The government didn't heed the Nuclear Safety Commission's March call to widen public evacuations beyond the 20-km no-go zone around the Fukushima No. 1 power plant and issue iodine after it got a belated fallout estimate, official sources admit.

Scrapping works to be completed in 3 phases
The new timetable says that work to decommission the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will be completed in 3 phases.
Used fuel rods will be removed from spent pools during the first phase from April 2012 to March 2015.
Surveys will try to identify the source of contaminated water leaks from reactor containment vessels.
In the second phase from 2015 through 2021, containment vessels will be repaired and filled with water to block intense radiation from the melted fuel.
An underwater camera will be sent into the reactors to locate the melted fuel and determine its condition.
Filling reactors with water is considered the most difficult challenge in this phase as there is no precedent for the work during the dismantling of the damaged Three Mile Island nuclear plant in the United States.
In the third phase from 2022, engineers will begin retrieving the melted fuel from reactors and containment vessels, a difficult precise operation in small, confined spaces with high levels of radiation.

40 years estimated to scrap Fukushima plant
Japan's government and the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant say it will take up to 40 years to decommission the plant's damaged reactors.
NHK has learned about a timetable drawn up by the industry ministry and Tokyo Electric Power Company, based on a report released earlier by the state's Atomic Energy Commission.
The new timetable includes a plan to begin removing used fuel rods from spent fuel pools at 4 reactor buildings within 2 years, starting with reactor 4. That's one year ahead of what the Commission called for in its report.
The removed spent fuel will be temporarily stored within the compound.
The timetable also says that work to remove the melted fuel inside the No. 1 through No. 3 reactors should be completed in 25 years, when dismantling the reactors and buildings will begin. The ministry and TEPCO aim to completely scrap the entire compound within 40 years.
The schedule includes repair work to fill cracks in the reactors and containment vessels where contaminated water has leaked.
The unprecedented work involves very difficult working conditions, including high levels of radiation and the use of remote-controlled robots.
The government plans to declare on Friday that the second phase of its timetable to bring the Fukushima plant under control has been achieved, with all the reactors brought to a state of cold shutdown.
It also plans to release the new timetable to dismantle the reactors later this month.


Continue here
. December 16, 2011 .


Daruma from Takasaki 高崎 復興祈願 だるま

Print one out and hang it in your prayer corner!

ganbaro !! Nihon
ガンバロー 日本

がんばろう 日本 Ganbaro Nippon !


. Toys and Talismans from Japan . 


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