June 1, Wednesday

Posted by Chika On 2:48 PM
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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


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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 .

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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 .  

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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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