June 1, Wednesday

Posted by Chika On 2:48 PM 0 comments
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March 12, 2011
I extend to the people of Japan and especially to those of the Tohoku region my heartfelt sympathy and condolences in the aftermath of the devastation from the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami. The pictures we see on our television news reports are unbelievable -- horrific.
At times like this, we are united in our effort to bring relief to those people suffering in the wreckage of the horrors of nature. Please stay strong.
Today, we are all Japanese.

George Hosato Takei ジョージ・タケイ
source : www.georgetakei.jp


:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


more rain
more political turmoil
more frustration




Gabi reports:

This is going to be another rainy day in the rainy season.


LDP to submit no-confidence motion by Thursday
Opposition submits no-confidence motion
Some Democrats to join motion against Kan
Vertrauensvotum
. The Political situation .

. . . . .

More than 1100 children lost one or both parents during the tsunami and earthquake in Tohoku. Their foster-parents are now trying to apply for funds to raise them.
623 lost their father
394 lost their mother
75 lost both parents

. . . . .

Radiation-linked cancer is an intangible numbers game
"Many people get scared simply by hearing the word radioactivity.
But we have to base our worries on reality.
It is very difficult,
but we need to have rational fears,"
said Anzai, an expert on radiation protection.
. Radiation linked to cancer .

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Bulletins from NHK Online
source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 20:57
Cooling system operating at No. 2 reactor
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has started operating a system to effectively cool water in a spent fuel pool in the plant's No.2 reactor building.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company on Tuesday set up at the building the first circulatory cooling system to be installed at the plant since the accident in March.
The utility has been pumping about 50 tons of water into the pool every few days.
The pool's temperature is around 70 degrees Celsius, apparently producing steam that has filled the building and resulted in a humidity level of 99.9 percent.
The humidity and high radiation levels have been hampering repair work at the site.
The new system is to pump water out of the pool to a heat exchanger and return the water to the pool as coolant.
The firm says it plans to lower the pool's temperature to around 40 degrees Celsius in a month and hopes to reduce the humidity level before installing equipment to remove radioactive substances in the building.
The firm says it will start operating similar systems at the plant's No.1 and 3 reactors in June, and at the No.4 reactor in July.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 02:59
High levels of strontium detected at Fukushima
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it has detected high levels of a radioactive substance that tends to accumulate in human bones.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it took soil samples on May 9th at 3 locations about 500 meters from the No.1 and No.2 reactors and analyzed them.
The utility detected up to 480 becquerels of radioactive strontium 90 per kilogram of soil. That's about 100 times higher than the maximum reading recorded in Fukushima Prefecture following atmospheric nuclear tests carried out by foreign countries during the Cold War era.
TEPCO reported detecting 2,800 becquerels of strontium 89 per kilogram of soil at the same location.
This is the second time since April that radioactive strontium has been found inside the plant compound.
The substance was also detected in soil and plants more than 30 kilometers from the Fukushima nuclear power station in March.
When people inhale radioactive strontium, it accumulates in bones. Scientists say that strontium could cause cancer.
Tokyo Electric Power says it believes that radioactive strontium was released from the damaged plant and it will continue to monitor radiation levels.
An expert on radioactive substances says he thinks radioactive strontium may continue to be detected around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. But he says the strontium levels that might be detected in soil will be far lower than those of the radioactive cesium released in the accident by a factor of several thousand.
Yoshihiro Ikeuchi 池内嘉宏 of the Japan Chemical Analysis Center says strontium tends to accumulate in bones, like calcium. But he also says its levels in the air are thought to be lower than those for soil and even if people inhale the substance, no health problems will be caused by such internal exposure to radiation.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011 02:59
Radiation levels fall in Fukushima seawater
Tokyo Electric Power Company says radiation levels have fallen in seawater near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The utility said on Tuesday it had detected 3.1 becquerels of cesium 134 per cubic meter of seawater near the water intake of the No.3 reactor.
The reading is 52 times the national limit, but the lowest since TEPCO began checking radiation levels near the intake after the nuclear accident that followed the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
On May 11th, a level 32,000 times the national limit was detected at the same location due to a leak of highly contaminated water from the plant.
Cesium 134 was found in seawater 16 kilometers from the plant on Monday, but the level was below the limit set by the government.
The utility said the level of radioactive iodine near the water intake at the No.2 reactor was 160 times the limit on Monday.
But the reading was less than one-third of the previous day's figure.
TEPCO said it found radioactive strontium in seawater samples taken at 4 locations off Fukushima Prefecture on May 9th, but the levels were all below the national limit.
Radioactive strontium is produced during the nuclear fission of uranium. It was found in seawater off Fukushima in April.
TEPCO said the substance probably came from the damaged plant. The utility also said the detected levels were very low, but it will continue to monitor the seawater.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 07:35
IAEA: Japan underestimated tsunami impact

A team from the nternational Atomic Energy Agency will submit a summary of its report to the Japanese government on Wednesday after concluding its investigation into the nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
The 18-member team inspected the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and other nuclear facilities beginning May 24th.
The draft of the IAEA summary report says Japan took the best possible measures immediately after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, but it underestimated the danger of tsunami. The draft says it is hard to expect that Japan could have done more than it did soon after the accident occurred, with all safety systems lost and with insufficient manpower and lighting.
But the draft says Japan underestimated the impact of the tsunami and failed to respond to waves that were higher than had been expected.
It also says the chief characteristic of Japan's worst nuclear accident is that 4 reactors were exposed to the risk of meltdowns.
The report calls on Japan to revise its current process of dealing with a severe nuclear accident. This process is based on the assumption that lighting and electricity would be available in such an accident.
The team criticizes Japan for failing to ensure the independence of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, despite the advice given 3 years ago by the IAEA that the agency should be separated from the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry.
The team will submit a full report to an IAEA ministerial meeting that will open on June 20th in Vienna.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 10:32
Utilities report 342 faults near nuclear plants
Japan's electric power companies have reported 342 faults and geographical changes near nuclear power plants that they previously did not consider to be risks.
The companies filed the reports with the industry ministry's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
An aftershock of the March 11th earthquake on April 11 th is known to have shifted a fault about 50 kilometers from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The fault had been believed to be inactive.
The agency instructed the utilities to reassess their plants' earthquake resistance and reexamine faults and geographical changes where plant operators had said the risk of earthquake damage was little or none.
The utilities said previous studies had located 342 faults and geographical changes but that they had not taken them into account in assessing their plant's earthquake resistance.
These locations are said to have posed less risk because they have been inactive for more than 120,000 years or have not been regarded as faults as a result of erosion.
The agency will assess the companies' reports and conduct field studies if necessary. The utilities are to reconsider the possible risks these faults may pose to their plants.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 12:25
NISA urges TEPCO to set policy for decontamination
Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency is urging Tokyo Electric Power Company to lay out its plans for decontaminating the radioactive water that continues to accumulate at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
TEPCO says the heavy rain until Tuesday has increased the volume of highly radioactive water inside the plant.
The utility says the level of radioactive water rose by 6.2 centimeters in an underground tunnel extending from the No.2 reactor building during the 24 hours through Wednesday morning.
In the basement of the reactor's turbine building, the water rose by 6 centimeters.
Water levels also rose by more than 2 centimeters in the tunnel of the No.3 reactor, and in the basement of the reactor's turbine building.
The government's nuclear safety agency is asking TEPCO to secure new storage sites to which the contaminated water can be quickly transferred, and to lay out its plans for decontamination.
It is asking the utility to come up with the plans later on Wednesday, as the rainy season is approaching, bringing increased risks that the water will seep out.
Contaminated water is already flooding the basements of the turbine and reactor buildings, partly due to water injections to cool down the reactor cores.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 12:42
Govt kicks off "Super" Cool Biz campaign
The Environment Ministry has launched an enhanced version of its annual energy-saving Cool Biz campaign. The new program is in response to the acute power shortages expected this summer.
The new drive, dubbed "Super Cool Biz," allows even more casual attire in the summer workplace, such as Hawaiian shirts, jeans, plain T-shirts and sandals.
The previous campaign only encouraged workers to go without ties and jackets to reduce the need for air-conditioning.
On Wednesday, ministry personnel were seen coming to work in flower-patterned casual shirts and polo shirts.
One staffer clad in the 'kariyushi' wear of Okinawa says it's even more comfortable than the regular "Cool Biz" attire.
A senior ministry official says the campaign is not just about what to wear, but to help everyone to think about how to save energy.
.
Short pants OK'd in Takeo City
A city in southwestern Japan is taking the government summertime energy-saving campaign a step further. It's allowing employees to work in shorts.
Takeo City in Saga Prefecture launched its "Ultra Cool Biz" campaign on Wednesday.
The city is anticipating summertime power shortages due to the partial suspension of a local nuclear power plant.
A senior city official says he believes dressing casually will boost worker efficiency.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 13:32
Long sleeve uniforms urged in Fukushima
Some schools near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are urging that children continue to wear long-sleeves in summer, to limit their exposure to radioactive fallout.
The schools issued the advice on Wednesday, the day many students switch to summer uniforms. The move is a response to parents' concerns about radioactivity.
Radiation exceeding levels permitted by the government has been found at some schools in Fukushima Prefecture. The schools have been removing topsoil in their playgrounds and limiting outdoor activities.
At Koken Junior High School in Koriyama city on Wednesday, almost no students were seen wearing short-sleeves.
The school says students can choose to wear their long-sleeved gym wear or the long-sleeved summer uniform.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 13:47
Evacuees pick up their cars from no-entry zone
Evacuees from the no-entry zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have returned briefly to their homes to collect their cars.
21 evacuees from Kawauchi Village and 38 from Minami-soma City participated in the 1st car pickup operations on Wednesday.
The participants from Kawauchi gathered in a gymnasium to receive instructions.They then changed into protective clothing and boarded a bus that took them to their homes.
They were allowed to stay in the area for about 2 hours and had up to 10 minutes to start their cars. Vehicles whose engines would not restart had to be left behind.
Japan Automobile Federation workers accompanied the participants to help them deal with problems.
The participants were told to keep the windows of their vehicles closed and to refrain from using air conditioners to keep out radioactive materials.
After the cars are driven out of the no-entry zone, tests will be conducted to determine whether the vehicles are contaminated with radiation.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 15:59
IAEA team submits report to Japan government
A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency has submitted to the Japanese government a summary report of its investigation into the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The 18-member team inspected the plant and other nuclear facilities from May 24th, before an IAEA ministerial meeting on nuclear safety starts on June 20th in Vienna.
Team leader Michael Weightman handed the report to the prime minister's advisor Goshi Hosono in Tokyo on Wednesday.
The report points out that Japan underestimated the impact of the tsunami. It urges the government to correctly assess the risks of all natural disasters, and draw up protective measures in the design and operation of nuclear power plants.
The report adds that Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency should be independent and given a clear role based on IAEA standards, so it can respond appropriately to disasters.
Hosono thanked the team for its extensive and detailed investigation, and said the Japanese government will make the best use of the report as it probes the crisis.
Weightman said his team had been given access to all the information it needed, and was able to compile the report quickly. He said the accident in Fukushima has lessons that can be shared by all countries.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011 15:40
Snow on Fukushima peaks found to be radioactive
Snow in the mountains in Fukushima Prefecture is showing radioactive contamination at levels above the safety limit for drinking water.
Researchers from Fukushima University performed the analysis with a local environmental group. They sampled snow in 31 locations and at different altitudes from 7 peaks around Fukushima city, from mid-April through early May.
The results showed that snow in 14 locations contained more than 200 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium, the adult safe limit for drinking water.
A sample of snow from an altitude of 1,300 meters contained 3,000 becquerels of cesium.
Fukushima University Vice-President Akira Watanabe 渡辺明 specializes in meteorology and says the data support his team's analysis that radioactive substances scattered at an altitude of 1,300 meters.
He is urging mountain climbers not to drink river water or gather edible wild plants, now that high levels of radioactivity in the snow have been confirmed.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 15:59
Major semiconductor firm resumes partial operation
A major Japanese semiconductor maker has partly resumed operations at a plant that was hit by the March 11th earthquake.
A section of Renesas Electronics' plant in Hitachinaka, north of Tokyo, began production on Wednesday for the first time in about 80 days.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 16:52
10,000 children flee Fukushima over nuke fears
Japan's education ministry says about 10,000 children have moved out of Fukushima Prefecture following the March 11th disaster and crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
On Wednesday, the ministry announced that the number of school-age children who have left Fukushima -- from kindergarteners to high school students -- reached 9,998 as of May 1st.
They include 974 kindergarten pupils, 5,785 elementary school children, 2,014 junior high school students and 1,129 senior high school students.
The prefectures of Saitama, Niigata and Tokyo have each welcomed more than 1,000 children from Fukushima. The other children relocated elsewhere across the country.
The Fukushima board of education attributes the exodus to the nuclear accident, as the number of children who left the prefecture accounts for about 85 percent of the total from the 3 hardest-hit regions of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
An additional 5,500 children have changed schools within Fukushima Prefecture.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 17:29
TEPCO shares hit another record low
Tokyo Electric Power Company shares closed at another record low on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
TEPCO shares fell more than 5 percent from Tuesday to close the day at 299 yen, or about 3.7 dollars.
The fall is attributed to the recent downgrading of the utility's credit rating by rating agencies, which cited TEPCO's worsening financial situation.
Market sources say the unstable movement of TEPCO shares is likely to continue for some time, as government plans to assist the utility are unclear.
.
Auto sales down in May
Japan's automakers say domestic sales were down in May due to parts supply disruptions in the wake of the March disaster.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 19:00
Opposition submits no-confidence motion
.
Some Democrats to join motion against Kan
Vertrauensvotum
.


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Voices from around


. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

Kan's foes readying no-confidence vote
The opposition camp stepped up efforts Tuesday to bring down Prime Minister Naoto Kan, preparing to submit a vote of no confidence against him as early as Wednesday.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601a1.html

Stricken Fukushima nuke plant leaking oil
Oil was leaking into the sea from heavy oil tanks for reactors 5 and 6 at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Tuesday, adding the spill may have been ongoing since the March 11 quake and tsunami.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601a3.html


Cleanup effort enters new phase
Since the Golden Week holidays in early May, fewer volunteers have gone to the Tohoku region to help it clean up from the devastation caused by the March 11 quake and tsunami.
The American Chamber of Commerce hopes to rectify this deficit by dispatching employees and executives of American companies to Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, as volunteers beginning Thursday.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601a4.html

Mr. Kan's lofty energy goal
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/ed20110601a2.html

Reactor in Shimane delayed for safety work
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601a7.html

Opera stars, fearing radiation, cancel
New York's Metropolitan Opera
Soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Joseph Calleja announced just days before the opening show that they would not join the tour of Nagoya and Tokyo ...
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601a9.html


Chernobyl 'jumper' airs Fukushima fears
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601f2.html

Tepco to compensate nuclear evacuees for mental distress
In the second guideline, the panel categorized the evacuees into four groups depending on the place of evacuation and will decide the amount of damages to each group at a future meeting, officials said.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601a5.html

Some Fukushima soil same as Chernobyl 'dead zone'
Radioactive soil in pockets of areas near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant have reached the same level as Chernobyl, where a "dead zone" remains 25 years after the reactor in the former Soviet Union exploded.
Soil samples in areas outside the 20-km exclusion zone around the Fukushima plant measured more than 1.48 million becquerels per sq. meter, the standard used for evacuating residents after the Chernobyl accident, Tomio Kawata, a fellow at the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan, said in a research report published May 24 and given to the government.
Radiation from the plant has spread over 600 sq. km, according to the report.
...
Agriculture minister Michihiko Kano plants sunflower seeds in farmland for a test project in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, on Saturday.
...
Technology has improved since the 1980s, meaning soil can be decontaminated with chemicals or by planting crops to absorb radioactive materials, allowing residents to return.
...
Although the area containing soil pockets over 1.48 million becquerels per sq. meter is smaller than around Chernobyl — 600 sq. km compared with 3,100 sq. km — the level of contamination means soil needs to be cleaned or removed before residents can return, Kawata said in his report.
... in Chernobyl "There are cows walking over this land now," Rietveld said in reference to Belarus. "People are living over there. It's not a dangerous venture to use crops in low-contaminated areas. Most of the contamination is in the soil, not the air."
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601n1.html


Radiation-linked cancer an intangible numbers game
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601f1.html

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June 1, Wednesday

Posted by Chika On 2:48 PM 0 comments
[ . BACK to TOP of this BLOG. ]
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::



March 12, 2011
I extend to the people of Japan and especially to those of the Tohoku region my heartfelt sympathy and condolences in the aftermath of the devastation from the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami. The pictures we see on our television news reports are unbelievable -- horrific.
At times like this, we are united in our effort to bring relief to those people suffering in the wreckage of the horrors of nature. Please stay strong.
Today, we are all Japanese.

George Hosato Takei ジョージ・タケイ
source : www.georgetakei.jp


:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


more rain
more political turmoil
more frustration




Gabi reports:

This is going to be another rainy day in the rainy season.


LDP to submit no-confidence motion by Thursday
Opposition submits no-confidence motion
Some Democrats to join motion against Kan
Vertrauensvotum
. The Political situation .

. . . . .

More than 1100 children lost one or both parents during the tsunami and earthquake in Tohoku. Their foster-parents are now trying to apply for funds to raise them.
623 lost their father
394 lost their mother
75 lost both parents

. . . . .

Radiation-linked cancer is an intangible numbers game
"Many people get scared simply by hearing the word radioactivity.
But we have to base our worries on reality.
It is very difficult,
but we need to have rational fears,"
said Anzai, an expert on radiation protection.
. Radiation linked to cancer .

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Bulletins from NHK Online
source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 20:57
Cooling system operating at No. 2 reactor
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has started operating a system to effectively cool water in a spent fuel pool in the plant's No.2 reactor building.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company on Tuesday set up at the building the first circulatory cooling system to be installed at the plant since the accident in March.
The utility has been pumping about 50 tons of water into the pool every few days.
The pool's temperature is around 70 degrees Celsius, apparently producing steam that has filled the building and resulted in a humidity level of 99.9 percent.
The humidity and high radiation levels have been hampering repair work at the site.
The new system is to pump water out of the pool to a heat exchanger and return the water to the pool as coolant.
The firm says it plans to lower the pool's temperature to around 40 degrees Celsius in a month and hopes to reduce the humidity level before installing equipment to remove radioactive substances in the building.
The firm says it will start operating similar systems at the plant's No.1 and 3 reactors in June, and at the No.4 reactor in July.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 02:59
High levels of strontium detected at Fukushima
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it has detected high levels of a radioactive substance that tends to accumulate in human bones.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it took soil samples on May 9th at 3 locations about 500 meters from the No.1 and No.2 reactors and analyzed them.
The utility detected up to 480 becquerels of radioactive strontium 90 per kilogram of soil. That's about 100 times higher than the maximum reading recorded in Fukushima Prefecture following atmospheric nuclear tests carried out by foreign countries during the Cold War era.
TEPCO reported detecting 2,800 becquerels of strontium 89 per kilogram of soil at the same location.
This is the second time since April that radioactive strontium has been found inside the plant compound.
The substance was also detected in soil and plants more than 30 kilometers from the Fukushima nuclear power station in March.
When people inhale radioactive strontium, it accumulates in bones. Scientists say that strontium could cause cancer.
Tokyo Electric Power says it believes that radioactive strontium was released from the damaged plant and it will continue to monitor radiation levels.
An expert on radioactive substances says he thinks radioactive strontium may continue to be detected around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. But he says the strontium levels that might be detected in soil will be far lower than those of the radioactive cesium released in the accident by a factor of several thousand.
Yoshihiro Ikeuchi 池内嘉宏 of the Japan Chemical Analysis Center says strontium tends to accumulate in bones, like calcium. But he also says its levels in the air are thought to be lower than those for soil and even if people inhale the substance, no health problems will be caused by such internal exposure to radiation.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011 02:59
Radiation levels fall in Fukushima seawater
Tokyo Electric Power Company says radiation levels have fallen in seawater near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The utility said on Tuesday it had detected 3.1 becquerels of cesium 134 per cubic meter of seawater near the water intake of the No.3 reactor.
The reading is 52 times the national limit, but the lowest since TEPCO began checking radiation levels near the intake after the nuclear accident that followed the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.
On May 11th, a level 32,000 times the national limit was detected at the same location due to a leak of highly contaminated water from the plant.
Cesium 134 was found in seawater 16 kilometers from the plant on Monday, but the level was below the limit set by the government.
The utility said the level of radioactive iodine near the water intake at the No.2 reactor was 160 times the limit on Monday.
But the reading was less than one-third of the previous day's figure.
TEPCO said it found radioactive strontium in seawater samples taken at 4 locations off Fukushima Prefecture on May 9th, but the levels were all below the national limit.
Radioactive strontium is produced during the nuclear fission of uranium. It was found in seawater off Fukushima in April.
TEPCO said the substance probably came from the damaged plant. The utility also said the detected levels were very low, but it will continue to monitor the seawater.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 07:35
IAEA: Japan underestimated tsunami impact

A team from the nternational Atomic Energy Agency will submit a summary of its report to the Japanese government on Wednesday after concluding its investigation into the nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
The 18-member team inspected the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and other nuclear facilities beginning May 24th.
The draft of the IAEA summary report says Japan took the best possible measures immediately after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, but it underestimated the danger of tsunami. The draft says it is hard to expect that Japan could have done more than it did soon after the accident occurred, with all safety systems lost and with insufficient manpower and lighting.
But the draft says Japan underestimated the impact of the tsunami and failed to respond to waves that were higher than had been expected.
It also says the chief characteristic of Japan's worst nuclear accident is that 4 reactors were exposed to the risk of meltdowns.
The report calls on Japan to revise its current process of dealing with a severe nuclear accident. This process is based on the assumption that lighting and electricity would be available in such an accident.
The team criticizes Japan for failing to ensure the independence of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, despite the advice given 3 years ago by the IAEA that the agency should be separated from the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry.
The team will submit a full report to an IAEA ministerial meeting that will open on June 20th in Vienna.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 10:32
Utilities report 342 faults near nuclear plants
Japan's electric power companies have reported 342 faults and geographical changes near nuclear power plants that they previously did not consider to be risks.
The companies filed the reports with the industry ministry's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
An aftershock of the March 11th earthquake on April 11 th is known to have shifted a fault about 50 kilometers from the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The fault had been believed to be inactive.
The agency instructed the utilities to reassess their plants' earthquake resistance and reexamine faults and geographical changes where plant operators had said the risk of earthquake damage was little or none.
The utilities said previous studies had located 342 faults and geographical changes but that they had not taken them into account in assessing their plant's earthquake resistance.
These locations are said to have posed less risk because they have been inactive for more than 120,000 years or have not been regarded as faults as a result of erosion.
The agency will assess the companies' reports and conduct field studies if necessary. The utilities are to reconsider the possible risks these faults may pose to their plants.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 12:25
NISA urges TEPCO to set policy for decontamination
Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency is urging Tokyo Electric Power Company to lay out its plans for decontaminating the radioactive water that continues to accumulate at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
TEPCO says the heavy rain until Tuesday has increased the volume of highly radioactive water inside the plant.
The utility says the level of radioactive water rose by 6.2 centimeters in an underground tunnel extending from the No.2 reactor building during the 24 hours through Wednesday morning.
In the basement of the reactor's turbine building, the water rose by 6 centimeters.
Water levels also rose by more than 2 centimeters in the tunnel of the No.3 reactor, and in the basement of the reactor's turbine building.
The government's nuclear safety agency is asking TEPCO to secure new storage sites to which the contaminated water can be quickly transferred, and to lay out its plans for decontamination.
It is asking the utility to come up with the plans later on Wednesday, as the rainy season is approaching, bringing increased risks that the water will seep out.
Contaminated water is already flooding the basements of the turbine and reactor buildings, partly due to water injections to cool down the reactor cores.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 12:42
Govt kicks off "Super" Cool Biz campaign
The Environment Ministry has launched an enhanced version of its annual energy-saving Cool Biz campaign. The new program is in response to the acute power shortages expected this summer.
The new drive, dubbed "Super Cool Biz," allows even more casual attire in the summer workplace, such as Hawaiian shirts, jeans, plain T-shirts and sandals.
The previous campaign only encouraged workers to go without ties and jackets to reduce the need for air-conditioning.
On Wednesday, ministry personnel were seen coming to work in flower-patterned casual shirts and polo shirts.
One staffer clad in the 'kariyushi' wear of Okinawa says it's even more comfortable than the regular "Cool Biz" attire.
A senior ministry official says the campaign is not just about what to wear, but to help everyone to think about how to save energy.
.
Short pants OK'd in Takeo City
A city in southwestern Japan is taking the government summertime energy-saving campaign a step further. It's allowing employees to work in shorts.
Takeo City in Saga Prefecture launched its "Ultra Cool Biz" campaign on Wednesday.
The city is anticipating summertime power shortages due to the partial suspension of a local nuclear power plant.
A senior city official says he believes dressing casually will boost worker efficiency.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 13:32
Long sleeve uniforms urged in Fukushima
Some schools near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are urging that children continue to wear long-sleeves in summer, to limit their exposure to radioactive fallout.
The schools issued the advice on Wednesday, the day many students switch to summer uniforms. The move is a response to parents' concerns about radioactivity.
Radiation exceeding levels permitted by the government has been found at some schools in Fukushima Prefecture. The schools have been removing topsoil in their playgrounds and limiting outdoor activities.
At Koken Junior High School in Koriyama city on Wednesday, almost no students were seen wearing short-sleeves.
The school says students can choose to wear their long-sleeved gym wear or the long-sleeved summer uniform.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 13:47
Evacuees pick up their cars from no-entry zone
Evacuees from the no-entry zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have returned briefly to their homes to collect their cars.
21 evacuees from Kawauchi Village and 38 from Minami-soma City participated in the 1st car pickup operations on Wednesday.
The participants from Kawauchi gathered in a gymnasium to receive instructions.They then changed into protective clothing and boarded a bus that took them to their homes.
They were allowed to stay in the area for about 2 hours and had up to 10 minutes to start their cars. Vehicles whose engines would not restart had to be left behind.
Japan Automobile Federation workers accompanied the participants to help them deal with problems.
The participants were told to keep the windows of their vehicles closed and to refrain from using air conditioners to keep out radioactive materials.
After the cars are driven out of the no-entry zone, tests will be conducted to determine whether the vehicles are contaminated with radiation.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 15:59
IAEA team submits report to Japan government
A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency has submitted to the Japanese government a summary report of its investigation into the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The 18-member team inspected the plant and other nuclear facilities from May 24th, before an IAEA ministerial meeting on nuclear safety starts on June 20th in Vienna.
Team leader Michael Weightman handed the report to the prime minister's advisor Goshi Hosono in Tokyo on Wednesday.
The report points out that Japan underestimated the impact of the tsunami. It urges the government to correctly assess the risks of all natural disasters, and draw up protective measures in the design and operation of nuclear power plants.
The report adds that Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency should be independent and given a clear role based on IAEA standards, so it can respond appropriately to disasters.
Hosono thanked the team for its extensive and detailed investigation, and said the Japanese government will make the best use of the report as it probes the crisis.
Weightman said his team had been given access to all the information it needed, and was able to compile the report quickly. He said the accident in Fukushima has lessons that can be shared by all countries.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011 15:40
Snow on Fukushima peaks found to be radioactive
Snow in the mountains in Fukushima Prefecture is showing radioactive contamination at levels above the safety limit for drinking water.
Researchers from Fukushima University performed the analysis with a local environmental group. They sampled snow in 31 locations and at different altitudes from 7 peaks around Fukushima city, from mid-April through early May.
The results showed that snow in 14 locations contained more than 200 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium, the adult safe limit for drinking water.
A sample of snow from an altitude of 1,300 meters contained 3,000 becquerels of cesium.
Fukushima University Vice-President Akira Watanabe 渡辺明 specializes in meteorology and says the data support his team's analysis that radioactive substances scattered at an altitude of 1,300 meters.
He is urging mountain climbers not to drink river water or gather edible wild plants, now that high levels of radioactivity in the snow have been confirmed.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 15:59
Major semiconductor firm resumes partial operation
A major Japanese semiconductor maker has partly resumed operations at a plant that was hit by the March 11th earthquake.
A section of Renesas Electronics' plant in Hitachinaka, north of Tokyo, began production on Wednesday for the first time in about 80 days.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 16:52
10,000 children flee Fukushima over nuke fears
Japan's education ministry says about 10,000 children have moved out of Fukushima Prefecture following the March 11th disaster and crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
On Wednesday, the ministry announced that the number of school-age children who have left Fukushima -- from kindergarteners to high school students -- reached 9,998 as of May 1st.
They include 974 kindergarten pupils, 5,785 elementary school children, 2,014 junior high school students and 1,129 senior high school students.
The prefectures of Saitama, Niigata and Tokyo have each welcomed more than 1,000 children from Fukushima. The other children relocated elsewhere across the country.
The Fukushima board of education attributes the exodus to the nuclear accident, as the number of children who left the prefecture accounts for about 85 percent of the total from the 3 hardest-hit regions of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
An additional 5,500 children have changed schools within Fukushima Prefecture.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 17:29
TEPCO shares hit another record low
Tokyo Electric Power Company shares closed at another record low on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
TEPCO shares fell more than 5 percent from Tuesday to close the day at 299 yen, or about 3.7 dollars.
The fall is attributed to the recent downgrading of the utility's credit rating by rating agencies, which cited TEPCO's worsening financial situation.
Market sources say the unstable movement of TEPCO shares is likely to continue for some time, as government plans to assist the utility are unclear.
.
Auto sales down in May
Japan's automakers say domestic sales were down in May due to parts supply disruptions in the wake of the March disaster.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011 19:00
Opposition submits no-confidence motion
.
Some Democrats to join motion against Kan
Vertrauensvotum
.


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Voices from around


. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

Kan's foes readying no-confidence vote
The opposition camp stepped up efforts Tuesday to bring down Prime Minister Naoto Kan, preparing to submit a vote of no confidence against him as early as Wednesday.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601a1.html

Stricken Fukushima nuke plant leaking oil
Oil was leaking into the sea from heavy oil tanks for reactors 5 and 6 at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Tuesday, adding the spill may have been ongoing since the March 11 quake and tsunami.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601a3.html


Cleanup effort enters new phase
Since the Golden Week holidays in early May, fewer volunteers have gone to the Tohoku region to help it clean up from the devastation caused by the March 11 quake and tsunami.
The American Chamber of Commerce hopes to rectify this deficit by dispatching employees and executives of American companies to Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, as volunteers beginning Thursday.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601a4.html

Mr. Kan's lofty energy goal
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/ed20110601a2.html

Reactor in Shimane delayed for safety work
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601a7.html

Opera stars, fearing radiation, cancel
New York's Metropolitan Opera
Soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Joseph Calleja announced just days before the opening show that they would not join the tour of Nagoya and Tokyo ...
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601a9.html


Chernobyl 'jumper' airs Fukushima fears
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601f2.html

Tepco to compensate nuclear evacuees for mental distress
In the second guideline, the panel categorized the evacuees into four groups depending on the place of evacuation and will decide the amount of damages to each group at a future meeting, officials said.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601a5.html

Some Fukushima soil same as Chernobyl 'dead zone'
Radioactive soil in pockets of areas near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant have reached the same level as Chernobyl, where a "dead zone" remains 25 years after the reactor in the former Soviet Union exploded.
Soil samples in areas outside the 20-km exclusion zone around the Fukushima plant measured more than 1.48 million becquerels per sq. meter, the standard used for evacuating residents after the Chernobyl accident, Tomio Kawata, a fellow at the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan, said in a research report published May 24 and given to the government.
Radiation from the plant has spread over 600 sq. km, according to the report.
...
Agriculture minister Michihiko Kano plants sunflower seeds in farmland for a test project in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, on Saturday.
...
Technology has improved since the 1980s, meaning soil can be decontaminated with chemicals or by planting crops to absorb radioactive materials, allowing residents to return.
...
Although the area containing soil pockets over 1.48 million becquerels per sq. meter is smaller than around Chernobyl — 600 sq. km compared with 3,100 sq. km — the level of contamination means soil needs to be cleaned or removed before residents can return, Kawata said in his report.
... in Chernobyl "There are cows walking over this land now," Rietveld said in reference to Belarus. "People are living over there. It's not a dangerous venture to use crops in low-contaminated areas. Most of the contamination is in the soil, not the air."
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601n1.html


Radiation-linked cancer an intangible numbers game
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110601f1.html

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Radiation-linked cancer

Posted by Chika On 11:20 AM 0 comments
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Radiation-linked cancer an intangible numbers game
By MIZUHO AOKI

With contaminated produce continuing to be detected beyond Fukushima Prefecture, public concern over the health effects of radiation exposure continues to mount.

Experts agree that exposure to more than 100 millisieverts in total increases the risk of cancer. However, scientists have yet to achieve consensus about the degree of risk of contracting cancer below that level.

"What we know today is that there is a risk of cancer incidence and mortality from exposure to more than 100 millisierverts in total. Above that level, the percentage of cancer risk increases in proportion to exposure level," said Masayori Ishikawa, a professor in the department of applied molecular-imaging physics at Hokkaido University and a radiation therapy expert.

The best epidemiological study on health effects from radiation exposure in the world is that of the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings.

A followup study on some 100,000 survivors found that the occurrence of cancer increases in proportion to doses above 100 millisieverts, but "the study so far failed to detect any statistically significant increase in the incidence and mortality of cancer at doses below 100 millisieverts," explained Otsura Niwa, professor emeritus of Kyoto University.

According to the study, lifetime cancer mortality is estimated to rise 0.5 percent for anyone exposed to a dose of 100 millisieverts, said Niwa, an expert on radiobiology.

In Japan, about one out of every two people develop cancer during their lifetime, and about 30 percent of deaths in Japan are attributed to cancer, Ishikawa said.

Below 100 millisieverts, "the chances are too small to get statistically significant data," he said. With such a low risk, it would be difficult to have statistically significant data, even if information on about 1 million people were available, he added.

However, Niwa said that the lack of evidence does not mean there is no risk.

"It means that if there is an increase in the health risk, it is below the level detected by the best study in the world," Niwa said.

The International Commission on Radiological Protection has drawn up recommendations on radiation protection based on such hypotheses as that there is a small risk of contracting cancer even when the level is below 100 millisieverts. ICRP's recommendations have been used worldwide, including in Japan, for setting guidelines to set limits for the general public as well as for nuclear plant workers.

The ICRP's 2007 recommendations set three different dose limits, depending on the situation.

Normally, it advises not exceeding an upper level of 1 millisievert per year for the general public. In times of emergency, it calls for upper limits of between 20 and 100 millisieverts. For a postaccident period, it urges setting the limit to between 1 and 20 millisieverts, which the government is now using as a base figure in setting the 30-km evacuation zone around the Fukushima No. 1 plant, as well as for the use of school grounds in the rest of the prefecture.

Although there are arguments over the degree of risk below 100 millisieverts, a panel of experts at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences also supports the hypothesis that a small dose has the potential to increase the risk of cancer in humans. It predicts that approximately 1 in 1,000 people will develop cancer after being exposed to a total of 10 millisieverts.

But even based on such a hypothesis, the chances of developing radiation-induced cancer are very small compared with the risks associated with a high salt diet or lack of exercise, Niwa said.

According to a report by the National Cancer Center, based in Tokyo, the risk of cancer incidence from low exposure to radiation is much smaller than that from smoking or obesity. The NCC notes, however, that the report should be considered a reference to get an idea about the level of cancer risks due to radiation exposure because the percentage changes depending on the individual and also the duration of studies.

Its report was based on several studies, including about 40 years of followup data on atomic bomb survivors by the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, and a 10- to 15-year followup study by the NCC on Japanese citizens aged between 40 and 69.

The report said cancer risk from exposure to between 100 and 200 millisieverts is 1.08 times higher when compared with people who weren't exposed, while the cancer risk of people whose body mass index was between 30 to 39.9 was 1.22 times higher than a group of people whose body mass index was between 23 and 24.9. The cancer risk was 1.6 times higher for a group of people who smoke, when compared with nonsmokers, it said.

"The risk of cancer incidence is not zero even at low doses. . . . But the levels we are now exposed to are not something people have to worry deeply about," said Ikuro Anzai, a professor emeritus at Ritsumeikan University who has criticized the safety of nuclear power plants for decades.

"Many people get scared simply by hearing the word radioactivity.
But we have to base our worries on reality.
It is very difficult, but we need to have rational fears,"

said Anzai, an expert on radiation protection.

But when it comes to children, experts say extra care is needed, because the younger they are, the more vulnerable they are to radiation.

"Children have higher rates of cell division than adults. So when they are exposed to radiation, it can result in more damage than adults," Ishikawa of Hokkaido University said.

Experts estimate that children have two to three times more risk of cancer mortality than adults.
Children's vulnerability was manifested in the 1986 Chernobyl accident.

Among people exposed to radiation while they were age 18 or under, more than 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer were diagnosed. Of those, 15 people had died as of 2005, according to a 2008 report by the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.

The thyroid cancer cases were believed to be caused by drinking milk contaminated with high levels of iodine-131. When ingested, iodine-131 accumulates in the thyroid gland. Because children's thyroids are smaller and because they absorb iodine much more actively than adults, they have a much higher chance of developing thyroid cancer, experts say.

Considering these factors, the annual upper limit of 20 millisieverts set by the government for schoolchildren in Fukushima Prefecture is too high, experts say.

"Twenty millisieverts a year is a level that should prompt a country to start instituting safety measures. It is too high, especially for children," said Ishikawa of Hokkaido University.

In response to strong criticism from parents and activists about the 20-millisievert annual upper limit, the education ministry last Friday set a new nonbinding target to reduce radiation exposure of children in Fukushima Prefecture while they are at school to 1 millisievert or less per year. However, the ministry has not changed the binding upper limit of 20 millisieverts for Fukushima children both in and outside schools.

Anzai of Ritsumeikan believes what people should do now is make an extra effort to reduce the intake of radioactive materials as much as possible, especially among children, rather than keep discussing dose limits.

As the level of radioactive materials detected in the air across Japan has declined and stabilized since hitting a peak in mid-March shortly after the hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima plant, what the public should look out for now is how much cesium-137 fell from the sky. That has a much longer half-life than iodine-131, Anzai said.

Removing surface soil from school playgrounds, as has been done in Fukushima Prefecture, is a very effective way of reducing exposure, both internally and externally, he said.

As for food, people should not be too worried, because foodstuffs contaminated with radioactive materials that exceed recommended levels are currently not being sold to consumers, experts say. Vegetables, including cabbage and turnips, and milk and "konago" sand lance fish from Fukushima Prefecture, excluding some areas, as well as spinach from Kitaibaraki and Takahagi in Ibaraki Prefecture, were still banned as of Monday, according to the agriculture ministry. Any bans on using tap water had been lifted as of Monday, according to the health ministry.

If people want to take extra precautions, washing vegetables or boiling them can remove some radioactive materials. For rice, most of the radioactivity can be removed by milling the grains, Anzai said.

"Each person also needs to get updated information about contamination levels," Anzai said.

What people can also do is check if vegetables and other produce being sold in stores is really safe by setting up consumer groups and confirming whether local governments are really checking levels of contamination, Anzai said.


source : Japan Times .


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May 31, Tuesday

Posted by Chika On 2:55 PM 0 comments
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beetles show us
a way to the future -
ganbaro Fukushima



quote
Radiation zone farmer grubs his way to survival

Masanao Usami tosses over a container the size of a wine case and carefully spreads the contents that fall out, including tree bark, dead leaves and warm soil.
He is inside a warehouse surrounded by empty tobacco farms but no one is in sight.
"This one appears ready for shipment. It will develop into an imago by the summer," he says, as he picks up what looks like a giant gnocchi.
They wriggle. But the creeping beetle grubs are one of the few selling items being shipped out of the nuclear crisis-hit region in Fukushima Prefecture.

"Sales of beetle grubs are up 300 percent this year,"
Usami said of the popular seasonal pets.

Usami's beetle grub-filled warehouse is in the city of Tamura about 33 km away from the leaking Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The southeast region of the city is within a 20-km radius from ground zero, making it part of the government's nuclear no-go zone.
. . . . snip
"A beetle kit includes five grubs, instruction books, bedding material and other necessary items. They sell for ¥3,000 each," Usami said.
As expected, some customers expressed concern about purchasing beetles from the region. So Mushimushi Land decided to call in a team from Fukushima University and give the grubs radiation checks ... and the insects were confirmed to be safe. According to radiation activity checks from that day, the beetle grubs, as well as their bedding materials, the warehouse and even the beetle droppings, did not go above 0.3 microsievert per hour. That level does not pose any harmful effect on humans, Fukushima University experts confirmed.

"We got a lot of orders from the Tokyo area this year.
It is pretty amazing," Usami said.
source : Japan Times .

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Gabi reports:

I was out most of the time.



. . . . . at 4:36
Earthquake M 5.0, off the coast of Ibaraki


. . . . . at 21:21
Earthquake M 5.2, off the coast of Iwate


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Bulletins from NHK Online
source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Monday, May 30, 2011 22:25
High radioactivity levels at No.1 reactor

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has reported high levels of radioactive substances in water that has accumulated in the basement of its Number 1 reactor.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says a water sample taken from the reactor building's basement on Friday contained 2.5 million becquerels of radioactive cesium-134 per cubic centimeter. It also detected 2.9 million becquerels of cesium-137 and 30,000 becquerels of iodine-131.
The levels are almost the same as those already measured in contaminated water in the basement of the Number 2 reactor's turbine building.
Water contaminated with highly radioactive substances has flooded the reactor building's basement, apparently after leaking from holes created in the reactor's pressure and containment vessels in the fuel meltdown.
Under the utility's plan to bring the plant under control, a circulatory cooling system is to be installed to decontaminate radioactive water and use it as a coolant.
TEPCO says it will examine ways to decontaminate the water, as its radiation levels are too high for workers to approach.

. . . . .

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 06:03
S&P downgrades TEPCO rating
US rating agency Standard & Poor's has lowered its credit rating of Tokyo Electric Power Company by 5 notches, citing huge losses and compensation payouts for damage caused by the nuclear accident at its Fukushima plant. ...
In response to the Standard & Poor's rating cut, TEPCO says it takes seriously the downgrading of its credit rating. It says the company will strive to contain the situation at the Fukushima plant while it continues efforts to streamline its management and restore the confidence of financial markets.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 06:03
TEPCO tackles increasing contaminated water
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant says water accumulating in the basement of the No. 1 reactor building is contaminated with highly radioactive substances. The utility is battling to stop further leaks as the rainy season approaches.
Tokyo Electric Power Company detected 2 million becquerels of radioactive cesium per cubic centimeter of water in the basement of the No. 1 reactor building.
It speculates that radioactive substances from the melted fuel have leaked from the pressure vessel encasing the reactor core.
Large amounts of contaminated water in the plant's buildings are hampering efforts to contain the situation.
TEPCO has created a map showing the distribution of contaminated water at the plant to prevent a recurrence of the accident in March, where 3 workers were exposed to radiation by stepping in contaminated water in the basement of the No. 3 reactor's turbine building.
Rain showers that began Sunday are causing the water levels in the No. 2 and 3 turbine buildings to rise at a faster pace of 3 to 4 millimeters per hour.
The company plans to set up a cooling system to circulate decontaminated water back into reactors. The system is expected to be set up in July.
Until then, the utility needs to come up with measures to prevent further leakage, such as transferring the water to a new storage site.
.
Seawater purifiers to be set at Fukushima plant
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it will install equipment to purify highly radioactive seawater near the reactors' water intakes.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will start work on Tuesday to install seawater purifiers, which use the mineral zeolite to absorb radioactive cesium.
The utility previously built undersea silt barriers around the water intakes for the No.2 and 3 reactors after highly contaminated water was found to be leaking into the sea.
But radioactive substances exceeding the government-set safety limits are still being detected both inside and outside the barriers.
To stop contamination entering the sea, TEPCO decided to install new equipment to decontaminate seawater.
It is planning to draw and treat a maximum of 30 tons of water per hour from inside the silt fences, where radiation levels are higher, aiming to reduce contamination in the water outside the fences.
The company says the equipment will be installed around the intakes of the No.2 and 3 reactors, and it will begin preliminary operations as early as Thursday.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 09:59
TEPCO studies workers' iodine consumption
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says 2 workers believed to be contaminated with radiation took iodine tablets just once, 2 days after the quake.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, found that the pair may have been exposed to radiation exceeding the safety limit of 250 millisieverts set for emergency situations by the government.
TEPCO said the men, one in his 30s and the other in his 40s, worked in the control rooms of the Numbers 3 and 4 reactors after the accident.
Radiology experts who examined the workers have questioned whether the timing and level of iodine dosage was appropriate.
TEPCO says it is checking how often other workers took the tablets.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 10:55
Japan's April jobless rate worsens to 4.7%
Japan's unemployment rate in April worsened by 0.1 percent from the previous month.
The internal affairs ministry on Tuesday reported that the seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 4.7 percent.
The number of people with jobs stood at a little less than 60 million, with about 3 million unemployed.
The figures exclude households in quake-hit Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures. These usually account for about 5 percent of all households in the survey. Due to the earthquake and nuclear accident in March, the survey was not conducted in the 3 prefectures.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 12:32
Rain increases radioactive water at nuke plant
Heavy rain has increased the volume of highly radioactive water building up inside the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Contaminated water already floods the basements of the turbine and reactor buildings, partly due to water injections to cool down the reactor cores.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, now says water levels rose faster on Monday as rain poured inside the badly damaged buildings.
In the basement of the No.1 reactor building, radioactive water rose by 37.6 centimeters during the 24 hours through Tuesday morning.
At the No.2 reactor, the level of water rose by 8.6 centimeters in an underground tunnel extending from the building.
The water in the tunnel's shaft is now only about 39 centimeters below ground level. The utility is speeding up work to seal the opening.
TEPCO is planning to decontaminate and recycle the radioactive water as coolant for the reactors. But the system won't be in place until July at the earliest.
In the meantime, the utility is studying steps to prevent rainwater from seeping in. It will also consider new storage sites to which the contaminated water can be quickly transferred as the rainy season approaches.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 12:50
TEPCO begins live video stream from Fukushima
TEPCO has begun live-streaming video of the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant through the company's website.
The real-time footage comes from a camera installed about 250 meters northwest of the No.1 reactor.
The No.1 to No.4 reactors can be seen in the webcast.
TEPCO had until now been uploading still pictures shot from the southern side of the plant once every hour.
It began the video service on Tuesday in response to many requests for live images of the reactors.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 14:42
Government tells TEPCO to test more workers
The Japanese government has instructed the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to immediately test more workers for possible internal exposure to radiation.
This comes after high levels of radioactive substances were found in the bodies of two workers. Their total exposure may have exceeded the safety limit of 250 millisieverts, which has been established as the ceiling amount for emergencies.
The two men worked in the control rooms of the No.3 and 4 reactors at the plant. They reportedly said that they were not wearing protective masks when a hydrogen explosion occurred on March 12th.
The labor ministry instructed the Tokyo Electric Power Company to test several tens of workers who were also in the control rooms.
The ministry says these workers may have inhaled high levels of radioactive substances.
A series of worker safety problems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant has recently come to light. Some workers were found to have been engaged in their jobs without carrying dosimeters, and two female TEPCO employees were exposed to high levels of radiation which exceeded the safety limit.
On Monday the government told the power company and its subcontractors to take thorough measures to ensure the safety of their workers.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 15:46
114,000 lose jobs in 3 disaster-hit prefectures
A government survey shows that more than 114,000 people have lost their jobs since the earthquake and nuclear accident in the 3 main affected prefectures.
The labor ministry says that as of last Thursday, public job placement offices in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures had issued jobless certificates to 114,608 people. The documents are necessary to apply for unemployment payments.
49,851 of the jobless are from Miyagi, 40,644 from Fukushima and 24,113 from Iwate prefecture.
Of them, 73,385 people have been granted unemployment benefits.
The number is about 3 times larger than the same period last year in the prefectures.
The ministry says the real number of unemployed may be much higher, as many of those who are out of work have not reported their situation.
The ministry is calling on businesses in the disaster-hit areas to hire more people.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 17:28
Fukushima cleanup could cost up to $250 billion
A private think tank says the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could cost Japan up to 250 billion dollars over the next 10 years.
The estimate is part of the Nuclear Safety Commission's ongoing survey of opinions on the disaster from nuclear and other experts.
Kazumasa Iwata 岩田一政, president of the Japan Center for Economic Research, gave the estimate on Tuesday.
He said the costs of the accident could range from nearly 71 to 250 billion dollars. The figure includes 54 billion to buy up all land within 20 kilometers of the plant, 8 billion for compensation payments to local residents, and 9 to 188 billion to scrap the plant's reactors.
Iwata said a drastic review of the government's nuclear energy policy is necessary to fund the cleanup.
He said the government could channel about 71 billion dollars to the necessary fund over the next decade by freezing research and development projects linked to the nuclear fuel cycle.
Another 150 billion could come from Tokyo Electric Power Company's reserve fund, and the government's nuclear energy-related budgets.
The Nuclear Safety Commission plans to continue interviewing experts over the coming months, and to incorporate outside ideas in future debates on nuclear energy.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 18:48
Oxygen cylinder bursts near No. 4 reactor
An oxygen cylinder has burst at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. But the plant operator says the blast caused no damage to the plant's facilities, and no injuries.
At around 2:30 PM on Tuesday, workers reported hearing a loud noise like that of an explosion at the south side of the plant's No. 4 reactor.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company says unmanned heavy machinery removing debris at the site damaged the cylinder, causing it to burst.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 19:04
TEPCO makes provisional payments to the affected
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has started paying provisional compensation to farmers and fishermen affected by the disaster.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it paid damages of 500-million yen, or about 6.2-million dollars, on Tuesday to groups of farmers, including dairy farmers, and fishermen in Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures to compensate for their losses from halted shipments.
TEPCO says they have claimed damages totaling about 136-million dollars for the losses they incurred due to shipment restrictions imposed by the central government.
Tuesday's compensation marks the utility's first payments to the affected farming and fishing sectors.
The utility plans to make similar payments to such groups in other prefectures, including Fukushima.
TEPCO also plans to start making provisional compensation payments on Wednesday of up to about 30,000 dollars each to severely affected small- and mid-sized businesses.
The utility firm says it has so far paid provisional compensation, totaling 580-million dollars, to about 50,000 affected households that have been forced to evacuate.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 19:04
Cooling system being tested at No. 2 reactor
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has installed a circulatory cooling system at one of the plant's crippled reactors.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company started trial operation of the system at the No. 2 reactor building on Tuesday.
The utility has been pumping about 50 tons of water into a used fuel pool in the building every few days.
The pool's temperature is around 70 degrees Celsius, apparently producing steam that is filling the building and resulting in a humidity level of 99.9 percent. The humidity and high radiation levels have been hampering repair work at the site.
The new system is to pump water out of the pool to a heat exchanger and return the water to the pool as coolant.
The firm says it plans to bring the pool's temperature to around 40 degrees Celsius in a month through the system.
TEPCO hopes to reduce the humidity level before installing equipment to remove radioactive substances in the building.
The cooling system is the first to be completed at the plant. The firm hopes to start operating similar systems at the plant's No. 1 and 3 reactors in June, and at the No. 4 reactor in July.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 19:06
Auto exports post worst fall in April
Japan's auto exports in April dropped at the fastest pace on record. Carmakers had to slash production and exports, due to parts supply disruptions following the March 11th disaster.
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association says April exports of cars, trucks and buses totaled 126,000 units, down 67% year on year. This marks the biggest decline for any month of the year since the association began tracking exports in 1971.
Shipments to all regions went down. Those to North America plunged 69%, the largest fall for the month. Asia showed a drop of 60% and Europe, 57%.
The association predicts that exports will continue to fall for the rest of the year.



Tuesday, May 31, 2011 19:39
Guidelines set for rumor damage compensation
風評被害
A government panel reviewing compensation for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident has set guidelines on payments for so-called rumor-induced damages and mental suffering of evacuees.
According to a directive hammered out on Tuesday, farming, fishing and tourist industry claimants are eligible to be compensated in cases where radiation rumors are confirmed to have caused loss of business income.
Rumor-induced damages are defined as losses incurred due to consumers not buying goods and services, or clients canceling transactions, whether due to rumor-based fears or to avoid real risk. This is because the difference between the two reasons is difficult to determine.
The guidelines say all edible farm and marine products from areas where shipments have been banned could be covered by compensation.
Loss of income from reduced trade and price drops, as well as fees for radiation checks demanded by the purchaser, could be counted as damage.
For tourism, the guidelines say only businesses based in Fukushima Prefecture are eligible for compensation over canceled reservations. But the panel has yet to determine how to calculate the amount of payments.
Guidelines for other industries and regions will be set after further analysis.
The panel also says evacuees forced to spend long periods outside their homes may be compensated for mental suffering.
It had initially agreed to divide damages into 4 stages depending on where the evacuees were placed. But it backtracked after local governments complained of unfairness.
In April, the panel filed damages guidelines for people who were forced to evacuate by government order from around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 19:57
New reactor postponed at Shimane nuke power plant
The Chugoku Electric Power Company says it will postpone the start of the commercial operation of a new reactor at the Shimane nuclear power station without setting a timetable.
The utility said on Tuesday that additional safety measures are needed to start the Number 3 reactor being constructed at the plant.
The company had planned to put nuclear fuel rods in the reactor and start a test operation in June, and make it commercially operational in March next year.
Following the accident at the Fukushima plant, the utility faces the need to build seawalls that can withstand 15-meter-high tsunami waves and to think of ways to prevent the inundation of reactor buildings.
The utility also said a problem with a device for moving control rods in the reactor was discovered last November. It said the defect has remained unsolved, because the device's maker in Ibaraki Prefecture was affected by the March 11th disaster.
The power company said it would be difficult to gain local understanding for starting the commercial operation of the new reactor without solving these problems.
It gave no timetable for the start of the operation, citing a lack of a work schedule.


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Voices from around


. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

Exposure of Tepco pair exceeds limit

Two Tepco employees at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant may have absorbed several hundred millisieverts of radiation, breaking the government's new limit for the crisis.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110531a1.html

Heavy rains trigger tsunami-zone landslide alert
Heavy rain triggers landslide alerts in areas damaged by the March 11 quake and tsunami, adding a new dimension to the dangers.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110531a2.html


Evacuee housing units shy of target
The government admits failure in its effort to get 30,000 temporary housing units built for evacuees by the end of May but vows to forge on.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110531a3.html


Evacuees long for hometowns
Temporary dwellings lack character, appeal of

Land minister Akihiro Ohata in early May said the government will construct temporary housing for all March 11 evacuees in time for the Bon holidays in mid-August. But speaking to those already living in such accomodations in Fukushima Prefecture makes it clear such housing units are not homes, and rebuilding their lives will take more than providing a roof over their heads.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110531f1.html


Kan foes in DPJ set to join ouster ploy
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110531a4.html

Raise sales tax in stages, advisers tell Kan reform council
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110531a7.html

Ibaraki to check radiation at beaches
The Ibaraki Prefectural Government will check radiation levels at 17 beaches starting in June to allay fears related to the nuclear crisis in adjacent Fukushima Prefecture, Ibaraki Gov. Masaru Hashimoto said Monday.
The move comes after the central government and Fukushima Prefecture decided last week to monitor radiation at seaside and lakeside beaches from June. The Iwaki Municipal Government in Fukushima also said last week that it will forgo the opening of nine beaches in the city this summer.
With the swimming season set to begin in July at most beaches, the Ibaraki government plans to measure radiation in sand and seawater at its beaches twice in June and once in July to ensure they are safe for public use, local officials said.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110531b2.html


A G8 vote of support for Japan
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/ed20110531a1.html

Disaster volunteers find plenty to do in Fukushima
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/fl20110531a1.html

.................................................................................


quote
An oil spill and a small explosion have caused limited damage — but no further radiation leaks — at the crippled nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Tuesday workers found an oil spill in the sea near reactors five and six, which were in shutdown when an earthquake and tsunami struck March 11. Cores melted at other reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, and workers have been trying to contain radiation leaks and restore control of the units since then.
TEPCO said the explosion at reactor four was likely from a gas tank and did not cause any additional radiation leaks. It said the oil spill was contained by a fence.
source : news.yahoo.com


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May 31, Tuesday

Posted by Chika On 2:55 PM 0 comments
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beetles show us
a way to the future -
ganbaro Fukushima



quote
Radiation zone farmer grubs his way to survival

Masanao Usami tosses over a container the size of a wine case and carefully spreads the contents that fall out, including tree bark, dead leaves and warm soil.
He is inside a warehouse surrounded by empty tobacco farms but no one is in sight.
"This one appears ready for shipment. It will develop into an imago by the summer," he says, as he picks up what looks like a giant gnocchi.
They wriggle. But the creeping beetle grubs are one of the few selling items being shipped out of the nuclear crisis-hit region in Fukushima Prefecture.

"Sales of beetle grubs are up 300 percent this year,"
Usami said of the popular seasonal pets.

Usami's beetle grub-filled warehouse is in the city of Tamura about 33 km away from the leaking Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The southeast region of the city is within a 20-km radius from ground zero, making it part of the government's nuclear no-go zone.
. . . . snip
"A beetle kit includes five grubs, instruction books, bedding material and other necessary items. They sell for ¥3,000 each," Usami said.
As expected, some customers expressed concern about purchasing beetles from the region. So Mushimushi Land decided to call in a team from Fukushima University and give the grubs radiation checks ... and the insects were confirmed to be safe. According to radiation activity checks from that day, the beetle grubs, as well as their bedding materials, the warehouse and even the beetle droppings, did not go above 0.3 microsievert per hour. That level does not pose any harmful effect on humans, Fukushima University experts confirmed.

"We got a lot of orders from the Tokyo area this year.
It is pretty amazing," Usami said.
source : Japan Times .

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Gabi reports:

I was out most of the time.



. . . . . at 4:36
Earthquake M 5.0, off the coast of Ibaraki


. . . . . at 21:21
Earthquake M 5.2, off the coast of Iwate


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Bulletins from NHK Online
source : www3.nhk.or.jp

Monday, May 30, 2011 22:25
High radioactivity levels at No.1 reactor

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has reported high levels of radioactive substances in water that has accumulated in the basement of its Number 1 reactor.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says a water sample taken from the reactor building's basement on Friday contained 2.5 million becquerels of radioactive cesium-134 per cubic centimeter. It also detected 2.9 million becquerels of cesium-137 and 30,000 becquerels of iodine-131.
The levels are almost the same as those already measured in contaminated water in the basement of the Number 2 reactor's turbine building.
Water contaminated with highly radioactive substances has flooded the reactor building's basement, apparently after leaking from holes created in the reactor's pressure and containment vessels in the fuel meltdown.
Under the utility's plan to bring the plant under control, a circulatory cooling system is to be installed to decontaminate radioactive water and use it as a coolant.
TEPCO says it will examine ways to decontaminate the water, as its radiation levels are too high for workers to approach.

. . . . .

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 06:03
S&P downgrades TEPCO rating
US rating agency Standard & Poor's has lowered its credit rating of Tokyo Electric Power Company by 5 notches, citing huge losses and compensation payouts for damage caused by the nuclear accident at its Fukushima plant. ...
In response to the Standard & Poor's rating cut, TEPCO says it takes seriously the downgrading of its credit rating. It says the company will strive to contain the situation at the Fukushima plant while it continues efforts to streamline its management and restore the confidence of financial markets.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 06:03
TEPCO tackles increasing contaminated water
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant says water accumulating in the basement of the No. 1 reactor building is contaminated with highly radioactive substances. The utility is battling to stop further leaks as the rainy season approaches.
Tokyo Electric Power Company detected 2 million becquerels of radioactive cesium per cubic centimeter of water in the basement of the No. 1 reactor building.
It speculates that radioactive substances from the melted fuel have leaked from the pressure vessel encasing the reactor core.
Large amounts of contaminated water in the plant's buildings are hampering efforts to contain the situation.
TEPCO has created a map showing the distribution of contaminated water at the plant to prevent a recurrence of the accident in March, where 3 workers were exposed to radiation by stepping in contaminated water in the basement of the No. 3 reactor's turbine building.
Rain showers that began Sunday are causing the water levels in the No. 2 and 3 turbine buildings to rise at a faster pace of 3 to 4 millimeters per hour.
The company plans to set up a cooling system to circulate decontaminated water back into reactors. The system is expected to be set up in July.
Until then, the utility needs to come up with measures to prevent further leakage, such as transferring the water to a new storage site.
.
Seawater purifiers to be set at Fukushima plant
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it will install equipment to purify highly radioactive seawater near the reactors' water intakes.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it will start work on Tuesday to install seawater purifiers, which use the mineral zeolite to absorb radioactive cesium.
The utility previously built undersea silt barriers around the water intakes for the No.2 and 3 reactors after highly contaminated water was found to be leaking into the sea.
But radioactive substances exceeding the government-set safety limits are still being detected both inside and outside the barriers.
To stop contamination entering the sea, TEPCO decided to install new equipment to decontaminate seawater.
It is planning to draw and treat a maximum of 30 tons of water per hour from inside the silt fences, where radiation levels are higher, aiming to reduce contamination in the water outside the fences.
The company says the equipment will be installed around the intakes of the No.2 and 3 reactors, and it will begin preliminary operations as early as Thursday.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 09:59
TEPCO studies workers' iodine consumption
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says 2 workers believed to be contaminated with radiation took iodine tablets just once, 2 days after the quake.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, found that the pair may have been exposed to radiation exceeding the safety limit of 250 millisieverts set for emergency situations by the government.
TEPCO said the men, one in his 30s and the other in his 40s, worked in the control rooms of the Numbers 3 and 4 reactors after the accident.
Radiology experts who examined the workers have questioned whether the timing and level of iodine dosage was appropriate.
TEPCO says it is checking how often other workers took the tablets.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 10:55
Japan's April jobless rate worsens to 4.7%
Japan's unemployment rate in April worsened by 0.1 percent from the previous month.
The internal affairs ministry on Tuesday reported that the seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 4.7 percent.
The number of people with jobs stood at a little less than 60 million, with about 3 million unemployed.
The figures exclude households in quake-hit Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures. These usually account for about 5 percent of all households in the survey. Due to the earthquake and nuclear accident in March, the survey was not conducted in the 3 prefectures.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 12:32
Rain increases radioactive water at nuke plant
Heavy rain has increased the volume of highly radioactive water building up inside the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Contaminated water already floods the basements of the turbine and reactor buildings, partly due to water injections to cool down the reactor cores.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, now says water levels rose faster on Monday as rain poured inside the badly damaged buildings.
In the basement of the No.1 reactor building, radioactive water rose by 37.6 centimeters during the 24 hours through Tuesday morning.
At the No.2 reactor, the level of water rose by 8.6 centimeters in an underground tunnel extending from the building.
The water in the tunnel's shaft is now only about 39 centimeters below ground level. The utility is speeding up work to seal the opening.
TEPCO is planning to decontaminate and recycle the radioactive water as coolant for the reactors. But the system won't be in place until July at the earliest.
In the meantime, the utility is studying steps to prevent rainwater from seeping in. It will also consider new storage sites to which the contaminated water can be quickly transferred as the rainy season approaches.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 12:50
TEPCO begins live video stream from Fukushima
TEPCO has begun live-streaming video of the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant through the company's website.
The real-time footage comes from a camera installed about 250 meters northwest of the No.1 reactor.
The No.1 to No.4 reactors can be seen in the webcast.
TEPCO had until now been uploading still pictures shot from the southern side of the plant once every hour.
It began the video service on Tuesday in response to many requests for live images of the reactors.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 14:42
Government tells TEPCO to test more workers
The Japanese government has instructed the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to immediately test more workers for possible internal exposure to radiation.
This comes after high levels of radioactive substances were found in the bodies of two workers. Their total exposure may have exceeded the safety limit of 250 millisieverts, which has been established as the ceiling amount for emergencies.
The two men worked in the control rooms of the No.3 and 4 reactors at the plant. They reportedly said that they were not wearing protective masks when a hydrogen explosion occurred on March 12th.
The labor ministry instructed the Tokyo Electric Power Company to test several tens of workers who were also in the control rooms.
The ministry says these workers may have inhaled high levels of radioactive substances.
A series of worker safety problems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant has recently come to light. Some workers were found to have been engaged in their jobs without carrying dosimeters, and two female TEPCO employees were exposed to high levels of radiation which exceeded the safety limit.
On Monday the government told the power company and its subcontractors to take thorough measures to ensure the safety of their workers.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 15:46
114,000 lose jobs in 3 disaster-hit prefectures
A government survey shows that more than 114,000 people have lost their jobs since the earthquake and nuclear accident in the 3 main affected prefectures.
The labor ministry says that as of last Thursday, public job placement offices in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures had issued jobless certificates to 114,608 people. The documents are necessary to apply for unemployment payments.
49,851 of the jobless are from Miyagi, 40,644 from Fukushima and 24,113 from Iwate prefecture.
Of them, 73,385 people have been granted unemployment benefits.
The number is about 3 times larger than the same period last year in the prefectures.
The ministry says the real number of unemployed may be much higher, as many of those who are out of work have not reported their situation.
The ministry is calling on businesses in the disaster-hit areas to hire more people.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 17:28
Fukushima cleanup could cost up to $250 billion
A private think tank says the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant could cost Japan up to 250 billion dollars over the next 10 years.
The estimate is part of the Nuclear Safety Commission's ongoing survey of opinions on the disaster from nuclear and other experts.
Kazumasa Iwata 岩田一政, president of the Japan Center for Economic Research, gave the estimate on Tuesday.
He said the costs of the accident could range from nearly 71 to 250 billion dollars. The figure includes 54 billion to buy up all land within 20 kilometers of the plant, 8 billion for compensation payments to local residents, and 9 to 188 billion to scrap the plant's reactors.
Iwata said a drastic review of the government's nuclear energy policy is necessary to fund the cleanup.
He said the government could channel about 71 billion dollars to the necessary fund over the next decade by freezing research and development projects linked to the nuclear fuel cycle.
Another 150 billion could come from Tokyo Electric Power Company's reserve fund, and the government's nuclear energy-related budgets.
The Nuclear Safety Commission plans to continue interviewing experts over the coming months, and to incorporate outside ideas in future debates on nuclear energy.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 18:48
Oxygen cylinder bursts near No. 4 reactor
An oxygen cylinder has burst at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. But the plant operator says the blast caused no damage to the plant's facilities, and no injuries.
At around 2:30 PM on Tuesday, workers reported hearing a loud noise like that of an explosion at the south side of the plant's No. 4 reactor.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company says unmanned heavy machinery removing debris at the site damaged the cylinder, causing it to burst.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 19:04
TEPCO makes provisional payments to the affected
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has started paying provisional compensation to farmers and fishermen affected by the disaster.
Tokyo Electric Power Company says it paid damages of 500-million yen, or about 6.2-million dollars, on Tuesday to groups of farmers, including dairy farmers, and fishermen in Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures to compensate for their losses from halted shipments.
TEPCO says they have claimed damages totaling about 136-million dollars for the losses they incurred due to shipment restrictions imposed by the central government.
Tuesday's compensation marks the utility's first payments to the affected farming and fishing sectors.
The utility plans to make similar payments to such groups in other prefectures, including Fukushima.
TEPCO also plans to start making provisional compensation payments on Wednesday of up to about 30,000 dollars each to severely affected small- and mid-sized businesses.
The utility firm says it has so far paid provisional compensation, totaling 580-million dollars, to about 50,000 affected households that have been forced to evacuate.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 19:04
Cooling system being tested at No. 2 reactor
The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has installed a circulatory cooling system at one of the plant's crippled reactors.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company started trial operation of the system at the No. 2 reactor building on Tuesday.
The utility has been pumping about 50 tons of water into a used fuel pool in the building every few days.
The pool's temperature is around 70 degrees Celsius, apparently producing steam that is filling the building and resulting in a humidity level of 99.9 percent. The humidity and high radiation levels have been hampering repair work at the site.
The new system is to pump water out of the pool to a heat exchanger and return the water to the pool as coolant.
The firm says it plans to bring the pool's temperature to around 40 degrees Celsius in a month through the system.
TEPCO hopes to reduce the humidity level before installing equipment to remove radioactive substances in the building.
The cooling system is the first to be completed at the plant. The firm hopes to start operating similar systems at the plant's No. 1 and 3 reactors in June, and at the No. 4 reactor in July.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 19:06
Auto exports post worst fall in April
Japan's auto exports in April dropped at the fastest pace on record. Carmakers had to slash production and exports, due to parts supply disruptions following the March 11th disaster.
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association says April exports of cars, trucks and buses totaled 126,000 units, down 67% year on year. This marks the biggest decline for any month of the year since the association began tracking exports in 1971.
Shipments to all regions went down. Those to North America plunged 69%, the largest fall for the month. Asia showed a drop of 60% and Europe, 57%.
The association predicts that exports will continue to fall for the rest of the year.



Tuesday, May 31, 2011 19:39
Guidelines set for rumor damage compensation
風評被害
A government panel reviewing compensation for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident has set guidelines on payments for so-called rumor-induced damages and mental suffering of evacuees.
According to a directive hammered out on Tuesday, farming, fishing and tourist industry claimants are eligible to be compensated in cases where radiation rumors are confirmed to have caused loss of business income.
Rumor-induced damages are defined as losses incurred due to consumers not buying goods and services, or clients canceling transactions, whether due to rumor-based fears or to avoid real risk. This is because the difference between the two reasons is difficult to determine.
The guidelines say all edible farm and marine products from areas where shipments have been banned could be covered by compensation.
Loss of income from reduced trade and price drops, as well as fees for radiation checks demanded by the purchaser, could be counted as damage.
For tourism, the guidelines say only businesses based in Fukushima Prefecture are eligible for compensation over canceled reservations. But the panel has yet to determine how to calculate the amount of payments.
Guidelines for other industries and regions will be set after further analysis.
The panel also says evacuees forced to spend long periods outside their homes may be compensated for mental suffering.
It had initially agreed to divide damages into 4 stages depending on where the evacuees were placed. But it backtracked after local governments complained of unfairness.
In April, the panel filed damages guidelines for people who were forced to evacuate by government order from around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011 19:57
New reactor postponed at Shimane nuke power plant
The Chugoku Electric Power Company says it will postpone the start of the commercial operation of a new reactor at the Shimane nuclear power station without setting a timetable.
The utility said on Tuesday that additional safety measures are needed to start the Number 3 reactor being constructed at the plant.
The company had planned to put nuclear fuel rods in the reactor and start a test operation in June, and make it commercially operational in March next year.
Following the accident at the Fukushima plant, the utility faces the need to build seawalls that can withstand 15-meter-high tsunami waves and to think of ways to prevent the inundation of reactor buildings.
The utility also said a problem with a device for moving control rods in the reactor was discovered last November. It said the defect has remained unsolved, because the device's maker in Ibaraki Prefecture was affected by the March 11th disaster.
The power company said it would be difficult to gain local understanding for starting the commercial operation of the new reactor without solving these problems.
It gave no timetable for the start of the operation, citing a lack of a work schedule.


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Voices from around


. Daily Radiation Levels .  

. . . . .

Japan Times :

Exposure of Tepco pair exceeds limit

Two Tepco employees at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant may have absorbed several hundred millisieverts of radiation, breaking the government's new limit for the crisis.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110531a1.html

Heavy rains trigger tsunami-zone landslide alert
Heavy rain triggers landslide alerts in areas damaged by the March 11 quake and tsunami, adding a new dimension to the dangers.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110531a2.html


Evacuee housing units shy of target
The government admits failure in its effort to get 30,000 temporary housing units built for evacuees by the end of May but vows to forge on.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110531a3.html


Evacuees long for hometowns
Temporary dwellings lack character, appeal of

Land minister Akihiro Ohata in early May said the government will construct temporary housing for all March 11 evacuees in time for the Bon holidays in mid-August. But speaking to those already living in such accomodations in Fukushima Prefecture makes it clear such housing units are not homes, and rebuilding their lives will take more than providing a roof over their heads.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110531f1.html


Kan foes in DPJ set to join ouster ploy
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110531a4.html

Raise sales tax in stages, advisers tell Kan reform council
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110531a7.html

Ibaraki to check radiation at beaches
The Ibaraki Prefectural Government will check radiation levels at 17 beaches starting in June to allay fears related to the nuclear crisis in adjacent Fukushima Prefecture, Ibaraki Gov. Masaru Hashimoto said Monday.
The move comes after the central government and Fukushima Prefecture decided last week to monitor radiation at seaside and lakeside beaches from June. The Iwaki Municipal Government in Fukushima also said last week that it will forgo the opening of nine beaches in the city this summer.
With the swimming season set to begin in July at most beaches, the Ibaraki government plans to measure radiation in sand and seawater at its beaches twice in June and once in July to ensure they are safe for public use, local officials said.
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110531b2.html


A G8 vote of support for Japan
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/ed20110531a1.html

Disaster volunteers find plenty to do in Fukushima
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/fl20110531a1.html

.................................................................................


quote
An oil spill and a small explosion have caused limited damage — but no further radiation leaks — at the crippled nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Tuesday workers found an oil spill in the sea near reactors five and six, which were in shutdown when an earthquake and tsunami struck March 11. Cores melted at other reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, and workers have been trying to contain radiation leaks and restore control of the units since then.
TEPCO said the explosion at reactor four was likely from a gas tank and did not cause any additional radiation leaks. It said the oil spill was contained by a fence.
source : news.yahoo.com


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